Should I Adopt A Cat Or A Kitten?

If you find yourself thinking about adopting an animal, please read this post first. Many people decide that they want a kitten only to find that it’s far too much work to keep them stimulated, and they return the kitten from wherever they got them. One thing to understand is that it’s not easy, especially for cats, to be moved around all the time. The more homes they live in, the more stressed out they become. Ultimately, if a cat is moved around too much, they become violent, especially if their last stop is a shelter. So the first thing to consider before even debating between a cat and a kitten is to make sure that you are ready to care for an animal. 

Now that I got that out of the way, I will always recommend that people adopt older cats. However, I understand why everyone wants a kitten. They’re cute, cuddly, playful and you get to raise them from their baby years. And although I would never deter someone from adopting an animal, especially from a rescue or a shelter, I would advise you to thoroughly consider which type of cat would be best for you.

If you’ve had a kitten before, then you already know that caring for a kitten entails time and attention. A kitten doesn’t require as much attention as a puppy, but if you aren’t playing with your kitten every day, they will begin to act out aggressively as they get older. And it normally has nothing to do with a dislike of you, but just excess energy that needs to be expelled.

One of the things I see most working in a rescue is kittens being returned after a year or so because they’ve become more aggressive as they get older. This aggressive behavior could occur for a number of reasons. One could be that they’re sick and they’re trying to get your attention. Another reason is that they have too much energy that isn’t being expended on a daily basis. Cats are natural hunters, and if they aren’t having the play time that they need, they will claw at your feet or legs to get your attention to play with them. A third reason is that it’s just the cat’s personality. Kittens are never the same when they become an adult. Their personalities are not fully developed and it’s hard to tell what kind of cat a kitten will be when they are only four months old.

An adult cat, on the other hand, rarely comes with surprises. They are who they are and that is that. They already know that they shouldn’t chew on everything in sight. They know how to use a litter box. They’re over the age where they no longer need to play every day, although you should still stimulate their minds and hunting abilities. An older cat, for the most part, won’t have as much of an issue adjusting to a new home unless they come from dire circumstances, like being left at a shelter at ten years old. By the way, you should never surrender a ten year old cat to a shelter. Always find a rescue if that is what you need to do. Obviously, I would say that since you adopted the animal, it’s part of your family and you should never give them away, but if everyone thought that way, we wouldn’t have overcrowded shelters with high euthanasia rates.

So if you’re really interested in getting a cat, think before you act and consider the following questions.


Am I ready to dedicate the time and effort for a kitten?

If you don’t have the time or energy to spend playing with your kitten, it will come back to haunt you when they’re a few years older. Trust me, most of the time a kitten will become aggressive as they age because they have too much energy that needs to be released, and since they can’t talk to us, they tell us by biting our ankles and clawing our feet. They aren’t actually aggressive cats, they just have a need that you’re not meeting.


Am I wanting an animal with a lot of energy or a companion that can relax with me?

If you want the high energy, adopt a kitten. If you want a companion to relax, adopt an older cat. An older cat prefers to lounge, eat, and sleep. They enjoy their play time as well, but not as much as a kitten. Also, older cats are fully aware that you adopted them, and they always show their gratitude in some way, shape or form.


Am I willing to love and cherish this animal until death do us part?

One too many people surrender their animals into shelters, rescues, or the streets. So before you even consider adopting an animal, are you sure that you want the furry companion to be there with you for the rest of their days? If not, then don’t adopt either a cat or a kitten.


Am I OK with claws?

I’m not a fan of declawing cats, but I can’t stop people from doing what they want to do. I don’t think you would want someone to cut off the tips of your fingers, but what do I know? The point is, if the kitten has claws, which it more than likely will, then are you OK with your furniture and curtains being torn apart? Now this doesn’t mean that every kitten in the world will climb the curtains and scratch the furniture, but most of them will. They’re young and adventurous and they want to climb. It’s why cat trees are a thing. And there are ways to deter a cat from scratching (the squirt bottle technique), but if you’re even slightly concerned about your personal belongings, then a kitten is probably not the best option. I would either adopt a declawed cat or an older cat. An older cat is not going to destroy your fine furnishings.


Cats and kittens are not toys to be played with and then discarded. They are a part of your family. So if you are considering adopting a cat or kitten, think it over first.  Trust me, there will still be cats out there looking for homes. And any rescue or shelter would rather you be sure about your decision prior to adopting the animal as well. So if you find yourself looking to adopt a furry friend, please think it through before making the commitment. If we could get every person to be sure that they are ready to adopt, we would have less animals in shelters and more animals in loving homes.


If you’re in the Nashville area and are looking to adopt a furry friend, we at Music City Animal Rescue have plenty of animals looking for their forever homes. Please visit to browse through our adoptable animals.

We are also always looking for fosters, so if you’re interested in fostering one of our cats or dogs, please fill out an application here.  Our rescue relies on the good hearts of people willing to open their homes to these animals, and the more fosters we can find, the more animals we can save.


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