Building a harmonious relationship between humans and cats doesn’t always happen seamlessly. There are instances where kittens adorably use the litter box at first, only to later develop a preference for houseplants as their personal potty. Some kittens may seem gentle with their claws during playtime, but transform into enthusiastic hand-scratchers and couch-shredders. While selecting a kitten may not be an exact science, there are methods to make educated guesses about their future behaviors and personalities.
Humans don’t demand much from their feline companions. A comforting purr, a gentle rub, and some serene moments spent on the lap—these are the qualities that contribute to an ideal pet-cat relationship, alongside appropriate litter box manners.
When embarking on the journey of choosing a kitten, one crucial aspect to consider is their response to handling. Observing how a kitten reacts to being touched and held provides valuable insights into their temperament and future behavior patterns.
Allow the kitten to initiate contact. When evaluating a litter of kittens, maintain some distance initially. Observe which kittens approach you first. These proactive and sociable kittens are likely to grow up as adventurous and eager for human interaction, characteristics that will become more pronounced over time.
Pay attention to their eyes. Kittens who have had limited exposure to humans or have been raised without much human contact may develop wild or feral tendencies. You can discern the difference by simply observing their eyes. Feral cats tend to squint or narrow their eyes when encountering people. In contrast, kittens should display wide-open eyes, reflecting curiosity and engagement.
Choose an adventurous spirit. Kittens are naturally curious and spend a significant amount of time exploring their surroundings. Observe the kittens that engage in pouncing, playing, and fearlessly venturing into new territories. These bold and exploratory kittens are more likely to grow up as well-adjusted and enjoyable companions.
Conduct the Ping-Pong test. To assess a kitten’s enthusiasm and eagerness, bring a Ping-Pong ball to the shelter. Roll the ball across their line of sight and observe their reaction. Most kittens will be drawn to the ball and exhibit excitement. If a kitten ignores the ball or shows suspicion towards it, they may not be the best choice for a pet in the long run.
Perform the neck test. Kittens that display aggression or hostility towards their mother or motherly figures are likely to exhibit the same behavior towards others. You can assess their temperament by gently picking them up by the scruff of their neck, mimicking how their mother would handle them. Most kittens will initially squirm but eventually settle down. However, kittens that vigorously resist may grow up to display aggression.
Elevate their legs off the ground. Try this temperament test: Support the kitten’s belly near the hips and lift their front half off the ground, allowing their legs to dangle. Observe their reaction for about 30 seconds. A well-adjusted kitten will typically remain relatively calm and contemplative. However, a more temperamental kitten may exhibit aggressive behavior, indicating that such a personality trait is unlikely to disappear over time.
Observe their play behavior. Like packs of children, litters of kittens have various dynamics, including bullies, more timid individuals, and natural leaders. By observing their interactions during play, you can gain valuable insights into their personalities and social skills.
The best temperament test! Read on..
Meet Mom. The single best temperament test for any pet is the temperament of the mother. There is a genetic connection between a mother and her kittens, and the mother’s behavior tells a lot about how kittens may behave as adults. In the 7 or 8 weeks that most kittens live with their mothers, they learn a good portion of what they’re going to learn over their entire lives. Mother cats who are fearful will raise fearful kittens—and the kittens will probably stay that way throughout their lives.