How to Get Adopted by the Perfect Kitten in the Wild

3 Easy steps from an accomplished adoptee

Originally published in the haven: https://medium.com/the-haven/how-to-get-adopted-by-the-perfect-kitten-in-the-wild-9da903cba1a2

Phú, Ozzy and Bốn Máy found in a bush, under a car and wandering around District 4 by herself. looking for her adoptee. Credit by author.

Disclaimer — Although it is possible to be adopted by an adult cat in the wild it is very tricky. Depending on the age and background of said cat it may have already established habits specific to its needs, which might not feature the adoption of a human. I have had varying degrees of success with adult cats. One thought she loved me then decided she would like to try adopting a different human, another courted me for months but made the decision we should just be friends. Kittens are more likely to be on the hunt for a human, which is why I am focusing on them.


Listen, hard friends, especially at the most inconvenient and irritating times. Times such as the dead of night or just as the sun is beginning to rise are usually a good call.

Can you hear a miaowing?

Can you hear it? A continuous meowing?
It’s calling you — yes YOU!
Next — ask yourself this fundamentally important question:

Has there been more neighbourhood cat fighting activity than usual?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, please go ahead and progress to the plan, my dear friends it’s time. It’s YOUR time.


Operation Kitten Hunt — BEGIN!

Time to see if you are the chosen one.

Phú after a nice bath, credit by author.

1. Forward planning is crucial

I would suggest preparing fully for the situation that may unfold. Your window of opportunity could be very small, there may be more than one human competing for the attention of this feline.

Your preparation could be the difference between you coming home with your special friend and that weird guy down the road that wears his baseball cap the wrong way round, has a mullet, plays extreme Frisby and will almost certainly feed it nasty food like Whiskers, and we all know how cats feel about nasty food, don’t we? They love it… So we can’t let that happen.

Like the Brownies teach you — Be Prepared!

Tools for your mission:

  • A tin of tuna or other smelly food is a good bet, you might want a fork and something to put said tuna tin in.

Please note; I once tried to store an open tin of tuna in the kangaroo pocket of my rain poncho whilst hiding in a bush, out kitten hunting. The results of what followed, with my other cats, when I returned home and tried to remove the poncho were not ideal. I would advise against this particular method, I didn’t even return with a kitten, I wasn’t their human, I was in that bush in the pouring rain in my stinky tuna poncho for hours.

I digress – back to the tools required for your mission:

  • You will need a good pair of ears for hearing and eyes or appropriate assistance tools/aids. Would advise against a guide dog for this particular activity.
  • Some kind of jingle toy or feathers on a stick are often helpful
  • A disguise for fence scaling and under-car crawling is ideal, but not essential (depends on your reputation as a mad cat person and whether you want to elevate or hide it)

Now you must seek out the noise, important to note that they can smell you before you can see them, so they may know you are in the vicinity and might stop wailing so they take a good hard look at you and see if you are someone that looks appropriate to their needs.

You may have to wait some time until the meowing starts again. Patience in this situation is a prerequisite.


When we finally found Ozzy he was a real stinker, he didn’t mind his bath at all. Credit by author.

2. Locations where really good kittens hang out

Common places to find your adopter are not limited to but often include:

  • Bins
  • Other peoples gardens
  • Hedges
  • Under cars
  • On roofs
  • Up trees
  • Giant ornamental plant pots

They will have left their family as they are confident that their perfect human is out there, but will only come to you if they know you are the one, kittens are very clever you see.

Well, there is a caveat. If someone has stinky or better smelling kitten bait there is a small chance they could win out if you have a slightly sub-par kitten on the intellectual scale; this does happen occasionally.

Also if the kitten has been out looking for its perfect human for a long time and has so far been unsuccessful and is very hungry. Then they no longer care about the humans’ credentials, they just want food.

Maintain your position and quietly wait to see if they choose you.

Sometimes the Tuna will help, but not always, sometimes this courting must go on for days. You cannot rush this process.

You may also find there is more than one kitten, if this is the case then you are very lucky indeed. I salute you and your kitten attracting abilities. Good work there!


Bốn Máy after a good feed. Credit by author.

3. The grottier the kitten, the better

Do not be alarmed by the state of your adopter this is a further test of your suitability. The kitten is making sure you are a worthy adoptee.

If your kitten is a bit scrawny or stinky, has a bit of mange, a manky eye, or has been in a fight, this has been planned. They go to a lot of effort to make sure their adoptee is worthy, so it’s important for you to remain calm and collected and ignore any aesthetic imperfections.

If you don’t flinch, you take the stinky, mangey little furball into your arms with promises of a better life, then it will know you are the perfect adoptee, you have passed the test!

If you freak out about the state of it, you have shown your true colours are not worthy of adoption and before you can even say I am sorry it will have darted back to it’s hiding place awaiting a more appropriate suitor.
Shame on you!


Boop was not fond of his adoptees and kept coming to try to convince me to be his human. Credit by author.

Do your very best

Get out there the next time you hear that miaowing, and see if you are one of the chosen ones, it’s a great feeling, I have so far been successfully adopted 3.5 times.

0.5 is for the time Boop the kitten who had already adopted a family, later deciding he preferred me; was a little awkward when I had to keep returning him.

I think the problem with Boop was that he didn’t get to choose who he adopted, it was all organised on his behalf, very similar to an arranged marriage, with a dowry and paperwork, and stuff like that. I would strongly advise against this type of adoption as it may be that the kitten doesn’t get to choose who they adopt and may end up with an unsuitable adoptee.


No kittens in your neighbourhood?

No problem — check out your local animal adoption centre!

That’s right there are entire centres set up to help cats and kittens find adoptees. (Sometimes these places help other animals too!) How cool is that?

Unfortunately, there are often cases where their humans are just not right for them, so they go to these special centres where volunteers help them to find new people to adopt.

Afraid of adoption? Try being fostered first!

Yep, this is also possible. Being adopted for the first time can be very daunting, so a lot of places will also offer out fostering services, that way you can both make sure you get on ok before making it more permanent.

So there you have it.

There is nothing more to say but, Good luck!
I wish you all success in fulfilling your adoptee dreams, there are a lot of kittens out there looking for their special human!


A note on this story.
Saigon is hot all year round, this means it’s kitten season all year round. It’s an almost daily occurrence for my social media feeds to tell me of how a box or a carrier bag of kittens has been dumped somewhere. There are some amazing people out here in Vietnam (and indeed all over the world) who dedicate their lives to helping as many as they can, this piece is for them.

I would like to thank Phoenix Huber whose article inspired me to write this.

I would like to gently remind people that adopting or fostering an animal in need can be lifechanging for you and for the animal. By supporting a shelter you are enabling them to reach even more animals that need help.


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