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Getting a Kitten UPDATE + PICS (scroll down)

japanjapan Registered User regular
edited November 2006 in Help / Advice Forum
....Maybe.

My Sister works part time at a Kennels/Cattery and they have some kittens they need to find homes for. I know the place is good, so I'm confident that the kittens won't be diseased or anything.

What I need is any advice anyone has about raising/training, health, feeding, etc.

I'm going to call my local vet next week to find out about the costs for vaccinations and neutering. On with the specific questions:

Boy cat or Girl cat? Any differences to consider?

It'll probably be a house cat. I have a pretty big place, so it won't be cramped or make the place smell, but it won't be able to go outside. Is this likely to be a problem?

Is neutering really necessary? Given the above, the cat won't be able to get/make any other cats pregnant. Are there hormonal or health issues that it helps with?

I'll probably add other questions as they occur to me. Any other tips or experiences are appreciated.

japan on
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Posts

  • RecklessReckless Registered User
    edited November 2006
    My suggestion is, if you think you're up to it, get two kittens at the same time. That'll give both of them someone to play with (read: exercise with) when you're not home, and from what I've heard is just generally considered healthy for the cats.

    I had two brothers when they were no more than 2 weeks old. I almost died of cuteness.

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  • Dread Pirate ArbuthnotDread Pirate Arbuthnot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I have an indoor cat. He's really, really good about not running outside. Basically, after we took him to the vet a couple of times, he decided that door = vet = oh shit

    If you do not neuter the kitty, he will spray, which smells and is a bitch to clean up.

    Also, take a lot of pictures. For its health. This is crucial.

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  • BjamBjam Registered User
    edited November 2006
    japan wrote:
    Is neutering really necessary?

    Yes.

    Even if they're a house cat, if it's a girl cat it'll be in heat at some point, and if it's a boy cat they're often more docile if they're neutered(and they pee/mark their territory, not fun). And if the cat escapes for some reason, you don't want a pregnant kitty on your hands. And it's just generally the Right Thing To Do.

    http://cats.about.com/od/reproduction/a/spay_neuter.htm

    Unless you're getting a purebred and looking to breed(which you wouldn't if you were adopting a kitten from a shelter) you really should be responsible and neuter the cat.

  • BombadilBombadil Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I definitely agree with the get two kittens idea. I recently got two which are brother and sister, and they spend most of their time playing with each other. As far as training goes, just put them in the litter box after every meal and they will get the idea after a while. One of my kittens still tries to get to his favorite out of the way spots to poo, so when I see him going for one of those spots I put him in the box. He seems to be catching on.

  • VirumVirum Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    If you only get one, get a girl, they're usually more friendly.

  • amarygmaamarygma Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I've always preferred boy kitties, as they're like lions... the females do all the hunting and stuff and they boys lay around and get spoiled.

    Neutering a male cat makes them a lot less annoying with the spraying and yowling. It will also keep them from running away when they can tell that a cat down the street is in heat. Be sure not to spay or neuter too early- ask a vet.

    With an indoor kitty, I'd do my best to avoid declawing, if it gets out then it's more likely to get beat up by local cats or eaten by forest dwellers. (I've lost cats to the woods behind my house before- it depends on where you live.) You can try just clipping their nails, making sure they have destructables, and various chemical "don't claw this" means.

    Yes, getting a pair of kittens is a good idea if you don't have any other animals (like a dog) for them to interact with.

    Alas, my hubby's allergic to cats, so we have parrots. They're like children you can cage.

    Whee!
  • Teh ErickaTeh Ericka Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I made a lot of mistakes with my first cat, so here's some stuff i learned:

    - if you're only going to get one, be careful not to get it too young. kitties need to be socialized so that they can learn things like biting hurts and one should not scratch the eyes of someone else.

    - decide what kind of cat you're looking for. independent, or more warm and cuddly? a boy cat is more likely to be the rugged, playful type, while girls are more open to lots of petting and lap-sitting.

    - when kitty is still very young and new to your house, keep him/her contained in a smaller area while you're not at home. not only can a big house be scary for the little guy/girl, depending on your cat, your livingroom and kitchen might turn out to be a wonderland of superfun kitty play, and that can only end badly for you.

    - like others have said, spaying/neutering is very important. not only will it prevent your cat from making babies, it'll generally mellow them out and make them less CRAZY INSANE during their heat season. plus, have you ever heard a cat in heat meow? it's godfuckingawful.

    edit: on declawing -- don't. oh my god please don't. they never really heal from that.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Cats go best in pairs. I've had one, I've had three, and two just works better. We have one boy and one girl, and it seems to work out well.

    Don't declaw...there are other ways to keep them from scratching, and if they ever do get out they may very well need those claws. That and I think it's generally inhuman, though not everybody agrees and we probably don't want to get into a debate on that.

    And always always always have them fixed if you aren't planning on breeding them. Which, with random generic shelter mutts you won't be. Even indoor cats should be fixed, because you never know if they'll get out and it only takes once. The main reason there are cats in shelters in need of homes is because of overabundance caused by people failing to realize this.

    - if you're only going to get one, be careful not to get it too young. kitties need to be socialized so that they can learn things like biting hurts and one should not scratch the eyes of someone else.

    On the biting and scratching hurt thing, you can actually do some of that yourself. When they bite or scratch, let out a yelp...it's basically the same way they learn from other cats. It does, of course, work better with other cats though.

    Also don't pick your kitten up and put it places; let it learn to climb and jump. My wife's cat (well, our cat now) was pretty sickly when she got him as a kitten, so she babied him. Now he still, at seven years old (and perfectly healthy), cannot jump or climb worth a damn.

  • clsCorwinclsCorwin Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Definitely agree with everyone here. My girlfriend had a female cat that hadn't been spayed yet, and every month every time you'd touch her (or even didn't) she'd drop to the floot, stick her ass out, and start yowling. Very annoying.

    And yea, get 2 kittens at once. You'll want another one later, and getting them young is much better before they get territorial about their home.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    For the record, I definitely wouldn't declaw a cat, even a housecat. I've heard it compared to removing the first joint of all of a persons fingers.

    I don't think my sister (who is a vet. med. student) would ever forgive me.

  • exoplasmexoplasm Registered User
    edited November 2006
    So far good advice from everyone, but I'll chime in with my experience.

    My sister was working at Knott's Berry Farm and found an abandoned kitten in the stables there. She witnessed the mother cat hissing at the kitten, then carrying the siblings away and shunning her. So she brought the kitten home. Being a completely irresponsible person she basically said "here's your new cat, bro" and I became the cat's new parent.

    #1: Bottle feeding a kitten is a real pain in the ass. I'm guessing the kittens at the shelter are beyond this point, but if they aren't, you're in for a world of fun.

    #2: Lonely cats are the ultimate attention whores. Oddly, though, she has not socialized well and hides from everyone most of the time. When other people hold and pet her, she is generally okay but does not like beign held. When she comes up to me for attention, she won't let me pet her. No, she has to play with me. Oh, the biting. Ow.

    #3: CLAWS HURT. Clip the tips of them regularly. When I forget to do this I start looking like someone from a horror movie. My cat doesn't try to scratch me - it just happens when she is jumping out of my arms or walking over me when I'm in bed. Make SURE you don't cut too far, because you CAN hurt the cat if you do.

    #4: Pet health care is not all that cheap. My vet has a kitten wellness program that cost me $200 up front to provide 3 visits, each once involving shots (2nd and 3rd are boosters) as well as other check up stuff. They said it will probably be around $400 to spay my cat, BUT there is a non-profit place nearby that will do it for much less. They also do shots a lot cheaper; I found out a little too late.

    #5: Curiosity killed the cat. While the kitten is young, it is a good idea to keep it (or them) confined to a single room or part of a room to keep them out of trouble. Just don't neglect them, they need attention and socialization. However, don't try too hard to contain them. They WILL get out when they want to. My kitten is about 5-6 months old now and has free roam of the house (there is no way to keep her in one room easily). She is also making many attempts to get outside when the dogs go in and out, which is successful sometimes. Luckily she is too scared to wander far, but it's not helping with the indoor cat idea.

    I agree with the cats in pairs thing. If you can get siblings, do it. They will learn a lot faster when they can observe eachother (especially with the litterbox and play biting). Also, to help them get started in the litterbox, put them in it gently and grab one of their front paws and use it to scratch the litter a bit. After a few times they will figure it out. Once one knows, the other will quickly follow. Just make sure not to do it while they are scared. If a cat is traumatized when being put in a litter box, it will avoid litter boxes for life. Make sure to clean the box regularly. Hygene is pretty important to cats and they don't like shitting where they eat, so keep food somewhere else and make sure the box is clean so they don't get their paws dirty. Oh and don't feed kittens canned food. Dry food all the way. Once they are about a year old you can switch them to adult cat food and even canned food if you wish, but make sure dry food is their primary food.

    I don't know that you can choose a cat based on personality, because as a kitten they are still developing it. You're not going to grab a cuddly kitten and be like "alright you're going to be my calm and attention loving kitten" when in reality the cat grows up to be batshit crazy. My cat started out calm and enjoying my company, now she flies around the house at mach 10 and likes to mess with stuff, though she will probably calm down once spayed.

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  • clsCorwinclsCorwin Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Yea, clip, don't declaw. Also, in regards to pet health care, check out the ultimate wellness plan, I hear its cheap and quite a good deal.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    clsCorwin wrote:
    ultimate wellness plan

    :?:

    Google gives me a ton of sites pushing some nutrition book.

    Bear in mind I'm in the UK, so advice about costs in the US isn't especially useful, beyond "that's surprisingly more/less than I thought."

  • StaleghotiStaleghoti Registered User
    edited November 2006
    get used to the smell of piss

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  • aesiraesir __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    keep em in your bathroom with the litter box for the first few weeks assuming you bathroom isnt carpeted.

  • trixtahtrixtah Registered User
    edited November 2006
    When I found a kitten, I kept it in my room with a litterbox. I had surprisingly little trouble with it, as it used it naturally (don't all cats?) and after a couple weeks I gave it free roam of the house. I like to keep multiple litterboxes around the house though, otherwise he shits everywhere. And I second the companion kitten idea.

    I'm looking to get another kitten, does anyone know on average how much one costs?

  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    trixtah wrote:
    I'm looking to get another kitten, does anyone know on average how much one costs?

    Depends from where, and what breed. If you adopt one from a shelter, I would imagine probably close to free, besides fees for neuter/spay and shots and all that.

    If you get a purebred cat from a breeder, it can be quite expensive - my wife and I have two Siberians (http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/profiles/siberian.html) that were $600 apiece at 3 months. Worth every penny, but obviously you want to do more research about the breed and the breeder if you go that route :)

    Everyone else has pretty much given answers to the original questions...Just going to agree that you should never, ever, ever, EVER declaw, even if they'll be inside all the time, and neutering/spaying is definately the way to go. If you start to have problems with them scratching things, get the posts with sissal rope or the cardboard box scratchers and show them - they'll get the idea pretty quick.

    If you have two (which you should), one girl and one boy may be a good idea - even fixed, i've heard this usually works out well relationship-wise with two cats, and I can say it seems to be true with ours.

    And some illustration :) -

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  • AndorienAndorien Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Deathwing wrote:
    And some illustration :) -

    *cuteness*

    *explodes*

    Also, in my experience with cats in general, long hairs shed less.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Picked them up yesterday:

    kittensxj7.jpg

    Seem to be OK, we had two instances of crap on the carpet, then one of them started using a plant pot that's in the same room we put their bed. Swapped the plant pot for the litter tray and they're using it quite happily.

    They seem very nervous in the presence of people, though. I'm putting that down to them being farm cats originally, so they haven't had a lot of human contact.

    After having to extricate them from behind a sofa, and then under the fridge, we've decided to put them in an enclosure until they don't feel they have to run away and hide from us. Trying to get in lots of non threatening handling. Hopefully that'll make them les skittish.

    Thanks for all advice thus far, any other tips appreciated.

  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread The fuck am I looking atRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww <3


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  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    japan wrote:
    After having to extricate them from behind a sofa, and then under the fridge, we've decided to put them in an enclosure until they don't feel they have to run away and hide from us. Trying to get in lots of non threatening handling. Hopefully that'll make them les skittish.

    :^:

    Excellent idea; it's always recommended to put a cat in a (roomy) cage or enclosure for a week or two when moving them to a new territory.

    They look very cute, too :D

    (Also I know you said you definitely wouldn't declaw and so have many other people in this thread - but for your information no vet in their right mind in the UK would ever do this anyway. It's not illegal per se, but if they declaw a cat for anything other than medical reasons (i.e. an infection) they will be investigated and most likely struck off the veterinary register.

    I thought it was actually illegal, but it's only illegal under a EU clause which apparently the UK escapes.)

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  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Very cute, love the blue eyes :)

    Sounds like you're on the right track with the handling and safe enclosure, I imagine they'll realize they like being petted before too long :)

    Having a safe place (for them) to observe you from for a while will help immensely too.

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  • EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User
    edited November 2006
    When mine was a kitten we kept him in the kitchen so he didn't hide under things and get lost. I gave him his cat carrier without the top attached. He used this as a bed and got really used to it. Now that he's 5 we keep the carrier around (top attached) and he goes inside when he gets scared (like during a fire alarm)

    It's a really handy training mechanism, I always know where he's going to be if he gets spooked by something. It also makes him really easy to get out of the house if there's a fire.

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  • BasarBasar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Cuteness overload.

    Boom!

    I love cats :)

    confused.
  • BeautifulJoeBeautifulJoe Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Just a little pet nutrition info for you. Avoid foods with fillers like bone meal or corn. It wont really hurt your pet but it isnt really that great for the animal either. So generaly yeah stay away from fillers and biproducts and you should be all good.

  • Kewop DecamKewop Decam Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I'm just wondering.. how do ou keep cats from scratchin everything in the house without declawing them?

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  • AndorienAndorien Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I'm just wondering.. how do ou keep cats from scratchin everything in the house without declawing them?

    Scratching posts work fine for us, especially when you start using them when they're young.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Andorien wrote:
    I'm just wondering.. how do ou keep cats from scratchin everything in the house without declawing them?

    Scratching posts work fine for us, especially when you start using them when they're young.

    I've been told that giving them a squirt from a water pistol when they scratch will discourage them. The reasoning is that they don't associate the water with you, so the mental association they make is: scratch furniture = hit by unexpected jet of water.

    Smacking cats doesn't work, because they'll just hate you, and still scratch the furniture.

  • edited November 2006
    I'm just wondering.. how do ou keep cats from scratchin everything in the house without declawing them?

    As someone already mentioned, scratching posts are essential. If they are still being naughty, you can get some double-sided tape (Petco has a brand called Sticky Paws) to put on those areas. The theory is they will not like that feeling and stop scratching there. My cats, however, just scratched off the tape. :)

    If you don't want to declaw them, you can get nail caps for them. Now, beware these are about 20 bucks per pack and they last for only about 30 days. So, in the end it's cheaper to declaw, as long as you don't have any personal objections to it.

    And yes, for disciplining, a squirt bottle works pretty well. But they're probably still going to scratch when you're not there, so make sure they have a designated scratching post. And give them a treat when they scratch there.

  • edited November 2006
    I can't remember where I read this but don't white cats with blue eyes have a good chance of actually being def? I can't remember exactly... anyone else hear about this?

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  • ChorazinChorazin Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Merovingi wrote:
    I can't remember where I read this but don't white cats with blue eyes have a good chance of actually being def? I can't remember exactly... anyone else hear about this?

    Yeah, that's true. It's a genetic weakness.

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  • SuperSweetieSuperSweetie Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Awww they are adoreable! Congratulations on getting the kittens! Theres so much helpful information here. Im sure they will be very happy there!

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  • LetukkaLetukka Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I`m sorry I didn`t read all the replys but whatever you do DON`T get a cat if it can`t go outside (housecat?) ..
    Iv`e had cats for 19 years now and seriously insidecats (housecats?) fuck shit up cause they don`t have stimulation in such a small space that cats really need.. Cats are not animals you keep locked up in a house
    But also if you do let them go outside make sure they know theyre home before properly

  • edited November 2006
    Letukka wrote:
    I`m sorry I didn`t read all the replys but whatever you do DON`T get a cat if it can`t go outside (housecat?) ..
    Iv`e had cats for 19 years now and seriously insidecats (housecats?) fuck shit up cause they don`t have stimulation in such a small space that cats really need.. Cats are not animals you keep locked up in a house
    But also if you do let them go outside make sure they know theyre home before properly

    You just need to play with them more.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    inside cats do usually strike me as being a bit crazier

  • ChorazinChorazin Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    kupo wrote:
    Letukka wrote:
    I`m sorry I didn`t read all the replys but whatever you do DON`T get a cat if it can`t go outside (housecat?) ..
    Iv`e had cats for 19 years now and seriously insidecats (housecats?) fuck shit up cause they don`t have stimulation in such a small space that cats really need.. Cats are not animals you keep locked up in a house
    But also if you do let them go outside make sure they know theyre home before properly

    You just need to play with them more.

    My cat disagrees, she says "Fuck going outside. It's cold and shitlicious! I'm just gonna lay here."

    246007097_894a07e30f.jpg?v=0

    She's done nothing to my apt to damage it, and she's calm as can be until we play, and then she's an attack cat!

    225612377_3978d66364.jpg?v=0

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  • ImperfectImperfect Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Inside cats do need to be played with more. But then again, cats need to be played with. And you need to play with the cats. It's a physical desperation thing. PLAY IS 4 LUV!

    I'd like to add that in addition to water squirtz, spray air like you'd use to clean your computer is awesome. Never spray them directly, 'cause those things are powerful, but they learn to hate the can. It's a can that hisses! And much louder than they can.

    As an added bonus, you can just set the can down in front of stuff you don't want them to play with.

  • SpackleSpackle Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Letukka wrote:
    I`m sorry I didn`t read all the replys but whatever you do DON`T get a cat if it can`t go outside (housecat?) ..
    Iv`e had cats for 19 years now and seriously insidecats (housecats?) fuck shit up cause they don`t have stimulation in such a small space that cats really need.. Cats are not animals you keep locked up in a house
    But also if you do let them go outside make sure they know theyre home before properly

    Again, there's nothing wrong with an all indoor housecat. You are better off getting two cats though for indoor cats. Companionship, playmate, and cleaning unit!

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  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    kupo wrote:
    I'm just wondering.. how do ou keep cats from scratchin everything in the house without declawing them?

    As someone already mentioned, scratching posts are essential. If they are still being naughty, you can get some double-sided tape (Petco has a brand called Sticky Paws) to put on those areas. The theory is they will not like that feeling and stop scratching there. My cats, however, just scratched off the tape. :)

    If you don't want to declaw them, you can get nail caps for them. Now, beware these are about 20 bucks per pack and they last for only about 30 days. So, in the end it's cheaper to declaw, as long as you don't have any personal objections to it.

    And yes, for disciplining, a squirt bottle works pretty well. But they're probably still going to scratch when you're not there, so make sure they have a designated scratching post. And give them a treat when they scratch there.

    Foil works for our cats.


    One thing I'll add is make sure not to use their kennel/cage as a form of punishment. If they start to associate the kennel with "bad" then you're going to have a fun time whenever you need to take them to a vet or move them.

    The kennel should be a "safe" place for them. We tend to keep our kitties' kennels open in the bottom of our closet so they have a place to hide from the evil Vacuum monster.

    I'll also second the Can 'O Air of Death idea. My cats don't wrestle at 3am in our bedroom anymore because I keep their mortal enemy (the Can 'O Air of Death) on my nightstand.

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