Thursday, June 4, 2009


Today I have something very important to talk about that I have been mulling over. Is now a good time to get a cat(s)?

I have always known that I would get another cat after Muffy passed. In fact, I've always been adamant that I would get a pair of litter mates (I've always wanted 2 cats that got along, Muffy hated all other cats).

And, for at least the time being, I appear to be pregnant. So, if I got some kittens now they would be adolescents by the time the baby arrived. (For the record I think actual kittens and a baby at the same time would be too much and a bad idea.)

And if this pregnancy didn't work out, I would have the cats to comfort me. Or if I had to go on to bed rest, I would have them to entertain me.

Basically, the house is just too quiet right now and I desperately need a furball to love. Also, June is national Adopt a Cat month (since kittens are all turning 8-12weeks right now). So there are plenty of kittens out there that need homes right now.

Of course, their are some pretty serious cons to consider too. One of the biggies being toxoplasmosis. My plan, if we found some kittens to adopt, is to immediately take them to the vet to quarantine for toxoplamosis, worms, fleas, etc. and then retrieve them when the vet gets done running all tests and checking them. And DH gets litter duty, of course.

The other serious con is the safety of the baby around the cats. If this pregnancy sticks, by the time the baby came the cats would have been neutered and probably declawed (yes, I know I'm a terrible person for doing this, but I'd also be a terrible person for letting my cat scratch my child, and both Muffy and our other family cat were declawed and it never seemed to bother either of them one bit).

Also, we're not dumb, we know not to let the cats think they can play in the baby's stuff or that we can leave the baby alone around the cats. We would be VERY careful.

If we decided not to get some cats right now, I can't imagine that we'd try again till the kid was ~2 or something, and I've never not had a pet, so even this short time feels very empty, so I can't imagine almost 3 years without.

Of course, there is a big pro here too that shouldn't be over looked, teaching our child to love animals and care for them and providing him/her with the kind of love and memories I have from my childhood.

So, should we gets some cats now or wait? Are there questions I should be asking? Are there other things I haven't considered?


Celia said...

I think it would be a mistake. It pains me to say so.

A year old cat would still be very active and playful when the baby is born.

Have you considered adopting an older pair of cats that are already friends?

I know you would not want to adopt a geriatric cat, but maybe a pair of four or five year olds?

Our one year old Mr. Naughtypants is still a ball of energy and DEMANDS quite a bit of activity and entertainment. He is also taking a long time to grow out of kitten behavior like attacking feet.

I don't think getting a cat would be the worst thing, but I don't know that I think it would be the best thing either.

I 100% understand about the empty house though.

Celia said...

Also, you are probably going to have a hard time finding someone willing to declaw a new cat. You would likely have to lie to whomever you were adopting it from, as well.

Amanda said...

Yes, I don't want an older cat... for obvious reasons... I've considered it, in fact the original plan was to get these 2 cats from DH's parents farm, but the one died when she was neutered and the other disappeared before Christmas. I know what you're saying, but part of me thinks the alternative is worse.

I don't think the animal shelters care if you get them declawed. We've never run into that problem.

Michelle said...

I'm really not sure what is best. I know that the emptiness is something really impossible to accept. So I'd probably say now would be better than waiting 3 more years...Now would be better than with a baby already here too. Then you have time to do whatever training, fixing, declaws, and hopefully a little calming down before it's born. Plus, I think if they are younger when the baby is born, they will adjust to the new change really easily. Zoey was almost 4 and had major doggy depression when we brought K home.
And I agree that it would be really nice to have them around during the pregnancy. Zoey was right next to me with the worse parts of mine and I swear it helped so much. She was there when I was extremely sick, she was there when I was stuck in bed. It helps. And after she got use to K around, she was normal again and they are now best friends. And he's learnt early on how to be nice and treat animals with respect. I think it's great for a kid to grow up with animals around.
I think you are being smart about it and if you take them to get tested and all that right away, and your DH does litter duty, you shouldn't have any problems. So yeah, I'd probably get them now.

Michelle said...

I also wanted to add...I've never had my own cat and my experience with the dog around might be totally different than how a cat would act, but I still think they have the same bond and closeness.

K8e said...

I have two cats...I say get them! Nothing is more wonderful than a new kitten! It will keep you company and will be old enough when your baby arrives! GL with what you decide...if you get one def post pictures!

Lucy said...

I say get the kittens! I have a 5-year old cat, Lucy. We got her at 8 weeks old, from the Humane Society. She was actually just fixed that week...apparently, at those shelters, they fix them really young, to prevent other unwanted animals, and also because there are so many cats out there, the risk of death doesn't concern them.

We got her declawed somewhere between 3-6 months. I can't really remember. Growing up, our two cats were declawed, and it makes a world of difference. Lucy is a pampered, loved, lazy indoor cat. She never goes outside, and she lives the life of luxury. She was declawed at Virginia Tech's veterinary school, and I never had any problem finding someone to do it, nor did the Humane Society ask me if I was going to do it. She was put down for the surgery, and on painkillers for a couple days afterwards. We took good care of her, and I've never regretted doing it, even though people say I'm evil and mean. We never get scratched, and she doesn't tear up my furniture or our woodwork. I know people say you can train cats to do it, but when I go to these people's houses, I see evidence of scratching, so I don't know. And definitely, with a baby, I think it's safer.

We would have gotten two, except we were in an apartment. But I think two are better than one--they play together and get into less mischief--and that will help with the energy of a kitten and an adolescent cat.

I think you make excellent points about timing, comfort, company, and teaching responsibility.

I think the only concern would be if you are ready now, after losing Muffy...and that's something only you know. I would guess you are ready, if you are considering this.

DH and I are getting a puppy now. We are only getting it right at this moment because we want the happiness and are ready to accept the responsibility. Yes, we said we'd always get a dog, but we've never been ready to commit. We are now, and big part of it is all this IF crap. We saw a potential puppy Tuesday and it made us so very happy and was good for us after the week we've had...and we'll love it and care for it, and we're ready for the responsibility, even if I were to get pregnant this cycle. I agree I wouldnt want a kitten or a puppy right when you bring home a baby...

So there, obviously, I have a strong opinion. :) I hope you figure out what works best for you.

Anonymous said...

Humm that is perplexing. The only thing I can say is make sure that they are both females. I had an older female and tried to introduce a new male kitty into the house. IT DID NOT WORK AND THE VET WARNED ME IT WOULDN'T.

They definately did not get along and the male acted badly because of it. We eventually had to kick him outside.

I really don't have any other advice. If it was me I probably wouldn't because I would feel overwhelmed when the baby came. But on the other hand I love animals too. I really wouldn't miss all the hair though. Especially with a new baby crawling around.

Anyway if your DH isn't thrilled about litter duty. Here is a great invention We have one and it is awesome!! Service from the company is great to. If any part ever breaks they always send me a new one for free - even the big expensive motor.

The Wife said...

I'm all for having pets! I'm not overly fond of kittens and puppies so I think I would look for kittens about a year or two old at a shelter. I've only ever had dogs, but I knew I wanted my dogs to be out of their "teen" years before we had a little one around. I think it will be easier for them to adjust.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am irresponsible or reckless, but I say get some kittens now! I can't imagine a house without cats for a couple of years.

Kittens do have a lot of energy, but they will be grown up a bit when the baby arrives, and if you get two, they can keep each other company and wear each other out. We added a kitten to our house last August, after our 5th failed clomid cycle, and it brought us so much joy and fun. It was a great distraction. He still has a lot of energy, but he's a year old now and he's settling down a lot.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm not too worried about toxoplasmosis. I still scoop our litter box every few days (when DH forgets), but then again our cats are indoor only and have no fleas and don't have access to eating raw meat. Testing and treating kittens is probably a very good idea, since you don't know their background.

I do have to respectfully disagree about declawing though. It can actually make cats more aggressive biters because they don't have any other defense. Some cats adjust fine, but some have ongoing problems with crippling joint and nerve pain, and of course, if it gets outside, it is totally defenseless. That's just my humble opinion, having volunteered for years in animal shelters. Many of those biters end up in shelters. Cat bites are worse than cat scratches.

I'm not worried about safety at all, but maybe I'm nuts. I'm worried more about how we are going to have a baby gate to block the stairs, but still allow our cats through. We keep our cats' nails trimmed, and neither are very bitey. I think I'd be more worried if we had a dog that was jumpy and rough or something. Babies are unpredictable and make scary noises. I am guessing that the cats will avoid it at all costs.

I think the benefits of growing up with cats and learning to love them and be gentle with them are huge. I say get kittens now! Plus you will be giving two kittens a wonderful, loving home. You are a cat person. You need cats.

Good Egg Hatched said...

I say go for it! It seems like that's where your heart is, and I think it would bring you so much joy right now. I picked up this book called "The Panic-Free Pregnancy" last weekend and it had some helpful (calming) things to say about cats and toxoplasmosis:

"Recent studies show that cats rarely infect humans directly. Instead, human infection comes from contact with dirt or contaminated water. That is, a neighborhood cat might drop its feces in your garden. The feces may contain oocysts (the vehicles for toxo). People may wipe their faces while gardening without washing their hands. This hand-to-mouth contact can lead to toxo infection. On the other hand, people rarely spend hours with their hands in cat litter, and most wash their hands after changing the litter..." The author says that that ACOG doesn't even recommend avoiding cat litter...he says if you clean the litter daily, you will get rid of any oocysts before they are dangerous (it takes several days before they become infectious).

I'm not going to start cleaning the litter right now, but this did give me peace of mind about even petting my cats, which concerned me before. I hope this info helps you in making your decision.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is late, but I wanted to chime in. We had to put my beloved cat to sleep when I was 6 months pregnant. We decided to get another kitten right away and it worked out well for us. We had another cat already, and I'm glad that she had a companion so that when we came home with a baby, she wasn't feeling quite as alone.

We also figured that it would be easier to deal with a kitten for a few months and then introduce him to a new baby, than it would be to have a baby first and then try to add a new kitten to the mix.

Tycho (our cat) was 6 months old when our daughter was born. Both of our cats have been great with her - they are curious and affectionate, but never aggressive or even defensive against her - and believe me, there have been times we wouldn't have blamed either of them if they hissed at her.

I think a pair of litter mates would probably be best, so that they have a companion when the baby comes home. Plus, it's a perfect time to make your husband deal with the litter box.

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