6 things to check when choosing a kitten

6 things to check when choosing a kitten

Bringing a kitten into your life is an exciting time, but how do you make sure that the kitten you choose is healthy and happy? We’ve teamed up with FirstVet, the 24-hour digital veterinary service, to share some top tips on how to choose a kitten.

1. Is the kitten’s mother healthy and friendly?

You can learn a lot about the health of a kitten by observing their mother. Does she look healthy? Is her coat clean and free of fleas? This is important because if she has fleas, it’s likely the kittens will have too. Is she happy to greet you or does she appear nervous? A friendly cat is likely to raise kittens that are friendly and confident too.

2. Where has the kitten been bred and raised?

Choose a kitten that has been bred in an environment similar to your own home. For example, if you have children, look for a kitten that has been bred in a family home. That way, they will already be used to the hustle and bustle of a busy household.

3. Do the kittens look healthy?

The signs of a healthy kitten are:

  • Clean ears and no signs of dirt
  • Clean and bright eyes, no discharge
  • Clean nose, no discharge
  • Coat is clean and free from fleas, mites and signs of soreness
  • Clean bottom, no sign of red or soreness, which can indicate diarrhoea and a unhealthy kitten
  • Alert and lively, not lethargic
  • A good weight, ribs can be felt but not visible, a slight waist can be seen when viewed from above

4. Does the kitten appear happy and confident?

Choose a kitten from a litter that:

  • Is the kitten happy to approach you and be approached by you? They may be a little nervous at first because you will be unfamiliar to them, but should soon be happy to interact with you.
  • Doesn’t hiss, or growl, or spit when approached
  • Is happy and relaxed when being handled and stroked
  • Appears playful and is interacting with the other kittens

5. Has the kitten been treated for worms and fleas?

Roundworm is common in kittens which they can pick up from their mother’s milk. For this reason, it’s important that the mother is wormed regularly and, ideally, the kittens should have been wormed too. Check with the breeder if the kittens have been wormed and with what treatment. Then continue to worm your kitten with the same brand, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Your kitten will also need to be regularly treated for fleas. This should have been started by the breeder. Find out what brand of flea treatment the breeder has used and then continue according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you are not sure about what brand of worm or flea treatment to use, FirstVet can advise. Read more about treating your kitten for worms and fleas.

6. Is the kitten eating solid food?

By 8 weeks, when kittens are ready to leave for their new homes, they should be fully weaned. This means they are eating solid food and are no longer dependent on their mother’s milk. As well as checking that the kittens have been weaned, you should ask the breeder what the kittens have been fed so that you can continue to feed them the same. Changes to a kitten’s diet should be done gradually to avoid tummy upsets. Read more about feeding your kitten.

Keeping your kitten in top tip health

Once your new kitten is home with you, as well as regularly worming and treating them for fleas, they will also need to be vaccinated to protect them from diseases. Read more about vaccinating your cat.

Your kitten will also need to be neutered when they are about four months old. This is to protect female cats from pregnancy and male cats from diseases like FIV, which they can catch through fighting with other males. Read more about neutering.

Got a question about your kitten’s health?

Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of the FirstVet vets.
If you believe a pet may have been subject to poor breeding practices, please do not “save” the animal by rehoming it. Instead, walk away and report the seller to us immediately. Please refer to the full checklist for the pet you are looking for here.

Newsletter icon
Get free tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.


Pets for StudWanted Pets

Accessories & services


Knowledge Hub


Support & Safety Portal
All Pets for Sale