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Getting a cat - Advice?

(10 Posts)
imwithspud Mon 25-Jul-16 22:10:58

We have been thinking about getting a cat for a while now, we are waiting for the DC to get a little older so we can teach them how to handle cats safely. I want to get this right so I thought I'd post here for some sound advice, I'll also post a bit of background info which will hopefully help.

I love cats and always had them growing up and always had very good bonds with them. Ideally I think we'd want a kitten or a young-ish cat, as we have two DC aged 1 and 3 (4 in Oct) as well as a bearded dragon and we'd want the cat to be accustomed to the children and reptile and vice versa and not see each other as a threat.

DP has suggested we get the ball rolling at the beginning of 2017 - DD2 will be 18months by then. He is leaning towards getting a kitten. Is getting a kitten with small children in the house a bad idea? I know it will entail some work to raise a kitten, and of course I will need to be vigilant around the DC, but will it be too much? Although I grew up with cats we only ever had one that was a kitten but she was an older kitten and I don't remember much in terms of looking after them or litter training etc.

Obviously I know cats like to scratch and we intend on getting all the appropriate gear such as scratch posts and the like, but what are the chances of them actually using them rather than scratching our furniture to bits? Ideally I'd like them to not get their claws into the sofa, or is that a bit too much to ask?

We plan on getting the cat neutered (if it isn't already) and will also get pet insurance. I know there are a lot of mixed reviews regarding pet insurance but I feel it would be a wise decision for us, as we don't have thousands just lying around should the cat fall ill and require an operation or something.

We'll be checking out all our local cat rescue centres when the time comes in the hope that they can help us find the perfect match.

Any advice will be much appreciated, it's a ways off yet but I just want to make sure we are making the right decision and are well equipped for the commitment so feel free to suggest anything I will have inevitably missed out.

Qwebec Tue 26-Jul-16 02:07:53

Honestly, I would get an adult cat rather than a kitten especially with such youg kids. It will be mcuh easier to assess it's personality and to choose one that fits with your family. Also, a more mature cat that is used to kids will know how to behave around them, much less trauma for all involved.

Cats and sofas are a different matter. I found that clipping a cat's claws regularly minimises the damage massively. But it also depends on the cat, some listen, some don't, others only listen if you are in the room. It's a bit hit and miss.

BikeRunSki Tue 26-Jul-16 03:19:09

Completely agree with Qwebec. We adopted an 11 month old female tabby a few months ago and she's fitted into our rather raucous family lifestyle (dc are 4 and 7) very well.,

As for scratching posts - I've had several cars throughout my life. Some have used a scratching post, some haven't. None have only scratched on a scratching post.

Another piece of advice - and thus may just be me - just get a bog standard moggy. The extra care and worry that comes with the pedigree Maine Coon, Ragdoll etc breeds - beautiful as they are - is probably not worth it. I have a friend whinged a pair of Maine Coon kittens. they cost several £100 each, and are not allowed out in case they get stolen. There's a few hours panic whenever one escapes.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 26-Jul-16 07:06:23

I wouldn't get a kitten with a toddler, it's not unknown for them to accidentally kill kittens.

An adult cat is a better fit for toddlers.

TheGreatDessert Tue 26-Jul-16 07:35:18

Cat rescues are more likely to have older cats anyway and they'll be marginally less trouble.

I don't live in the UK but both of my cats are street rescues (literally) as we don't have any official rescue centers here. Boy cat was 6 weeks when I scooped him up. Girl cat was 3 or 4 months I think. They are both medium/long haired and shed a lot which is an unavoidable nightmare, so I highly recommend short hair if possible. Scratchwise, girl cat uses scratching posts and particularly loves the corrugated cardboard ones you can get. Boy cat is only interested in digging his claws in carpet. Sofas I replaced with leather as fabric ones were scratched at, particularly underneath and were hair logged permanently. I have minimal ornaments/decorative items as crazy cat hour means mad zooming and skidding along the floor tiles with no means of stopping. Everything I buy is assessed on a "will the cats claw/break it" scale. One of them used to tightrope along the top of the tv (flat screen)... confused

In hindsight they're a nightmare but I wouldn't be without them.

Oh and don't forget the vomit. One of mine does it regularly for no real reason. I've had one too many biscuits envy, human mother told me off envy, I ate a plant envy, I have a hairball envy, I'm bored envy. Lots of vomit...

Mine are indoor only which I think amplifies all of the above.

Lweji Tue 26-Jul-16 07:40:27

When I was looking for a cat for DS the rescue centre wouldn't give kittens to under 6.
I doubt they'll be happy with an 18 month old.

Also, you should never get a kitten so young that you have to litter train.

We did get a kitten and it was not hard work.
You do have to consider all the vaccines and sterilising it, though.

IAmAPaleontologist Tue 26-Jul-16 07:49:23

As others have said don't go for a tiny kitten, too squash able, not sensible enough to get out of the way of toddlers and also have not got the hang of the whole retracting claws thing so liable to scratch the children accidentally.

An older kitten should be great though, between 6 months to a year ish. They are bigger, will scarper when they want to but are still really kittenish and love to play.

We took the Dc to the rescue centre and they introduced us to some confident cats that would cope with the children. Our cat is fab, youngest dc was 3 when we got him and though it took a while for him to learn the cat now let's himget away with murder, ds grabs him in a headlock and walks around the house with him and all the cat does is get a resigned look on his face. You can guarantee that if the older dc tried that the cat would turn round and swipe them grin

What was helpful was we got one of those igloo cat beds so he could really hide if he needed to and taught the dc that if the cat was innhis bed he was to be left alone.

imwithspud Tue 26-Jul-16 07:57:31

Thanks for all the replies, I knew I'd get some good advice posting here. Will take it all into consideration. And yes to getting a short hair, my parents still have one of our cats from my childhood. It's a gorgeous long hair, but she doesn't half malt and leave clumps of hair everywhere, not to mention the critters that attach themselves to the fur when she goes outside. The short hairs we had where nowhere near as bad for that.

Will talks to dp about maybe getting a slightly older cat, it definitely sounds like the more sensible option given our circumstances.

BorpBorpBorp Tue 26-Jul-16 16:47:04

My semi-long hair doesn't malt any more than my shorthair does, and I've had no problems with her bringing in 'friends' on her fur (in fact the shorthair is more likely to come home covered in debris), but ymmv.

Wrt scratching, mine have never been interested in sofa or curtains, but love to scratch carpet and wooden bannisters. Telling them off discourages them a bit, and they do it less indoors now that they can go out. I've heard that the problem with most scratching posts is that they don't provide enough resistance and they're too easy to knock over, but I don't know.

Any chance you could get two? I would definitely recommend getting a pair. They keep each other company and it's really fun to watch them interact, and it's barely any more work than one.

BagelGoesWalking Wed 27-Jul-16 13:31:14

Do you have a couple of places where you can put down litter trays where your young children can't get to so easily, but the cat can?

This seems to be an issue on several threads and can cause the cat to start peeing/pooing in other places which is certainly not ideal!

Can you put up a couple of stairgates, so that any cat can "escape" to a quieter place and toddlers can't follow. That might be helpful.

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