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Question for breeders, and I guess any other opinions

John Popp

Site Supporter
How old is a kitten before they begin to expose their personality? I'm sure there's a range, but just that first gut feel of the guy who's going to live his life with his tail on fire.

Just trying to assess if my criteria is set to high on a kitten, big shoes to fill around here, and I can't seem to get my mind made up before the prospects get sold out from under me. Certainly not fair of me to ask a breeder to hold onto all of their kittens for me to find Mr Right, while at the same time there must be a pretty good window where I should be able to make a personality first decision.

Any help is appreciated, as I'm feeling a little dejected as I missed out on a kitten I was probably ready to pull the trigger on next week. I have a deposit in, and have for a while, just need to figure out what reasonable expectations are so I know where to point fingers, be it at myself or the breeder.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
I'm really curious to hear what the breeders will advise. Although, behavioral traits may be accurately identified, there is no way to predict how changes to the environment (from the breeder's home to the owner's and changes to the owner's home over time) and maturity will affect personality.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
Absolutely Deborah.

In our case, I believe if a kitten acts like a monkey we provide an ideal environment to continue acting like a monkey the rest of their years. At the same time, I'm unsure if a breeder even spends that much time looking at youthful personality when the buying populace wants to look at spots and how big an SVs ears are. Not casting stones, just the reality is that most kittens are selected by what they look like in a picture, the price tag attached and there isn't ever much mention of personality.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
I really believe that even if the buyer isn't interested in anything beyond the spots, good breeders will glean enough information from the buyer to select a personality the breeder believes will be a good fit for the home. The 3 breeders I purchased from knew all of their cats intimately. Knew the history of the pairings and the personalities produced in the kittens and were spot on predicting the behavioral traits of the kittens I purchased.

I was greatly concerned about personality when I got my first SV because I had an ill and grumpy old DSH to consider. While I knew that the energy level of the SV would overwhelm her, I needed some assurance that the kitten would not be dominant since the DSH was a complete dominatrix. I wasn't concerned about the personality of the 2nd SV because the first was mellow so we had a niche for a spitfire. And when it turned out that I got more than I bargained for with the 2nd -- spitfire, tail on fire, 12 alarm blaze -- I wanted some assurance that the 3rd would be a non dominant personality.

Anyone who does not contemplate behavioral traits when adding a companion animal to the home is asking for trouble IMHO.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
I totally agree again Deborah!

Knowing our other cats and what goes on here, or at least some of it, an even partially shy or timid kitten would just be run over. I knew that going in when we picked up Chongo who still gets the wood laid on him nearly daily by our big boy. If either Chongo or Kebu smelled an ounce of timidness, it would just be game on and un a very unhappy new member of our household. Even the snow princess Pixie isn't ever going to show her belly and let someone run over her. So personality is definitely key and a kitten that's anything less than assertive is going to have a tough time.
 

Trish Allearz

Moderator
Ah- tricky question.

I think for the more outgoing kittens- you can tell their personalities from probably 8-10 weeks (that may seem late, but this is JMHO). I think however that it's trickier to foretell the shy babies' personalities as they grow- because a lot of them (again IMHO) can and do grow out of it between 12-16 weeks.

As far as breeders caring about personality- hell yeah, we do! I had quite a few people want Stimpy- Stimpy was a shy young man. I told them- he would not fit in their households. I told them who would fit and they listened.

And CottonCandy- she can only go to a home that can handle a rough and tumble CRAZY girl!
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
Thanks Trish! That is definitely very helpful.

I keep getting closed out on kittens with my waffling and trying to get a good feel for them. It's as if I can see the confidence in their eyes, but not until they are 8+ weeks old. Then of course there are other interested clients and many who also have a deposit on a kitten. Not being able to commit to a kitten earlier is seemingly causing me a lot of grief and I'm continually on the cusp of finalizing a kitten and then they're gone.

As we're talking about flesh and bone and a giant leap beyond, feline psyche, opinions are really all that matters. I'm thinking if I change my tact and just avoid a timid kitten I might be better served. The environment in our home is just, shall we say competitive and no way I want to place a timid cat into the mix. We just really don't want to place a kitten in a bad situation and as a result think we are driving the breeder nuts.

Anyway, thanks again Trish, some very helpful comments and hopefully it helps us sort out operation Chongo Buddy.
 
M

macmanmatty

Guest
I can tell some things about a kittens personality from 3 weeks on. But once they start moving and are about 5 weeks old their personalities really start to show. I have had very very few shy kittens all most all of mine are very outgoing, some are crazy wild (not in a bad way though just full of energy and want to play all the time) some are more mellow and some are so laid back they just go limp when you hold them.
I can usually tell most of this by 5-6 weeks and by 8-10 weeks I know what type their personality is going to be. I raise all my kittens underfoot in my home and play with them and handle them at least 5 times daily (decided that was best although they do live in the nursery part of the enclosure for the first 2 weeks). They usually all are very outgoing and total love bugs. As long as they receive proper love, care, and attention in their new homes and placed in a home that is a good fit for their personality I find that their personality doesn't change all that much once they are there.
 

Trish Allearz

Moderator
Thanks Trish! That is definitely very helpful.

I keep getting closed out on kittens with my waffling and trying to get a good feel for them. It's as if I can see the confidence in their eyes, but not until they are 8+ weeks old. Then of course there are other interested clients and many who also have a deposit on a kitten. Not being able to commit to a kitten earlier is seemingly causing me a lot of grief and I'm continually on the cusp of finalizing a kitten and then they're gone.

As we're talking about flesh and bone and a giant leap beyond, feline psyche, opinions are really all that matters. I'm thinking if I change my tact and just avoid a timid kitten I might be better served. The environment in our home is just, shall we say competitive and no way I want to place a timid cat into the mix. We just really don't want to place a kitten in a bad situation and as a result think we are driving the breeder nuts.

Anyway, thanks again Trish, some very helpful comments and hopefully it helps us sort out operation Chongo Buddy.

Well- initially, people do tend to buy SVs moreso on looks then on personality and yes, that does make things trickier for a pet buyer who wants a certain type of kitten. Definitely! I've seen it multiple times myself here.

Most homes that inquire are good for the basic gamut of personalities- a little shy, outgoing, crazy outgoing, etc. But there are some homes where certain personalities are a must- (usually SUPER OUTGOING). Those homes may have a harder time finding their perfect baby (in their eyes) because of the fact that if you want a breeder to give a true read on babies, they are usually a bit older. During that time frame as the kittens grow and personalities really start to pop- in my house- the BST babies find a home asap. While I could give a decent read on say-Charlie's personality because Tara did not want a fraidy cat- I couldn't give a 110% read on his personality as he grew. I could give a read on the girls'- they were brattier already. I couldn't have said that CottonCandy would be outgoing and social AND super bratty at that point in time though!

So patience, grasshopper- your right baby is there. He'll come around soon- I know it!
 
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