To adopt or buy a cat or kitten in an impulse is never a good idea, there are a lot of things to think about before you make a decision.
One important thing is to figure out what kind of cat that fits into your life, and this article is about choosing a cat with the right age for your needs and expectations.
Choosing a kitten
When you take a kitten home, you need to have time to play and activate her so that she won´t start to find new ways to have fun and to get your attention, that might be out of the ordinary (like scratching the furniture). If you have a child that could help to activate the kitten, or are ready to buy some new toys every now and then, you will be ok.
A kitten is not fully developed in terms of many behavioural aspects, and it is up to you to teach her the differences between good and bad, and it is a lot like the development of a human child, you need to be consistant for them to really learn.
If you buy or adopt a crossbreed kitten, you will not know which behaviours your kitten should have inherited from it´s parents, so you need to be open to all kinds of behaviours. But as it is a kitten, you will have the possibility to change some of it to your liking. If you want a calm cat from day one, I would suggest to adopt an older cat.
Choosing an older, middle aged cat
If you have decided to pick an older cat to bring home, the level of playing and activity will be a bit lower than if you would have chosen a kitten. But as all cats are individuals, there are of course older cats that are playful like kittens too.
A cat that is older than 1-2 years old are still gonna want to play and they do need to be activated, but when you find the right toys and scratching furnitures for them, you will not need to do as much yourself.
To bring home an older cat is a bit of a risk because this cat already had a territory before, and was maybe hoping to stay there for the rest of it´s life. So to take this cat and put in a new home can come with some issues that you need to be aware of in case you need to help her feel her best under the circumstances.
It can make the cat very stressed to suddenly change home, and especially if the last home was a quiet and calm home, and the new home is a busy home with children and lots of high sounds. It don´t have to be a problem at all, but it is better to know about this in advance to try and make the transition as seemless as possible.
Many cats can change home without changing the behaviour at all. If you adopt from a shelter and have a busy home, then tell the personal at the shelter so that they can help you to find a cat that will suit your home environment.
Choosing a senior cat
If you adopt a senior cat or buy a retired breeder, most of the information from above (choosing an older, middle aged cat) can be applied here. But there are some additional things you might have to consider.
An older cat run a higher risk of cancer, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and arthritis you can read more about what considerations you must have when adopting a senior cat HERE
A senior cat could possibly be a bit harder to introduce to a new cat of kitten, if you in the future consider to get another cat, and if an older cat becomes depressed, the risks might be higher to develop illnesses. An well taken care of-, healthy and insured senior cat might just be exactly what you need in your life, that will make your days a bit brighter. If you take good care of your cat, he or she will do the same to you <3