Bonding with an Adult Cat vs a Kitten

Last Updated on April 4, 2020

When it comes to adopting a new feline friend, most people will opt to adopt a kitten over an adult because they feel they will be missing out with establishing a bond, personality growth, and training if they adopt an older cat. While there is a difference when it comes the bonding, more often than not, adopting an adult cat ends up being preferred and here’s why!

Adopting a Kitten

When you adopt a kitten, you are essentially adopting a “toddler cat”. These cats are very young, still learning, and still developing their own personality. They will learn alongside you and grow with you for better or for worse. Their personality will be directly and indirectly molded by your actions with them for the first year.

Bonding With a Kitten

Bonding with a kitten is not hard. Most kittens love attention, love cuddles, and love to eat. Unless you are adopting a feral cat or one who has come from abusive circumstances, chances are your kitten will want to be all up in your business as much as possible. This can change as they get older. Most kittens will take to one person more than others and while some grow out of this as they get older, others do not. This is something to consider if you are adopting a kitten as a family unit with more than one adult involved or children involved. Your actions and the actions of everyone in your household will play a role in the personality development of the kitten but much like humans, personality traits tend to be more biological which is why many people who adopt kittens don’t know what they are getting in terms of their overall personality.

Adopting An Adult Cat

If you are adopting an adult cat, you tend to know what you are in for. Some adult cats will be shy at first until they know they can trust you but once they do, their personality comes out. If you adopt from a no-kill shelter that has foster cat care parents involved, you will get even more knowledge on the personality type of the cat before you adopt. This has some major benefits for those seeking a more independent cat or a more affectionate cat.

Bonding With aN Adult Cat

While you will not play a role in the development of your adult cat’s personality, you will know what you are getting into for the most part. Cats tend not to change much in their personality after the age of 2. While kittens tend to bond with whoever is feeding them at the time, their personalities do change as they get older and the bonds they formed change as well. For adult cats, once a bond is made it is not likely to ever change. Adult cats are also more likely to be friendly to everyone in the household vs one person they grew up close to. And yes, you can train an adult cat to do things if you are into that.

Which is Best?

This depends on the person. I would say that if you want to guarantee you end up with an affectionate and social lap cat, adopting an adult is ideal. You will generally know what you are getting. If you want to bond as they grow into adulthood, then getting a kitten would be better. However, their personality will not be fully developed until around 18 months and you will not know what kind of cat they will be personality-wise. Cats will bond to humans at any age so long as they are well socialized. Even feral cats who have been given a second chance have bonded well with people however, this takes a lot of time and effort on the person’s behalf to make it happen. I do not recommend taking in a feral kitten or cat unless you have a lot of experience with cats.

Whether you are considering adopting a kitten or adopting an adult cat, deciding what will be best for you a few years in advance helps. Don’t adopt a kitten if you cannot commit up to 15 years (in some cases more!) to a feline companion. If you are not good with long term commitment, adopting a senior cat may be an option worth considering. They can be just as loving as a kitten or a younger adult. Some have lost their human companion due to old age and would enjoy someone else to love.

You can Do Both

Something I do not see recommended often enough is adopting an adult cat first and then introducing a kitten afterwords. This is only recommended if you have space and can afford it. If you find an adult cat that you can connect with who has the personality you like, introducing a kitten a few months after will allow the kitten to learn from the adult cat as their personality develops. You will be giving an adult cat a good loving home all the while enjoying a kitten companion for you both. Remember, adult cats are less likely to be adopted the older they get but are still fully capable of forming a life long bond with someone they trust.

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2 thoughts on “Bonding with an Adult Cat vs a Kitten”

  1. Some cats that you adopt at adulthood will be friendly, and some adopted as kittens wouldn’t be. Of course a cat that was raised by you since kittenhood is more likely to be more affectionate and social, but it also has to do with the cat’s personality.

    I have a cat that I adopted off the streets as a grown cat, and she doesn’t get off my lap for hours, and the one I raised from five weeks old isn’t a lapcat, and is much less friendly in comparison.

    • Thanks for your comment and I agree. I have found cats that have an affectionate personality but who have been homeless or neglected for some time to be some of the most affectionate and loving animals I have ever known.


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