Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New kittens

Lindsey asked a great question in a previous post and I thought I'd copy my answer here. She said:
I would love to ask you a question. I am going to be getting 2 kittens very soon (they are my parents' Christmas present to me - as soon as I find two that I love, they're coming home with me), and I am so excited! I do have one concern though, and from this post I think you might be able to help. I am a full time graduate student and I also have a part time job. As a result, I am often not home for large chunks of time during the day. This is one of the main reasons that I want to get 2 - so that they will have each other. Do you have any suggestions for how to keep them behaving when I'm gone and how to make the most of my time with them when I am home? I'd love to know how you handled this!

When I first got my kittens, I was still living with my parents, though I was gone from the house 60+ hours a week. My parents also both worked full-time, so my kittens were alone quite a bit. When they were 7 months old I moved to my own apartment and worked a normal 40 hour a week job. I found that they behaved quite nicely as long as I kept the apartment kitten-proofed! I would say maybe confine your kittens to a certain room until you feel comfortable knowing what they can get into. For example, I found that my kittens loved knocking things off surfaces. So - all the stuff I kept on top of my dresser was put in a drawer. Be especially careful if you have breakable things! Don't leave string around - because of their sandpaper tongues, it's very hard for a kitten to spit it back out again. Any time I have had string laying around my cats have ingested it and then returned it a few days later - in a more disagreeable manner! Even if you don't want to let your cats on the kitchen counters, keep them clean of food and dirty dishes so your cats don't have a reason to jump up. Also, make sure their cat food is very secure and don't leave a bag of cat food lying around! My cats will chew through ANY bag of cat food within hours. :-) Oh and one other thing - if you can, make sure to clear a spot in front of a window where they can watch the world go by. My cats can sit for hours in front of the window. I found I always have to open the blinds in the mornings or my cats would go THROUGH them! I put a nice little table in front of my window and they loved that. The best part was they could watch for me to come home.

As far as making the most of your time with them, I guess just play with them and cuddle with them as you can. The more you play with them as kittens, the healthier they'll be and the more active they'll be as adults. Laser pointers are excellent for playing with kitties. I'm glad you're getting 2! :-) After having two I would never go back to having only one. I love to love on my cats, so I am more interested in the cuddling than in the playing, unfortunately! (Which is probably why my cats have always tended to be rather sedentary!) I rarely push them away when they come to me, and I always try to keep a lap open for them. I also pick them up a lot and squeeze them, but not every cat will tolerate that.

I hope this helps! Let me know when you get your kitties! Mine were a Christmas present from my parents, too.


Beth said...

Any thoughts for keeping cats out of Christmas trees? Our cats keep climbing up ours (not a good thing). Fortunately we haven't decorated it yet. I've squirted them both with a water gun, but that doesn't seem to hold them back.

Lindsey said...

Thanks SO MUCH for the great answer! That really alleviates a concern of mine. Today I visited a couple of shelters and there is a pair of brothers (4-5 months) that should really be adopted together because they already are so close. I'm going to visit the adoption fair on Saturday, but unless something really gets me going there, I think I'll be bringing the two brothers home with me. No worries, pictures to follow!

Also, I want to know the answer to Beth's question above, LOL! You are the cat advice queen!