Trying to Decide If We Should Get a Cat

Updated on March 11, 2008
T.D. asks from Clovis, CA
76 answers

I have a friend who wants to get rid of her cats. The one I am considering taking is trained to go to the bathroom outside and is very good with kids. My kids really want a pet but did not latch onto the hamster or mice we tried in the past. My husband does not want any pets and is not an "animal lover" so I want to make sure I will be able to take care of the cat myself. What is REALLY involved in caring for a full-grown cat? Just feeding it and letting it out/in? Do kids really play with cats like they might a dog?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.H.

answers from Salinas on

Tracy, I'd forget the cat - I've had several growing up and I love cats, however, they are very independent and can be very aloof. I'd get a dog that's good with kids instead.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a cat and a dog and the cat is soooo low maintenace. He is not very playful but my daughter loves sleeping with it and it is very affectionate. Most people I know have cats and they would all say they are so easy. Kittens are another story!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.M.

answers from Sacramento on

DON'T DO IT! Cat hair, Cat potty never comes out completely, no matter what anyone says, and if there is an accident you will smell that stuff for months. Especially in the hot summer months. Get a fish.

More Answers

C.C.

answers from Fresno on

Take your kids to meet the cat in question before you bring it home, just to be sure they will all get along - but YES, cats can be wonderful pets for kids. We have an outdoor cat that we got as a kitten, and he is a fierce mouser (he has brought down a full grown opossum, believe it or not - he's 20 pounds of muscle), but is soooo gentle with the kids. He absolutely will not bite or scratch them, no matter what they do to him. That is the personality you want in a cat if you can find it! Recently we got a kitten who mostly lives indoors but she is also fantastic with the kids. She will bite (but has never broken the skin) if the kids hurt her, but to me this is great. What better way for a child to learn cause and effect?

My kids play with our cats almost constantly. It is not uncommon for one or both cats to be dressed up in doll clothes and/or being put in the basket of a tricycle and taken for a ride. Our cats are good sports about it and the kids have a blast.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from San Francisco on

My husband and I honestly do not like cats. When I was growing up we had a cat that just came and went as she pleased-a totally out door cat. Loved her. I do think kids like dogs better. They are more fun to play with. However right now the people we are renting our house from have a cat and a turtle. My daughter is scared of the turtle because it is huge, but loves the cat. It is also an out door cat and very easy to take care of. She just comes around for food and loves the attention of my daughter. So easy for us and fun for her. I don't know about indoor cats.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are pretty independant but you need to be prepared for annual vet care ($200-$300/year) depending on the cat's age. Cats can be very social or very stand-offish. Sometimes breed plays a part in in also. Persians are content to be part of your furniture while Abissinians are not very kid friendly but extremely active. I own 2 Sphynx that are extremely social and active, want to be pet a lot, and come like dogs when called. Also have an "Emergency fund" if the cat goes outdoors. Outdoor cats can pick up diseases, parasites, get abscesses from injuries, and get hit by cars. I hope this gives you a little insight to help you to make an informed decision.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are so cool and easy to take care of, no need to walk or bath your cat, just feed and love him. My son loves our cat, just teach your kids to be gentle with him and enjoy your new family member. My son loves to feed and pet our cat and watch him jump on the window sill. I say go for it

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.D.

answers from Modesto on

I agree with all of Lisa V. suggestions. As an onwer of 2 cats here are some other things to consider. Big Pro - You can take long weekends (4 days) without finding a caretaker as long as you leave lots of food, fresh litter and water. I highly recommend neutering/spaying. You do have to watch out for outdoor cats, they protect their territory and can come home with pucture wounds which often require antibiotics and cleaning with peroxide. Often you can't see the puncture because of the fur. You only notice it when they become lethargic and feverish which then requires a trip to the vet. They should have annual vaccinations as well (especially outdoor cats). I highly recommend Frontline once a month to be flea free. It is a bit pricey but it really works. Also break away cat collars are wonderful. If your cat gets stuck on a branch or whatever, the collar breaks and the cat is unharmed. We have a cat door from the inside of the house into the garage and one from the garage to the outside yard. This way, we can keep the litter box in the garage (much more pleasant)and the cats always have access to it. During the day we open both hatches and they can come an go as they please. At night, we bring them in with access only to the garage and indoors (safer for cats, best not to be out at night). If we leave for the weekend, we keep the hatch to the yard closed. If I scrub the floor, I close the hatch into the house for awhile. Spray bottle of water is the best way to train a cat.Whenever they scratch the furniture, jump on the kitchen counter or whatever, catch them in the act and spray them. They learn fast. "Sticky Paws" from the pet store also works. It's kind of like double sick tape for any furniture they are prone to scratching.They don't like sticky things on their paws. After a month or two you can remove it from the furniture once they are behaving themselves. Some cats easily over eat and become overweight if food is just left out. Recommend twice daily feedings unless you are out of town and have to leave food out. Overwight cats have similar problems to people like diabetes etc. Lastly, cats do shed. Your clothing and your home will have hair in/on it no matter how much you clean. It is controllable, but you can't eliminate it. If this bothers you, cats are not for your (neither are dogs and many other animals for that matter). Cats need love and attention but sometimes on their own terms. You will find out what your cat likes, just pay attention to him. Animals are wonderful for children and the elderly in particular. They are a great joy. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.A.

answers from Redding on

Just like people, different cats have different personalities. Some cats love children, and most can learn to love children. I grew up with cats and we have two cats now ... yes, kids can benefit tremendously from helping take care of cats and can have playing with cats (although playing with cats is different than playing with dogs). The basics of course are adequate food and water, and having a way to get out to go the bathroom. Maybe, though, you should ask yourself whether your children can handle having a cat. You will want to keep tabs on how the children are treating the cat, because if the cat is treated with love and respect, it will be returned, but you quickly will have a cranky cat if your children are mean to it. You especially want to keep an eye on toddlers when interacting with pets as they often don't yet understand how to be nice (sitting on the cat, pulling ears or tail, chasing it for fun, etc.).
Long and short, I highly recommend having a cat, or two, but just be aware that while the children adjust to having a cat, you will need to teach them how to be kind and take care of the cat. Children can learn so much about responsibility and kindness to animals by having pets.
Also be aware, that as the cat adjusts to your new home and family, it might need space so that it can feel comfortable enough to want to play, etc.
You should also know that you really should not let a new pet outside for 2 weeks to a month. Cats (and dogs) will often instinctively try to go find their last home, and can get hurt and lost by taking off and searching. So you will need a litter box, at least for the transition.

Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,
I am an animal lover in general and a cat lover in particular. Cats are not like dogs, they are independent and each has a personality all their own. They do not make good starter pets. Since your cat will be going outside it will require regular trips to the vet for check ups and shots. In my experience cats that do not "grow up" in a house hold with children do not transition easily, as the noise & activity level of children can be scary to a cat. Cats require love an attention just as any animal, if your husband is against the idea and you are not committed to the total care of the cat, please consider letting the animal go to another home. Cats can be wonderful companions and "best friends" to children and adults alike, but as is most things the more you put in the more you get out. If you are loving and attentive to the cat the more likely the cat will be loving and attentive to you. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I am an animal lover and have several dogs and cats. Cats are very independent. I am not sure how old your kids are, but when getting an adult cat, make sure that they have been around kids. When you say the cat is trained to going outside, cat's are usually trained to use a litter box. They usually just go wherever they want outside in the yard. If you get a cat that is used to being outside, you have to be careful as far as letting the cat out in your neighborhood. Cats like to roam and if they are not used to the area they may go back to what they are used to. Cat's do need alot of love an attention especially if they are moving to a new home.
I am not sure if I helped you in anyway, but good luck with your decision.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.D.

answers from Sacramento on

T.,
I was in in the same situation as you. We decided to foster cats to see if we were ready for the responsibility of a permanent pet. The organization we use has us pay for food and litter. They pay for approved medical needs and other items. We are asked to bring the cat into Petco every Saturday for adoption events. If you find that it isn't working for you your able to stop fostering at any time for any reason.

So,I discussed this whole idea with my two children before we started fostering to make sure they understood that the cat may be adopted one day. We are on our third cat now and my kids were fine when the cats were adopted. They were excited to know they were in a good "forever home."

~S.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are probably one of the easiest pets, but they can have some high vet bills - males can get urinary crystals, can pee/spray places, etc. I have 2, both males, and one has done the aforementioned nasty stuff a couple of times, but he has such a great personality that I forgive him. (I think he's really fussy about the litter box.) The two cats adore each other and chase each other all over the house, groom each other, etc., and we have had so many laughs with them.
I've had some real duds for cats also - antisocial, boring, ugly nasty things.
So the main thing is make sure they have great personalities so it's worth having them.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

We have a small dog and a cat. (I love dogs and my husband loves cats.) They are best friends. However, my kids play with the dog constantly and won't go near the cat. She is a very mellow cat but has scratched each of them before (just light warning scratches) and now they are afraid of her. Cats are very independent animals and, in general, not as cuddly playful as dogs but have their own way of interacting.

As far as caring for her, she is an indoor/outdoor cat. She scratches at the back door when she wants in and meows at the door when she wants back out. We have food/water out for her, and she helps herself to it when she wants it. Other than taking her to the vet for her regular checkups, that's about it. Oh, and putting the flea med on her once a month. Very easy pet.

Personally, I prefer dogs. But since your husband is not an animal lover, maybe the cat would be a better choice for you. They don't require as much attention as the dogs do.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Full grown cats are a lot easier than kittens, good choice there. Since the cat will be in and out you will want to be careful about fleas. Drops can be expensive and hard to remember if your busy, but work really well. A flea collar is fine if they leave it on, mine don't. Other than that, if they get fur balls just get them the food that helps with that. Cats are pretty easy, and very independent. You may want to consider getting a cat door, otherwise you will be at the beck and call of the cat everyday.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I am a bona-fide cat lover, so of course my answer is Yes!! Cats are wonderfully low maintenance, they clean themselves (they hardly ever need baths), go to the bathroom by themselves, entertain themselves, etc. My cat acts almost like a dog, coming when you call him, and is very very affectionate (he's not a stand-offish sort of cat at all). My cat is also indoor-only, and if you so choose to do that, you will have even less worries about letting the cat in/out, or worrying about fleas/diseases/accidents that could occur more frequently with outdoor cats.

My only advice is to find out what kind of cats your friend has, as different types of cats have different temperments, just like dogs. Some cats are known to be very neurotic, too smart for their own good (getting into cabinets and unlocking doors), like to scratch sofas/furniture, are very hyper, etc. My cat is a "ragdoll" which makes him very chill, although he is so lazy that he won't even play with toys!

It is good that you know who the cats are coming from, your friend will be able to give you the full history of her cats!

Good luck, and I hope your home will be full of happy "meows" soon!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I think a cat is a great way to start off with pets. I dont really agree with outdoor cats unless you have a huge yard and are not near a busy street. I have always had cats growing up, and the people who are saying they do not bond with kids, it isnt true. All cats are different, just like all dogs are different. My childhood cat loved me and my brother but really didnt like my sister. She would sleep with me every night, she brought me the dead mice and birds to say she loved me, and I was only 10 years old. Cats are probably one of the easiest pets to own. I have two right now, a male and a female. Males to not spray once they are fixed. They are both indoor, I let them go out on the balcony of our apartment, but that's all. The litter box is not a big deal. We keep it under the sink in the bathroom. Normally I clean it every other day, but because I am pregnant and cant (guess pregnant women arent supposed to clean cat boxes....oh well I get out of it for 9 months!!!) my husband has been cleaning it for me. He only gets to it about once a week, but the cats are fine, they still go in there and never on the floor. I am not worried at all about how my cats will respond to the baby. Both of them are huge loves and are never mean. Its all about finding the right cat for your family. I do agree with the last response on finding good food, I had a cat die from crystals and part of it was from the food. Also keeping the cat inside for a few weeks so she can get acquainted with her new home, otherwise she will run away. And yes, kids can really play with a cat. Not exactly like a dog, but when the cat is in the mood, they love to play, I know mine do. Overall I think a cat is a great pet to have, but I also worry about the original owner separating the two cats. I dont agree with that. I think if they have been living together, they need to be kept together. When one of my cats died, the other was beside herself. She didnt understand where her best friend had went, so I had to get a new cat immediately, even though I wasnt ready. Please seriously consider separating them, it will be hard and sad on the cats.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.S.

answers from Stockton on

We have cats but ours our inside only with a litter box. Cats lives are cut short if they go outside because they fight with other animals and have to worry about them being hit by cars.
If he's already neutered or spayed, he'll still need a yearly check at the vet and shots, especially if you let him outside for rabies and distemper and diseases cats can get from being outdoors. My cats typically don't get shots because they don't go outside at all, but i had to get them all fixed.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.U.

answers from Chico on

Hi, I have three indoor/outdoor cats, and all I do is fill one community food bowl each morning. (I think they would eat more if I filled it more!) I scoop the litter box maybe every three days, they go outside too so that's nice. The only thing they need is some snuggling everyday. If you're afraid that will take up too much time, remember your kids will do a lot of that anyway. Also putting animals in kids lives teaches them about caring for others, compasion, sensitivity, things like that. Cats are great if your husband isn't a big animal lover because they take a lot less time and attention then dogs. (I also have a dog, she loves the cats!) My husband is mexican and they don't think of pets like we usually do, but withing the first year we were together he got so attatched to my cat that now we have a full house. The only other cat thing to do is an occasional trip to the vet for various things. But it's not often so don't be nervous. Anyway, I recomend it, having cats adds years to your life because it somehow de-stresses people. I know that's true but I don't know why.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Modesto on

Hi T.,

Animals, either cats or dogs, can enhance your lives. I have both and like both equally. I feel strongly that animals are very important for children to grow up with. There are many things to consider as you can tell by the responses. Animals can live a long time. I had two female cats (litter mates), one lived to be 16 and the other one 18 and currently have two dogs (Golden Retrievers-also litter mates) who just turned 15. Then we have the youngster, a cat, who is 6. They are a wonderful experience for children. If you decide on a cat I would recommend a female. Male cats tend to spray. Most importantly, spay or neuter your animals. The pet overpopulation is crazy. Use something for flea control (Advantage, etc.), vaccinations (you can save some $ by going to vaccination clinics, and dry food. Dry food is better on their teeth and cheaper than buying wet all the time. Do buy a good quality dry food. The couple of years when my cats got old, I did supplement with wet food to keep them going. Now I do that with the dogs too. Microchip your animals, to me this is a must. Outside cats will go where they want to, so keep that in mind. Hope I haven't scared you away from adopting an animal. Animals love unconditionally. Good luck with your decision.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I would highly recommend keeping your cat inside (changing litter is not that big a deal and they even have fairly expensive, but self-cleaning boxes). It is safer, in that the cat won't get hit by a car, beaten up by bigger badder cats, or be at risk for some diseases. If your cat is 100% an inside cat you can cut down on veterinary expense (for instance, after discussing with your vet, not as many shots and injury is likely totally avoidable). Moreover, an inside cat will learn to sleep on the kids' beds and be more attuned to their habits.

You should probably brush your cat occasionally so there won't be much shedding (also a way for the kids to bond), especially important for a long-haired cat so it won't mat. The kids can learn to do that. I have seen people walk cats on a harness, but have mixed emotions about that. Even if the cat was young enough to take to that change, I'd worry about the possibility of a loose dog coming after your cat.

That being said, your husband should find a cat a good pet. They are not as needy as dogs and you have more freedom to be away in the evening without having to rush home to let the dog out. You both might enjoy reading The Cat Who Went To Paris and A Cat Abroad by Peter Gethers. It is the story of a real cat and its cat-hater owner who became captivated by his cat, Norman (was given to him).

I don't have children but I do have cats. While they are certainly different than dogs, they are intelligent and affectionate, and they will play with you. In addition to playing with them with store-bought toys, mine like to chase an aluminum foil ball I toss and they pick it up and return to me. I have more than one cat now, so they play more with each other, but even so play with me. They also like to crawl into my lap when I'm watching TV. My kitties come to the door to greet me when I get home or listen for the sound of the car and jump onto the windowsill. If you allow it, and I do, they will take food from your hand and beg as any dog would.

I always thought I was a dog person but don't live where I can have one. It turns out that I am both a dog and cat lover. I have found my cats to be extremely sensitive to my moods. One in particular (sadly my dear girl Peddler is gone now) got me through my mother's death. She seemed to know intuitively when I needed love, closeness, and attention.

I think a cat sounds like a wonderful idea for your children. Much happiness to all of you.

S. A.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.R.

answers from Sacramento on

I grew up with cats and have always enjoyed them. The great thing about cats is they are very low maintenance, especially if they go to the bathroom outside. They are very independant, unlike dogs, so they won't feel neglected if they don't have constant attention. You can leave them alone for a few days with a big bowl of food and water, and they are fine (you would need a litter box, obviously). As far as your kids playing with the cat, they will need to be a little bit more gentle than with a dog. Cats tend to be more aloof than dogs, but I have been lucky to have very affectionate cats. Have your children interact with the cat, and see how it goes. Cats have a lot more personality than hamsters and mice, and they wil interact with your kids a lot more, so I think they will probably have a stronger attachment. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.J.

answers from San Francisco on

If your husband isn't in love with the idea, I'd probably vote against it. Cats (especially outdoor cats) can carry lots of diseases, have fleas, and their urine (which they carry on their claws) can be very dangerous to small children. Plus if the cat is pooping outside, one of the smaller children might end up touching or eating it accidentally. Also, cats don't "play" - they're very finicky and independent. Some "tolerate" children, but others will scratch or bite.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.P.

answers from Modesto on

Hi T.!

Getting a family pet is SOOOOOOOO much fun. I cannot tell you the feeling that you get in your heart(as a mother) when you hear all the new laughter in your home because of a new pet. Their little giggles change with having a pet, and they laugh so much more! Plus, I don't have to work as hard anymore :o)

It sounds like getting an "already trained" cat is a perfect solution for YOUR needs. But, the adult cat will probably just be a snuggle partner to your kids as they get older. Especially if you're kids are playing all the time....duh...the cat will mostly likely NOT lay by them much. BUT, it's already trained and it's really easy to feed a cat :0)

A dog is a choice we made a few years ago (adding to the cat, by the way). We adopted him as a puppy, and our WHOLE family dynamic has changed to an even more loving family....thanks to this adorable dog! I'm not going to lie.....the poop has to be cleaned up often, or else your kids shoes will have to be cleaned often! I have a great suggestion on how to pick a puppy, in case you're interested. It's the perfect time of year for one!

The most important thing for you, is to make a decision that will work for you, and you alone. If your husband isn't an animal lover, then he will probably not be much help. It sounds like maybe he's made that clear to you. And as far as kids helping....well they're good every now and then, but usually not on a regular basis :o) So, go with works for you! Everyone else will adjust perfectly!

Have fun!

:o) N.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Getting a cat is much easier than a dog, they take care of themselves mostly, except for food and loving attention.If it is an older cat you are getting I don't know if it still plays but if it is an outside cat the most what kids can do with it is petting, brushing, Dogs are a different species especially in the attention area, they need walks and playtime, the more the better and if they are not teased and treated with respect they nornmally are great with kids, it also depends on the age of your kids what they can do and how much you want to get involved in the care, the dog is mostly cared for by the parents(walks,food even play)after the dog is not a new hot item anymore. Lots of considering and thinking to do I guess, Good Luck
C.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Cats are easy to take care of, but most cats don't play like a dog. They are independent creatures who want attention when they want attention, not necessarily when you want to give it. The children would need to be cautioned about learning the telltale signs of a cat being annoyed so they aren't in danger of being scratched or bitten. That being said, we have had up to four cats at a time and we have loved them all very much!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.G.

answers from San Francisco on

T. -Some cats act dog-like (jump in laps, roll over to be pet) but many do not.  Something else to consider is whether you have friends or family allergic to cats.  I have no stats to back up this next claim, but I've noticed that I know a lot more people who are allergic to cats than to dogs and that the cat allergies tend to be more severe (maybe because cats go all over -- on the couch, on the table, on the counter, etc. -- don't know).  Don't forget to add flea protection to your list, though, especially with an outdoor cat.  Cats are generally easy to care for, though they do get sick sometimes, especially as they get older.  My friend's cat has diabetes (mind you she had let him get quite overweight) and needs insulin shots 2x per day. In general, though, most cats require far less attention than dogs, but, personally, I find them far less fun for the same reason -- except the ones who think they're dogs!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from Fresno on

We have two boys 6 and 3 and just got a cat. My 6 year old envisioned cuddling with the cat and carrying him around. He cried because nothing could be further from the truth.... Remember that cats sleep alot during the day and like to be left alone. They don't like little ones who move unpredictably and poke and prod.

After one month the 9 month old cat fell off the dryer during the night and broke his back leg. He has had orthapedic surgery and repeted visits to the vet have cost us over $2000.00 and we aren't done yet. He wears a cone because he keeps pulling the staples out and we had to take him back to get him stitched up again.

I never envisioned having to go through all this trouble for a cat!

C.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.H.

answers from San Francisco on

My first question would be why does your friend want to get rid of her cats?
Secondly, you stated that your husband doesn't want pets. Have you been able to come to a compromise on this?
Like someone else said, it's hard to get attached to a hamster or a mouse because they're not affectionate pets by nature. A cat would be totally different.
Cats are pretty self-sufficient animals, but if you get a cat that goes outdoors, you've got to make sure the vaccinations are current, you're always on the lookout for injury and you're risking the animal bringing fleas into the house. We have only lived in CA for a short time so I don't know if ticks are an issue here. I'm personally opposed to "outdoor cats" because of the dangers they're exposed to like wild animals, traffic, sick feral cats. My sister's cat was an outdoor cat and picked up Feline Leukemia and died a horrible death after being sick for quite a while.
Has this cat been spayed/neutered and does it still have its front claws? Bringing an unneutered adult cat into your home may bring an animal that feels the need to mark his territory in your home. If he's got his claws, he may destroy your furniture.
The best way to get a cat to pay attention to you is for you to ignore it. When my kids were little they'd chase the cats down all the time and the cats were always running away. Now that my kids are older they understand the benefit of letting the cats come to them when they want attention.
A pet is a huge commitment, even a low-maintenance pet like a cat. Are you willing and able to spend the money at the vet's office? Are you aware that cats can live as long as 20 years? Do you have someone that can come take care of the cat if you go on vacation?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.T.

answers from Sacramento on

T.,

I'll just add a couple of things I haven't seen here and let me start out by saying I think pets are great for kids and I mirror what has already been said.

First cats that get to go outdoors may not be as playful as indoor only cats because they will use more energy up outside. So they may not be very interactive with your kids.

You need to be ready to explain life and death to your kids. Cats that go outside may bring you presents especially if you don't put a safety collar and bell on them. Are you ready to explain to your kids when the cat comes home with a mouse or bird, possibly still alive?

Then depending on the age of the cat you are adopting there is the fact that it too will die and one day you will face the decision of what to do if it becomes really sick. I have seen a lot of suffering in animals because the owner didn't appreciate these decisions are part of care. What would you do faced with a $1000 vet bill if the cat develops an illness or worse yet gets hit by a car?

I have always had indoor outdoor cats and now have two indoor only cats (one of whom I adopted and used to be indoor outdoor). They are much more playful and social than any of my previous cats. Plus I like the fact they are safe from cars and are not out killing birds. We do clip their nails as they can damage furniture and I'm about to try soft paws which are rubber claw covers.

Anyway I don't want to put you off, I think they are a blessing and will add a lot to your kids lives. The things I speak of are to me great life lessons and I would not have missed them as a kid.

Good luck.
C.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.V.

answers from Bakersfield on

Funny you should ask. We have 3 cats and 1 small dog. The cats are just like my dog. Wanting, craving attention. Each of our cats have chosen a child who has become "their friend". Our cats are 1, 6, and 5 and they play non-stop. My 2 year old gets his cat to chase him around the house while he pulls a cat string. It's entertainment for hours.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.B.

answers from Sacramento on

My husband is not an animal lover and is definitely NOT a cat fan. I however adopted one for our 2 1/2 year old daughter. Cats are relatively low maintenance. Ours is box trained as well as goes outside. We let ours out in the morning when we leave for work and let him in when we return. Our daughter LOVES that cat, so much so that when he took to scratching the furniture we didnt even consider getting rid of him (that is when he became an outdoor/indoor cat). Every day when we get home she hugs him and carries him around like a doll (he tolerates this with a look of boredom). I took her to the pet store and let her pick out special toys for her to play with him. And she picked out the "cat toy basket". So yep, every day she plays with that cat. It is actually quite funny to watch her chase him and then not more than 2 minutes later he is chasing her.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Veterinary expenses can be expensive with an outdoor cat- cat fights, diseases, etc. Also, the heartbreak of finding your kitty has been hit by a car. When cats are injured, they tend to find a quiet spot and stay there so you won't be able to find him for days while he's lying there in agony. Not even when you call him.
When getting a new cat, keeping him indoors for at least 3 weeks is in order, or he'll run away not knowing your home is his new home. If you choose to let him be indoor-outdoor, at least take this 3 week timeline to keep him inside.
My advice is to consider training it to use the cat box, even if just for those 3 weeks. You can keep the box in the garage with a kitty door so he can get to it when he needs to. Cat boxes should be cleaned at least 4 times a week. Scoopable litter is best (it clumps so scooping it is easy).
If I were in your situation, I'd consider taking time after the kids go to bed to give lots of love to kitty as he hangs out with you on the couch or in bed. Even though they're independent creatures by nature, they still need lots of love, even if just once a day.
If he's a male and not fixed, ask your friend how he is with "spraying" when indoors. If he's not fixed, he should be especially if outdoors.
Also, especially if male, make sure to buy food that helps with keeping away "crystals" from forming in the bladder, common and deadly in male cats.
Hope any or all of this helps and good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.S.

answers from Stockton on

A full-grown cat will play, but not as much as a kitten, depending on its age, of course. Cats like to chase string, play in paper ball, chase wads of aluminum foil. What cats offer more than dogs do, though, is that they generally love to cuddle. And they make a wonderful purring sound that delights kids. The snuggle up in bed if allowed and help keep you warm in the winter. They are very clean, don't smell, and you can leave them for several days if enough food and water is left out and if they have a place to potty while you're gone. Some cats who have not been trained with a scratching post will scratch your furniture, especially on the corners. Those of us who love cats teach them very young not to do this (although by the time they're trained, you've got some damage). If the cat goes outside to potty, be sure there is a kitty door or you may still have some accidents. Cats are very good pets and much more interactive with kids than either hampsters or mice. Most cats do shed, however. Regular brushing can minimize this. As mentioned by most, you do need to take cats in for regular vet visits and shots, and make sure that they're protected from fleas. My sweet cat Misty lived more than 19 years, and she was indoor/outdoor. Dogs tend to live much shorter lives and their upkeep is much more costly. Hope this helps. :)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.S.

answers from Modesto on

Hi T.,
My son is raising two adopted boys, 15 and 10. Along came a cat we call Homer which was left by a previous foster child. Both boys like Homer but as far as responsibility, no. Cats are very independent characters. They want what they want on their own time. Also, it's preferred your cat to be fed by one person so you will know about his care. Homer comes and goes as he pleases. He comes in when it is cold but who do you think lets him out at 4 or 5 in the morning. He keeps on until he gets out. Homer knows within his heart, I will take care of him. Myself, I prefer a little dog like I had for my 5 children for they can hold it, play fetch, run, swim, car ride,etc. So, whatever is fitting for YOU. Good luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T., I'm a Vet Tech. and am going to tell you , there is so much more to haveing pets than just letting them out. They need lots of TLC , they need a exam and vacanations each year from a Vet. You have to consider ; do I want my kids playing in the same yard my cat uses as a bathroom? Do I live on a busy street where my cat might get hit by a car? Can I aford to take him to a Vet if he gets sick? Outdoor cats sometime get into fits with other cats and come home with bite wounds that turn into abscesses. What about the dog next door? Is it going to try to eat my cat? What's my husband going to do when the furniture gets scratched up?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I think many kinds of pets can be a great addition to a family. We have two cats that we got as kittens, and each has a unique personality. One is very independant and will come looking for loves when its on her terms. The other is a very people oriented cat and loves to be pet and snuggled by my daughter. I think before you bring home a cat, maybe take your kids to where the cat lives now and see the interaction. My kids now understand how to "read" the cats to see if they are just wanting to be left alone of if they might want to play. Cats have their own personalities and its hard to say go ahead it will be fine. It depends how old your kids are, and the cat. I say let them meet, and then go from there.
As far as the hampsters and mice, they aren't the same to kids, they live in a cage and they area quite fragile...

I saw a few responses that metioned hairballs, and while it can happen, there is hairball control food that does a pretty good job at helping to limit these icky little messes. brushing the cat will also cut down on this. And flea control meds are a good idea too. A cat can also be trained similar to a dog. any behaviors that need to be addressed can be, scratching furniture keep a spray bottle handy and shoot a quick stream of water at the cat and it should detour it.
All in all cats are pretty easy to care for and once a bond is established, its just that much easier

Good luck I hope it work out for you

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I have lots of experience with cats and with husbands who dont like them. We have two cats that were banished to the outside when the kids came along because they would run around at night and wake up my husband. Remember, cats are nocturnal! Also, our cats clawed up all the furniture, threw up occasionally on the bed usually, and if you close a door on them and they want in, they can sit and meow forever.

It may not seem like I am a cat lover, I am really!! I just think it can put a huge strain on a relationship and life is hard enoughwith the craziness of raising kids!!

If you get a cat I would do these things first...
1. Look at your friends sofa arms, are they ragged?
2. Get a cat door from your house to your garage and from your garage to the outside. This will alow the cat to go outside whenever she pleases and you wont have to listen to her cry about it.
3.Ask your friends husband about what he liked or disliked about the cats.
4. Take the cat for a trial week with option to return if needed. Cats are the most amazing animals in my opinion, but if they were raised wrong(taught to jump on the cupboards, etc.) they can be difficult. Good luck, and believe me, I still wonder sometimes if I shouldn't of just put my husband out instead of the cats..they were awesome cuddlers and they never ask for anything in return.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.-
I went through a divorce last year. (My girls are now 12 and 15.) We happened by a woman giving away kittens in front of a WalMart last March and I spontaneously allowed them to BOTH pick one. They still thank me almost every day for their cats. The cats come when we call their names. They will play with the kids for hours with little cat toys. The cats sleep with the girls. In my case I was glad that we got two litter mates because they keep each other company. Cats are rather easy to care for. I do deal with a litter box. Other than that I keep dry food in their bowl and fresh water in their dish. They do need shots once a year, and fleas can become an issue with outdoor cats. Older cats benefit from a little wet food too. I can leave mine home alone for a couple of days when I go out of town (with fresh food and litter box). And they aren't as smelly as mice or hamsters!!
M. W

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I am an experienced cat lover/owner. My cat is 19 years old. The older they get, the more they need to have a vet involved. They need an annual check-up. Cats are pretty independent, but they do have their favorite person for lap/sleep time. If you want to have your cat for years, keep her in. Train her to use a litter box. Remebe, they like to "claw, so investing in a cat scratcher is essential. My cat likes to sit in the sun in the windown sill in and people or animal watch. they don't need to be outside unless you are there with them. Hope this helps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My husband was not use to having an animal around either. My boys really wanted one so a kitten was there Xmas present this year. My husband was still not 100% sure about this decision. Now I don't know what he would do without the cat. Cats are very easy to take care of. They go right to their litter box if they are an indoor cat without a problem. Our cat only eats dry food she doesn't really care if she has wet food or not. Our vet said if they don't care about wet food and are fine with the dry, just the dry is fine. With the dry you can leave it out all the time, that's what we do. Cats are easier to take care of I think then a dog. My boys love playing with her also. They are 9 & 11. She has brought a lot of laughter and fun into the house. Not that we didn't have that before, she just added to it.
She's 5months now. I know you said the cat you would be getting was full grown so it might take a little bit to get use to you but once she/he does you will love it. My boys are on litter box and food patrol, they switch off days. I figured they are at the age that they wanted a pet they can take care of her.
I hope this helps.
M. Magni

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.H.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.!!
Cats are wonderful pets..we have 5! Most arent as forgiving as dogs.. and wont tolerate being yanked on etc.. They are very curious creatures and love to relax in the strangest spots..and are the funniest to watch. If the cat is an in an out cat, the best thing you can do, is make sure the cat is neutered or spayed..which will keep it close to your house, also make sure to use flea control, like Advantage once a month.. this will keep your cat healthy and happy, and keep the fleas out of your house!! You might want to test the cat around your kids for a few days, to avoid allergies. Maybe make arrangements with your friend to have a cat overnight for a few days. We love our "babies"!! We also have 3 dogs, and a pot bellied "child"..LOL. Cats are scratchers by nature and can destroy your furniture.. cat posts are a must!!
If you have any more questions, email me or im me at [email protected]____.com

Have a great day!!
K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.W.

answers from San Francisco on

If you are a busy mom and don't have the time or energy to feed, groom, bath and walk the dog, and pick up poop, go for the cat. They train to a litter box easily, will exercise themselves, require very little grooming and if they have a good temperament will provide the kids with lots of affection. They don't fetch a ball or learn lots of neat tricks as easily as a dog, but you won't need to invest weeks to months housebreaking it, going to obedience training (essential even for a small dog) and they don't need daily exercise by a human. Unless the kids are 9-10 years of age and really into the dog you will basically gain another child with the dog and more responsibility! An indoor/outdoor cat will be much easier, and the only real work is fleas from roaming and potential injury from cars, other cats, dogs and falls. Good luck.

Mom and Animal Technician in California

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Make absolutely sure no one is allergic to cats. One of my sons is, the other is not. It would be awful to have to get rid of a cat once it's yours.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.K.

answers from Bakersfield on

I am a stay at home mom of two and although we do not have any pets I was raised around cats. (MANY cats!) So far you've been given great advise. The one thing I loved about having cats around was they always seem to make me feel better. Something about petting a cat while curled up on the sofa was always calming. My childhood cat was an inside/outside cat and never got it's shots. She was never sick & lived 15 yrs. before a dog got her. My last cat, an inside only cat, got all it's shot & died for unknown reasons at 2 yrs old. Shots maybe?? Who knows.
Best of luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I don't think you should get the cat. They are more work than just letting them in or out, especially as they get older. They are territorial and may scratch your furniture or rugs to tell you something. They are all different, too, so it may tell you it needs brushing daily or cuddles or some play time. Also, kids don't play with cats or dogs or hamsters or anything unless you sit down to play with the animal with them. They need to be taught how to care for a pet in a loving way. It requires a fare amount of time. I have one cat and just put my older one to sleep a few months ago. My older one had cancer and the younger one has various needs that require vet visits occasionally. The vet visits can run up a good bill, too. With 4 kids and a husband that doesn't want to help, I wouldn't recommend a cat for you. Sorry.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.G.

answers from San Francisco on

You might try it on a 'return to original owner' in case it doesn't work out. Cats don't need to be walked as do dogs, but they also need shots @ the vet to keep them in good physical health. Also if your kids have given up on other pets, make it clear to them, this is a trial adoption, and hold them responsible for feeding cleaning etc. After the 'honeymoon is over then make a final decision.

janie g

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.B.

answers from Sacramento on

If your husband has already said "no" why are you asking? This will most likely cause a problem between the two of you. As you stated, your kids didn't really like the hamster and mice - so is it you that wants a pet? Don't do it.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.P.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi T.,
I have had atleast one cat my whole life & there is no easier animal to own. You don't have to clean up after them (if they are trained to go outside, which ALL of my cats have been). You give them food once/twice a day. Let them come & go as they please. We also own a smallish dog, who we rescued from the pound. They are best friends,but the cat would never admit it!
I will say though that if your kids are real young you just need to teach them how to properly pet & care for them. Some small kids like to try to "hold" cats. This is not usually a great idea, cats will feel smothered, and may lash out. Cats like to be pet & held, only when THEY want to be pet or held.
My daughter was 5 when we got our last cat, at the time she wanted to love the cat too much, but now they are fine together. The cat will come in the house demand food and curl up with my daughter everytime, if she sleeps in the house she will always sleep in my daughter's room. The cat is her absolute "best friend"...cats don't judge (and at 12 yr's old thats important)
The only real problem I have had is the cat Pooped the other nite in the house!! She always will scratch at the door to be let out, but it was the middle of the nite & my daughter just didn't hear her...oh well...
Some people will say cats scratch up furniture etc, and sometimes they do but if you use a spray bottle of water it will not harm the cat,just spray them with water when they are doing something wrong & believe me cats are smart they will not continue to do it(they DO NOT LIKE WATER)..I have also heard that male cats spray (scent). To be honest almost all of my cats have been female,but I was told if you fix a male cat they will stop spraying scent?
Cats are also a long term commitment. They usually live longer than dogs....about 12-15 years.While you can't throw the ball to the cat, and PLAY with them , they are much easier to care for than a dog, require less attention, don't require constant grooming appt's etc....
Good Luck to you, and enjoy the new addition to your family!!! Lisa Marie

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.H.

answers from San Francisco on

The potential for the cat being a playmate really depends on its personality, whether or not it's laid back and doesn't mind being dressed up and dragged around. I've had cats that were that chill. With an adult cat, even a well trained one that uses the great outdoors to do their business and doesn't spray to mark territory, it is inevitable that they will sometimes cough up a hairball or vomit now and then and likely that they will drag in a dead rodent now and then. Good spot cleaning skills for carpet and apholstry is a must! A longhaired cat will create a cat hair shedding disaster in your house, be prepared for extra vacuuming if it's a longhaired kitty.
A perfectly healthy cat will cost you 150.00 a year at the vet for an anual check up and continual vaccinations.
Oh! Biggest tip EVER: IMMEDIATELY INSTALL A CAT DOOR. Your hsband will be far more fond of an animal he never ever has to let in or out of the house at weird hours of the day and night. Cat door=sanity saver

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.I.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

Cats take as much effort (and vet bills) as a dog at times. Please consider this decision carefully. Your husband is not a pet person which should give you moment to paws;-)

L.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.F.

answers from Sacramento on

Cats make great pets. Kids love the "motor boat" purr, soft coat and lap-warming.

First take your kids to meet the cats at your friends house. Find out why she can't keep them (Moving to a no-pets place, allergies, or behavior issues like peeing outside the box, scratching furniture, aggression, etc-all of which can be corrected). If you have 4 kids, you'll be looking for a cat that is outgoing; that means s/he approaches strangers easily, handles noise and commotion pretty well and is fairly relaxed around everyone. Find out if the cats are OK around dogs, if you have one.

Cats are very mobile. What do you think about a cat possibly on furnoiture and/or countertops? How do you feel about a cat on the furniture? Does animal hair around the house bother you? Cats can live strictly outside, but live longer if they spend at least nights inside.

Bear in mind that I'm a cat person and have had cats my entire life, so I think cas are a great addition to a household.

Good luck!
P.S. Kids don't take to hamsters and mice real well becausethey're too small and not people-focused.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

It completely depends on the cats personality. My cat in an indoor cat. I pretty much just feed him and he keeps to himself all day and then he likes to cuddle at night. My mother inlaws cat doesn't really like anyone so all she needs is food and water. Some cats really like attention and to play and some don't. Make sure the cat is used to kids. You also need to teach the kids how to treat the cat so they don't get bit or scratched.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are very easy to take care of. All you need to do is leave food & water out for them. Make sure you take the food in just in case you have raccoons in your area. You might want to buy a nice scratching post so the cat doesn't claw up your furniture. They don't require a cat box because they are outside. My kids love our cats. The cats will sometimes sleep at the end of their beds at night. My cats are indoor cats which require a little more work because you’re dealing with a cat box.
Hope this helps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.L.

answers from San Francisco on

The important thing about having an animal while raising children is that your children learn care and compassion for a creature that is completely dependent on your family for its life. This is such an important lesson for kids to learn. Children who grow up with animals tend to treat their peers and siblings with more care and respect. They tend to understand that they have power for good and how important it is to take care of those who need this.

I would invite you, though, to think twice about letting kitty outside. Outside kitties bring fleas, tics, and diseases like giardia and coccidia into the house. With little humans in the house, I would not want to risk any of these things coming in. The best of all worlds is to have an inside only kitty who uses a litter box that one of your kids can clean (additional responsibility). Inside cats cost less in vet bills also, and they live longer. And are less territorial and more content:)

Inside cats are easy to care for--they just need a litter box and food bowls. Kitty will probably snuggle up in bed with all of you, taking turns. You can even leave a kitty for a weekend trip with extra food and water--they are fine for a couple of days by themselves.

I am a teacher, auntie, mom, and animal rescuer. I see the benefits of animals and children together every day. I think it's great that you want to give your kids this experience:)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.L.

answers from San Francisco on

We have two cats and a dog. Cats are a lot easier then dogs! My boys ages 4 and 6 love our cats! They sit with them, carry them around and constantly hug them. The first thing they do when they come home is go to the cats. So for us, the love of a cat has been wonderful. But there are things to consider, some people have cat allergies...and even if you don't, do you have friends that would want to come over that do? We have some friends that can't come to our house because of our cats. Also, you will have the added expense of the food, flea treatments, and Vet bills. And, if you go on long vacations you have to arrange care for your cat. For us, it is still worth it, but good to be aware of the commitment.
Good luck and let me know if you need any other advice!
J.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.K.

answers from San Francisco on

cats are really low maintanance (I have two). If you're going to let it out you need to keep up on a flea treatment. Get Frontline or Advantage at the vets. Don't ever use any of the cheap hartz stuff you find in the isle, it can and often does cause kidney damage (I use to be a vet tech and we saw a lot of fatalities from that stuff.)

As for the issue with playing, kids will play with a cat if the cat enjoys to play (some would rather lay in the sun all day.) Get a lazer pointer and see just how playful the cat is before you bring it home. If it doesn't go completly nutz for the lazerpointer then find another kitty.

Oh and to avoid carpet stains from hair balls buy a food that is tan in color the redish brown stuff makes the worst sains that never come out.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

It is difficult for children to really enjoy caged animals such as rodents and lizards because they cannot be handled alot and are not cuddly. Your children may enjoy a cat or a dog more. It sounds like you understand that the pet will be your responsibility, which is good because no matter how much they promise beg and plead, children do not follow through on taking care of an animal once it is home. It would be your cat. Cats/dogs rarely bond closely with children. They prefer to be with the adults in the household.
Cats require a fair amount of care to keep them healthy. Out door cats should always be brought in at night so they do not get hurt or in fights with other animals. There are many feline diseases (lukemia, feline AIDS, UTI's) and parasites (fleas and ticks) when considering a cat that spends much of its life outdoors. They can also carry ringworm that can be transferred to you when your petting them. Male cats carry more of an odor and will make territory (inside and out). When moved to a new house or location this cat would have to spend at least a few weeks solely indoors so that it would not run away. Cats will often run away from a new home to find their old one. They don't understand what has happened. You would have to get a litter box and keep it accessable.

I think it is great that you want to give an adult animal a home, but speaking from experience it can be an unexpected burden and very trying. Also there can be unexpected vet bill expenses as some other responders have mentioned.

If you get this cat, please feed it good food. Go to a petstore (not a chain) and buy high quality food. It is an investment against future vet bills. Cheap food is filled with ash and chemicals which will ruin the cats kidneys and digestive system over a period of years. You can guard against this by buying a true quality food (not Science diet, Eukanuba, or Purina). Good brands include: Wellness, Innova, Paul Newman (yes, he even makes cat food), California Natural, and Royal Cannin. Good foods also guard against allergies (animals get them too) hot spots, flaking skin and excess shedding.

If your husband is not on board about getting this animal, it could become a thorn in your side and a source of contention. I brought home a pet and eventually re-homed it because my husband hated the animal. He never warmed up to it,the poor animal became the "one more thing" that would put him over the edge when he was having a bad day. Honestly with four children a pet gets more neglect than attention because things are busy. I have five children and our poor dog is last on the list. She's lucky to be fed everyday let alone played with or cuddled.. My kids remember her about once every two weeks and that is when they catch me playing fetch with her or giving her some well deserved petting. Even now my dog is laying in front of our slider across the room. She used to lay at my feet. I think she's under protest. I'm very biased so for what it's worth I feel dogs are better pets for kids. They are usually more tolerant of errant behavior and can learn games like fetch. My kids do like to walk the dog and they like to have her sleep in their rooms. Well good luck and be sure to have a heart to heart with your hubby.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are so easy! We have one who was wild when we added her to the family at 6 weeks old. She is not very tolerent of being bothered for long, but she can leave the room if the kids are bothering her, unlike a dog. She is actually more tollerant of the kids than us. Also since your husband is not an animal fan, starting him out with a cat who is trained to go potty outside sounds like the perfect first pet. He may just change his mind :)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Cats are great, however you need to be a cat person...which my husband is NOT. We adopted 2 adult cats for our 3 kids, and well, the novelty of them was great in the begining, but it wasn't long before I was the only one caring for them. They don't require much, except attention and food. The attention part is huge, they do like to be loved on, and sleep on various beds until they find the one that fits their needs best...also, the more comfortable the cat gets, the more he/she will start exploring your home, and cats LOVE to climb, to see how high they can get I guess. Also they love to climb up on and walk on your counters (bathroom sink, kitchen counter, and of course the dining room table.) It did turn out to be too much for our family. We adopted thru Katmom, I highly recommend them, they have a policy that if for any reason the cat(s) don't fit with your family, they will take them back and find them a home that is a fit. It was the only place I would consider due to that policy, that way we were able to "try out" to see if it was a fit. In your case, be careful, you don't want to get an animal that you aren't able to keep and have to figure out a way to find it another home. Taking it to a shelter is not a great idea, as there are so many cats, sadly a lot of them get put down. Think long and hard about it! Especially if your husband is not an animal person...how is he going to feel after a long day at work to come home and find the cat on the counter, or the dinner table???

Good luck to you in finding the right fit!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.O.

answers from Redding on

HI Tracy,
I can tell you that I have two cats and two children. Both cats are indoor/outdoor. My oldest cat is 17 going on 18 and very healthy, so I don't buy into the story of letting cats out shortens their lives. I had her before I had children, and she's not kid friendly. My younger cat, a neutered male, we acquired as a kitten for my oldest daughter. He's absolutely wonderful with the girls. He's playful, loving and affectionate, and he's made my oldest (9 year old) his person. If the cat you're thinking of is good with kids, then you should consider it. I think it's great for kids to have pets.(And you could teach the kids to help you take care of the cat, it's a great way to learn responsibility, and how to care for and love a living creature) Cat's have more personality than hamsters or mice and are easier to relate to. They're not like dogs though. The play is different, but they will definitely play.
The fact that these cats are trained to "go" outside is a big plus. The worst part of owning a cat is taking care of the litter box.
I would suggest that you let the kids hang out with the cat a bit to see if they click. Cat's tend to pick people, not the other way around, and if the cat doesn't click with your children, it may not be a good match. If they do click, you'll have a great pet.
Dogs are wonderful pets too ( I have one), but you may want to start with the cat first. They're much easier to take care of then a dog. If you decide to go on a long weekend trip, you don't need to have someone babysit a cat. Just leave enough food and water out, and you'll have to provide a cat box. You can't do that with a dog. Cat's don't need as much health maintenance as dogs either, like shots and such. They usually don't need licenses either. If you do let them outside, you should make sure they have rabies vaccinations. Cat's don't normally need baths like dogs, and you don't normally need to comb them unless they're long haired. If you live in an area that has fleas, you'll want to flea treat them with Advantage or Frontline. If you provide a scratching post or something similar they will take care of their own nails, but when they get older you may need to clip their nails for them.
Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

Cats can be tricky. They are sometimes tempermental. They often scratch on furniture,speakers, anything that stands still. They may often mar floors with claws. If you intend for this cat to be indoor/outdoor, you won't be able to declaw it. Also, cats get hairballs. When they groom themselves, they throw-up the hair. It is really yucky and can stain carpet. And is not very nice to step in if you don't see it. If your husband is not in favor of this new adventure.....

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.E.

answers from San Francisco on

T.,

It all depends on the cat. I have two cats and they are extremely affectionate with me and my 10 year old but they avoid all the other kids (5 and under) at all costs. They are snuggly and sweet but I have had to teach the younger kids to just leave them alone so they don't get bitten or scratched (and so the cats don't get mistreated as well). Dogs are way more playful. Cats play by chasing strings and pouncing on things. They don't play games like dogs do (fetch, tug of war, chase). If your kids are pretty mellow and would enjoy just sitting quietly and gently petting their pet, a cat might be a good choice. If your kids are more on the active side and like to run around and play you might consider getting a dog.

As far as caring for a cat: very easy. You will need to give it food, clean water, and somewhere to go potty. Litter boxes are great because you don't have to worry about the little ones finding poop outside and touching it (it could contain all kinds of icky things that your kids can get like worms!). If you have a cat that goes outdoors you will also need to make sure you give it flea treatments and keep up with vaccinations. Indoor cats tend to live longer and be healthier but you probably wont be able to break the habit if the cat is used to going outside.

I hope this is helpful!

E.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Sacramento on

Pets are so good for kids, but it is important to have Dad's consent, and understand the boundaries he will allow, and teach the kids to respect them. I learned to love animals and treat them kindly from my Dad, and from the Siamese cat we had as a kid, which brought me a lot of joy when I was the only child left at home during school hours. It was great to have something to play with (pet, dress, etc) that responded with appriciation and/or tolerance! By the way, if anyone else needs a good cat, we have two extra Burmese-colored, medium-short haired spayed females, good with kids, house trained, free to good homes.###-###-####)
P.S. Maybe you could try out your kids by visiting your friend's cats, and see how they respond. Cats respond differently than dogs, but some like to be with kids more than others. Younger cats will play by chasing little balls, strings being pulled, or even a light shone on the wall. Usually first thing in the morning they are most playful.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are highly independent and don't need a lot of fussing. Normally they come to you when they want attention. My children played with our cat on occasion, but don't expect them to be over excited about it for long. Just like any pet, they have to make sure it has clean water, food and is well groomed, especially if it goes outside. On another note, our family also has a dog; they play with her, but she doesn't receive the attention she needs. My advice if you want a cat and enjoy the comfort an animal will bring, go ahead and get it. But if you are getting it for the kids, I expect you will be the sole caregiver.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.H.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Tracy - How wonderful of you to consider adopting an adult cat! My husband and I also have a cat "companion." She used to be an outdoor cat until we moved. She is now an indoor cat and so we have the added chore of cleaning her cat box. Hopefully, if you do decide to adopt, it will remain an outdoor cat. When our cat did her business outside it was a real blessing.

Other things I can think of are taking the cat to the vet and paying vet bills which can be quite exorbitant, depending on the treatment and how much you are willing to spend. Older cats usually develop health problems (some more serious than others) so this is something to seriously consider.

I've noticed that our 1 1/2 year old tries to give attention to the cat, however; Kitty is quite afraid of him. He's a little too spirited for her and she is quite old. If your children like animals and the cat likes children in turn, then I think your arrangement would work out well.

Good luck with your decision. ~B.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.E.

answers from Modesto on

hi T. d i think you should get puppy dog. i had 6 grandgirls 6 (girls) ha love dogs and play with girls and good caring etc i had 3 boxers dogs today i had one boxer dog left now my one boxer had cancer and passed away and other boxer had bad plm health and put sleep i still love boxers and other boston terriers dogs smile you can read web about dogs what dog can along with kids etc i didnt like cat bec of smelling pee and poo to do cleaning lots many people and kids had allergeires with cat smile hope your husband understand about dogs with kids and keep playing and fun and walking etc smile thanks karen

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are great pets, WAY easier than dogs. If the cat already goes potty outside, you probably just have to get a little cat door. Food & water, attention & love (I'm sure they'll get that from the kids). As long as your kids are old enough to know not to hurt the cat it should be fine. It's hysterical to watch a cat chase a laser or one of those wiggly toys, I think they'll play with it for sure.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Cats are certainly far more self sufficient and low maintenance than ANY dog, but make sure that you have enough wiggle room in your budget for things like yearly shots and the possibility of bad things happening and needing money for the vet. if you choose to have a strictly indoor cat, know that you, as Mom staying at home, will be responsible for all the poop scooping of the litter box. And no matter how often you clean that litter box or what type of litter you use, there will always been a slight "odor" that other people may notice if the box is in a "public" area in your house.
That being said, I have never lived without a cat since I was born! I stay at home, but also work full time from home and have two cats. One is indoor/outdoor and comes and goes as she pleases, and the other CHOOSES to be strictly indoor. Since I'm the "mommy" to pretty much everything in the house, it is no different with the cats - they come to me when they want love, attention, or food and entertain themselves the rest of the time. Both of them spend at LEAST 18 hours a day sleeping -- one of my cats even tolerates the attention of my 2 year old with surprising patience and tolerance. I love the kitties -- they really are very low maintenance and pretty much just want my love. You might enjoy having a furry companion that does not require your constant attention or sass you just for the heck of it. Your children need to know that it most likely will not play with them in the way that a dog would, but I always had really good, close friendships with the cats we had throughout my childhood/lifetime. I say go for it!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.J.

answers from Sacramento on

my husband was not fond of the idea of cats until we got our angel. we had her for 12 years before losing her to a coyote. our son is 5 and still misses her. yes kids do play with cats, all you need is ball of wool or swing an old tie around the room, just use your imagination and the kids and the cat will do the rest. when the cat is done just leave her alone. ps my husband wants to get another cat one day, he appreciates them.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Well- the first thing I would find out is why your friend wants to get rid of the cats. If it's because of behavior problems or health problems, I would think twice about adopting these cats. You want your kids (and your husband) to have a positive first feline experience. Also - do your kids like these cats? You want them to feel some ownership in the decision making process. If its "their" cat, not yours, they will be more likely to willingly engage in cat caretaking.

But as for adopting a cat in general & can you care for it- absolutely! Cats are beautiful, loving, independent animals. Much less needy than dogs (I have both). The degree of playfulness will depend on the age & personality of the cat (same is true in dogs) but your family will gain a new family member who is always happy to see you. You will need to feed the cat, let the cat in & out, probably keep a litter box during inclement weather, trim the cat's claws occasionally, take the cat to the vet at least annually (vaccinations, check-up), and provide the cat with monthly flea & tick treatments (because it will be going outside). Also, cats require attention & exercise, but that's the fun part. Cat adoption is long-term commitment- my cat Ella is 14 and going strong. As with people, medical needs often increase with the age of the animal.

Having pets helps teach kids responsibility and respect for all life. And cats are wonderful, loyal friends and good company.I clearly remember being a little girl, crying in my room because I got in trouble, and my cat Little Guy climbed into my lap and started purring, comforting me. Friendship like that is priceless. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

I agree w/Kristie. I have one cat who is about 13 y.o. She is very low maintenance. She is in and out of the house. Sometimes, when I leave for work, she is lying on my daughter's bed and when I get home she is still in the same place. Usually when the kids are around, she goes to her "hiding" place. They are too much for her to handle. All she wants is to cuddle and be loved. My boyfriend is allergic to cats and dogs, but he has really adapted to my cat after living w/us for over a year. The only thing I do, is feed her dry food (and water), clean her litter box and give her Advantage every month for flea control. And yes, she likes to claw furniture...Luckily, the only thing she has destroyed since I've been in this house (9 yrs), is the screen door.

Lisa

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi Tracy,

taking in a full G. cat is a little easier to take care of just feed it and let it in or out. just a little warning though full G. cats have their own behavior, they are set in their ways so if the cat doesn't want to play with the kids make sure the kids leave it alone.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear T.,
My children are both animal lovers. We've had hermit crabs, birds, rabbits, cats and dogs. I personally prefer cats because they DO seem to be more independent and come and go as they please, as opposed to dogs. My very best pets have been cats. My very worst pets have been cats. If you get a good one, you will be so happy to have it as part of your family. If you get a bad one, you will be so sorry. Our last good cat, Lillian, lived to 14 years old. She was mellow, never tore anything up, never pottied in the house. We have tried, unsuccessfully, with two other cats since then. And it's heartbreaking, because we do get attached even though they are terribly naughty. Some cats can go in and out with no problem. But, then you need to worry about fleas, etc. My son and I went to a bar-b-q and came home a couple hours later to find every curtain and piece of furniture shredded. Leaving it out if we were gone resulted in torn window screens. Not a happy experience.
My friend took in two cats for a friend who moved which she did without asking her husband and he was FURIOUS. But, they are snuggy and not naughty and blended well with their new surroundings. When it comes to cats, you just never know what you are going to get.
Good luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

W.M.

answers from Sacramento on

T.,
We have 4 dogs and 5 cats. The cats are all indoors. They are much easier to take care of than the dogs. Besides what you listed, the cats need their nails cilpped, and of
course, they will use any planters or flower beds as their
litter boxes. My neighbors cat does that, and I spray down
my yard with a product called fooey in any places I don't want them to be, it keep my yard from smelling like a litter box. The only other thing that I see is that when you first get a pet, you are supposed to keep it indoors for up to 10 days so that it recoginzes that this is the
new home. That would be your challenge. Two of our cats got out once. One was bitten by the nieghbor cat, and got an infected tail, and the second caught round worm from the field behind the house(she was gone for 2 months)
Other than that, if I could turn the 4 dogs into cats,
life would be a lot quieter here, that is for sure. My husband does not like cats, and yet I still find him holding one of them or petting them at least 3times a week.
He especially likes the kitten, who has an awesome personality, and was given to us. If the cat was microchipped don't forget to change it to your name, and
the only other cost you should have is the annual shots,
anywhere from 45$ to 100$. Our vet is Sunrise Pet Hospital
and their # is 916- ###-###-#### if you want to call them with any other questions. By the way, I can not bond with the two pets you listed as your prior pets, they totally give me the creeps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.D.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi T.

I wanted to answer this because my kids love animals and they are always wanting another and another...anyway, a cat is fine if you alone want to love and care for it because the kids are great for about 1 to 2 weeks and then the animal becomes no more than a chore for them. I have a dog (8years now) and my son has to be told everyday to feed the dog and to get him fresh water ect. Animals are great but they do fall under total care of the parents so my advice was, if you alone dont want a cat, dont do it.

best of luck
C.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches