Adopting a new kitten is a major moment, as many cats are living longer lives and are remaining active throughout that period. In short, the decision you make today could affect your own life for decades to come.
In her book Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat — Not a Sour Puss, Pam Johnson-Bennett shares five primary tips on how to quickly determine a kitten’s temperament.
1. Watch the kittens carefully to see which ones are playful, confident and friendly. These desirable characteristics will likely improve your relationship with your new kitten well through its adulthood.
2. Get close to the kitten by getting on your hands and knees near where the kitten is. Observe how the kitten reacts. If it jumps away, bites or hisses, you could be in for trouble in the future.
3. Try offering a toy, such as a feather wand, and then watch how the kitten reacts. A normal, playful response is to bat and pounce at the toy. To remain healthy, kittens and cats must exercise. Getting them to do so will be so much easier if the kitten is really motivated to play.
4. Gently pick up the kitten and hold it. Although the kitten might be a bit squirmy, you should not be bitten or attacked. That can be a reflex reaction in some fearful cats. The bad habit, if left unchecked, could make for a painful start for both of you.
5. Does the kitten want to hide? If its parents were not well-socialized, often that desire to run away from humans passes on to the kittens. A kitten that is at least willing to interact with you will usually be much better adjusted as time goes on.
If you are willing to devote care and attention to your kitten, you will likely have a devoted friend for life.