DP has agreed to us getting a kitten <does happy dance> What do I need to know?

(50 Posts)
Somethingtothinkabout Sat 27-Jul-13 22:33:03

I had a wonderful cat growing up, she died a few years ago. DP (who is a dog-man but took a little shine to my late cat) has come round to the idea of us having our own little cat. smile

We are going to visit one tomorrow that was advertised in the paper, it's a litter of 4 little moggies, I would like a little Tabby girl. She won't be ready for another few weeks yet, but what do I need to ask tomorrow?

It's been wormed and flea'd already (she's 1 month old). It will most likely be an indoor cat, so what all will she need jabs-wise from the vet? Does Pet Insurance cover this and getting them neutered and microchipped? If not, how much is this? I've looked at the M&S pet insurance (it looks quite comprehensive) and was going to get the Premier cover, but if she is an indoor cat, would the Standard cover be more than adequate?

DP works shifts so she won't be on her own that often, and I know I will be rushing home at lunchtimes to see her and kiss her little head!

I'm so excited I could literally burst!

MumnGran Thu 01-Aug-13 07:06:27

You sound soooo excited OP. smile
Lots of good advice here, and I echo cozie in saying that you could go and spend a fortune in the pet shop, but the kitten will be totally happy and occupied by simple household things (changing the bed with a kitten helping is a whole new experience!). Just a paper bag put on the floor will become everything from a pretend hidey hole for an unknown 'something' which needs to be pounced on, to a sleeping spot for a tired baby.

There are a couple of other useful things to know ..........
RE: inappropriate pee'ing: its why I mentioned right at the start, that you should check with the owner that the kittens are using a litter tray. Its not difficult to train a kitten, but there are inevitable 'accidents' in the process.

Kittens are unable to retract their claws at will, when young. Its a developmental protection (like the startle reflex in a baby) which allows the claws to hook in and stop them falling. When you see small kittens mountaineering and sliding on the furniture, you realise why they need it. Do make sure the children know that this can happen, and that the baby is not deliberately scratching.
Speaking of children, do ensure that the kitten is allowed to sleep undisturbed. Just like babies, they need a lot of naps to grow healthy and strong and will benefit greatly from not being woken until they wake naturally.

Not sure where your Dads theory comes from, but it's my experience that a brother/sister combination is probably the best you can have......I know lots where the sister just carries on the mothering job! its sweet. Just ensure they are neutered at 5-6 months to avoid a pregnancy (maybe thats what your Dads theory originates from) With Siamese, 2 boys can be the recipe for disaster as they can become very territorial and dominant when they mature, and lots come into rescue because they are fighting so badly. I personally never homed two siamese brothers together, but have seen many such pairs rehomed. That said.....moggies are not normally quite so difficult.

Can't wait to see the pix. Have you chosen names yet?!

MumnGran Thu 01-Aug-13 07:16:51

cozie may or may not agree with me here, but there are two toys that are really worth the money ...both cost pence not pounds
pipecleaner spiders ( not the ones with the large 'bodies', just the really simple leggy things on the link ) and also little furry mice (the big ones aren't half as much fun!

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 08:15:14

I probably wouldn't get the furry mice but thinking about it, all my boys have really loved pipecleaner toys. I always have a packet of pipecleaners around because they're so useful for assorted cleaning and fiddling jobs so what we do is take a pipe cleaner or two (or three) and shape eg into that spider shape or something like a loose coil which they think is perfect for biffing.

I think, if recommending, that I'd do this rather than buy a made toy because they do like to chew the pipecleaners briefly and after a day or so, you notice that the pipe cleaners are quite disreputable/squashed and getting rusty. Having a packet to hand means that you can quickly dump the old toy and shape them a new one - and those really are pennies.

Maybe only for older kits/cats and under supervision at first though because they do have metal cores and I don't like to think of the problems those could cause if played with inappropriately.

Many of the toys they like are ones they'll find such as balls of scrunched up paper or loo roll inserts. (You'd be surprised what a kitten decides is an evil opponent to vanquish.) As with kids, though, they're not always sensible so you have to keep a general eye on them when they're young. My boys have tended to be obsessed with rubber bands and I don't like them playing with those in case they're ingested so they're dumped if I find any - eg from the postman. And I had some silk flowers (substitutes for the real thing which were toxic to cats) which had to go because the leaves were being chewed and eaten. And.......and......

Oh the joys.

VegPatchLurker Thu 01-Aug-13 08:29:19

Yes, you should know that unless you are going to keep them inside they will shit in your neighbours gardens and make you unpopular and seem inconsiderate, and will also probably kill lots of the neighbourhood birds.

Sorry to be a downer on this clearly cat loving thread but that is also the reality, along with the fluffy ears etc.

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 09:07:17

I think you'll find, VegPatchLurker, that many of the people on this board are fully aware of the perils for garden birds from their cats (if they go outside) and go to great pains to make their gardens as bird friendly as possible - following the RSPB guidance where they can.

For myself, I've also found that most of my own boys who go outside prefer to do their duty inside the house including, of note, The Lodger - who came to us as a street cat (having been abandoned there by previous owners as a kitten) and decided after experimenting that he much preferred to come in to use an inside litter tray. (And then go outside again to strut his stuff!) Much more lethal to mice inside the house than any birds outside as well.

smile

chemenger Thu 01-Aug-13 11:12:25

My kittens (now a year old) love the Willows catnip scratch box from Pets at home. It is noisy though - has a jingly ball in it. Other kittens in the past likes a ping-pong ball in the bath (dry) for hours of noisy fun. Present kittens are unaccountably frightened of the bath and never ran up the curtains.

Somethingtothinkabout Thu 01-Aug-13 13:37:59

I must say, I do love the idea of putting her in the bath to play with a ball!

I've ordered 100 pipecleaners this morning on eBay and I'm going to spend the next 3 week's making little spiders/springs etc for her. Need to do something to pass the time! I'm getting an insight into what it's like to be pregnant, I don't know how people wait 9months grin

Veg, she won't be pooing outside, she'll stay inside I think, we have a shared back courtyard, but there is a path that leads out to a road so I'd worry she'd go to far and get hit. Also, we're too central in the city so the only birds there are are the seagulls with their nest on the roof, the poor little thing wouldn't stand a chance against them. sad

No kids of my own yet but the little DNs have cats so have all learnt that pulling tails = getting scratched.

Somethingtothinkabout Sat 03-Aug-13 17:25:51

Hmmm. I text the current owner (young girl) to see how she is and she text back to say she's great, lapping and getting litter trained and she'll be ready to go a week earlier.

Her other cat has just had another litter of kittens hmm Should I take her early? Worried she wants rid because her house will be coming down with kittens rather than having the kittens needs at the heart of the decision. Obviously I'd love to have her earlier and I don't want her to be neglected either if they can't be bothered with them anymore.

What to do?

Somethingtothinkabout Sat 03-Aug-13 17:26:40

kittens' needs. Ooops.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 18:16:06

As long as Mum isn't ill, she should stay with here until at least 8-10 weeks. She may be lapping and 'getting' litter trained but she won't be ready for her new life if she comes younger than 8 weeks. (Mum does the 'finishing touches' to basic training among other things.) It's a difficult one for you - as you said, you don't want her to be neglected - but I would simply text the current owner back and say that you'll take her on the agree date because it's better for her to be with Mum as long as possible. See what sort of response that gets.

(For many years, I've never had a kitten under 13/14 weeks and even then they're so tiny - but just that bit more confident and ready to stride out, I think.)

Somethingtothinkabout Sat 03-Aug-13 18:34:24

I know, I'd rather she stayed there longer, I was even saying I'd pick her up the weekend after they initially said to give her 4 more days with Mum.

They say the Mum is fine, the kittens are all just really independent and "don't need their Mum anymore, they're doing everything for themselves". They didn't know the other cat was pregnant, just came down to 5 more kittens apparently hmm sad

All sounds so irresponsible. Poor wee things. I will text her back and see if she can stay until the agreed date. I hope they don't give her away to someone who'll take her earlier.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 18:44:59

Gawd - sounds as if they haven't a clue about their animals in general. (I wonder if they have plans for neutering your kitten's mum. I'd bet not although I'm prepared to be happily surprised.)

It only seems as if kittens are independent at that age. They're really not.

Somethingtothinkabout Sat 03-Aug-13 18:57:58

They said they do plan to get her neutered because this isn't the first litter she's had, surprisingly... So they are hoping to sell the kittens to raise money for it.

<cries>

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 18:59:07

Bad sweary word.

OrangeLily Sat 03-Aug-13 19:18:17

You might want to check that none of your close friends and family are allergic to cats too.

Somethingtothinkabout Tue 20-Aug-13 10:51:48

So the kitten has moved in and made herself at home! She's just lufferly smile

She's really sociable, not scared of us at all (although slightly more timid when she initially wakes from a nap) and sleeps on or next to us when we sit on the sofa. She's just gorgeous.

I weighed her and she's only 600grams which from reading sounds a bit light for 8 weeks old? The previous owners had her on kitten milk and dried food with water on it, and said she'd also been stealing her mum's food, but she only ate 15g of (soggy) dried food yesterday so I've mixed it in with some moist food today and I think she's eating a bit more. Not drinking her water though, should I also give her kitten milk? She's one of 6 so not sure if she should be this small?

She's also obsessed with pouncing on my eyeballs. I think she's just coming up to my face to be sweet and say hello then BAM! I've managed to get my eye shut every time so far luckily, but now have claw marks all over my eyelids sad grin

Somethingtothinkabout Tue 20-Aug-13 10:59:30

I'm not sure I fully trust the previous owners so that's why I'm questioning the weight and eating, so feel free to tell me to chill and stop being precious if I am... blush

cozietoesie Tue 20-Aug-13 11:07:26

It's perhaps a bit light but kittens can vary - is she a small breed?

The important thing is that she should actually be gaining and not standing still or losing weight. How does she look? Very skinny or properly proportioned? Oh - and has she been wormed etc? (If the previous owners didn't have your full trust.)

I'd try her on wet food if she's not eating the dry and keep an eye on her. Have you had her up to the vet yet for checking out?

As to the eyeballs? Beats me!

cozietoesie Tue 20-Aug-13 11:13:50

PS - and is she peeing and pooing OK?

Somethingtothinkabout Tue 20-Aug-13 11:14:03

I think she looks properly proportioned but with quite long legs. Owners said she'd already been wormed and fleaed, I'll take their word for it until I take her to the vet.

We registered her with a vet yesterday (actually, two, because the first one we went to I didn't like, looked very old, but I didn't want to be rude and walk out without registering her so I hope that doesn't cause problems!). Going to take her at the end of the week. Got pet insurance too, M&S.

She can go from hyper to sleep within 2-3minutes. Such a cutie.

Somethingtothinkabout Tue 20-Aug-13 11:15:57

Definitely pooing ok, haven't seen her pee really, but there are bits in the tray that look like she's peed I think. I just want her to drink a little bit more, although she's getting water from the watered dry food, I guess.

PrincessKitKat Tue 20-Aug-13 11:21:38

If she's playful, eating and using her litter tray I really shouldn't worry. She'll be fine.

Enjoy your new baby! Kittens are one of the true pleasures in life but they grow so fast! smile

cozietoesie Tue 20-Aug-13 11:25:36

Cats who eat wet food get much of their liquid from that but I think it's nice to see a good pee in the tray every so often. I 'd try her on the right kind of wet food (other posters will give you plenty of tips on that) and see how it goes for a few days. The vet will give you a view at the end of the week.

Not even going to comment on the apparent age of your original vet! (It would be appropriate though to phone up or drop them a letter and cancel the registration.)

MissDD1971 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:26:48

2 are great but bear in mind they won't always get on and sometimes prefer to be boss. I had boy and girl for years, they fought like mad and now boy is dad the girl is happy as Larry (Larrietta?!).

I'd only get 2 if they were same sex.

Somethingtothinkabout Tue 20-Aug-13 11:32:13

Thanks for your help everyone.

Cozie, it was the place that was a bit old, not the vet herself haha! It just looked a bit rundown, bin bags out on the front step and it was very warm and damp inside, and looked like it hadn't had a refurb since it opened in the 60s. I'll give them a call and let them know once I've taken her to the other vet and am sure it's better.

Thank you again smile

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