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View Full Version : Objective opinions needed . . . cats as pets


Rich
November 28th 06, 08:30 PM
We're considering getting a cat as a family pet but want to make sure
we're doing the right thing. I'm not even sure where to start but I
thought I'd see if I could get any opinions here:

- How do they do with kids? We have two, ages 5 and 2.
- How difficult are they to house break?
- Are there any particular breeds I should be looking for or avoid?
I'd prefer to rescue one from a shelter if it's recommended.
- Are they difficult/expensive to care for?
- How do they do if left alone in the house for a weekend?
- Anything else I should consider or good web sides to visit on the
topic?

Thanks in advance.

Rich

Ted Davis
November 28th 06, 09:28 PM
On 28 Nov 2006 12:30:44 -0800, "Rich" > wrote:

>We're considering getting a cat as a family pet but want to make sure
>we're doing the right thing. I'm not even sure where to start but I
>thought I'd see if I could get any opinions here:
>
>- How do they do with kids? We have two, ages 5 and 2.

Good, bad, or indiferent.

>- How difficult are they to house break?

Usually that come that way. Litter pans are usually the best match
around for their instinct to bury their droppings.

>- Are there any particular breeds I should be looking for or avoid?

You would be better off choosing a cat on the basis of its own
personality without regard for breed. However, long haired cats
require a lot of grooming.

>I'd prefer to rescue one from a shelter if it's recommended.

It most certainly is, but I have gotten sick cats from there - never
from sombody offering a cat they can't keep.

>- Are they difficult/expensive to care for?

Two different questions, really. Most short haired cats require
little beyond food, water, clean litter, shelter, and affection (the
more the better). It can be as expensive as you want it to be. For
most house cats, it is probable that the anual vet bill won't exceed a
couple of hundred dollars for checkups and shots - if you deem they
are needed. The first year will of course include neutering costs.

>- How do they do if left alone in the house for a weekend?

Not advised, but it works better if there are multiple cats. Food,
water, and clean litter are daily tasks, but there are work-arounds
such as feeders and extra litter pans.

>- Anything else I should consider or good web sides to visit on the
>topic?

Do not get a cat as a Xmas present. It's bad for the cat and bad for
you. It's just a bad time to start a long-term relationship.

I recommend a pair of young or half-grown siblings, or a mother and
daughter rather than kittens, certainly nothing younger than 12
weeks. Mothers sometimes want to chase off their sons, even if
everybody is neutered.

People have been living with cats for thousands of years - it's not
that difficult, as long as you realize that the cat is really in
charge and you are something of a servant to it. If you think you can
boss a cat a round, don't get one because you can't - they are nothing
like dogs.

There are too amny good cat web sites to list here. Do a search on
the aspect that you are researching at the moment. The search pattern

"living with a cat"

will get you started (include the "").

--
T.E.D. )
Remove "gearbox.maem." from address - that one is dead

blkcatgal
November 29th 06, 12:18 AM
"Rich" > wrote in message
ups.com...
> We're considering getting a cat as a family pet but want to make sure
> we're doing the right thing. I'm not even sure where to start but I
> thought I'd see if I could get any opinions here:
>
> - How do they do with kids? We have two, ages 5 and 2.

Cats can do fine with kids. You just have to teach your kids that cats are
not toys...you can't pull their tails, ears, etc.

> - How difficult are they to house break?

Cats are easy to house break....it is almost instinctive for them to use a
litter box. Just keep that box clean.

> - Are there any particular breeds I should be looking for or avoid?
> I'd prefer to rescue one from a shelter if it's recommended.

I would recommend that you get a shelter cat or cats. Go to the shelter,
talk to the shelter workers, ask them about the different cats' temperments,
etc. Tell them your situation (kids, etc.) and they can make
recommendations.

> - Are they difficult/expensive to care for?

Not much....but remember, once you have the cat, you are responsible for the
feeding, shots, check-ups, etc.

> - How do they do if left alone in the house for a weekend?

I would never leave a cat alone for a whole weekend even though I know some
people who do. Maybe you could get a neighbor or friend to check in on the
cat at least once a day. Also, you can find petsitters who will do this for
a fee.

If you do have to leave the cat alone....I would recommend that you have 2
cats then.

> - Anything else I should consider or good web sides to visit on the
> topic?


>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> Rich

Good luck, I hope you find the right cat or cats!

Sue

Lesley
December 2nd 06, 12:25 AM
Rich wrote:
> We're considering getting a cat as a family pet but want to make sure
> we're doing the right thing. I'm not even sure where to start but I
> thought I'd see if I could get any opinions here:

First of all a round of applause to you! People adopt cats on a whim,
because it's a cute kitten sitting in a petshop window etc etc and
don't realise they are taking on an animal that can live for 20+ years.
At least you're going to make a considered decision on cats which is
better in the long run
>
> - How do they do with kids? We have two, ages 5 and 2.

If you're already looking at a shelter cat then you are in right
direction for this. Tell the shelter (who usually have no vested
interest in providing you with a cat that will be returned) that you
have small children and let them point out some cats that would be
suitable they usually know enough about the cats to select suitable
cats. Also go for a slightly older cat two small children and a kitten
could be a bit much to manage. Older cats have more "formed" (for want
of a better word) personalities (yes cats have them as well) and are
less likely to wreck the joint! Also shelter cats are neutered/spayed
which calms them down a bit.

At the same time, you have to make it clear to the kids that this is a
living creature. Cats are not like dogs, they won't tolerate endless
tail pulling or being handled wrong. A good idea is to make sure the
cat has a high place to escape to when it's all too much even a cat who
is a sweetie around children needs their own space

> - How difficult are they to house break?

Most kittens pick the habit up if their mum uses a litter tray. A
slightly older cat will know what to do. I've had 5 cats and apart from
once as a kitten Sarsi didn't seem to know where the box was (She'd
only been in the house less than 14 hours) I've not had too many
problems. They won't use a box if it isn't scooped regularly through
and you should provide more than one box and make sure the litter is
deep enough (When I first came onto this list I was I confess having a
small problem with Sarsi going outside the box...then I accidentally
tipped too much litter in and she's never been a problem since...she
just likes to REALLY hide the evidence!)

> - Are there any particular breeds I should be looking for or avoid?
> I'd prefer to rescue one from a shelter if it's recommended.

Shelter is best as I said above. Talk to the staff about your concerns
with small children and they'll find a cat who is okay with children.
Also as a first cat (Like I know all of mine were taken in as kittens
but thinking about it) a slightly older cat will be best.As for breeds
(and yes the vagaries of fate are such that you could come home from a
shelter with a pedigree cat). All I know (Mine have always been moggies
ie mum known father unknown) but I gather Siamese are noisy and
intelligent enough to get nasty if bored..One of the sweetest cats I
have met was a Meezer and so was the cat from Hell (Clyde loved his mum
and was content to maim anyone else who went near her!) both Burmese
and Bengal are suited to being the only cat and not let out as in
extreme cases they have been known to go through cat flaps to beat
other cats up. Abby's apparently don't like indoor living. But as cats
you'll probably find the sweetest Meezer etc (Clyde lived with one of
the sweetest, cutest cats ever Bonnie a Burmese)

> - Are they difficult/expensive to care for?

Not difficult. Unlike dogs they don't need walkies etc. They do
appreciate some TLC (Don't we all) and should have toys and places to
sleep but once you've set that up fine! Also they usually like to be
brushed now and again. And food should be good stuff,

As for cost you can feed them cheapo stuff but better to buy a good
qualty food, like me you may blanch at handing over a lot of money for
a 2kg sack of Hills S/D but it lasts longer than cheap stuff.

On the whole they're cheap to feed, ask little in the way of
maintenance and will repay you a thousand times over with their love


> - How do they do if left alone in the house for a weekend?

Can be done. Obviously make sure they have enough food and water and
don't leave for longer than 48 hours without having someone check on
them..also expect to have to clean the box after that time also a good
idea is to have two cats..then when you're away they will have company.

> - Anything else I should consider or good web sides to visit

Newsgroups

Rec.pets.cats.anecdotes

Rec.pets.cats.health and behaviour

Good luck!

Lesley

Slave of the Fabulous Furballs

Veloise
December 3rd 06, 10:31 PM
My sibs and I were much older than your cherubs when we became cat
people. Our kitties were gentle and affectionate; loved to play, sleep
in beds with us, be dressed up in doll clothes...

You might visit your local shelter and bring your list of questions
there. And perhaps do a home visit with a cat owner to see how the
furry housemates interact in real life.

HTH

--Karen D.