To cat, or not to cat?

Kimi HKimi H SunderlandMember Posts: 2,257
edited 28 November, 2006 in Choosing the Right Cat
The human is taking back the keys for a few, with a dillema I'm sort of struggling with. Apologies in advance, it may be quite long. To begin, Jake is the family cat, and I no longer live at home. So I'm actually cat-less at the moment. I'd love nothing better than to kidnap him from my parents' house (Jake is pretty much concentrated awesome in a fur coat) but he'd be so unhappy that, at his age, there's no way I'd submit him to the stress of having to adjust to a suddenly all-indoor lifestyle when he's always been used to sunning on the lawn whenever he bloody well feels like it. So that's out of the question. An adult when we found him stray, Jake has always placed a high value on his outdoors time and I honestly believe it'd shorten his lifespan for me to steal him away from that. I'm toying with the idea of getting a cat though, and that's what I'd like advice and outside opinions on please, Catsters! Right now, it's me and my small dog Eppy here in an off-campus apartment. She gets very lonesome when I'm at school and work, and has been a bit mopey since my guinea pig Chloe died. It's just her and the emptiness now once I leave. I thought a cat might be a good companion for her, if I can find one that would like her and vice versa. Eppy doesn't like other dogs for some reason but seems fond of small pets and cats. So a cat, that wouldn't have to be confined to a cage for his own safety (as Chloe was) might make a good friend for her while I'm away. It wouldn't be just for her of course... I love kitties too. Actually, what brought the issue to the forefront was the kitten I saw today, when the no-kill shelter brought some pets to the pet shop to adopt out. My "cat plan" was nothing but a little, shelved dream, I have been balking at doing it because, as much as I would love it, I'm still in college, and I get pretty busy sometimes, not to mention the fact that finances are usually fairly tight. I can afford food and shots and such, but what if something really expensive, a veterinary emergency for example, were to happen? My pets and I would be stuck between a rock and a broke place. But then, there he was. This black kitten who looked at me, and that look said, "you know we were made for each other. I know you can see it." I held him, and it was all over. I can't get it out of my mind. A negligible adoption fee, and of course a litterbox and some litter and food (dishes and toys I've got already in abundance) and this cat would be mine. Once the neuter and the first sets of shots are out of the way, upkeep for one cat and Eppy would be well within my budget. Those initial expenses would be a bit of a squeeze but I could do it, and recover the expenses with a bit of planning and extra prudence. (still nervous about that emergency possibility though). But the question I'm struggling with is: would that be irresponsible and selfish of me? Would my dog be better off with one hundred percent of the pet attention that I have to give when I AM home? Would this kitten be better off adopted by some stay-at-homer, or a big family, or someone with a more stable life than some broke college kid? I'm really torn. I had originally wanted an adult cat if/when I eventually got one anyway, but now I know it's either going to be HIM or I wait until I graduate to even look again. I'm way too in love with this little guy. He settled into my arms, purred us both into a zen-like state of contentment, and I swear he was smiling. It's him or it's nobody. But I want to make the right choice for all involved here. Lay it on me, guys, you won't hurt my feelings (well unless you word it nasty, but I already know nobody here is prone to doing that so yay!). What should I do?

Comments

  • Lia BinettiLia Binetti Spring HillMember Posts: 41
    edited 12 November, 2006
    Go for it! Don\'t worry about emergencies, as that will work out somehow if/when the time comes. If he stays an indoor kitty, there\'s less likelihood of anything serious happening. If possible, make sure a vet has looked him over first, to make sure he\'s not sick (FELV, etc.) so you\'ll be sure, upfront, that there won\'t be future costs involved. Dogs and cats do get along when they are properly introduced and it sounds like eppy would enjoy a playmate :) My mom\'s been looking to adopt a playmate for me and the no kill shelters are full to the brim with loving adorable furbaby\'s that no one wants, so the chance of him finding a \"better\" home is not likely... yours will be the better home for him! Good luck and when you bring him home, make sure you give us the link to his page, so we could welcome him the catster way! :) Purrs, Mr. B.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 12 November, 2006
    As much as you fell in love w/ this little kitten, I would think you would be better off w/ a young adult cat. Kittens are alot of work. They need lots of attention. Since you are a student and gone for the majority of the day, the kitten will not get the proper amount of attention from you, I believe. A young adult should have all of it's vaccines, most likely be spayed/neutered, and will be less likely to get into "trouble" at home. I think you should focus on getting a cat between 2-5 years of age that has lived w/ dogs before. You will find that, although a kitten is very tempting, the inital expenses are likely to run in the $200-300 range. Besides, the kitten and the dog should be seperated while you are away (at least initially) until you know that the kitten can not be injured by the dog. (even if it's accidentally). An adult cat will also need seperating, but for a shorter time, as they are larger and will be able to "defend" itself if need be. Just my $.02. Hunter
  • Diana GabaldonDiana Gabaldon PortlandMember Posts: 5,607
    edited 12 November, 2006
    I think I agree with Hunter. An older kitty might be better suited for you and less expensive. Plus, you can adopt an older kitty that already has been around dogs and won\'t be totally freaked out. I know that our local shelter has many kitties that have been socialized with dogs. Your local shelter or cat adoption group will be able to tell you which kitties will do well with dogs. I know how tempting a kitten can be but it is also a lot of work. Good luck in your decision and please let us know when you get a new kitty.
  • Jill McWhiteJill McWhite Duke City, Land of EnchantmentMember Posts: 1,098
    edited 12 November, 2006
    I would check what the adoption fee includes, alot of times the pets that are brought into the petstores come from rescue organizations and the adoption fee includes first shots, and S/N, or a voucher to get it done at the appropriate time. I know I came into mom's life when she a a dirt poor Americorps volunteer (my initial expenses were covered as my first family had gotten me from the humane association), but we always managed. I actually provided an excellent return on investment, providing lots of entertainment and support at an otherwise difficult time.
  • Kimi HKimi H SunderlandMember Posts: 2,257
    edited 12 November, 2006
    Thanks for all the advice so far, guys! This is really helping. A bit more on the rescue: It's the Battle Creek Animal Shelter, a no-kill place (so even if he doesn't get a new home right away, he's not in danger of death from my indecision). The adoption fee is 30 dollars, with an extra 25 tacked on that gets refunded once he's been fixed. It includes all the vet care he's had while there, which I do believe has included all his first shots. He's in apparent good health and kept clean, but I'd be taking him to a vet for the once-over anyway, you never know what a shelter kitty might have that an overworked shelter vet may have missed (no offense to them, bless them a thousand times for the work they do!). I do believe I'll ask more about the kind of care that he has had when I go over there this week... I'm going to bring Eppy along and see if they hit it off, as long as the shelter staff says that's okay. While there I'll ask more about him and what sorts of things I'll still need to do for him medically. They think he's maybe four months old. I'll be thinking hard about your advice, Hunter, because as I said, my idea was originally an adult cat, not a kitten. I've had kittens before but it's been years, and I'm not sure I remember how to properly raise and train a baby. I guess some research is in order! I guess I must be crazy for still considering it as seriously as I am, but something about that guy just made practicality fly out the window. He was in a cage with a few other kitties his age but they were easy enough to look at, pat, say "aw how cute, hope they find nice homes" and forget about. Not with him, though. It was all about him. Nothing special in his looks, really, a plain black kitten with gold-ish eyes. No, I can't explain it... but I can't get my mind off it, either. Hence why I'm going to call them, and bring Eppy for a meeting if I can. I figure, if I call on Monday and he's gone, it wasn't meant to be. And if I bring Eppy and they don't like each other, well that defeats half my purpose anyway then, doesn't it? Of course, if he's still there and they like each other... I don't know what the heck I'll do. Go nuts trying to figure out if I can afford it, and wrack my brain trying to figure out if I'm doing the right thing, I guess. Maybe I should talk to my mom. Ack. Somebody please tell me you've had a similar problem before! XD
  • Jill McWhiteJill McWhite Duke City, Land of EnchantmentMember Posts: 1,098
    edited 12 November, 2006
    Don't stress yourself too much. There are already two big "ifs", let those sort themselves out, and then....just follow your heart. I have walked away from a kitty that wanted to be mine before, and it will stick with you for awhile, but like you said in a no-kill shelter and a young little guy like that, you kow that he is not in any danger regardless of your decision. Good luck!
  • Julie BellizziJulie Bellizzi StaffordMember Posts: 196
    edited 12 November, 2006
    When I was adopted from the local shelter as a kitten, the neuter was free, it was actually included in my adoption fee of 50 dollars. My mum recently graduated from college, too, and I arrived when she was in her senior year. She says I should remind you about Murphy's law because, shelter kitty or not, I turned out to have worms and a kitty cold that popped up not long after I got home. Some vets, however, will be willing to help you out with any costs that may arise by letting you pay in installments, like her vet did. I also turned out to get along great with the family dog when I went home-home for the holidays. Your puppy sounds lonely, and if she is anything like me she would probably benefit from having a friend around during the day. I don't think it would be cruel for you to adopt this kitty at all. Provided you have the time to give him some attention every day, I say go for it!
  • Christy MChristy M Member Posts: 329
    edited 13 November, 2006
    our mom is a college student as well, and as much as she would love to adopt other cats, she knows she's at her limit right now. she's got me, pippin, martini (a guinea pig) and sable (a mouse). pippin and i are the only ones with annual vet visits, though (unless martini isn't feeling well, and of course she'll go then). pippin was free to mom, but she adopted him from the vet clinic she worked at because he'd been abandoned, and he needed some work (x-rays, pain medication, and when he felt better, his shots and a FeLV test), so she spent about $200 initially on him. i was $50 from the shelter, plus about $40 for my exam and rabies shot. anyway, i guess what i'm trying to say is, you know where your "limit" is. mom knows she can't afford another animal at the moment. so i know it doesn't help, but it's definitely a personal decision :) an option you might have is fostering a cat? that way if anything happened health-wise, the shelter would be responsible (i think.) sorry this is so long! good luck!
  • Harvie SchreiberHarvie Schreiber FresnoMember Posts: 22
    edited 13 November, 2006
    My mom thinks that teenagers/young adults are (in many ways) the simplest kitty cats to adopt. That being said, she routinely rescues kittens as well as older (4 years old) cats, too.... She just follows her heart. You should, too. Purrrs and meows for your decision....
  • Kimi HKimi H SunderlandMember Posts: 2,257
    edited 13 November, 2006
    Thanks everybody. I called them today. I'm going to call again tomorrow, as the lady there wasn't the same one and wasn't sure who got taken to the pet store, so she couldn't tell me if "my" kitten was still around. But she did tell me everycat there has had shots (he's young so thus far he's only had his first set) and is also tested for FIV/AIDS and Feline Luekemia. And she said it was fine for me to bring Eppy for a meeting. I'll keep you posted! Everyone's been so supportive and helpful.
  • Amanda SteeleAmanda Steele Lemoyne, HarrisburgMember Posts: 14
    edited 13 November, 2006
    I can imagine what a tough decision this must be for you!!! I know that when I was looking to adopt a kitty that I wanted an adult only because I never had a cat before. I just thought it would be easier that way. And it was for the most part...Phoenix was already spayed and litter-trained. However...I did run in to so unexpected problems with allergies (on her part...apparently cats can have allergies). I guess what I am saying...there is always a chance that an unexpected glitch may occur, but as long as the rewards out-weigh the risks...I say go for it!!!! Purrs!!!!
  • Kimi HKimi H SunderlandMember Posts: 2,257
    edited 15 November, 2006
    Hey Catsters and Dogsters, an update! (I was so concerned about making the right decision I got help from both sides here, lol). Today I took Eppy over to the shelter to meet with the kitten. Found out a wonderful surprise-- he's not only still there, but he's already been fixed! Eppy was curious and playful with him (when I could get her to pay attention, she was apparently reminded of the vet, and mostly really eager to get the heck out of the shelter). He was curious but cautious, and mostly wanted to sniff and look from a safe distance. As long as she was calm he was happy enough to have her close by, but when she tried to bat at him with her paw and play bow, he arched his back and fluffed his fur. Still I think it went pretty well, the place was a bit hectic, the cat is still quite young, and I think they were both a bit overstimulated. At any rate, she showed no inclination to be hostile to him. So I'm at the last hurdle. I'm going to ask my parents what they think. I don't live with them anymore, but I know if I got a pet without consulting them first, I'd never hear the end of it. So I'll talk to them and as long as they don't toss a fit, I'm getting the kitten this weekend. I'm still considering advice at this point, so if anyone has any words of wisdom to offer us on this, please let me know! Also, big thanks again for all the help you've given so far. Yay!
  • Diana GabaldonDiana Gabaldon PortlandMember Posts: 5,607
    edited 15 November, 2006
    Yay! We are so happy that the meeting went well. I hope you get to take the kitty home. Let us know how it goes.
  • Jill McWhiteJill McWhite Duke City, Land of EnchantmentMember Posts: 1,098
    edited 16 November, 2006
    Can't wait to hear the outcome. Please let us know either way.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 16 November, 2006
    It sounds like everything is moving along great. There is obviously something special about this little guy and maybe you really were meant to have him. Let us know how things work out.
  • Denise GraysonDenise Grayson BothellMember Posts: 2,468
    edited 18 November, 2006
    If you feel in your heart that this is the cat for you then you should go for it. Mom had seen several kitties before I came into the picture and even though the rest of the family wanted each and every one of them none of them felt right to her. She knew when she came to see me that I was the one! Mom also had the same situation years ago on leaving her first kitty behind when she moved from her parents house. She saw that not only he would have a hard time adjusting to a new place but that he was just as important to her parents and he was to her and couldn\'t put them through being separated from him either. He lived a wonderful life of over 21 years. Meowmy is on a very tight budget too. She is not a student but a single mother of two teenagers. One thing that she trys to do for the occasional emergencies, vet checks, shots etc. is she has a kitty fund. When I first came into the scene it was putting 10.00 a paycheck into the kitty. The amount every month has grown over the years and sometimes the kitty fund has been used for other emergencies that may have came up in other areas. Any ways by just putting a little away every month she has enough when it comes for my annual exams and shots.
  • Sarah DevonshireSarah Devonshire La VerneMember Posts: 502
    edited 18 November, 2006
    I just wanted to say that I know how you feel! I just moved out myself, am a starving college kid, and I left my beloved kitties at home. God I miss them so much. I do have my Koda dog though, and have wanted to get another kitty but unfortunately one of my roommates is allergic. I know that I could afford one more animal, thats why I'm condsidering another dog, so if you think this little man is right, then you hafta go for it. Best of luck to you, please keep us updated!!
  • Kimi HKimi H SunderlandMember Posts: 2,257
    edited 27 November, 2006
    The latest update: My mom does not want me to have this kitty, or any kitty. My family is a bit biased against cats and I'm not sure how I'd ever convince her otherwise... I feel very upset about it. I hate to think of him in a cage at the shelter when he could be at my apartment knocking stuff over and getting fed holiday-shaped treats, as is his birthright as a feline. Mom said, "Eppy doesn't hate being alone, YOU hate for her to be alone." And it's true that I feel terrible for her to be alone all day. But... well, shouldn't I? It's a long time to amuse yourself in the silence, and since she's a dog it's not like she can open a book you know? What should I do?! Poor Bodhi. I want to call and see if he's still there. If he's been adopted my worries will be over... but if he's still there I won't be able to quit pining over it. I know I'm altogether too emotional, I've always been that way... but is it so wrong to fall in love with a kitty?
  • eva pennyeva penny chehalisMember Posts: 528
    edited 27 November, 2006
    I also was told by my mom that I was not really getting a cat for Diesel but for myself. I refused to even consider that she was right until I brought Tucker home and Diesel took an instant dislike to him. Then the wheels in my head started spinning and all I could think was 1) I've made a horrible mistake 2) I don't want to give him up! I realized then that the choice of bringing another cat into the family WAS for myself. I loved the idea of Diesel having a companion while I was gone, he was always so sad when we would leave and I thought that another cat would solve that problem and help to make me feel less guilty when I couldn't be there for him. I also loved the picture in my head of my two kittens playing happily together and curling up together ... That didn't happen. It's been a couple of weeks now and I'm happy to say they finally are getting along MOST of the time. They groom each other, play together, eat together and even sleep together. They even use their litterboxes at the same time (lol). I love having two cats!! Even though we had a bumpy start I believe that I made the best choice for myself as well as my cats. Good luck!!
  • Gina BakerGina Baker CarrolltownMember Posts: 1,004
    edited 28 November, 2006
    My family is anti-cat too. Cats are farm tools to control the rodents, not really pets. I have to admit, I'm not a cat person. But I have two cats now. The first one was a gift for my dog. He was being destructive and tearing up my house. Once the cat came, all that stopped. I don't have to lock him up anymore. He is free alone in the house and I'm 100% sure I have the cat (Ushi) to thank for that. You can't tell me that he wasn't bored and lonely without his cat. Then the cat got bored, so I adopted another stray. They carry on all day. Hopefully, everybody is happy now. As long as you think you can handle the cat and you can care for it, I say get it. I think your parents don't want to get stuck with him if you move or get bored with him. As long as you're responsible, I think its great.
  • C&R WC&R W Member Posts: 110
    edited 28 November, 2006
    Here\'s what you should do. Go with what feels the most comfortable for you and only you. And quit listening to other people. You obviously felt some sort of connection with that kitty. Hmmm, I see that bossy side is coming out in me again ;) meow meow, Rits
  • Dorothy KuykendalDorothy Kuykendal Member Posts: 24
    edited 28 November, 2006
    If you feel so close to this kitten, and if you can afford to take care of a cat, I say go for it--your parents won't be taking care of him or paying for him, you will. Trust me, I know how much parental pressure can suck, especially when you're still in school, but you can't base every major decision on whether or not it will please your parents--it has to be what works for *you,* and getting a pet, as you already know, is a pretty major decision. They'll get over it eventually when you do something even more offensive. *g* Having said that, being able to afford a cat *is* a big "if." I'm a broke grad student, and Tater cost me a few hundred bucks in initial fees. If you're worried about emergencies (I was too), and can afford to part with a little more dough, I'd recommend getting pet insurance. Some companies let you pay for it month-to-month (it can cost as little as $10/month), and it can be really good for your peace of mind. Yeah, he was expensive, but he's totally worth it, in every way. :)
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