Adopting a Kitten

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

16 September 2016

For every kitten that’s snuggled up on the sofa with its owner there’s one who is desperately seeking a new human to love. Kittens and cats are becoming increasingly common in shelters and animal rescue centres, so before you head to the nearest reputable breeder why not head to your nearest shelter first?

The majority of cats, particularly kittens, in shelters are medically and behaviourally sound. It may surprise you that most kittens up for adoption have not been neglected and are perfectly healthy and sociable, they just need a new home!

Advantages of Adopting a Kitten

Finding your Fuzzy Friend

  • Like humans, cats have their own personalities and while you may have your heart set on a particular cat breed, the temperament of an individual kitten should take precedence.
  • It can be hard to get a feel for a kitten's real temperament when they are in a cage so ask if you can take them out and into a quiet corner to get to know them better.
  • The shelter should be able to provide you with a summary of the kitten’s personality and temperament which will help you determine whether it will fit in with your lifestyle.
  • It’s imperative that everyone in the household, including children and other pets, meets the kitten before you decide to adopt them.
  • Regardless of whether you adopt or buy a kitten you need to consider whether you have the time, energy and commitment that this little fuzzball needs.

The Wait Period

  • The majority of shelters have a wait period in place to protect kittens and owners from making impulsive decisions which result in the return of a kitten.
  • The wait period allows you to iron out any concerns you may have about adopting a kitten.
  • During the wait period your chosen kitten will be placed on hold so they wont be adopted while you make your decision.


  • Some shelters offer a trial which gives you the opportunity to take your chosen kitten home.
  • The standard length of time for a trial is two weeks but can vary depending on the shelter.
  • If for whatever reason things don’t work out with your new kitten you can return them.

Don’t despair if you can’t find the kitten for you on your first visit, it’s worth making a couple of trips to the shelter to make sure you don’t miss out on the kitten of your dreams. Sometimes you just fall in love and end up with a completely different kitten to the one you thought you would!  

If adoption isn’t for you look into buying a kitten instead. The RSPCA advise against adopting or buying a kitten over the internet, newspaper advertisements or from a pet shop unless you are able to visit the breeding facility to see the conditions for yourself.

Once you’ve adopted your kitten you’ll need to know the best way to care for it. Have a look at our guide here.


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