In my local area there are hundreds of kittens adopted out every year from the RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). These are the ones that have either been abandoned by owners or who are picked up in the streets. Many cats are found roaming around and some are naturally enough pregnant. Kittens are, therefore, born in the cages of the society and they too are up for adoption.
These kittens are taken in by people searching for a little friend for their children. Some of those are very young and many are little more than babies. So what makes people think that a kitten is going to be a good companion in their home?
To begin with little kids make a lot of noise. Cats are descended from jungle animals where noise means danger. A screaming child is terrifying to them and when they are first taken into such a home it presents the little kitten with a threat with which it knows not how to deal. That means that this environment is totally unsuitable.
The result of the trauma a kitten feels under those circumstances is its needs to flee. That will happen through an open door or when the kitten is allowed outside. Many of them will then be either squashed by a car on the road or take off to become feral and the cycle begins again.
As an ex-breeder of kittens these things were obvious when people turned up wanting to adopt one of my babies. The horrible stories they related of previous attempts to find a lovely friend for their home. Many told of the collar with bells they applied to the neck and others how they have run over it in the driveway.
Holding a tiny new-born as the mother dealt with delivering the remainder of her litter was extremely precious. It impacts on the heart with a new reality. These little creatures are to be loved and protected the same as a human baby. While they quickly learn about life and are soon able to fend for themselves they are still learning from mum until at least 12 weeks.
Where kittens are given away before this time the little one is vulnerable. They can’t deal with noise and trauma that people subsequently put them through. Many told me of cats they own that won’t come near them. When I explain how carefully mine are reared and prepared for their new home it makes sense and usually brought a lot of joy rather than pain and disappointment to their new family.