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Old 10-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #31
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In my experience, kittens come free. The last two I got were found when (1) we randomly stopped by the pet store to get food for our other pet (note: lots of pets stores host adoption days) and (2) through an email string from my DH's secretary's cousin. I've never had to go to a shelter or look on petfinder because people are ALWAYS looking to give away cats. Also, you can call any local vets and they'll likely be in the know about who unexpectedly had kittens recently.

That doesn't mean that they stay free. The first thing you have to figure in are shots, basic check-ups, deworming (if they were on the streets at all), and spay/neuter. Then regular vet-checks every year. Food can generally be pretty inexpensive, unless you want to go the whole organic specialty feed route or if your cat needs a special diet. Then of course, emergencies can always happen. We could travel to Europe several times on the money we ended up dropping on the vet bills for one of those "free" cats.

You know, I used to agree with the poster who said male cats are more friendly than female, but our last two have been girls and they've been extremely friendly.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:48 PM   #32
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Whether you go with a "Rescue cat" (and I am certain you have some type of humane society in your area -- we have probably 20 rescue places for various types of animals in our medium-sized city) or whether you get a free kitten from an aquaintance, expect to pay $100-150 for first-month-or-so of cat ownership.

Advice on whether to get a kitten or an adult cat will vary widely. Personally, I prefer kittens because they're adorable and because I like to train my animals myself, and I like seeing them develop. Other people will tell you that an adult cat is more of a "sure thing" because you'll be able to see whether he's wild, skittish, calm, or whatever -- and you can choose what appeals to you. Also, if you want a declawed cat but don't want the guilt associated with it, you can choose a cat that's already been declawed. Declawed cats do end up in shelters, though you might not find one the first time you visit. And adult cats are harder to place, so you can feel that you've done a greater service by taking a hard-to-place animal.

Before you get the kitten, you'll need:

- a litter box (go full-sized, kittens grow fast). You can even make a homemade one from a plastic tub. Choose a model with high sides so the cat won't kick out the litter; if your kitten is very small, you might need to build him some steps (out of books or toys) to help him get in/out initially. Be prepared to keep it scrupulously clean -- cats will refuse to use a dirty litterbox.
- siftable litter and a scooper. Siftable is much cheaper in the long run, and you bring home fewer heavy containers.
- a soft bed of some type. This could be as simple as a fancied-up cardboard box with an old towel or blanket inside, but cats love to have a quiet, dark hidey-hole for their naps.
- food. Having grown up on a farm, I have had upwards of 50 cats in my life, and I haven't encountered a picky eater yet. Do choose a food with good nutritional value and stick to the same brand.
- containers for food and water -- go medium-sized, or you'll just end up replacing them as the kitten grows. Choose something with a heavy base so that the cat can't push it around too much. A cat fountain is best and encourages cats to drink more water, but they are pricey.
- cat scratch post (or similar) and nail clippers. Unless your cat is declawed. Also get some catnip to rub on the scratching post -- it'll make it super-easy to train the cat to use it.
- grooming brush. If you get a kitten, use this for short periods of time 'til the kitten comes to see brushing as a fun, calm activity for the two of you to share. If you choose an adult, it wouldn't be a bad idea to brush it while you're at the Rescue and see if the cat allows it /enjoys it -- it's hard to retrain an adult cat.

In addition, you might consider:

- a window perch. Cats love to sit in the sun and look out at cars and passers-by.
- toys. The best is a stick + string + feathers or some other something to chase. You can even make cat toys from strips of old, cut-up tee-shirts. Unexpected things (like a plastic Easter egg, or a paper grocery bag) may become favorites.
- a climbing toy. Cats love to climb, and the best climbers give the animal a place to lie down "up high" and look down upon its minions. You can even build shelves right into your walls so that the cat can "jump up" to a high perch over a doorway.

Medical needs:

- personally, I'd only agree to take a new kitten on the condition that it gets a clean bill of health from the vet. I'd make sure that if it turned out to have an expensive medical issue in the beginning, I could bring it back to the original owner. Not many cats are sickly, but I just wouldn't be willing to spend-spend-spend on a cat to which I'm not already attached. If it gets sick later in life, that's a different thing. Pick one that's lively and has bright, clear eyes, and pick one that's got enough meat on its bones to cover the ribs but not so much that it's fat. Fleas aren't the end of the world -- you can get rid of them; just do it immediately.
- it's not a bad idea to give the cat a deworming treatment (buy at Walmart or similar for $10 or so) just to be sure.
- if you get a cat from a shelter, it will have visited the vet for shots and will probably already be spayed or neutered (or they may make you an appointment for the spay/neuter. You'll find that shelters are VERY PUSHY about spaying/neutering, and when you look at how many kittens one cat cat produce in a year, it only makes sense.
- if you get a cat from a friend, you will need to do these things yourself.
- after those initial medical needs, you'll need a yearly follow up for a check-up and follow-up shots.


One general thought: I like cats to be either indoor pets or outdoor pets -- not both. If they come and go, they bring fleas into the house.

One idea before you allow your daughter to adopt a kitten of her own: I'd seek out a Rescue and have her volunteer for X number of hours. Let her see that cats are really a great deal of fun, but they do require care. It'll also let her learn how to scoop litter and feed kitties -- before she begins doing it at home.

Cats do cost less than dogs (both initially and they're less expensive to maintain), and I think they're easier in that they can be left at home alone for a weekend.

Last edited by MrsPete; 10-04-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:24 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
One idea before you allow your daughter to adopt a kitten of her own: I'd seek out a Rescue and have her volunteer for X number of hours. Let her see that cats are really a great deal of fun, but they do require care. It'll also let her learn how to scoop litter and feed kitties -- before she begins doing it at home.
I LOVE this idea, provided you can find a shelter that allows someone to volunteer under the age of 16 or 18. (Many will, but some might not for insurance reasons.)

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Cats do cost less than dogs (both initially and they're less expensive to maintain), and I think they're easier in that they can be left at home alone for a weekend.
This reminds me of another big difficulty with owning cats, though-- every time you travel past an overnight (because you can't really go much past a short weekend without having someone come in at the very least to change their water and make sure everyone is safe), you HAVE to figure out someone coming in to visit and take care of them each and every time you go away. With dogs, you can often bring them with you if you're going to be a house guest (e.g. to your parents or sister's or what not). Unfortunately, cats (generally) travel horribly.

Also, every time we go on vacation we have to clean at the same time that we're packing because someone will be in our house while we're gone!! I know it sounds minor, but geez, doing all that extra cleaning while we're also packing and planning our trip can be exhausting!!! I tell everyone that's the worst unexpected thing about owning cats, all that extra stress associated with vacations! (Then again, when we're gone for more than 3 or 4 days we try to have someone live-in because our cats are so energetic and needy, so we're doing some deep cleaning at that point.... probably not a typical experience!)
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:30 PM   #34
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Wow, I never realized how much I really enjoy talking about cat ownership. Sorry I've talked up an earful, y'all! That's just a testament to how much we all love them, right?
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:34 PM   #35
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We are looking into getting a kitten also. We adopted our older cat from the SPCA, and it has been a wonderful experience. I kind of feel like I missed out on her "babyhood" though (crazy, isn't it?) and I want a kitten. Just for the heck of it, I looked up cat breeders. Well, it was a surprise! I was looking at doll-faced persian kittens. They are as cute as can be. They are also $2500. Then they cost $350 to ship! Yes, you can ship a cat!!

No thanks! Our next kitty will be an SPCA rescue too.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:49 PM   #36
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I realize most cats are cheaper, but keep this in mind--if you get a rescue cat, why is it there? I'm pretty sure my cat was there because she has issues. She was even bald when I got her. I thought it was because her previous owners didn't brush her, but now I realize they may have tried to give her medicine and "missed" enough to have matting from the medicine on her fur. It took me over a week to figure out I could put it in her food since I only feed her canned.
Please don't listen to this. It would be fair to say that nearly all cats are in the shelter because of irresponsible people, not because there is anything wrong with them.
My DH and I have had 7 cats in the 23 years we have been together. The last one came to us because her owners decided they wanted to travel overseas and had to put the cat down so they could go. She is an absolutely gorgeous cat and has not been any trouble at all.
Another was bought into the vet clinic I was working in. The husband decided he didn't want it anymore because he didn't like cats and just wanted to get rid of it. She was to be put to sleep aswell. No reason at all. She ended up with us for 20years. A perfectly healthy cat with no issues.
Another turned up at the clinic with 4 kittens. Again to be put to sleep for no reason other than not wanted. She ended up living with us for 18 years. Homes were found for the kittens.
Another was literally thrown across the pet shop we were visiting by a man because his girlfriend had bought him that day and he didn't want it. We had him for 13 years until he died of cancer.
One turned up on the doorstep and just walked in the door. We had known where she came from but she used to turn up starving constantly. The owners eventually moved away and just left her. She stayed with us for 20years.
The last 2 came to us from the same home because one of the children in the family had an allergy. They were headed to the shelter before we took them. Again not because there was anything wrong with them. We still have the female. She is nearly 5 now. Unfortunately the male (my baby) died while we were away at WDW in the care of a housesitter.
These are just a small example. My cats only. I'm sure many people here on the boards have similar stories. There would be thousands and thousands of cats in the shelters, all with similar types of stories.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:14 PM   #37
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Sorry it has taken me so long to get back. I love all the posts and thanks for all the information. I have looked into the HS and the only one available is in another town over. Having my granddaughter volunteer there wouldn't work and it seems they won't allow it anyway. The cost for a kitten when they have them is $200.00.
I also talked to a local vet today and she told me to go to a local pet store. It seems that pet stores here are not allowed to sell animal anymore because of puppy mills. However, they have adoptions available that come from another HS that they are associated with. They are $160.00 for a kitten and there is an adoption going on next weekend and they have some kittens available. They are 4 months old and have been taken care of. They have their shots, chip, dewormed ect. My granddaughter and I also looked at the amount it will take to buy the stuff that is needed to bring it home. She has some thinking to do.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:17 PM   #38
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Great idea, tigercat! Just an FYI, those agencies that exhibit at pet stores are often looking for volunteers/foster homes, too!
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #39
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If you feed all dry, budget about $7500 for some serious operations when your pet develops UT Blockage. An all dry diet is NOT good for a cat -- not enough moisture nor protein.


My cat ate a dry diet her whole life. She lived to be 18 and never had any major health problems.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:01 PM   #40
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Usually somebody will give you a kitten.

As far as cost goes, you will need a setup like a litter box, toys, and food. Eventually you will need to get her or him fixed. They will need their shots and stuff too.

I use the Tidy Cats stuff, that is about $8 for a 2 week supply (the way I use it anyway) and food. Mine has a sensitive tummy so I feed her some stuff that is about $20 a bag, but that stuff seriously lasts a long time.

I guess cats do cost some money to maintain, but worth EVERY penny.


By the way, my cat is 9 and she has only eaten dry food... *knock on wood* she hasn't had to have any operations. After hearing this I am considering trying her out on some canned food instead of dry. Her main problem is that she gobbles stuff down too fast then gets sick. The thought of cleaning up "recycled" canned/wet food is pretty unappealing but I am willing to give it a shot.

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Old 10-04-2012, 08:28 PM   #41
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Just back from going to different store. This one had several kittens and a couple of cats. There was one that she really liked and really liked to cuddle. There were some 3 month old one's with their Mum as well that were really cute. She is upset right now because we didn't buy the cuddly cat, but she was told that she needed to have the money first. She is working a couple of extra shifts towards it but I think she got her heart set on the one cat that cuddled her. She was upset when I said that we had to go.
I go away next week for 9 days so she will have to wait until I get home. She, like the rest of the family really likes to get what they want when they want it and get upset when they can't get it. They all learn they have to wait.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:56 PM   #42
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Just back from going to different store. This one had several kittens and a couple of cats. There was one that she really liked and really liked to cuddle. There were some 3 month old one's with their Mum as well that were really cute. She is upset right now because we didn't buy the cuddly cat, but she was told that she needed to have the money first. She is working a couple of extra shifts towards it but I think she got her heart set on the one cat that cuddled her. She was upset when I said that we had to go.
I go away next week for 9 days so she will have to wait until I get home. She, like the rest of the family really likes to get what they want when they want it and get upset when they can't get it. They all learn they have to wait.
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I assume these were rescue cats to adopt, right?

If that's correct, call the organization that did the adoption thing, or the store that hosted them to get the # and reserve the kitten she wants. If you can say it'll be like two weeks but you definitely want that kitten, they'll usually hold it for you and she can earn the money in the meantime. They may ask for info or a part of the payment or something but people do 'reserve' cats that they can't take because they're about to go on vacation or whatever.

Also, there may be paperwork from the shelter and stuff to fill out, you can do all that now.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:11 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by tigercat View Post
Just back from going to different store. This one had several kittens and a couple of cats. There was one that she really liked and really liked to cuddle. There were some 3 month old one's with their Mum as well that were really cute. She is upset right now because we didn't buy the cuddly cat, but she was told that she needed to have the money first. She is working a couple of extra shifts towards it but I think she got her heart set on the one cat that cuddled her. She was upset when I said that we had to go.
I go away next week for 9 days so she will have to wait until I get home. She, like the rest of the family really likes to get what they want when they want it and get upset when they can't get it. They all learn they have to wait.
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I seriously doubt that the kitten will be there 9 days from now. Kittens go quickly. I saw my kitten online at the pound. I called about it. They told me she would be spayed the next morning and and wouldn't be available to that afternoon. I cornered them into giving me a specific time.

I showed up at that time. She was quite groggy but showed me enough of her personality for me to know she was the right cat for me, over her sister that looked just like her. I took her home that day.

The next morning, I looked at the website again and her sister was gone also.


Why don't you try paying for the cat up front, asking the store to hold & take care of it for the 9 days, then when you get back, you & DD can pick the cat up?

In case someone else hasn't already mentioned it on the thread, you don't really get to pick the cat, they pick YOU. IF GRDD has said that's the one, then that probably is the cat who chose her. Hope it's still there tomorrow before it goes to someone else.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:17 AM   #44
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As for the wet vs. dry debate - just google it. Then decide for yourself.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #45
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Actually it will take her at least 3 to 4 weeks to get enough money to pay for the kitten and necessities. She has now seen 2 kittens that have picked her so I know that there will be others down the line. This has to be something she is doing by herself so that she knows the cost and is prepared for it. She will probably be moving out to go to school next year and taking the kitten with her. I know that she won't be moving back with her mum as her mum is allergic to cats.
I know that it is hard for her to wait but she really does need to be realistic about this. I don't want her getting a kitten on a whim, she needs to know for certain that this is what she wants and is able to pay for it. She is 18 yrs old.
The kitten will live here until she moves out so she doesn't have to worry about vacations or the kitten being left alone. With 5 of us in the house we don't go on vacations together and the house very rarely has no one in it overnight. If fact I can't remember the last time that happened.
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