What is the best age to adopt a cat?

In this blog post we will answer the question, “what is the best age to adopt?” Here, we will go through topics such as the right age for adopting a cat, expert’s opinion on it, and what happens after you bring a cat home. 

What is the best age to adopt a cat? 

Is it time for you to expand your family with a feline companion?

At the Cat Adoption & Adoption Center this month, the emphasis is on finding permanent homes for kittens and cats.

Check to verify whether your cat’s age is appropriate for you before rushing to an adoption agency or animal shelter.

Determining the right age for cat adoption

There are several advantages to having a cat in your child’s life.

Children may learn responsibility, empathy, and respect for other animals by interacting with cats.

Parents should be prepared to educate their children and cats the boundaries of acceptable conduct and to ensure that their interactions are happy and safe.

When applying for a cat, some adoption organizations impose age restrictions for those living in the household.

When deciding on the best cat age for your household, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Kittens need a significant amount of time, effort, patience, and monitoring. If you have a young child at home, make sure you have the means to care for both the 2-legged and 4-legged babies.
  •  Kittens are delicate, therefore little children should always be supervised while picking him up, hugging him, and playing with him.
  • Kittens have strong claws and fangs, which they like using. They will not be hesitant to crawl up a child’s pant leg or sleeve, scratching themselves in the process. Play should be supervised to ensure that neither the cat nor the child are hurt.

The ideal cats for the family are those that are over a year old.

Kittens are a lot of fun, and seeing them grow up with your family is usually a lot of joy. 

Older cats, on the other hand, learn to household responsibilities more quickly, require less supervision, and may be paired with other cats at most adoption facilities.

 Your family will benefit from it.

Some costs apply to all ages, whether you pick an adult cat or a kitten! 

Food, routine veterinarian treatment, licensing required by local legislation, collars and identification tags, cat litter and cages, basic pet care equipment and supplies, toys, and transportation should all be included in your budget.

What do experts say?

During the first few weeks of life, many species, including cats, require the care and support of their mothers. 

Kittens can be adopted at most shelters and shelters as early as 8 weeks of age. 

Breeders frequently wait at least 12 weeks for their kittens to be reunited with their mothers, and many wait up to 14 weeks.

Because there are several advantages to living in close proximity to a furry family. One of the most significant is socializing. 

“Cats learn to play and interact correctly with other cats when kittens are with their moms and other litters,” says Dr. Bruce Kornreich, head of Cornell’s Center for Cat Health at Cornell University’s Veterinary School in Ithaca, New York.

To put it another way, cats learn to be cats in this manner. Mothers and littermates, for example, can assist kittens in learning the difference between a forceful and a gentle bite. 

Dr. Marcy L. Kosky, cat behavior and learning specialist and owner in Vancouver, Washington, explains that when a cat bites a kitten, it frequently cries or meows and flees. 

“OK, it hurts when you don’t bite that hard or do it with your claws,” she explained.

Kittens also learn from their moms how to conceal their wastes, seeking prey (if wild cats), and groom themselves.

During the first few weeks of life, a kitten gets the majority of its nutrients from its mother. 

Kittens are weaned entirely at 8 weeks, but they drink just breast milk for the first two weeks, which creates antibodies that protect them from illness, especially during the first 24 hours. 

“You can start eating canned and dry food at three to eight weeks,” he says. If you’re thinking of adopting a kitten or bringing one home from a keeper, you should also think about baby food.

While kittens can be fully weaned at the age of eight weeks, Dr. Kornreich believes that keeping them with their moms until the age of twelve weeks is beneficial. 

This is due to the fact that at around 9 weeks, kittens undergo a new period of socializing that lasts for up to 16 weeks. 

“At this time, the cat is eating solid food, but it is still learning how to play and connect with other cats and people properly. “They get a bit more adventurous as well,” he adds.

Kittens are included in all of these cat play and behavior courses. This instills confidence in the cat, which might lead to it becoming more stable and sociable in the future.

The Consequences of Bringing a Kitten Home Too Early

When you fall in love with a kitten under the age of eight weeks, it’s easy to feel compelled to take it home. 

According to Dr. Kornreich, a few weeks of patience will pay off in the long term, and the risk of taking it home too soon can impair the cat’s remainder of life.

“Adopting a cat before it has had time to socialize with other cats and humans might cause it to become hostile against other cats and people.”

“They aren’t safe, and they may be even scarier,” he explains.

According to Kosky, even kittens may exhibit bad cat behavior. She says, “If he doesn’t know about biting restraint, he can play too hard and whip a little quicker.” 

The mother cat’s signals can assist to control these habits. Get up and leave if your cat displays signs of hostility when playing with you. “It’s what their mother would have done,” Kosky explains. 

She does add, though, that having the kitten learn these skills directly from her mother would be a more straightforward and successful method.

When a Kitten’s Mother Has Passed Away, What Should You Do?

In a perfect world, all kittens would spend as much time as they required with their mother before settling into their permanent home. 

Kittens, including newborn newborns, are frequently orphaned or abandoned by their mothers while they are very young. 

But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a positive outcome for these children. They just require more assistance in their growth.

If you observe one or more kittens that appear to be missing their moms, Kosky advises calling the local animal shelter. 

Adoptive parents may be able to give birth to kittens or litters. “These foster homes are professionals,” Kosky argues. “It’s something I’ve done a lot of times.”

“Well, why couldn’t I have one of those kittens?” says the narrator. You may be pleasantly surprised. Sure, but only if you have the time and finances to devote to this adorable but helpless kitten. 

The first thing you’ll need, according to Dr. Kornreich, is a veterinarian who can assist you with the process. 

Kittens are extremely sensitive to sickness and infection, and poor feeding can cause cats to become critically unwell, if not fatally ill. 

So you’ll need someone who understands what they’re doing to guide you through even the most basic duties.

In addition, your veterinarian may advise you to take the following procedures to care for your kitten:

  • Keep a journal: 

According to Dr. Kornreich, you should keep track of when your cat feeds as well as other critical details like when she first opens her eyes (typically about two weeks of age) and how much weight she accumulates after her baby teeth appear. 

When speaking with your veterinarian, keeping a notebook may be beneficial.

  • Purchase a formula designed to replace cat milk:

Dr. Kornreich explains, “This formula substitutes the mother’s milk and offers adequate protein for little kittens to thrive.” 

Before weaning, you should bottle feed your kitten every 2 to 4 hours, depending on its age. For nutritional advice for your kitten, speak with your veterinarian.

  • Make sure the flow is correct:

Inquire with your veterinarian about a special bottle that will prevent your cat from eating too rapidly. 

“You don’t want [the formula] to flow too rapidly,” explains Dr. Kornreich, “because if too much liquid goes into a kitten’s mouth, it can be aspirated.” 

Milk in the lungs of a kitten might cause pneumonia and other issues.

  • Practice safe breastfeeding:

According to Dr. Kornreich, boil and sterilize bottles and nipples and leave the formula at room temperature for no more than an hour. 

You can also preheat the mixture (up to  about 100 degrees) before feeding the kittens. 

  • Help the kitten to pee: 

Dr. Kornreich explains that kittens don’t potty train themselves until they are about three weeks old. 

He tells them to pat the area between the anus and vulva or penis with a damp cotton swab or cloth to encourage them to go to the bathroom. Wipe gently  with a damp cloth once a week.

  • Keep your kitten warm at all times: 

At least for the first week of life, get a comfortable bed and keep the room temperature at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

At 2 and 3 weeks of age, kittens can cool down to roughly 79 degrees, and at 1 month of age, they can cool down to 75 degrees.

As your kitten matures, it may display aggressive or fearful tendencies. Kosky suggests looking for a kitten nursery near you if you have an older kitten like this. 

It may be available at some shelters or recommended by your veterinarian.

“Cat daycare lessons may be quite beneficial, particularly in teaching kittens how to mingle with other cats, as well as teaching the essentials,” explains Kosky.

You may potentially bring a second kitten to go along with the first, but only when you’re ready, says Koski.


We have some wonderful news to share. “When it comes to adopting cats, their tiny minds are still quite flexible in terms of their socialization experience, no matter how old they are,” Kosky explains. 

So, whether your kitten can spend as much time with her mother as she requires, or you need to pick it up early because she has lost her, the odds are still in your favor. 

You are more likely to have a nice and confident cat if you handle it carefully.


  1. https://www.thesprucepets.com/when-can-kittens-leave-mothers-555163#:~:text=The%20Ideal%20Age%20to%20Adopt,off%20the%20kitten%20will%20be
  2. https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-old-of-a-cat-should-i-adopt