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Tips on how to look after kittens?

(46 Posts)
MrsPeeWee Mon 15-Apr-13 20:12:37

We are a family of 3.
There's me, DH, and our DS (5y/o).

We've always wanted a cat. So decided yesterday that it was time to get one.

My friends cat has just given birth to 4 kittens. Two of them are spoken for - there were two sisters left, she offered me. We immediately said Yes.

We are due to pick them up Mid - May.
We're so excited. I have a few Q though.

Can I bring them back in the same cat carrier?
Will they be OK travelling 5 hours in a car back to our home?
We intend on having them as house cats, is that something we can choose?
Get them Neutered or not?
Can both share the same litter trays?
Can they share food trays/drink trays?

Any other advice tips, throw this way?

Sorry if I sound stupid. I just want to make sure they're both happy and looked after to absolute full potential.

Thank you.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 15-Apr-13 20:18:39

One carrier will be fine. Make sure they have food and water, and stop a couple of times to let them use the litter tray. (Stop somewhere quiet, if you can, not at the roadside.) Some cats adjust better to being housecats than others, you'll just have to find out which you have! Definitely get them neutered, there's no two ways on that. You can try having them share a litter tray and feeding bowls, again, they might accept this, they might not, and only time will tell.

Have fun! grin

Quak Mon 15-Apr-13 20:28:44

Same carrier - yes.
5 hrs - should be fine though some kittens get car sick! Have water
House cats - some cats take to this. Others will try at every opportunity to escape. If you're by a main road, keep them in.
Neutered - yes yes YES
Trays - have 2 when they get a little bigger
Food - allow a bowl a face and let them decide which is for which.

Make sure you don't leave your washing machine/tumble dryer door open - a horrible way to die sad and make sure you've not got any little gaps in floorboards etc. They will go in and they will get stuck.

Saw your previous thread op - hope your new kittens and you are happy together.

thecatneuterer Mon 15-Apr-13 21:12:49

It's seriously worrying that you even have to ask whether you should get them neutered. They absolutely must be done at five months old. There are so many reasons why it's essential and it's all explained here:http://www.celiahammond.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=25&MMN_position=33:33
Please speak to your friend about it too. Her cat needs to be done as soon as the kittens are weaned.

thecatneuterer Mon 15-Apr-13 21:13:27

And now with clicky link smile

www.celiahammond.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=25&MMN_position=33:33

deliasmithy Tue 16-Apr-13 07:52:40

Housecats - I have house cats that also have their own fenced in run linked to the catflap.

Neutering - if you're responsible you will do this. Also if you keep them as house cats you'll be motivated when they go into heat. One of my cats was small so I left her as long as poss as she seemed happy enough. At 8 months one day I came home, she was lying on the floor advertising her bits, and screaming for boy cats constantly. All. Night. And the next day. It completely consumed her attention.

Now shes back to normal, attention refocused on being naughty.

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 08:03:20

See if your friend will keep them with Mum a little longer? Hard though it may be for you, they'll only be a max of 6 weeks old by my calculations and it's better for kits if they can stay with their Mum for a good few weeks longer when they're that age. They'll be better trained (eating, washing, litter tray etc) and more socialized if they can spend that bit more time with her - say until 10-12 weeks old.

Remember in any case that they'll need to start their vaccination schedule at about 8/9 weeks and also be wormed and likely de-flead. (Most kittens have worms at an early age.) You could start finding a good vet near you for future use and get the kittens registered early on. Your vet will advise you on any necessary treatments and their timing.

smile

MrsPeeWee Tue 16-Apr-13 08:26:01

Thank you Cozies.

She won't have them any longer, unfortunately. We asked her why she's giving them new homes so early. Apparently, she can't handle kittens and her girl had 4 - another reason they should be neutered, I think?

Its a shame. I would of preferred our kits coming to us a lot more prepared. But Hey Ho.

How much will it cost us to get each kit vaccinated, de-flead, wormed etc? Not that it's a problem, just like to be prepared and have estimates laid on the table. grin

dobby2001 Tue 16-Apr-13 08:51:07

Ring around the vets in your area. Prices vary and sometimes by A LOT. Often pet charities will do special days where they will vaccinate and microchip (another thing you should do, it will help if they ever go missing and is usually inexpensive) . Pet insurance is also a must.

Flea treatments are cheaper on line than at the vets, ditto worming stuff. Just make sure it is OK for kittens as it goes on weight usually.

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 08:51:29

So be it. You'll have a bit more work to do but it's better than them being flung out on the street or going to a less than responsible new owner. Is she planning to have her own girl spayed now do you know?

As to the cost, gosh it's a while since I had kittens. (I'd add in a microchip each just in case. I know you're planning to have them as housecats but it's still probably a good idea in case the household situation changes - or they escape one day.)

I think it may be as much as £60 or £70 a cat for the starter and follow up vaccinations etc (including starter checkup) but I suspect it will depend on where you live. (Central London is expensive for instance, if I recall from when I lived there.) Also, many vets do 'schemes' whereby you pay a modest monthly amount and that covers you for checkups, vaccinations etc.

I pay a tad under £30 annually for booster shots (including checkup) for Seniorboy. Flea and Worm treatments are on top of that.

Other posters may be able to fill you in on costs generally in their areas. You should also at least consider insurance for them. Even though they're to be housecats, and shouldn't therefore run the risks of RTAs, there will always be the possibility of a long term illness. You're never going to get insurance cheaper than when you've got healthy youngsters.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 16-Apr-13 09:02:27

Inoculations here around the same price as cozie has said, when I last had a kitten neutered it was £48 but that was 2 years ago, I used to have mine neutered at 14 weeks ready to go their new homes at 15 weeks, try not to let them get to an age where they start calling/spraying as some males are hard to stop (not all)

I seem to have missed what age they will be when they come to you, one of mine came to me very young and she is fine now but still likes to suckle on my jumper now and then whilst padding.

Try to get the same food as your friend is feeding them as their tummies will upset easily, if you change their food only give a tiny amount of new food mixed in with old to start with.

I have 2 litter trays but I have 3 cats, one big bowl of dry food all the time and I feed mine raw food a lot of the time. (It took me years to build up to doing this though and realise not everyone can do raw feeding)

Enjoy them, I love it when kittens go in pairs. Double trouble but double fun.

dobby2001 Tue 16-Apr-13 09:06:40

These downloads might help www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/care-leaflets/essential-guides

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 09:08:54

Very useful, dobby. Thanks.

smile

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 09:12:51

A small tip. As they'll be coming to you real young, ask your friend for a small amount of (clean) litter from the tray they'll hopefully have been using. It may be clean but it will still have some odour on it to their sensitive noses. Sprinkle that on the top of their new litter tray in your house so that they can home in on it.

smile

Madratlady Tue 16-Apr-13 09:28:36

It's great that you are getting a pair of kittens, I love watching my 2 play together!

If they are sisters they ca share the carrier, litter tray and food bowls.

Some cats are happy to be house cats, others are escape artists. Either way, get them spayed, microchipped and vaccinated.

Oh and get a laser pointer, its great, they go crazy trying to catch the red dot!

MrsPeeWee Tue 16-Apr-13 10:03:46

Wow thanks you all so much for your advice. I will absolutely take it on board.

The two girls will be 6 weeks old when they come to us.

I don't think she's planning on getting her girl neutered because this is the 3rd litter she's had now. (This is the second in 12 months)

She doesn't sound much like the doting carer IMHO.

ItsYoniYappy Tue 16-Apr-13 10:23:50

Oh I could fall into a big rant about cat neutering but it isn't your cat so I wont. your friend may get a shock if her girl ever needed a c section etc. No I will not fall into that grin

I cat I mentioned in an earlier post was 5/6 weeks when I got her from a backyard breeder, I didn't even know what this was or know of this term at the time, like you I was just excited.

Anyhoo, you might want to decide where they will sleep from day one too, pre cat breeding I had 3 moggies and let them sleep in my bedroom, they often woke me running around the divan bed by their claws and on my head chewing my hair. hmm

We will need pictures of them of course!

MrsPeeWee Tue 16-Apr-13 10:36:36

Haha - of course. grin

I really need names.
DS is coming out with the most daft names. (Stanley, Peter, bum) have I mentioned they're female. wink

One of the kittens is black with grey stripes (?) I'm almost certain she's a tabby, but can't make out whether she definitely has stripes or not because of the camera angle.

The other kitty is white with dots of ginger and black on parts of her fur. They're beautiful.

Any suggestions welcome. brew

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 10:39:30

The second litter in 12 months? Oh Brother.

MrsPeeWee

Some rescues run/sponsor special offers whereby you can have a cat neutered very cheaply. If you let us know roughly where your friend lives then maybe someone here can point you in the right direction for that. You could introduce it into conversation with her when you're picking up the kits - perhaps point out that it will be a lot cheaper and easier for her in the long term than dealing with kittens and possibly a sick or ailing mother.

More than that, no-one could expect you to do. It's her cat after all.

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 10:40:25

Looking forward to the pictures!

smile

bonzo77 Tue 16-Apr-13 10:43:17

I always used separate carriers as if only one cat pooed you didn't get two cats with poo on then needing washing! Bathing and then drying 2 poo and sick covered cats is not something I'd want to do again!

Just to warn you, at 6 weeks they really are babies still, I've known kittens who still weren't eating solids dependably at that age. I'd consider buying a bottle and some kitten formula and topping up their solid food intake with that for a couple of weeks just to ensure they're getting enough nutrition.

They may be fine and not need it, most kittens are confidant with solids by 6 weeks but it's no harm to be prepared in case they aren't.

I'd confine them to one room initially, somewhere quiet and warm, preferably with a solid floor as they're unlikely to be properly litter trained so young.

Give them lots of affection and cuddles, they'll be very confused and nervous for a few days but they should relax and adjust fairly quickly.

As your friend doesn't appear to have much concern for her cats wellbeing I'd imagine the mother cat is unvaccinated so there's a chance they may have cat flu. If they show any signs of watering eyes, puffiness or lethargy get them straight to a vet, pneumonia can kill within hours at that age but the vet can give them an antibiotic injection and eye drops.

Definitely neuter at 4/5 months, even if they're house cats. Although whether they agree to be housecats depends on temperament. Some cats have no interest in going out, others can't be kept in.

Most kittens taken very young tend to be quite needy and many will suck on your clothes when being cuddled, even into adulthood, as a result. They do make very affectionate pets though, just be warned... You'll be mommy in their eyes, have patience smile

Good luck, we need pics!

cozietoesie Tue 16-Apr-13 10:45:57

Two carriers will probably be needed eventually due to increasing size, bonzo - although I've had remarkably few accidents in many years of using them. Only one poo if I recall and that was a very long journey. I think MrsPeeWee was only talking about getting them home right now (well in May.)

Puffiness = snuffliness confused

ItsYoniYappy Tue 16-Apr-13 11:00:52

Hmm I'm not sure you will need feeding equipment tbh at this age even a nice bit of coley in kitten milk, they should be eating solids around 4/5 weeks, I would like Cozie said get some litter and you get the same litter as they do confuse easily at this age, well at 4 weeks some of mine were pooing in dry food and eating litter.

Are they weaned onto food do you know? Surely she wouldn't give them if they weren't, I would find this out most definitely. If they aren't weaned they could be crapping everywhere too and you don't want that.

Names hmm, I have had many names, ok, (not all these were mine some were kitten I did paper work for) bonnie, cassie, poppy, mitsy, misty, sascha, holly, tilly, petal, mishca, tara, I had a tabby when younger (stripes) she was a mitsy, I'm sure they were more bizarre ones but my paperwork is upstairs, actually looking at those, some are girls names.

So when are you getting them? envy

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