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Thinking of getting a cat -- need advice.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I hope this is the best place to post.

I am thinking of getting an indoor-only cat for my kids (all boys: ages 16, 12, 6) and I need some advice from all of you experienced cat lovers. We've never had a cat before and we've never had any pets before now.

Here are some of my questions:

1- I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat?

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society?

3- How easy or difficult is it to train a cat to use a litter box? Will a cat always do its job in a litter box or can we expect some "accidents"?

4- How easy or difficult is it to keep a cat clean, bathe a cat, and how often?

5- What about the possibility of fleas, ticks and other little critters? Suggestions.

6- What are the chances of getting a cat with a good temperament around children? Are they good pets even for small children? How tolerant are they?

7- Will a cat try to destroy furniture by clawing at it?

8- Are cats really able to clean themselves?

9- What about cat dander?

10- Why should we get a cat instead of some other pet?

Any other comments, suggestions for us?

Thank you!
post #2 of 25
Kittens are easier to train to live inside. If you get an adult they might already be used to going outside. Also, kittens are easy to train to the litterbox, only there may be accidents, whereas most adults are used to them already. And the best place to get them from is somewhere like the Humane Society.

Yes cats are able to clean themselves most of the time, the main thing they can't do it clean up after themselves. They also don't tend to get dandruff that often, if well looked after.

Tolerance depends on the breed. I have a tortie, and I wouldn't keep her with young children because she bites. They all have different personalities I used to have a tabby who was as daft as a brush, but my friend has a tabby who is mean!

To prevent fleas etc, simply get a product such as frontline (sorry live in Uk don't know what it's called over there) which prevents the cat from getting fleas.

Cats won't deliberately destroy furniture, but will wreck it while they sharpen their claws on it. It might be best to get a scratching post, too.

And why you should get one instead of another pet? they look after theirselves, they are cute, lovable, and fuzzy!
post #3 of 25
1- You've never had a pet before. Young animals of any species have special needs and generally are just a bit more responsibility.

2- Your local shelter or rescue groups.

3- Most cats instinctively use litter. It gives them the proper texture and place to bury their waste. Accidents do happen, generally when they do it's a sign that the cat should go to the vet or that there may be too much stress in the home for some reason.

4- Most people don't bathe their cats unless there's a health related reason for doing so (aside from those showing their cats).

5- Indoor only cats tend to have less problems with this, but people can bring stuff inside with them. Monthly treatments of a flea preventative from the vet can help.

6- Ask the shelter or rescue group for help! This is one of the things they're supposed to help with. The rest you just have to let the cat meet your youngest to find out. If you make sure your kids always respect and treat the cat kindly it should have no problem with them.

7- You must provide scratching alternatives for a clawed cat. Scratchers and cat trees are good for the cat to have anyways. If you're truly worried about your furniture though, you can adopted an already declawed cat.

8- Yep. Though under certain circumstances they do need bathing for - ie they get into something bad that you cannot allow them to lick off their fur, or they got food on themselves.

9- Everything sheds, and not just fur. What about your dead skin cells? If you or your family aren't allergic, it won't be a problem.

10- It depends on your time and space. You still have to give a cat attention and play time, but cats don't need a big backyard or regular walks - dogs require this.


Read through the various forum sections - especially health and nutrition as there are already great discussions on foods. And make sure you have a couple hundred right off to spend on care and supplies - no pet is cheap.
You remember baby proofing your house? Well you'll have to do the same no matter if you get a dog or cat. But with cats you have the added fun of something that likes to jump or climb. If you have a lot of glassware and figurines (some how I doubt this with all the boys in the house ) you need to make sure they're secured. House plants and cleaners can be dangerous as well.
post #4 of 25
I prefer first time owners to adopt adult cats. Kittens are nightmares & you can't predict their purr-sonalities. If you want a declawed cat, please adopt one already declawed don't do it to a cat youself.

Most cats will just use a litter box automatically. When a cat goes outside the box, it can mean a health issue or a behavioral issue & any cat or kitten can do it.

Humane societies are full of cats, I recommend you start there. Check out www.petfinder.com & put in your zip code in the search engine.

Generally, shelters will have owner surrendered cats - so they often have history like "good with kids" etc. If the cat is already declawed you wouldn't have to worry about scratching. I have 5 clawed cats in my house & have no one who scratches what they wouldn't as I have scratching posts in the "right" spots as per them. I locate them where the kitties like to scratch.

Inside only cats can get fleas, so I do suggest you talk to your vet about a monthly flea preventative. No matter where you get a cat from, I suggest an intial vet visit within a few weeks.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
I hope this is the best place to post.

I am thinking of getting an indoor-only cat for my kids (all boys: ages 16, 12, 6) and I need some advice from all of you experienced cat lovers. We've never had a cat before and we've never had any pets before now.

Here are some of my questions:

1- I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat? Depending on how the temperment of the 6 yr old is, I would recommend an older kitten 6-7 months old or young adult 1-2 yrs old

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society? Shelter/Humane Soc. is a great way to adopt a kitten/cat. Please do NOT adopt any cat from a pet shop! - most come from backyard breeders or kitten mills where the animals are not socialized, very little health care and moms are bred till they die. Unless you really want a specific breed and willing to search a lot for the right breeder, the shelter is a good place to start. Also breed rescues are great if you want a "purebred".

3- How easy or difficult is it to train a cat to use a litter box? Will a cat always do its job in a litter box or can we expect some "accidents"? Most all cats are trained and kittens are easily trained at a young age. Some accidents may occur if the cat is sick, doesn't like the kind of box or litter, or the box is too big/small. Accidents can also happen with a lot of declawed cats, so please do not even consider doing that to a cat.

4- How easy or difficult is it to keep a cat clean, bathe a cat, and how often? Most cats don't need baths. Show people bathe their cats on a regular basis, but the typical HHP really only needs combing regularly and baths if really dirty.

5- What about the possibility of fleas, ticks and other little critters? Suggestions. If your cat is totally indoors, you usually will never have any kind of flea/tick problem. Be aware that if your area is heavy in fleas/ticks YOU can be the one that brings them in the house. If you have a problem, use Advantage, Frontline, etc. But do not medicate the cat unless there is a problem. Flea collars are a waste of money and many cats can get sick from wearing one.

6- What are the chances of getting a cat with a good temperament around children? Are they good pets even for small children? How tolerant are they? Larger type of cats tend to be more tolerant of kids. Its best to visit the shelter with the kids so you can see how the cat reacts. Kittens under 4 months of age need gentle handling - so if your kids are a little rougher, go with an adult cat and a larger cat.
Male cats seem to be more tolerant with kids.


7- Will a cat try to destroy furniture by clawing at it? Yes and no. If you give them a good sturdy treehouse/scratching post a minimum of 4 feet tall, and clip the nail once a week and/or use the nail caps Soft Paws, your furniture will be safe

8- Are cats really able to clean themselves? Yes, longhair cats may have a little more problem, but you should have a regular grooming routine. LH's have to be combed every day or several times a week.

9- What about cat dander? If any one in the family is allergic, there are certain type of cats that will cause less reactions. Nothing is 100% guarantee tho - Rexes, ultra Shorthair (like orientals/ocicats/bengals) should be fine. You can wipe down the cats daily with distilled drinking water to lessen the dander.

10- Why should we get a cat instead of some other pet? Cats are great pets. Many can be trained to do tricks. They are smart and cuddly and IMO its easier to sleep with a cat on the bed then a large dog!

Any other comments, suggestions for us?

Thank you!
Glad you are doing your homework before and taking your time to decide if a cat/kitten is right for your family

Also feed them a high quality of dry and canned foods. Look thru the threads about nutrition for info; or pm Sharky (she's a nutrition "expert" around here on the forum )
post #6 of 25
1- I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat?
That depends on how much time you want to spend. Kittens take a lot of time and patience because when they aren't sleeping they want to play. An adult cat doesn't take as much attention, but may seem a bit aloof at first until they get comfortable.

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society?
That would be my first choice. If you are willing to open up your home and heart to a cat I would try to rescue one rather than buy one from a pet store.

3- How easy or difficult is it to train a cat to use a litter box? Will a cat always do its job in a litter box or can we expect some "accidents"?
Most cats use litter boxes instinctively, you just have to show them where it is and make sure it is in a convienant place for them. Especially if you get one from a shelter, they know what they are and what they are for. Kitten's may have some accidents, but usually by the time they are ready to go to a new home their Mommy has already showed them where to do their business. Sometimes there are accidents at first if the cat isn't sure, or if he/she isn't comfortable where the box is (ie, noisy area of the house, etc), so you may have to play around with it at first.

4- How easy or difficult is it to keep a cat clean, bathe a cat, and how often?
If it's an indoor cat and is bathed before you bring it in, you shouldn't have to worry about it UNLESS the cat gets into something that could be dangerous (like when mine jumped in the toilet that was being used by my husband at the time ) I usually don't bathe my cats unless they get especially dirty.

5- What about the possibility of fleas, ticks and other little critters? Suggestions.
IMO indoor cats don't need to worry about ticks, fleas, etc. Alot depends on what is brought into the house though. If you have a visiting dog that may have fleas they can jump to the cat (or you). You can treat the cat, but I prefer not to unless necessary because of the chemicals.

6- What are the chances of getting a cat with a good temperament around children? Are they good pets even for small children? How tolerant are they?
Cats have personalities just like any other animal (human, dog, whatever). Some love children and attention, some run away and hide. If you go to the shelter, ask if there are any cats that really seem to like kids and are laid back.

7- Will a cat try to destroy furniture by clawing at it?
Cats will claw...it's instinct to sharpen their claws and to leave their scent. To stop them from clawing your furniture you have to give them an alternative. A cat tree is idea (something high), or at the very least a small scratching post. They don't cost much. Treat it with cat nip and if the kitty does start clawing something else, pick it up and move it to where it's supposed to be claw. Before long kitty will realize that is HERS to destroy!

8- Are cats really able to clean themselves?
Yes. I have pictures if you want to see!

9- What about cat dander?
That is an allergy question. I have 6 and the dander doesn't bother me or my husband, but it bother's my husband's cousin. So that is a personal thing. Now, cat hair on the other hand....depending on the cat, the breed, what you feed it, etc the shedding can be bad.

10- Why should we get a cat instead of some other pet?
I have both cats and dogs. I love them all for different reasons. Cats are better if you aren't home a lot because as long as they have food, water, clean litter box and toys, they can amuse themselves so that is better for a busy life style. Dogs need more attention and time and can't be left alone for long periods. BUT, when I call my dogs' names they come running...when I try that with my cats most of the time I get a look that clearly says..."ummmm....maybe later" and they go about their business. Just depends on what kind of pet you want.
post #7 of 25
Everyone gave you some great advice! I just wanted to add to why you should get a cat!

Cats are pretty low key, for the most part. Cats do not have to go outside, or be taken for a walk. Some cats like to go for walks on the leash and harness, but it is not something that HAS to be done to keep your cat happy and healthy. Cats can be left alone for many hours at a time and you do not have to stress about your kitty needing to go out and potty.

The litter box is very natural for cats. It is not hard to train a kitty to use it. It is more about making sure you cat knows where it is, finding the right box for your cat and keeping it clean. I look at it this way we all know how frustrating it is when you have to potty and you can't find the bathroom, but we can ask someone a cat can't. Also, who likes to use dirty bathrooms? I know for sure that I hate usuing the bath rooms in public places because they are always dirty! Cats are the same way. You will have to expect SOME accidents, it happens! Mainly with kittens, they are just babies. Just like babies accidents happen.

As for a kitten vs a cat, because it is your first cat you might be better off going with a young cat. 1-2 years of age, it will still have TONS of engry, but you will be able to find a cat with the personitly you are looking for.

I would stay away from declawed cats and would NEVER get a cat decalwed. They ONLY reason I segest this is because there is a huge chance that a declawed cat will become a biter. Seeing that you have a 6 year old there is a large chance your cat might become annoyed and having no other defenses, besides its teeth will probally bite. All cats are different and that does not say it WILL happen, but it is just something to think about.

I have never had a problem with a cat tearing up funiture, but they NEED a place to scratch. Some cats like the mats that lay flat on the gound and some like a post. The pads that lay on the ground are pretty cheep so I would just get one of each and see what you kitty likes. All I do is when my cats started to scratch on my couch. I tell them no and then moved them to where it is ok for them to scratch and take there feet and scratch on it for them. Then when ever I see them scrathing on there post all by them selves they get extra love and a treat!

Cats are very smart animals and are very social.
post #8 of 25
You've already gotten good advice and comments from everyone else, I would just add one thing.

Being that you're new to cats, take the time prior to commiting to adopt or buy, to ensure you and your family members are not severely allergic to cat dander. Some people are so allergic that they are miserable with a cat in the house, then the poor cat has to be surrendered once again.

Take your entire family to visit a shelter, rescue or even a breeder and surround yourself with the cats. If no one reacts adversely after an hour or so, you'll all probably be fine with a cat as a pet for life.

I myself am allergic to cat dander. But just mildly. If I touch the cats and then rub my eyes, they'll itch for hours. I've always had cats though, I just have to remember that rubbing my eyes is a no-no.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Wow! Great information. I really appreciate it.

I like cats and had several of them when I was a kid along time ago, although for some reason we never had them for very long. They kept "disappearing."

Now I just need to talk my wife into the idea. She doesn't like cats for some reason. We all need to make a trip to our local humane society.
post #10 of 25
My best advice? Don't necessarily fall for the "cutest" one. I'm fostering a super cute Siamese kitten, & he is a holy terror & a half. Someone wanted him as he was "cute" & had a 4 year old son. Houdini, the kitten, bites me & draws blood regularly as well as scratches the tar out of me.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
My best advice? Don't necessarily fall for the "cutest" one. I'm fostering a super cute Siamese kitten, & he is a holy terror & a half. Someone wanted him as he was "cute" & had a 4 year old son. Houdini, the kitten, bites me & draws blood regularly as well as scratches the tar out of me.
Awww come on ALL kitties are cute!!

But good advice, that cute little face and soft fur does not mean the kitty isnt a little devil. Spend some time with the kitty before you take it home. You might get a better idea of what there personilty is like.
Also try and pick a kitty that chooses you, rahter then just picking one out. If you notice that a cat is really into you take that as a sign and bring that one home!
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Wow! Great information. I really appreciate it.

I like cats and had several of them when I was a kid along time ago, although for some reason we never had them for very long. They kept "disappearing."

Now I just need to talk my wife into the idea. She doesn't like cats for some reason. We all need to make a trip to our local humane society.
There are certainly a lot of people that don't like cats. But there are even more that just aren't familiar with them. People that have never owned cats say they aren't affectionate, they have bad attitudes, etc. But most of that is lack of experience.

My first thought, though I'm no expert by any means, would be that with young boys I wouldn't want something as delicate as a kitten to live with them unless you have a LOT of time to watch over it, and your kids are not like normal little boys that just like to do things that shouldn't be done.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Now I just need to talk my wife into the idea. She doesn't like cats for some reason. We all need to make a trip to our local humane society.
She may do well with a 3-5 year old male cat that's more kicked back. Just be aware that she may be the one that any cat you get wants to bond most with.

Another thought, is to maybe look for a cat that came from a multi pet home. If you decide to get a dog or another cat later it would be good if the cat has a bit of experience (especially with dogs). There's also some cats that come from homes where the other pets were dogs, it can make for some interesting behavior in a cat.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler5 View Post
Wow! Great information. I really appreciate it.

I like cats and had several of them when I was a kid along time ago, although for some reason we never had them for very long. They kept "disappearing."

Now I just need to talk my wife into the idea. She doesn't like cats for some reason. We all need to make a trip to our local humane society.
Please be sure to make your cat an INDOOR only cat. Outdoor cats have a tendancy to "disappear" faster than indoor cats.
post #15 of 25
Here are some of my questions:

1- I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat? It depends on what you want. Personally, I would adopt an older cat, if you got kittens you probably would want to get them in a pair (2) so they don't get lonely, same for an older cat.

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society? YES - there's so many needing homes in shelters, pounds, and rescues.

3
you have to make sure the cat KNOWS where the litter box is and not in a place where there is a lot of traffic, like us cats like privacy when going to the bathroom.


Cats normally don't need a bath, they clean themselves. the only reason I gave Tiger a bath when I adopted him is because he had pee all over his butt. If you are thinking of bathing your cat, I would just get bath wipes that are animal safe, the water scares them.

5 Keep the cat inside and that shouldn't be a problem. You woud want to get a vet check as soon as possible to make sure there is nothing like that on the cat.

6 you know it depends how they were treated in the past around children, they could be frightened. I think they are as long as your children know how to respect the cat's space when it doesn't want to be held. they're pretty tolerant, like I said they have to know cats aren't neccessarily like dogs, they don't want to be held against their will.

7
not if you provide scratching surfaces.

8
yes

9-
Is there anyone allergic to cats? otherwise I am not sure how to answer this one.

10
It's your choice really, if you want a cat please adopt one. Only you can answer that one. Good luck!
post #16 of 25
My only advice is that when you go to actually choose a cat, just sit down with the cats, and let them come to you. Don't try and pick them all up straight away or expect them all to play immediately. Get all the kids to sit down and wait and see what happens.

The kitties need to get used to new people, and freak out when people walk into the adoption area and try to immediately grab at them.

Spend a good amount of time with the kitties watching their behaviour and how they interact with everyone.

I also recommend getting 2 cats. They generally like having another feline friend, and it really isn't any extra work, and a second cat doesn't take up extra space.

As for the litter box, cats are amazing. I recently trapped a feral mother cat and her five 6 week old kittens, who had lived all their lives in the wild, mostly in a generator. From the moment I brought them home (they were in a large cage together) there was not one accident outside the litter box, including the kittens. These little things who had only been going to the toilet without mums help for a couple of weeks knew exactly where to go. Cats are very fastidious creatures - they like to be clean, so you just need to keep up your end of the bargain by cleaning out the litter box regularly, and giving occasional brushings to help remove excess fur.

Good on you for researching this decision thoroughly, and I think it's great - kids bond really well with their pets, and they are a great stress reliever.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweets View Post
Please be sure to make your cat an INDOOR only cat. Outdoor cats have a tendancy to "disappear" faster than indoor cats.
No doubt about that. We want to keep her/him inside with us.
post #18 of 25
One thing I would note is it's less about getting the cat to get along with the kids than getting the kids to get along with the cat... Cats need their alone time, especially when they're new and scared... you're going to have to make sure the kids, especially the six year old, know that kitty has to be left alone. Sometimes asking the rescues/humane society can help... they can point you towards a laid-back 'people' cat for your first kitty.
post #19 of 25
I'd like to second the suggestions of letting the cat choose you and getting two cats. It really is easier with more than one even though it seems like that wouldn't be the case! However, with the way your wife doesn't seem like she wants a cat, that might not be possible. Secondly, while you can pick out the cat you like best, most times its the cat who picks the person, not the other way around. They really are opinionated.

The second thing I want to say is that once you get your cat, make sure you post here and make sure we know. We love updates and pictures of kitties! Good luck with your search!
post #20 of 25
Lots of good advice here!!

I personally would not go with a kitten. They're adorable but a royal pain! Our rescue tries not to adopt out kittens (10-12 weeks is the youngest we will go) to families with children under ... say.. the age of 8.

And as fastnoc so sagely observed, some people have misconceptions about cats being evil or sneaky or aloof. I was bitten on the face by a neighbor cat when I was a girl and didn't really like cats until I met my boyfriend's cat, who passed on a couple years ago.

As far as aloof and unaffectionate - that's why you go to the shelter and they let you take the animal in a room with you and you sit on the floor and let HER or HIM interact with you and your family members to help determine a good match. (On the floor makes you appear smaller and more accessible, less of a threat if the kitty is nervous.) Don't be drawn in strictly by color or markings. Look for the right personality.

Also, the first time I was ever hugged by an animal came from a large gray tabby who stood on my lap and wrapped his front paws around my neck, pressed his cheek to mine and purred his head off. Now if that isn't affectionate, I don't know what is! BTW - he was aptly named Romeo.

On that "evil" thing - we have a brother and sister we're trying to adopt out together - three years old, taken from a bad living situation. I heard one girl comment to her family that Jazz - the orange and white male - looked "evil". (He had a kind of scowl/frown on his face and his ears were down to the sides- Yoda ears.) I told her very plainly that he is NOT evil, that he is scared and unhappy and that's why he looks like that. She said, "oh." BTW -these two are serious lap kitties!

I feel it is my personal mission to battle ignorance about cats. That's part of the reason I'm on here - to learn. Glad to see that you're here and asking all the right questions.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the great information. I spoke with my wife and I think she's warming up to the idea.

I'll let you folks know.
post #22 of 25
It's great to hear that you are considering getting a cat. They make wonderful companions. And I'm also happy to see that there are still some people smart enough to do research into something as important as this. One piece of info that I have to stress is to not have your cat de-clawed. It is one of the most horrific surgeries to ever be done to a cat. It's very painful and can lead to many physical and behavioral problems in the future. I am currently going to school to become a vet and I have stated many times on this site that the de-clawing surgery is a procedure I will completely refuse to do unless it is absolutely medically necessary. The best course of action is to buy a cat tree or at least a scratching post. And if your cat scratches your furniture, move your cat to the post/tree and show him/her how to use it. Don't force their paws on it but just start scratching it with your hands. They will want to copy you and sooner or later they will stop scratching your furniture entirely. If for some strange reason, the cat still refuses to use the post/tree, just rub some catnip into it. That will definitely get their attention.
post #23 of 25
1.I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat?
Seeing as you don't have babies or toddlers, i think your children could handle a kitten. It's usually recommended to have older cats around really young children due to kittens being all claws and easy to sit on and injure by the child etc.

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society?
People do buy them from pet shops, but these are mostly kittens who were bred for sale and have almost certainly not come from broken homes or experience the trauma most pound kitties do. I would say look around all of your humane society groups in and around where you live. Most if not all allow owners to bring in their dogs on leads and cats in carriers to sniff out potential good matches and see if they will fight or not. Even though pet shop animals are looking for homes, most of the animals at the humane society have been neglected or dumped and do need to find their longterm homes, they have less of a chance than pet shop kitties. Kittens at the society also do get snapped up quicker than older ones. Most children don't want an older cat, they want something 'cute', but i think that is a cop-out.

3- How easy or difficult is it to train a cat to use a litter box? Will a cat always do its job in a litter box or can we expect some "accidents"?
Charlie has been an indoor cat for about 16 months, before that he was an outdoor kitty when jasmine was still alive, and he has not forgotten his kitten hood training of using the litter when he needs. If he is in my bedroom he will even give a special meow at the door to let him to his tray. Im sure as a first time owner you may have some trouble or feel a bit frustrated. Usually an older adopted cat will already be toilet trained, and may just need to be shown a few times where the tray is. In regards to a kitten you will have to sit them on the clean tray to encourage it to 'go'. Some people will gently push their bottom down to give them the idea. Even if they dont need to go, this shows them where the toilet is. Also scratching your fingers in the clean litter like a kitten would helps some people. If your kitty looks like it is about to go to the toilet elsewhere, quickly scoop them up and run them to the tray. The time it takes to train depends on your patience, and the kitties ability to learn and recognise smells.

4- How easy or difficult is it to keep a cat clean, bathe a cat, and how often?
I haven't bathed Charlie since he was a kitten. He hated baths. As he is indoors he is extremely clean (he is a pure white cat) and licks himself clean. I have a slicker brush which is not at all expensive and spend a few minutes each day grooming him. This brush goes right down to the skin and as you gently brush it picks up a lot of the fur that hasn't yet been shed. This fur also makes for kitty toupees! You may have to deal in most cases with a screaming, scratching kitty. If its a kitten and not an adult, you may be able to give regular bathes and get him/her used to them. Id only really suggest bathing if your kitty has somehow caught lots of fleas, or has rolled around in something sticky or extremely dirty. Their tongues take care of themselves. Unless you're going to be a show person.

5- What about the possibility of fleas, ticks and other little critters? Suggestions.
Charlie has not had any fleas since we moved house 8 months ago, the previous owners had no pets and our other kitty passed away last year. If you are in a household with no other cats, your cat most likely wont be at risk, especially as an indoor cat. If it gets adopted with fleas (this happens sometimes especially as a lot of the healthy cats can come into contact with each other in the human society) you can go to your vet, or local pet supply centre (i wouldn't recommend the supermarket) and get treatment from there, there are many options. Ticks are extremely dangerous and can paralise and even kill a cat. There is lots of information, this is one of the many sites you should go to to find out about early warning signs and what to do if it ever happens http://www.cat-world.com.au/ticks.htm. If your cat ends up with worms (swollen belly, blood and pests in feaces) take it straight to the vet for some treatment and a checkup. I suggest you talk to your local vet and do some research on the computer of what pests can affect your cat before you adopt.

6- What are the chances of getting a cat with a good temperament around children? Are they good pets even for small children? How tolerant are they?
Well this sort of goes back to the first question. A kittens temperment is usually the same as the next, kill, destroy, lick, go crazy, and as it gets older its personality will develop depending on how you, your children, and other pets treat it. All claws may not be good for children who like to er...torture pets (not actual torture, but those who do a lot of poking and prodding and such). Older cats around children may give a warning hiss/growl to tell the child they are becoming intolerant of what they are doing. Scratching and biting is bad, but it is up to the children to treat the cat with the love and respect it deserves. if it attacks, please, please, do not decide the cat needs to go back to the shelter or be put to sleep, as is the mistake a lot of people make. The cat could be scared, hurt or just very annoyed. Their personality also depends on if they are semi feral, have come from an abusive household etc. Thats why you take your household members, and any other pets with you to at a safe distance, let them sniff, speak etc. The shelter will tell you what you can and can't do.

7- Will a cat try to destroy furniture by clawing at it?
Yes. Prevention - At an early age show them scratching poles, put sisal strips onto your favourite furniture or plastic protectors. Firmly tell them off each time they scratch. There is a clicker which you press each time the cat does something naughty. They will hopefully associate that with naughty things and behave themselves. You can also have an outdoor enclosure if you like, or some very secure place to put in logs and scratching items. I don't know at what age you start, but you can learn how to trim a cats claws as well, usually once a month or less if they are not using any of the toys. More timids kittens or older cats need coaxing for the trimming. You need to get them used to you touching their paws and being able to extend their claws etc without them freaking out. Other cats dont even notice and will let you do whatever you want as long as they get to play. And even though at TCS we are not going to attack anyone who makes this choice, we all have the same opinion on declawing - it is harmful to the animal, and unneccesary. Please do not consider it.

8- Are cats really able to clean themselves?
Yes. Unless your cat is covered in tar, oil, paint etc, they will clean themselves from ear to tail.

9- What about cat dander?
Some cats will be able to deal with it if it is mild and barely noticeable. If it is more serious, if they are scratching a lot or there are flakes and not just little specks, it could be a sign of something more serious, and you need to take them to the vet.

10- Why should we get a cat instead of some other pet?
Cats can exercise themselves. They don't eat a lot. They give you love, warmth, happy times. There are so many more reasons, and they give different things to different owners. They are just a wonderful pet to have in your family.

Any other comments, suggestions for us?
Good luck on your hunt. I'm sorry this reply was so long, but i hope it helps I know everyone will give very good information, and of course opinions will vary. This is a life changing decision, because a cat is a pet for life.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoriana View Post
1.I'm not sure if we should start off with a kitten or a full-sized cat?
Seeing as you don't have babies or toddlers, i think your children could handle a kitten. It's usually recommended to have older cats around really young children due to kittens being all claws and easy to sit on and injure by the child etc.

2- Where's the best place to get a cat? Humane Society?
People do buy them from pet shops, but these are mostly kittens who were bred for sale and have almost certainly not come from broken homes or experience the trauma most pound kitties do. I would say look around all of your humane society groups in and around where you live. Most if not all allow owners to bring in their dogs on leads and cats in carriers to sniff out potential good matches and see if they will fight or not. Even though pet shop animals are looking for homes, most of the animals at the humane society have been neglected or dumped and do need to find their longterm homes, they have less of a chance than pet shop kitties. Kittens at the society also do get snapped up quicker than older ones. Most children don't want an older cat, they want something 'cute', but i think that is a cop-out.

3- How easy or difficult is it to train a cat to use a litter box? Will a cat always do its job in a litter box or can we expect some "accidents"?
Charlie has been an indoor cat for about 16 months, before that he was an outdoor kitty when jasmine was still alive, and he has not forgotten his kitten hood training of using the litter when he needs. If he is in my bedroom he will even give a special meow at the door to let him to his tray. Im sure as a first time owner you may have some trouble or feel a bit frustrated. Usually an older adopted cat will already be toilet trained, and may just need to be shown a few times where the tray is. In regards to a kitten you will have to sit them on the clean tray to encourage it to 'go'. Some people will gently push their bottom down to give them the idea. Even if they dont need to go, this shows them where the toilet is. Also scratching your fingers in the clean litter like a kitten would helps some people. If your kitty looks like it is about to go to the toilet elsewhere, quickly scoop them up and run them to the tray. The time it takes to train depends on your patience, and the kitties ability to learn and recognise smells.

4- How easy or difficult is it to keep a cat clean, bathe a cat, and how often?
I haven't bathed Charlie since he was a kitten. He hated baths. As he is indoors he is extremely clean (he is a pure white cat) and licks himself clean. I have a slicker brush which is not at all expensive and spend a few minutes each day grooming him. This brush goes right down to the skin and as you gently brush it picks up a lot of the fur that hasn't yet been shed. This fur also makes for kitty toupees! You may have to deal in most cases with a screaming, scratching kitty. If its a kitten and not an adult, you may be able to give regular bathes and get him/her used to them. Id only really suggest bathing if your kitty has somehow caught lots of fleas, or has rolled around in something sticky or extremely dirty. Their tongues take care of themselves. Unless you're going to be a show person.

5- What about the possibility of fleas, ticks and other little critters? Suggestions.
Charlie has not had any fleas since we moved house 8 months ago, the previous owners had no pets and our other kitty passed away last year. If you are in a household with no other cats, your cat most likely wont be at risk, especially as an indoor cat. If it gets adopted with fleas (this happens sometimes especially as a lot of the healthy cats can come into contact with each other in the human society) you can go to your vet, or local pet supply centre (i wouldn't recommend the supermarket) and get treatment from there, there are many options. Ticks are extremely dangerous and can paralise and even kill a cat. There is lots of information, this is one of the many sites you should go to to find out about early warning signs and what to do if it ever happens http://www.cat-world.com.au/ticks.htm. If your cat ends up with worms (swollen belly, blood and pests in feaces) take it straight to the vet for some treatment and a checkup. I suggest you talk to your local vet and do some research on the computer of what pests can affect your cat before you adopt.

6- What are the chances of getting a cat with a good temperament around children? Are they good pets even for small children? How tolerant are they?
Well this sort of goes back to the first question. A kittens temperment is usually the same as the next, kill, destroy, lick, go crazy, and as it gets older its personality will develop depending on how you, your children, and other pets treat it. All claws may not be good for children who like to er...torture pets (not actual torture, but those who do a lot of poking and prodding and such). Older cats around children may give a warning hiss/growl to tell the child they are becoming intolerant of what they are doing. Scratching and biting is bad, but it is up to the children to treat the cat with the love and respect it deserves. if it attacks, please, please, do not decide the cat needs to go back to the shelter or be put to sleep, as is the mistake a lot of people make. The cat could be scared, hurt or just very annoyed. Their personality also depends on if they are semi feral, have come from an abusive household etc. Thats why you take your household members, and any other pets with you to at a safe distance, let them sniff, speak etc. The shelter will tell you what you can and can't do.

7- Will a cat try to destroy furniture by clawing at it?
Yes. Prevention - At an early age show them scratching poles, put sisal strips onto your favourite furniture or plastic protectors. Firmly tell them off each time they scratch. There is a clicker which you press each time the cat does something naughty. They will hopefully associate that with naughty things and behave themselves. You can also have an outdoor enclosure if you like, or some very secure place to put in logs and scratching items. I don't know at what age you start, but you can learn how to trim a cats claws as well, usually once a month or less if they are not using any of the toys. More timids kittens or older cats need coaxing for the trimming. You need to get them used to you touching their paws and being able to extend their claws etc without them freaking out. Other cats dont even notice and will let you do whatever you want as long as they get to play. And even though at TCS we are not going to attack anyone who makes this choice, we all have the same opinion on declawing - it is harmful to the animal, and unneccesary. Please do not consider it.

8- Are cats really able to clean themselves?
Yes. Unless your cat is covered in tar, oil, paint etc, they will clean themselves from ear to tail.

9- What about cat dander?
Some cats will be able to deal with it if it is mild and barely noticeable. If it is more serious, if they are scratching a lot or there are flakes and not just little specks, it could be a sign of something more serious, and you need to take them to the vet.

10- Why should we get a cat instead of some other pet?
Cats can exercise themselves. They don't eat a lot. They give you love, warmth, happy times. There are so many more reasons, and they give different things to different owners. They are just a wonderful pet to have in your family.

Any other comments, suggestions for us?
Good luck on your hunt. I'm sorry this reply was so long, but i hope it helps I know everyone will give very good information, and of course opinions will vary. This is a life changing decision, because a cat is a pet for life.

Thank you for taking the time to comment on each of my questions. It's great information to have and know. I appreciate it.
post #25 of 25
I do not need to give you advice everyone else given you good advice.
I will tell you what happened when we got our first cats.
I was a kid and my mom was not sure to get a cat or not.
My dad is allergic to alot so she asked if he got sick if we can take the kitten back. We got a Orange and white Male and named him Henry.
I was 11 and my brother was 9.
My other brother was 6 and my sister was 3.
My other two sisters were not born yet.
After we got Henry we went bacl and got his brother a all orange male.
We namerd him Frisky.
I am allergic to cats.
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