I need a bit of advice from you cat experts!(70 Posts)
I've never had a cat and have a 15 month old dd. I've made the decision to get a cat. I have a few concerns though and was hoping you feline experts could help me out
Is it a terrible idea getting a cat with a toddler?
Is the cat likely to scratch/attack dd?
People say my house will smell and that the cat will do its business wherever it likes. Is this true?
Should I go for a kitten or an adult cat?
Rescue centre or private seller such as Gumtree?
Thanks so much!
I would get an adult cat from a reputable rescue who is used to children.
I've never had a cat that makes the house smell.
Cats are mostly pretty laid back as long as they're not cornered or hurt.
I think it's more likely your toddler will attack the cat! I'd probably go for an older cat who is used to families from a reputable rescue place. They will advise you as to the best temperament cats for your family. My two cats tolerate small people but walk off if they are annoyed rather than scratch or fight back. My house doesn't smell of cats
1) No, it's not
2) Not if you a) do your research and adopt a cat who is ok with kids, b) teach your toddler about proper gentle handling and c) make sure the cat has safe, quiet spaces to escape to (ideally up high) where the toddler can't follow it. The cat may scratch if your toddler pulls its tail, for example.
3) No! Most cats are fastidiously clean If a cat goes outside the litterbox first thing is call the vet as it might be a bladder infection
4) I'd say a young adult cat, personally. Maybe about a year old so still quite kittenish.
5) Rescue, rescue, ALWAYS rescue.
Good luck. And remember to show us pictures
I wouldn't get a kitten with a small child, kittens do have very sharp little claws & teeth - and toddlers can be quite risky to kittens as they don't understand about treating them gently - you'd have to watch the child like a hawk & not leave them alone with the kitten. I would suggest an adult cat who is used to young children - from a cat rescue who will be experienced in your situation & able to advise properly. If you have a litter tray there will be poo & wee but if you clear it out of the tray promptly your house won't smell. Cats are clean animalsanimals so will not poo & wee everywhere unless their litter tray is dirty or they can't get access to it. And you can get covered litter trays (v useful to keep inquisitive toddlers out of cat litter as well!) and also cat litter which absorbs odours.
I will look for a young adult from a rescue centre then. Thank you! Is there a difference between male and females with regards to temperament or does it just depend on the individual cat? I've heard boys are more affectionate?
Definitely a rescue cat and an adult used to children.
Cats Protection always state if cats are OK to be homed with children so am sure other reputable rescues would do.
Kittens are cute and playful bit perhaps more likely to scratch or nibble when playing.
Cats don't make a house smell. The litter tray contents can do but fine once they're disposed of. Would be best to keep tray away from where toddler could get to obviously.
Find a good local vet (recommendations from friends etc) and get decent pet insurance with lifetime cover. It may not be cheap but very worthwhile!
From experience I would say male cats are more affectionate. I have two males and a female at the minute, they are all lovely and like a fuss but the boys are so much more loving. I actually think that getting a kitten is best, I had all of mine from kittens. You will have to watch your toddler around it and try and teach your toddler to be gentle. My youngest is 22 months and he is super gentle with all my cats, which is surprising, he has never grabbed them We had a kitten when he was 15 months old and he has always been gentle with him and likewise the cats are gentle with him. If you get from a kitten it will grow up knowing your child
Have had male and female cats and really not noticed a lot of difference. A lot depends on the personality of the cat - some like to wander more, some like cuddles more.
Cats only make a house smell when you have a large number of cats, don't let them outside and have more standards of hygiene. One or two cats in normal circumstances don't.
I would wait until your child is a bit older unless you can guarantee that you are going to supervise every interaction , much easier to start getting animals when your child is at an age that they can really understand that you don't pull / poke / grab . It's different if you already have animals as you have to make it work with children but it's just making extra work for yourself bringing an animal into the home when you have toddlers.
I have only ever had 3 cats in my whole life (first 2 lived to be very old) but out of 2 males & 1 female (all neutered or spayed) the males were big soppy things, the female very standoffish & wanted strokes on her own terms. I think it completely depends on the individual cat though!
I wouldn't leave dd alone with the cat so I would be there supervising. The cat could easily escape upstairs or in the kitchen if dd was being too loud or whatever. I would wait if I had to but I'd really like one sooner rather than later.
There's a cat for almost every circumstance, as long as you teach and model good cat manners to your toddler there's no reason to wait, and so many languishing in rescue, go for it. Cats are fab
Oh I'm excited now! Is there any books or websites I should read to educate myself on looking after a cat or is it kind of learn as you go? I want to be as prepared as possible!
Vicky Halls' cat books are fantastic for understanding why your cat does what it does and how to help it be happy. I had a problem cat who was weeing everywhere and the book helped sort it out really easily.
Main tip - don't feed it too much, even if it claims it is on the brink of starvation. Also don't fall for any 'I don't like that flavour' rubbish. Mine were eating organic food having turned their noses up at all mainstream brands while I was on Tesco value before I got wise to their game
James, there's some useful advice on the Battersea website
Do your research for local rescue centres, there are small privately run ones everywhere as well as large organisations. Unfortunately there are so many cats needing homes, especially lovely black ones
Despite that some rescue centres are loathe to home cats where there are young children, so check this out first to avoid being disappointed.
Any good centre will do a home check before they let you take a pet, but don't let that worry you or put you off because they can give you lots of advice and also help find a cat who will suit you and your home well.
Just like people each cat is an individual. I don't think you can generalise as to how the genders behave. Some cats remain very independent and like to roam, some are lap cats who like being fussed and some are very aloof.
Centres also often like to keep siblings together or rehome a mother together with a youngster. They will tell you about the cat's past if they know details and can guide you as to temperament.
Finally give some thought to potential allergies. I've found long haired cuts set me off but I'm not so bad with short haired ones. There's a difference there with the time you need to devote to grooming too.
Ive got two very little boy kittens (about 10 weeks). They are honestly like having toddlers, im forever having to take things like lego off them so they dont choke and they play fight all the time, and Im counting down the days until I can take the tree down.
I have had older cats, and the ones I have had from kittens have always been easier but that moght just be the ones I have had and they might have been the way they were any way. I have had boy and girl cats and the boys have always been more loving, but again that might have just been down to personality.
One of the rescue centres have emailed me back with a photo of 3 black and white kittens and I've fallen in love already. They're 6/7 months old and currently live with a toddler and get on fine. Should I wait for an adult cat? I can't think rationally now I've seen their little faces!
I would go for an adult, it's not unheard of for toddlers to accidentally kill a kitten.
At 7 months they are a bit calmer, but still little and black and white cats are the hardest to rehome so I would get them. How many will you have?
I would go for an adult too, it's different if a child is used to animals, but kittens really are a PITA
It's not unusual for cats to live well to their late teens these days, so don't be put off older cats, and you tend to have a much better idea of their personality. PolterCat was 9 I think when we adopted him and he's a delight.
I wouldn't be able to turn them down either - I have a gorgeous black and white boy who I adore. He came to live with us the day my youngest DD started school (!) but I have had cats with toddlers and id say be very careful and maybe hold off a bit if you are not absolutely certain ŷou can supervise at all times.
Is that in case dd hurts the cat or because the cat might hurt her? I'd just be getting the one.
Why are black and white cats so unwanted by the way?
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