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Hi all! I introduced myself yesterday but wanted to tell the story that brought me here, and this seemed like the appropriate section for it (if I was wrong, I apologize! Learning a new forum is always a bit confusing at first :)).

In early September, I noticed that my neighbor's cat looked a bit like she swallowed a cantaloupe. I thought she'd already been spayed (because I've never known anyone who didn't get their female cat spayed before kicking her outside due to 'allergies' that I'm fairly certain the mom doesn't have), but apparently I was wrong. She's a tiny little girl, barely 14 months old, and was very underweight. I went over and had a chat with the neighbors (they're not from here and are of a culture that doesn't see pets the same way we do). They agreed that the mama needed to be spayed as soon as possible after this litter. I asked what their plans were for the kittens - they said they'd take them to the shelter like they did the last litter. :fust Now, I volunteered at our county shelter for 8 years - it's run by very nice people who truly do their best for the animals that come in. But it's still a shelter, and many kittens who enter the shelter get sick and/or don't make it out.

I told my neighbors that no way were they taking these guys to the shelter - I'd figure something out. I got in touch with my friend - we volunteered at the shelter together and when she retired, she moved to the country and opened a small rescue. She's the kindest, nicest, most generous person I know. I asked her for advice and she offered to take in the kittens and adopt them out. I was so relieved! I only had to keep them contained and socialized until they were weaned and then she'd get them fixed and find them new homes. I brought my XL wire dog crate over to my neighbors, gave them a bunch of towels I got from the greyhound rescue (I volunteer there and when they learned about the kittens-to-be, they gave me towels), a few cans of cat food, and explained that mama and babies needed to be contained at all times. They seemed to understand, so I left and told them to ask me if they had any questions.

A couple weeks later on September 26, he came to the door and said that the kittens arrived. I rushed over - mama kitty had 4 beautiful little babies! I checked every couple of days to make sure that everyone seemed well. Two weeks after that, the son ran my doorbell at 10 pm and asked if I'd seen mama or kittens. I told him I hadn't and asked why she wasn't in the crate. He said she didn't like it, so he left the door open for her. Mama moved the kittens and no one could find them. I told him to look everywhere and let me know when he found them. I went out the next day and poked around their yard while no one was home, but couldn't find anyone.

A week later, he said they were under his house - he heard the meowing. I told him that was great and that he needed to get under there and get them out and to let me know when he did.

A week after that, I hadn't heard anything, so I asked him again. He said that his parents decided mama must have moved the kittens under there for a reason and that they should leave them be. I would have argued, but mama kitty got a squirrel just then and didn't kill it. It kept trying to bite her so I had him take the cat away and I brought the squirrel to the vet (they weren't optimistic for the poor little guy).

Two days later, on Sunday October 26, exactly a month after the babies were born, I woke up with one thought: "I have to get those kittens today." I got up, had breakfast, and went over to the neighbor. I told the mom that I needed to get the kittens out from under their house and she said "Okay, whatever." He went under and came out a few minutes later with a fuzzy grey kitten. Her left eye was stuck shut and covered in mud and her nose was caked in dried mud. I cleaned her up and tucked her in my jacket. He went back under and said he only saw one other kitten but he couldn't catch it.

Have I mentioned yet that I'm not a cat person? I've never had a cat and my only experience with kittens was helping a friend who fostered a litter. I say this so you understand just how out of my depth I felt. I did my best picking out the essentials at Walmart. I didn't want to keep mama kitty inside while I was sure there was another kitten out there, so the little kitten and I were inseparable all evening. I gave her KMR when she was hungry and she snuggled in a fleece blanket on my lap while I watched TV. She spent the night in a cardboard box in my room and came to work with me the next day so we could make our morning vet appointment.

She had ulcers on both eyes and a nasty URI. I wanted to call her Carter (after Samantha Carter from Stargate) but the vet insisted on a more feminine name, so I stuck her with Sam. We went home with eye ointment, amoxicillin, a lysine drug, and a trap for the other kitten. As soon as I got home, I put on my yard work clothes and went spelunking under the neighbor's house. I bruised my knees, banged into their vents, and got tangled in a cable, but couldn't find the kitten. I didn't even see a kitten. I set the trap with smelly canned food, brought mama kitty inside for the night, and said a prayer. I checked a couple hours later and the trap was empty.

When I went to check the trap the next morning, I was relieved to hear this adorable mewing before I even saw the trap. I carried the kitten over to my house, checked him out (I did a quick check and guessed boy), and put him in with mama and Sam. I stuck him with the name Dean (because if I have a Sam, I need a Dean, because Supernatural!), reset the trap, and went to work.

No other kitties appeared in the trap - so only two out of the four made it. Sam and Dean and their mom spent the week in my sunroom. Sam bounced back beautifully - her right eye was almost completely clear and her left eye, the one with the worst ulcer, was finally not stuck shut all the time and looked to be healing as well. Towards the end of the week, they started bouncing and playing. On Friday night, they took their first tastes of mama kitty's canned food. On Saturday, the greyhound rescue gave me a bunch of cat food - canned and dry - that they'd received as donations. They have a resident cat-testing cat that helps them determine if the greyhounds are going to be labeled "cat friendly", "cat trainable", or "absolutely no cats" (he's an awesome kitty that they rescued off the side of the road). He's getting fat off all the donations so they gave some to me for mama kitty.

On Sunday, the kittens and mama went to a new foster home and I learned that poor Dean is, in fact, a girl. Oops! The foster family has a huge basement as their foster space and it's like kitty heaven. Mama kitty, of course, wasn't so thrilled - she took off as soon as the crate door opened. But the babies were having a blast exploring. They might get a foster sibling - someone found a four or five week old abandoned kitten and if Lorena will accept it, Sam and Dean will get a friend.

I'd been going back and forth on whether I should adopt Sam or not, and when my friend told me she found a new foster home, I nearly started crying because I didn't want them to go! (They had to, unfortunately - I had a trip scheduled before this whole rescue operation started and couldn't cancel on such short notice.) I asked her if I could put a hold on Sam and adopt her when she's ready and she said I absolutely could.

So that's why I'm here - I'm a complete cat novice. I know absolutely nothing about living with a cat. I've been doing research since I officially placed a hold on Sam and I've learned a lot, but I'm a member of a couple other forums (a rat forum and a greyhound forum) and they've proved to be great places to gather knowledge, so I searched for a kitty forum and found this one. I'll try to upload a few pictures because the babies are just adorable :D

Sam and mama kitty the first day they were in the sunroom:


Dean (I love her nose!):


Sam is snuggly:


I apologize for the length of this - I tend to get wordy. :roll:
 

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OMG! Rook, what an adventure, trying to help these guys! Whew!!
Glad you were able to save mama and two babies!:thumbup::thumbup:
That's a Labor of Love...and to think, you're not even a "cat person"!!;):p
Sounds to me like you're in denial...especially since it now sounds like Sam will be coming to live with you!:D
The kittens are adorable!
Sharon
 

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That's fantastic that you made such a difference! Also that's kinda funny about the greyhound rescue cat eating too much (it's a cool idea though, to have a tester cat).
 

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That is a great story with a wonderful ending for all.

I personally am not a cat person either. I have two dogs that are my entire world. My one cat Rascal lives with my mom because she loves him so much. I wouldnt have left my dog though. I have a cat named Merlin now who is currently sitting on my shoulders. I don't love him as much as my dogs but he is definitely growing on me. I know with time that they will all be equals in my heart.
 

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Hi Rook,

Wow, from your actions, one would never guess that you weren't a cat person! That was really going above and beyond to try to save these kittens, and it's wonderful that you were able to save two. How frustrating that it might have been possible to save the other two as well, if your neighbors thought the same way you did, and the same way we all do here.

You are an amazing person to be willing to go crawling around under a house - not even yours! - in order to rescue a kitten. And you're not a cat person! (But just wait...;))

They're both such adorable little fuzzballs! Look at little Sam nestled so comfortably inside your jacket. :) Please do post more pics when you can!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got to visit them today and it's amazing how much they've grown in a week! They're now bouncing all over the place and eating canned food almost exclusively. So cute. And they have their foster friend, who was almost feral and is very hissy. Mama kitty isn't too sure about her, but they're doing alright overall.

People keep telling me that if I'm getting one kitten, I should really think about adopting them both so that they can keep each other company and play while I'm away. I'm definitely open to this, but a friend just told me that adopting two of the same sex from the same litter isn't a good idea because they tend to get territorial... Is that true? She has two males from the litter she fostered (they're identical!). Sammy and Dean (or Deana...haha) play together and romp around and it does seem a shame to split them up, especially since Sam would be all alone while I'm at work all day. Since Sam will be my first kitty, I'm trying to make this process as simple as possible. I fully expect some hiccups and I'm ready for them, but I just want to do whatever will make this as stress-free as possible for both of us. If that means only adopting Sam, fine. If that means adopting Dean too, also fine (and double the cute!). Thought I'd turn here for some advice (already! I didn't expect to be asking questions until just before they came home :lol:)...

A couple pictures:


 

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Well my daughter has 3 male brothers or they thought they were brothers. They were all found at one time. One is a tuxedo, one orange tabby and the other looks Siamese like. They were all the same size when she got them. Anyway they get along just find and in small living space. I think they had a few spats (nothing serious) when they were younger. Now they are 6-7 years old and just kind of go their own way but do sleep together now and then.
 

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As long as you get them neutered you'll most likely be fine (there are some cases where grown siblings won't get along, but IME those are few and far between). I'd vote for getting both as well :)
 

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I have two neutered male kitties, They are about 8 months apart. There are no territorial issues. There was the initial tense introduction to each other. For you it's easier because your kitties are litter mates. They are already used to each other. All you have is introduction of your home to the kittens.
 

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Rook,
I'm all for adopting them together!! The socialization will go much easier, as they'll help teach each other some cat-etiquette!! As siblings, they should do well together!
They are both adorable!
Sharon
 

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That is not true at all. It very much boils down to personality. My Uncle has two cats that are both female and both spayed and from the same litter. They are almost 17 years old now and still going strong.
Two very different personalities, but luckily neither very territorial.
 

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What an awesome read!! You did an incredible thing for mam cat and her babies. Sad that the other 2 didn't make it, but you never know, they might show up later on. I have 2 male siblings. They are almost 6 months old and no issues as of yet. I do find that having 2 makes life super easy. In all honesty, I don't have to do much but cuddle, and clean the litter boxes. They keep each other busy and tired with play-time. Plus, I am like you, I ended up with 2 kittens and having absolutely no experience with cats. This place is awesome, i'm glad you found us.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I guess now I need to ask my "How do I cat?" questions! So...How do I cat? I know there are things I'll need, and this is my (ever growing) list:

-a cat-proof room (because aren't you supposed to keep them in a smaller space when they're young before giving them full run of the house?)
-two litter boxes (at least - though a third would probably be a good idea if I can find a spot for it!) and the litter
-food (duh)
-food and water bowls (is ceramic good, or should I go with stainless steel?)
-toys! Any preferred kinds?
-scratching post/cat tree (I brought my dad to the store to shop for cat trees [because they're huge and I'm not strong enough to lift one] and he took one look at them and said "No way - I can build that for less!" so this weekend we're going to build one :roll:)
-grooming stuff - brushes and nail clippers? I should get them used to being handled and brushed and nail-clipped while they're young, right? What about baths?
-carriers - just one while they're little or should I start with two? Should I get a big one for both of them or two small ones?
-I suppose a fluffy kitty bed or two would be a good idea as well
-What about treats?

What am I missing? I know there must be something (probably a lot of somethings)!
 

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Oh wow I love kittens, they are so cute.
I’m probably not the one for advice, but I don’t allow my cats outside and other than that I just let them free to do whatever pleases them. Of course I have to keep the litter box maintained so there aren’t any accidents. It seems like the more I do for them the more the find their own places to sleep and have their own ideas for toys to play with.
 

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Oh, they're definitely not going outside! I'm toying with the idea of making a harness/leash for them so that they CAN experience the great outdoors but I haven't decided yet. These two will be strictly indoor kitties. :)
 

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Aww, congratulations on the totally unexpected additions to your family! :)

It seems like you've got everything covered:

-Ceramic is fine, as is glass. Mine don't like stainless, but most kitties are just fine with it. The noise made by dry food freaks them out.
-Foodwise, if you can feed all canned, it's much better for their health than dry food.
-Baths: don't bother, unless you like getting completely soaked and having fur stick to you everywhere, plus wet pawprints all over the house. 8O Cats do keep themselves very clean, so unless Sam and Dean(a ;P) actually get dirty, baths will just make all of you miserable.
-Nails: Oh yes, definitely get them used to being handled, having their paws handled, so that it's not a big deal to keep the claws trimmed. If you also have scratchers, you should never have a problem with them scratches places you don't want them to be scratching.
-Toys: a variety, but they're pretty readily entertained with things like the caps of milk/juice/water containers. You can buy these crinkle balls, but you can also wad up a ball of aluminum or tissue paper - works just as well. :) A couple of wand toys are a must. DaBird is a favorite. Some kitties like the laser pointer too.
-Carriers: I don't know. I think I'd get two separate ones, and big enough that they can grow into them, so that you don't have to buy new ones in a year or two.
-Treats: if you want. I think we're the ones who always want to give them treats. Not sure that they'd ever know they exist if we didn't give them, lol. But they can be useful if you need to pill or if you want to train your kitties.
-Harness: I used to take one of my kitties out in a harness. She LOVED it. The other refused to move the minute I put it on.

I'll add one thing: kitten-proofing. Things like cords on blinds, any other kind of cord, anything that's string-y - cats apparently can't bring string-y things back up and have to ingest it, and that can do all sorts of damage internally.

I'm sure others will have good suggestions for you, but I don't see that you're missing anything major!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks! That's all really helpful. What kind of canned food is pretty good (and relatively affordable)?

Also, what sort of carriers should I get? Those had plastic kind, or the soft fabric kind? And how big? I had the smallest size carrier for my rats and I wouldn't have put any more than my 1 pound boy in one of them (he got the pink one :lol:). The other two could have fit in it, but the space seemed so small with my fat boy in it that I wouldn't have tried (plus, they never learned to get along, so there's that). I assume those are too small for a full grown kitty, right? So I should probably go one size up... Can I start with one carrier while they're still pretty small and then get a second one when they start to get bigger?

I have a few questions about how to acclimate a kitty to the home...Should I go ahead and ask those here or start a new thread elsewhere (and if so, where)? Learning to navigate a new forum is always so confusing! :lol:
 

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Things to do before bringing kittens home?

Hi folks! I'm adopting two kittens and I'm feeling really out of my depth because I've never had a cat before. I hope this is the right forum section for general cat questions and advice (I wasn't sure - please move me where I need to be if I was wrong :oops:).

They're probably coming home with me in a week or two, when they're weaned and spayed. I'll be spending the next couple of weeks prepping everything - kitten proofing, buying all the necessary supplies, etc. I have a couple questions for you experienced cat folks, though!

When it comes to bringing kittens into your home, is it best to keep them in one room for a couple days, or just a couple hours until they've used the litterbox and know where it is (and bring them back to it periodically so they're aware of the layout and how to get there)? They were at my house for a week a couple weeks ago, so they're relatively familiar with me and how everything smells here, and they did get to come inside (they were being housed in my sunroom) for some food and to give mom a break from them, but they were tiny so were never left unattended. Currently they're being fostered in a huge basement, so they're used to having a ton of space to explore. I don't have a bathroom big enough to keep them in (my bathroom is tiny - there's absolutely no room for a litter box) but I do have a TV/sewing/craft room I could use.

I was planning to get three litter boxes (figure with two cats, three should be fine, right?) and place them strategically throughout the house. They're currently using Tidy Cats at the foster home, so I was going to stick with that for now. Good plan?

Feeding... I've heard that canned food is better than dry food. Is there a highly recommended but still affordable kind of canned food for kittens? I tried Googling but everyone seems to have different opinions on food (much like with dogs...everyone swears by something different). Also, what does a good feeding schedule look like? In the morning and evening? Or periodically throughout the day?

I'm making a cat tree this weekend (was just going to buy one but my dad saw them and said "Oh, I can make that for less!" and got really excited :lol:), but I was thinking I'd also get a couple scratchers for various places in the house.

How do you teach cats not to get on the table? Is that a losing battle, or is there a good way to teach them that the kitchen table is off-limits?

Also, I'd appreciate any general cat-acclimation tips. I'd know exactly what to do if I was adopting dogs, but I've never lived with a cat, so I feel like I'm starting completely from scratch and it's all a bit overwhelming!
 
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