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Kitty Question
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:45 PM
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My brother just told me that he's met a lady who has seven kittens up for adoption and wanted to know if I want one.

Well, the answer to wanting a kitten is yes, but my question is can I take care of a kitten?

So I know there's cat owners on here, so considering the fact that I live by myself and work regularly from 7:30-3:30, with Thursdays being spent in a town 30 minutes away for a class for 2 hours until April and plan to be married in June, would this be a good idea? And if so, what do I need to do to take care of a kitten?
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:08 PM
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If you can afford it, get two so they can keep each other company.

They'll need to be trained to use the box, of course. Buy lots of toys. Good-quality kitten food. Bring them home and then leave them alone, so they can decide when they want to approach you. And, of course, take them to the vet and get their shots taken care of, plus make an appointment for spaying/neutering in a few months.

I say, go for it!

  #3  
Old 02-15-2011, 12:34 AM
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I second the get two thing. We have 4 cats...2 unrelated girls who've been together since the previous owner adopted them from the shelter (cagemates) and 2 brothers a few years younger. Each pair is pretty inseperable, always has someone to play with and curl up with.

Get them fixed as close to 6 months as the vet allows...if they get older they'll develop some of the undesirable behaviours of a sexually mature adult kitty.

Litterbox training is usually pretty easy for young kittens. They're not old enough to have a solid "outside" habit, and the box appeals to their natural instincts, so quite often all you have to do is put them in the box once, move their paws like they're burying, and they get it.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:52 AM
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I'm assuming the kittens are at the right age to be adopted out. I would recommend having a separate room for them (if you can) that you know is safe for them until they are about 6 months old. You don't want them getting into things that can hurt them.

But, cats are pretty independent. As long as they have cool / fresh water, food, and a litter box (as well as some toys) they should be fine during the day. When they want affection they'll come to you.

Fresh water is extremely important - here is a link to a water system we got, get the folters though Amazon, they're far cheaper than getting them at PetCo and if you clean it out once a week they should last 1-2 months:

http://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Clear-Dr...7734615&sr=8-5

I'll agree with two cats as well as the spay / neuter.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:19 AM
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I've got two rooms I use only as storage right now...so I can easily empty one room out. And put blankets under the door because all of the doors in this place are raised like three inches from the floor.

What kind of food would I feed them?
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Quoth Kheldarson View Post
I've got two rooms I use only as storage right now...so I can easily empty one room out. And put blankets under the door because all of the doors in this place are raised like three inches from the floor.

What kind of food would I feed them?
Ask the vet for a recommendation. It doesn't have to be prescription food but it should be as high quality as you can afford (don't buy off brands at the dollar store). Cats eat mostly meat. Cat food is formulated so they get all the nutritional stuff they need, so don't feed them on table scraps. Don't give them bones, especially chicken bones which are very brittle and could cause them to choke. And milk is not necessary, in fact some cats can't digest it properly (that's not to say they don't like it, but just as there are things humans like and shouldn't have, there are foods like milk that aren't really good for your cat). Always make sure they have clean water.

Kittens like to chew, so make sure they can't get stuff like rubber bands, and keep things like pills, screws, nails and other little odds & ends away from them.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:33 AM
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Cats are really low maintenance, especially once they get older. Dogs need to be let outside and whatnot every day, but cats can easily be left for a weekend unattended if you're going out of town or something. (I don't recommend leaving young kittens along that long, just illustrating that yes, you can get a cat or cats and care for them with your schedule. If my husband and I are out of town for an anime convention, we can easily leave our three cats from Friday morning to Sunday evening with no problems.)

Getting two right away would be great so they can keep each other company, but it's also going to be a lot more work on your end. Kittens are very active and playful and as they get older and bigger, they will be able to get into EVERYTHING. There were days when our youngest boy was making me want to pull my hair out; he'd tip the garbage over, climb on the bookshelves where we have delicate figurines, jump up onto counters and tables where we don't allow cats, etc. Get a squirt bottle of some kind and fill it with plain ol' water; when they do something bad, give them a squirt and a firm "NO" to start training them early on.

Definitely keep them in a separate room when they're young while you're gone. If you have a spare bedroom, empty it out of anything fragile, stick their food/water/litterbox in there, and they should be okay. I would leave them in that room constantly for about a week or so after you get them, even when you are home, and after that you can gradually let them out to start exploring the house. When we got our baby, we left him in a spare bedroom for about 10 days, then would bring him out to the living room where we could watch him so he could explore and start getting used to the rest of the house. When they're little, you can use stuff like big boxes as barriers to keep them from going into rooms you don't want them in, but realize that by the time they're just a few months old, they'll be able to jump or climb over anything. I wouldn't bother investing in a baby gate or anything like that since it will become useless very quickly. If you don't have a spare bedroom, a bathroom or even your bedroom will work. Just remember that they will climb/jump wherever they can and knock stuff over, so if you put them in a bathroom, you might want to hide anything you normally keep on the counter if you don't want to find it on the floor when you get home.

It should be pretty easy to litterbox train them. Cats are pretty much born with the instinct to dig in sandy ground to do their business, and bury it when they're done. When we got our little boy, we immediately showed him where his litterbox was and put him in it a few times. He thought it was something to play in at first, and started pushing the litter everywhere, including outside the box (they will continue to do this as they get older, not play necessarily, but they will dig and push dirt around a lot, so be prepared for that. Either put the litterbox in an area that's easy to clean or get one with a dome to help minimize the mess.) He's never had an accident to date, though, so he figured out pretty quick what the litterbox was actually for.

Shots, spay/neutering, wellness exams, etc. have already been gone over pretty thoroughly, I think. As far as food goes, don't let the vet try to convince or bribe you into buying Science Diet; that stuff is absolute junk for any animal. There are lots of articles floating around on the web about what kind of food is good/bad for pets, but the basic rules are: The first two to three ingredients on the ingredient list should be some kind of meat or meat meal; there should be no by-products; little to no salt or yeast; no big words that you can't pronounce; fillers should be high quality grains like oatmeal, brown rice, etc. as opposed to corn or wheat. This goes for canned and dry food. My personal opinion (and that of my vet as well) is that about 75% of a cat's diet should be dry food, supplemented with some canned food. Kittens should generally be on canned food for the first few months, but they can start dry food pretty early on. I think we had Pluto on dry food by the time he was 8 or 10 weeks old.

I'll probably think of more stuff to post later on.

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Old 02-15-2011, 02:24 AM
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I didn't have an extra room so when my middle cat came here to live, I went to a second hand baby shop and got an old play pen. I would move it from room to room depending on where I went and for how long. This way she could see out and my older cats could see in. She was only about a pound when she came and the other two were about 20 lbs or so. I knew they wouldn't intentionally hurt her but I didn't want them to hurt her while they were playing. If I knew I was going to be home for a while and in the house, I would let block off the kitchen and bedroom and let her run around. At night, in the playpen she would go and I would cover three sides of it with a blanket. I used an old piece of wall board to cover the top. It had plenty of room for a litter box, food dish and toys.

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:55 AM
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Get a laser pointer and I forget the name of it, but it's basically a piece of wire with little bits of tube-shaped cardboard on the end. Both of these are super cheap, and your kittens well enjoy them for hours. Best three bucks I've ever spent, as even years later they still play with them then any of the other more expensive toys I've gotten.

Also try out a tunnel type. You can get open ended ones for like, five bucks, and they'll also enjoy that.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:49 AM
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I haven't seen anyone mention a scratching post, or nail clippers.

DO NOT 'declaw' your kittens. It's actually an amputation of the end joint of the fingers and toes, and has lifelong repercussions for their health, not to mention their comfort.

Every day, when playing with your kittens, get them used to you handling their paws, looking at their butt, examining their eyes and ears and cleaning their teeth. This lets you give the kitties a daily health check, and will make your vet LOVE you - because that's what he needs to do.

Once they're happy with you handling their paws, start trimming just the very tip off with the nail clippers. This blunts the claws so they won't scratch you (or not as badly), and may protect your more delicate furniture. Get your vet to show you where the 'quick' is, so you can avoid cutting that - it's the nail's blood vessel!
Take your time about it - you want the kittens to perceive it as part of happyfunwithtime.

Get or make a scratching post. It must be stable even if your cat is pushing against it hard, taller than your cat at full stretch, and covered in a substance the cat wants to claw. Sisal rope, jute rope, or even carpet can be good. We actually got one of our heavier bits of furniture that's in the living room, and nailed carpet onto the side of it. I'm thinking of replacing the carpet with sisal rope when it gets too worn out.
Be aware that the scratching post (or wall or whatever) should be near YOU. The cats will want to be wherever you are, so have one in their room, and one in wherever-you-frequent.
Cats love their scratching post most when it is, to human eyes, a shaggy ugly-looking mess. Only replace it once the cats have stopped using it.

To discourage cats from scratching on something you DON'T want them to scratch, cover it in alfoil or tinfoil, or in double-sided tape, or plastic. The purpose is to make their scratching post fabulous, and the rest of it not.

Because you're starting out with them in a single room, you can ensure the only suitable scratching surface IS their scratching post, and that the scratching post(s) in the rest of the house are identical or nearly so.

Cats love to climb and jump. Even in their own little room, they'll be happiest if you give them things to climb on. These can be cardboard boxes!
BTW: Cats ADORE cardboard boxes. And paper bags.

Because cats love to climb, plan the rest of your household furniture around it. Store anything delicate and on-display behind glass (or acrylic). Make sure your TV is stable (also computer monitors). Expect other things to be knocked down.

For kitchen benches, you can use the double-sided tape trick again, or you can put pans of water on the benches so they get wet feet when they jump up, or you can use clean (and not sharp!) tins arranged to fall down and make an unholy noise when disturbed...
... basically, anything which teaches the cats that the kitchen benches are undesirable places to be, even if you're not there to squirt them with a water pistol.

As you can see, my training principle is make it desirable to do what's 'good', make it undesirable to be 'bad'. Let kitty think SHE is training YOU.
So if kitty begs for food while you're eating, put her down. When she stays down on her own, even just for a few seconds, give her a treat from the cache of kitty treats you prepared earlier.
Repeat until she stays down on her own for a whole meal, then give her her evening meal after you've had yours. (Include kitty treats at first, but eventually it'll just be her normal evening meal.)

Note: while using kitty treats as training aids, plan that into their daily food.



Summary:
* Food
* water
* same living temperature range as humans
* something reasonably comfy and draft-free to sleep on
* clean litter (if YOU wouldn't use it, don't expect THEM to)
* scratching post
* veterinary care

For your house & sanity:
* claw clippers
* scratching posts
* protect furniture until they've learned to love their scratching posts
* arrange delicate items with cats in mind
* arrange valuable items with cats in mind.
* live with other things being knocked down.
* kitty treats (planned as part of their diet) can help you teach them good behaviours.
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