Just Adopted - a Pair of Kittens

Updated on July 05, 2019
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
10 answers

Just adopted a pair of 12 week old kittens from the shelter. Same litter boy girl set. Spayed and neutered. Boy is the friendlier of the two. Right now I have them in the kitchen with a littler box, water, wet food a blanket and a box. Shelter suggested they stay there for a few days before being allowed the rest of the apartment.

I’ve never owned cats. Any good suggestions for a cats for dummies book? What about cat toys, cat littler, fountains, scratch pads etc.

any Tips re: when/ how to train? If that’s even a thing? Planning on getting a cat enclosure, so we can have them out of the bedrooms at night, and because our sitter doesn’t care for cats. Any tips on a good one, where to put it, and how to introduce the cats to it?

Thanks much.
F. B.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your advice. Keeping them in the kitchen didn’t last long. They overcame the dog gate we had at the kitchen which doesn’t have a door. The catio is 20x 36x 51. We plan to have them sleep in there and keep them in there when no one is home until they are a little older and more trustworthy. Both are using litter. Both are fixed. They are getting more adventurous by the day.

Looks like the boy has a cold and the girl has the start of one, shelter forecast that they might. We will be taking them to the vet this weekend for a checkup.

Got them kitten collars with bells so we can tell them apart. Our younger son is the one feeding them the wet food to build positive associations for the cats who are otherwise and understandably put off by his being a three year old boy, boisterous and unpredictable.

You guys are awesome. Looking forward to many years with these kitties.


More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

oh, B.. sometimes you make me tear my hair out. it didn't occur to you to do even a minimal amount of research BEFORE you brought them home?

at least cats are easy. you really don't need a dummy book. hopefully the shelter gave you good recommendations, and hopefully you're following them. and despite the dearth of knowledge, kudos to you for getting two. it will cut down on the naughtiness, having each other as playmates.

cats don't really train. they are born mostly knowing how to use a litter box. with a new kitten i just sit them in the box which has just a pinch of used litter in it to trigger the smell instinct, and trickle a little dry litter from my fingers in front of them. that's all i've ever had to do.

some cats love fountains. mine don't. yes on scratching posts, and a few is a smart way to do it. all cats need to scratch, and babies in particular. a spray bottle of water to discourage them from places you don't want them to be (but don't expect them to abide by it unless you're standing there with spray bottle in hand.) for countertops and tables you may need sticky pads to discourage them.

a cat enclosure? cats aren't dogs and don't take well to crates. can't y'all close the bedroom doors?


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Congrats on getting kittens. Sounds like you are trying to be a good cat family. My concern is that your plan is to isolate then to the bedrooms during the day and an enclosure at night. I don’t feel that is enough space for them to bond with the family, play and just be kittens. Confining them to an apartment is one thing because the outside is dangerous but further restricting their movements seems strange. Are you sure you want these pets? Is this a reaction to your sitter’s not liking cats? Kittens are fun and you can enjoy their play and gain their affection if you include them as part of the family. Realize that they are not stuffies to put away when not convenient and pull out when you want them around.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Congrats on your kittens! Kittens are very fun, but don't leave them in the kitchen for too long because you want them to be well socialized. Play and handle them as much as they are up for. Don't force the girl, but try to entice her with treats or a toy or just speaking gently to her. Some cats are only social on their terms, but you can do things to encourage her. Make sure your kids know how to hold and pet the kittens, and teach them safe ways to play.

Definitely get a good scratching post or tree so when they scratch things you don't want them to scratch, you can redirect them to the post. Cats also love to climb, so if you don't want them on your furniture or bookshelves, the trees are great.

Toys are easy. Kittens often find things to play with in the house, like empty toilet paper rolls, empty boxes, or crumpled up paper. Mine try to get rubber bands but I'm always afraid they will choke on them, so I redirect them to toys. You can spend alot of money on cool things, (mine like wands and a toy that has a ball in a circular track), but I only buy things like that occasionally and then rotate them in and out when they get bored. I had a cat once who would fetch small soft balls and bring them back. Cats can be trained, but I'm not really familiar with the books on that. I've found that reinforcing behaviors (with play/treats/affection) they come up with on their own works pretty well, and then repetitively removing them from things you don't want them to do. I'm sure if you google "cat training books" you'll find some good ones.

I tried a fountain once, because some cats do prefer running water, but my dogs drank all the water up quickly so it didn't work for us. Our cats drink from the sink when it's on and as long as I remember to turn the faucet off, this works for us.

I'm not sure about a cat enclosure. Our cats have always had free rein of the house, but I suspect an enclosure could work as long as it's introduced in a way that the cats see it as a positive place to play and sleep. This is where you'll need a book. But, unless your sitter is allergic, I wouldn't isolate the cats if the sitter is around alot just because the sitter doesn't like them. Cats are small, and the sitter should be able to avoid interacting. Too much isolation could lead to behavior issues which sometimes means litter box issues that you don't want.

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answers from Portland on

I'm experienced with cats and kittens - and we recently went through this.

You don't need to train them, other than not to shred your furniture. With that, you just stop them, either clapping or you can spray with water, or a firm NO and get them down each time. Whatever works. We don't declaw ours.

So we have a cat tree that is covered with carpet and that's where our cat scratches and we also have a carpeted post that he uses. They have sisal ones but ours prefers the carpet ones. We got ours on Amazon and Costco. You can read the reviews - typically the ones with most reviews are better. The cat trees are a tad ugly and I wondered if I'd regret it - our cat loves it, we put it by window, he sleeps there and it provides exercise and scratching area. I recommend - get a neutral color like beige. Two cats can use.

We have found boys to be more loving/social in our experience. Just get neutered before spraying, etc. May be before they say need to. Ours started humping things.

We didn't need blankets for ours. We didn't need an enclosure. We didn't need book either - they are really simple. Just food (wet and dry for kittens), water (we have one of those fountain things - it's unnecessary, kind of a novelty item, and the thing I don't like about it is - it runs all the time, so drain on energy). A plain bowl of water is fine. Litter - we use clumping, and I did manage to find a cool litter box on Amazon where they jump in, so no litter gets messed around on floor.

We did the keep to one area for one day, then we found the cat was fine to explore. That's kind of extreme for 3 days - never heard of that. You live in an apartment - so there's no need to keep them in kitchen for that long. I think you should let them explore before then. Just keep it to gentle hands, and if kiddos have friends over, etc. just don't let them manhandle them etc. (kiddo friends can be a little over zealous, around here anyhow).

We did this - at night, we put ours in our laundry room - with the food, and litter and bed. We just had one of those little beds you can buy. That lasted about a month. We just didn't want the cat to wake us. Well, they cry. Now my sister did that forever with her two cats, for 15 years and it worked. If you want to start that habit early, it's a good one. Her cats would head to their laundry (or whatever room works for you) when they were tired at end of night. Kids were not disturbed during sleep. That's kind of an -enclosure.

You can put them in same room if you go out and don't want them getting into things as kittens. If you want, even when older as a cat (although they basically just sleep when older). Our cat - once about 6 months, stopped getting into stuff so we stopped putting him away when we were out.

Those would be my suggestions. Hope that helps :) Enjoy your kitties!

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answers from Miami on

There are lots of websites you can use to do research on cat ownership, what to expect, the necessities, the risks, costs, etc., I am surprised the shelter didn't quiz you on ownership, or provided you with basic materials, maybe prior to adoption, to see if it was right for you. My parents owned cats all my life, I had a couple too, when I was on my own, we never confined the cats, unless it was time to sleep, and we didn't want them waking us or walking all over us while we slept -- the rest of the time, they had free reign of the home and also on the first day we brought them home, we expected to not see the cat for hours on end as it would explore every nook and cranny slowly. Here are some helpful articles on cat ownership, telling you about the good, the bad and the ugly:






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answers from New London on

I would get an unscented/non-toxic litter and holistic cat food for starters.
Make sure the vet checks them for health, parasites, etc...And find a vet for annual checks. Some vets give a discount if u bring them in together. So, have cat carriers!
Do not let them get near the door you go in and out of. A friend just lost her cat and it
took 48 hrs of searching to find her cat.
Cats love to scratch. I have a cat scratch post I just got for a friend that was made in the USA.
LOOK UP the list for what FOODS and PLANTS are TOXIC for CATS!
Cats like to climb. Do not leave the kitchen stove top unattended when cooking or hot!
Some cats like to climb into cardboard boxes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I use only clay litter, I was told the scented litter causes kidney failure. My cats would never use a scratching post, some cats love them. The momma cat usually teaches them to use the litter box and how to bury the poo. I have always kept the litter box next to the toilet and scooped the poo several times a day.
If they do pee outside the litter box, vinegar kills the urine smell.
I don't agree with keeping them in one room. They need to be socialized and be able to explore their new home and snuggle with their people. Isolating them may hinder their socialization with their family.

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answers from Atlanta on

Toys.... Cats, especially kittens, can be entertained by something as simple as dragging a two or three foot piece of string around in front of them. I understand you might need some things they can play with while you're gone, though. Definitely, a couple scratching posts are a must, and the spray bottle can help deter them from scratching furniture (while you are there).

Do teach the kids to handle the kittens gently and only pat them on their backs or sides or cheeks for now. The tail needs to off-limits, and if they try to pet the kittens on their stomach, they will get their hands clawed or bitten. That's a big difference with dogs--in my experience, cats don't generally like having their stomachs rubbed, or they take a touch to the chest as in invitation to play with your hand, which means claws and teeth. Others may think differently, however.

I agree that confining cats to one room for most of the day all week sounds like a bad idea; closing the bedroom doors will be the way to go if you must keep them out all the time. Couldn't you just get the cats out of the bedroom when it's time to sleep, though, and let them explore the bedrooms during the day? That's a lot of the apartment space which would be off limits to them, otherwise. The sitter will just need to adjust to their presence. Sometimes cats can seem to make a beeline for the person in the room who doesn't like them, however if the sitter simply doesn't pet them or cuddle them, I imagine the cats will end up ignoring him/her. Good luck, and have fun with them!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We brought home a pair of kittens over 3 years ago. We lost one a few months later, but still have the boy.

I highly recommend Arm and hammer multi cat unscented litter. I also recommend buying a litter genie -this way you can have your oldest son clean the box without making too big of a mess.

Our cat doesn't like cat toys, but he loves nerf bullets and legos. Luckily we have a lot of those around the house :-) He also doesn't like cat scratch pads -at all. Instead, he loves the backs of computer chairs (the mess kind), and right now his favorite scratcher is our sewing box. I try to keep his nails short. I'd hold off on buying too much and just let them lead you.

He shares a water bowl with the dog. Have fun!

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answers from Miami on

I don’t have cats, but I have friends who do. You need separate litter boxes for them. Make sure they are cleaned every day, both for you and the cats. They don’t want to use smelly litter boxes.

1 mom found this helpful
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