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Adopting a cat

edited 11 June 2016 at 8:29AM in Pets & pet care
16 replies 2.6K views
Lu_LuLu_Lu Forumite
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edited 11 June 2016 at 8:29AM in Pets & pet care
We are considering adopting a cat as a family pet for me, DH and 2 boys aged 9 and 6. I have got in touch with a couple of local rescue centres and one seems to want to move quite quickly by assessing our home etc pretty soon but we don't want to rush into anything and hoped some seasoned cat owners, or those who have adopted, might be able to give us some tips.

I had a cat when I was younger but can't remember a lot about it so there are a couple of specific areas I guess we need some reassurance on.

One is the cat hair. I don't remember mine being particularly messy with hair everywhere but are they bad? We would get a short haired one and I thought they pretty much de haired themselves. Do you have to vacuum more regularly?

The big thing is the scratching and one of the major issues my husband is having on getting fully committed to the idea. We have a lovely new house with almost new carpets etc and don't want them to be ruined. Our kitchen diner would be fine for it as there is a tiled floor but there are a couple of leather sofas in there. I am worried about all the carpets, but particularly the stairs one and it has that scratching post effect. Also, the living room has new fabrics sofas which I am sure would appeal to a kitty.

So do they really scratch that much and it there any sure fire way of stopping them? Please don't suggest plastic wrapping the furniture as husband will not go along with that!

Can you live/ cope without a cat flap too?

I am also not sure whether getting an adult cat or a kitten would be the best approach for us now. I am sure both come with their pros and cons and I guess we have to meet some to decide. Of course a kitten appeals more, especially for the kids, but I am wondering whether an adult cat might be easier to start with?

Anything you can share would be great.

Sorry, thought of something else. Is it awful to get one now and then go on holiday at the end of August or are we best waiting until after we are back from holiday?


  • GwylimTGwylimT Forumite
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    Fur, length has no relation to shedding. If you groom them properly everyday fur should be a fairly minor problem. You do need to hoover a bit more as it will stick to carpets.

    Furniture, some scratch some don't. We had lots of scratching posts, a cat tree and even wall mounted scratching posts. She still scratches the sofa, its leather, every so often we use a hair clipper without the quard to trim of the bits of loose leather, after that and a clean you can't see the claw marks that much. Nothing has stopped her scratching.

    Cat flap, we have one that goes into our cat proofed garden, its locked when we are out, but it is still very handy especially in winter.

    I would wait until after the holiday, cats find change stressful, so if you get a cat before your holiday you will need to hire a pet sitter instead of sending him/her to a cattery.

    A kitten is like having a toddler on crack.

    Things to consider

    Keep the cat on the same food for around two weeks, after that slowly move onto a good quality wet/raw that is grain and sugar free. Dry food is very bad for cats, it doesn't clean their teeth (just as biscuits don't clean ours), but it does cause dehydration, obesity and increases the risk of kidney disease and diabetes.

    If you insure, get decent insurance otherwise it really isn't worth it.

    Clumping is the best, the rule is one per cat and a spare. When he/she is going out you can then go down to one litter tray most likely. If the food suits him/her there will be minimal smell from their poo and it will be fairly firm small nuggets.

    Cats need a lot of play, so get some toys before they arrive, more play reduces destruction and bonkers behaviour.

    Grooming etc
    A slicker brush or comb is best to remove loose hair. Logic is a good toothpaste.

    Consider is your area safe for a cat to go out, e.g far from roads. If you let them out at all check the plants in your garden are kitty safe.

    You will instantly become a crazy cat person
  • SensibleSarahSensibleSarah Forumite
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    I would also wait until you're back from holiday. The kitten or adult cat question is always difficult as there are indeed pros & cons to both. At least with an adult rescue cat though you already know some of his/her character & can make sure it's a good fit with the family. If you opt for kittens I would genuinely recommend you get two rather than just one. In my experience, single kittens are soooooo much more work than a pair.

    I have to be honest that I would never go back to not having a cat flap. It's really important to me that my cats are never shut outside without being able to get to the safety of home if they get scared by something outside. It's actually a dog flap now, but same difference :)

    Scratching has never been an issue with any of my 4 cats. I provide several scratch posts (some vertical & some horizontal as different cats like to scratch in different ways) and they pretty much leave the furniture & carpet alone.

    One of my cats is longhaired & the short-haired ones do seem to shed more noticeably than she does. A quick comb every day and is not really an issue.
  • UKTigerlilyUKTigerlily Forumite
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    I would wait until after the holiday, a new home is traumatic enough - especially as they will have left their Mum or rescue - and settling in, only for everything to change again so soon would be a lot.

    My cat is short haired but fluffy (maybe medium length hair) and it does fly across the room at times, but the Furminator brush and a quick hoover sorts it. It really isn't too bad and is more than worth it

    I always had a catflap for my cats and my current cat had a microchip one fitted into a window. She's no longer allowed out, due to being 18 and terminally ill but doesn't care at all. In fact, one time she did run out and just froze and came back in. I would always have one for younger & able to go out cats, and the microchip ones are great and stop other cats entering

    As for scratching, mine used to like the side of the armchair, where the back and side join! I provide her with a few different types of scratcher and praise her when she uses it and she no longer goes near the armchair. You can get claw covers that I think stick to the claws, but I have no idea how they would work or how they'd be changed as claws grow!
  • krlyrkrlyr Forumite
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    You can get claw covers that I think stick to the claws, but I have no idea how they would work or how they'd be changed as claws grow!

    They just glue on, they'll fall off or can be taken off when the nail grows - the Soft Paws website says they last around 4-6 weeks.

    However, it is very important to bear in mind that they're only suitable for indoor-only cats. They inhibit the ability to climb or defend themselves, so aren't suitable for cats that go outdoors.

    Kittens might appeal more to kids in theory..but they are bitey and scratchy and may end up putting the kids off more than a placid, adult cat who's temperament is known. I think it's a good life lesson to teach kids that pets aren't just a novelty when they're young and cute - and that an older pet still has its merits.
  • no1catmanno1catman Forumite
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    The Rescue centre's knowledge will be a help with adopting an adult cat - they will (or should have) information on the upbringing of the cats they have and which ones would be most suitable e.g. with young boys. They will assess your home as well, garden, how much traffic etc.
    The 'scratching thing' maybe ingrained behaviour of female cats, rather than males.
    Opinion is divided about leather (I rang Cat protection for advice - they said no), some here said that scratching stopped when swopped for leather. It may depend on the thickness of the leather to.
    Carpets - I have one carpet without a pile (that's how it was made) - no effect, while one with a wool pile - attracts the fur, and gets scratched!!
    Cats can be also nocturnal - cat-flap can be essential, unless you are prepared to let it in/out at all hours. And, you may want it to come in, but if it doesn't want to - it won't! Cats are cats - they rarely come when called. Toms can roam much farther than females, and can get more territorial - it's what claws are for!
    Are there any cats nearby - male or female?
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  • Lu_LuLu_Lu Forumite
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    Thanks all for the advice. I am considering popping in to one of the rescue centres tomorrow for a quick chat but worried we might be doing this too early if we can't take the cat until end of August, although then at least we will be on their list for any 'new' ones that come in.

    There are cats nearby, I have seen at least 3 but not sure if they are male or female. Lots of dogs here too.
  • gettingreadygettingready Forumite
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    Lu_Lu wrote: »
    Thanks all for the advice. I am considering popping in to one of the rescue centres tomorrow for a quick chat but worried we might be doing this too early if we can't take the cat until end of August, although then at least we will be on their list for any 'new' ones that come in.


    Why would you want t be on a list for "new" ones? There are cats that wait long time for homes...

    But sorry with a list of things you worry about - i am not that sure cat is a good idea (fur, furniture etc etc).

    You will not be able to confine a cat to one area. If you take one on, it will need to be part of the family with all the ups and down. Anything less and I am sorry but it would simply not be fair on the cat.
  • hazyjohazyjo Forumite
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    I've got two. One would be quite happy living under the bed in one room with just me, her food and her litter lol. She loves me to bits. She does however go out and we do go up calling her to go out or she just wouldn't move. She plays with shadows and loves to rub all round her toys, but that's all she's interested in. She daintily uses the doormats to do her claws, and paws at the bedroom door to come in if it's closed. She rarely miaows, although she does shed quite a lot of (black) hair.

    The other is ginger and white so you don't really see his fur around so much. He does his claws to get our attention. If he wants to go out, he'll do them where he shouldn't - same if he wants us out of bed. He also does them manically (on anything nearby) when his local cat friend comes in showing he's ready for battle. They tumble everywhere, call for each other, and can turn things upside down, flip the rugs, pull at the fairly new stair/landing carpet...

    The first you wouldn't know was there, but the other one - haha you've got no chance of not noticing him! They're similar ages (9-ish).

    But, anyway, you forgive them everything cos they're cats and cos you love them :)

    I have no desire to ever get a kitten. Far too much for me - I like them older.

    I have always got my cats from rescue homes ('second hand cats', as I like to call them :))

    Basically, they're all different. You never know what you're gonna get. My girl cats have scratched things less than my boys, but it's probably not a given.

    Would also suggest two. There are often two needing homes together who they don't want to separate.

    Mine don't have cat flaps. I don't let them stay out all night (although on a weekend I'm up until around 2am and they are allowed in and out). My OH is home all day so they can come and go as they please.

    Would also wait until after your hols. Just another expense and worry to get it/them before. Plus if they've come from a rescue place in a pen, they might think you've given them up again - I'd hate mine to think that so my mum always comes round daily when I'm on holiday.

    Keep us informed :)

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  • I don't want to be blunt or rude, but reading your list of concerns and limitations, I just do not think that a pet of any kind will be right for you.
    Animals do make mess and they do damage furniture and if that will be a problem then I think you will be very stressed, your husband will be upset and the cat will end up with a pretty miserable existence.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Lu_Lu wrote: »
    We are considering adopting a cat as a family pet for me, DH and 2 boys aged 9 and 6.

    Because of the worries you have about an animal in the house, have your thought about having rabbits or guinea pigs which could live in the garden?
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