We in my family are considering getting a cat.
We have the opportunity to get a kitten from a couple of acquaintances.
I have tried to read a lot of cat books, but still have some questions.
1. Should we get a cat even though my husband and I have hay fever respectively a little eczema? (The children are completely allergy-free though!).
I have checked with doctors and they claim that it is OK, ie. as great a risk as for most. We spend time with cats in the summers and have not noticed anything special.
2. Can a kitten handle being left alone for a couple of hours every morning when we work and are at school (approx. 9-13)?
3. Since this is a normal domestic cat raised in a family with children, I do not know if it will be vaccinated, should we do it immediately when we pick up the cat?
4. We prefer a male cat, how do you know it is a male?
5. How does the kitten know that it will use a claw tree and the litter box at home?
6. Should you comb and brush the cat every day, even if it is a short-haired domestic cat? Do you need to cut the claws on it? (We will definitely have it as an indoor cat!) How early should you teach it to wear a leash, when can you start going out with it?
7. Do kittens need any special extra vitamins?
I’ll reply to your questions in order:
1. I think the doctor is right, especially since you have already had some contact with cats without any problems.
2. The kitten can do well alone, when it is no longer time.
But when you get it home, I think it should be in connection with a weekend or some other days off, so it is not alone the first few days.
3. If it has not already been vaccinated, you should do so when it is 12 weeks old (preferably do not take it home before this age) and again after three to four weeks.
Then once a year.
4. With very small kittens, it can be difficult, even for very experienced breeders, to see what sex they are.
But the rule of thumb is that if there is a good distance between the two small “dots” in the buttocks, it is a male, if the distance is short, it is a hone.
From four weeks onwards, it begins to become clear who is what.
But really my advice is, that you should visit the litter a few times, and if there is a kitten you get particularly in good contact with, you should take it and ignore if it is a male or female.
There are certain temperament differences between males and females, but in practice individual differences will dominate more.
5. If the kitten has been used to claw trees and boxes “from home”, it will also use it in its new home. But it is always a good idea, when you get a kitten home, to start by showing it where the tree and box are.
Put the kitty in the box, and then often the instinct itself wants to tell it what to do. It may happen, you have to raise a little to make it clear to it that it may only scratch in the claw tree and not elsewhere.
6. A short-haired cat almost never needs any form of fur care, but since most people like to be brushed, it may be a good idea to do so as well.
It has the positive side effect, that many loose hairs end up in the brush instead of in the furniture.
Almost all indoor cats need to have their claws clipped once in a while.
Ask your veterinarian to show you how to vaccinate your cat.
It is best to train the cat from the beginning.
You can eventually start going out with it, once it has become familiar with its indoor environment.
7. If you use a good food especially for kittens (in pet stores: Royal Canin, Iams, Eukanuba, Hill’s Science Plan – only at the vet: Specific, Hill’s Prescription Diet), it does not need extra vitamins.
Hopefully these answers help you on your way.
Good luck with everything!