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How to Choose the Right Kitten from a Litter: 8 Tips and Tricks

four kittens in a cage pet store
Image Credit: Ashley Swanson, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

You’ve decided to add a new furry feline to your family and you’re scoping out ideal candidates. But when you go to see the litter, they’re all so darn cute! How are you supposed to pick just one?

Or maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps none of them seemed to be quite the right fit and you’re wondering how you can choose the kitten that will become your best friend.

Either way, the following eight tips, and tricks are sure to help you pick the best kitten from a litter, ensuring that you’ll be more than happy with your pick when you get back home.


8 Tips for How to Find the Right Kitten

1. Which Kitten Wants You?

a kitten in a cage
Image Credit: Naratiwat Pochoom, Shutterstock

One of the easiest and most reliable ways of picking a kitten from a litter is letting the kitten pick you instead. Just think about it. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the pet that most wanted to with you anyway?

It’s pretty easy to pick a kitten like this too, or at least use this method to determine which kitties are in the running. When you’re with the litter, just extend your hand toward them and see how the different kitties react. You’re looking for the kitties that see you and become interested. The kitties that seem fearful of you aren’t the best choices. You’re not looking for a timid, scared kitten. You’re looking for the kitten that sees you and comes towards you, allowing you to pick it up.

2. Confident Kitties are Best

This really goes hand in hand with the first tip. You want a kitten that’s confident, curious, and playful. A scared, shy kitten has a higher likelihood of becoming a similarly scared and shy adult. If you want a cat that’s going to interact with you and be a part of your daily life, then you’d do better to start with a confident kitten that shows interest in the world, rather than fear.

3. Avoid Aggression

aggressive cat in a cage
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

The first two tips dealt with traits you’re looking for, but let’s talk about something you don’t want to see in your future kitty; aggression. Aggressive cats are likely to remain aggressive as they age. If you have other pets in the same house or decide to add them later on, this could become a problem. An aggressive kitty might grow into an aggressive cat that doesn’t play well with others.

You might not always be able to spot aggression in the limited time you get to spend with the litter. But if you get to observe them around feeding time, you might have a better chance of seeing that aggression come forth.

4. Look for Bright Eyes

You can tell a lot by looking directly into a person’s eyes and your pets are no different. Take a good look into your kitty’s eyes and you could learn quite a bit about them. You’re looking for bright, vibrant eyes that are fully open and alert. You don’t want to see any discharge. If the cat has a problem following your hand with their eyes or their eyes aren’t fully open and alert, it could be the sign of an underlying health issue.

5. How’s Their Health?

close-up of nose and mouth of a cat
Image Credit: Photographerivanova, Shutterstock

Speaking of health, there are several signs you should be looking for to gauge a kitty’s health. Naturally, you want to pick the healthiest kitty of the litter, so it pays to look for every sign you can.

Check their nose to see that it’s clean but not dry and has no sign of discharge or blood.

Thoroughly inspect their mouth, looking for healthy, pink gums and white, well-organized teeth.

Check their backside for signs of sores and matted fur. Also check their bodies for signs of bloating, lumps, bumps, or scabs.

All of these can indicate a kitten’s overall health. If you see signs that a kitten’s health may be compromised, then you’ll want to skip that kitten and look for a healthier candidate instead.

6. See How it Reacts When You Hold it

A kitten’s reaction when you approach is one thing, but you’ll also want to see how they react to being held. Some kittens might be touch-averse, and you’ll want to know this before taking one home. This is even more true if you’re looking for a cuddly kitten, as many kittens won’t enjoy being touched as much as you may want to touch them. This is important to know before committing to any particular kitten.

7. Don’t Force a Connection

kittens in a cage of a shelter
Image Credit: Okssi, Shuttestock

You’d never try to force a friendship with someone you didn’t get along with. Well, forcing a kitten that doesn’t seem to favor you into being your pet is a similar situation. It’s not going to bode well for anyone. You’ll do better off with a kitten that seems naturally predisposed to you. So, don’t try to force a connection with any kitten. If it doesn’t feel right from the start, then it’s probably not.

8. Patience Finds the Perfect Fit

It can be difficult to walk away from a litter of adorable kittens. But if you don’t find the perfect fit, sometimes, it’s the best choice. Just walk away and wait for another day. Sure, this is easier said than done, but you and your future kitten will benefit greatly from a little discipline here. If none of the kittens in a certain litter feel like the right fit, then wait until you find the kitten that does. There are plenty of candidates out there, so exercise a little patience and you’ll find your perfect pet soon.

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If you’re looking for the perfect kitten out of a litter, then following these tips will ensure you pick a winner every time. You’re looking for a bright, vibrant kitten with a confident but not aggressive personality and all the signs of good health. The right kitten will be as interested in you as you are in it, so don’t be afraid to wait for the perfect fit.

Featured Image Credit: Ashley Swanson, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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