When I was growing up, my family and I adopted numerous neighborhood strays into our home; sometimes, we’d visit the shelter to adopt a furry family member. A cat we adopted actually gave birth to kittens, one of whom we kept along with his mother! Throughout life, I’ve bonded with cats of all ages and never noticed a difference between my relationships with the cats I’ve adopted as adults and the cats I’ve known since they were kittens.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I first heard the rumor that the only way to fully bond with a cat is to adopt one as a kitten, which has no basis in fact. Are my bonds with some of my cats closer than others? Sure, but that has nothing to do with the age of the cat when I adopted him. Rather, it usually results from whether the cat was socialized as a kitten, how well our personalities match and the events that unfold around us: whether the cat has a chronic illness that needs to be nursed, or if he’s the furry shoulder I cry on after a breakup.