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The litter tray

prospective cat owner questions

10 replies

trifling · 04/01/2012 13:04

I'd be really grateful for some experienced advice, please. Am thinking of getting a cat (or two) or kittens for us (ds aged 6 v keen) but haven't had cats for ages and not sure what's sensible. We go away for 2 weeks once a year, and for weekends, would get neighbours to drop in daily then. There is usually someone at home during the day otherwise. We live in a terraced urban street with other cats, would expect them to be outside a lot but in the past I've had problems with cat doors and other cats coming in upsetting the home cat; is it reasonable to avoid cat flaps, just let out as and when, and have litter tray if necessary? (I haven't found the magnetic cat door locks foolproof, either). Want moggies and would be happy with rescue cats. What else should we be considering? And if we got cats in the next few months would they be settled in enough to be left in the summer? Thanks!

OP posts:
Listmaker · 04/01/2012 14:19

I would say cats are the easiest pets of all to have. We go away a similar amount to you and the neigbours just come in once a day as they eat dry food but that is easier if you have a cat flap. I feed a friends' and she doesn't have a cat flap so I have to go twice a day and just leave them out all day.

We have a magnetic cat flap and three cats and have never had another cat remotely near our backdoor and there are lots of cats around here.

One of ours is a rescue cat and the other two were unwanted by someone we know so we took them when they were 5 months old and they are all great. I love them to bits. The rescue one did have some stomach issues though and it wasn't cheap getting them sorted out but he's been fine for years now.

I'd say if you get them soon they will definitely be fine by summer. Think kitten season is March to Oct though so not sure how many kittens might be available?


DontCallMeBaby · 04/01/2012 18:48

I'm undecided about cats being let in and out. I have at least one friend who does this with her cats and it seems to work. But from the other side of things, I'm pretty sure that the cat who bullies my cats has this kind of lifestyle, and that part of the reason it used to come into our house, eat their food and stress them out, was that it didn't have access to its own home.

We've got over this now by putting in a microchip catflap - cost a bit, but a big improvement on stressed cats who were beginning to piss in the house. Hasn't entirely stopped them getting beaten up though (one of them came in battered yesterday). No doubt in the summer the other cat will start just strolling in through the open back door again.

We do usually get someone in to check on them (and feed them obviously) when we go away, but I'm not sure where the cut-off point is when I'd prefer a cattery. They went into one for ten days over Christmas 2009, and didn't like it (lovely cattery, just not their thing, they sulked the entire time and weed in their beds). So ever since we've had someone come in, but I think if I was going away for much more than a week I'd prefer a cattery. Given their propensity for getting beaten up I'd worry too much.

Wolfiefan · 04/01/2012 18:56

Ours have never had a cat flap. They expect doorman service and will ask to go out! We leave them with a cattery if we go away as they come back to my whistle but may just ignore someone else. I would say a normal rescue (not feral etc) would be fine to leave if they have had a few months to settle.
(Breaks off to rescue daft cat who has got herself shut in the dining room and is now scrabbling to get out!)
Love my cats dearly. Got 2 about 2 year old. Kittenish but not scratchy iyswim.
My cats never stay out at night. I always call them in. Where in the country are you? Do you know any rescue places?
If you do go for the plunge then ENJOY! My cats make me laugh almost as much as my kids!

tabulahrasa · 05/01/2012 17:14

I have two and no catflap, it works fine - but I don't let them out if I'm going to be out for longer than an hour or so and they won't be able to get back in and I keep them in at night. They definitely need a litter tray though.

I wouldn't put mine in a cattery unless it was an emergency tbh, one of mine had to spend one night at the vets and she was a nervous wreck for days - and she's the less timid of the two, lol.

I'm lucky, I've got a neighbour who'll come in and feed them and her DC come up to play with them and let them in and out if I'm away, before the DC were old enough to do that - I'd have two people visiting them, so that it wasn't one person having to make lots of trips to visit my spoiled cats

trifling · 09/01/2012 13:55

Fab answers, thank you! What about the one kitten vs two question? and how old would you take a kitten from? Is 3 -4 months about right (that's the age of the ones in the local shelter)?

OP posts:
eirikthered · 09/01/2012 19:14

About the ages: we used to know a pedigree cat breeder who NEVER let her kittens go to new homes any earlier than 12 weeks, which is the age when the mother cat has completely lost interest in them and would naturally leave them to fend for themselves. Personally, I think taking them away sooner than that, while the mother cat is still bonded to them, is cruel. So 3 to 4 months sounds ideal to me.

Listmaker · 11/01/2012 12:22

Cats are fine on their own but my three do love to play fight, chase each other about and sleep near each other etc so I think they like a bit of company too. So whatever would suit you I guess?

Our first two were 4 months old I think (rescue cats so not sure and then got run over and killed :( ) and the other two were 5 months when we got them. I would have liked smaller kittens but agree that anything under 12 weeks is too young to be away from their mother. 4 and 5 months were still cute though and settled well quite quickly.

Listmaker · 11/01/2012 12:22

that's one of the first pair got killed which is when we got the other two.........

DontCallMeBaby · 11/01/2012 18:48

Ours were eight weeks - too young, but we were very lucky with them and had no real problems. I think it probably helped that they came together.

FWIW they were still insanely cute at 3 or 4 months - in fact they still are at 2.5. Those extra couple of months would get them out of the seriously scratchy stage, which DD found a bit alarming.

Having two is brilliant. They used to snuggle up together when they were smaller, and still do occasionally. Mostly they fight and it is REALLY funny. They have real fights with local cats, which is scary, but with each other they do this ridiculous slapping thing, then fall off whatever they're standing on.

something2say · 12/01/2012 20:12

I got a cat last Christmas. He was exes, who is now married and they had their 3rd child and the cat was being left out and not loved. They kept saying would I have him and in the end I did.


He talks to me, seriously, he asks for what he wants. He sleeps with me. We have a playing routine when I come in from work. He wasn't very happy being picked up etc but now he stretches full length on me. You only have to look at him and he purrs. He LOVES mornings too and gives me loads of kisses while stretched out on me while I drink my coffee. He likes to drink out of the tap in the bathroom which is annoying and he will wake me up for that which I could do without tbh! He likes parties and always joins in when friends come round. He is a British Blue and I would probably not have paid 200 for him, but the quality of his fur is amazing, he is truly a beautiful animal. he was fat when he came to me whereas now he is much sleeker and find it easier to jump about.

Basically living with an animal is great and I don't know I didn't do it years ago.

Go for it I say, and enjoy.

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