Cats and kittens- the good, the bad and the bonkers(15 Posts)
My dh, ds 4 and I will be getting our first family cat in a few weeks - we're so excited! We have been thinking this over for years, researched breeds and breeders and found a breeder we absolutely love (she is awesome!) We'vechosen a breed that has the personality we are looking for (we plan to rescue older cats when our son is a bit older as we really want to give older or disabled kitties a loving forever home but we think we need to notch up experience first, but that is def something we want to do). Kitten will be neutered and an indoor cat, both things we believe in strongly, we're cat proofing the house, he'll be allowed free range, dh works from home - we've put a lot of thought into it. Got a good vet lined up and will be insuring.
But we haven't had cats since we were teens ourselves and we're a bit unsure about what to expect. We're not fussed about mess or scratched furniture but a bit nervous of fleas and all the unknowns. Can people share their cat and kitten experiences, cos we'd like to hear some more about the reality - good and bad!
Have a look at Flat Cats - they do screens for windows & doors specially made for cats so you can open the windows in the height of summer without your indoor cat escaping.
I'm using them, and it's great being able to have windows open in this hot weather without panicking one of the cats will get out .
You won't get fleas if you don't let it outside. And from April to July at least cat's rescue places are FULL of kittens - that's no reason to go to a breeder imo.
Go to a specialist rescue if you want a particular breed. Persians are amazing and are quite happy to be indoor cats with a secure garden.
At 4 you could take on a rescue. We got two rescue kittens with a 5 year old.
Can you cat proof your garden so the cat can have some time outside? There are companies that do that.
We flea treat every month and even though they go out we have never had an issue. Get stuff from vets.
Get the best food that you can afford/they will eat. Cheap dry can cause urinary tract issues. (Any dry food can TBH. We feed wet and dry!)
Scratch posts or climbing tree will help preserve furniture.
First night put cat in a quiet room with food and litter. Let them settle there first.
Our lovely rescue (also indoor) has found the coolest place in the house. Not just cool cos she's there.
A flying frenzy is the best cat toy ever (Amazon sells them) even for little ones. A tunnel is also good. A cat tree and a good few scratch poles around the place will help too. Ours also has a barrel with a roosting spot on top from where she can watch cat Tv (out the window onto a leafy but busy road).
If you do get a cat, try and get one that has been raised in a house (doesn't matter if it's rescue or otherwise). I had one years ago that was from a farm, and spent most of it's life hiding from everyone (especially children, which kinda goes against the reason for having a pet). I'm a great lover of mixed breeds - so a moggy crossed with a pedigree. You get lots of character and a quirky looking cat.
I have a really quirky cat (Siamese cross with a mog) ... he nicks stuff from my (friendly) neighbours house... toys, clothes, etc. Cheeky little bugger.
You still need to flea treat your cat even if they are indoors. Fleas will get in come hell or high water. Worming is less important if they're indoor-only but still advisable (and isn't expensive or onerous). Ours go out now but even when they were indoor-only we flea'd them with a spot-on treatment bought online.
With an indoor cat it's important to spend a lot of time playing with them. Fishing-rod toys are great (either bought or a bit of paper tied to a bamboo cane with string). Catnip balls they can bat about are good too.
Get him chipped in case he escapes, obviously. Make sure ds knows not to disturb kitty when he's using the tray or eating, or when he's sleeping (at least for first few weeks while he gets used to you all). Make sure there's a place high up he can get to to sit and look out.
Would you consider getting 2? They can entertain each other. Also bear in mind that it can be difficult introducing older cats to homes where a cat is already established, so you might not be able to rescue another cat while your DS is still a child, especially if both cats will always be indoors and up in each other's business.
Thanks everyone for all your replies and advice, I really appreciate it (and will reply properly once my phone is charged). We're getting a Burmese - already paid for so can't change our minds now (although we wouldn't want to - we've met him and bonded!)
Re rescuing though - it's not so much about getting a kitten - we would like specifically to rescue older cats who might otherwise be overlooked- but we'd be nervous about making an older cat stressed. Our ds is boisterous and whilst we think a younger cat would be fine with his level of playfulness we don't think - right now - it would be fair on an older cat. Rescue cats will be in our future, please don't think me shallow.
I worked closely with a rescue centre for years and many of them have restrictions about adopting out animals to families with young children. Our minimum age for children was 6, although this was relaxed in certain circumstances eg parents with experience, or one of the animals really took to the kid and the parents were aware of 'risks' - kittens can scratch, puppies can nip etc.
I have 3 cats. The adult male was never playful, he loves cuddles and TV time though. The adult female is timid of strangers, but very loving with us, and the kitten is a ginger blur of energy. They have really different personalities. They each like different toys too.
You should keep a regular worming and defleaing schedule. I do all my animals at the same time.
Puppy pads for under the litter tray. Kittens make an unbelievable amount of mess when using the toilet. They're trying to cover the poop, but just a bit too enthusiastically.
I restricted the kitten to one room for a week so she wouldn't be overwhelmed as she got to know the house. She's now got full access.
Keep food bowls, litter trays etc in the same place. It'll help train the kitten and cats don't like change. They like things to be where they left them.
Cat beds are unnecessary. They sleep wherever the hell the want to.
And don't get overly attached to your socks. The kitten has the world of cat toys at her disposal and is currently chasing one of my socks up and down the hall.
Yes, don't buy things for it. They don't accept gifts. Ours sleep on beds or humans, and play with crumpled up mint Viscount wrappers and cardboard boxes.
Blink slowly at it a lot, and don't look directly at it's face, but slightly to one side. That's non-threatening behaviour for a cat.
My DBro has always had Burmese, and his have always been indoor cats - apparently they can get too friendly & wander off with strangers! The first 2 lived to a very good age (16 and 18 I think) and their replacements are very happy pampered cats that I think would be horrified by the great outdoors. His are de-flea'd, wormed, neutered and microchipped (as are my indoor rescues).
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