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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! :D
I am brand new here, and I didn't exactly know where to post, so here I am! Well, after living the first 25 years of my life as a "big dog person" (husband was raised tha same way!) I am getting my first cat! I am very excited, but also very nervous. My hubby is not a cat person AT ALL, but being that he is in the AF and works very long days, we decided that a little friend around the house would be nice. Plus, I have always wanted a cat! We are going out to pick him/her out today, but will most likely be welcoming our new baby into our home next weekend. (Yes, we are going with a kitten)
So...since I am a kitty virgin, I am asking for any advice/tips/encouragement from all of you out there! I have been around cats (I was an avid petsitter) but for some reason it is scary when it is going to be your own! I don't want to do anything wrong. I want to be prepared to give our cat the best life possible.
I think I am really going to enjoy this forum...there is such a wealth of information and you all seem so great!
Thanks...
Sarah
 

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Congratulations!

I'm sure many members here will provide you with a wealth of information.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind about a kitten is that it's a baby. It will be curious about everything, very energetic, and will get into everything. You have to be patient with a kitten just like you do with a human baby because it is learning as it grows and it takes a while to catch on to what is right and wrong.

Be careful with plants and electrical cords because kittens (and some grown cats) like to chew.

Kittens will use their claws to climb everything, but please don't declaw. Cats need to scratch and with a little time and effort, they can be trained to scratch in appropriate places. Once a kitten is grown enough to jump (it doesn't take long) it will outgrow the climbing phase. Also, get your cat accustomed to having its claws trimmed and it will be much easier for you to do when it is an adult.

You may even want to consider getting 2 kittens. Even though I have 2 now, I originally adopted just one and soon after wished I had gotten 2. You may actually find it easier because they will spend enough keeping each other occupied, and working in a second cat later on is not nearly as easy.

You can find informative articles at:

www.littlebigcat.com
www.catsinternational.org

Good luck with your new baby. :)

Everyone here will agree, with having a cat in the house, it's only a matter of time before your husband becomes a cat person. :wink:
 

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The best advice I can give on choosing a cat is to decide beforehand exactly what you want in a cat. That adorable devil-kitten doing flips and racing around his cage might be better-suited to a family looking for a 24/7 play machine than to a family looking for a quiet lap cat. If you know what you want and can tell the shelter workers what you want, you're more likely to find a good match. Take your time and find what you want.

(I think I'm also required by international shelter-volunteer law here to say please don't absolutely rule out the adolescent and adult cats, who need homes just as much as the kittens and are much harder to place. I understand wanting a kitten, but my opinion is coloured by seeing so many really wonderful adult cats repeatedly passed over at the shelter just because they're grown up. Ok, off the soapbox :) )

I'd suggest going to visit your potential vet's office before kitten comes home...that way, you'll know the staff, their hours, and what to do for a 3AM emergency. You never want to be in the position of your first vet visit being in the middle of a health crisis. Make sure to have at least a well-kitten vet visit soon after you bring your kitten home...taking a cat to the vet for the first time at 2 years old is usually an unpleasant experience for all involved.

I personally am not a "kitten person," so I don't know a lot about kitten-proofing a house, but do feed the best foods that you can afford, make sure to spend a LOT of playtime with the kitten, and work with the kitten to teach him what is and isn't acceptable in your house. Make sure that he has good outlets for his instinctual behaviour (scratching, climbing, stalking, and the like), read as much as you can about cat health, and build a good relationship with a vet you trust.
 

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Congratulations, cats are wonderful!

Here's my list of things:


  • cat vs. kitten? kittens are great, but require a LOT of work and money. Shots, spay/neuter, tons of toys to keep their attention, sleepless night as they want to play with you instead of sleeping... etc. A grown-up cat is a mellow, wonderful companion if you pick him right, plus, you know exactly what you're getting because you can interact with him and get an idea of the character, with kittens it's MUCH harder
  • It sounds like you're adopting, going through www.petfinder.com is a great first step
  • male vs. female? I'll get crucified on this one ;) but i'd pick a male, to me, they're mushier
  • supplies? litter box, good litter, i'd go with crystals, food - LOTS of help here on the food you should feed, i'm not even going to 'go there' :p
  • toys? there are a few great ones loved by cats everywhere.... i can say that 'da bird', the wheel/ring, a furry mouse, feathers on a stick, and a LASER POINTER is all you need. Laser pointer is great not only for play, but for getting your kitten to go where YOU want him to go... like quickly getting him from one side of the house to the other ;)
  • scratch post is a must, should be sisal
  • cat condo is needed, but you can live without it in the beginning. cat condos let the cat know there's HIS place in the house, with his scent only


At last, let me say that breeders is your other choice. When i got Marsh, I went to a breeder. But remember, there are A LOT of cats that need great homes, so going to a shelter will make one unwanted pet LOVE you for the rest of your life. I'll make it quick: breeders can provide a quiality kitten with pure bloodlines and pre-determined temparement and looks, and one who will most probably be a lap cat since RESPONSIBLE breeders will only breed their best cats. One that is trained in all aspects of life, like litter box, scratching post, NO biting of your hands/feet and basically a well-mannered member of your family. Of course, the $$$ is about 10 times the shelter fee, or $100 * 10, so you do the math.

Good luck :p
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just got back...

Hi Everyone...
Thanks for the replies so far! You do not know how much your words mean to me! We just got back from looking at the cats...and I am really bummed and confused. My hubby really doesn't seem happy, but he is really pushing the "I told you that you could have one, and I don't want to go back on my word" thing, but I know that he would rather not have a cat right now. I am just so worried that if we get one, our brand new furniture will get destroyed. (Hubby would not be happy) Did all of you have a big problem with couch clawing? If we got a really good scratching post, would that help to deter the cat from the furniture? On top of all of this, I am broken out in hives...it's either allergies or stress! You thoughts please! Am I just experiencing new baby jitters?
OH...if it helps, we are looking at 13 week old British Shorthair kittens. I wanted to adopt from a shelter, but where we are here in the UK no shelter will adopt out to us because we are non-permenant UK citizens, and they have a "no adoption to service family members" policy...I guess they believe that our military lifestyle would not fit a cat! Believe me...I have called every shelter in the area...it was really depressing!
Sarah
 

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Hi there, welcome to the Cat Forum! I'm kinda new here too.

Food. I suggest Purina Kitten Chow dry cat food. Also, look for labels on canned food that say for kittens or for cats AND kittens. Make sure it says kittens. You can get a basic double cat bowl or seperate ones. Also, if your cat is Indoor, you can try the Purina Indoor cat Formula Dry cat food. Tigger likes it. ^_^ NEVER feed your cat canned tuna! I recently read in a cat book that Canned Tuna can be fatal to cats.

Bedding. if you don't want your kitten to sleep on your beds and couches(I let mine, she's so spoiled! ^_^;) decide on a regular kitty bed. There are hodded ones with toys that hang from the hood so that kitty can play, or just a basket with a nice soft pillow.

Scratching Post. Decide on a scratching post you like. There are many kinds. From the basic cone to the luxurious Bed/Post towers, take your pick. If you want a scratching post AND a bed, get the tower. It also may come with a hanging toy and perches for kitty to lay upon.

Litter. Get a simple litterbox with scoop. Get any cat litter you like.

Indoor VS Outdoor. Tigger is an indoor cat. If you like, you could get a cat flap/door so your kitty can roam outside whenever it wants without bugging you to open the door. X3

Grooming. If your cat is a Shorthair breed, they are easy to groom. You can buy a simple cat comb and brush and groom kitty. Longhairs are a bit harder, though. They need grooming daily.

I also reccomend getting a cat care book for ideas and hints.

Congrats on choosing a cat! Good luck!
 

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Hi Sarah and welcome to the Cat Forum!

Keep in mind that there are options for a kitty.

While I would never dream of de-clawing a kitty, the furbaby I adopted from a rescue had already been four paw de-clawed. Not only did I remove a kitty from a rescue, but I never had a moment's worry about my furniture.

Give your local rescue a call and see what they might have.

Peace,
Mike
 

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One thing you want to do is place the scratching post next to the furniture. Scratch on it yourself with your finger nails. You'd be surprised by how quickly kitty catches on. Reward him/her with a treat for using the post. Anytime you would catch your cat scratching in an inappropriate place, do not shout or discipline because the kitten will not understand and will only associate the discipline with the person giving it. Instead, pick the cat up, and bring him/her to the post and begin scratching it yourself. By doing this repeatedly, kitty will eventually learn where to go to scratch. It may take several times of doing this but cats are smart and will figure it out.

I am a bit concerned about the husband. Even though he is reluctantly giving in to your wishes, he does not sound like he is willing to open up his heart to a cat and that is too bad. If you think he possesses the ability to be the least bit mean to the cat if he catches it scratching, then please do not get one. So many cats end up abused and thrown out on the streets because somebody in the household did not accept its behavior and take the time to train it. :(

Finally, about the allergies, I had my own concerns because I would get all runny nosed and itchy from visiting a shelter, but I have absolutely no problem with my 2 cats at home.
 

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I agree, kitties catch on pretty quickly if you can show them what they are supposed to do with the scratching post. Both of my kitties were under 6 months and they learned really fast. I have a sisal rope post for them. The only thing I noticed is that if something has the same texture as that scratching post, (like my suitcase, or the side of my mattress) they started to scratch that. But they know not to do it anymore.

I hope you have good luck in your kitten search and remember to be patient as one person has already said. You will find the kitty "meant to be " eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks you guys!
No...although my hubby is hesitant, he is an animal lover, and would NEVER be mean to a pet. We also believe that a pet for life...not a disposable novelty. With that being said, I think that is why he is reluctant, because he knows that this is upwards of a 15 year commitment. He was raised strictly a dog person, and cats are just very foreign and dare I say it - scary to him. So we spent all last night talking about it (we're in England, so it is bright and early here now) and basically he left it as my decision...so I am just fretting over what to do. So I really appreciate your help. So, for the most part....are his worries of the cat ruining the furniture and crapping all over the house unwarrented? (and I am not talking abou the occasional accident...that is understandable!) I think they are...what with some training and love. (and a lot of patience!)
Thoughts?
Sarah
 

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I was raised as a dog person and never had a cat until I had been out of the house for a few years. It was a scary experience when I got her. I didn't know anything about cats. I have three cats now and I am converted to a cat person. We recently got a puppy. I love him and he is sweet, but I would take a cat or kitten over a puppy or a dog any day!

I wouldn't worry about litterbox accidents. My youngest cat was supposedly not even litter trained when I got him. I placed him in the box, he used it and has used it ever since. If you are getting a cat from a breeder. It is safe to say his mother will still be around until you take him or her. The mother generally trains the kittens. So essentially you shouldn't have any problems. Just make sure you keep the box clean. I have one cat who refuses to use a dirty litterbox. For this reason I scoop mine at a minimum once a day.

As far as furniture scratching. All my cats are declawed. I never knew there was anything wrong with declawing until recently. I thought it was just standard. I can tell you that mine never scratched or tore up my furniture prior to being declawed. I beleive trimming helps with scratching......I think it reduces the severity of the scratch. You should look into soft paws (nail caps). I'm sure there has to be a thread on here somewhere about them. Hopefully someone will be able to give you a little more help in that area.
 

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If you're very worried about your home/belongings you might want to get an adult cat. You may be able to get one from a breeder. I know that sometimes they keeps cats that they plan on breeding only to discover a problem with them when their adults, i.e. My sister adopted an adult cat from a breeder that couldn't be bred because her legs were shorter than was acceptable for the breed standard. Nothing really wrong, just not up to breed standards.

The reason I suggest an adult is that kittens can get into everything. No matter how vigilant you are. Thomas, my wild child, occasionally scratches on the floor carpeting and also there is one chair that has attracted his attention. But other than that, he's never scratched his claws on anything inappropriate. However, he knocks over plants (dirt and broken pottery everywhere), chews through plastic, opens my linen closet while I'm out and knocks everything on the floor, etc. I'm always amazed at what he'll find to do. He's getting better behaved as he ages, but these things will happen with a kitten. I thought the house was kitten proof but...he always suprises me.

Kittens are SOOOO cute though. And there are solutions to most every problem. But the potential for issues does exist, it's just a matter of being willing to take the time to find the correct solutions, sometimes it takes a while.
 

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My youngest cat was supposedly not even litter trained when I got him. I placed him in the box, he used it and has used it ever since.
I also got very lucky when it came to litter box training. I showed him the box once and training was done. 4 years later, we have yet to have a single accident!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you again for all of the tips. It seems that I am not alone when it comes to the dog-only cross over to cats! My hubby and I are taking our time and are researching everything I can get my hands on (I am home all day, so I have a lot of time on my hands!) that way, we make the right decision. I will let you know what comes of it! As for now, I am researching different breeders and shelters. Also, as some have also suggested, we are not against getting an adult cat as well. So, there are so many options! I must admit, it is still a bit overwhelming - but uncharted territory usually is!
If anyone has any more tips or suggestions, feel free to let me know...I am a sponge for ideas and knowledge.

Sarah
 

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All the ideas and tips suggested are great!

The only thing I can offer if make sure to buy a good quality food. Many cat foods list water as the first ingredient. Other common ingredients are by-products. By-products are eyballs, beak, and feet - most likely from an already dead animal.
I'm a fan of Nutro Kitten Natural Choice.

I wouldn't feed my husband by-products, why is the kitty so different?
 
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