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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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!
- 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!