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Advice on cat adoption please 🐈

(55 Posts)
user1471530109 Sat 11-Jan-20 12:52:07

Afternoon all,

I would like to get a cat. Open to more than one.
I'm a single parent and work full time, 2 dd (10 and 6). I'm a teacher so normally aim to be home 4-4.30 for my own children.

I'm torn as to which way to go. I have been given details are a litter of tabbies who are now 8 weeks. Are they really hard work and will they need more time and attention than I can realistically give?

Or, 8 month old kittens-a trio of girls who apparently are very close and like a fuss. These are at my local rescue. Would I be naive getting 3?! They are all neutered and vaccinated etc.

Or an older cat? There are a few around 1-3 but they are apparently quite timid. Or some that appear quite a lot older.

I'd like youngish cats but I would really like a cat that wants fussing and is a bit of a homebody.

So, are v young kittens a bad idea (I was thinking 2 but there are three left in the litter). Are three older kittens a better option? Or should I be considering an older young cat (but not sure the right temperament is available as of yet).

I haven't had a cat for about 20 years and even then we didn't get him as a kitten.

Thanks. I've got no one to ask advice on this and I'm going round in circles! I've deliberately not gone to see any in case I fall in love and make a mistake.

OP’s posts: |
Mustrryharder Sat 11-Jan-20 12:56:57

I have two sisters which i got as kittens and I wouldn't say that they were any more work than another cat, and i often think i should have got a third haha. All that would put me off a third is more cat hair as although ours are shorthaired they do malt quite a lot. I work long hours but have never worried about them because they have each other. I'm sure your children would give them more than enough fuss with no effort!

I would definitely recommend a pair or trio, maybe you could consider rehoming a bonded pair if you're not sure about kittens

Mustrryharder Sat 11-Jan-20 12:58:14

Also i got girls because they don't go far from home and they spend the majority of their time in the house or just our garden smile

user1471530109 Sat 11-Jan-20 13:15:33

That's really good to hear, Musttry thank you. I had read on here to get boys in pairs rather than girls? It's good to know that wasn't a problem with yours.

Would you say the older kittens would be a better idea? I think they are 6 months rather than 8 actually.
The younger ones are 8 weeks... I suppose the older ones have had the vets checks, neutered and chipped and I'd have to pay for all this with the younger ones.

I have no idea if either set are still available grin

OP’s posts: |
Mustrryharder Sat 11-Jan-20 14:03:59

I would happily go for either! Personally I'd probably be inclined to go for the older ones as kittens will always find a home and i like the thought of cats being kept together, and it will be a bit cheaper. My girls loved each other as kittens so the owner wanted them to be homed together, these days they are quite independent from each other but you can tell they love each other, and if they get scared they cuddle up together <3

Dancingontheedge Sat 11-Jan-20 14:12:20

We’ve always gone for rescue cats around 6/7 years old, I like a cat whose personality and preferences have been established. Kittens are cute, but very demanding, need a lot of rescuing from their daft choices and you don’t know what the adult will be like.

LikeSilentRaindrops Sat 11-Jan-20 14:21:37

We’re the same as Dancing - never wanted the hassle of kittens. We got our first younger cat (6mo) earlier this year, and she’s less affectionate than the other 6 older rescues we’ve had!! I think there’s a lot to be said for a more experienced cat, they’re often much more desperate for love having lived without it previously in many cases.

Would recommend rehoming a pair, as they are good company for each other, and no more work really. We had 3 at one point and that didn’t feel too many either.

Honestly, we’ve never chosen our cats, they’ve chosen us. Even when we’ve visited rescue centres to look at a particular one, we’ve usually left with another that just ‘spoke’ to us. Really recommend trying to visit a place with quite a few cats. Where (roughly) are you based?

eldeeno Sat 11-Jan-20 14:32:27

I'm a teacher too with lots of demands on my time. We went for an older rescue (8), and she has been perfect. We were able to discuss with the rescue our wants / needs with a cat, and they matched us to an adorable 8 year old. She's 13 now and has fitted in perfectly.

The benefits of an older cat is that they don't need training, don't destroy furniture and happy to be let alone. We got our at the start of the Easter holidays, Si by the time I went back to work, she was able to use the cat flap and come and go as she pleases. She has been no work tbh.

user1471530109 Sat 11-Jan-20 14:47:48

Midlands-warwickshire. There are a few rescue centers close by with one only down the road.
I'm a little tempted to give them a call, it's appointment only. But I'm useless at getting myself in situations. I'm worried I'll get a car full of cats as I won't be able to walk away blush

A lot of the posts on their website implies they don't know their ages (obviously). How can I make an educated guess at a cats age?

OP’s posts: |
spurs4ever Sat 11-Jan-20 14:56:53

I've had several cats over the years but only one kitten. A kitten old enough to be rehomed is no more "work" than an older cat but sometimes they do need rescuing from daft choices which isn't always the case for older cats. For example we had to remove two fence panels in our garden the first time our kitten ventured out because our neighbours were on holiday and he'd gone into their garden and hid.
Obviously I love him to bits but next time we will go for an older cat again, maybe she's 4-6. Please do your research on the rescue centre if you use one. Make sure the cat will be neutered/ chipped/vaccinated (always will be if it's a reputable rescue). The benefit of older cats with children is that you have more of an idea of their temperament too.
As for guessing the age, an average cat is fully grown by 1-2 years of age. The rescue will certainly give an educated guess at their age. Happy hunting!

spurs4ever Sat 11-Jan-20 14:57:37

*around 4-6, not she's lol

user1471530109 Sat 11-Jan-20 15:06:05

Thank you, everyone. It's been good to talk it through.
The rescue has lots of 5 star reviews and all cats are vaccinated, neutered and chipped. Think it's been running since the 60s shock.

There are a couple of adult cats that sound perfect. Very much besotted with each other and sound incredibly lazy. There is a third with them but apparently not as close and they would be happy to separate. Not sure I could be that cruel but I'm still not sure three cats is a good decision. We are in a small 3 bed semi, rural and big garden though.

We also have a hamster. In my dds room. It's a viscous little sod so we rarely get her out. She's happy to talk to you through the bars of her cage but really hates handling. She's in a v big cage. Would an adult cat be a problem for the hamster? Would a cat be able to knock a big heavy cage over? I'm more worried about the hamster being scared than hurt iyswim. I can't rely on my dd to shut the door.

OP’s posts: |
Allergictoironing Sat 11-Jan-20 17:23:07

Bear in mind that cats these days tend to live to a grand old age, late teens/early 20s isn't unusual so an "older" cat of 7-8 years is in it's prime & has a long time left still.

The adult bonded pair sound a possibility, and tbh it wouldn't really be that bad to split them from a 3rd who isn't that closely bonded with them. The rescue I got mine from had up to 4-5 together in the same run (big runs!) but there was no problem splitting them as long as they weren't bonded - mine were, but I wanted a pair anyway smile.

As a pp said, you have a much better idea of their personalities once they have got past the kitten stage.

user1471530109 Sat 11-Jan-20 21:33:08

Well, the rescue got back to me and said they didn't feel they had any cats currently that would fit my specifications. She did say that she has a waiting list of cats about to join so I'm hopeful.

At another centre there are two siblings. One has the exact name of my dd and the other has a similar name of the other's pulled at my heartstring a bit!

But there is a big but. They have tested positive for coronavirus (which googling says is v common) but their brother died a few months ago from FIP.
I'm assuming this is a big no no?

I'm being impatient! Not been like this in years grin. I need a furry companion especially when the DC are at their dads.

OP’s posts: |
elaeocarpus Sun 12-Jan-20 08:24:43

You. Need to visit, not select from a description. I visited a sanctuary with a couple of specific cats in mind. In the flesh neither were right, but another cat, which was not ready to go home, my daughter just clicked with. We reserved her and waited several weeks til she was ready, visiting several times.

I would also suggest getting a cat not a kitten if you are out most if the day


BettaSplenden Sun 12-Jan-20 08:31:42

Cats rather then kittens in your circumstances would be easier. I had 3 all the time growing up and it was a good number. I have 2 brothers now That are a bonded pair and are very loving. Try and find a foster based rescue to meet thier cats too it's a bit far but I got mine from Lina's Cat Rescue. Seeing then in foster homes is good because they're usually more like they would be at home

BarracudaSharkNose Sun 12-Jan-20 08:37:54

I think you could manage a pair of kittens, they keep each other busy!

But older cats would be good too, just be patient with them, keep them in for a couple of weeks and only let them out when they are hungry, more incentive to come home rather than explore.

ExpletiveDelighted Sun 12-Jan-20 08:57:20

We adopted a pair of sister cats at a year old, it has worked out very well. We avoided the kitten mischief phase and they settled quickly. They are now 7. One is gentle and aloof and has been so since day 1. She is very tolerant of being picked up and cuddled but is not a lap cat. The other is a bit feistier and has given us all a few nips and scratches but also loves spending time on laps/in beds. The nipping/scratching has gradually stopped. They go in and out all the time but never seem to venture further than the gardens on either side of ours.

With regards to the hamster, I feed pets for a friend who has a cat and a cage of bedroom-dwelling gerbils. They keep the bedroom door shut at all times unless they are in the room and keeping an eye on the pets and it is fine.

One thing to bear in mind if getting more than one is that the costs start mounting up for food, insurance, vet bills, cattery if you use one.

Ratbagcatbag Sun 12-Jan-20 09:54:38

I work full time and am a single parent. I decided I wanted a slightly more placid older cat.
Went and looked at some 3 year olds and instead ended up falling in love with this then 7 year old three legged beast called Reggie.

He's adorable. Loves attention and cuddles. Purrs like a train as soon as you call his name and has never scratched anything. He's also fab with my excitable 6 yo dd. Don't discount an older cat. They are lovely and you mostly know what temperament you're getting.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 12-Jan-20 10:55:02

I'm more worried about the hamster being scared than hurt iyswim. I can't rely on my dd to shut the door

I have two cats but before them , my DD and I had eight guinea-pigs over a period of time . I refused to get cats until y last guinea-pig died of old age .

Your DD will need to have some way of making sure 100% that the hamster is safe , and if it is as simple as not shutting the door and the cat gets the hamster ....!

I sound a bit judgey but I firmly believe the existing pet has to be a priority when introducing a new one . Cats and rodents can co-exist but leaving the cage open is non-negotiable .

You will need to keep the cat/kittens in one room to begin with . Your DC will need (and you too grin ) to be vigilant .

We kept ours in the back room ( kitchen/dining room/family room ) for the first week and had signs on both sides of the door :
CATS-knock and wait so no-one barged through

After a week they had more free run of the house but all the doors had to be opened /closed with them in mind.
No open windows unless it was the bathroom and we were in there (opens 2")

Ours cats were a year old . Still quite kitteny in behaviour but in adult size .

Getting a cat from a very local rescue means you'd need to make sure your cats were bonded to their new house in case they try to get 'home' to the rescue .

Ours arrived in May and went out in July so indoors about 8 weeks.

Wouldn't be without the furry muddy-paw-prints-on-the-bed , live-worm-bringing little ratbags .

AnnaMagnani Sun 12-Jan-20 11:03:05

I'd say you need to visit the rescue centre.

A cat is a cat. You may have a list of specifications but when you see the cats, something else may suit you. Plus you never really see their true personality at the rescue anyway. Lots are timid there and much more out going when homed. I have a cat that hides under a blanket at cattery but never shuts up at home.

I have always gone for kittens and taken the first 2 that were available - not fussy me. You fall in love anyway and each cat has its own amazing personality.

You might go with the idea of getting a cat that's a year old and comeback with a 7 year old once you have met it. You just never know.

user1471530109 Sun 12-Jan-20 11:03:09

Thanks everyone. It's all really helpful advice.

I didn't mean the hamster cage door! I meant the bedroom door shock

There aren't any suitable cats at the rescue at the moment according to them. So I guess we will wait unless I'm daft enough to enquire about the 8 week old kittens 🙈

OP’s posts: |
70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 12-Jan-20 13:40:36

Have you had a Home Check done? It's usually the Volunteers that do them and they can do a Street Google on the roads round your house to assess them (some will not re-home a cat on a busy road unless they are 100% indoor)

The tiny kittens might not be suitable for younger DC and being left during the day and there's every chance they might be snapped up before you are approved .

The three 8 month ones sound promising . Find out their history - they might have been born in Rescue , or they might be the scrag end of a litter someone couldn't sell sad angry
You could get them out of Rescue and into a home when they are still young enough and they'll have the Spring/Summer to enjoy outside once they are settled .

But there are loads of adult cats , often a lovely housepet who has found themselves there due to the owner moving, being ill, unable to take the cat with them, allergies (have you checked your DC are ok with cat fur?) going into care or death.

They will often be timid in Rescue so you don't see their true colours.

You'll need to pay a fee ( we paid £80/cat + a donation) but if they are kittens I think you get a discounted rate if you use the Rescues vet and have to sign that you will neuter .
This would be in your Rescue Fee .

Males are often soppier , our boy was so shy , hiding under the sofa shy , but he's blossomed He is fearful in new situations but never aggressive . (The female is bolder and will bite you if she deems you deserve it grin )

We saw our cats online (CPL) and they fit the bill. We met them and they agreed to tolerate us .

MyMumTracyBeaker Mon 13-Jan-20 10:51:37

We've never had a cat before and adopted our gorgeous 4 year old boy from a local rescue in the summer. We had a list of about 3 that we wanted to see, based on suitability of our family (ages of dc etc.). He came chipped, neutered and vaccinated and we paid a £60 adoption fee.

My husband was keen on a kitten, but our cat was 4 years old when we adopted him. He's been brilliant - toilet-trained, we could see at the rescue that he was friendly and affectionate (he chose my daughter when he met her!), and very little trouble. He likes to go roaming during the day and stays in after he comes in for his tea (around 5pm). He has made friends with the neighbour's cat so they are often seen prowling around together. He doesn't use his litter tray (we have two) very often, prefers to go outside. Although he likes company, he's pretty independent and doesn't require a lot of attention. We kept him indoors for the first 8 weeks, although we did take him out in the garden on a harness (he's very docile). Since he's been allowed out, he comes back regularly at feeding time and if we're out, he's usually waiting for us in the garden when we return, or we leave a back door open for him.

He's never on his own for more than 4 hours, so we haven't got a cat flap, but would have considered it if someone wasn't around for most of the day, to let him in and out.

I'd love to adopt another cat from the rescue (I've got my eye on a lovely 12 year old gentleman who has been there for ages), but my cat is happy as the lone cat in the house, and I'm not keen to disturb the situation in case he starts tearing up the carpets and weeing everywhere in response! His costs are insurance, vet plan, food, cattery when we go away and a bit of litter.

BovaryX Wed 15-Jan-20 08:23:36

I think you should get an adult cat rather than kittens. Kittens can be hard work! Have you had cats before? Three kittens could be quite a handful. Providing a loving home to an adult rescue is an admirable thing to do. As PP have said, cats can live to 18 years and beyond, consider vet bills and some 'cat furniture ' possibly. Like a scratching post and cat basket. Good luck

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