We're thinking about getting cats but have a few questions - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Smile We're thinking about getting cats but have a few questions

As the title says, we're thinking about getting 2 little kitten but have a few questions before we take the leap.

Firstly, my grandpa has just reached 81 and had finally retired. He has always loved cats and thinks that now he has retired and has stopped travelling so much he would like 2 little kittens to keep him company and keep the smile on his face for the last years of his life. However, I personally have never been too fond of cats until recently when I met a friends. I have never been too fond of them as I always seem to have an allergic reaction when around cats. However, I don't seem to be able to let this alone put me off toying with the idea. Anyway, since we've been discussing the possibility of getting two kittens I have been researching as much as I can the different breeds, temperaments of the breeds etc. etc.. I have particularly been looking for cats that wouldn't set off my allergy so much. From the research I've done the ideal breed seems to be that of the Siberian. The main reasons I say this is because I've read that even those with really bad allergies towards cats have suffered very little if at all when around the Siberian breed of cats. Other reasons are that they seem wonderful little characters, are thought to be highly intelligent and well.... they're as cute as anything! Plus, we both like the idea of a fluffy cat for cuddles when it wants some

So, the questions I have are as follows:
  1. Are the Siberian breed really "hypo-allergenic" as claimed?
  2. I'm not too fond of the cat litter trays, what alternatives are there (different styles with sides or enclosed ones etc.) and where do you generally put them?
  3. Will they claw everything such as sofas etc. or is this just a myth? If they would, how can we stop them?
  4. We would want the cats to be an indoor cats, would this be OK? Note: We're also thinking about a cat pen for in the garden so they can enjoy a nice day.
  5. Would the cats trigger our home alarm system, if so, how could we deal with this? (put them in a room that doesn't have a sensor?)
  6. As I've said, we would prefer two kitten, ideally related. Would their gender make any difference in terms of them getting on together (we'd have them neutered/spaded anyway, so mating isn't an issue)?

I look forward to hearing your opinions and being guided as to making the right decision.

Thanks in advance.

Jamie
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 02:39 PM
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All kittens are high energy, rambunctious and have to be trained to use a scratching post and sometimes litter box. There's a lot of stooping to pick them up and take them to the scratching post and a litter box if they look like they want to do it somewhere they shouldn't, and scooping the litter box 2times/day. Is your 81 Grandpa up for that kind of active challenge at 81 for a year? It's like having 2 y.o's. that get into all sorts of things they shouldn't. By a year, most kitties are settling down. A better choice would be a couple of "retired" former breeder/show cats. Their personalities are pretty much fixed, and they will be a lovely example of the breed, as well as being easy to handle for grooming and claw clipping. Kitties an be pretty squirmy at times if you're trying to clip their claws, which should be done every 2 wks. or so.

Some cats don't learn or don't want to consistently scratch on a scratching post or box, and will go after furniture. Mine are both pretty good about scratching.....my boy uses a scratching post, but my girl likes a cardboard egg carton on the floor to use. But both will sometimes go after the furniture. So to prevent snags I keep mine covered with cotton sheets. It's also keeps the furniture cleaner for any allergic friends. Yes I've read that Siberians are good for people allergic to cats, but you'd really have to visit a breeder and be around the breeder's cats for an hour or so to see if you react. I've had no direct experience with Sibes but have seen them at cat shows....they a large cat with a long thick coat, so would need to be combed regularly to prevent mats.
Can't comment on the alarm system, since I have no idea if a cat could trigger it.
By all means, make them indoor cats.....tho it would be nice if they could have an enclosed "catio".

As far as gender, either two males or two girls that already get along would be preferable. Generally speaking, it's my experience that males are more demonstrably affectionate than girls, where you usually have to earn their love.
Good luck in your decision and we'd be interested in hearing any results.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 03:01 PM
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I second the thoughts about kittens. I always had kittens when I was younger with my own kids but when I adopted these last two, I realized that I really prefer a more mature cat that already has learned a lot and have sowed their oats.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses!

That's a really good point! I would be around most of the time so wouldn't mind all of that, however, I wouldn't like if they messed somewhere as I'm a bit of a clean freak! lol. What age would you suggest if we were to get a more mature cat?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 03:29 PM
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Are the Siberian breed really "hypo-allergenic" as claimed?They are one of the lesser allergenic but I wouldn't say 100%. I'd suggest a visit to a breeder and spend some time with the cats and see how you fair. If there isn't a breeder within travel distance, then maybe they would take a towel and allow the cats to sleep on it for a few days then send it to you. Wear it around your neck for a few hours and see what happens.



I'm not too fond of the cat litter trays, what alternatives are there (different styles with sides or enclosed ones etc.) and where do you generally put them?There are all kinds of options for trays and litter types...way too numerous to detail. Everything from a basic plastic pan with non-clumping clay to units that hook up to your toilet and wash/drain the waste away. If litter boxes are off putting...with long haired cats you get dingleberries pretty regularly...are you prepared to clean their butts? You can have a groomer shave/trim the area, but it's not a 100% solution.


Will they claw everything such as sofas etc. or is this just a myth? If they would, how can we stop them?
Provide scratching posts, train them to use it. You may have to experiment with what they like...flat, inclined or vertical surface. Sisal, carpet, carboard etc. for material. Clip their nails regularly (at least every two weeks) to take off the sharp points.


We would want the cats to be an indoor cats, would this be OK? Note:
We're also thinking about a cat pen for in the garden so they can enjoy a nice day.
Indoor cats are great, just make sure they have things to occupy them. To me a pen is just a tease and may create door dashers. I have a screened porch and that works well.


Would the cats trigger our home alarm system, if so, how could we deal with this? (put them in a room that doesn't have a sensor?)
It would depend on your alarm system...no idea.


As I've said, we would prefer two kitten, ideally related. Would their gender make any difference in terms of them getting on together (we'd have them neutered/spaded anyway, so mating isn't an issue)?
I don't think gender matters at all. How easily their affection is given is a matter of the cat's personality not their sex imo.


A few other comments...I agree, you're grandfather's age is a concern. Can he deal with the havoc they create? What will happen to the cats when he passes? Little kitten claws can cause serious problems for elderly people with thin skin. Kittens don't know that they shouldn't use a person as a launching board, digging their claws in as they bounce off you. This can cause skin tears and infection.



It sounds like you'll be doing some of the care...I already mentioned dingleberries and nail clipping. If you're put off by litter boxes, what about cleaning up puke/hairballs...there are ways to help minimize but it's still going to happen especially with long haired cats. What about combing/brushing and dematting?


It's great that you're asking these questions now. I've brought up a bunch of negatives and that's because you seem to be on the fence about this. I want to make sure you know what you're signing up for. On the other hand, watching 2 cats playing and having a snuggle at the end of a long day is one of the best ways to put a smile on your face.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 03:40 PM
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I agree that you should adopt an adult if not a senior cat. Something that is still playful but wants lots of pets and love and doesn't cause chaos in the house. The shelter is always looking for homes for older cats who are still spry and need loving homes.

This sounds harsh, but please keep in mind that this is a commitment and cats can live to their 20s. If you are not fond of cats then who will take the cat down the road when it needs a home? It will have formed a bond with your grandfather and may well feel loss and depression when he's no longer in its life. Will someone be there to take the cat and give it a loving home?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebug View Post
...are you prepared to clean their butts?
...Or clean the carpet when they start butt-scooting?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 05:29 PM
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I was also set on the Siberian breed. I visited a breeder with my granddaughter who's quite allergic. They had 2 cats and 2 older kittens there that she played with and petted without any reaction which was nice. But they have super long hair and petting the soon to be mother, my hand was full of fur and fur was in my mouth. She was beautiful and so cuddly but I have to say I'm rethinking my decision. The babies were born yesterday so I have a bit of time to make up my mind.

My friend suggested looking at a Siamese cat. She said they're known to be more hypoallergenic and less sheddy. I don't think they're that cute, personal preference, of course. Then I discovered the Applehead Siamese or the Balinese which I understand is a long haired version. Cute! But a breeder is not too close.

Everyone here says get older kittens/young cat! Reading a lot of these threads I'm becoming convinced that it might be smart. Now I've been looking at the shelters and a bonded pair of younger cats seem to be in good supply. I'm trying to convince my husband that a pair would be good.

Good luck with your decision.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies.

I would do most of the looking after of the cats and my grandpa would get the enjoyment from their company and playfulness. My grandpa lives with me and we have both agreed that we would both have to want to have the cats for it to work as I will have them after he dies. My biggest issue was my allergy to them and the claws but it seems that's not such an issue provided the claws are trimmed and they are supplied with lots of toys and scratching posts and trained to use them.

One reason for getting 2 is so that one on its own wouldn't get lonely and so that they can also tire themselves out running around the house etc. together.

The thing I wasn't so keen on in terms of cat litter was the cat spraying, so I wanted to know about trays with sides and tops on them. if they were suitable etc.. Cleaning the cats bottom wouldn't bother me at all. I kept guinea pigs for a long time, I'm sure they're much worse than cats.

I would most probably bath the cats as often as we could and as often as recommended and cut the claws myself. Again, I'm used to doing this as I cut the guinea pigs. Brushing is needed with anything that has fur so that was an expectation which I don't mind.

I would rather adopt from a rescue. However, my grandpa isn't so keen on the idea purely because he has had a bad experience rescuing a dog from a shelter. Just speaking to him he thinks he would prefer kitten so that we can train them the way we wanted.

So yes, the caring for would be done by my mostly which I don't mind at all.

Thanks again for being helpful.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 05:35 PM
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Long hair is actually easier to keep after than short. Yes, there's a lot of it...but it tends to sit on the surface of furniture, carpets and clothes. And forms tumbleweeds on the hard floors. Short hair tends to be "spikier" and will poke into fabric and weave itself in. So it's much easier to remove long hair. You just gotta remove a lot of it.


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