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Is a kitten/cat a good pet for a 2.5 year old?

(26 Posts)
welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 11:46:18

I would love to get a pet for myself and DS. When he goes to his dads on weekends he sees his DGPs cat/dog/rabbit. The cat is very laid back and we've never had any problem with DS poking/pulling too much.

So if I was to get a cat what age would be best? Ideally I would like a rescue cat but I think they won't rehome with young children confused I've never had a cat before only dogs so I have no idea about litter training, so any tips would be great too grin

thecatneuterer Tue 29-Apr-14 11:58:18

It depends a lot on the child I would say, although 2.5 is a difficult age regardless. A kitten would definitely not be suitable. They are too vulnerable. I've seen kittens killed by toddlers.

The ideal cat would be an older rescue that has been shown to be very laid back and tolerant. Our rescue certainly homes to families with young children, but we will only home these very carefully chosen 'bomb-proof' type cats.

As for litter training - generally you just show the tray to the cat and that's it! No actual 'training' is necessary. You would probably want a covered tray to keep your toddler out of it.

If you do definitely go ahead though come back to this board and we'll give you loads of advice on everything cat-relatedsmile

welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 13:53:23

Thanks, it's good to know that I might find a rescue cat smile I hate that people breed animals or just don't neuter/spay when there are so many that need homes already!

I am a complete cat novice so any tips would be welcome. I'm sure if I adopt I will get all important information but I have a few questions for now:

How much does insurance cost?
Do cats need regular vaccinations/boosters?
How long does the settling in process take?
Do cats need to be kept in for a certain amount of time before being allowed out?
What kind of accessories would I need?

thecatneuterer Tue 29-Apr-14 14:08:37

Have a read of the first few pages of this thread - I think it should help:

But briefly

Yes, you have boosters vaccinations every year
Insurance - you largely get what you pay for - that thread has lots of advice
Settling in - well anything from 2 hours to 2 years really [helpful]
Yes, they would need to be kept in for a minimum of three weeks, preferably four

welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 14:47:36

Thanks for that link smile I will have a read through now. I would prefer not to have a kitten but would like to obviously have a cat that will be around a long time and grow up with my DS. What minimum age would you recommend for young children? Is it a case of the older the better or would say 5/6 be ok?

welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 14:51:58

Thought of another question, I know in dogs different sexes have different temperaments, but is this true for cats too? do cats have seasons like dogs even if they are spayed?

thecatneuterer Tue 29-Apr-14 14:54:16

I would say minimum age from the cat's point of view (ie not being at risk from your toddler) is 1 year. A better sort of age, when the cat will be hopefully more mature in it's ways would be around 3 or 4. Cats average life expectancy in the UK is 15, with many living to over 20, so even an 8 year old say would still be around for an awful long time with a bit of luck.

thecatneuterer Tue 29-Apr-14 14:56:13

Some people swear that cats' temperaments are determined by their sex. I really don't think that's the case though. All cats are different. When they're neutered it's the personality, not the sex, that makes the difference.

And no, neutered females don't have seasons. Neutered dogs don't either.

welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 15:07:12

Thanks for all this advice. I always prefer to get first hand experience instead of read advice on the internet. I'm guessing that you are involved in rehoming cats by your comment about your rescue. What is involved in the home visit? Will we have a chance to get to know the cat before it comes home with us? I'd hate to take a cat home and then realise it isn't right for us.

thecatneuterer Tue 29-Apr-14 15:51:36

Yes, I'm with .

A home visit is really to assess the home situation (children, other pets etc) and to look at the situation of the house regarding roads/gardens/access out of the garden etc, and to discuss what would be suitable. The idea is seldom to rule people out of adopting, but rather to assess what sort of cat would be right for their circumstances.

After that happens, at our rescue, we would then invite the people to come in and meet the cats, and explain which ones would be likely to suit them best and why. As when you are dealing with rescues and rehomers you get the benefit of their vast experience, and also detailed knowledge of the cats in their care, you are much more likely to get a good fit than if you get a cat/kitten from any other source, so you are minimising the chances of anything going wrong.

But I think all rescues will take back any cat if, after all that, it really isn't working out for whatever reason.

welshnat Tue 29-Apr-14 19:08:28

I know I could take a cat back if it wasn't the right fit but I would feel so guilty sending it back to a rescue sad.

I've spoken to 2 rescues near me so will be arranging a visit to each. Thanks for the tips.

sashh Thu 01-May-14 09:00:36

I've fostered loads of cats, some laid back, some aggressive some absolutely insane.

It has IMHO nothing to do with sex or colouring.

I'd say there is no ideal pet for a toddler, get a pet for you, I also second a more mature cat, kittens are like toddlers themselves, they get in to everything, get under the feet of everyone and if they trip up your toddler you could end up with a dead kitten and an injured child.

I don't foster any more since her Mistyness moved in but the branch of CP I fostered for doesn't have a shelter, all cats are fostered in people's homes or in specially designed pens in the garden. It's a bit of a pain having to visit someone's house to see a cat but you do get to see the cat in a home environment.

As thecatneuterer said rescues will try to match the cat to the right family eg I had some black kittens that went to a family with two children about 11 and 13 and I had a 19 year old cat go to live with a lady who was celebrating her 90th birthday.

The kittens would not be suitable for the older lady, the older cat would not have been suitable for the family.

My own cat would be fine in a family with older children, if you annoy her she bats you with a paw but with her claws retracted but she has a habit of wanting to sleep on any human who is around and while it's funny for me to have a cat settle between me and my kindle in bed I can move her if she tries to settle over my mouth.

Don't worry about litter training, mummy cats teach their kittens to do that so whatever age cat you get it will use a litter tray. Do ask what litter is being used though as some cats can be quite picky (At CP they try to use a variety so that the cat will use anything).

Welcome to the world of being a kitteh servant.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 01-May-14 09:04:07

I have a 2.5yo and we have two cats who are five years old. Obviously dd has grown up around these, and therefore they get on well, however next doors cats often pop in. One is about six months old and scatty as hell and id say too ypung. The other one is a little over a year and perfect. Nice and robust, still playful, but curls up next to dd for snoozes.

Spirael Thu 01-May-14 09:13:46

We got a new cat when DD was 2.5 years old. I'd say we chose a 1 year old male cat, but in actual fact what happened was we went to the RSPCA and took DD round every single adult cat pen and let her interact with each cat(s) in turn.

She was, in turn, chosen by the cat we then adopted. smile He was one of very few cats that didn't balk at a toddler and was enthusiastically coming over to her for attention.

Now, a year later, the two of them are firm friends! DH and I don't get a look in, if DD is around then the cat is with her. He's so tolerant, never uses his claws despite often being (gently!) cathandled round the house.

In my experience, cats can be quite picky about their humans. Some cats prefer adults, some prefer children, others prefer women or men. Best thing to do would be to take your DS along and see if you can find an adult cat that clicks with him, rather than having any specific designs on age/gender/colour. smile

welshnat Thu 01-May-14 19:56:47

I like the idea of our cat choosing DS and the other way around. I was really surprised to read that black and black and white cats are being overlooked in rescues so I think we may lean towards one of those. I think an all black cat is so pretty.

Thanks for all the advice, it's very helpful. I though of another question. How long could you leave a new cat for in the house on their own? Do the suffer separation anxiety like dogs? It's only that staying in all day every day with a toddler will not be a popular idea.

Wolfiefan Thu 01-May-14 20:00:49

Get two! They won't be alone then!!

feekerry Thu 01-May-14 21:59:48

Hmm i will go against the grain here slightly. Dd is 2.1yrs. My mum got a kitten 4 months ago. Dd goes to my mum 3 days per wk. Kitten and dd are inseparable. Best of friends they are. Never any issues. But maybe that's coz we have a few cats at home so dd has green up with them

Spirael Fri 02-May-14 08:44:32

They recommend cats aren't left alone for more than four hours, especially cats under 1 year old. In my experience, cats are more than happy to be left for a working day (8 or so hours) as long as they have access to water, crunchies (unless they have a weight issue), some toys and a comfortable place to sleep.

Sometimes having more than one cat helps as they keep one another company, but you're more likely to get two cats that are friendly if they're on the younger side. If you're getting an older cat they often have become a bit of a loner and refuse to tolerate other cats, wanting to be king/queen of their own castle!

Black cats are often overlooked because if they are outdoor cats they tend to have a lower survival rate than their more brightly coloured alternatives - because it's harder for drivers to see a black cat on a dark road. Something you might want to consider depending on whether you're planning on letting the cat outdoors, the roads in your areas and how devastated your DS would be to lose the cat.

welshnat Fri 02-May-14 09:13:54

I'd prefer and indoor cat but are they harder to find in a rescue? We are on a quiet road at the bottom of a mountain with lots of cats but the m4 goes over the mountain. It's not accessible but will that count against is getting a cat?

Spirael Fri 02-May-14 10:19:12

Most rescue places tend to prefer healthy cats to have access to the outdoors, as far as I'm aware. The ones near me seem to, at least!

However there are cats in shelters who have a disability, such as being blind, deaf or missing a limb. They often need to be kept as indoor cats for their safety, but are usually still very independent. That might be an option?

Booboostoo Fri 02-May-14 11:28:58

There are some breeds that are bred to be indoor cats because of their docile temperament like ragdolls. There is a breed rescue organisation here: But do keep in mind that long haired cats do need a bit of grooming.

welshnat Fri 02-May-14 12:06:21

I've been looking at local rescue centres but because I don't drive they are all at least 40 minutes bus ride which means having to bring the cat home on a bus confused obviously not a good idea. Anyone who's worked in a rescue centre know if they would be willing to bring the cat to me? I really don't want to buy a cat when I can rescue one.

thecatneuterer Fri 02-May-14 12:55:09

If you were within our catchment area then we would consider taking a cat to you certainly. It's not completely out of the question to take a cat on the bus if you have a very good carrier. It's best not to though. Do you have any friends/family/neighbours who could be willing to drive you?

It sounds a bit silly to want an indoor only cat when you have what sounds like a very good set up for a cat to go out. An inaccessible both would be no problem at all. It's always a good idea to keep a cat in at night, but I can't see the problem with allowing it to go out during the day.

welshnat Fri 02-May-14 14:00:14

We do have a nice area for the cat to roam/hunt so probably would be better for an outdoor cat. And less poop scooping in the litter tray. I suppose I'd like a cat that I actually got to see though instead of one that only came in at night.

welshnat Thu 08-May-14 20:34:06

I've decided to go to a rescue centre on Saturday and see if any cats jump out at me as "the one" and then take DS back on Monday to see how he gets along with them smile

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