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Another [kitten] thread

minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
edited September 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
My parents have decided to get a kitten. They will get one on Saturday (supposedly).
I've been trying to compile as much kitten knowledge as possible, by googling and looking over other kitten threads on the forum. In addition to the regular questions (what things should I buy, what should I feed it, how to prepare my apartment for it, etc), I have other questions.

Firstly, I have some pets that might be in danger. I have two gerbils living in an aquarium topped with a tank topper, like so:
Spoiler:
The tank topper is somewhat heavy, though I think that if a cat really wanted to get in there, it could. How much of a danger does a kitty pose to my gerbils? And what steps can I go through to prevent possible hunting?
I also have a 30 gallon aquarium. It's elevated on a stand, however, again if a kitty really wanted to get up there, it potentially could. The tank has a lid, but it's easily openable and has some holes in it, for the filter, heater, etc. How much danger are my fish in and what can I do to prevent possible hunting?

Secondly we live on the 37th floor. We also have a balcony. Is this dangerous for a cat? Could a cat be silly enough to fall out of a window or off a balcony?

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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    Not sure about the aquarium thing, but I've seen plenty of cats make stupid mistakes and falling off counters/out of windows, but this is usually hilarious because they aren't falling down 37 floors. It's probably more likely to happen with kittens or older cats, though.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    i wouldn't worry about it.

    if the latch or whatever it is closes the topperis easily opened then consider adding redundancy to it, but the cat won't be able to get in. Unless you are using kitten in the general sense and actually mean an adult cat, young kittens are kind of morons. as they get older they become evil geniuses though.

    i also doubt your cat will harass your fish. they may try and realize that it is in fact wet and most cats don't enjoy water.

    as for the balcony, yea i would worry about a cat on the balcony. they can be dumb. that being said with my cats i try to make one think that the world ends at our exit doors. and is not allowed outside at all unless he is in the carrier.

    mts on
    camo_sig.png
  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Definitely, DEFINITELY keep them off the balcony.

    Also, I don't think your gerbils are in danger.

    EDIT: Clean your room.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    The latch on the topper is difficult to open, even for humans (it's a very tight spring with a hook). I am worried about the possibility of the cat tipping the topper over. The topper isn't secured by anything other than its own weight, so it's possible to just push it off. I'd say it weighs around 4-5 lbs, so it's not ridiculously heavy.

    I figured I'd have to keep a tight regiment around any opening to the outside world, so good to know!

    And yes, I will clean that whole messy corner. It's been plaguing me for quite a while :lol:

    minirhyder on
  • puffycowpuffycow Registered User regular
    You should be alright. Don't let it on the balcony. The kitten might try to get into both things but will probably give up if it doesn't succeed at first. At least my cat gets the hint that it isn't easy and doesn't keep trying.

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  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    Oh yes also - cats and leather couches. Is a scratching post and a regular claw clipping enough to deter any sort of damage to said couch? It holds a very special place in my parents' hearts.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    minirhyder wrote:
    Oh yes also - cats and leather couches. Is a scratching post and a regular claw clipping enough to deter any sort of damage to said couch? It holds a very special place in my parents' hearts.

    Get it one of those flat cardboard scratching "posts" that you sprinkle catnip in. My cat doesn't even LOOK at our couches anymore.

    Maybe put the gerbil cage against a wall? I bet a single piece of duct tape on either side of the topper would keep it secure and easy for you to take on and off.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • SejarkiSejarki Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote:
    Oh yes also - cats and leather couches. Is a scratching post and a regular claw clipping enough to deter any sort of damage to said couch? It holds a very special place in my parents' hearts.

    No.

    Someone else will have to provide a solution though.

  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    One of our cats was prone to scratching at the couch until my mom discovered he hated the smell of Vick's vapor rub. She dabbed a little on a sheet of wax paper, set it down by the part of the couch he scratched at the most, and he stopped doing it altogether -- even after we removed the Vicks. This...might not work for everyone.

  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Get it one of those flat cardboard scratching "posts" that you sprinkle catnip in. My cat doesn't even LOOK at our couches anymore.
    This worked really well for our cats. Of course, we also adopted already-trained adult cats.

    But boy do they love their cardboard scratching posts.

    The gerbil cage looks safe to me, but if you want to be sure, is it possible to squeeze zip/cable ties in under the black plastic (or drill holes in it?) They're remarkably strong (they're what pretty much hold my entire guinea-pig cage together).

    Lastly, any chance of your parents adopting two kittens? The kitten'll have someone to play with, be far less likely to attack human hands/feet, and won't be so bored if you're all out of the house.

    sharasugar_80.png sharanomsugar_80.png
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    If you are getting a kitten (or two), no furniture in your house is sacred. You will need to engage in extraordinary steps to prevent them from ruining your favorite furniture, and even then, they might see it as a challenge. Just keep that in mind.

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    Janson wrote:
    The gerbil cage looks safe to me, but if you want to be sure, is it possible to squeeze zip/cable ties in under the black plastic (or drill holes in it?) They're remarkably strong (they're what pretty much hold my entire guinea-pig cage together).

    Unfortunately no. The black plastic is directly on top of glass, so I'd have to drill through the glass as well, and I don't really want to do that. I'll monitor the behavior of the kitty and if I see any problems I'll probably use tape, like Esh suggested.

    I'll try to push the two kitty agenda, because as I've read on these forums two kitties can be twice as fun for all, but I'm not sure they'll agree to it.


    So to summarize so far - I need a cardboard scratching posts with catnip (is catnip available in all pet stores?)
    Secure any openings to the outside world
    Secure access to pets

    What other things might I want to do before kitty comes home?

  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    The first place you should put it when you get home is in its litter box.
    Don't play with it with your hands. Always use a toy.
    Leather couches will be in danger no matter what even if the cat never sharpens its claws on them. Just walking on one, stretching etc can scratch the leather. They may want to consider getting a heavy throw to put over the couch.
    The cat WILL go after the fish. Usually just tap on the glass but may eventually get to sitting on top of the aquarium staring down. As long as the cover supports it, it'll be fine.
    It needs toys. Don't get any really fancy with bits you can rip off as they are a chocking hazard. Spongy balls are best or crumpled up paper.

  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    Catnip is available in all stores that I've seen. It does not work on every cat, however. Still, worth a try!

    For toys, our cats go crazy for the Da Bird Feather Teaser - and it's very cheap.

    Agree with Magic Pink that you don't go for fancy toys with lots of bits. Another of our cats' favourite toys is a 'mouse' that is literally just a rectangular lump of material with catnip in. Another 'mouse' is a leather ball with a bell inside. No ears/eyes/limbs on these mice.

    Paper bags are nearly always a winner (with any animal - not just cats!)

    sharasugar_80.png sharanomsugar_80.png
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    you don't need a cardboard scratching post, you just need him to have places to scratch and scent instead of the couch. we bought this cheap ass tiny little scratching post at walmart when we first got our first guy and he loves that thing to death still. we also have a floor based one that he likes as well. conversely our younger guy doesn't touch either of them and likes his giant cat tower.

    neither of ours reacts to catnip. cedar however will drive one of them nuts.

    my concern with the toppper on the gerbil cage would be if you get a jumper. if he tries to jump on top of it, and he misses, he will bring the entire thing down. Like esh suggested a strip of duct tape would probably work.

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  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    Well, I recommended a cardboard scratching post as they're pretty much the cheapest out there, and most cats seem to love them just as much as any other scratching post. But any scratching post/cat tree will do - as long as there is a place for them to scratch other than the furniture.

    Also, the cardboard scratching posts allow easily for catnip to be sprinkled on (some come packaged with catnip), which is great if catnip is effective.

    sharasugar_80.png sharanomsugar_80.png
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    Thanks for all the replies guys! I'm learning a lot.

    I've read somewhere that you can use bitter apple or citrus spray to deter kitties from certain places. Is this bad for them?

  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote:
    Thanks for all the replies guys! I'm learning a lot.

    I've read somewhere that you can use bitter apple or citrus spray to deter kitties from certain places. Is this bad for them?


    No, but it may not be effective depending on the cat. Citrus anything will burn out the cilia in a cat's nose, that's why they don't like it. Some mint scents will do the same thing.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Conversely, there are a lot of cats that like the smell of mint (or artificial mint, more precisely, like the kind in chewing gum and toothpaste). Our cat LOVES mint anything and will tear at things to get to it.

    Citrus works on a lot of cats (but not all), and it won't hurt the cat (other than their feelings of smug superiority). It wears off pretty quickly, though.

    No matter what toys you buy for your kitten (and buy lots of toys for them!), they will inevitably gravitate to the cheapest and shoddiest ones, which will make you wonder why you buy any toys for them in the first place. The cats that I've known have loved plastic rings from the top of milk jugs, coat hangers (yeah... I know... wtf?), paper bags, and in one case, a small mood rock.

    Hahnsoo1 on
    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    Well I'm properly stocked up on cardboard (toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, etc) for my gerbils, I guess I can use those as toys?
    Planning on getting a laser pointer, and any small kitty knick knacks I find in a store, like the little mice and feather things you guys mentioned. Is that an acceptable kitty amusement arsenal?

  • puffycowpuffycow Registered User regular
    I've gotten a lot of toys for my cat, but her favorites are a piece of extra ribbon from my fiancee's crafting room and an empty Snapple box...

    FrankForum-1.jpg
  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    Yeah, for a good time for your cat (and you!) you should see if you can leave an empty box (large enough for them to get into) or paper bag around. Cats go crazy over 'em, for some reason. Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away. Similarly, if you get one of those feather things, you might find that your cat just sort of... tugs the feathers straight off of them instead of just playing with the feathers, so I'm not a huge fan of them since they might not last long. Anything more solidly attached to a string, or even just a flashy string-like thing (ribbons, etc.) is gonna be an awesome toy they probably won't eat though! And anything that's not small enough for them to eat that they can bat around (small balls-- I don't find that the ones with bells in them actually work as toys-- larger bottle caps, etc.) is good fun, too, but be prepared to fish stuff out from under the fridge or the couch, haha.

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    Essee wrote:
    Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away.
    You're thinking babies and dogs. Not cats. They are way too large for cats to swallow whole, and their oral fixation only extends to chewing, not swallowing. It's very difficult to get a cat to swallow something that isn't pill-sized or smaller.

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • 815165815165 Registered User regular
    It's fucking difficult to get a lot of cats to swallow anything pill sized. :x

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    i dunno. our youngest managed to swallow the pull cord on a set of blinds in our kitchen. while said pull cord was still attached to said blinds.

    mts on
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  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    Essee wrote:
    Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away.
    You're thinking babies and dogs. Not cats. They are way too large for cats to swallow whole, and their oral fixation only extends to chewing, not swallowing. It's very difficult to get a cat to swallow something that isn't pill-sized or smaller.

    On the other hand, I do remember that one time my own cat (who passed away a couple years ago) got some other small thing stuck on the roof of her mouth, for example. It wasn't like she was going to choke on it or anything, but it was still not a fun experience for her. And I think she occasionally managed to eat something small she wasn't supposed to, then barf it up later. I'm not really saying it's super-dangerous for the cat or anything, but it can at least be unpleasant if it happens. I just figure, why bother with tiny stuff they could get into their mouth when there are tons of other toys that are slightly bigger that work just as well?

  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    So I've been reading that it's good practice to keep a new kitten confined to one room for the first few days to a few weeks when first brought home. Did you guys do this?

    If I do this, the litter box, food, and bed will all be in the same room for this period. However down the line I'd like the litter box to make its way to the bathroom, and the food probably to the kitchen area. How would I make this move without confusing the kitty and avoiding accidents?

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    Essee wrote:
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    Essee wrote:
    Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away.
    You're thinking babies and dogs. Not cats. They are way too large for cats to swallow whole, and their oral fixation only extends to chewing, not swallowing. It's very difficult to get a cat to swallow something that isn't pill-sized or smaller.

    On the other hand, I do remember that one time my own cat (who passed away a couple years ago) got some other small thing stuck on the roof of her mouth, for example. It wasn't like she was going to choke on it or anything, but it was still not a fun experience for her. And I think she occasionally managed to eat something small she wasn't supposed to, then barf it up later. I'm not really saying it's super-dangerous for the cat or anything, but it can at least be unpleasant if it happens. I just figure, why bother with tiny stuff they could get into their mouth when there are tons of other toys that are slightly bigger that work just as well?

    I agree with Essee on this. I would rather not risk our cat choking on stuff so things like hair and twist ties get taken away immediately. I would much rather ruin his fun than deal with an obstruction

    as to the isolating
    it depends on the personality of the cat to be honest. our two guys were both super outgoing and we let them have full range pretty much right away though we did keep a close eye on them. if anything a good reason if you get them from a shelter is to make sure they don't have diarhea everywhere.

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  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    Essee wrote:
    Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away.
    You're thinking babies and dogs. Not cats. They are way too large for cats to swallow whole, and their oral fixation only extends to chewing, not swallowing. It's very difficult to get a cat to swallow something that isn't pill-sized or smaller.

    Very very wrong. Cats can choke on those very easily. Milk jug lids are fine, my cats love those. Avoid rubber bands (which all cats seem to adore) and all kinds of string.

    If you get the little mice, take off the ears and eyes if they have them. Those are dangerous as well. And try to get the ones with a cardboard center, not the plastic shell center.

    Magic Pink on
  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    mts wrote:
    Essee wrote:
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    Essee wrote:
    Also, as much as cats do like to play with those rings around milk jugs/etc., I don't personally think those are actually safe as real toys for them (I'm always worried they might swallow one because they're small, that would be bad), so I would throw those away.
    You're thinking babies and dogs. Not cats. They are way too large for cats to swallow whole, and their oral fixation only extends to chewing, not swallowing. It's very difficult to get a cat to swallow something that isn't pill-sized or smaller.

    On the other hand, I do remember that one time my own cat (who passed away a couple years ago) got some other small thing stuck on the roof of her mouth, for example. It wasn't like she was going to choke on it or anything, but it was still not a fun experience for her. And I think she occasionally managed to eat something small she wasn't supposed to, then barf it up later. I'm not really saying it's super-dangerous for the cat or anything, but it can at least be unpleasant if it happens. I just figure, why bother with tiny stuff they could get into their mouth when there are tons of other toys that are slightly bigger that work just as well?

    I agree with Essee on this. I would rather not risk our cat choking on stuff so things like hair and twist ties get taken away immediately. I would much rather ruin his fun than deal with an obstruction

    as to the isolating
    it depends on the personality of the cat to be honest. our two guys were both super outgoing and we let them have full range pretty much right away though we did keep a close eye on them. if anything a good reason if you get them from a shelter is to make sure they don't have diarhea everywhere.

    Yeah, go with isolation first. If he's comfortable and running around, then let him out. If he's hiding, let him hide. If you need to move the box, then move it a small amount every day. Don't just move the whole way all at once. Again, this can differ depending on the cat and you should have 2 boxes for him idealy.

    As for diarrhea, some cats will get that whenever you change thier food brand along with vomiting after eating. They actually have prettty sensitive stomachs so once you decide on a food brand, stick with it as long as possible.

    Also, weird tip: Keep the water bowls away from the food bowels and the litter box. Don't know why, but cats prefer their water away from their food (and both away from their toilets). It'll increase thier water consumption and lower the risk of potential urinary problems.

    Magic Pink on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    the box really is that much of a pain. if you want to move it

    option 1. Just get a second box and put it in whatever permanent place you want
    option 2. get a second box and eventually get rid of the first once he starts using the second
    option 3. just move the box. with this one once you move it just treat him like you do when you first bring him home. ie put him in the box and use your hands to make him dig in the litter a bit.

    we currently have 4 litter boxes for our 2 guys. 1 upstairs and 3 in our basement though i can probably get rid of one. problem is i am currently running two different litters, 2 with wheat litter, and 2 with clay. one likes one and one prefers the other.


    its probably the last thing you are thinking of but if you get a really little guy, you should start him with either a wheat or non-clumping litter, especially if he is having messy poops. it can lead to bowel issues if he eats the clumping litter while trying to clean himself.
    also pick up a mat or something to go in front of the litter box to help keep him from tracking litter all over the floor. I would start with one of those small lidded ones. if he doesn't like the lid you can just pull it off.

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  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Kitty gotten! Pictures to come very soon.

    He's three and a half months old.
    I'm a bit concerned right now. He won't eat anything since we've brought him home an hour ago even though he only ate once today. Also he keeps meowing and crying (I'm keeping him in my room to acclimate right now)
    Should I go in to him or let him be for now? How can I get him to eat?

    Edit: some pictures
    Spoiler:

    Edit II: I'm in the room with him now. He's playful and active, but still won't eat. He drank some water though.

    minirhyder on
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    It'l
    minirhyder wrote:
    Kitty gotten! Pictures to come very soon.

    He's three and a half months old.
    I'm a bit concerned right now. He won't eat anything since we've brought him home an hour ago even though he only ate once today. Also he keeps meowing and crying (I'm keeping him in my room to acclimate right now)
    Should I go in to him or let him be for now? How can I get him to eat?

    lt will take him a few hours to be comfortable enough to eat, eating and drinking is a really vulnerable time for animals so they won't do it if there is any threat nearby. Give him a couple of hours or day or so (though check in occasionally to see if the food has been touched) on his own and he will eat when he feels safe. An hour is really, really short and he is still terrified. He'snot going to be friendly for a couple of days, might come out to investigate and have a stroke, but it'll be a little while before he associates you with food and decides you must be his new mum.

    As for the toilet, they'll find their tray by smell more than sight, so don't clean it one day and move it and you shouldn't have a problem.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    It'l
    minirhyder wrote:
    Kitty gotten! Pictures to come very soon.

    He's three and a half months old.
    I'm a bit concerned right now. He won't eat anything since we've brought him home an hour ago even though he only ate once today. Also he keeps meowing and crying (I'm keeping him in my room to acclimate right now)
    Should I go in to him or let him be for now? How can I get him to eat?

    lt will take him a few hours to be comfortable enough to eat, eating and drinking is a really vulnerable time for animals so they won't do it if there is any threat nearby. Give him a couple of hours or day or so (though check in occasionally to see if the food has been touched) on his own and he will eat when he feels safe. An hour is really, really short and he is still terrified. He'snot going to be friendly for a couple of days, might come out to investigate and have a stroke, but it'll be a little while before he associates you with food and decides you must be his new mum.

    As for the toilet, they'll find their tray by smell more than sight, so don't clean it one day and move it and you shouldn't have a problem.

  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    So my kitteh started eating, but only dry food and only sometimes. He won't touch wet food, or the food supplement.

    minirhyder on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    i wouldn't worry about it unless it goes for a couple days, at which point you just want him to eat, you can entice him with some canned tuna fish.

    definteily go in and keep him company, he is freaked out and needs reassurance

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  • Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    As long as it's eating and drinking at all, you're fine. Cats have preferences just like anyrthing else; some won't eat dry food, some won't eat wet. Plus, he's still very nervous. Cats don't take to new things well.

  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    Yeah, he started eating more or less normally. The only thing he's refusing now is the supplement, which I don't understand since it's supposed to have "irresistible taste". It does have a very strong, fishy smell. Oh well.
    Otherwise he's totally fine. Playful, active, affectionate.

  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    Good to hear!

    Our cats don't like fish at ALL. Your kitten just may not like fish, either!

    sharasugar_80.png sharanomsugar_80.png
  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    I guess we'll see tonight when I give him some canned whitefish and tuna! Mmmm yummeh.

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