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I want to get a cat. What do I need to know?

(80 Posts)
whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 11:44:42

We have an 8 year old who is desperate for a pet, work 9-5 Monday to Friday so won't be in during the day but half term is coming up so could be in a lot more often then.

What do I need to know? I've never had a cat before or any pet for that matter. Will my house stink? is it cruel to own a cat and be out all day? Do I need a cat flap?

Any advice or things to think about would be great. Thanks


Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 11:49:30

Kitten or older cat?
A kitten will need someone there all the time but an older cat wont. Normally anyway.

We've got a cat flap but some people prefer to be in charge of when or if their cat goes out.

You need to think about a litter tray and which litter (my cat has clumping. She likes that)

What food - supermarket stuff is shit.You need one that isnt all ash and wheat! Cats need meat.

Vets. Factor in cost of annual check up, boosters, monthly de flea, de worming, etc. I have a pet plan to spread the cost. Then you'll need insurance too, if they are injured or ill it can cost thousands.

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 11:54:38

Cats need toys, older cats too. Not just kittens.
A scratching post.
A nice bed.
Somewhere to retreat to.
Here is my cat's little slice of the house. She keeps all her toys in the hidey hole behind her sofa.

OliveOrTwist Fri 20-May-16 12:00:08

Something for them to scratch - mine is obsessed by his post and fortunately it keeps him away from the furniture!

We're out at work all day and the cat doesn't seem the slightest bit concerned, he's either asleep in the house or doing whatever he does outside. We've never have a cat flap and even with us being out all day it works fine. He lets us know when he wants to go out, sits on the doorstep when he wants to come in. Then again, we're very relaxed about his comings and goings, we live in a quiet area a fair distance away from main roads etc.

I assume you'll want them neutered? And you will 100% need insurance! Cats are so unpredictable and independent you never know when an accident could happen, sadly.

OliveOrTwist Fri 20-May-16 12:01:17

Arf That cat sofa is incredible! envy

eyebrowse Fri 20-May-16 12:08:39

1) See the thread about the dead baby bird

2) They need flea treatment

3) If you are out all day it would be nice for the cat to have cat flap

4) Female cats are less smelly

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 12:14:50

Lovely, isnt it? She looks so cute in it.

Doesnt stop her starfishing on the bed so i sleep clinging on to the edge though grin

KnockMeDown Fri 20-May-16 12:17:23

Before you get a cat, you must be fully aware that you will never "own" a cat, and you will not be in charge. You will be signing up for a life of service to a master, who may or may not deign accept cuddles and offerings from you.

If you are very lucky, the cat may bring you gifts.

Whatever bed you provide for them will not be good enough, and they WILL prefer to sleep on your bed / favourite cardi / best chair.

A subtle training / brainwashing process will occur, at the end of which, you will think you are the owner of a content cat who does what you want, when the reality will be that they are the owner of a content human who does exactly what they want.


NarcyCow Fri 20-May-16 12:27:39

It's nice to get two so they're company for each other when you're out, plus they behave differently with other cats than with humans - ours have a whole range of bonkers behaviours reserved for each other. And two aren't much more trouble than one, plus you get twice the cuddles : )

They will be the boss of you. You will do what they want, when they want, or they'll make their displeasure apparent in ways ranging from shouting at you loudly to puking in your favourite shoes. But you will love them besottedly, regardless.

Don't go overboard buying them things. Cats like nothing less than carefully chosen and paid for gifts. Toilet rolls, cardboard boxes and the plastic rings off milk bottles are the favourites of all the cats we know. And our would never sleep in a cat bed, there are two many other soft comfy surfaces available (preferably humans' beds).

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Fri 20-May-16 12:28:03

Think seriously about the cost, because cats (and any pets) are expensive. Food, cat litter, vaccinations, sterilisation, flea/worm treatment, and pet insurance all adds up.

Think about what you will do if you go on holiday. Do you have family members who would be happy to come in to feed and play with the cat, or will you have to pay someone? (another expense)

I'm not trying to put you off but if you have never owned a pet before you do need to have a realistic idea of what is involved. I see heartbreaking posts on Facebook all the time from people who have bought a cat as a kitten, and then realised that you have to potty train them, or they can't afford them, or they didn't think it through in the long term and now the cat doesn't fit in with the life they want (cats can live to be pretty old, 16 or so isn't unusual). So before you do anything make sure you are prepared for the reality and will be able to care for your cat properly. Hopefully this thread will help you though smile

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Fri 20-May-16 12:29:09

I mean house train, not potty.. That would be a pretty good skill to teach a cat though grin

whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 12:30:05

Ok cat sofa is a definate grin

Insurance, worming and flea stuff once a month. Good food from a petshop not supermarket. Toys.

Ideally I think we would need a cat rather than a kitten as I would only have maximum 11 days and then I'd have to leave it alone from 9-5 most days.

Where is the best place to get a cat from? Do they have rescue places?

Are there different breeds similar to dogs? Like one type of cat is better with kids or more independent or are they all different?

Thanks for the replies so far. I have a lot to think about

whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 12:34:34

Regarding costs, if a get a good insurance policy and factor in worming and flea treatment and food and possibly litter etc. Is that pretty much it?

whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 12:35:36

Knockmedown your post made me laugh. I can see I will be easily manipulated in exchange for cuddles grin

JimmyGreavesMoustache Fri 20-May-16 12:35:59

your house will in all likelihood never again be as clean or in as good repair as you'd like - scratched furniture (both soft and hard), carpets pulled up at the edges, hair shedding everywhere, little muddy footprints on walls, cat eye-bogies on walls (don't know how this happens nor why they stain so badly), remnants of hunting victims smeared across carpets...

vets' bill are a PITA too. All but the most super-expensive insurance policies have lots of exclusions such as vaccinations and dental care (which is eye-watering), plus an excess, so even if you're insured the additional costs can add up.

it's a good job they're cute...

whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 12:43:59

Eye bogies on walls confused

I'll have a look at some policies, can factor in a monthly payment and the odd excess but massive unexpected bills would be a strain.

Downstairs is fully wooden floors. I am imagining the car not being allowed in at least DDs bedroom (am I deluding myself here?) We have a good pet Hoover already as it was cheap so hopefully that will be good enough to at least keep on top of the hair. We are pretty messy and I'm not overly houseproud to be fair (house is mostly clean but often not tidy). We work outside so muddy footprints etc are common place.

It's the 'gifts' that worry me most of I'm honest!

WickedLazy Fri 20-May-16 12:51:21

Get the cat a safety collar, that will open if pulled hard, not the sort with a buckle like dogs wear!

As cats are climbers, and really nosy, the buckle collars can be dangerous/a choking hazard or cat could get caught on something and stuck.

Mine has lost about 8 safety collars so far, which is scary as it made me realise just how often she has gotten them caught on things. Had she had a buckle one instead she might not be here now. You should be able to get 2 fingers between the neck and collar. I've given up on collars now.

Get the cat microchipped, and make sure your details are on the system and correct.

ilovesthediff Fri 20-May-16 12:52:02

The rspca have lots of cats in need of rehoming and will match you with one suitable for your situation.

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 12:52:27

Yeah. This week alone i have rescued 3 baby birds and two mice and had to remove one bird that didnt make it sad

My husband and i are now both amazing at catching mice and birds and stuff.

We also keep a humane trap under a piece of furniture in the living room.
Checked it this morning and the cutest little mouse was in it happily tucking into a blob of peanut butter

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 12:54:20

Oh yes. Microchipping is essential imo. Mine got done at the same time as she was sterilised.

bluetongue Fri 20-May-16 12:55:14

I don't want to be the bearer of doom but cats can end up being quite expensive. Mine has a chronic condition and has to take two different types of medication plus have regular B12 injections and blood tests. She's not insured so I'm not sure how much would be covered if she was but I've had to cut back in other areas of my budget and will continue to pay for treatment while her quality of life is good.

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 12:56:29

Oh, my mum found her late one evening under their car sheltering from the rain.
No owner came forward so i kept her.

Cats protection league are a good place to look.

Vinorosso74 Fri 20-May-16 12:58:35

Have a look on the Cats Protection website too. They have loads of info on there about having a cat.
Yes, good insurance policy, decent quality food, flea and worm treatment from a vets. We have a cat flap for our cat but we've always kept her in overnight since we got her.
An adult cats will be better to leave if you're out during the day. There are lots of cats in rescue centres and there will be lots suitable for you. If you get an adult rescue they will already be neutered, had flea and worm treatments, microchipped, vaccinated.
I love having a cat around. The worst is when they are ill and you worry. Also, if you are away make sure you find a reliable person or cattery to look after cat.

whatnoww Fri 20-May-16 13:04:59

Going to have a look at some of the websites mentioned tonight. There is a rescue and an RSPCA place not far from us. I'm thinking the deal breaker will be finding a suitable, affordable insurance policy as no way could I deal with a bill for 100s of pounds sad

WickedLazy Fri 20-May-16 13:06:03

You will need a cat carrier for bringing the cat home/taking them to the vets. They're escape artists, so just putting in the boot won't work.

If you're going to let the cat out, keep them in the house/don't let them out for at least a fortnight, or there's a chance it won't come back. I think you'd be better with a rescue cat that's past the kitten stage.

I have the cat carrier on top of the chest freezer, with the front grill taken off and a soft blanket in (and a blanket over) as an alternative bed/ hidey hole when she wants peace. Makes it much easier to put her in it when I need to.

Water, not milk. They can have milk now and again as a treat, but it can give them the runs. Some cats prefer running water, so you might need to run a tap they can drink from a few times a day, or you can get little water fountain things. They will eat things you wouldn't expect cats to like. (mine likes cheese, pizza, mccdonalds fries, dry toast, she gets the odd nibble as a treat). Some foods and plants are toxic to cats (onions, lillies) so do some research om what they can/can't have.

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