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Which breed of cat?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am new to message boards so forgive me if I make mistakes.

My two sons, ages 7 and 2 1/2, are very interested in getting a cat. My husband and I have had cats in the past. One was an excellent cat and the other had all kinds of behavior problems. Both of them were purchased from the S.P.C.A. We are looking into getting another cat but since we have kids now, we have more things to consider when choosing a cat.

We would like to get a breed that is compatible with kids and can be taught how to live in a house. We do not let our cats go outside. We are not interested in breeding but I thought a purebred might have a better mental capacity and stability.

Can I have opinions on which breed would best fit into our family?
Is it better to get two cats for companionship or can one cat live happily with our family?
Is it better to get a kitten or an older cat?
Is a female better than a male because of spraying problems?
When do you get them nuetered or spayed?
Is declawing the front feet cruel or is it acceptable?

Please send all the information you think we need to help us choose the right cat for our family. As you can see I have lots of questions and I would like to make sure that we get the right cat to make this a fun and happy time for all.

Thank you for your input.
post #2 of 6
Glad to hear that your family is taking the plunge into the world of cats.
I fully agree that keeping a cat indoors is healthiest for your pet and outdoor wildlife. There are many great references to providing safe and stimulating entertainment for the house-bound kitty. For example; ceiling length climbing towers, window bird feeders etc.

I don't believe in declawing. It is cruel and is the equivalent of cutting the tips of your fingers off. Because you have a toddler, you will need to clip the nails every 2 weeks. A vet can demonstrate the technique. Also to "save" your furniture, have scratching/climbing cat condos and poles in the rooms your cat likes to frequent. I have actually made heavy (cotton canvas) covers for the furniture .

I would recommend a very mellow adult cat because the toddler might inadvertantly hurt a little kitten. Kittens get underfoot and can get sat upon! If the cat is neutered by 6 mo, there probably won't be spraying.

I would recommend a Maine Coon (large, long hair) or an Abysinian (short hair). Maine Coons are generally more sedate. The Abys are very interactive, have kitten-like behavior. Sometimes you can get them through rescue web sites.

Happy hunting!
post #3 of 6
Yes, it is alot at once, but I am glad you are doing research. Pets should be a lifelong commitment.
First, kids and cats can co exist as long as rules are set. With regards to the 7 year old, there wouldnt be a problem as long as they understand being nice to kitty. That is kitty is hit or pulled on then kitty will avoid that person at all costs. The 2.5 year old would have to be supervised around a very young kitten. Thats where the ages come in. Any cat 6 months and up would probably suite both ages.
With the breeds, yes some are better than others. Most of it really has to do with the socialization it had as a young kitten. You may want to go buy CATS magazine for 2001. It has every breed known to man listed and their personalities. Then I would do hunting and interview breeders. Try and go to the house to see how the kittens live and such. OR you can find a local non profit rescue in the spring. Most will have kittens born to moms at the rescue. Most are in foster care and you can ask how much interaction with people they have had.
My take has always been 2 cats are better than one. It seems to be easier on the cats when you are out. Also it keeps them busy so they are not getting into everything in sight. This is only recomended if you have the time and money for 2 cats and the vet bills.
Male/Female has never been an issue for me. I know most of the people I am friends with have the same oppinion. I have males that are just as loving as the females. They spraying should never be a problem if both sexes are altered before 6 months. Especially if they are indoors only.
Declawing is not acceptable in my eyes. It is cruel and inhumane. If you would like to see what it involves, please go to the behavior forum and look at the link under the declawing question. If you are worried while training them to use appropriate furniture, you can use a product called soft paws. They are little caps you glue onto the nails. Cats HAVE to scratch, you just have to teach them where to do it. Theres lots of training info on this site.
Please let us know if you have any other questions. I personally have 11 cats..all indoors only. I dont think theres anything I havnt seen yet...but wouldnt surprise me if I did..hehe
post #4 of 6
I think that it is great that you are giving your children the opportunity to have a pet. I grew up always having pets. When I moved out of my parents house, they had 3 cats and 2 dogs. All of the cats and one of the dogs were strays or rescued (one dog is a pure Boston Bull Terrior who couldn't be more perfect).

I agree with Sandie that you should consider rescuing an older kitten from a shelter. Think of it as "saving a life". The key is to spend a lot of time with Kitty before you decide to take him home. It is perfectly acceptable, after seeing how Kitty interacts with your children, to say "I don't think that he is a good match for our family, I think that I will keep looking." NO ONE wants to adopt a cat to a home where kitty will not fit in.

All the cats I had when I was small were declawed. But, if I pulled Kittys tail (or some other behavior he didn't like), he is still going to hiss, jump away and maybe try to attack (even with his rear claws). It is VERY important that you teach your children how to play with Kitty nicely, and declawing should not be an issue.

I hope that you do decide on a new addition to your family! Have fun with him (or her)!
post #5 of 6
You have asked some really good questions and I would like to offer my opinion too - however, just one observation. Someone wrote Abby's were mellow? Frannie breeds Abbys and I am getting a kitten next month - she will not place with children as most of the breeders I know won't - Abbys are in your face, active cats that may not be appropriate for children. A six month old Maine Coon, a munchkin, Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin would be good purebred choices - but I do think you want to get an older kitten. If you go with a domestic to start with, male red tigers seem to have really awesome purrsonality!
I have a rescue organization and do not adopt out kittens to families with children under five years of age. I learned the hard way - two years ago a friend sent someone with a 2 year old to my home with a request to make an exception because the child was so wonderful. Two days later the vet called me because the child had accidentally killed the kitten by "hugging" it too hard. I don't waiver from my rule any longer.

What I do is find kid friendly cats (usually teens) for people with children. A cat who loves kids but can also take care of itself.

Early altering will take care of the male/female issue. There are actually females who spray too so it is best to just alter when the kitty is about four months old UNLESS it is a specific breed that should not be altered young, like a Sphynx or Abby. And as to declawing, please read my newspaper columns on declawing that are on my website:
Oh - two cats are always easier than one - easier to share too!

Sorry this was so long
post #6 of 6
Hi there

I'm glad you are doing research. As for the age of the cat, I agree that it should be an older kitten, 6 months or older. I do breed Abys as Rene said above and it's only MY opinion that I will not place an Aby in a home with children as I've known a cat (not mine) being brought back to its breeder within 24 hours of it going to it's new home not because of the cat but because of the kid. You see, the breeder had made sure the 10 year old boy knew how to treat the cat and the breeder asked for the kid to come about 3 times to make sure they got along. All was fine, until the kid got the cat to his home and the mom caught the kid swinging the cat around the kid's head by the tail. After that, the cat was not handleable. An Aby is very active and curious. They can get into lots of trouble. I do know some breeders of other breeds that their own cats are brought up with children and that they do sell to families with young children. I am not saying that your children would do anything but remember, this is just my opinion. If a purebreed is what you want, please take Sandy's advice and get the 2001 USA Cats Magazine. Ragdolls are wonderful and they are the only longhair cat that will not mat so grooming is minimal, although all cats should be groomed and well taken care of. As for spraying, females also spray so my advice is to get the cat altered at the appropriate age. I also don't believe in declawing unless it's for a medical reason like diabetes. As for the number of cats, two would be ideal as they would keep each other company. Although I do breed, I suggest that you go to your animal rescue and see what they have. Some of the organizations do have purebreeds for adoption. I use to do rescuing when I lived on the eastcoast and know how wonderful non-purebreeds can be. You see, I still have my first cat that was adopted from a shelter and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. Although I show purbreeds at cat shows, I still show household pets at times. Happy hunting and please ask all the questions you have. You've come to the right place. Sorry for being so long.

[Edited by Frannie on 02-20-2001 at 10:39 PM]
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