General new kitten advice please!(21 Posts)
I have been thinking about getting a cat for about 18 months, I know sometimes I can be somewhat impulsive so have allowed myself a very long time to think it over, and I'm sure a cat is right for us. It's just me and DD (3 years old) at home, I am in most of the day especially during holidays so easy to get the cat settled. Our neighbours have about 12-14 cats between them so DD has a lot of interaction with them and is very gentle.
We have visited 4 cats waiting to be adopted, and none of them were right for us- one bit me and scratched DD's arm badly out of nowhere, after being very friendly. Don't live in a huge town and having waited months, there are no new cats in the shelter and we've elected to go for a kitten instead.
Of course I've had a Google, but after some anecdotal answers!
What should we be looking for when we view a kitten?
We are fine financially so it's not a concern but would like to know, how much did it all cost initially, bar the cost of the kitten, for the medical side of things, vaccinations etc. If the kitten hasn't already had that?
What are the essentials you found useful, and what was a waste of money (I got loads of "" essentials"" when DD was born, only for half of it to be totally unnecessary!)
What is your personal preference for feeing your cats?
What do you do when you go away? (I go away for less than a week every few years so not a huge issue!)
Cat flap or not? (live in a very quiet residential area, not near roads)
Where did you find your kitten/cat? As in, friend, website etc.
What questions to ask the owner about the parents of the cat and the kitten themselves, if at all?
If anyone wants to share their cat's names that would be useful as I can't think of a single one! DD wants to call the cat "Princess", regardless of gender, but I'm not keen...
I was very bad and got my kitten from gumtree. She was advertised at 9 weeks but was only 6 weeks.
Vet was brilliant and she settled in brilliantly. Insurance is £10 per month and vet is another £10 per month (this covers worming tablets and booster vaccinations).
There was also the cost of her initial vaccinations, chipping and spay. Think this would have been around £150 in Total.
I feed her wet, no grain food. When she was a kitten she was on Lily’s kitchen and thrive kitten food. Plus kitten milk.
Best buys - tunnels, water fountain, ping pong balls, fleece blankets, small cuddly toy, laser pen. Lots of bowls.
Defiantly go for catflap if you are letting her outside. I have the sureflap connect so I can monitor her when I am at work. She loves 5e freedom, and it will only let her inside the house. I have seen other cats try to use it!!!
I love my little monster, wouldn’t be without her. Good luck
Personally, I would have the cat be an indoor cat. It's much safer for them. Even if the cat is an indoor cat, you still need to use flea treatment every month. Fleas WILL find a way in.
Start trimming their front claws right away and it will soon be second nature to them. A quick trim once a week will keep them from being able to damage your furniture. Make sure you get a cat tree that has a scratching post on it, and giving it an occasional spritz of cat nip spray keeps them coming back to the post.
All of my cats eat dry food because it's better for their teeth, but the choice is yours. I would personally select a short haired cat because there can be A LOT of faff involved with long haired cats. Tons of brushing, matts in their fur, dirty bums, etc.
Here is a brilliant forum for cat owners - per forums. Lots of great advice there.
Be warned though - strong views on things like diet And letting your little process outside.
I also got some quick release collars made - with my mobile number printed on them incase she wanders. She is in her form as they keep coming off, but at least she won’t get strangled.
Talk to your vet about the huge debate that is wet versus dry. Mine told me it was an urban myth that it cleans their teeth, and cats should have a mix of both wet and dry.
But it evokes very strong feelings, same as the inside / outside debate.
Mine was leaping out upstairs windows to get outside, she absolutely loves it. I have personally decided that her quality of life is better being allowed outside to chase butterflies😻. But I accept there are more dangers for her out there.
You will be an excellent cat slave whatever you decide.
You need to think about cat insurance, both my cats have had various health problems which without insurance would have been 💰 also kitten injections, neutering and flea treatments. Some vets offer a pet plan to incorporate all these things.
There's cat sitters or catteries if you go away.
I personally think keeping cats in all the time is a bit unfair, it also depends on how much you like your windows and doors open in the summer. In our home the back door is always open in summer.
Both my cats came from people whose female cat had had babies before being spayed. Irresponsible I know but lots of people still think it's nice to let cats have one litter
Oh and my cats have always had a mix of wet and dry, one preferred wet and the other only eats a certain brand of dry!!
Sorry should have clarified, they will have access to the garden, but wasn't sure whether I need a cat flap for that or not, a window is always open (not big enough for a human to fit through!). In what way isn't it safe for them to be outside? Is that in terms of getting ill or other things?
Definitely getting insurance, I'm a bit militant about having absolutely everything in my life insured!
Also re:vets, do I just ring a vet practise and sign up there?
Unless you cat proof your garden, access to that means they will be able to wander the entire neighborhood. The potential hazards for cats who go out are being run over, fights with local cats, fights with other animals like foxes if you are rural (or even in some towns), accidental poisoning e.g. spilled antifreeze, eating something poisonous e.g. rodents that have eaten rat poison, or slug pellets, and general accidents.
Regarding windows, there are various types of netting and mesh that can be used to cat proof them when they are open, I use Flat Cats and they are great.
I would ask the local cat owners what vet they use & whether they would recommend them - I use the same one as my DSis used and know cats are his favorite pets (and he has his own at home )
On vets also get one that is relatively close - car journeys can be stressful. They should all have 24 emergency cover.
Oh and covered litter trays help with smells. But if your car has access to the garden she will probably poo out there.
Will your window be open in the winter too? And when you are out?
My friends cat has access through an upstairs window. If they want to close of it before they go to work, or on a very cold night, there is a search party for the cat. Every time😹😹
I actually think a friendly adult cat would be a better fit when you have a child. With kittens you don't know what their personality will be like, and having just one kitten means they do miss out on a lot of socialisation that comes from playing with a sibling (they teach each other boundaries). I volunteer in the rehoming team at a cat charity and we get so many calls from people wanting to surrender their cat to us because what was once a cute kitten is now an adult cat with behavioral problems...
Obviously many kittens turn into lovely adult cats - but still, you just won't know.
Even if you do decide to get a kitten, adopt from a rescue! Unless you go to a registered, reputable breeder or a rescue charity, you are supporting someone breeding irresponsibly from their cat (yes, even those "accidental" litters...). Most kittens from private sellers have not had a vet check up or vaccinations either.
Finally, if you get a kitten, you need to be very careful about not letting him or her out before neutering. Female cats can have their first season at four months of age, and can get pregnant!
Vivat makes an excellent point. My last cat was from a shelter and we got her when she was ten months old.
It took her a little longer to settle in, but she had a lovely calm nature and was very friendly. We think she may have been abused before we got her, she was terrified of the vacuum cleaner, even when it was switched off. We had to hide it.
I would have loved to get my second car from a rescue, but they rejected me because I have a six year old and I work full time. I know they want the best for their cats, but my parents live in the next street and visited twice a day when she was small. She was never alone for more than three hours.
I would go with what Viccat says. A slightly older cat would better suit.
Yes, the shelter didn't seem too keen on us adopting either, because DD is a toddler and I am not a SAHM, even if I'm only out of the house a few hours a day for lectures and seminars as I'm a student, and I'm a total homebody and prefer to be indoors. However the volunteers were lovely and I explained DD and I are both very very quiet and calm and DD isn't here all the time as I have shared custody so she's here evenings, Saturday and at a childminders/daddy's during the day 3 days in the week, and they were reassured we'd be a nice home for a cat who needs a lot of love.
I would rather adopt but our shelter never seems to have many cats in, only 7 in the last five or so months and none of them were right for us but we did visit them in their foster homes. I am happy to wait for a rescue but I don't want to wait too long, preferably have him or her home over summer so I can dedicate time at home to getting them all settled in.
I do remember a neighbour growing up... Thinking back their cats were always having litters, I thought it was normal until my mother mentioned how weird it was that they just kept letting these cats have kittens when most people had one litter or neutered immediately. I don't know what happened to them all. I'd rather not support people like that, no. If we do wait to adopt and it just doesn't happen and we do decide to buy a kitten, how do I know who's a reputable breeder? What are the 'red flags' of someone being an irresponsible breeder?
Yes will definitely keep them inside until they're neutered.
Window is open 9 months out of the year, the winter months are horrendous at times here on the coast but fairly pleasant March to November bar the rain and the odd blizzard (as per March 2018!).
The houses are terraced, so unless the cats somehow go over the rooves of the houses, they can only move between the gardens. Hence we're okay leaving the windows open, we've got quite lucky in this location! As I said there ARE a lot of local cats so that is a concern, yes. The other cats around here are all a lot older and one has yet to meet an untimely demise by way of car or fox but I shall consider that. Will also ask the other cat 'slaves' as you call them (I like that!) what vets they use. Am currently stroking my neighbours cat before I lock up, he's popped in to the garden to say hello!
Much to consider you've all been very helpful and polite, was worried I may get flamed for asking! Silly, I know.
Also have come across a few people looking to rehome older cats but not through a shelter, thoughts on that?
Have NC now but wanted to update, we ended up adopting a gorgeous 9 week old kitten last week who's feral mother rejected the litter and they were rescued at a day old so he's not feral. He's lovely and all settled in and he and DD get on famously! Thanks for all your advice. He's due to be neutered soon and has had his first vaccination, we are registered with a vet and he's all insured. Keeping him inside until he's a bit older and has been done.
The cat we went to view who scratched and bit us sadly passed away 2 weeks later after she was adopted due to a heart condition which, according to the shelter, explains the random lashing out .
He’s adorable - congratulations! What have you named him?
What a nice update. Arlo is beautiful - welcome to slavedom!
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