Advice for a new cat owner


I’m adopting 2 9 month old kittens this Friday. I was wondering what “gotchas” I should be aware of when taking care of these new kittens. I’ve had cats in my entire life, but I’ve never specifically raised them. Gotten them broken in. Any advice from fellow forum members?

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I’m a “cat person” as is @ronpat (I’ve always cared for 1 to 4 cats for at least 40 years)
My advice for kittens would be

  • get them to the vet (with a poop sample) ASAP
  • neuter unless you plan to breed
  • have a clean litter box available, they’re quick adapters but they don’t like schtanky (I can’t fault them with that)
  • be prepared to give attention, some like an occasional ear scratch or cheek rub and it’s enough, but in my experience most need more
    Oh, and I doubt if most understand English beyond “NO”, “eat” an maybe their name, but they know when you’re talking to them. So talk to them! (inflection is paramount here)
  • if you aren’t going to de-claw them, give them something to scratch, because they will scratch
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And if they are female, you will not be able to keep them in the house no matter how hard you try.

if you aren’t going to de-claw them, give them something to scratch, because they will scratch

Seconded. We buy a scratch pad every other month for my cat. I really suggest it. She pretty much never scratches furniture any more.

Similar to this:

I haven’t had a kitten in a long time though. I’ve had my cat since 1998 and picked her up as an adult stray.

I’m an animal person in general, but being a computer nerd I probably wouldn’t own either of our dogs if it wasn’t for my wife. They just take a ton more time and work than cats.

If you’re letting them outside, be prepared for the occasional ‘present’ to be brought back to you, and unfortunately, that will sometimes mean you have to finish the job off; I’ve had to do that 5 or 6 times for my two already this year - birds, eggs, crickets, they’re not fussed.

Get the flea drops that you squeeze onto the back of the scruff of their neck - that seems to be effective.

They love boxes

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I’ve had from 1 to 4 cats most of the past 40 years.

Nowadays I live in a townhouse complex. If you love your cats, my recommendation is to keep them indoors. My cats never go outside except in a carrier. They shy away when I open the door to the outside. They are sometimes curious, but won’t step outside. The hazards of outdoor living can be injurious or fatal. Indoor cats don’t get fleas unless you bring them in on your shoes or clothes.

By 9 months of age, unless they have been in an environment without a litter box, they are probably already litter trained. Scratch and bury is instinctive. If two cats and one litter box, expect to scoop or otherwise clean the litter box about 6 times daily; more if needed. The recommendation is one litter box per cat; not because cats are territorial, but so the litter doesn’t become too soiled between cleanings. Let it get too messy and you might not like their alternate choice. I have 3 cats and 3 litter boxes at this time. One of the cats will lead me to a soiled litter box.

Most cats love kitty treats. Makes it easy to teach them their names.

They love to play with toys. Small balls or things they can bat around the floor, or things that dangle from a stick. Paper wads. One of my cats brings me a piece of rope and lays it across my lap, my arms or the keyboard to play with when she thinks I’ve sitting at the computer too long. Most will chase a laser dot until they drop.

They love attention, kittens love to play. All ages pay close attention to your voice and movements. While cats have a reputation for being aloof, they do develop attachments. Trust is important. They appreciate coming home from the vet’s alive.

The initial vet exam is important to assure that they are healthy.
IMO, the riskiest of the insidious health problems is urethral obstruction. Neither gender is immune. If one can’t pee, take it to the vet’s immediately.

My cats have been strays or have come from an animal shelter. The shelter policy nowadays is that their cats are “fixed” and vaccinated upon adoption. My youngest was about 2 weeks, presumably abandoned by the mama cat. We bottle fed her for weeks. Turned into a great daddy’s cat.

Unlike @Mittineague, I’ve never met a cat who understood “No.” Mine seem to think that means “wait until the human isn’t looking.” I don’t think I tell anyone “No” any more. I just find an alternate toy for them to play with. If you’re a cat, everything is a toy.

I’ve has some cats who were declawed, but most not. I prefer not. Scratching posts or pads work very nicely. Claws can be carefully clipped if necessary. Some cats are incredibly gentle about touching skin with claws, others are not.

I’ve never had a cat live as long as @mawburn’s. My oldest cats lived about 13 years.

Oh, Yes!, ditto @chrisofarabia’s comment… they DO love paper bags and boxes… especially boxes.

Expect lots of this too…

Owner of an indifferent male tabby here.

  • Unless you have gained their trust, DO NOT pet their bellies unless if you want a death wish.
  • Neuter or spay. You’ll need to do so if you want them to be happier and healthier - problems will arise if you don’t. Male cats will wander off looking to hit on dem… yeah you get my point.
  • Vaccines, vaccines.
  • As for scratch posts, be sure to sprinkle them with catnip.
  • Remove vases and other fragile items from elevated areas. My cat just loves pushing and watching things fall.

Lastly, prepare your keyboard/laptop.

Best of luck!

Probably a good idea to get them ID chipped too. We’ll have to do ours to get them back to the UK, and then get their rabies jabs re-done before they travel.

Oddly, ours don’t mind having their tummies tickled, they seem to actively encourage it.

well there are lots of things you should do but trust is the most important thing, firstly build trust with your pet cats and secondly never break it. set a time table for your cat like cat food time, cat play time, although all time is play time for cats :wink:
but prepare a schedule to play with your cat. Bring some cat toys but make sure that they are safe for your cat like cat have the habit to chew everything so be ware not to use such toy that your cat will chew and got injure.

Cats love to sleep and especially in beds like humans. So bring cat beds for your cats so that they can sleep easily in their beds instead of disturbing you by lying in your beds. :smile:

There are lots of scratches in your hand.

Great advice everyone, thanks!

This is not at all uncommon. It’s from retrieving them when they’ve been outside. The other evening, the smaller of the two freaked when he saw some dogs.

Yeah first thing I need to do is take them both to the vet for general wellness checkups. One is spayed, the other isn’t. Both are female though so it’s fine.

I have two litter boxes I picked up.

I’m picking them up Friday so I plan onspending the weekend with them.

Exactly. I love dogs but I just don’t have the time to give the attention needed.

Nah, the apartment complex won’t let it.

@RyanReese, get a Catzooka


My first cat I got when I was 3 and he lived until I was 18. He was mostly an outdoor cat and outdoor cats live significantly less than indoor. I remember when we lived to the Olympic National Forest for a year, we hardly ever even saw him except when he’d bring us offerings.

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<off topic>

and the youngest cats?


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Some cats like yoghurt. This one prefers strawberry flavour

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I’d date this cat.

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Pictures, or it didn’t happen

Oh right, you don’t visit slack much :stuck_out_tongue:

Let me go take pictures…