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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

My husband, myself & our 4 year old daughter are getting a kitten in a couple weeks. This will be our first cat (no other pets right now). The kitten is from my mother-in-law whose cat had kittens. He will be ready to come home in two weeks so I'm trying to get everything ready now. I have a ton of questions/concerns, but here's a little bit about us.

My husband works full time, I'm a stay at home mom & will be home about 90% of the week. Our daughter does activities for a couple hours twice a week & I have community committee meetings once a week for an hour, during those times the kitten will be home alone, & of course when I go grocery shopping, running errands, to the playground, etc. We have a two-story, pretty spacious condo with lots of big windows & sunlight, the kitten will be 100% indoor always with lots of room to run around & access to every room in the house. The kitten is also already maybe pretty to us as he is at my mother-in-laws right now & we have been around him since pretty much day one at least once every two weeks.

Here are my questions...

1.) What is a moderately-priced kitten food that is very good?
2.) What kind of litter box training will I need to do? He is using the litter box successfully at my mother-in-laws but will he have to be coaxed into using it here since it's a new place?
3.) When he's left alone, where should I put him? & when will I be able to leave him to roam freely around the house?
4.) I've heard horror stories from friends about their leather couches & their cats peeing on them/destroying them. All our living room furniture is leather & I'm mortified. How accurate is this & how can I prevent it?!

Thanks so much everyone!
 

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Keep the litterbox easily accessible to your new kitten.. show him where it is often when you first bring him home. Maybe close off the upstairs part of the house for awhile so that its not so over-whelming. I have a two story condo as well and I keep the upstairs gated off from the new kitten for now. My older cat can jump the gate. I also keep a litterbox on both levels.. some cats are lazy and im sure a kitten wouldnt want to find his way upstairs to use the potty if downstairs is more easily accessible. I dont put my kitten in a confined space while im gone to work, he has free roam of the downstairs. Sounds like you will need some scratching posts first thing. If he ever tried to scratch on your furniture, bring him over to the scratching post and put his paws on it, hopefully that will encourage him to scratch there. Unfortunately even if he doesnt intentionally scratch your furniture, just him bouncing around the house running around he will probably end up climbing up your furniture. Maybe put a blanket or a slip cover of some sort over your furniture until he is old/big enough to jump gracefully onto it? I dont know too much about furniture scratching, mine isnt leather and im not too worried about it I guess to be honest lol
 

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You want to look for a nice canned food (much healthier than dry for him). Whatever food you choose you want to look for something that's real meat (no byproducts or meals) and something grain free. That'll give him a good healthy start in life.

Call the vet first thing and take him for his shots and a checkup and make an appointment to have him neutered. Perhaps you can offer to pick up mom in laws cat and have her spayed at the same time so she doesn't get preggers again. Don't let the vet talk you into expensive kitten food that he just happens to sell there.

Just be sure to show him where the litterbox is and since he's a baby he might not be able to 'wait' to get that far. You may want to put a box on each side of the house at first so he can get there quick. If he's REALLY tiny he may need a brick or a book to help him get over the side of the litterbox.

A little baby, I would put him in his own room when you're gone with litter box, food, water and toys (but that's just my opinion). This would be a good place to put him when you first bring him home so he's not overwhelmed by a giant house and being all by himself. A teddy bear to cuddle with on a cat bed or a little pile of blankets with maybe a ticking clock to simulate a heartbeat. As he grows up and shows interest in exploring you can let him.

Buy him scratching posts with sisal and maybe a cardboard one as well and when you see him using it, praise him to the heavens. I agree with Morquinn, I'd put a blanket on the couch for now because when he's scrambling to jump up onto it when he's little he may dig his claws in to help himself up. Also, when you have him at the vet ask them to show you how to trim his nails and ask him to let you trim a few with his supervision so you get the hang of it. This will help with accidental scratching and your human baby and the younger he gets used to it the easier it will be when he's older. Also I would do as Morquinn said and if he's scratching at the couch give him a "NO" and carry him to the scratching post and put his paws on it praising him. (I only had to do that with MowMOw twice and he never touched my couches again).

Toys will be important. He's going to have ENDLESS energy and a tired kitten is a well behaved kitten :p. Remember to never let him 'play' with hands/feet. It's cute when he's little but it'll hurt and leave scratches when he's older. When he uses his mouth/claws, say "OUCH" and put him down and walk away. Play time is over.

As for peeing on couches, don't borrow trouble. If he's taught properly as a baby chances are good he'll never do it and if he suddenly starts there is usually a medical reason.
 

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Buy lots of toys for him to play, soft ones big enough for kittens not to choke on. Kittens sleep a lot so he might sleep while your gone. On the other hand, he might want to play, so buying him toys will help him relieve boredom while you're gone.

Really good kitten food is usually a little pricey, but it really depends on if you want to use only wet food, only dry food (which I don't really recommend at all), a raw diet, or a mixture. I'm currently using EVO cat and kitten canned food, which is about $1.75 per can (5.5 oz) where I am. Really, you want to look for any grain-free food because it is the best for him. Cats can't really digest all the grains, and many end up with problems due to it. I know that Merrick, Wellness, EVO, and Nature's Logic all have grain-free food (both dry and wet), as well as a few others. There are online pet food suppliers where you can find deals too (petfooddirect.com)

Concerning cat litter, he should do fine as long as you show him where it is a few times. Make sure that you're not using the clumping kind though. If the kitten ingests it (which he may or may not do), it can cause a blockage. If you want to use the clumping kind, try to find a brand that is not made up of minerals or whatnot. Yesterday's News, World's Best Cat Litter, and Feline Pine are all alternative cat litters that have clumping mechanisms. When he's older, you can switch back as he's less likely to eat it then.

Also, I agree with everything Morquinn said. Hope this helps a bit. :)
 

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Congrats on getting a new kitten. Google" Little Big Cat" & click on thier library. You will want to bookmark it. The articles are written by a vet. They have an article on what youll need to prepare to bring your new kitten home. Why wet food is important. Its a wonderful resource for so many questions youll have. Plus cat forum too! Learn to clip your kittens nails. Walmart has inexpensive sissle scratching post. Petsmart carries double sided tape to discourage furniture scratching. Never ever declaw a kitten or cat. Its an amputation and causes marking and behavior issues. Kittens are a handful but so much fun. Post pictures of your new addition. We love pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone! We are going to pick up some supplies today. We have a rather spacey laundry room (bigger than our bathroom) which I use just as storage, but everything is on shelves high enough that I have to use a step ladder to access, so I think we will put him in there at first when I'm not home. I'll borrow a baby gate from my mother-in-law & limit him upstairs when we are sleeping & downstairs when we are awake.

Going to look at foods today & get some ideas. Thanks for the heads up about food!
 

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Kittens climb up and over baby gates! A friend adopted a blind cat from me. He spent lots of time building an ellaborate baby gate to keep the blind cat in his bedroom and his other two sighted cats could see in and get to know the new blind kitty. The first thing the blind kitty did was climb up and over the gate!
 

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The others have all given you really good suggestions but I thought I'd remind you as a parent to keep a special eye on your 4 year old. I know there are many rescue groups who won't even adopt out a young kitten to a family with a small child for many reasons (ie: first kitten I adopted when I was 12 was listed as euthanasia only, bite case at the local animal control because he'd belonged to a two year old and hurt him by accident. Luckily the rescue group pitched a fit to rescue him, threatening to call animal rights groups, etc). Its very easy for kittens and young children to hurt each other. I just wanted to make sure that was noted so you have an idea what to expect :)

Goodluck with your new baby and kudos on trying to be prepared BEFORE the kitten comes home! Your already heading in the right direction! Take lots of pictures, they grow up fast :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks!

Samantha13, our daughter has been around animals since day one. We used to have a german shepherd, she is always around my uncle's german shepherd & my grandparents cat, as well as my mother-in-law's two golden retrievers & four cats. :) We will keep an eye on her absolutely, but she has been very well coached on how to act with animals, both adult & young ones. :) She has been around our specific kitten for a while, learning how to handle him & such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kittens climb up and over baby gates! A friend adopted a blind cat from me. He spent lots of time building an ellaborate baby gate to keep the blind cat in his bedroom and his other two sighted cats could see in and get to know the new blind kitty. The first thing the blind kitty did was climb up and over the gate!
Any tips on how to keep the kitten downstairs or upstairs so he doesn't get overwhelmed?
 

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You could do both and offer a variety. For me it came down to price and what was available where I am. I think Wellness is cheaper, but I read somewhere that you shouldn't feed them a solely Wellness diet due to a lack of thiamine, I think. I'm not sure on that though. For all I know, it could be untrue. Both of them are good brands though, and a lot of people here use them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Braxen. I believe the Wellness canned food is cheaper & Evo's dry is cheaper (not by much, but every penny counts right?), or at least here it is. Can I mix the Evo dry & Wellness canned?
 

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I would put the kitten in your bathroom or laundryroom at night. During the days the only thing that keeps cats in a certain area is a closed door. Believe me, they will make it their mission in life to get past that door. The thiamine issue with wellness resulted in a voluntary recall. Theyve resolved that by now. The new current thought is to mix brands and types of foods so a cat doesnt develope a food allergy by eating the same food year after year. I havent decided if i buy that idea yet. The other side issue brought up is rescues not liking to adopt to families with small kids. I rescue and foster in my home. The cats/kittens get quality care and socialization. They become part of our families for awhile. When you adopt from us, we have given you a gift that weve spent time and hundreds of dollars more than the adoption fee. Some of my friends have stopped adopting to young families because so many times the cat goes missing by lazy neglect. We are devastated when we find this out. But ive found its not usually the children its the parents who arent responsible. Its obvious you are or you wouldnt be on here gathering information. Oh that there were more families like you wanting to adopt our cats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So, I talked to my mother-in-law today who said that the kitten we want is "pretty skittish". Any ideas on how I can calmy get this little guy adjusted to our home & bring him out of his skittishness?
 

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I would go with what Mitts said. For the first week, leave him in one room until he adjusts to his new environment, and then slowly let him into other places. Be gentle and reassuring basically. He's going to be scared. For the first day or so, I would keep it to one person minimum too. There's also a spray that is supposed to calm cats. I have some for when I bring my kitten home called Nature's Miracle, but I think there are other brands. It's supposed to smell like calming pheromones. To me it smells like lavender. Anyway, you could try some of that too.
 

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I'm not sure about the grocery store. I know pet shops carry it, but I've never looked for it at a grocery store.
 
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