Post # 1
Hubs and I just bought a house, and once we’re in and settled, I’m planning on adopting two young (littermate) kittens from one of the numerous rescues/shelters around the area. Darling Husband isn’t totally sold on the idea of cats, he thinks they smell, and that all of them are going to be like his parents cat when he was growing up who sprayed everywhere and clawed all the furniture.
I want to prove him wrong, but I’ve never owned a cat before. I absolutely adore cats and with the abundance of kitties in the shelters, I know I can give two little babies a really good home.
TL;DR – Do you have any tips for kittens/cats in general?
(How to socialize them young so they aren’t afraid of people/skittish, your favorite litter/litterbox, things to reduce the smell of the litterbox (aside from scooping as often as possible, that won’t be an issue!), suggestions for good scratching furniture, food, a product you swear by – anything!)
Post # 3
Oh, me me me! I’ve been a shelter cat volunteer and am currently in training to be an ASPCA volunteer, so I guess I know a good amount.
I also always thought that cats smelled. When I was younger, if you went to someone’s house who had a cat, their house smelled. Later in life, I realized this is usually caused by the litterbox. We clean ours constantly…you wouldn’t even know we had cats, especially because the box is hidden.
My first tip (and not everyone will agree) is to adopt cats that are older than one year. Kittens are super cute and playful and fun, but they also have a propensity to destroy your house. A cat who is older than a year is chilled out and won’t be likely to climb your curtains.
As long as you get a scratch post (get a good sturdy one, not like the cardboard ones) they’ll be less likely to scratch the furniture. Also, you can get this keepaway spray that works well if they do scratch. Claw caps are also an option if it goes that far.
I just use a simple hooded litterbox, but if you have the room, Booda boxes are awesome. I personally feed organic food. It costs me about $40/month (wet and dry) and it makes their coats beautiful and their poop smell way less.
That’s all I can think of for now…but PM me with any questions. I have raised two (I think, perfect!) kitties and one was pretty much feral when I got her.
Post # 4
Congratulations on your decision to adopt cats. They really are wonderful. Some things you may need to know before you pick out your new bundle of fur:
If you get two cats, you’ll need three litter boxes. Always add a box to the number of felines you have. As far as litter goes, there are litters that have perfumes in them, but these can irritate their tiny noses. Something more natural versus something filled with toxic fumes is better. As far as the smell goes, having more litter boxes around will help with the messiness and the smell. Cats sleep a lot during the day, so if you were planning on having a sleeping buddy for bed time, it’s best not to because they’ll mess with your feet and crawl all over you. (Lots of experience with this, lol.) Cats need scratching posts! Like with litter boxes, if you have two cats, you need three posts. Alternate the sizes so some are taller than others. Cats will get in your blinds because they enjoy seeing out of windows and basking in the sun, so a taller post with a sleeping area helps with this.
A few peculiar things to know is that cats have the ability to spray. You may want to research this in depth. There are many causes and reason. They are also not litter box trained right away. If you are getting kittens, get litter boxes that are easy for them to access. They may make accidents on the floor during the training period. What I did with my first kitten was take them to the box after they ate or drank a lot, and helped them learn how to dig with their front pass to help reinforce positive behaviors. Same with scratching posts. Cats will scratch to file down their nails and to mark territory. Help reinforce postivite behaviors by taking the kitty to a post especially after they have scratched in a no-no spot.
Good luck to you and your future kitty!
Post # 5
Totally agree with getting a little older cat than a kitten. They are a handful for experienced cat owners and newbies alike!
I failed to mention food! I’d suggest something more holistic versus big name brand. Avoid cat food with red food dye. This is hard on their kidneys. As far as food bowls, get ceramic versus plastic or metal. Cats don’t like the smell of the plastic/metal bowls.
Make sure you find a vet for your baby. They’ll need medications and teeth brushing. Gingivitis is prevalent in felines.
I officially sound like the crazy cat lady. Meow! 😉
P.S. Don’t forget the cat toys! Alternate them out because they will get bored of them.
Post # 6
I love cats/ my cat 🙂
My cat loves his scratching posts. We have about 4 of them actually in different places around the house. He uses them constantly and has never ever scratched the furniture. We catch him from time to time scratching the carpet but a swift “no!” will send him running.
Cats like to have privacy so I recommend a covered litter box. In terms of litter our cat uses a mix of Tidy Cats Small Spaces and Feline Pine. The small spaces is good at getting rid of smell and the pine is fragrance free and natural.
Measure their food to the appropriate amounts for their size and age. No table scraps (unless you want a big fat cat!)
In terms of socialization, we take our cat to my parents house where he interacts with the dog and he is always good with people coming into the house. He is very affectionate and sleeps with us every night and is always on our laps or nearby. But I have to say this might be part of his socialization and part just his personality. I had a cat growing up that just was high anxiety and didn’t like strangers. No amount of socialization would change that.
Have fun! I think your husband would come around to being a cat person. My husband certainly did!
Post # 7
@hotchildinthecity: Thank you!!
I was thinking of getting Evo or Natural Balance food, do you have any experience with either of them?
I’ve been going back and forth debating if I want young (around 8mos-1yr) or kittens. My biggest concerns with getting older cats is the fear of feral behavior and knowing the cat’s background. I would feel a little more “in control” if the cats are only a few months old. Their personalities are there, and I’ll be able to provide them positive experiences and have a chance to bond with them young! I have the time, energy, and desire to keep up with two rambunctious kittens too 🙂 Plus, the curtains come with the house, so the more they scratch them up young, the quicker I’ll get new ones that fit my taste! (Don’t tell my hubs, hehe!) Though, whatever I do decide, I’m definitely going to make sure I’m as informed as possible from their caretakers/foster parents!
@Mrs. Kitty & Autumn865 – Thank you both!!
I’ve done LOADS of research to try prepare myself for kitties, so I know all about the litter box per # of cats + 1 rule, but I didn’t know that it was also applicable for scratching posts. It definitely makes sense for variety!
I’m not terribly concerned with spraying, and naughty behavior certainly wont make me give them up for any reason. My IL’s cat lived to 23 years old and sprayed a lot when he got older, which is why my Darling Husband is so hesistant. In your experience what is the best way to clean up if they were to mark or have an accident on carpeted areas?
Post # 8
@QueenGreen: That’s the actual benefit to getting an 8 mos-year cat is that you will know their personalities. Kittens could become anything…they’re all so small and playful, but they could become any type of cat. Also, the shelter will know their personalities from interacting with them and behavior testing. But if you can handle kittens, more power to you 🙂
You’ll be getting them fixed, so they likely won’t spray. You could also get two girls (like I did) and not worry about it at all!
Evo and Natural Balance are both WONDERFUL foods.
Post # 9
Both female and male cats spray, and can still continue or happen even after being sterilized. I was watching youtube videos of a little female, spayed cat that was a really bad sprayer, even doing it to their owner. And like hotchildinthecity said, you won’t know their personality right away as a kitten. When I adopted Simba, at first we was so shy, especially at the shelter. He was super quiet at home the first night, but the next morning, he was walking around with his head held up high and proud, being super playful. He was always generally very quiet, then become a chatty cat. Their personalities will change with time.
Personally, I have never had problems with spraying so I don’t know what products would work best. One thing for sure though is I would NEVER use ammonia, since many animals think it has the same smell as urine. Make sure to research the cleaning products that are safe for kitty friends.
Post # 10
@hotchildinthecity: You’re absolutely right! I never really looked at it that way. It definitely seems like a better option, at least now while I’m so unfamiliar with raising cats in general. I think that will save me a lot of worrying and “am I doing it right?” It’s such a huge step for me and I have no idea what I’m doing, haha!
Post # 11
You’ve gotten some awesome advice from everyone, but I just wanted to pass along some advice on scratching posts. I have 3 adorable kitties, but they were becoming a real problem when I bought some new furniture.
I found this scratching post online, and it has been a lifesaver.
I actually bought the Mondo and the Deluxe, and they haven’t touched the furniture since. I’m in no way affiliated with the company, I just absolutely love these things. I know they are expensive, but for me they’ve been totally worth it. They are different from traditional posts you see in the pet stores because a) they are extremely sturdy and b) the wrapping is a woven sisal instead of the rope.
Part of a cats scratching behavior is to stretch their body, and both of these models are big enough that they can stretch full out and get a really good grip into the sisal, and the post will not budge. My cats climb up the big one, play on it, lay on it, you name it. I can’t recommend these stupid things enough! I also have a couple of the angled cardboard scratchers scattered around too, which they love as well.
Also, wanted to recommend Wellness food as another really good brand that hasn’t been mentioned.
Good luck! They are so much fun to have around, and have my hubby and I laughing all the time.
Post # 12
I’m going to look into the scratching posts! Thanks for posting! =^..^=
Post # 13
@Mrs. Kitty: I know this post is a few days old, but I got both of my huge cat trees on ebay- you know the huge ones at the pet stores for a few hundred bucks? 75 each with shipping. They came in a big box, and it was a fun night project for the SO and me, and the cats LOVE them- we have 3 cats (2 female and one big fat lazy male) and they love being up like 5 feet off the ground.. I think they love looking down on me when I sit on the couch!
Post # 14
I agree with the cat trees. Cat’s love them, especially the ones that have a little hiding area in them. My cats sleep in that all the time. Also, it’s important to play with your cats, so they don’t get too lazy and overweight. My cats love to chase long strings on a stick like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Dancer-301-Charmer-Interactive/dp/B0002DHV16
Post # 15
Get a scoopfree litter box. We’ve had ours for years and its AWESOME not having to touch icky poopies all the time. We go through a new box about once every three weeks.
The thing plugs into a wall and has a motion senser that scrapes the poopies away into a compartment after 20 minutes. BEST birthday present ever!!! LOL!!!
Post # 16
@Luckygir15: I’ve had 2 differnent models, and I don’t know if my cats are just.. I donno, super poopers or what, but the machines could never keep up! I had 2 cats at the time, and tried a few differnet cat litters but it just would be more work keeping the thing going then it was worth. What make/ model machine do you have?