So… How much does a kitten cost?

Despite already having one cat – providing for a kitten was like starting from scratch. Or possibly even more expensive, because I keep wanting to get things for Lyla-cat to prove that we still love her just as much. I also conveniently forgot about my own ‘Oooh! That’s nice!’ mentality. Like… wanting everything to match for instance. Cue endless internet trawling for quaint, ceramic, etsy-made food bowls and mats and bespoke cat beds. I found one made by peticula which is amazing!

But on a serious note, I knuckled down on my spending like every frugal mother should. Indy-Boop is currently sleeping in half a shoebox which is stuffed with Lyla’s old blanket in the hope that he smells more like her. Admittedly, he does now look more of a rescue kitten than when when he was with Carole (his rescuer) as he’s now in a rather homeless looking dog cage. That’s the credit crunch for you! Stingyness aside… here’s a long list of kitten things (to the nearest pound);

Adoption fees – which will include neutering once Indy-Boop’s a bit bigger – £50
Booster vaccination course – at least £15 per vaccine treatment x2 – £30 (we got ours on special offer from Kings Road Vets x2 – £17)
Microchipping – £25 ish (we took advantage of another offer from the vets – £10)
Safety Cat Collar with name and address tag – £10
Worming treatments £5
Flea treatments – £15
Comfortable bed to sleep in – £0 he’s extremely happy in his shoebox that I wrapped up with old paper!
Small litter tray – lucky for Boop we already had a bright pink one that Lyla didn’t like but it did cost £5 new
Soft grooming brush – £3 Flea Comb – £2 Nail clippers – £3 (more things we already had, but this is what we paid for them way back when)
Kitten Toys – we got a few soft feathery ones but he’s happy enough just exploring for now – £3 and there’s always the tried and tested tin foil ball – and the “chase the tatty bit of string” game
Small bowls – so that he can eat his food easily – £2
Trial kitten food – dry and wet of various brands and flavours. You know, the expensive small packets instead of the bulk-buy cartons we get for Lyla-cat just so we can make sure that he actually eats something – £10
Large dog cage – this is to keep Indy-Boop safe as we get Lyla-cat and him to be best friends. We already had a cage but you’d be looking at spending at least £60-£100 for one of these
Grooming Wipes – to help Indy-Boop with the cleaning process – £3
Scratching Post – we gave Boop Lyla’s old post and have bought her a 62cm tall one so she can stretch out her little legs a bit further – £13
Catnip bubbles – (oh yes) the only thing I bought that I shouldn’t have – £4

Which makes a grand total of at least £200. And that doesn’t include insurance and daily food…

Mr Whitburn Whiskers is now happily saying ‘see?!… aren’t you glad we didn’t get two kittens?’ Well – um, yes. Yes he was (probably) right. Mind you – we didn’t actually buy Boop small bowls – we’re currently using casserole dish lids!

Rachel

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Welcome home little rescue kitten!

With kitten food, kitten toys, new litter box, new litter, new bowls, kitten isolation cage, Lyla-scented blankets, carry-cage, adoption fee and video camera waiting at home – me and Mr Whiskers went to meet Carole who we found through Animal Krackers in Sunderland. She helped us pick the perfect little boy kitten to take home.

Indiana Boop – Our new little whitburn whiskerer

Well… strictly speaking – Carole had me wanting to pick two kittens – a brother and a sister. She even put their floofy cheeks together and they tumbled about providing proof of their siblingness to melt my heart a bit. Luckily for us (and Lyla-cat), Mr Whiskers pointed out that we’d come to get one kitten and we hadn’t planned for two. And as I said in my previous blog post – two cats will need more time and attention than one cat – and three cats will need more time and attention than two…

Indy (full name Indiana [Jones] Boop) is currently in his isolation cage and Lyla-cat is strongly disapproving of him from a distance. The idea of her taking to him straight away seems like a distant memory. But we’d expected that. We’d prepared for that. (But we’re still a teeny bit disappointed with that). They should be cuddling like a hallmark card by now, right? Wrong. But we’re taking it slowly and I have high hopes for Lyla-cat becoming a caring foster-mum. Or at least a tolerant big sister.

Rachel

(The Cat Whiskerer)

If you’re in the area and want to rescue a kitten like Indy, please have a look at Animal Kracker’s website – or join the Animal Krackers facebook page – or join Carole’s facebook group 🙂

Should we get a second cat?

Owing to the wonderful summer we’ve had this year, work on Lyla-cat’s outside enclosure has been put on hold. She’s gotten quite used to her daily cul-de-sac walks, snoozes in the old dog cage and for days when it rains (which is pretty much every day) we moved the bird table nearer to the patio windows so she can spy on pigeons – and have sprinkled bird food on other windowsills. We’re always looking for new ways to occupy her time and keep her happy – but one thing we keep stumbling over is whether to get a second cat. Kitten? Cat? Rescue cat? Rescue kitten? Pregnant rescue cat and raise all her kittens?…

Animal Krackers Kittens

Two tiny Lyla-cats that need rehoming from Animal Krackers in Sunderland

So the reasons behind getting a new cat are simple enough. I love cats (and their floofy cheeks) – and more importantly – we have the space and the time to give an animal a good home. Knowing just how many cats need a forever home constantly breaks my heart. We’re always getting calls asking if we can rescue strays or take on unwanted pets but we’ve not been in a position to do that until now.

Because of the nature of cat sitting, we’re in and out of the house all the time. Therefore Lyla is rarely left alone for more than a couple of hours and when we’re home she happily follows us around. She loves her people, cuddles and attention and is a friendly, well-adjusted little cat. However – we’re curious to see whether a playmate could add something to her life that she just can’t get from us – and of course, there’s no real test for this. As much as I ask Lyla for her opinion, I just don’t seem to be able to translate her meows so I’ve had to ask google to help me mull it over;

  • You have to be rational rather than emotional which means getting the cat that will fit in best with your current family – not the one you fall in love with.
  • Plan ahead – as exciting as it must be to rush to a cattery on Sunday afternoon and come home with a bundle of fluff – it’s better to contact local cat rescuers and arrange a home visit. This way, they can meet my Lyla-cat first – then help me to find the right cat for her (not me).
  • Planning ahead with supplies is important to e.g. making any location changes (litter tray/ bedding) in advance so that your original cat has time to get used to them
  • Try to get their personalities to match – but be prepared to return your new cat if them being in your home makes both cats unhappy – rescue centres offer help with swapping until you get the right cat – though the process seems emotionally difficult
  • The formula seems to be that the old cat is more likely to accept a younger cat or… one that is neutered and of the opposite sex or… one that is smaller than your original cat = so for me – a tiny, male kitten?
  • Remember that two cats will definitely be more work than one cat – especially at the beginning – and thereafter if they never get on and decide to live independently of each other. So! You need to be aware of the costs which could include neutering, injections, different diets (kittens/cats/seniors), extra bowls, extra litter – maybe an extra litter box, more worming & flea creams, more vet bills, insurance, extra cat care if you need to be away. Possibly a new carpet 😉
  • Two cats will need more time and attention than one cat; you wouldn’t have a second child because you don’t have enough time to play with the first one
  • Make sure you have lots of time to slowwwwly introduce them to each other

There is plenty of help out there for me to plan exactly how I would go about introducing another cat into our home – and if I sort out the whys and what ifs then I’ll certainly write about it! But for now, I’m going to get in touch with some local rescue teams (like Sunderland based Animal Krackers and Feline Friends) for some advice.

Rachel x

(The Cat Whiskerer)