Kitten vs adult cat: Would an older cat suit you better?
Adding an adult cat to the family will suit some people better than taking on a kitten. If you’re not happy with a little chaos in your life, then a kitten probably isn’t right for you.
In fact, if you’re completely new to cat ownership, an adult cat may give you the best introduction.
Young kittens can’t be left alone for a whole day because they need socialisation so, for working families, an older cat might be a better choice.
Adult cats’ personalities are already formed and, depending on their age, older cats will be out of the crazy kitten phase.
That’s not to say that all adults cats will fit into your home life immediately with no issues, but the benefit of rehoming an older cat from a rescue organisation like Blue Cross is that experienced people who have assessed the cat can give you a much clearer idea of your pet’s personality and the type of home that would suit them best.
We will also give you top advice on how your cat may react in certain situations which will help you in managing your day-to-day cat ownership. Plus, you’ll be giving a much-needed home to an unwanted pet.
What type of cat should I get?
Choosing a cat is an exciting time for a family. When considering which cat you would like, you may think about the differences between getting a pedigree cat versus a moggy and which is most likely to suit your lifestyle.
What is a moggy cat?
The term ‘moggy’ is slang for a non-pedigree cat. These are the most common cats that you’ll see around the UK and can easily be found at rehoming centres.
Moggies, in general, tend to have less health issues than pedigree cats.
What is a pedigree cat?
Pedigree cats are bred to look a certain way. Some are bred for their personality traits and others for the way they look.
Mating cats of the same breed means that the genetic pool is small. This can increase the risk of the cat having health problems. This isn’t helped by breeding cats that look cute because of a disability, such as short legs, or flat faces.
Common issues with pedigree cats:
- Persian: Brachycephalic cats (short-nosed breeds) struggle to breathe and sometimes need medical help from a vet to widen their airways. These felines also need daily grooming to keep their long coat free of tangles - something they can’t do themselves.
- Burmese: Higher chance of diabetes, low levels of blood potassium causing muscle weakness and some have problems with the head and brain development
- Bengal: Can be prone to suffer with a lack of pyruvate kinase, which is something in the red blood cells that produces the energy they need to survive. This then causes anaemia. Getting a Bengal is not a good idea if you live in an area with lots of other cats.
- Munchkin: Short legs may look cute, but the characteristics of the munchkin cat cause them pain and makes it harder for them to do things that other cats find easy, like jumping from one place to another
- Siamese: Asthma, lymphoma between the lungs and in the chest, cross-eyed and tumours in the small intestines
- Scottish fold: Given their name because of the way their ears fold over, this breed have been created to look cute. The reality is that they have been born with a flaw which affects the development of their cartilage. This extends to their bone cartilage, so their bones don’t develop properly and leads to very painful arthritis.
- Sphynx: Being hairless means these cats need extra attention when it comes to daily care, needing a bath to reduce the oil build-up on their skin. They also need sun protection in the heat and don’t do well in cold weather either.
- Ragdoll: This breed can be born with a gene that leads to heart disease and can cause heart failure. They are also more at risk of kidney disease.
Like dogs, cats can suffer from genetic diseases that can be passed on from parents to offspring. In some cases tests are available to detect these diseases, so it’s worth asking the breeder if they have had the kittens checked by a vet.
Do cats need company?
Cats have very different social needs compared to dogs and people. Although they are capable of forming friendships with their own kind, they are unlikely to feel the need for a companion and are often happy being the only cat in the home. This is not to say that they can’t get along with other cats – as long as there is no competition for important resources such as food, litter trays or sleeping areas, then many cats can learn to accept each other peacefully and some will even form close bonds.
How you introduce a new cat or kitten into your home can, however, make a big difference.
How long do cats live?
Cats may not really have nine lives, but factors such as diet, healthcare and environment can have an impact on how long a cat can live. Neutered cats tend to live longer because neutering prevents reproductive diseases and neutered cats are less likely to roam.
While dependent on many things, some domestic cats can live to up to 20 years old. During their life they will go through key life stages which may help owners understand certain health/behavioural problems that could arise and things to keep an eye on.