Thursday, May 15, 2014

Adopting a Not-a-Kitten

Yes, kittens are so cute and cuddly! And clueless. And cause trouble.

The cuteness helps when we are helping them understand their world... over and over again. But there's a great way to bypass this highly intense and demanding stage, and still wind up with a great cat.

We simply go to a shelter and choose a great cat.

And don't forget, cats don't really mature fully until at least three years of age. There can still be plenty of kitten left in the older kittens and teen cats. While adults and seniors have lots to give. They have a whole history we can pick up on as we get to know them.

In my podcast #13, The Used Cat, I explain my tips and tricks for choosing a teen, adult, or senior cat. Despite all our worries, this is actually the best way to get a cat who fits us.

We know who they are

From six months onward, our cats show much more of their body type and personality than they do as kittens. So picking older cats means knowing what we're getting.

Tristan, 11 months, clear as a bell
As seen here, my cat Tristan is 11 months old. The long body and legs, and the high energy, instantly lets us know he is an Alpha cat type. When we got him as a three week old foundling, and even as he moved into his kittenhood, this important clue to his personality and needs was not clear at all.

More developed cats show their traits right away. We know if they are a cuddler or a climber. We know if we "click."

They know what they are doing

It's great to have an expert around, especially if we are cat newbies. Our more developed cat will have their own skills in place much more than they did as kittens.

If we are uncertain of our cat skills, working with a cat who has more maturity means we won't feel frustrated by our training or doubtful of our influence.

Kittens have tiny attention spans and high distractibility. It can take a bit of learning to interpret their behavior, and know what to do about it.

We negotiate as equals

Growing and grown cats known how to communicate and control their emotions. This means we can let them know what places to stay away from. Kittens think everything is a toy. More mature cats can be told.

The all-important negotiation stage can't happen with tiny kittens very fast at all. But a six or seven month old kitten is a delight. They can be trained. They do show they care about us. All without the frustration of younger ages.

We develop our relationship much faster 

They want to work with us and they want to be loved. Our instances of affection are actually more deep and lasting at this age. And it starts happening the moment we connect at the shelter.

A more mature cat shows outlines of planning and consideration that are the joy of cats. So don't deprive yourself of the Instant Gratification of getting a "pre-baked" cat.

My podcast tells you how!