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interested in getting a cat

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
i'm new to cats...i recently had to put down my 7-year-old dog due to bone cancer, and while my parents don't want another animal of their own, especially not a dog, i'm looking into getting a cat for myself. i'll be moving out in a few years, after college, if not before that (when i get enough money)

so...i would prefer to get a kitten, and i'm trying to figure out what kind of food would be good for a kitten. i'm going to adopt from the humane society, and they have kittens as young as 1 month old available. i would prefer one under 5 months, if possible. how long do you feed kitten food for? i'm looking at different brands, and a couple that i think look alright are:

-Authority kitten food (dry)
-Iams (dry)

should kittens be on wet or dry food specifically? does it make a difference if you feed a cat wet or dry food? my boyfriend has 2 cats and he just feeds them dry iams...they gobble it up like it's a 5-star meal.

is there anything i should know before i get a kitten? i've been looking around the forum over the past few days, and i'm pretty sure i've got the basics.

thanks for replies...much appreciated.

-Liz
post #2 of 20
Actually, an all-dry food diet, even quality food, is not considered the best for cats. No matter how much water they drink they do not get enough moisture (which in the wild they get most of through their food) and it can cause urinary and other problems later on.

If you don't want an all-wet food diet, the recommendation is to feed them at least a 50-50 wet/dry food diet, maybe dry in the am and wet in the evening.

Second, any self-respecting shelter would NEVER put a 1-month old kitten up for adoption, unless you were fostering it and knew how to care for orphaned kittens. Although most people believe in keeping a kitten with its mother or caregiver later, the minimum should be 8 weeks, or a 2 month old kitten.

I would be very suspect of a shelter that offered you a 1-month old kitten, and I would look at other shelters or rescue groups in your area. I would not trust the health or care of the kitten. I could give you a link to some if you'd like.

Have you also considered the possibility of what would happen if once you are out of school you end up in a situation that would not allow you to bring the cat along with you? Are you parents willing to continue the responsibilty for a while until you are able to do so? If you are not sure, you might reconsider waiting until then, instead of getting a cat and after years having to return it to a shelter to either be adopted or end up euthanized because they cannot find it a home. Perhaps you can foster until then, which can be very rewarding. There are lots of cats that need foster homes through no-kill rescue groups, even pregnant queens you can give a home to so they can have their kittens safely, after which time the rescue will find them homes. Another reason that is a good idea is because in most cases they pay for the food, litter, vet care, leaving you to simply enjoy them.

Some say kitten food should be given until 1 year old, some feel adult food can be fed earlier. Kitten food has a higher protein count. Mine simply will not eat kitten food, so I had to give her adult food after she was about 10 weeks old, and sneak in some kitten food when I could (most times she knew and picked it out). LOL

Good luck in whatever you decide to do and your new companion.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks for your reply.

the shelter that i'm looking at is very reputable, i think that the kitten is from a mother who gave birth while at the shelter. they have foster homes, so that's probably where the kitten is now.

i'm still in the 'finding out about cats' stage before i ask to make sure i'm allowed...doing that worked when i got a hamster.

thanks again for the info about food...who knew it would be so complicated? lol. but if it was too easy, it would be a bit boring i guess. i like finding out about all the stuff you need to do to look after animals...i dunno why, it just interests me.

i'm waiting for a little while longer before i broach the subject of getting a cat...my mom especially is still pretty upset about our dog and i don't want to bring it up too soon. not to mention i need to save up for a few more paychecks before i can afford all the stuff i'll need!

-Liz
post #4 of 20
I think it would be a good idea to have your parents blessings, as well as their promise to help if you need to leave the cat with them a while. Again, that's why I suggest possibly fostering yourself until you are in a more stable situation. All the fun (even moreso sometimes) without the lifelong commitment, and the freedom to do what you need to in your own life.

The food isn't too complicated. I try not to be a fanatic, and for my own cats usually am somewhere in the middle ground. I'd rather see a cat get a good loving home and eat decent healthy food, then not get a home at all because people feel they can't afford the "premium" food. Bottom line, more cats don't eat expensive, premium cat food than do, and there is still a population explosion. My feeling is to do what is best for the cat's health and life without making them sick. So I feel a diet of half dry half wet, with a reasonalbly decent quality is more than adequate. I know others may disagree.

As far as the shelter goes, good reputation or not, if they are willing to give a cat up for adoption at 4 weeks, I would not trust them. I would tend to to think that's the response you'd get from most (unless it was a matter of giving yoiu the cat or killing it).

You'll get a lot of different viewpoints here though, and that's one of the great things about posting in a forum. Good luck in whatever you decide.
post #5 of 20
Be very careful abut the health of a cat you get from a shelter. My Rocky is the only shelter cat I have, and he came from a reputable one, and he has tons of health problems, and of course by the time I discovered that I was already attached. He is however the cat in house with the best personality.
Authority kibble isn't bad, Iams is okay. Other affordable brands that are good are purina one, pro plan and nutro kitten and nutro max. pro plan and the nutro brands are only available at petstores usually. Sounds like you have a petsmart so it shouldn't be a prob. Your parents may want to know about vet bills- don't forget to facter that in as well as litter. Also find out how much the spaying neuturing runs in your area.
Another thing to think about is declawing. Your parents may think it is a good thing and want you to have it done. Most people here on these boards disagree and can show you to links that describe the operation. I don't have any problems with my cats, but I provide ample stuff for them to scratch as well as climbly trees, kitty condos, scratch mats, etc.
post #6 of 20
It would be a good idea to start feeding the wet along with the dry from the beginning. The two cats I have now are my first cats, I too had always had dogs before. I fed them only dry as kittens and now I am struggling to find a wet food they will eat. I'm not having much success and I think it's because I fed them only the dry as kittens.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
firstly, thanks for all your responses, they've been a great help. that's why i love forums, because you can ask questions and get feedback from people who, from what i've read, know what they're talking about and aren't trying to sell you something. flat-out websites don't have that option, so i like to look around and see what kind of info there is, then hit the forums to clear up stuff i don't understand.

the reason i want to get a cat from a shelter is because we've only had purebred dogs before, and while the pedigree and certification etc. is reassuring, i would much prefer to rescue an animal that, for all i know, wouldn't have an opportunity to get into a loving, caring home where they would be looked after and cherished until their dying day. shelters, while they have standards and do checkups on the animals that are adopted out, don't have the kind of standards that breeders do, so it's more likely that an animal will go to a home that won't necessarily be the best place for them.

maybe that's just me, maybe that's just flat out wrong, i'm not sure... but i've always known that when i got my first pet that was just mine that i wanted to "rescue" it.

anyways...i can ramble on, can't i? i don't think that there are any other outstanding concerns i have at the moment...from what i've read the booda litter boxes seem to be preferable to other little boxes. do you need the liners, though? it seems like more a convenience than a necessity. and wouldn't a scoop be more economical anyway? with the liners, you'd think you'd be throwing away a ton of unused litter, if i understand liners correctly. how old should kittens be before you start with clumping litter? i think i'll go with world's best cat litter, because it seems like...the best one on the petsmart website.

and as to declawing, i think that i would see how my kitten was doing as far as scratching. if they weren't scratching things then i wouldn't see the point of getting them declawed...if, however, the entire house was getting ripped to shreds...well...different story, obviously lol.

sorry for asking so many questions...i'm into being overprepared. for everything. thanks again for your responses, i'm gonna go see if i can answer any of these questions myself so that i feel semi-useful lol.

-Liz
post #8 of 20
Booda domes are good, the only thing I don't like about them is that the one with steps is hard to clean in my bathtub. Otherwise cuts down on litter tracking, smell and is easy to scoop. I've never used liners. You should not use clumping litter until your kitties are about 3-4 months old, or you are certain they will not eat any. With a kitten I would just start with a regular small litter tray, then introduce something different later on as an option.
I'm just saying be careful you pick a healthy baby. Shelters are a great thing, the only reason my other three weren't shelter cats is b/c I met them before they ended up in one.
I'm glad you aren't automatically thinking about declawing. Please read up on it if you do consider it, and know that you can clip kitty's claws and its easier if you start young, also there are things like soft paws, which is a nail covering. Assume kitty is going to try to scratch from day one and provide "alternatives" for it to scratch.
post #9 of 20
That is great you are planning to adopt on from a shelter. Definately do not get one that is 4 weeks old that is way to young to be away from the mother.

Just keep in mind kittens need shots, boosters, then adult cat shots. Most likely they will come with that from the shelter, but you will have to get the adult shots done. The kitten will also have to be spayed or neutered too. Some shelters will do it young and some don't. It can be done as young as 8 weeks, many vets will wait until 6 months however, but keep in mind a female can go into heat and get pregnant at 4-5 months old and males could begin spraying pee all over the house by then. I would get it done as soon as you can if it isn't already. A regular vet will be expensive but there are low cost clinics all over the place. Just ask, we will help you find one

Pleasse please do not declaw. That is incredibly inhumane. They cut at the first knuckle and the cat screams in pain even though it is put out. It can also lead to the cat becoming a biter and could even have litterbox problems when the cat is older.

Get the cat expecting it to claw things up and either buy Soft Paws from a pet store or keep up with clipping the claws and provide lots of scratching places. Or do both!

Good luck! Kittens are a handful but a lot of fun.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizard
the reason i want to get a cat from a shelter is because we've only had purebred dogs before, and while the pedigree and certification etc. is reassuring, i would much prefer to rescue an animal that, for all i know, wouldn't have an opportunity to get into a loving, caring home where they would be looked after and cherished until their dying day. shelters, while they have standards and do checkups on the animals that are adopted out, don't have the kind of standards that breeders do, so it's more likely that an animal will go to a home that won't necessarily be the best place for them.

maybe that's just me, maybe that's just flat out wrong, i'm not sure... but i've always known that when i got my first pet that was just mine that i wanted to "rescue" it.

anyways...i can ramble on, can't i? i don't think that there are any other outstanding concerns i have at the moment...from what i've read the booda litter boxes seem to be preferable to other little boxes. do you need the liners, though? it seems like more a convenience than a necessity. and wouldn't a scoop be more economical anyway? with the liners, you'd think you'd be throwing away a ton of unused litter, if i understand liners correctly. how old should kittens be before you start with clumping litter? i think i'll go with world's best cat litter, because it seems like...the best one on the petsmart website.

and as to declawing, i think that i would see how my kitten was doing as far as scratching. if they weren't scratching things then i wouldn't see the point of getting them declawed...if, however, the entire house was getting ripped to shreds...well...different story, obviously lol.

sorry for asking so many questions...i'm into being overprepared. for everything. thanks again for your responses, i'm gonna go see if i can answer any of these questions myself so that i feel semi-useful lol.

-Liz
Rescuing a cat sounds wonderful - good for you. We have the Booda litter tray (the one with the steps up the side) and have found it's much better for keeping litter off the floor. I don't use liners - just scoop. I add about 2 cups of fresh litter every couple days and change out the whole thing about once every 6 weeks or so.

As for de-clawing - don't even go there . This is a very anti-declawing site. Get a good scratching post for kitty and encourage him/her to use it. If you do some research on declawing you will find that it entails cutting off each of their toes to the first joint and can cause problems with the cat using the litter box, i.e., often they don't like the feel of the litter anymore and will do their business outside the box.

Good luck letting a kitty find you (they do choose us you know ) and if you have any concerns or questions, there is always someone her with knowledge or experience that can help you.
post #11 of 20
FYI- In my personal experiences around friends' cats and being staff at a rescue, I've learned that rescued shelter cats, if the shelter is a good one, are MUCH more healthy than their purebred cousins.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denice
It would be a good idea to start feeding the wet along with the dry from the beginning. The two cats I have now are my first cats, I too had always had dogs before. I fed them only dry as kittens and now I am struggling to find a wet food they will eat. I'm not having much success and I think it's because I fed them only the dry as kittens.
I adopted my cat from my roommate and she has only been fed dry food as well. I am going to ask my vet's advice on this when I take her for her yearly shots next month.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82
I adopted my cat from my roommate and she has only been fed dry food as well. I am going to ask my vet's advice on this when I take her for her yearly shots next month.
Unfortunately most vets don't know a whole big lot about nutrition. They mostly just push whatever food the salepeople give them.
post #14 of 20
Hi - sorry I don't have time to address all your questions but I just wanted to butt in and say please, please, please don't even consider declawing your cat. It's downright mutilation and could result in many behavioural problems much worse than scratching. A cat that's provided with a suitable scratching post won't scratch the furniture (by suitable I mean something tall and stable enough or on the floor if your cat prefers to scratch horizontally, the preferred fabric for the cat - some like sisal, some like carpet etc. - and in a suitable place). Cats like furniture because it's heavy and doesn't move when they scratch it whereas a lot of scratching posts are too lightweight. Even if the worst happens and the cat does scratch the furniture - what's more important to you - the cat or the furniture? I always say that if damaged furniture is something you can't live with then don't get a cat. There are lots of ways of deterring a cat from scratching furniture anyway.

Good luck if you do get a cat - they're wonderful companions.
post #15 of 20
It's very smart of you to research before you get a new pet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed654321
Actually, an all-dry food diet, even quality food, is not considered the best for cats. No matter how much water they drink they do not get enough moisture (which in the wild they get most of through their food) and it can cause urinary and other problems later on.
Really? I've always fed my cats Iams dry food. I heard somewhere that dry is better for their teeth. But maybe I should try introducing some canned Iams to their diet.

I agree that you shouldn't declaw your cat. Unfortunately, one of my three cats is declawed. Ultimately it was my Mom's decision, but I didn't think much of it at the time because I didn't know much about the procedure. But you can tell a major difference between the declawed cat and the ones that still have their claws. The declawed one is very timid and terrified of strangers, and is afraid of going outside. She's also the laziest and fattest cat, but I'm not sure whether that has to do with being declawed. (She hasn't really had any problems with missing the cat box, though).
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
Unfortunately most vets don't know a whole big lot about nutrition. They mostly just push whatever food the salepeople give them.
That is probably why they have always said what I am feeding her is fine. Figures.

She likes Iams dry. What kind of wet should I try to introduce?
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82
That is probably why they have always said what I am feeding her is fine. Figures.

She likes Iams dry. What kind of wet should I try to introduce?
It's also a myth that the dry food cleans their teeth. When they bite the dry chunk they use the tip of the tooth to break it up then swallow. They don't chew their food like we humans do.

Look for wet food that has meat as the first ingredient and contains NO by-products (by-products can be composed of nasty stuff). You will find a number of quality wet foods if you do a search, but a couple that come to mind quickly are Natural Balance, Nutro, Wellness and we feed Merricks which is the only one of the better foods our cats will seem to eat. I've tried them all and thrown most of them in the garbage.

Also by feeding a better quality food, you will find the cats eat less because they are getting better nutrition on less food.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
It's also a myth that the dry food cleans their teeth. When they bite the dry chunk they use the tip of the tooth to break it up then swallow. They don't chew their food like we humans do.

Look for wet food that has meat as the first ingredient and contains NO by-products (by-products can be composed of nasty stuff). You will find a number of quality wet foods if you do a search, but a couple that come to mind quickly are Natural Balance, Nutro, Wellness and we feed Merricks which is the only one of the better foods our cats will seem to eat. I've tried them all and thrown most of them in the garbage.

Also by feeding a better quality food, you will find the cats eat less because they are getting better nutrition on less food.

Thank you! She barely eats much as it is, so I'm not worried about that. I will look into it.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks for all your replies - it's been a big help.

i didn't mean to offend with the stuff about possibly declawing. i don't think i was thinking straight because now...it's just so obvious that if there was a scratching post for my cat, they would scratch it instead of the furniture. and not many cats scratch furniture, anyway. no cats that i know, that is. they just scratch the carpet, but that's not too big of a deal because most of our house is hardwood and the carpet isn't in the best shape anyway. i read a little bit about declawing, and i would not want my cat declawed, but what i really meant was if it was a last resort, no other option kinda thing...after trying those claw cover things and everything. then i would consider declawing.

anyways...i'll probably wait until about the middle of june to actually get my cat, and i'm gonna wait another few weeks or so before i ask my parents. i don't want it to be too soon after my dog died...my mom especially is taking it really hard.

anyways...that's about all today lol. i really do ramble on... my apologies.

-Liz
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizard
what i really meant was if it was a last resort, no other option kinda thing...after trying those claw cover things and everything. then i would consider declawing.
I don't want to offend you or keep banging on about this but even if your new kitty scratches everything to shreds declawing should still not be an option - it's never acceptable, imo, unless it's for health reasons. It shouldnt be something that you would consider under any circumstances. Bear in mind declawing is banned in most of Europe - this is not just a personal opinion of mine. You're right that most cats will not scratch the furniture if they have a suitable alternative and are trained to use it but there are always exceptions. Cats do scratch and it's something that needs to be thought about before you get the cat. If you can't cope with possible scratching then please think twice about whether a cat is the right pet for you.
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