Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family

A family adopting a cat in New Jersey.

Cats are curious, playful companions with plenty of personality, making them the purr-fect addition to many homes. If you are considering adopting a new kitten or adult cat, Berkeley Veterinary Center is here to help you with some tips on choosing the right cat for your family and lifestyle.

Should You Get a Kitten or Adult Cat?

When thinking about adding a new feline family member, the first decision you should make is whether you want a kitten or an adult cat. While it is hard to resist the cuteness of a new kitten, they do tend to be a little more rambunctious and playful than their adult counterparts, which can mean a lot more damage to your furniture and messes around your house. If you do not have the time or patience to deal with a kitten learning about the world, you might want to consider an older cat. 

Cats reach “adulthood” by the age of two, and will have fully grown into their personality by then, which will give you a better gauge of how they act before you even bring them into your house. There are plenty of adult cats who need loving homes and are just waiting for the right human companion.

Consider Temperament When Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family

Temperament is one of the best indicators of whether or not a cat will fit nicely into the workings of your home. If you enjoy your quiet time and do not like being woken up at two in the morning by a cat chasing a rubber band across your house, you should opt for an older, calmer cat. When thinking about adopting a cat, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you enjoy a playful cat—even if that means potential playtime in the middle of the night?
  • Do you want to spend a lot of time interacting with a cat so you can filter their excited energy into physical activity instead of scratching up furniture?
  • Do you have young children that might not understand how to play gently with a new furry friend?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you might want to opt for an older cat. If you answered “yes,” however, a new kitten might be the perfect addition to your home.

Are there Other Animals in the Home?

On top of considering how a new cat might interact with your human family, it is also important to think about how they will do with your furry family. If you have other animals, consider their temperaments before bringing a cat home. Even if your other pets seem like they would be happy to welcome another animal into the family, you should always take time to get them used to each other under your supervision before leaving them alone in the same room. Use these tips when introducing your new cat to your current pet(s):

  • Keep them in separate rooms
  • Move meals to each side of the door—this allows each animal to associate each other’s scent with a happy memory (eating)
  • Each day, move the dishes a little closer to the door until both animals can eat comfortably while separated only by the door
  • Place an item that smells like one animal in the other animal’s room to help them get more used to the scent
  • Give each animal their chance to roam free in the house (and close the other safely in a room with a door)
  • Gradually allow supervised together time until each animal feels comfortable with the other

Whether you are adopting a new kitten or need to schedule a wellness visit for your older cat, Berkeley Veterinary Center is here to help you keep your pets healthy throughout their lives. We are AAHA accredited, Fear Free certified, and a Cat Friendly Practice that offers top-level care for your favorite animals. To learn more, visit us online or call (732) 269-3600.

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