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Thinking of getting a kitten, need some advice

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

New here, just saying HI and wanted some advice.

My friends cat has just given birth to two kittens. I've been thinking about getting a cat for ages and has offered to give me one. Now that this opportunity has come up im seriously thinking about it even more.

I've read that you cant separate a kitten from its mother until its at least 8 weeks old so I've got some time to think things through properly before committing myself.

Theres a few things that im slightly worried about though:

1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?

2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?

3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?

4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?

5) antything other advice that i should know?

I know i sound like a complete idiot for being so paranoid or so worried but i dont want to commit to something only for it to cause a problem for me and the kitten/cat itself. i would rather leave the kitten with its mother than take it away only to realise i cant handle it.
post #2 of 11
I've read that you cant separate a kitten from its mother until its at least 8 weeks old so I've got some time to think things through properly before committing myself.

Ideally it should be minimum of 10-12 weeks - not 8 weeks. They are more socially and mentally prepared to leave at that age - any younger, you can have more behavior problems.

Theres a few things that im slightly worried about though:

1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?

Far safer to keep the cat inside. They do not have to go outside. Except for my first cat, all my cats have been indoor cats - and most lived to late teens.

2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?

Better to invest in a tall treehouse with multiple levels (minimum of 4 feet tall) - you should encourage the cat to use that and NOT furniture. They won't know the difference between good or bad furniture if you allow them to scratch one piece. Learn how to trim nails - check/trim once a week. I start my kittens at 3-4 weeks old for nail trimming. Or you can get Soft Paw nail caps that will prevent a lot of clawing (still need to trim before using).

3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?

Most times they will leave that alone unless its in a place where they can use it as an access to the window. We have shelves and they don't really jump on them or bother the stuff. And I have an ACTIVE cat

4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?

Kittens are more playful and mischievous. So are younger cats. As they age, they settle down. Since you are getting a young kitten, its probably better to adopt 2 so they can run off energy and not be so mischievous. They will need to be spayed/neutered at around 3-4 months old; especially if you get opposite sex. Kittens as young as 4 months can and do breed.

5) antything other advice that i should know?

I know i sound like a complete idiot for being so paranoid or so worried but i dont want to commit to something only for it to cause a problem for me and the kitten/cat itself. i would rather leave the kitten with its mother than take it away only to realise i cant handle it.[/quote]



If you feel a kitten might be too much for you and want a cat, then look at adopting an older cat (3-4 yrs old) that is quieter and you know the personality.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud786 View Post
Hi all,
I've read that you cant separate a kitten from its mother until its at least 8 weeks old so I've got some time to think things through properly before committing myself.
8 weeks is the bare minimum (acceptable in a rescue situation where it's necessary to free up pens and the kittens are living in a less than ideal environment anyway). 12 weeks is better. If your friend can't be persuaded to keep them that long, please encourage him/her to keep them for at least 10 weeks.

Quote:
1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?
It depends on where you live. In some countries, eg UK, it is normal to allow cats outdoors whereas in others it is normal to keep them inside. I live in the UK and keep my cats indoors, as do a growing number of people. If you get a kitten, it's fine to keep him indoors. Just make sure you provide lots of opportunities for play and exercise and are prepared to spend some time each day playing games. You need to make sure that the indoor environment is mentally stimulating or your kitten may become destructive through boredom. I agree that 2 may be better than one - that way your kitten will have a playmate and companion.

Quote:
2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?
It depends on the cat and how many scratching posts you provide. Imo, you need at least one tall activity centre that is very stable, but the more you have the better the chance of your cat choosing the cat furniture over your sofa. I live in a one bedroom flat and have one ceiling high activity centre, one cat tree that is about 3-4 ft tall plus several smaller scratch posts and play things they can scratch on. My cats do not scratch the furniture. However, before you get a cat you should be aware that the cat may scratch the furniture. You can get soft paws to apply to the claws if nothing else works, but you should be prepared for the possibility of some scratching and be prepared to put up with it. It sort of comes with the territory when you have a cat!

Quote:
3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?
No, you're not being paranoid. Most kittens are fairly hyper and will run all over the place knocking things over! Some adults are like that too, although others will calm down when they reach adulthood. Anything that is valuable should be put out of your cat's reach. Other things can be stuck down with blu tac or similar. You can train a cat not to go on some places if you're lucky, but don't count on it. Be prepared to pick things up a lot! Some cats seem to enjoy knocking things over As to injuring himself - just make sure there's nothing that a cat can get hurt on. They're pretty good at jumping out of the way if they knock something over.

Quote:
4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?
Depends on the individual and/or breed. Some are born trouble makers (like my Mosi - a Somali) while others are less so. It's true that a bored cat may wander around looking for trouble so be prepared to spend time playing with him and tiring him out to avoid this. It's hard to tell when they're kittens what kind of adults they will grow up to be. My 10 year old is a domestic shorthair of unknown parentage, but he's grown up to be a very lively, playful adult. His brother grew up very different and was a calm and placid adult cat.

Quote:
5) antything other advice that i should know?
You're doing the right thing thinking about these things before you get a cat or kitten. Too many people get a kitten without thinking about it and are totally unprepared for the little bundle of chaos that arrives! If you haven't had pets before and have no children, be prepared to accept into your home a living thing that will create a mess at some point. Most cats are very good with using a litter tray, but sometimes they can have problems caused by a health issue or a behavioural problem that will cause them to go elsewhere. They are also great vomiters! Some cats have problems with furballs and will vomit them up on a regular basis. Make sure you're prepared to deal with things like that! And if you think there are any circumstances in which you would consider declawing a cat, then please go to a shelter and adopt an already declawed cat rather than inflict that on a clawed kitty.

The only other thing to consider is the cost of vet treatment. The kitten will need a series of vaccinations starting at about 9 weeks, and will need to be neutered at some point between then and 6 months (depending on when your vet will do it). Then there will be regular flea and worm treatment (while a kitten at least) and annual boosters/health check. In addition to that, you will need to make provision for emergency vet treatment should your cat get sick.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your kitten if you decide to go ahead. Personally, I think the benefits of having a cat around far outweigh any negatives and I wouldn't be without my 2 boys for anything.
post #4 of 11
[quote=urbantigers;2218034]8 weeks is the bare minimum (acceptable in a rescue situation where it's necessary to free up pens and the kittens are living in a less than ideal environment anyway). 12 weeks is better. If your friend can't be persuaded to keep them that long, please encourage him/her to keep them for at least 10 weeks.

I got my Teddy at just 6 weeks and he has turned out just great!
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud786 View Post

Theres a few things that im slightly worried about though:

1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?
Whether it is normal or not, due to your living conditions, the cat will have to be indoors only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud786
2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?
You will need a scratch post because it is part of a cat's grooming to keep their claws sharp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud786
3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?
I have glass shelves and 11 cats. So far, no injuries or damages to cat or shelves. However, I do not put fragile or dangerous items on counters/shelves which may be knocked down accidentally by the cats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud786
4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?
Cats are curious not mischievous.
post #6 of 11
I live in a Apartment too. Make sure Cats are allowed there first. We had to pay a pet deposit. I would wait until it is 12 weeks to get it. I would not let the Kitten outside either it is not safe.
post #7 of 11
1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?
It's not only normal to keep the cat inside-only, it's safer and healthier for your cat. I would recommend it, even if you didn't live in an apartment.

2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?
This scared me too about having a cat. Yes, you need a scratch post. Your cat might have its own preference as to what kind (vertical, horizontal, cardboard, sisal, etc.). There are some nice looking ones out there if you know where to look (online). I hate the way most 'cat stuff' looks, but that doesn't change the fact that a cat needs to scratch. Having the kitten's claws amputated is not a great option either (for many reasons). If you are really concerned about damage to furniture, I would think twice about having a pet. I have 2 cats that haven't damaged anything (except for throwing up on carpet). Most cats are easy to train to use appropriate scratching things, especially since it's a kitten. (for info on how to do that, there are a few threads on this already). While training the cat, you can use Soft Paws. They are little plastic covers that go on claws. I bought these thinking I would have to use them all the time, but I actually really don't even need them. Also, if the scratching thing is really a huge concern for you, I would consider adopting a cat from a shelter that has *already* been de-clawed. There are many up for adoption, you can search on petfinder.com for cats that have been. Just know that cats that are de-clawed may have other behavioral issues (biting, litter box issues) because of the surgery.

3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?
No, it's a valid concern. You can train them not to do that though by using a squirt bottle of water. Just make sure they don't see you doing the squirting, they have to think it is coming from some magical place because you want them to think that water will hit them when they jump up when you aren't home. Also, you have to make sure the water hits them as they jump up or while they are up there. Doing it even 5 seconds after they get down won't help, it might even make it worse.

4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?
Not enough attention. Cats are curious, sure, but most owners don't spend enough time playing with their cat. A bored cat is a cat that will get into things. This is why I recommend adopting 2 kittens together. 2 kittens together will be much easier than 1 kitten. Kittens are super playful. Also spend about 15-20 minutes each night before you go to bed interactively playing with the kitten to wear it out (using something like Da Bird toy, or another type of fishing pole type teaser).

5) antything other advice that i should know?
- Your friend needs to spay her own cat, it's irresponsible of her not to. If you take a kitten (or both), they need to be spayed/neuter as soon as you can find a vet to do it. Many vets will spay/neuter when they hit 2 lbs. Old-school vets won't do it before 6 months because they either don't have the experience on smaller animals or they think it's better to wait, but the reality is that cats are able to reproduce at much younger age (like, 4 months).

- Also, you need to wait until the kitten is 12 weeks old, not 8. Kittens are so much easier with a litter-mate, I really would consider adopting two together. If not, wait a few months for kitten season at the shelter and get two together then. Or consider adopting an older cat from a shelter, they are easier because they require far less attention than kittens. Kittens are cute but they are a ton more work than older cats (even cats who are just a year old).

- Really think about whether a kitten (as opposed to a 1+ year old cat) will fit in with your lifestyle. Like I said before, older cats need homes too and that way you don't have to deal with the time-consuming kitten stage. Look into adopting through a shelter, petfinder.com is a good way to look at all the cats available at shelters and rescue organizations in your area. You can search by color, sex, age, whether they are declawed, and all sorts of factors.

- adopting through a shelter/rescue group will be much cheaper than taking your friend's kitten. Cats/kittens through shelters will already be spayed/neutered, saving you between $30-150 depending on how much you would have to pay on your own to have it done (the price varies widely because there are vets that charge a lot and spay/neuter clinics that don't charge much at all because they just care a lot about having pets spayed/neutered). They will probably already be tested for felv/fiv, which saves money. They will have vaccines already. They will also probably already be micro-chipped, again saving money. I'm not saying this to convince you not to take your friend's kitten, I just think it's important to know. An adoption fee through a shelter or rescue group will be about $50, but that is a bargain considering how much you get for your $50.

I think it's wonderful that you are considering bringing a cat into your home. Here is a site with some great resources for people thinking of bringing home a kitty:
http://cats.about.com/od/newtocats/N..._First_Cat.htm
post #8 of 11
Quote:
1) I live in an apartment on the first floor of the building, so letting the cat go and come as it please isnt going to be possible. is it normal for a cat to remain inside the house or does it have to go outside?
Quite normal. Many cats are indoor-only--my cats, for example, live in a neighborhood where more than one neighbor would kick or even shoot them, so they stay indoors. There are plenty of amusements for them indoors. Just like humans, they can adapt to an indoor life.

Quote:
2) How bad is the scratching on furniture? can cat rip sofas/settee with their claws so is it not that noticeable. is a scratch pad/post really needed?
Cats literally need to scratch. Their claws grow in sheaths, one inside another like an onion, and they scratch to get rid of the dull outer sheath and reveal a sharper one underneath. Scratching also allows them to stretch their muscles fully, and scent pads on their paws leave a smell that other cats can detect. Point being, they'll scratch no matter what; a scratch pad or post is definitely necessary. A little training will teach it to scratch the post. I like to rub catnip on the post, and move the cat to the post/pad whenever it starts to scratch anything else.

Quote:
3) I have a few glass shelves around the house and i can just picture the cat jumping onto them and knocking everything off and probably injuring itself in the process. Am i just being paranoid?
Not paranoid at all! Cats are climbers and jumpers; and while some stay on the floor, some love to climb. My cats don't bother my shelves; but if I had an active, curious kitten, I would have to take into account the possibility that it would jump up onto the shelves, investigate, and possibly push things off just to hear them hit the floor. Research cat-proofing. You do have one advantage, though: you're getting a kitten, and that means a smaller cat which won't be able to jump five feet into the air right away. You'll know your cat and its abilities before the higher shelves are in danger (but beware of the possibility that nearby furniture could create "steps" to the dangerous shelves in question!).

Quote:
4) Are cats pretty mischievous naturally or do they become like that due to not enough attention?
Some cats; some cats aren't. If you get a mischievous cat, you've probably got an intelligent, active, curious type which needs a good variety of toys and interaction to keep it from making its own fun (at the expense of your belongings)! Cat-proofing cabinets, outlets, and electrical wires is also recommended.

Quote:
5) antything other advice that i should know?
Can you put off getting your kitten until s/he is about 12 weeks old? They learn some of the more sophisticated cat-behavior during that time--stuff like litter boxes and social interaction--and kittens taken as "teenagers" tend to be more confident.

BTW, did you know you can spay/neuter the kitten as soon as it weighs about 2 pounds? They use more advanced anesthesia now and pediatric spay/neuter is quite safe. It's recommended even for indoor cats: An indoor female will try to escape during heat; an indoor male will spray urine. Mine are spayed & neutered and quite happy that way. There are a lot of cheap spay/neuter clinics around, or vets who give discounts. Is there a Humane Society in your area? Anyway, if you find a good discount, tell the owner of the kittens' mom, who obviously hasn't had hers done yet! :P

Also, keep coming here! There are an awful lot of people here who know a lot about cats, and collectively I think we could offer solutions to just about any problem. I'm currently figuring out how to get a stressed cat to eat, and these people have been a lot of help--she's eating a little now and promises to be getting better at it.

Quote:
I know i sound like a complete idiot for being so paranoid or so worried but i dont want to commit to something only for it to cause a problem for me and the kitten/cat itself. i would rather leave the kitten with its mother than take it away only to realise i cant handle it.
Very smart, actually. A lot of people don't think before they get a cat; but it's a fifteen-year commitment on average, so it's quite reasonable to do a lot of thinking before deciding.
post #9 of 11
if i were you [& i was, 10 years ago!] i'd take both of the kittens. 2 are not anymore trouble than one, not much more expensive [once you get them fixed!] & will keep each other company when you're not home.
good luck & welcome to TCS!
post #10 of 11
[quote=TeddyBaby;2218598]
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers View Post
8 weeks is the bare minimum (acceptable in a rescue situation where it's necessary to free up pens and the kittens are living in a less than ideal environment anyway). 12 weeks is better. If your friend can't be persuaded to keep them that long, please encourage him/her to keep them for at least 10 weeks.

I got my Teddy at just 6 weeks and he has turned out just great!
You got lucky, how old is your cat though now? 6 weeks is much too young, they should still be nursing or allowed to nurse at that age. Just because a cat is waiting solids and using a litterbox doesn't mean it SHOULD leave mom.
post #11 of 11
I've raised two kittens before that were too young to leave mom (both were adopted from a shelter). The first turned out to be timid and the second turned out to be one of the best cats I've ever had. I have the second now, he's about 8 months old now.

He scratches stuff but you can teach them not to and more importantly, trim their nails. If you have a good relationship with their feet (touching, petting, massaging) at a young age, they will be more willing to let you touch their paws and make nail trimming easier (I wish I had known that before).

My kitty knocks down EVERYTHING. He'll sit there, stare at whatever object is smaller than himself on a shelf, table or counter and push it off the edge and watch it fall and break. Depending on the sound or how exciting the fall was, he'll jump down to play with it. Solution to that would be to use museum putty or even tape on the bottom of your nick nacks, clocks, vases etc. so when kitty decides to give it a nudge, it doesn't move and he's not interested anymore.

Another solution to things in your house not getting destroyed is to pay attention to them (if you've only got one, cause if you have more than one, they will play with each other). Basically play with them. Mine likes to play fetch with his favorite toy (yes he brings it back). I toss it on the bed to tire him out by making him jump on and off of it, otherwise, he could play fetch for hours. I also have a kitty jungle gym for him to screw around in.

One thing you should know about adopting a kitten before it's ready is that you have to be mom and potty train it. I thought one of my kittens had some sort of constipation problem cause when we brought him home, he used the litter box but then didn't use it again for a couple days. Then I noticed that he had been going under the bed. So I started watching him closely. He would try going under the TV, but I saw and took him to the litter box (with him peeing in my hand one time to not drop on the carpet, eew, I know :P ). The one I have now I had to potty train as well. It's not hard, it just takes patience and a watchful eye.

Oh and most of my cats have been indoors. Living in the city or near an area that has coyotes, I don't see why not.
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