Been offered a kitten. What should I ask?(18 Posts)
Ok, so another parent at school, who I don't know, has a cat with 8 week old kittens and yesterday they were asking people in passing if anyone wanted one. We were looking into getting a kitten anyway and as we are in a rural area there aren't any local cat rescue centres so I said I would consider it. I went to look at them this morning with the nanny and they seemed fine but to be honest I'm not really sure what I am looking for. They were all active and playful and happy to be picked up and have been handled by the children in the house since they were a couple of weeks old. No sign of the mother but she had brought in a dead shrew that they were playing with so presumably she had gone out to get another! A couple had slightly sticky eyes and noses and I know that's not a great sign, but the others were fine (6 or 7 in total). I guess I am just wary because I have always had rescue cats before so I know that they have been vet checked etc. I have no idea why they haven't had the mother spayed but they don't want any money for the kittens so I have no reason to suspect anything sinister about it. What else should I be asking (without sounding super critical, such as "why the hell don't you get the poor mother spayed?")?
Have they been wormed/flead?
Are they toilet trained?
What food are they on? (As changing this will upset tummies)
Make sure they are at least 8 weeks, ask the owner for their DOB?
You get their jabs done at the vet.
Personally if you're looking at 1 kitten I'd get a pair, as they're excellent company for one another.
I'd just take them straight to the vet to register them, have them aged and checked over generally.
Also need photos of fur babies!
Thanks. I doubt they have been wormed or flead so I will need to get this done asap. I will ask about the toilet training, I am hoping their mum has done this bit! Could only see cheap Morrisons food which I assume was for the mother so I will check about that as well.
I don't think we can stretch to two unfortunately. I'd rather look after one properly rather than having to cut corners.
Would you allow your kids to come along and choose?
They were hilarious, they had basically commandeered the dog's basket and were rolling around in it while the poor dog sat sulking in a corner.
If you are having one, two is not much more expensive and double the fun. And they will entertain each other.
Have checked with local vet and they do a pet care plan for £12 a month which includes flea, worm and tick treatments and annual vaccinations, obviously I will need to get him/her neutered as well, does that sound like a good deal?
I'm not sure tbh. I mean are they responsible breeders. I mean just asking random people. If they want one of the kittens. Seems irresponsible to me. I'd have to actually know the person and know that they'd be safe and looked after.
I could just give or sell them to anyone.
If you do decide it's the right decision, though. Don't forget the pics.
I'm a little concerned about letting them play with dead creatures at such a young age/pre-vacinations etc but that's just me, maybe? Having brought up kittens, I've always been keen on keeping them and their environment clean.
However they sound lovely. My personal rule is to get them vetted regularly so perhaps the first thing to do is get your vet to check your chosen one/pair over thoroughly. Here's a lost of things to consider when choosing I've stolen from the web...
A healthy kitten should have:
Clear eyes with no tearing or discharge. The eyes should be fully open, focus normally, and be able to follow your finger or a piece of string dragged across the floor.
A clean nose with no nasal discharge, sneezing, or labored breathing.
Clean ears with no odor, head shaking, or scratching. Black granular discharge could indicate ear mites.
Gums that are pink, with no sores or ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue. The teeth should be white and properly aligned. There should be no odor to the breath.
An anal area that is clean, with no discoloration, matted fur, of evidence of parasites (tapeworms may look like cucumber seeds).
A clean, soft coat with no dandruff. There should be no evidence of parasites, e.g., lice or fleas (flea dirt may look like tiny black-red granules, which dissolve into red on a moistened paper towel. There should be no evidence of scratching or bald spots (ringworm). A kitten's coat will usually not appear as glossy as an adult's.
A symmetrical body shape, and one that is neither too thin nor has a protruding belly, which could indicate a severe intestinal parasite problem.
A good appetite and be fully weaned.
No lumps or bumps - including at the umbilicus (belly button).
Coordinated movement, with no head tremors. Some cats may have extra toes (polydactyly), but this usually does not cause a problem.
Monthly vet plans are not always value for money. You need to look at wether you are likely to spend over £120 a year on a healthy cat. Even with vaccinations, health checks and nail clips etc, the monthly plan cost a lot more than paying separately.
Our vets is 2x£45 for vaccinations, speying and microchip. So something like that would be more value. Flea and worm stuff isn't that expensive.
I'd be worried that the mother hasn't had her jabs if she's not been spayed. Lack of neutering isn't exactly a good indicator of a responsible pet owner.
At eight weeks, they've just left the kitten socialisation period, so any anxiety or nervousness will be quite ingrained at this point and you are basically presuming that the breeder (who is obviously irresponsible, as she's not spayed the mum) has sufficiently socialised the kittens to flourish in new environments.
Additionally, mum could have a disease that can be passed to the kittens.
It is also incredibly irresponsible to give away kittens for free, as many are used for baiting and other revolting activities. It might be worth mentioning that to the owner for the future.
Whether you should take a kitten or not is up to you. I'd be inclined to think that you should, as you sound like you're doing your homework and one of these kittens might do well with you. But I am not impressed at all with the kittens' owner.
Barksdale I know - I was a bit as well to be honest. It's hard for me to say this without sounding like a city snob, but they seem very 'rural' in their approach to their animals. I am not saying that urban people are kinder to animals, or that people in the countryside always have such a cavalier attitude, but it is just that - cavalier. At no point did the father, who I met yesterday, or the nanny, who I met today, say anything about getting the cat spayed, and if it were me I would be making that point very loudly so that people didn't think I was irresponsible! But I shouldn't be judgey I guess, they seem like nice people, they just have different ideas about animals and that's really none of my business.
You're probably right that the mother hasn't had her jabs, I suppose a rescue kitten would be in the same boat though so I just need to get it checked out and vax straightaway.
The pet care thing sounded like a good idea but I'll check the individual prices - I have used that flea injection before which was quite expensive but it did work, and we get a lot of ticks round here so it includes tick stuff as well.
Well, it's a cavalier attitude, but it's how it used to happen before we all got a lot more careful. Before the current kitten, every cat I've had was a moggie from someone's accidental litter, listed for free on a card in the post office or acquired because we bumped into someone at school. Our previous one of those just died at the age of 20.
This time round we were a lot more neurotic about it. The current mog is also someone's accidental litter, but came via the cats' home with certificates, speyed, vaxed etc. Mind you, it's thick as two short planks, can't meow, can't climb, and thinks it's a dog, having been rejected by its mother and siblings. The old half-feral litters seemed to have a bit more... street-sense, tbh.
We went for it - picked him up yesterday! He is ace. Tried to do the whole "let him hide", "bonding room" thing but he obviously hasn't read that manual because he refused to hide and cried until I went in and basically follows everyone around and cries piteously if he can't find someone. He didn't even flinch at the doorbell/Hoover/hairdryer. Vet has checked him out and he is fine apart from ear mites, so we're sorting that with drops and he's all vaccinated etc now. It's like having a newborn though, none of us are getting any work/housework/homework done whatsoever.
Hes gorgeous. I want one.
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