If you’re considering adopting another cat and want to adopt a kitten but already have a child and a pet you might like to consider this kitten personality test by Richard H Gebhardt was a past president of the Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc.. He died on September 7, 2018.
I trust him to provide good advice on selecting a kitten for the family. He advises two simple personality tests. Of course, you have to be in the presence of the kittens, at least one of whom you intend to adopt.
You wiggle a few fingers along the floor about six inches in front of a kitten or alternatively dangle a small toy back and forth. You observe the reaction. Does the kitten scamper over to investigate or back away as if she is threatened?
A well-adjusted kitten will be a more confident kitten who is pleased to meet you. They want to find out what is going on and approach. Conversely, a nervous or timid kitten will be more cautious and a poorly adjusted or immature kitten might run away and hide.
Of these three responses the person with a resident pet and a family already would do better to select the more confident kitten because they will be more able to adjust quickly and get along with other family members. The more timid kitten will do fine as well but will take longer to adjust and will probably prefer quieter surroundings and therefore may do better in a single cat household.
The third personality, the one who scampers away to hide must be given a chance to find a home because there are just as good in the right place. They need more patience and the right person will come along with a tender heart and adopt him or her.
Gebhardt also makes some straightforward points about kitten health. A kitten has to be healthy if they are to be suitable to be adopted. The adopter should observe the animal’s health and general condition. Did the kitten follow the toy or the fingers alertly? Are his eyes bright and clear, his nose cool and slightly damp (I disagree with this incidentally) and are his gums free of inflammation and his backside nice and clean!?
He says that a kitten with a dry, warm-feeling nose or teary eyes are signs of poor health (the part about the nose I disagree with). Dirt or wetness around a kitten’s tail may indicate diarrhoea which may also indicate poor health. The ears should be clean and free of wax and and you should check out for signs of ear mites by clicking on this link. The body should be lean, soft and smooth but not skinny. There should be no bald patches in the fur and neither should there be no any flea dirt. If there is flea dirt it will be around the base of the tail at the end of the spine, where the spine meets the taail. You might in fact flea coob the kitten around the shoulders and neck because that is where fleas will be. The skin should be free of scabs or scratches. Watch out for ringworm which is very hard to eliminate.
A final point is that if the kitten is being bought the person selling him/her should give a moneyback guarantee and the new owner five working days in which to have their new kitten checked out by a veterinarian. The agreement (in writing and signed) should allow the purchaser to return the kitten if the veterinarian confirms any diseases and pre-existing conditions such as leukaemia or feline infectious peritonitis. It is vital that you check for these illnesses particularly at this time during the coronavirus pandemic when there are scammers about preying on people who are more vulnerable because they are anxious about the pandemic and in need of an animal companion.
Here is a picture of Gebhardt which I believe is in the public domain. If I am wrong please tell me and I will remove it.