Neighbor Cat and her kittens - Page 3 - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #21 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 11:44 AM
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How old will they be when you bring them home? 'Weaned' means different things to different people. Ideally kittens should stay with their mother and siblings until 12 weeks, but 8-10 weeks will work. Many 'breeders' ("We had two cats and they made babies" people - not actual responsible breeders) get the kittens gone at 6 weeks...which does not set you up for success. It's a heck of a lot more work.

Keeping them confined for the first few days, depending on their comfort level is best. Have a kitten room set up, and plan for them to be in it whenever you're asleep or out for the first few months. Kittens are naughty and will get into all sorts of trouble - it's safer for them to be confined to one kitten-proofed room when you can't supervise to begin with. Your TV room will be fine, as long as you kitten-proof it!!!

Three is the correct number of boxes for 2 cats. That being said, in you live in a multi-story home I would suggest at least one box per floor until the kittens hit about 6 months. Having a box close at paw will encourage good habits for their whole life. If you have a smaller, or single floor home, then just space the boxes out as you were planning to.

As far as litter goes, I don't recommend clumping clay litter with kittens. Occasionally they'll eat it (or they'll play in the water, then go potty and become 'breaded kittens' then lick it off...) and the clay will clump in their little bellies, possibly causing a blockage. Because of this I prefer the corn or wheat based litters. World's Best and Swheat Scoop are both clumping litters, but safe for little ones. (I like them better than clay anyways, but that's just IMO)

Canned food is best, yes (well, raw is better, but not everyone is up for that). Many of the others here can suggest good brands (I feed raw, so I'll keep my nose out of it ) but for feeding schedules kittens should be fed 3-4 times/day until about 6 months. After that switch to twice a day. Some adult cats do best on three meals a day too, depends on your kitties.

Having quite a few scratchers is a great idea - get a variety! I've got: two cat trees in the living room with a mix of carpet and sisal textures and a variety of directions to scratch in, a boot mat they're allowed to claw (on the floor, rippled short carpet texture), a sisal post in the basement, another little cat tree in Torri's room, and 2 cardboard scratchers that migrate around the livingroom. Different kitties like a variety of textures, so try a few different things. The more you give them the less likely they are to go for the furniture.

As for the rest of it - I always read out loud to new pets, especially while you're feeding them. That way they're getting used to your voice, associating it with yummy food, and your eyes are focused away from them which will help if they're anxious.

Other than that the best thing I would do is start handling them right away. Once a day pick up a kitten, give it some lovin', and feel it's whole body so it gets used to those sensations. You may need to give the kitten a toy to chomp one while you do this, but make a point of checking their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and paws in particular. This will help with nail trimming, vet visits, and necessary grooming. If one is long haired start brushing right away! Kittens don't typically get too knotted, but that's exactly when you want to practice with the brush - when it won't hurt!

Last thing - never put down a fussy kitten! Whenever you're holding them, for whatever reason, wait until they settle down and calm a bit before you set them down. It doesn't have to be long, just a second or two of calm, but if you set them down when they fuss they'll learn to struggle and that will make your life way harder than it needs to be.
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post #22 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 11:58 AM
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I just replied to your other post, and redirected here after

I always got for hard kennels - the soft ones seem nice but are absolutely useless as far as protection goes. IMO that's half their job, so it's a waste of money, IMO. I do think they're necessary though - cats should be in kennels in the car and vet clinic for their own safety. When you get one leave it out with a towel in it so the kittens can nap and play in it. If they're used to the kennel it will be a safe space at the vets, rather than the scary devil-box, lol.

As far as size and how many...I do technically have enough kennels to fit all my pets in an emergency...when I take the boys to the vet I put them both in a med dog crate. They get along really well and cry if I separate them, so I do use one. If it was an emergency though both boys would have their won kennel (no idea how long they would have to be confined, safer the have them apart - plus the big kennel is for the guinea pigs in an emergency).

Get a kennel that's bigger than you think you'll need. I have one that's 'cat' sized and the only one who I would fit in it is Torri - who is 6.5 lbs. The rest of my cats would be super cramped in there. I think the min size for a single adult or two kittens should be this:


(in the 24x16x15 inch model)
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post #23 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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They were born September 26, so (if I counted right...which is always debatable ) they're 7 weeks old today.

I'm definitely going to kitten proof - it's going to take me probably an entire weekend, but it'll get done! I live in a one-story house, so I'll just have to space out the boxes. I believe their foster mom is using clumping Tidy Cats - should I switch away from it or will it be okay to use that kind since they're already used to it? I'd like to try one that might have less dust (I had rats before and all the beddings were so dusty!).

I like the idea of reading out loud to them while they're eating - I'll have to do that! They should get separate bowls, correct? Seems obvious but I want to make sure. I feel like I'm asking a bunch of stupid questions but hey - I'd rather ask than do something wrong!

Thank you for all the helpful information!
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post #24 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I like the plastic ones too - always feel more secure to me. I'll get one for now and add another when they start to get too big to fit in together comfortably.
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post #25 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 12:54 PM
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The only dumb questions are those left unasked, IMO

Personally I would switch them, it's just safer. However, if they haven't started chowing down on it at this point you'll likely be safe. A good way to switch is to bring home a big baggie of the used litter when you pick them up, and sprinkle that over whatever you decide to use. It'll give them a hint about what the new stuff is for and make an easy transition.

I would give them separate bowls...but they'll probably eat out of the same one/each other's/etc. *shrugs* as long as it seems like they are both getting enough and no one starts guarding the food bowls you'll be fine. But I would offer 2 bowls.
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post #26 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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I'm back with more questions that would be dumb if unasked

I've gone into just about every store here. Walmart, PetSmart, PetCo, PetSense, Target, Big Lots, etc - and I leave empty handed every time. There's just so much and so many options that I get confused, befuddled, frustrated, discouraged, and I start to question whether someone who gets this lost in the cat aisles should even be allowed to have a cat.

Toys I can pretty much handle (except what is Da Bird and where do you find it? Everyone recommends it but I haven't seen one in any of the stores I've been in!).

It's the litter box, litter, and food that I'm confused by. Of course, my goal is to feed mostly canned because it's better, but I will have to use some dry food too, because it's not feasible for my wallet to buy a completely canned diet (yet!). Would a grain-free food be a good choice for dry food? And what constitutes a good canned food?

For litter, I'm going to start with Tidy Cats (since that's what they're using now) and possibly switch over to Swheat Scoop. But how in the world are there so many litter box choices? Everywhere I go there are different kinds - covered boxes, igloos, deep boxes, shallow boxes, boxes with a lip to prevent a lot of kicked out litter... How do I choose?

Collars. Do I need to get collars for them? And what kind of nail clippers should I get? The ones that look like scissors, or the bulky, frightening one with thick handles?

I'm not sure I've ever felt more confused about anything in my life.
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post #27 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 02:01 PM
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Happy to help!

Da' bird:



Here's some of my personally recommendations - a lot of cat care products are things you figure out work for you and your kitty over time. So the best I can do is give you my impressions.

Food: Grain free dry is the best dry you can get. Others will have to suggest brands, but a search done on the forum will likely give you some good options.
For wet food most people go with a rotation of various flavors, brands, and textures. Basically - grain free is best, but specifically avoid corn, wheat, soy, 'animal' anything, unspecified meat-products in general, digest meal, artificial colors, and fish. That is definitely a lot to remember, but some good brands to start with are EVO and wellness. Again, a quick browse of some nutrition threads will give you some good brands to start with.

For litter you're on the right track. No worries. But do get unscented litter if there's a choice.

Litter boxes: since you know your kitten will grow don't get a tiny little box. Get something with a shallow enough entrance that a young kitten can easily get in, but other than that it's no big deal. Really, pick what you like.
I have two of the biggest store bought litter boxes (that are too small for half my cats, lol), with deep sides and a hood. I take the doors off because my cats all hate them and they keep the odor trapped (like a smelly bathroom, yuck).
I also have three HUGE rubbermaid tubs that I cut a hole into - these are the preferred litter boxes by a LOT. They have lots of room, can have nice deep litter, and are more private.

Collars - my preference for kittens is a harness, but I'm in the minority here. Harnesses, IMO give you an easy way to grab the kitten if you need to, and more to hold onto when you're holding them. Bonuses in my book. Just like any collar the kitten will be a little funny about wearing it for the first hour or so - then it won't bug them. So it's up to you.
If you do get a collar make sure it's a breakaway one!

Nail clippers, I like ones that look like this:


They're small, and have a tiny blade. It takes some practice, but it's much easier to use them for tiny kittens than the gigantic dog ones.

Overall...relax. The main things you need are love, patience, and time. The rest is 'gravy'
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post #28 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 10:00 PM
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Rook, I know what you mean about the choices. I've spent a lot of time looking at litter boxes, carriers, food, etc. and then ended up not buying anything.

I have pretty standard litterboxes - I think PetMate, bought at Petco. They're the kind that have a place for a filter on top, and a sort of swinging door in front. I throw the doors out and don't use filters. I've used World's Best for years. I like that a) it's natural - and as librarychick said, sometimes you get "breaded" kitties, so at least they're just ingesting corn, and b) the clumps are flushable. But people here have had different experiences - I think it's you either love it or you hate it. It can last a very long time, but it does get dusty, and the longer you wait between complete changes, the dustier it'll get.

For food, some of the popular, high-quality brands that are grain-free (or at least have grain-free lines - many brands have "regular" and grain-free lines) are Wellness, Merrick, Nature's Variety, Blue Buffalo, Evo, Dave's. Dave's you'd probably find at local independent stores. It's one of the very few brands/flavors that both of my girls will eat. TikiCat and Weruva are also popular - I think they're grain-free, but I'm not sure. There are - as you've seen - tons of others...

I feed Merrick's Purrfect Bistro and Dave's for canned (along with the evil Fancy Feast), and Nature's Variety Instinct and Blue Buffalo dry. There are members who aren't fans of Blue Buffalo for the company's lack of transparency about their ingredients/nutritional info. To me, it's a non-issue, because it was the only high-quality dry that one of mine would eat.

I'd definitely buy a variety and try to get them to accept as much variety as you can - both in flavors and textures. That way, you don't end up with supremely fussy kitties later. Trust me, it's a pain having one of those...
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post #29 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! I think I've finally settled on what kind of litter box I want to get. I still need to take a good long look through all the food available at Petco...So many options!

They're getting spayed today (I think - it's the last I heard from the rescue) and will come home with me after Thanksgiving. I'll be gone an entire day for the holiday and didn't feel comfortable bringing them home before, having them here a couple days, then disappearing.
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post #30 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 10:34 PM
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That sounds like a good plan. They probably would have been a little freaked out by all of the changes if you'd brought them home now.

If you find that being in the aisles makes your head spin, you can always go to the manufacturers' websites, or to online retailers like chewy or wag, to look at the ingredients and get reviews. That might at least narrow your options a bit so that you're not going down the aisles reading labels for hours (been there, done that...).

We get to live vicariously through your experiences as a new kitty owner!
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