life with kids & kittens

June 15, 2015

life with kids and kittens

Well, we are about two months into life with the kittens and I’m here with a progress report! I had never owned a cat before, so I have learned a LOT.

First of all: we love them. Well, David is indifferent, but I myself really enjoy their happy furry presence, especially on the rare occasions when I’m home alone. They are often the first thing Meredith talks about when she wakes up or comes home. They are an endless source of delight for Liam.

life with kids and kittens

Kittens & Kids

One reason we opted for kittens was because they wouldn’t be afraid of kids and they’d get used to life with them. Well, they are getting exposure for sure! I have been able to teach Meredith the right way to hold them, and she almost always makes sure to support their bodies from underneath now. She still has a tendency to squeeze them or just hold them tight when they obviously want to go play. She has gotten scratched more than a few times that way (and ringworm developed on one of the scratches), and sometimes she cries but most of the time it doesn’t bother her much. I do trim their nails every couple of weeks.

I have to keep a closer eye on Liam or he will completely torment them. He just loves to pick them up by whatever he can grab. I am trying to show him how to be gentle and I do let him hold them if I place them in his arms the correct way. Sometimes I find random things in the litter box and he also loves to play in their food & water bowls which is super annoying. If he is showing interest in that I place a stool over them so that the cats can crawl under to get at the bowls, but Liam can’t really get through.

life with kids and kittens

Cost

Let’s talk about how much they cost. We had their adoption fee waived, but I was prepared to spend a little money up front for supplies. I’d say we spent about $150-200 on that, including:

  • two litter boxes + scooper + liners
  • litter
  • food (dry + canned)
  • four bowls: 2 small for canned food, 2 large for dry food & water
  • one small scratching post
  • wand toy
  • collars (although they are too big still)

The adoption included the kittens’ neutering, initial vaccine, and a free vet visit. One thing I hadn’t counted on, though, was that I’d have to pay for the rest of their vaccines since they were so young. We went back to the shelter for those; it was cheaper than the vet but we paid for it by way of waiting TWO HOURS to be seen. They each needed three vaccines on two separate occasions (three weeks apart) and so each visit cost me total $115. So that’s an additional $230.

So far on an ongoing basis I am spending about $60-70 on food and litter every 3-4 weeks. I personally feel like this is too much and need to do some research on how to get it down. I was surprised that a large bag of litter only lasts a few weeks. They also really need another scratching post or tree or something. But anyway, as you can see these cats aren’t cheap.

life with kids and kittens

Training

For about a month we had issues with the cats pooping outside of the litter boxes. I knew they were litter-trained because they used the boxes most often, and it was in random places and it was both of them. We kept them enclosed in a small room for awhile, used Cat Attract litter, and cleaned/deodorized the soiled spots thoroughly. For awhile it kept happening, and then slowly it just stopped. So my philosophy of “ignore it and it will go away” worked in this case. :)

As the kittens grew they began getting more adventurous and mischievous. When they were tiny they couldn’t make it onto the counters, for example, but now they can. Currently we are still having problems with them getting on counters and tables – even trying to eat our food – so I keep a spray bottle handy. Hoping to train that out of them.

life with kids and kittens

Care

Let’s be honest, most of the care for the kittens falls to me. As Meredith gets older I will definitely have her take some responsibility, but she’s not there yet.

Since they are still growing we keep dry food out for them at all times, and I feed them each 1/4 can of wet food every morning and evening. I clean their litter daily (usually right after work) and fully change it once a week. As I mentioned, I trim their nails every couple of weeks. That’s about all the care they need on a regular basis!

life with kids and kittens

Other Thoughts

  • I had to start closing the door to our bedroom every night because they loved to pounce all over us when we were trying to go to sleep and they wake up way too early. I do miss out on kitten cuddles when they finally settle down, but right now I just need to sleep.
  • After having dogs all my life I can say that cats are definitely more low-maintenance. It’s nice not to have to let them outside to go to the bathroom and I know we can be gone all day without stress because they self-entertain (and especially with two of them, they stay very happy). We could even leave town for a few days and they’d be fine, I think.
  • They became friends right away and they LOVE to play together and cuddle together.
  • It’s weird to not know where they are at all times, because they like to hide. I know most of their favorite spots by now, though. They even crawl up into our sofa and recliner from underneath.
  • We are still getting used to the fact that we can’t leave any outside doors open at all.

Overall, we really love our kittens. They bring us joy and add a little more fun to our lives. I don’t regret adopting them at all, but I do wish I had been a little more informed about the cost; I would have been a bit more prepared in that area!

Posted in: motherhood, personal, thoughts


Comments on life with kids & kittens

  1. 1
    Avatar

    From Julia:

    Kittens are so much fun, I’m sure your kids are having a blast! We are also a two cat household. I think we spend about $35/month on food and litter. We don’t feed our cats wet food, which eliminates some cost (as far as I know, there’s really no reason an otherwise healthy cat needs wet food). I buy World’s Best Cat Litter, which I love love love. It’s made from corn or something, vs. clay, so there’s no dust. It also doesn’t have that super strong fragrance smell that some litters do. It clumps really well, so I rarely have to dump the whole box if I keep up with cleaning it daily. I think that helps with the cost, too. We both the largest bags available at Petsmart for both litter and food, which saves a little bit (plus the hassle of going there more often, usually I have to go every 2 months). Finally, since our cats are indoor only, we skip most of the vaccines. I think they just get rabies. If your vet is part of a larger company vs. independent you might have to argue with them on that, but there’s really no reason for them to get all of those extra shots if they aren’t going to be exposed to anything (says my vet/sister-in-law). Hope that helps a little bit! We also have two dogs, so we try to be smart about keeping our pet-related expenses down. We love them, but they are expensive!

  2. 2
    Avatar

    From Nora:

    I would not have guessed that cat food is so expensive, goodness. Although, I suppose we spend about $30-40 a month on Jack’s food since I switched him to the healthy all-natural ones that have less junk in them. (Wish I had made that change sooner, but oh well.)

    Glad you’re enjoying the new additions to your family!

  3. 3
    Avatar

    From Laura:

    Our cats are 2.5 years old, and we still have to shut them in their own room at night because they still get a little too playful at 4am. :)

  4. 4
    Avatar

    From vera:

    Ah, I had forgotten all the things that need to be done with cats! One nice thing about our last cat was that she would go outside to do her business and the litter box was used as a backup (if it was raining or snowing). They are so cute though!

  5. 5
    Avatar

    From Caiti:

    They are so cute! I agree with the above comment about vaccines; after the initial kitten shots, you should be fine with just a yearly rabies shot for indoor cats. I also cleaned the litter box daily (and added fresh litter as needed), but only deep-cleaned and changed out the litter every 4-6 weeks with clumping litter. A 40lb bag lasted probably 2 months? I was a fan of Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat litter– low on dust, not perfumed, good price.

    I personally would not skip on wet food to save money. Wet food is much higher in protein and water, which is much healthier for cats, who are obligate carnivores. At the rec of my vet (and a lot of follow up research) feeding them grain-heavy dry food is like feeding them cereal all the time, which can cause weight gain and cause dehydration (which can lead to urinary problems) down the road. It’s something worth researching! My cat developed a lot of weight/health problems later in her life– which ended up costing us a TON of money to take care of– and I at least partly blame us feeding her solely dry food for so long :(

    To save a little on food and litter, I used Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option, so I’d get a regular delivery at a pretty good price– and I didn’t have to go to the store for it! Target was sometimes slightly cheaper with coupons though.

  6. 6
    Avatar

    From Stephany:

    The “startup” costs for a new pet can be so expensive! That’s one of the main reasons why I’ve stuck with one dog. All the shots and the things to buy.

    I have no advice for food or kitten care, but they are SO adorable! And I’m sure their being low maintenance is such a change from caring for dogs!

  7. 7
    Avatar

    From Tracy:

    Wow! Even I am also planning to adopt a cat for my kids as it brings a positive energy in kids. Thanks for sharing such nice blog!

Leave a Reply