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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am moving into an apartment in 5 days, and they allow tenants to have cats (no dogs, and I wouldn't subject a dog to a small 1 bedroom apartment anyways). I have cat-sitted for several friends' cats, at one time for 6 weeks (in a neighbor's home). I know how to care for an indoor/outdoor adult cat. Mine will be indoors only.<br><br><br><br>
I am looking to adopt a kitten within the next month or so. I have only ever had dogs, so I have some questions about cats.<br><br><br><br>
1) How hard is it to train a kitten to use a litter box?<br><br><br><br>
2) Is a male or female cat preferable? I am planning on spaying/neutering, of course, but I wonder if one sex is more affectionate and friendly than the other. Every cat owner I know has recommended male cats.<br><br><br><br>
3) How can you keep a cat from scratching furniture? Not that my couch and chair are NEW, but I still don't want to have to replace them anytime soon. A friend is trying to convince me to declaw, but the Humane Society won't let you and I have reservations about it anyways. I have heard about Soft Paws but I have visions of a kitten scratching the heck out of me as I try to apply them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><br><br><br><br>
4) Allergies are a minor concern - my mother and a few friends are mildly allergic to cats. Actually, my mother hates cats in general and is convinced I'm getting one just to spite her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"> She's been around cats before with no serious reactions. I told her that when she visits, I'll vaccum and put the cat in the back of the apartment, but she still hates the idea.<br><br><br><br>
5) Can cats eat vegetarian food, and how expensive is it in comparison to normal "premium" pet food (Science Diet, etc.)? Is there a non-"animal by-products" meat-based food that I can get at the HFS?<br><br><br><br>
6) Since I will be away at work for about 8.5 hours on weekdays, what are some good toys and things for the cat to play with?<br><br><br><br>
7) How do I find a vet? I am moving to an area about 35 minutes from my family, so our dog's vet will be too far away. Should I find a vet before I adopt, or can that wait until the Humane Society gives me the local vet who will do the spay/neuter?
 

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<b>PLEASE</b> adopt a cat, not a kitten. That will solve things for you, like litterbox training and usually the "fixing," and it will rescue the cats that people usually ignore in favor of kittens. You can get perfectly lovable and wonderful kitties that are over 1 year old. I've had both male and female cats, and I've loved them both. I think males are purported to be better lapcats, but I've had female cats that were very affectionate this way.<br><br><br><br>
Definitely DO NOT declaw your cat. It's like clipping your fingers at the first knuckle, and is bad for the spinal alignment in the long run. I clip my cat's nails. It's kind of a bonding thing, though she took one or two trials to get used to it. Sometimes you simply have to settle for a couple of nails or a paw at a time. There's instructions with the clippers on how to do this. Some cats will scratch posts and so forth, but mine prefers the couch. There are products to put on your couch to prevent this, but I'm still exploring that at the moment. Currently I'm covering the arms of the couch with old towels.<br><br><br><br>
Veg*n food for cats can be ordered over the web at about 3 times the cost of even the best animal-laden food. I've never seen it at the HFS.<br><br><br><br>
To keep cats entertained, I recommend adopting two cats that are already together and used to each other, maybe even from the same family, if the pound has them.<br><br><br><br>
If you cat has not already been neutered and received its shots (if you adopt an older cat, it should already be done), you can find a vet through recommendations from various shelters and the humane society. Be thorough, though, as you would for your own doctor.
 

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1) How hard is it to train a kitten to use a litter box?<br><br>
----> all the kittens that I've had have gone immediately to the litter box. Mine was alone, put litter in a box, it immediately went to it, and covered it up. (as a note, all the kittens we've got were strays, or born by strays, so they were either taken from the wild before they were carted off, or got them from the humane society [only 1 got that way]).<br><br><br><br>
2) Is a male or female cat preferable?<br><br>
----> Male cats have a different appearance to them... can't really explain it, but they seem more defined? Although I've had both male and female, females sometimes are more "complining", but that's not set in stone.<br><br><br><br>
3) How can you keep a cat from scratching furniture?<br><br>
----> Have no clue.<br><br><br><br>
4) Allergies are a minor concern....<br><br>
----> vacuum <i>everything</i> curtains, furniture, wash bed sheets, probably weekly/bi-weekly or if allergies start.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
5) Can cats eat vegetarian food....<br><br>
----> Cats are actually carnivours. I would never feed them a vegetarian diet (search, there's 2/3 threads on this). Some vets consider it abuse if you do feed them a veg*n diet - my local vet does.<br><br><br><br>
6) Since I will be away at work for about 8.5 hours on weekdays, what are some good toys and things for the cat to play with?<br><br>
----> Cats find their own toys... They normally like to bat at things, and crunched up paper. And balls. (although they do convientely "misplace" the toys so you give them more.<br><br><br><br>
7) How do I find a vet?<br><br>
----> Ask people around you if they have a pet, walk around a park you'll find tons of dogs, ask where you pick it up.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
As far as cat or kitten... if you want to rescue an animal that probably won't be taken, get a cat, everyone likes kittens and they go quick.<br><br><br><br>
And while some (many) here would have a problem with it, you can buy a cat "playpen" that has hanging toys in it and shelves, etc (about a 6ftx4ftx2ft cage, meant for 2 cats). And if the cat's sick, or gets into too much trouble when you're away, you can put the "playpen" by a window with food and water and litterbox (small one) and put the cat in there during the day (but only if it's in it's best interest, not just because you don't want to play with it). If you do a playpen thing... make sure the cat can enter and leave it freely anytime that it's not necessary to be put in it. That way it's not a punishment so much
 

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Add my bit<br><br><br><br>
[1) How hard is it to train a kitten to use a litter box?<br><br><br><br>
Generally, not hard at all. BUT, our female cat goes through phases of peeing on everything. She's desexed, but we think she might have been taken from her mother too early and she didn't learn littertray use properly. That and sometimes we're a bit slack cleaning the litter tray. Make sure you keep it clean. Our male cat has not had any problems except when he started copying her.<br><br><br><br>
2) Is a male or female cat preferable? I am planning on spaying/neutering, of course, but I wonder if one sex is more affectionate and friendly than the other. Every cat owner I know has recommended male cats.<br><br><br><br>
Our boy cat is very very affectionate. He's up for a cudle anytime. Our female cat is more independent, but still loves a cuddle. In a way it feels more special when she demands cuddles because she IS so independent. If you're going to be out a lot and only want one cat a more independent cat is the better idea IMO, that way they won't get lonely. And then he/she will probably be more affectionate when you are home.<br><br><br><br>
3) How can you keep a cat from scratching furniture? Not that my couch and chair are NEW, but I still don't want to have to replace them anytime soon. A friend is trying to convince me to declaw, but the Humane Society won't let you and I have reservations about it anyways. I have heard about Soft Paws but I have visions of a kitten scratching the heck out of me as I try to apply them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><br><br><br><br>
Our cats went through the phase but they have a scratching post and we encouraged them to use that, and roared at them when they used the furniture. It's now not a problem. Thankfully we had some cheap old furniture when we got them both.<br><br><br><br>
4) Allergies are a minor concern - my mother and a few friends are mildly allergic to cats. Actually, my mother hates cats in general and is convinced I'm getting one just to spite her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"> She's been around cats before with no serious reactions. I told her that when she visits, I'll vaccum and put the cat in the back of the apartment, but she still hates the idea.<br><br><br><br>
Visit your humane society, pick them up, cuddle them, do all the things you'd expect to do with your cat. Then wait and see what happens! If you react, try and find a devon rex or a sphinx, they are non-allergenic (fur is more like lambswool)<br><br><br><br>
5) Can cats eat vegetarian food, and how expensive is it in comparison to normal "premium" pet food (Science Diet, etc.)? Is there a non-"animal by-products" meat-based food that I can get at the HFS?<br><br><br><br>
It is more expensive. I wouldn't do it. (I have no say in the matter as it is but I still wouldn't do it.)<br><br><br><br>
6) Since I will be away at work for about 8.5 hours on weekdays, what are some good toys and things for the cat to play with?<br><br><br><br>
He/she will run around like a maniac, climb things etc. If you can give it something it's allowed to climb, rather than your curtains, I'd recommend it. Also rolling things like balls, our female likes to chase the tennis balls we throw for the dogs. She also likes to sit on it like a hen and when no-one's looking attack it with her back paws.<br><br><br><br>
7) How do I find a vet? I am moving to an area about 35 minutes from my family, so our dog's vet will be too far away. Should I find a vet before I adopt, or can that wait until the Humane Society gives me the local vet who will do the spay/neuter?<br><br><br><br>
Or look in your local directory, there should be a list of vets. Do you drive? If not, try to find one in walking distance.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I saw my parents' vet at the supermarket and collared him for some questions (such a sweet person).<br><br><br><br>
He said most vets, himself included, view feeding veg*n cat food as abusive, since apparently cats are natural carnivores. Dogs are omni, so they adapt a lot easier to a veg diet than cats will.<br><br><br><br>
He doesn't like declawing and none of his cats are declawed, although he will rarely do it for a cat whose owners have tried several forms of behavior modification. He says that if I start when the kitten is young, Soft Paws shouldn't be too much of a battle to apply.<br><br><br><br>
He is going to give me a list of vets he knows in the area, and an introduction letter in the event that the one I choose isn't taking new patients.<br><br><br><br>
He asked me to consider a young cat (1-2 years old) as long as it wasn't in an abusive situation before. My parents' dog was 1 when we got her, and she was in an abusive situation, and although we love her dearly, there have been serious behavior issues. He thinks that it's best if I have as few challenges as possible with my first cat, and a kitten is more likely to have a "clean slate."
 

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Here is my take on cat ownership. I was a dog person before I moved away on my own, and I got a cat, for the same reasons you are. I dont think you should have a dog with out a yard or something.<br><br><br><br>
I have not had to box train my cats, each one of mine I got as kittens and were already trained.<br><br><br><br>
My male cat is more affectionate, but my female has her moments and she is extremely bright. I dont think it is really a sex issue vs. personality issue. But that is just what I think from years of ownership.<br><br><br><br>
Most vets here wont declaw unless they destroy furnature too much, and it is unmanageable. I have used bitter apple for chewing, and strong smelling stuff for scratching. Though they have been good, and use the post that I give them.<br><br><br><br>
I am allergic to cat dander, but they are my babies so I put up with it, it is manageable for me. I vacume almost daily, and keep things clean.<br><br><br><br>
I do not feed my cats veg*n food, cause my cats need the oils for dry skin and hair loss. I feed them nutro dry food mostly, and 1 can a week of wet food. If I stop the wet food, their skin and hair become very dry and brittle. More hair ball issues.... oh and keep up with the hair ball medicine. I dont think the hair ball food works as well as the oil based items they have on the market.<br><br><br><br>
As far as entertaining.. I agree with the pair of cats, mine have bonded greatly and keep each other company when I am gone. I can tell how much they love each other, cause if one is in the hospital the other mopes. Plus watching them play is fun entertainment. I dont buy much cat toys, cause they prefer foil, and paper... so that is what I give them. Do get them a cat nip toy or item of some sort.. they love those.<br><br><br><br>
Vet, I just look in the yellow pages, or ask my local shelter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Muzicfan - two good friends who are cat owners have also told me to get a pair. Both of them originally had only one, but ended up getting a second one in short order when they discovered their kitty was lonely. I have considered getting a pair, but I'm not sure if I can afford two cats - I know I can handle one, but two means twice the vet bills, twice the food cost, and twice the non-refundable, $200 per cat pet deposit.
 

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you will see, that having two cats does not really run your food bill up much. Vet bills sure, but fortunately since they are indoor cats all I ever need to really do is keep the shots up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
my two cents worth:<br><br><br><br>
1) put cat in pan; gently hold front legs and scratch in litter; voila litter box trained (yes, usually this easy).<br><br><br><br>
2) females are generally cleaner than males (not just true for cats! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> )<br><br><br><br>
3) i have 5+ cats (all with claws) in my home and i have new and fancy furniture - my secret: REALLY good scratch posts! cats need posts that are longer or higher than they are and they need to be heavy. if a cat gets scared by a post that's light and falls over he won't come back to use it. also, the occassional catnip spray on the post and lots of praise when they use it works well too.<br><br><br><br>
4) vacuum, vacuum (furniture), brush, brush (cat)<br><br><br><br>
5) i don't know enough about the successes of vegan cat food to say, but you can purchase cat food (by Science Diet) that has veggies in it. although cats are carnivors one of the first thing they would eat is the stomaches of their prey (filled with veggies). please purchase a high quality cat food. i'm presently fostering a cat who lived her three years eating no name cat food @ $1.27 a box. she weighed 4 pounds and had health problems. since being on the science diet/nutro combo that i feed everyone she's 9 pounds and absolutely gorgeous.<br><br><br><br>
6) i have a cat who's nutso over plastic cat spring toys. be careful when purchasing toys that have things like glued-on eyeballs that can easily come off and be swallowed. i would consider purchasing a cat window seat.<br><br><br><br>
7) choose your vet by getting references from friends and family and by setting up "get to know you" appointments. my vet kisses my cats. i love her.<br><br><br><br>
on adopting a cat or kitten, i would suggest cat. kittens are a lot of work and have sooooo much energy. an older cat needs fewer distractions. 95% of the cats i foster are 3+ years old. a couple have/had behavioural problems that every day get better because i love them and they've learned to trust me. that and i don't push it. if a cat's not comfortable being held, i don't hold it. i have two fosters right now that are really, really wonderful and sweet and spunky, but they're not the cuddling kind and i know i'm going to have a heck of a time finding homes for them.
 

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lots of good advice.<br><br><br><br>
I don't have nothing to add, just wanted to say congrats on choosing to adopt!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you are persistent and careful you can trim your cats claws. Reward it with a treat after each time you sucessfully trim even one claw. My cat cottoned on pretty fast and now just lays there as I trim her claws. Likewise with having a bath and travelling in the car. Persistence and rewards. As for keeping cats entertained you can buy toys aimed specifically at cats or alternatively cats also love balls of wool, shoe laces, balls of paper, table tennis balls etc etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
anyone have idea what I might use to get my cat to stop attacking my couch? Are there natural products out there or anything that can be made? Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You have received so much good advice that I really don't have anything to add. On the male/female issue: In my many years of experience with cats, I would say that males are generally more easy going, but not necessarily more affectionate. Neutered males generally get along great with each other and with female cats. Female cats can be a little bit more territorial about sharing with other females (but this does not always hold true--my sister's female cats get along very well with each other). The two cats of my nine who are the most affectionate towards me, and who would love to cuddle 24/7, are both female.<br><br><br><br>
An option you might want to consider is adopting adults who have been in a foster home. The foster parents can give you a really good idea of the cats' personalities.
 

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I have two male and two female cats, all spayed/neutered. Both male cats pee to "mark" their territory. It is very annoying. My favorite cat is my little Mimi, so I have to go against the grain and say females. Both my females are much cleaner that the males. I find they tend to attach to one particular person, so that is good for you if they become attached to you.
 

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1) How hard is it to train a kitten to use a litter box?<br><br>
----- they go automatically. its instinct. you may get a poopy paw or two, and they may be picky about the kind of litter (mine wont use the feline pine or yesterdays news cuz they feel yucky on his paws....he uses scoopable just fine).. but Ive always had kittens and they go directly into the box.<br><br><br><br>
2) Is a male or female cat preferable?<br><br>
my newest kitten is a boy. he's sweet as can be. but Ive loved all my girls too. if you get them spayed at an early age, spraying wont be a problem so I advise just picking whatever is your favorite when you meet them. whichever one feels right. females have less dander, so if allergies are an issue, go with a girl.<br><br><br><br>
3) How can you keep a cat from scratching furniture?<br><br>
---- I trim my cat's claws every week. if you get a kitten, you will have to fight with them to do this, but they give in soon and then its not an issue. an adult will f*** you up if you go there and it hasnt been done before. of course there's still enough claw to get the furniture if they really want to. dont declaw for the above reasons. its terrible. I believe there are other ways too like catnip on a scratching post etc...although I can't promise they work.<br><br><br><br>
4) Allergies are a minor concern<br><br>
------ my husband is deathly allergic. we have a hairless cat but he still reacts. female cats have less dander, so for allergy purposes I would get a girl.<br><br><br><br>
also you can buy a good HEPA air purifier and a HEPA vaccuum cleaner. and dont let the cat in your bedroom if you are the allergy sufferer.<br><br><br><br>
5) Can cats eat vegetarian food, and how expensive is it in comparison to normal "premium" pet food (Science Diet, etc.)? Is there a non-"animal by-products" meat-based food that I can get at the HFS?<br><br>
------I have heard that you can raise a pet vegan with no incident. but I have also heard horror stories about cats going blind etc.. for me, I just buy NUTRO because its natural and has no by products which is the best carnivorous diet I can think of. this is a hotly debated topic on these boards, but my feeling is that cats are carnivorous by nature. you can make a difference by supporting ethical companies that don't use by products etc.<br><br><br><br>
6) Since I will be away at work for about 8.5 hours on weekdays, what are some good toys and things for the cat to play with?<br><br>
----- cats are nice in comparison to dogs as they are quite content to be alone. they may be a holy terror when you get home because they've slept all day but they are largely independent about being alone. my cat only likes toys that I swing around a string for him. those things that have a piece of wood with a spring and puffball on the end meant for alone play get boring QUICK. my guy likes me just to crumple a receipt and he bats it around the house with his paws. balls with bells in them are cool too (like wiffle golf balls). they make toys out of everything when you're gone. mine is batting at paper thumbtacked to the wall right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> see how your guy is and if they will play with toys at all. I had one cat that would literally get jazzed up if I gave her a "beanie baby.' she'd run around the house with it for hours and love on it, rub it, etc. others could care less and just want a snip of paper.<br><br><br><br>
7) How do I find a vet?<br><br>
I'd ask around with friends/neighbors in the area. and make SURE when you go to one that you are comfortable with the doctor and their policies (i.e. do they take your cat away from you into the back for long periods of time when you are uncomfortable with that...etc.) my last cat was very ill and I was dependent on a vet because they had seen her for so long that going to someone new would be a detriment. They were good vets, but their philosophy didnt match mine. I thought it was uncool that in times of emergency, they would take her (already stressed out and in pain) away from me to the back and leave her alone until we could be seen. makes no sense, not good for the animal, sad for me, etc. I could go on and on, but you get my point. if you dont like the initial vet, find someone new so god forbid if there is an emergency, you don't have a worse situation of dealing with a crappy vet office. my new vet is so great. the difference is phenomenal.<br><br><br><br>
I hope this helps! good luck!<br><br>
XOXO<br><br>
Beth
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks everyone for all the advice! I definitely feel a lot better about my ability to care for a kitty. I didn't know Nutro made food for cats - it's what my parents feed their dog.<br><br><br><br>
I can't wait to get my kitty, but I need to wait a few weeks until I can afford the silly pet deposit to my landlord, plus the cost of adopting and of outfitting her with a bed and scratching post and all that other fun stuff. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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