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Cat/Kitten experts please help

(141 Posts)
Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 11:12:58

I want to get a cat after the Christmas period is safely over.
I would really like a kitten rather than an older cat.

The reason for this is that I have three small dogs and three kids still at home.
This means we are a busy, fairly noisy household albeit one that is experienced with animals.

I of course want a rescue kitten.

The first rescue I approached were very nice but are clearly not dog people and referred to my dogs as 'a pack' and expressed concern that an inexperienced kitten wouldn't cope.

My dogs are not a pack at all. They do not work in a group and are not best mates.
I am listening to the rescue. I don't want to put a kitten in danger but I have always had kittens and dogs and have never encountered an issue before.

They suggested an older cat (an adolescent) who had lived with dogs.

My biggest concern is that an older cat, once sizing up the household might just vote with their paws and bugger off before they have settled in.
A kitten is much easier to contain and introduce very slowly to different parts of the house and different residents. I would also be keeping a kitten in for a longer period. Something an older cat might find distressing.

I think my dogs would be more threatened by a large cat than they would be by a kitten. They are very small dogs, about the size of a med-large cat.

What do you lot think?

I have never had a dog injure a cat before. I find cats are much more able to size situations up and get out the way but the rescue was clearly concerned and I don't want to dismiss that

Littlemissindependent Fri 23-Dec-16 11:32:34

I'd be reluctant to home a kitten with 3 dogs and 3 kids. Is there a particular reason you want a cat?

thecatneuterer Fri 23-Dec-16 11:39:09

I agree with the rescue in this situation. For starters we don't home kittens singly anyway, only in pairs or with their mum. Kittens become distressed when removed from their siblings and it's important for them to have playmates, or at least their mum.

I doubt though that we would even home a pair of kittens in this situation. It would be just too overwhelming. The only sort of cat we would consider homing is one that is used to dogs and, depending on the ages of your children, is very chilled out generally/used to small children.

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 12:43:25

Is there a particular reason you want a cat?
That is an odd question

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 12:44:09

You wouldn't home to a family with three children?
Why on earth not?

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 12:44:50

I would be happy to home a pair of kittens.

brooklynbaby Fri 23-Dec-16 12:47:06

Is there a particular reason you want a cat?

What a bizarre thing to ask confused

MycatsaPirate Fri 23-Dec-16 12:49:32

I agree that I wouldn't put a kitten into a house with three dogs and three children. it's just too much.

You should think about looking for a juvenile around 18 months or so who is used to dogs. There are so many cats in rescue and a cat of this age would be easier to introduce than a kitten imo.

Kittens are very curious and likely to want to pounce on your dogs, are you sure, 100% sure that they wouldn't retaliate?

Kittens also need an awful lot of care. They are destructive, eat and chew things, rip things, pull things over and generally are as much work as a toddler. I'm not sure how old your dc are but any cat or kitten needs a quiet place to escape to and I'm wondering if you have that in a house with three dogs and three kids.

We have four cats, all rescues. Two of them are very timid and I wouldn't have taken them on without thinking about the practicalities of having a quiet place, space for each cat to have in the house and whether I can be committed to spending a lot of time introducing the cat to the house, it's residents and helping it relax and settle in. This took months both times but are both now lap cats who love fuss and affection.

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 12:58:46

Kittens also need an awful lot of care. They are destructive, eat and chew things, rip things, pull things over and generally are as much work as a toddler. I'm not sure how old your dc are but any cat or kitten needs a quiet place to escape to and I'm wondering if you have that in a house with three dogs and three kids

What about my op made you think I needed that explained to me?

TrustySnail Fri 23-Dec-16 13:12:04

I think it's impossible to generalise, as all dogs and cats are different. My personal experience is that it was much easier for me to socialise a dog with cats/kittens than a cat with another cat or kitten - but my dog is a Cavalier King Charles with very low dominance instincts and I have never had more than one dog.

Could you ask one of the rescues to visit you and meet your dogs? I don't see how they can make a valid assessment without doing this.


Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 13:14:34

That is what I thought Trusty and referring to dogs as 'a pack' made me think they were not experienced with dogs.

Unfortunately I think there is a tendency to treat anyone approaching a rescue as a bit dim. I have lived and worked with animals all my life. I am willing to take advice from those more experienced than I but I feel that advice should be based on something other than a dislike and distrust of dogs and kids

JennyOnAPlate Fri 23-Dec-16 13:16:13

The only thing that would concern me would be how your dogs might react to being pounced on by a playful kitten. Have they been around a kitten before, or just older cats?

longdiling Fri 23-Dec-16 13:16:18

Because the last thing most people would want to introduce to an already busy household is kitten chaos! I was really surprised when you said you wanted a kitten because your house is so busy and noisy. I have a noisy, busy house as a childminder and mum of 3. Our rescue cat settled in seamlessly with very little hassle. She was adept at getting herself out of the way to a quiet spot and much better at avoiding kids trying to pick her up.

Meanwhile, the kitten I acquired recently adds chaos to every situation. She seems to really need company so doesn't take herself out of the way. The kids need to be constantly nagged and watched to make sure they're not too in her face. She bounces around everywhere in the middle of everything and generally drives me bonkers! I could well imagine if we had a dog that she'd be constantly harassing it by chasing it's tail and stuff.

I'd say a cat would be far better for you.

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 13:23:22

I think that is a bit of an odd attitude tbh.
You can't gloss over the 'inconvenient' bit of pet ownership buy skipping the hard bits.

My children don't need constant nagging to stay out of animal's faces as they have been bought up with them their whole lives.

I could well imagine if we had a dog that...
So you don't have a dog or experience of having a kitten and dog?

I don't really need people imagining issues. I really need people who have either had a kitten with dogs and its gone well OR someone for whom it hasn't worked who can tell me why.

I don't think thats unreasonable.

TrustySnail Fri 23-Dec-16 13:24:48

I feel that advice should be based on something other than a dislike and distrust of dogs

Have you tried approaching a rescue that caters for both cats and dogs (eg. RSPCA or there may be other local ones)? You'd hopefully find people there with a good understanding of dogs, and also the experience to assess your dogs properly on a home visit.

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 13:26:36

jenny that is a reasonable concern.
That would be my worry. Introducing any small animal bigger animals is always a risk.

I don't know how they would react. I don't think its possible to say how any dog would. My plan was to introduce very slowly and individually over quite few weeks.

In the past our dogs have been fine with kittens. I can honestly say I have never had an incident of one of my dogs attacking a kitten or older cat.

But of course I don't take that for granted.

I have zero worries about my children harming or harassing a cat or kitten.

ChaoticKate Fri 23-Dec-16 13:49:14

I have three dogs and a new kitten (but no children). We keep the kitten physically separated most of the time and are taking introductions very slowly and carefully. The dogs tolerate rather than like each other and are fine with the kitten on an individual basis but when the kitten squeaked and moved too quickly they started behaving in quite a worrying way as a group. I must emphasise that on an individual basis they are all traditional family breeds and massive softies and I've never seen them act like that before. We are lucky and have space for the kitten to live entirely separately in the house and we would never leave them alone together even when the cat is fully grown and they're more used to it. Any dogs can and will act together as a pack when exposed to the right triggers - such as something small and squeaky. A dog could kill a small kitten in seconds and it would be dead before you had the chance to do anything. If you have the ability to keep a kitten separate and safe, which I suspect may be a bit more difficult with children in the mix, then by all means get one. I've had many singleton kittens, it depends on the personality and many don't need a sibling or buddy. Ours is hilarious and we have loads of fun with him. He's super-confident and pretty relaxed. Please consider carefully how you would ensure the safety and wellbeing of any possible kitten and how you and your children would feel if one or more of your dogs killed it while your attention was elsewhere.

Namechangeemergency Fri 23-Dec-16 13:53:21

That is very helpful Chaotic. Thank you.

Yes, the plan was plenty of slow, careful introductions.
I am able to keep the kitten separate for quite a long time as we already have things in place to keep the dogs in separate areas if we need to.

I think I have already been clear about my wish to keep the kitten safe.

If didn't care I would have gone out and bought one of the many hundreds available on Gumtree etc.

longdiling Fri 23-Dec-16 14:00:16

Well it's not exactly a massive stretch of the imagination that a kitten would chase something is it?! They chase everything. I'm certainly not passing comment on how your dogs would react am I? Because I don't know anything about them.

And I think opting for a cat rather than a kitten is hardly showing that you want to opt out of the hard bits. In many circumstances it can be a responsible attitude rather than an odd one. A cat has definitely been a better fit for us, as a busy noisy household, than the kitten we acquired.

It really doesn't matter if you end up with a thread full of kitten and dog experts agreeing with you, that won't influence the rescue will it? Unless you are going to 'show them the thread' in time honoured mumsnet fashion. I was simply pointing out that a cat could fit just as well as a kitten in a busy household.

If you have your heart set on a kitten but this rescue days know then I guess you have to try another rescue.

longdiling Fri 23-Dec-16 14:02:37

Sorry rescue 'says no' that should read.

Wolfiefan Fri 23-Dec-16 14:05:22

I wouldn't do this. Kittens are unpredictable and scratchy creatures. Dogs see running as an invitation to chase. I would look for a cat that had lived with dogs already. I really would.

SVJAA Fri 23-Dec-16 14:09:55

I've got 3 kids and a dog and I just took in a year old brother/sister pair of cats (SSPCA and cat protection are full and wouldn't take them). They've been fine!

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 23-Dec-16 14:50:44

I don't think an older cat used to dogs would abscond. Their very practical creatures.

I have known established cats to Bugger off when a new puppy arrived, a rather bouncy gun dog.

Have you had a kitten before?.

SVJAA Fri 23-Dec-16 14:56:58

One of my boys fecked off when DD was born, he wasn't impressed. He lives with an elderly lady a few doors away now. I'd had him for years!

MycatsaPirate Fri 23-Dec-16 15:15:29

Are you always so bloody snippy to people who have taken the time to post a response?

I was thinking in terms of kitten pulling something down that the dogs may eat.

I was thinking in terms of have you sufficient space for all four animals to have their own area.

I was thinking in terms of do your children understand about respecting the need for leaving sleeping animals lie.

But as you are clearly a fucking expert I'm not sure why you've even posted.

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