Here Kitty Kitty....

Updated on October 19, 2010
A.B. asks from New York, NY
34 answers

My son has asked for a kitten and we have decided to get one either from the ASPCA or a shelter. Aside from a scratching post and kitty litter box and obviously food, do we need anything else? Is there any kind of training? like teaching them to only use the ltter box, or not to scratch up my leather couches? I feel we should clip the kitty's claws and hubs things declawing, what do you cat owners suggest? We aren't getting the kitten till Dec, but want to be prepared. someone told me to use a squirt bottle with water to train a cat not to do things, is that not mean? And lastly as I know nothing is there a difference between owning a male kitten or female? Thank you in advance for your input.

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So What Happened?

Wow thanks for the awesome and plentiful responses. I didn't know there were so many cat enthusiasts out there!!! Just as side bar I never intend to declaw, I wrote that question for my hubs who didn't understand me when I said that would be cruel and we just have to learn to clip them properly.I knew you ladies would give factual reasons why not to declaw. It's also great to hear how many of you have rescued cats that is awesome and yes when we do get a kitten/cat if they aren't already we will have them fixed. I never considered multiple kittens but I read up on ypur suggestions about 2 kittens if we decide on kitten over cats especially since yes, they will be home alone at least 5 hrs a day. Thanks again!!!!

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

Squirt bottles are fine, but I implore you... do not declaw your cat. Most vets won't do it, since it's inhumane (they amputate all 8-10 finger joints, and there is STRONG risk of infection leading to necrosis/gangrene, which leads to having to amputate one or more entire legs or the cat dying), and just like amputating your own fingers, takes months to heal. It also only takes about 2 weeks to train them not to claw furniture, and then just a casual reminder a couple times a year. Just like being on a table. You occasionally have to swipe them off the table... but the solution isn't to amputate their legs. The solution is "WHAT do you think you're doing?" and scoot them off the table. With our cats, we had to do both (get them off the table, or pfft! them away from the furniture about twice a year). Seriously, getting a little wet versus having your fingers amputated. WHICH is mean?

Congratulations on your upcoming kitty!! :) >^..^<

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Good for you, getting a cat from ASPCA or shelter. We have 4, all rescue kitties. People say, "4 cats!!" But cats are very easy and actually I find 2 pets are better than 1, as they are company for each other.

I beg you, do not declaw the cat. You may not realize it but it is like amputating the joint. Many vets will not do this surgery and I would hope the ASPCA would advise you against it. Keeping the tips of his/her claws clipped will help with scratching. Our kittens always scratched a lot (playing) til they got older so you'll need to watch it with your son.

One you keep the litter box clean and accessible, cats are amazingly clean and use the box. If you get a kitten, keep an eye on it and when it is about to go, scoot it into the box (if it hasn't got the hang of it). If it poops somewhere it shouldn't, put the litter box in that spot until it gets the hang of it. We had a kitten that went in the bathtub, so I put the litter box in the tub. After a few days I moved the box outside the tub, and kitty continue to go in the box. If it goes in the wrong place, another idea is to put the poop in the box so it smells it and knows that's where to go.

Squirt bottle is helpful to keep it off your furniture but if you are worried about leather couches, find a way to keep the cat out of the room or put a throw over the couches, as there is no guarantee that it will not scratch your furniture.

Can I just say, any pet is a responsibility and your son may lose interest in taking care of the cat, so you need to be prepared to take care of kitty for a lifetime. It will need shots so take it to the vet as soon as you get it.

And please please get kitty neutered/spayed by about 5 months. It will prevent straying, males spraying, or females wailing when in heat, and is actually healthier for your cat (avoids cancers as they get older).

There are a lot of great sites online for cat advice. check out Enjoy your kitty!

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answers from Honolulu on

Make sure, with any gender, you neuter the cat or spay it.
Or they will 'spray' your home.... and some cats can be more aggressive if not neutered.

Get a cat.. that is mellow... and go and hang out at the shelter and observe the cats... BEFORE you choose one. Observe their personalities... ask the personnel there... which one would be good for kids.
Not all cats... "like" kids.
So choose one with a personality that will suit a child.

Do NOT de-claw a cat.
If you do so, you CANNOT EVER, put the cat outside. And it is inhumane. And they will NOT be able to defend themselves outside either.
A cat scratches things, cat scratchers, furniture etc. You just train it. It is their nature to do certain things. KNOW that.
You also need to buy toys for the cat... they can be very playful.... and get a Cat Bed... so that it will learn to sleep... in it. Not everywhere or on furniture... leaving cat hair everywhere.
I have had cats... and that is what I did.
But my cats were good and mellow and 'smart' and trainable.

good luck,

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answers from Detroit on

For a number of opinions on the practice of declawing cats (including mine), here is the following:

Short version: Don't declaw. Keep nails trimmed and make sure kitty has a scratching post that they can use and really enjoy.

A squirt bottle to discourage bad behavior is not mean. It's better than yelling or chasing after the cat.

Most kittens and cats will automatically use a litter box, it is their instinct to bury and cover up their waste. Give kitty at least 2, in 2 different locations, and make sure they are scooped out at least once a day, and the litter changed completely once a week.

No real difference between males and females, at least none that I've found. They need to be neutered and spayed just the same. Neutering a male cat is cheaper cost-wise than spaying a female.

Do not feed the cheapest cat food you can find - it's cheap for a reason.

We have saying: "Cats are not small dogs." Just something to keep in mind whenever you expect kitty to act the way a dog would.

Last but not least: Find yourself a good veterinarian you can trust and that you feel good about. Trust them with your kitty's health care needs. Get the initial vaccines done and get the kitty spayed/neutered. Then bring them in at least once a year for a check-up.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We get cats from the Humane Society. A few things we do:

Avoid kittens. Cute yes...But you never know what you are getting. And they just don't need "saving" as badly as an adult cat does.

Get one that the shelter has a history on. Then you can decide if the quirks the cat has are one you can live with.

Work with a shelter that has a return policy. I know it sounds kinda mean...Returning a pet. But a reputable shelter would rather have a return policy than have a cat in a home that is not happy with it.

Spay and Neuter Spay and Neuter Spay and Neuter.

Keep your cat inside and only outside on a leash. Does a cat on a leash look silly? Maybe...But cats that get too comfortable outside do not take well to inside rules. Plus...Outdoor cats really annoy the neighbors.

Spray bottle. Hardly animal cruelty and I hear very commonly used by the most ardent of cat lovers.

If the cat is young enough, consider how you wanna handle the front claws (either having them declawed or being prepared to keep them clipped yourself). Update: We have never declawed. But we do prefer to adopt ones that were declawed. But I am a pretty good hand with a clipper too = )

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answers from Kansas City on

declawing is cruel. It is pretty much removing your cat's toes and can make them mean. I am more for clipping. They also make plastic tips you can put on them if that helps.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

There is a kitty waiting desperately for you!

Think about whether you want a little kitten or a cat. Having a little kitten is like having a baby at home. Kitty will need to be watched because he/she isn't very smart yet (!) and can be hurt more easily. An older kitten or cat has a little more sense, but can be just as loving and playful.

Look for books at the library so you can do research as a family on what living with a cat is like.

You might locate a vet near you and pick his/her brain about the right kind of cat for your home. Ask about de-clawing (our cats are front-paw-declawed because they're indoor/outdoor cats; their hind claws help them outdoors but don't hurt anything indoors. However, de-clawing is controversial), indoor cat life (preferable), health issues, and training. Once you adopt your cat, you may want your new vet to check him/her right away, because shelter cats can catch diseases while they're there (don't let that scare you off).

Cats are usually pretty quick to take to a litter box. You need to keep it clean.

A scratching post is good, but keep in mind that it needs to be very sturdy; kitty won't be scratching it gently! A post that falls over will be abandoned, so a single post that seems sturdy enough for an eight-week-old kitten may be useless six weeks later. You might keep an eye out for a used cat perch - a heavy, furniture-like piece with several levels which are used for scratching, climbing, playing, and many other things. Cats also like toys to chase and places to hide. Don't use plastic bags but try paper sacks or cardboard boxes. Cats will also choose some toys you might not have thought about... like your toes.

Cats like the nighttime. A kitten may love to play all night... with you. Our older cats (they're all older now) let us sleep but they still like to get up and wander or play around in the wee hours of the morning.

We've used squirt bottles to keep our cats away from dangerous places (like the disposal in the kitchen!). It is not mean, but it is annoying; cats don't like being annoyed, so they avoid the spot eventually, but the water won't hurt them.

There's a saying: "Dogs have owners; cats have staff." In a sense it's true, but cats can be as loving and loyal, in their own ways, as dogs are.

P.S. We've had both boys and girls (our cats come to us). Boys will spray. Neutering is supposed to help with that. Some of our boys weren't aware of it. Or maybe they didn't realize they'd been fixed.

P.P.S. Pick up a small bottle of Nature's Miracle at the pet store. You'll need it sooner or later.

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answers from Johnstown on

Declawing your cat is one of the worst things you can do to it. DO NOT DECLAW!!!! They make claw trimmers. They run $4 at Walmart. If you feel it absolutely necessary to do something with the claws, trim them, but don't declaw.

When you introduce your cat to your home, confine it to a small area with the litter box while it gets used to the surroundings. Only after it's used the litter box for several times in a row, then you can expand its borders. GL

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answers from Modesto on

Make sure she has something to scratch on. Usually a loud noise will scare them so they dont make a habit of scratching the furniture, like the swat of a newspaper and a loud NO while they attempt it, I have also used a mist bottle to teach mine as well... it's the best thing to use since they hate being sprayed with water. They learn to use their litter box automatically since they like to bury the duty, but if you leave piles of clothes on the floor or any other types of piles, they get tempted to pee on that as well. I prefer the scoopable litter over the kind that you dont scoop and have to toss and replace a few times a week. Scoopable lasts a lot longer. Make sure to get some little cat toys, little soft mice, feather toys, strings like yarn... they love to play with those. I've had both male and female cats but I prefer the girls over the boys since they don't spray, and make sure you get her fixed as soon as she is of age. I wouldnt declaw, I think that is pretty horrible because they cant defend themselves if they accidentally get outside... they sell little nail covers at the pet store, I've never used them myself but I've read other posters that say they've used them with success. I just cut my cats nails every couple of weeks. Dont give your kitty milk, it gives them diahrea. Make sure you get a cat brush, because they do shed a lot and DO realize this because it is the worst thing about having a house cat. I have a white cat and whenever we have on dark clothing we have fur on us, it is everywhere! Brushing them often will help somewhat, but you will need several of the lint roller brushes and refills placed around the house for quick fixes to your clothing. If you can keep your cat on dry food only it's the best way to go, just keep the dish full, they will only eat what they need. Fresh water every day. My cat sleeps with us and we love her to bits, but when and if she ever goes I probably wont get another one just because of the catfur nuisance.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Well male cats can spay but they usually stop once they can't make babies. As for teaching them how to use the litter box they learn on their own but some cats are better than others If you end up with a kitten that has a thing for going where it isn't supposed to go ahead and use the spray bottle (never had to use it with our cat. he never had a problem with scratching or the litter box when we used it. He taught himself how to open the window and go outside so we never have to deal with a litter box the only problem with that is the animals he catches and brings inside for gifts for us. who wants to wake up and step on a dead lizard). Water doesn't hurt them. What it does is makes them feel dirty and makes them clean themselves. You can also get it a few toys. some of our cats love this mouse toy that makes noise or a ball with a bell in it. Declawing is up to you. If your son is really young and the cat isn't as lay back as mine, as long as its inside it will be ok but if your son is old enough not to hurt the cat or the cat turns out to be exremely laid back (ours will let our son pick him up all wierd ways and drag him around which is funny cuz the cat is as big as my son) it might be better if you leave their claws. If you have dog leave the claws at least until they get use to each other.

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answers from Goldsboro on

We have a cat that I rescued from our yard. My MIL has a ton of outside cats and we found our darling when she was roughly 5 weeks old. Her momma abadoned her at our front door.
She was not at all hard to train. I put her in the litter box one time and took her paw and scratched in the litter with it. She has NEVER used the bathroom anywhere other than in the box. When she went into heat the first time, she was a little annoying. We were going to let her go through one heat cycle and then have her fixed, but she developed pyometria (infection of the uterus) and getting her fixed was the only way to make her better.

I did not have her declawed for a long time because I was worried she'd get out and wouldn't be able to fend for herself. However, when I got pregnant, we had her front claws removed.
She is a good cat. We've never had trouble with her destroying things she shouldn't. She does like money, though. If we leave bills on the table or counter, during the night, she'll knock them off and bat them around. My hubby "lost" $60 for about 2 weeks once.
Good luck! I would get a female over a male because you don't have to worry about girls marking their territory all over your house!

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answers from New York on

decalwing is considered cruel and unusual punishment so a lot of places will not do it. the shelter or ASPCA may forbid it too. male cats can spray urine to mark their territory if they are not neutered and females can become pregnant if they are not spayed. if you adopt, they will usually do the neutering/spaying before you take them home. good luck!

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answers from New York on

Don't declaw. If you have very valuable furniture, just try to find a declawed cat in shelters.

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answers from Syracuse on

i am partial to spayed females----there will be scratching-keep nails trimmed.....there is a product to be sprayed to keep pets away-i spray cotton balls to put on arms of couch.....also have water spray bottle,i am on dialysis and need to keep cat out of area when i do it-----now i just need to show her bottle and she leaves( i used on a mist spray).......i know thhis is biased,but orange tabs seem to be more fiesty and long hairs more mellow--but who knows......anything can happen in a feline brain!!!! we have a male orange longhair,black female long hair and a grey short hair....with a black lab my black long hair loves!!! good luck

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answers from New York on

Well, you've gotten SO much response, but what's one more?
I have had only male cats, and none has ever sprayed. They were all neutered before 1 year old. I like males better because I have noticed a tendency in females to be biters. Not that all do, but I notice in females but not males.
Kittens are adorable, but very high-maintenance. I have heard the mind of a kitten is like a human on LSD. They are insane. At about a year old they are still youthful, playful and adaptable but past the insanity. I'm not advising against, because they are so completely charming, but if you do, be prepared.
But do make sure you get either a young cat or one that is used to children; an older can cannot learn to deal with people types he has not known before. My cats run away from my 17 mo daughter, much to her sadness.
I do stress to start nail clipping when the cat is young and do it often (every 2 wks). Once a cat is older he may get really frightened by the process and you'll have to have a professional cut them.
As for the spray bottle, I have never known it to work. Sure, they avoid it when you use it, but in my experience it did not stop the behavior. I have heard you can only train a cat with praise, never punishment. But maybe I just wasn't good at it. And as far as I can tell, you can only protect your furniture by having fabrics cats don't care for (without nap) and making sure there are plenty of scratch posts around. We like the flat ones made of cardboard. Also an old piece of carpet works wonders. But I think they will leave the leather alone; not to worry.
When your son (and you for that matter) plays with the cat, never let him use his own hands as toys. Don't let your cat get used to the idea that it's ok to bite and scratch you. A universal favorite toy, and VERY cheap, is called the Cat Dancer. It's a couple of bits of corrugated cardboard on the end of a wire and every cat I know is crazy for it. It's also easy for you to play with, since the wire jiggles on its own.
Best of luck! Enjoy! Cats are marvels.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read the previous responses so I am sorry if I am repeating.
In addition to the litter box, scratching post and food, I would get toys. =) There are all sorts of toys out there for cats. It helps keep them active and entertained, plus it's just plain fun. I like the plain old jingle ball on a stick, I never get tired of playing with a cat and that.
As far as clipping or declawing...declawing should only be done for health reasons of the cat. We had a cat that got its claws infected. It some how kept breaking some of it's claws and getting the "quick" infected, so we had to have it declawed (we had a dog do the same thing). So I definately suggest clipping.
You also need to read up on how to do it. I only had 1 (out of many) that would comply and sit nicely while I clipped them. So you definately need to know what your doing, to do it quickly. Plus start clipping when they are young, so they know its a normal thing that will keep occuring. You can also check into the "emerycat". I have never used it but it seems pretty cool. I would be tempted to try it if I got another cat. It's one of those as seen on TV gadgets.
Have fun with your new kitty!

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answers from Albany on

Hi A.,
Congrats on deciding to get a kitten. Your son will love it! I grew up with a cat; and as soon as I had my own apartment, I adopted two adult cats; a boy and a girl who had already been declawed. I still have my girl cat - she is now 17 years old; she has mellowed in her old age and quite tolerant of my two kids, who love her very much. I lost my boy cat 6 years ago because of a hip issue. My daughter still remembers him even though she was not even 3 when he died.
I see that you have a ton of answers and while I did not read all of them..I have a suggestion that I didn't see in those I read. This may sound crazy, but you might consider getting two kittens, or young cats, perhaps siblings. The reason is that when you are not home, they will keep each other company; when you are tired of playing, they will play with each other. One cat will be less likely to get into trouble if he has a sibling to wrestle with instead. You'll still just need two litter boxes and clean them every day. Of course you'll need double the food. Just something to consider.

About de-clawing: in reality it is the amputation of the tip of their 'finger'; they remove the last portion of bone. While many cats adjust well to this; it should be the last resort to prevent scratching. A young cat can be trained to scratch only the posts or boards. But training requires committment and consistency (much like parenting!!). Had my cats not already been de-clawed, I would not have done it.

Spaying/neutering: A MUST! There is already an overpopulation of cats (and dogs) in this country. Hundreds are put to sleep every year because of lack of homes. If done early, spaying/neutering can prevent a host of health issues and actually make for a happier pet.
If you adopt from the ASPCA, the cost will include this surgery, as well as all necessary shots.

Boy vs. Girl Cat: In my experience (my sister has also owned several cats), boys tend to be more mellow. But much of a cat's disposition to humans depends on how they were handled as young kittens - especially the first 8 -12 weeks. If they were held and cuddled a lot, they will be more cuddly and accepting of human affection.

Hope this helps!
Enjoy your new addition to the family!

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answers from Dallas on

males spray. I'd choose a female. De-claw front claws only saves the furniture but does not leave the cat defenseless. Make sure your son is not allergic by visiting kitty's now to see if any reactions.

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answers from New York on

I have 4 cat's of my own. I think it's great to get a shelter one, all of mine are & it's a great thing to do.

If you have never had a cat/kitten before maybe start with a book, I remember being where you are now & wanting to make sure I had and understood everything!

3 of my cats have been declawed, some animal hospitals will not do this and many feel it's terrible, all of mine are happy, well adjusted cats. If you do declaw make sure he or she never get's outside. Indoor cats are safer because of the dangers face outside.

Please consider a older kitten or adult cat. I have a kitten now (fostering her for a shelter), as cute as they are they are a ball of energy! Once they are 6 months and older they calm down a bit.

My cat's favorite toy's are a bag of pom-pom's I purchased at a craft store, the toy mice that rattle when you shake them, catnip as a treat (or to rub the toys and scratch post with), or free stuff like a paper shopping bag, a box, or a paper ball! You don't have to spend lots to keep a cat happy!

Lots of luck with the new cat...they really help make a house feel like a home!

Judy M

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answers from New York on

You have so many great responses already but I'll just add a few things! Most reponsible shelters will spay/neuter the cat before letting it leave with you anyway. PLEASE don't declaw the animal. That is cruel. Spraying with water is not. I use claw covers called "Soft Paws". You just have to trim the claw, put a drop or two of glue in the cover and stick em on. Very easy and humane! They will stay on for a month or two. Another option is putting double sided tape on the furniture where they showed interest. This has worked for us too. There are sprays available as well. I recommend you check out the Dr. Foster & Smith catalog online
They have great problem solving products! Thank you for choosing to save a life & good luck finding your new friend!

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answers from Saginaw on

I have 4 cats...2 boys (ages 3 & 2) and 2 girls (ages 2 & 6). The boys are definitely more playful than the girls, but that could just be because my girls are All of our cats are declawed. It didn't really fazed them much...they were playing with their "siblings" the day they got home (obviously not as rough, but still playing none the less). We also only have one litter box for all of them (it's actually a HUGE tote that we cut a hole in the side) because we have a small (about 650 sq. ft) house, so we don't have the room for 4 litter boxes and the large tote is much easier to deal with. None of the fur babies have had any issues one litter box...unless my brother comes over to watch them for a week and he buys the wrong weren't too happy with that! DEFINITELY get two kitties...they need playmates when you're not home or are too tired or busy to play with them.

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answers from Tulsa on

males spray. fixed or not. buy multiple litter boxes i have 2 cats and 5 litter boxes especially for a kitten who can't hold it. get clumping odor absorbing litter i like tidy cats. clean at least once a week if not more. i try for 3 times a week. get a laser pointer to curb the need to hunt or they will hunt your feet. if you go to the aspca they will be fixed before you get them which helps. i dont declaw my cats cause it takes away their defense mechanism. also if you have mice they have a harder time mousing if they are declawed. pick certain things you allow them to scratch.

i have old blankets and an old piece of leater they are allowed to scratch on. i also have the scratchers for the door and such. the fishing poles are cool to it takes away the need to hunt and it sharpens the claws at the same time. and its fun to torment the cat with it. i have considered putting a door hanging scratch pad on my sofa to keep them from scratching my sofa. especially since i am thinking about getting a new one. yes on the squirt bottle and i can just yell cat and they know they are doing wrong.

i also agree with getting the older cats mine was about 2 when i adopted her and its a llot less headaches with training for the most part they are already litter box trained. All of my animals from now on will be adults from the shelters. I hate the puppy kitty phases.

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answers from New York on much response. Although I didn't see anything on new kitten with kitty box, unless I missed it. Don't worry I will keep I will try to keep it short

Litter box for kitty
Shredded news paper or cut into strips not too much
1/2 cap ful of Ammonia (this smells like urine) just drips here and there
I learned that from a vet.

Depends on what your comfortable with
Cats are very smart
Scratching on things we did have an occasional scratch but we would rub cat nip onto their scratching post and they would go crazy scratching that instead

Male vs Female
we had both throughout my life and although and after many cats it does seem to be that males are way relaxed. Plus when they get older they get bigger again later and it is kind of cool.

Spay or neuter
I would definitely do that. Males will back up and spray and you might not catch them. Females will wail when in heat.

We super loved our kitty perch for the window. They would stare outside for hours.

Don't forget that if you get pregnant you can not change the cat box
Your doctor can tell you more about that

Well hope some of this helped.

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answers from New York on

I have 3 cats and have had them since our daughter was an infant. We have had both males and females and I would prefer females because they tend to have less health problems (ie- urinary which our male has) and because they tend to be much more friendly, although our calico likes to be left alone most of the time. Anyway invest in a spray bottle and squirt your kitten when he/she is doing something you don't want them to do like using your furniture and woodwork as a scratching post. I had a cat that did have to be declawed due to her claws (double clawed) were growing into the pads of her feet and the vet recommended it but for the most part I am not a fan of doing it, it is really cruel. It is like having our fingernails taken out.

For the most part our cats don't go up on the counters unless they don't have any water in their water dish but they also know that when I catch them they get the look and then if they don't get down they are going to get sprayed. At this point they are so trained that the look is enough to tell them no no matter what they are doing wrong.

Be aware of hair elastics, elastic bands, yarn, etc, they love to take that sort of stuff and chew on it causing intestinal issues and choking. My Maine Coon cat takes my hair elastics constantly and then tells on herself; she is definitely a people cat, she loves everyone and loves to play and snuggle with you especially when she has her tunnel or my elastics, it is sooo funny. Definitely invest in a cat tunnel, we got ours from Ikea for under $10 and they love it. Our cats play hide and seek with not only their tunnel but our house; my oldest son started it when he got his cats in college and then started doing it with ours so now all of ours do it; weird yes I know but oh so funny.

Your son will love having a cat just as my kids do. Our cats sleep with us, and as I am sitting here our Maine Coon, Cali, is sitting here carrying on a conversation with on of my sons. LOL She wants him to hold her like a baby and burp her, yes she does burp when he does it. LOL She is so funny, unique but funny.

Hope this all helps.

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answers from Tulsa on

I always get the vet to cut off the front claws if the cat is going to be an indoor cat, a lot of people think it is cruel but I think having the animal and not having ruined furniture the better option.

Males tend to spray their areas and I have never had one that didn't. I have had them fixed as soon as they weighed enough to do anesthesia and then some that were older at surgery time. I have always had better cats that were female and had had at least on litter. It seems to make them grow up, they calmed down a lot after having a litter.

Get some kitty toys, they like things like a fluffy thing on the end of a wire that is easy to bounce around, they like toys that make noise and move, just check with a place like Pet Smart.

Kitties mothers might have taught them to use a litter box if they were raised in a home with a litter box so chances are they weren't. Put the kitty over the litter box and use a damp Q-Tip and lightly rub it on their little hiney to stimulate them to pooh. Then let them down in the litter and teach them to scratch it.

Play with them often, if they scratch you then use a hand puppet to play with them, it will protect your skin.

Here is a list of links from Google to get you started.;ie=UTF-8...

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answers from New York on

I'm president of a rescue group, East Coast Maine Coon Rescue, located in NJ. We have kittens available if you would like to take a look at our website -

Everything depends on the age of the kitten. We don't allow our kittens to go home until they are 12 weeks old. By that time, they know how to eat and drink on their own and use the litter box and they have been socialized by mom and their littermates.

Clipping their claws is the best thing to do. Declawing is inhumane and is against the law in many other countries. It involves amputating the toes of the cat so that the claw doesn't grow back. It is very painful for them. Here is a link to some great information:

A squirt bottle will work fine to train the kittens to stay off the counters and the table. Most kittens/cats don't like the feel of leather and will not scratch it. Just make sure they have a scratching post or even a large cat tree that they can climb in and play on.

I keep saying kittens because it's best for kittens to have a playmate, especially if no one is home all day. Make sure your home is kitten proofed by putting breakable objects away - cats/kittens like to climb up high and can knock over vases and other things.

They say that males are more affectionate than females but in my experience, each cat/kitten is an individual and it all depends on their personality.

If you're looking for a high quality, human grade food, I sell Life's Abundance. You can view my products here: Our premium food is perfect for all stages of life - kittens, cats, and seniors. We also sell treats (baked in a human bakery) and supplements (made in a human pharmaceutical company).

Good luck with everything!
D. Salerno

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answers from Seattle on

Well....personally I would go for a cat that is female. While it does still happen, they are less likely to 'spray' (urinate in inappropriate spots) because they are less territorial. You would definitely want to get one that is either way comfortable about kids or young enough that it would be able to be raised to be comfortable around kids. I wouldn't declaw a cat. I think it is unnecessary as long as the kitty is trained to behave and if you clip the nails (if necesasry).
I think the squirt bottle is wholly appropriate. While cats aren't as mischevious as dogs, they have their moments and still need training to behave accordingly. Don't worry, spraying kitty with a bit of water is unpleasant for the cat, but I don't think it will do any serious harm.
And if you truly plan to get a kitten, toys are a must. Things that jingle, they can bat at.
Good luck with finding the perfect pet!

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answers from New York on

1. Get a kitten that is already litter trained.
2. Females make the best indoor cats. Males like to mark territory just like dogs.
3. Always get your kitten/cat neutered ASAP.

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answers from New York on

We have always had cats as pets since I was a baby. I have found that female cats are more affectionate and males slightly more aggressive. I'm not a fan of declawing. Many people say it is cruel to the animal and it is not as popular outside the USA. If you declaw, keep the cat indoors. We had a cat that a previous owner had declawed but she didn't seem to have problems as a result--she even caught the occasional mouse or bug. Check into what other options there are such as clipping or filing claws or putting acrylic tips on them. Consider getting a young adult cat, around a year old. They are more calm and need less training but have energy to play as well. We adopted an older cat who was a wonderful pet so don't rule it out (she was 11 when we got her and lived until age 21). A squirt bottle is a fine training tool.

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answers from Tampa on

I have a lot of cats... females tend to be slightly less affectionate and less needy than males, but have less issues with territorial spraying and urethral issues later in age. Males tend to be very affectionate, and if fixed as soon as possible (according to the vet's guidelines), has very little issues with spraying.

I have 50% of my cats fixed and front de-clawed... the other half will slowly become that way also.

I chose to de-claw because I acquired my cats from many different people/places, and some were de-clawed while others were not. It was not fair to those de-clawed, and cat scratching can cause some major infections in both each other and to people. Some will say that de-clawing will make them biters... I have 6 de-clawed cats and none of them are biters.

De-clawing is the removal to what equates as our last and smallest joint at the tip of our finger. Our nail is equal to their claw. I have not heard of any issues with gangrene/necrosis of paw/losing the extremity. I have worked in the vet business as well.

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answers from New York on

All the responses were great. Here's my 2 cents. As long as the cat is spayed or neutered the gender wont matter. Kittens will automatically use a litter box, they are great that way. As to the scratching get a water gun, this way you can spritz them from a distance and they wont associate the water with you. If they figure you are the one keeping them off the table etc they will sneak. If kitty insists on using your couch as a scratching post, put balloons where it scratches. It will jump up scratch the balloon, balloon pops and cat runs. LOL I also have a sissal door mat that my cat loves to scratch and it doesnt do any damage. She never liked a post. BTW she is 15 years old and my dog taught her not to climb on the table or counter. Dog wasnt allowed to and she saw the kitten go on the table and went after kitty. Dog is no longer with us but kitty remembers. LOL

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answers from Joplin on

We have had 3 males, one is now living with my MIL and FIL but the other two males are still with us, and they have NEVER sprayed. They are fixed and indoor only cats. Good luck on your fur baby,

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answers from Chicago on

I didn't have time to read everyone elses posts but there is something out there called soft paws and they're like little caps that go on the nails so the kitten can't destroy the furniture. They're pain free and easy to put on if you have help. They're kind of cheap and i'd suggest only putting them on the front paws. they're about 20$ and i think 40 softpaws come in a package.... good luck and enjoy. You're in for some laughs!!!!! kitten's are awesome!



answers from New York on

Hi, I own both a male and female. There's nothing to training them. Show them where the litter box is and never worry about it again - it's truly amazing. I haven't found any differences in my male vs female kittens. Male's spraying will be a lot worse if he is not fixed but I would highly suggest fixing him - it's the responsible thing to do. Both my cats have their claws and we prefer it that way - God forbid they get out, they can defend themselves. But, I have learned to live with the damage they do on my furniture. There are certain pieces they prefer to "damage" over others. A leather couch will be tough - not that you can't stop them from scratching on purpose but just the mere fact that they will run and jump and land on your couch that will cause scratches. Best thing we ever bought is a cheap cardboard scratching "thing" - not sure what it's called. you'll see it in any pet store. It was recommended to us and they really do prefer to scratch that. I would say to put one closest to the furniture you are afraid of them damaging. They also like to scratch nubby furniture so beware of that. My cousin bought some tape that she put over the areas they were scratching and they eventually left that alone. They are the best additions to our family and you will absolutely love having a kitten. We also have a dog and they all get along. Have fun.

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