When you walk in to the cat adoption area at Wayside Waifs it’s extremely hard to not make a bee-line straight towards the pile of kittens. Their sweet little pink noses, inquisitive eyes, and their need to play with that loose piece of string on your shirt is just too much to ignore. But while you’re playing with your cuddly kitten, there’s an adult cat watching you and thinking “well, I could do that too and not look so…juvenile”. Adult cats are just as much fun; I can attest to this!
I have a cat named Henry Fritzgerald. He is the love of my life, and he’s almost 2 years old. I also have a foster kitten named Rugby Scott who is a ball of energy and 2 months old. The differences between them are completely obvious and I hope by sharing their differences, I’ll be able to help you choose the right age for your household.
Henry is a lover. He likes to be in your lap, but is fine with purring at you from a distance. He spends most of his days on my bed enjoying the streams of sunlight coming through the window, and playing with my hair ties or bobby pins. In other words, he is independent. Rugby is a spitfire. He zooms around the room like a bat out of…well, you know. He will play with whatever he can find (shoelaces, electrical cords, pens, etc) and enjoys tormenting plastic bags. He’s also a lovebug; he will snuggle with me, close his eyes and enjoy the attention for about 10 minutes. Once he’s reached his quota of lovin’ he’s quick to jump out of my hands and in to mischief. So, Rugby is more of a dependent type, since I have to watch him every few seconds.
Now, obviously, every personality is different. My cats do not by any means complete all feline personalities. However, they are very different. And one of the reasons they are very different is because of the age difference. Henry, although playful, is mostly very lazy. He likes to lounge and enjoys attention. Rugby, although he can be sweet and calm, he is mostly an energetic active feline who enjoys playing more than he enjoys relaxing. Henry is perfect for my house (I’m gone most of the day and am not very active), whereas Rugby would probably be extremely bored at my house if he were to stick around since he needs too much activity and play time.
Instant connection and interest is the main drive of any adoption. Your eyes meet, your hands/paws touch and the chemistry is there; you know when you’ve found your cat. I know someone who used to say “Be careful who you hang out with, because you can’t help who you fall in love with”. The same is true with animals. You can’t help but fall in love with that sweet little kitten face, but will it be the right fit? Do you have the time and energy to spend on the socializing and well being of this feline’s life? If the answer is no, as hard as it is to put that kitten down, take a chance; check out the other kennels that have just as sweet of a face, and just as funny a personality. But don’t think that if you get an older cat that you don’t have any work to do. Henry has literally smacked my face before when I was not paying enough attention to him. Older cats are mostly self-sufficient though. They’re already comfortable in their personalities and they certainly don’t need your help in trying to change them (or want your help, for that matter).
Every cat is different. I know some very active older cats (one who plays fetch) and I know some very calm kittens (one who only wakes up for meals and treats). But when you choose your companion, you really don’t know what their personality is. Think it through. There is no right answer- it’s not as simple as “Get a kitten” or “Get an adult cat”. It’s all based on what kind of relationship you want and you can provide.
So which kind of cat person are you; a Henry or a Rugby?
Written by Alyssa Willet
Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs