Tips for making your new cat feel at home
by Sue Romaine
Founder, Kitten Rescue

How do I choose the cat that's right for me?
Ah, a good question. We've found that choosing a cat is often more a matter of the heart than the head. Some people come to us with a list of characteristics they want in a new pet (short hair, not too old, etc.), and end up falling in love with someone unexpected. The most important thing to consider in a cat is its personality. Does it get along with other cats? With dogs? Is it alright being alone during the day or does it always need company? Is it a lap cat, or more of an independent soul? Luckily, at Kitten Rescue we're familiar with every cat's personality because we've lived with them, and can guide you to a good match. After all, we love the important people in our lives regardless of their looks...The best thing to do when looking for a cat is to decide on what personality traits matter most to you, and keep an open mind on everything else. True love works in mysterious ways...
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What kind of cat do you recommend for a child under 7?Streisand is as gentle as can be and would be great with kids!  For more information about her, go do our Adopt Me Gallery
A toy cat? Just kidding. The fact is, research has shown that most children under the age of 7 have significant trouble telling the difference between a small animal and a toy. Young kittens and young children can be a bad combination-- for both the kitten and the child. Kittens also don't always know what's appropriate-- biting and scratching is natural behavior for them, especially if provoked. Even the best-behaved, well-supervised children don't always know what's appropriate, and we've seen some tragic results of it. We recommend that families with children under 7 adopt a slightly older cat, four or five months of age, or even a full-grown adult. One of the greatest benefits of adopting an adult cat is that you can be sure of its personality.
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How can I get my new cat accustomed to my home and my other pets?
Funny you should ask! Sue Romaine, who is Kitten Rescue's Founder, was invited by "Get-A-Pet" magazine to write an article on that very question. Click here to read it!
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Is it okay to let a cat go outside?
Some people say it's cruel not to let a cat go outside. Based on our experience at Kitten Rescue, we've put together this list of all the things an indoor-only cat misses:
  • Being hit by a car
  • Being eaten by a coyote
  • Being attacked by a bird
  • Exposure to FIV (Feline AIDS)
  • Exposure to Feline Leukemia
  • Exposure to Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • Exposure to upper respiratory infections
  • Fleas, Ticks, Worms
  • Fights
  • Abscesses
  • Dog attacks
  • Becoming lost
  • Being stolen for profit or research facilities.
  • Tortured by cruel people
  • Poisoning by food, pesticides, or anti-freeze.
And here are just a few of things you gain by loving your cat enough to keep it indoors: fewer fleas - cleaner furniture - lower vet bills - a pet that's more closely bonded to you - peace of mind knowing your cat is safe and happy.

The fact is, outdoor cats live an average of 6 years, while indoor cats live an average of almost 20. Isn't that the dealmaker right there?
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Is it harmful to declaw a cat?
This is an issue about which many people feel very strongly. We try to give people the facts based on what our vets and our experience have told us. Which is this: Declawing involves more than simply trimming a cat's nails to the quick; it actually involves amputation of the tips of the digits, bones and all.

Declawing is something that should only be considered in cases of EXTREME behavioral problems. Cats use their claws to exercise, play, stretch, climb, hunt and mark their territory. Although your cat might use your hands or furniture for these activities, declawing is NOT the answer and there are many other ways to guide your cat to healthy claw activity.

The declawing operation itself is the human equivalent of removing the first joint of all your fingers. Many vets feel that the lack of these joints impairs the cat's balance and can cause weakness from muscular disease. Declawing also makes a cat feel defenseless and can affect their personality, making them skittish or nervous biters. In rescue work, we see many declawed cats that have been given up by their owners. Why? Because these cats still had behavioral problems that were worsened by not having their claws. So, if you must have a declawed cat, why not consider adopting a cat which has already been declawed?

Take it from an expert. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of The Cat Who Cried For Help, offers this perspective on the procedure:"Declawing involves more than simply trimming a cat's nails to the quick; it actually involves amputation of the tips of the digits, bones and all. The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by the overwhelming pain. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.

‘The operative removal of the claws, as is sometimes practiced to protect furniture and curtains, is an act of abuse and should be forbidden by law in all, not just a few countries.’(highly regarded British textbook by Turner and Bateson on the biology of cat behavior) However quickly cats forget the hideous experience of declawing, and even though they may not hold grudges, that doesn't seem sufficient justification for putting a family pet through such a repugnant experience.""

There are alternatives to declawing. Exercise and play with your cat regularly. Give him a scratching post and teach him to use it. Trim your cat's nails on a regular basis. And, of course, talk to your vet or cat-owner friends about ways to "train" your cat to exercise its natural instincts in non-destructive ways. There is also a product called Soft Paws. This is a fake nail which is not sharp at the tip, which fits over your cats claws. It is sold in pet stores and veterinarian clinics.

Here are some other web pages with great information on the declaw procedure:
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Don't all male cats have spraying problems?
No! If you adopt a young male cat who has been neutered at two or three months of age (see below), 90% of the chance that he will be a "sprayer" has been wiped out.

The truth is, female cats spray too. If you are one of the unlucky few with a spraying cat of either sex, you should speak to your vet about what factors in the cat's environment may be causing this behavior. Cats spray when they feel threatened or insecure, thus heightening their territorial instincts, and there may be something going on in your home that's responsible. We've heard stories about cats spraying when a new baby arrives in the family, or after a move. This kind of behavior is most likely correctable. The bottom line is, if your cat was neutered and gets plenty of love and attention, your chances of having a spraying problem are very slim.
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Topanga - she was found running across a busy street all by herself.  She was feral, but we tamed her and she became a real sweetie.Why do you spay and neuter kittens so young?
The conventional wisdom from years past is that you can't spay or neuter a cat until it's six months old. By this time, unfortunately, kittens can reproduce! Kittens can start reproducing as early as four months and have up to three litters a year! Early age spay/neuter sterilizes animals before they can reproduce, and that's why it's one of the best methods for eliminating pet overpopulation. It allows us to make sure that no cat leaves our hands before it gets "the big fix".

In addition to reducing pet overpopulation, spay/neuter positively affects pets by decreasing aggression, reducing a male cat's urge to spray urine and mark territory, and lowering the risk of cancer.

Are there risks? Well, studies have proven that spay/neuter does not adversely affect the physical or behavioral health of an animal. In our work, we've seen that 8-week old kittens recover very quickly from the operation and continue to grow and thrive.
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Will two male cats get along?
Well, that depends on the cats. Contrary to popular belief, two male cats will not necessarily fight each other to the death. Cats that have lived on the streets and have had to defend themselves will be more aggressive once rescued and placed in a home. But male cats that have lived previously with other male cats should be more inclined to accept a new male companion.

Two males who are raised together will be attached at the hip. If you have an adult male, you should be able to bring in a male kitten without any trouble. Keep in mind, however, that there are some cats both male and female who will not tolerate any others, and need to be "only children".
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Calliope needs to go to a home without other cats because she is the Queen of the House - she is a real lover, but wants to be your only child!  See our Adopt Me Gallery to find out more about her. Will two female cats get along?
Female cats are also called queens. What happens when you put two queens together in one house? Youch!

Putting two adult female cats together is the most risky proposition you can undertake. Again, it depends on the cats. Every animal is different and this has been done-- quite often-- with success. If you have an adult female cat and are looking to adopt another female, a kitten is your safest bet. Two female kittens raised together should be fine as well.

When bringing in a new adult cat, conventional wisdom and our experience has shown that the male/female combination is the best. We would also like to stress that when you bring any new cat into your existing situation, there is always an adjustment period. It can take minutes, hours, days, week, or months. But if you give all your animals plenty of love, nurturing, and attention, they will figure out the logistics of their relationship as only nature can. See our Welcome Home information on how to introduce a new cat into your household.
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Donations to Kitten Rescue are tax-deductible and receipts are available upon request.