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Cat or kitten in the litter tray?

(24 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 07-May-13 01:57:13

After about 2 months of dilly dallying about what pet to get after the sad death of our beloved hamster, we have decided to go feline! DD really wants a dog but DH and I are certain we don't want and can't cope with the demands of a dog. So a cat seems a good idea. I had three cats in my house as a child, well not all three at same time and not only as a child. All silver tabbies. First two were lovely, third was a nightmare, all boys.

A friend has a silver tabby cat he wants to re-home who is lovely and friendly. However, DD (8) really wants a kitten. A friend has some kittens and we may be offered one of them. I know DD really wants a kitten and I have explained about 10 time how they turn into cats! DD knows this but wants one from scratch! excuse the pun!

Any advice on which is better. The cat is spayed and chipped and free and the kitten cost, so I know DH would say cat! But DD wants to feel it is her pet from the start and as this will be the only one we get, I feel I need to let her make her choice. Another friend had a kitten which turned into a really horrible scratchy cat! At least with this cat we know he is already really nice and friendly. The trouble is those kittens look too darned cute!

Any advice, please?

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 02:28:58

Kittens are a LOT of work - will someone be at home to feed them 4-5 times a day? Are you prepared to teach them to use their litter tray & clean up accidents as they learn? Also, kittens should really be homed in pairs, ESPECIALLY if they will be home alone for long(ish) periods. How well would your DD cope with very strict rules on handling kittens & accepting they're not toys? How able are you to kitten-proof your home? You need to do a certain amount to make your home safe for cats, but a hell of a lot more to make it safe for kittens. As well as buying the kitten then paying for spaying & neutering you'll also have to pay for jabs (insurance doesn't cover them) which vary in cost from place to place but you're probably looking at £50-£60.

If any of those are impossible/offputting, it needs to be The Cat. Also, cats have a harder time finding homes than kittens do, so you would, in that sense, be Doing A Good Thing - could your DD be made to see that? And the kittens will indeed be crazycute, but as you said, they turn into cats & do so really very quickly at that!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 07-May-13 07:55:54

With the cat you know what you are getting. As a vet and experienced cat owner I bring all of my kittens up the same some turn into lovely cats and others are frankly horrid.
I have also adopted various cats and the most loving ones are the adopted ones. Currently I have two and an eight year old DD. The boy we have had from a kitten is really unpredictable with her and often bites and scratches whereas the adopted cat is just a super loving cat.
I would go for the adult.

ClaimedByMe Tue 07-May-13 07:57:53

Can't you have the cat and the kitten, they would be company for each other...

NeverTooManyCats Tue 07-May-13 09:53:20

TBH i would have both, but then, my user name probably explains my thoughts on kitties. As someone who has brought up kittens, never adopted a full grown cat, I have to say a kitten can adapt into your lifestyle. I have never found toilet training etc a problem, but someone will need to be around quite a bit for feeding, playing.

However, Older Cats (as a pp said) find it harder to find new homes, so you could explain to DD that poor silver tabby will find it hard to find a new home and wouldn't it be nice if you could give it a new forever home. Is it possible to take DD round to see Older Cat. Maybe she could go to a pet shop and pick out some nice new things for the cat to welcome it to its new home.

It is difficult, but I still would try to have both. They'll have companionship which is important for kittens and cats alike (a lot of people adopt 2 kittens to keep each other company) and really, 2 isn't a lot more work than just one ;)

QueenStromba Tue 07-May-13 13:31:44

Kittens are cute but they can grow up to be utter bastards. I'd go for an adult cat with a good temperament over a kitten every time. Plus I'm sure your friend will be a lot happier knowing her cat has gone to a loving home (and being able to visit occasionally) than sending him to a shelter where he could be waiting months for someone to pick him.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 07-May-13 16:15:40

Some kittens are such hard work though, ours was an utter nightmare.

He yowled all the way home in the car, it took me 4 hours to do a 2 hour journey because he cant go over 35-40 mph, and he threw up and pooed in the carrier. I had to wash him when we got home.

He pounced on me roughly every 2 minutes until we got him neutered.

He fell off a conservatory and a tall tree whilst learning that birds can fly off at the last minute, ate poison berries and threw up 5 times in one night, he tried to eat the same berries the next night.

I couldn't go in the kitchen without being mugged for more food.

He stole things off plates and would run up your chest to steal food out of your hand.

He purposefully knocked glasses of pop and cups of tea over to play in the puddles.

Get the grown up cat.

Italiangreyhound Tue 07-May-13 22:14:52

Thanks for all the answers.

We can't afford both, sadly, sad

I think Mr Silver tabby will be OK for time being with his male owner. The owner wants to downsize but I expect someone else might take the cat. I hear there are kittens in rescue centres too, and locally three people have kittens to re-home.

It's a bit of a minefield. I don't want to guilt DD into taking a cat when she wants a kitten.

I can't understand how all these kittens grow up to be horrible cats and all these lovely cats were once kittens! What am I missing?

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 07-May-13 22:17:55

It's like humans, personality forms as they grow up. We gave ours all the same upbringing, one turned out to be a bit nutty.

She wasn't called the spitfire for nothing.

cozietoesie Tue 07-May-13 23:32:05

Don't worry, Italiangreyhound. It will likely turn into a great cat. I would also have recommended a grown cat from a rescue but while there's no certainty, the overwhelming majority of kits grow up as pleasant, sociable individuals.

Remember to let us know how it goes - with pictures.


ClaimedByMe Wed 08-May-13 07:57:10

Our first cat grew up to be possessed because she was from a feral mother, we also have 2 normal cats but cat1 is the devil in fur.

QueenStromba Wed 08-May-13 19:10:07

Our point is that some kittens grow up to be horrible cats for no apparent reason so if you get a kitten you really are rolling the dice as far as temperament goes. If you adopt an adult then you know in advance what it's like. I'm sure your friend would let you all come over and meet the cat to make sure you all get along. If you get a cat from a rescue then they interview you to find out what your lifestyle is like and to find out what sort of cat you want. So if you, for example, are normally out all day, have kids and want a lap cat they'll be able to show you cats that will suit that lifestyle. Some rescues even insist that you have several visits with the cat and spend a lot of time with them before they'll let you take them home.

The absolute bastard cats who come into shelters get fostered with experienced cat people who rehabilitate them to the point where they can be family pets or it becomes apparent that they'll never be a family pet so get rehomed as farm cats.

I'm not really sure why you posted this thread since you obviously just wanted us to tell you to get a kitten.

Italiangreyhound Thu 09-May-13 00:01:53

Thanks for your thoughts QueenStromba and I like the idea of visiting a shelter and getting to know the cat.

I'm not really sure why you posted this thread since you obviously just wanted us to tell you to get a kitten.

No, I genuinely wanted your thoughts. The pet is for my daughter and I wanted her to have say in what pet we chose. So far people have said lots of different things and actually in real life it is people who have also said about getting a cat rather than a kitten. I have only ever had adult cats in my family so kittens are a total mystery to me.

However, it was the idea of getting a kitten first which came into our family as a friend has kittens from her cat who is an amazingly nice tempered cat, and it was this that kind of swayed me in that direction! Then an added complication came up in that she was not sure if all the kittens were spoken for yet etc etc and then a friend made a comment about another friend who might have a cat etc etc. A few months back I did look at rescue centre cats and read all the profiles out of a large number of cats only one or two seemed suitable to be with children, most said things like would suit quite home or no children etc.

So I was not coming here having made up my mind I was trying to make up my mind.

Thanks for all your comments and help.

Italiangreyhound Thu 09-May-13 00:03:41

Thanks cozietoesie you are giving me hope!

Italiangreyhound Thu 09-May-13 00:07:01

Thanks fluffy I first read that as glasses of poop not pop! I certainly don't want any of them!

Thanks Lone

ClaimedByMe and NeverTooManyCats I might be able to swing the two cat thing if it were not for pet insurance costs, any that do a two for one by chance!

ZebraOwl what age can they learn to use the litter tray by, please/

VeganCow Thu 09-May-13 22:12:11

Kittens of 8 weeks and less can be fully litter trained, my youngest was at 8 weeks.
You don't HAVE to have insurance. I've had 6 dogs and 5 cats and never had insurance and over the years have paid out a lot less in vet costs than I would have insurance.
I think you should get both cats, they will be company for each other. My oldest boy was a year old when I got the 8 wk old kitten, a few years ago now, they get on brilliantly well.

recall Thu 09-May-13 22:19:06

Just be careful if you get two that they don't look to each other for company, and not show any interest in you, especially the kitten at the time when it is bonding and forming relationships.

Italiangreyhound Fri 10-May-13 23:38:09

Thanks so much, it's one I'm afraid and it will be a kitten.

My friend has said they could be trained at 8 weeks but I can handle it (I hope!!!).

The owner of the cat has said not to worry, not sure is he is going to keep him or has another possible owner lined up. He took the cat in as a stray so I know he will look out for it, it's not an unwanted pet, if you know what I mean!

Looking forward to our new pet.

Can anyone recommend a really good EASY book on cat and kitten care, please?


VeganCow Sat 11-May-13 16:10:50

this book is a good book, it covers most stuff and its cheap!

gobbin Sun 12-May-13 14:20:38

All but two of our 9 cats came to us as kittens, mostly at 8 weeks old and the current three are a mum and two kits.

ALL kits without exception have turned into sociable, non-bitey/scratchy cats who love a bit of fuss but also enjoy their own space.

This is because we planned when to get them (i.e. before a holiday spell so we'd be with them constantly for a good length of time) and worked at the relationship with them.

One kitten on its own will look to you to be mum so you should have no problems bonding. Prepare your DD for the inevitable scratches in the early days, teach her that it will hurt but she must never retaliate. Pulling your hand away will often result in worse scratches than leaving it there and saying 'No!' in a firm voice.

My worst scratch from the current kits (who are now 10 months and not far off full grown) was a leap in the air by Bean trying to catch a toy, turning mid air and using my thigh as a brake with both front paws. Owwww!

As well as books, there is much solid advice online - we used a cat psychology site when we realised the kittens weren't bonding with us because they had mum with them. The tips were perfect and worked. We now have three softies.

Italiangreyhound Mon 13-May-13 00:26:40

Oh no, the jury is out, it might be a hamster!

DD is very fickle at the moment and I am just not sure what to do now!
Having talked about a cat she now has started talking about a gheko!

The good news is the owner of the cat who was thinking of re-homing due to move now looks like he is too attached to cat to part with it, which is lovely, as is a lovely cat!

cozietoesie Mon 13-May-13 07:30:44

I know it won't help you but I'm really pleased for the silver tabby cat - how lovely for it to have found a home where it's really wanted.

If I were you, I think I'd maybe hang fire on this one for a bit. A cat will circumscribe your actions a little (which most of us accept as part of the territory given the love they bring) and maybe the time isn't right if DD is talking gecko. Cats are for a long time after all. My Seniorboy is 18 and still going pretty strong.


Italiangreyhound Mon 13-May-13 19:17:55

Thanks Cosie think the geko talk was just talk! Think a classmate has one. Thanks so much. She she still wants a kitten! I am happy too as I wanted a cat too but I wanted it to be her choice! I have said a million times a kitten grows into a cat.

Looked at rescue centre ones but they often seemed to say they would not suit kids! I mean almost all of them in one place said that. But maybe others are different. My friend has a rescue cat and he is lovely.

PS I knew someone would care about the silver tabby!

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Jun-13 21:38:21

Hi cat-lovers, you may remember me popping on here with numerous questions about ow to pick a cat or kitten and how to insure them and what to buy for them!

Just wanted to tell you my fears that our kitten might be shy or not friendly were unfounded. He is purring like a train and jumping on my lap. he is so gorgeous and I will put a photo or two on mumsnet as soon as I can work how to do it.

He is lovely and me and DD are smitten.

Thanks for all your help.

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