You want to adopt a kitten and probably can’t wait to go and pick it up. When meeting your kitten for the first time, it is important to pay attention to a number of things. Pay attention to the current home of the kitten. This checklist will help you set your priorities.
You’ve found a litter, at a private home or a breeder, and have an appointment to take a first look. Unfortunately, malicious breeders exist. These are mostly active online. That is why it is important to inspect the kitten’s current home. Important things to pay attention to include:
• The mother
It is very important that the mother is present and that you get the opportunity to meet her. Kittens learn a lot from their mother which is why they cannot be legally taken away from her until the age of seven weeks, although nine or thirteen weeks is even better. Make sure the mother and the rest of the litter look healthy. Pay attention to the mother’s behaviour. It is important that she is calm and doesn’t respond to visitors with aggression or fear. If the mother has been properly socialised, the kittens are likely to follow suit, at least in part.
• Home situation
Pay close attention to the environment. How many litters are there? If you find multiple litters, you may be dealing with a commercial breeder who doesn’t sufficiently care for and tend to the kittens and neglects the mother.
• Behaviour of the kitten
You can learn a lot by observing the kitten’s behaviour. A fairly socialised kitten is not scared or shy, but rather curious and playful. Take note of the kittens’ response to ambient noise. They should not be affected by it too much.
Ask the breeder for proof of vaccination and any paperwork with regards to the parents including their medical history. Ask whether the cats suffer from any diseases such as feline leukaemia and feline aids, and whether the parents have been tested. In the case of a pedigree kitten, always make sure you get the right paperwork and pedigree certification.
On the following website you will find an elaborate checklist for you to consult whenever inspecting a litter. A reliable breeder should have all these things taken care of. In addition, a reliable breeder will give you time to choose and ask questions, and they will ask questions of their own to make sure they find a good home for their kitten.