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Cat: adopted VS from a household

(4 Posts)
FoodFascist Thu 28-Jul-11 01:59:26

DH has finally given in to my constant "cat propaganda" grin so we're getting a cat for DS's 2nd birthday.

The question is, do we adopt, in which case it's probably going to be an adult cat, or take a kitten from a family?

I've had cats and dogs since I was 5, most were in my family from kitten stage, two were taken as adults, but they were all from other families not catteries. I'm from Eastern Europe and there aren't really any established pet rehoming charities in my home country.

My thinking is, I'd rather adopt (makes you feel good wink) with the added benefit of, no scratching furniture/climbing curtains, they'd be neutered and vaccinated, and if you're lucky you'll get a calm cat which is good for my toddler. BTW he's been quite good around cats and dogs so far, I've trained him up to be gentle with them, but of course he's only small so will want to play rough at some point.

On the other hand, a kitten is probably going to settle in more quickly than an adult, get used to DS etc. I'm also a bit worried that cats from charities may have issues and of course the charity are unlikely to talk about the whole baggage, that's if they even know the cat's history. Has anyone had problems with adopted cats?

If anyone knows of a way to keep the cat within the boundaries of my garden that'd be great too, I don't think i could keep it locked indoors as that would mean DS would be locked in as well but I'd rather it didn't venture out too far if I can help it.

Any thoughts very much appreciated.

DogsBestFriend Fri 29-Jul-11 09:02:35

I'm a rescuer (mainly dogs but other animals too) who has two cats on the waiting list for adoption myself as well as a couple of my own.

Adopt, for these reasons:

1. By encouraging a family to breed their cats you're adding to the misery that is the outrageous number of cats being killed each year for want of homes. There are SO many cats and kittens in rescue that the only reasons for breeding from a family cat are selfishness and pure stupidity. Most rescues I know of have a waiting list for incoming cats of months rather than weeks, so bad is the unwanted cat situation.

2. A rescued cat will be assessed, vaccinated, health checked and neutered/spayed before coming to live with you, assuming that the rescue is reputable.

3. An enormous percentage of rescued cats come from people who have moved and can't take their cats/divorced and don't want them/claim they can't afford them - they are NOT problem cats! As a result "history" is often known. Even when not, cats in rescue are assessed and matched to owners and environment, not just given out like sweeties! grin

4. I would NEVER recommend a kitten with a 2 yo. Kittens are far too small and children of that age aren't always as gentle as they need to be. A well intentioned cuddle could - and has been known to - result in a dead kitten.

5. Average cost of rescued cat from decent rescue, already vet checked, spayed/neutered, vaccinated - £60. Average cost of vet checking, neutering/spaying and vaccinating cat yourself - £150.

You can't really stop a cat wandering - hence you shouldn't have one if on a busy road for example - but a neutered cat is FAR less likely to stray than an unneutered one.

FoodFascist Fri 29-Jul-11 11:42:44

Thanks for that.
I am as I said much more inclined to adopt - if nothing else, raising two toddlers (one human, one feline smile) would be a bit too much for me at the moment.

I am aware that shelters check/vaccinate them, neuter them if old enough, and some even microchip them. I'm a bit worried about adopting tho, purely because of the age of DS as most rescues seem to be very very reluctant to rehome to households with young kids. Criteria for rehoming are often ridiculous if you ask me, especially in the light of how many pets are being put down. For example I recently heard from a lady who's dying to adopt a cat (and is an experienced cat owner) but because she has a tiny garden and is near a busy road she's virtually blacklisted by all of her local charities. Now where I come from, most people live in high-rise flats, an awful lot have pets and keep them indoors. Well dogs are walked of course. But cats stay indoors at all times, unless the owners take them on a holiday in summer. They are perfectly happy and even those that have experience of outdoor living don't tend to try and escape the flats.

But that's a different subject altogether.

We're not ON a busy road but our close leads on to a road which can have a bit of traffic, particularly in the rush hour. Our neighbour used to have a cat for years (it had to be put down, sadly) and never seemed to have any problems with the road.

I do know shelters assess their behaviour so that's one bit of security, but a cat may still be very stressed because its owner died for example, or because it hates it in the cattery (who wouldn't sad) and it may require lots and lots of work before it's back to its normal self. While I'm perfectly prepared for some work with a pet, I wouldn't be able to give it undivided attention IFSWIM. On the other hand, a cat who was born stray or spent a lot of time being stray may be wondering why these stupid humans locked it up in a cage while it was perfectly happy and able to fend for itself out in the open. That sort of cat may require very little looking after but it'll never be there which defies the whole point of keeping a pet.

Besides, people who give a pet up for adoption may say it's because they're moving or can't afford it, but how do you know it's because they just don't want it and have been beating it up and pulling it by its tail all along. Behaviour assessment may pick up on that if abuse was systematic and the pet has become a complete nervious wreck. But what if it was just one member of the family who was mean to it? Or if they were treating it all right most of the time, but would sometimes snap and hurt it? It may just become withdrawn or slightly aggressive, both of which can be attributed to the stress of moving for example, or being in a cattery.

You see if I was on my own (without kids that is) I wouldn't be put off by any of that but with a kid, I'd rather have a cat who will settle in quickly IFKWIM.

I wouldn't be so hard on people who have allowed their cat to have kittens.. Correct me if I'm wrong but it's probably mostly people with pedigree cats who breed them, why would you breed a common moggy for profit? And I would never buy a pedigree cat for my own reasons (not sure why but every pedigree cat I've ever come across was either stupid, or hated cuddles, or didn't have much character. Besides, they are more prone to disease due to inbreeding). Whereas people who have ended up with kittens through "stupidity" as you say may have honestly thought that their cat was too young for neutering, or couldn't afford neutering, so the kittens, if unsold, would just end up in a shelter or on the streets anyway. You can tell a genuine person who just wants a good home for their kittens from one who doesn't care or breeds them for profit simply by the asking price. Some even give them away for free - there's certainly no malice there.

But as I said, I AM mainly thinking of adopting.

Where about do you live, DogsBestFriend? I'm in West Herts, if you're within a driving distance I could possibly take one of your cats on the waiting list?

MrsMagnolia Mon 01-Aug-11 18:40:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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