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The litter tray

Very Very basic Cat questions.

24 replies

TeaOneSugar · 05/08/2012 13:26

We're seriously considering getting a kitten, we've only ever had dogs before, so I have some very basic questions for you cat experts? Hope that's OK?

Where should I get one from? ; I've looked at some adverts, kittens seem to be anything from £10 upwards and lots of people have them, many of the adverts say the kittens are litter trained, which sounds good to me, as I wouldn't know where to start and we will be out during the day (DH is a shift worker so often at home for parts of the day and I work school hours). Will a kitten from a rescue have been litter trained?

What do we need to buy? I'm thinking litter and litter tray, bowls, bed, scratching post? Toys? Food, per carrier, anything else?

What will it cost for standard vets fees?, vaccinations, boosters (do cats have these?), and neutering, will the kitten have had some vaccinations before we collect it? How much will insurance cost?

What does it cost for a cattery? We go on a few holidays a year (touring caravan owners), we wouldn't get a kitten until after October half term as we won't be going anywhere after that until at least February Half Term, so plent of time to settle in, but we'll then need a cattery, it would be useful to know how much a week would cost so I can budget for it.

Are there any other questions I should be asking Remember I've never had a cat and neither has DH.

We have one dd who's 8 and sadly we no longer have any other animals having recently lost our last dog, only a couple of goldfish (there's a lid on their tank).

OP posts:
winemakesmeclever · 05/08/2012 13:38

I would recommend contacting the Cats Protection League in the first instance - they do a home visit and will then match a suitable mog to your family and lifestyle. If youre busy people sometimes kittens aren't the best choice as they need humans around quite a lot to socialise them properly - there are also plenty of young adult cats who need good loving homes! The other benefit of having a rescue cat is that they come neutered and innoculated (in exchange for the donation you give them when you adopt, and yes your cat will need yearly boosters).
A cat will need insurance but check first what it covers - cheaper isn't always better when you find it doesn't cover dental or whatever and you find yourself with a big bill. Mine is about £15 per month.
A good cat carrier will last for years (mine is over 20 years old!). Shop around for a good cattery as they'll be looking after your fluffster when you're on hols and you need to be 100% happy that the cat is happy! the one I use is £7 per night.
And most of all, enjoy your cat!! (you won't regret it!!)

BikeRaceRunningRaceNoSkiing · 05/08/2012 13:40
  1. Try Cat's Protection league, RSPCA or local animal shelter. If you want pedigree rather than might, local vet will know of breeders.

2. Our cat has boosters once a year, with worm tablet and a check up, costs about a£40 .
3. Bowl for food, bowl for water, pet carrier.
4. Cattery about £7-£10/day.
PositiveAttitude · 05/08/2012 13:41


Cats are wonderful pets!! Loving, but independent enough to not be a nuisance!

If you get a kitten from somewhere like the Cats Protection, or RSPCA, then they will already have had injections and you will likely be given a voucher for the spaying/neutering. You will also know that hey will be de-wormed, de-flead and have a good bill of health. If it is your first time of having a kitten, this would probably be a good option for you. I think our local place sells them for about £25, but bear in mind the savings of things being done already.

Sounds as if your "to buy" list is pretty good. I would ask what they have been fed up to now as cats can be very picky. (dont change them to an expensive brand, unless you want to be paying out for that all the time)

Getting 2 kittens is best as they keep each other company, rather than being alone.

Do they really need to go into a cattery when you are away? Do you have a freind or neighbour who would be willing to pop by your house morning and evening to leave some food for them? (supposing you have a catflap for them to go outside by then?) Its a lot cheaper to pay a local friendly teenager to feed them for a week, or ask a neighbour and you can return the favour. Mine would never have settled in a cattery as they like their own place and routines too much.

issey6cats · 05/08/2012 13:45

where from please consider a rescue as all the rescues in the country are overloaded with kittens at the moment, adoption fee is usually around £50-70 which sounds a lot but most rescues vaccinate and microchip which is around £60 some like haworth neuter or spay aswell which is around £30-£40 yes kittens are naturally litter trained as they like been clean.

what to buy i think you have covered most of the basics there

Vets fees vary but usually vaccinations that are important are first ones as kitten and first year booster

insurance depending on company is around £8 a month

average cost for cattery is around £8- £15 per day depending on where you live

8 year old Dd is ideal age for getting a kitten she will be sensible with the kitten
the best way of learning is to get in touch with local rescues and ask them all of them are usually very good at answering enquiries and should offer after care on the phone if any issues come up and google looking after a kitten should bring up some info, also when you get your kitten join the whiskas kitten club you get a pack with loads of info in it

hope this has helped im sure others will come along and add bits ive forgotten

BettyandDon · 05/08/2012 13:49

With a kitten be prepared for a lot of work. My first cat was more trouble than a newborn baby and I'm really not kidding, albeit I had an easy baby and a high maintenance kitten !

tabulahrasa · 05/08/2012 13:55

'Will a kitten from a rescue have been litter trained?'

Depends on the background of the kitten really - but a lot of them will have been and they'll be able to tell you about the individual kittens they have anyway.

'I'm thinking litter and litter tray, bowls, bed, scratching post? Toys? Food, per carrier, anything else?'

I can't think of anything else my cats have...though beds are a bit of a waste of time tbh, cats are awkward, lol

'What will it cost for standard vets fees?, vaccinations, boosters (do cats have these?), and neutering, will the kitten have had some vaccinations before we collect it? How much will insurance cost?'

Individual vets charge differently, but yes they need boosters... my vet charges £75 for a kitten pack, vaccinations, flea treatment and wormer, and a voucher with money off neutering (neutering also comes with a discount on a micro chip) the boosters are about £45 a year, wormer is about £5 every 3 months. Neutering is around about £100 depending on your vet and the sex of the cat. (boys are cheaper)
Rescue kittens may have been vaccinated, unwanted litters from owners will not have been - mostly because they can't be done until they're a certain age and people tend to sell them before that.
Insurance again it depends, you can get online quotes fairly easily and it depends what kind of cover you want, I pay £6.75 a month for one with a fairly big excess but a massive cover for ongoing illness that will still pay out after a year (some don't and that was the cover I was worried about)

'What does it cost for a cattery?' No idea, I get people to come and feed mine - but you should be able to google local ones and find out that way.

'Are there any other questions I should be asking' You'll need to decide if you're letting it out and if you need a cat flap or not...but I think you've covered the basics.

One thing I would be thinking about is - do you need a tiny kitten? They're more intensive than you'd think (I'm thinking about it being left alone) they're not like puppies, if you leave a puppy home alone, it will get a bit upset, possibly chew something it shouldn't, but basically be ok (not that I'm advocating that on the whole being upset and lonely side of it of course). Kittens don't usually miss you quite the same - but they're manic and you're forever having to rescue them from dangerous situations, from the top of cupboards or halfway up curtains, they try and squash themselves in tiny holes and get stuck - things like that. A still young cat from a rescue that's just past that point would be more manageable, just so you know and can decide what suits you better.

TeaOneSugar · 05/08/2012 13:58

Thanks everyone.

Possibly an older cat would be a sensible choice, however, dd has never had a pet from a "baby", we already had dogs when she was born so she's never had the Puppy/kitten experience and I think she should get it this time, she's been so brave since we lost our dog.

There's a small rescue place not far away we could try, they often have a sign on the gate post to say they have kittens.

I think we would want to use a cattery, my PIL have been very good with having the dogs for us over the years, but they're getting on a bit and aren't cat people. We've just had new neighbours, we could have asked our old ones. I'm also not sure we'll have a cat flap by the time we next go on holiday, we're planning some building work which will involve installing one, probably sometime next year, so it will have to be an inside cat for a while.

Will read all these posts carefully later, we won't be rushing into anything.

OP posts:
TeaOneSugar · 05/08/2012 14:02

I think I need to talk to dd about a slightly older cat that's still a "kitten".

OP posts:
tabulahrasa · 05/08/2012 14:20

Slightly older kittens have lost a bit of the aaaaw factor - which matters to DC, lol, but they are easier and actually better to have around, they've stopped trying to 'kill' everything Hmm even when they're the size of your hand their teeth and claws still blooming hurt when they decide to try and bring you down by the ankle like some sort of microscopic lion, lol.

If you do go for a little one, I'd keep them in a small as safe as it can be space while you're out for the first few months.

Wolfiefan · 05/08/2012 14:29

Our cats were 18 and 24 months. The youngest was very kittenish but without the floor messing/curtain shredding of kittens. (Oh and kittens can't retract their claws can they? So danger of being scratched.)
Where are you? (so people can suggest specific rescues.)

PigletJohn · 05/08/2012 14:43

If you get a grown-up cat it will be much easier if it comes from an environment like yours

indoors only
catflap or litter tray
old people
lots of company
sits on you and watches telly

You might be surprised to know that cats who only live with women are often scared of men.

Ponders · 05/08/2012 15:04

we just got 2 kittens - they're 9 weeks old & they actually don't do that vicious hand-killing, or not if you touch their tummies gently

at least they don't yet... Grin

having more than one is great for them - they eat, then charge around playing & climbing & fighting, then collapse snuggled together for several hours, then eat again etc etc etc. their bed atm is a plastic storage crate with an old pillow in it & a towel on top. I did buy a couple of dangly squeaky scratchy toys & some tiny lightweight jingly balls from Pets at Home, & some very cute pot dishes from TKMaxx

I bought some "expensive" food from PaH - \link{\Hi-Life kitten food}, it's £5.50 for 12 sachets, but it's 60% meat. I had a look at Whiskas & Felix equivalents in Sainsburys, they're only 50p-£1 cheaper & just 4% meat Shock They're eating 3 between them daily, plus a few Hills Science Plan kitten biscuits. It's really not a lot of money, & I don't buy value food for us, after all Grin

Our nearest vet has quoted £70 per kit for vaccinations, £54 for spaying & £10 for microchipping, so adopting from a rescue centre is probably actually cheaper

Ponders · 05/08/2012 15:09

oh, I had a look at Which for pet insurance recommendations, I think M&S looked like best value but need to go back & read it all again Smile

TeaOneSugar · 05/08/2012 17:17

We're in north derbyshire, not far from the Sheffield border, if anyone could recommend a rescue place that would be great.

OP posts:
BikeRaceRunningRaceNoSkiing · 05/08/2012 19:42

Isn't there an animal sanctuary in Chapel en le Frith? Possibly only wild animals though.

sashh · 06/08/2012 07:38

Either get a cat from Cats' Protection, one that likes being alone, or get teo kittens. If you have one it will be lonely during the day and may take it out on your furniture.

CP ask for a voluntary donation, but do not insist. Most cats are fostered in someone's home so there may ot be a centre near you.

Check your local vet for prices, mine has a 'club' - you pay so much a month and it covers anual vaccinations, flea and worm treatment.

Welcome to the world of kittyness.

Samvet · 06/08/2012 09:24

Look at the cats protection website and the feline advisory bureau website ( for ALL info!

Samvet · 06/08/2012 09:27

Ps insurance insurance insurance - my average bill - £2000! (I am a specialist tho), in general practice broken leg - £1000, diagnosis of vomiting - £500-800 (1500 if sent to see me!)
Lifelong cover and max payout per condition at least £4000.

Samvet · 06/08/2012 09:28

Ps from rescue NOT the bloody paper. That just encourages people not to neuter.

Paiviaso · 06/08/2012 16:01

I got my first two cats this year :) They were both 10 months old when we got them.

Where should I get one from? In my opinion, there are only two ethical places to get a kitten: a shelter, or a responsible, registered breeder. I suspect you are not looking to buy a £400 health-screened pedigree kitten if you are looking at £10 ads, so I suggest a shelter. I regularly look through my local shelter listings, and there are quite often kittens.

What do we need to buy? Several litter trays, the type of litter the kitten is already using, the type of food the kitten is already eating, food bowl, water fountain/bowl, several scratching posts, treats (I like Cosma snackies), and any toys (I like Da Bird).

What will it cost for standard vets fees?
I have only had their annual jabs and check up done, I don't remember the cost, possibly £50 for the two cats.

Will the kitten have had some vaccinations before we collect it?
Responsible breeders let their kittens go at 12 weeks, as this is a week after their second round of vaccinations, and determines the kitten hasn't had an adverse reaction. It is also very good for their socialization to stay with mum until this age. Shelters let their kittens go earlier than this, probably due to space, so I assume you will need to get the kitten its second round of vaccinations.

How much will insurance cost?
I pay ~£30 a month for two cats on Petplan. I went with Petplan as they are meant to be very reliable at paying out, and they have an option to cover your cat for life.

What does it cost for a cattery? Don't know, but I would suggest looking up your local cattery, it will probably say on their website.

If you are looking for more cat help in the future, or just want to wade through cat-related discussion, a pet forum might have a more targeted membership, Petforums is quite good.

TeaOneSugar · 07/08/2012 08:00

paiviaso I'm definitely not looking to spend £400, but I'm also not looking to spend £10, that was just on observation from having a google for kittens available locally.

Can anyone tell me whether a cat shelter will let us adopt as we do work during the day, although as I said in my OP I work school hours and DH works shifts and is often home for at least part of the day during the week.

Googling also suggests that shelters can be quite unrealistic in their expectations, in terms of someone being at home all day, does anyone had experience of getting a kitten from a shelter?

OP posts:
lollmw · 07/08/2012 11:30

Not sure about shelters but my cats came from a breeder who wouldn't let an individual kitten go to a home where no-one was home all day. Was fine as I was looking for two but tbh all cats i've had adjust their routine to fit yours (they still ignore me all day and sleep in their favourite spots even though I'm no longer working).

I wouldn't bother with expensive bed, cats are contrary and will decide where it's sleeping regardless. Cardboard box and snuggly blanket is as good as anything. However if you're having a long term litter tray I'd really recommend a 'litter locker' - so handy and keeps all nasty smells away.

Good luck & enjoy - nothing so sweet as a kitten!

issey6cats · 08/08/2012 17:48

i work at haworth cat rescue this is near kieghley and i know there is a rescue near sheffield called HOwarth cat rescue as several people ring us thinking we are them, the best way to find local rescues near you is to go into and click your area and this will bring up a list of local rescues, we dont insist on a pair of kittens if someone works but quite a few rescues do mainly for them keeping each other company when no human slaves available

MinkyWinky · 09/08/2012 09:20

We went to a local shelter to look at adopting cats a couple of months ago. Because we sometimes are away from home for upto 8 hours, the shelter recommended getting two cats. I think the time they can be left alone would be very different for kittens - as they will need more attention and rescuing from the top of curtains, behind cupboards or anywhere else they may find interesting:)

FYI - our two cost £197 this covered all the care they'd had during their stay and was more expensive as they were 2 & 3 years old. (The shelter alters the adoption fees depending on age). We also got one month's pet insurance free.

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