You asked. We answered.
Ah, 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 we can guide you to a good match. Decide on what personality traits matter most to you, and keep an open mind about everything else. True love works in mysterious ways…
A toy cat? Just kidding. The fact is, research has shown that most children under the age of seven 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 are natural behaviors 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 age seven 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.
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 that an indoor-only cat misses out on:
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, and peace of mind knowing your cat is safe, healthy and happy.
The fact is, outdoor cats live an average of six years, while indoor cats live an average of almost 20. Isn’t that the dealmaker right there?
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. 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?
To learn more about declawing, read our cat care article “Declawing: Don’t Do It, Here’s Why.”
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, and it fits over your cats claws. It is sold in pet stores and veterinarian clinics. In fact, some vets will even apply them to your cat for you.
No! If you adopt a young male cat who has been neutered at two or three months of age, it is 90% likely that your cat will never spray.
The truth is, female cats spray too. If you are one of the unlucky ones with a spraying cat of either sex, you should speak to your vet about what factors in the cat’s environment might 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 is causing it. We’ve heard stories about cats spraying when a new baby arrives in the family, or after a move. This kind of behavior is often correctable.
In really tough cases, some vets have even put cats on “kitty Prozac” to calm them down enough to curb the spraying behavior. That is a fall-back option that some people have found successful.
The bottom line is this: if your cat was neutered and gets plenty of love and attention, your chances of having a spraying problem are very, very slim.
It used to be in years past that people wouldn’t spay or neuter a cat until it was six months old. Unfortunately, by that age, kittens can reproduce! Kittens can start reproducing as early as four months old and they can have up to three litters a year. And then those kittens have kittens. You do the math. (Hint: It’s a lot!)
Modern medicine techniques allow for safe, early age spay/neuter as soon as a kitten reaches two pounds — generally that’s around eight weeks old. Sterilizing animals before they can reproduce is one of the best methods for eliminating pet overpopulation.
In addition to reducing pet overpopulation, early-age spay/neuter positively affects pets by decreasing aggression, reducing a male cat’s urge to spray or mark territory, and lowering the risk of cancer.
Studies have proven that spay/neuter does not adversely affect the physical or behavioral health of an animal nor does it change their personality. Animals recover very quickly from the operation and continue to grow and thrive.
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 currently 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 — male and female — who will not tolerate any others cats and need to be “only children!”
Female cats are sometimes also called queens. What happens when you put two queens together in one house? Youch!
Putting two adult female cats together can be risky. But again, it totally depends on the cats. Every animal is different. If you have an adult female cat and are looking to adopt another female, a kitten or a youngster is your safest bet. Two female kittens raised together should be fine as well. The great thing about Kitten Rescue is our volunteers foster the cats before you adopt them, so they will be able to tell you what female cats are suited to households with other female cats.
When bringing in a new adult cat, our experience has shown that a male/female combination is the best. But it totally depends on the cats in question. Just like each person is unique, each cat is unique. The Kitten Rescue foster parent can tell you a lot about the personality and temperament of the cat you are interested in.
We would also like to emphasize 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 and attention, they will figure out the logistics of their relationship as only nature can.
The meaning of life is cats. (That one was easy.)