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Strategies for the procurement of kittens

JasconiusJasconius sword criminalmad onlineRegistered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm thinking about getting a cat(s) either this weekend or next.

I recently started a job where I am home all the time and I have no roommates or family or pets so it's basically a tomb.

I'm going with a friend to some rescue shelters to scout. But I have questions.

1) Do cats benefit significantly from having another cat to play with? I'll be around a lot so it's not like it will be isolated, but I am not a cat. I don't know what cats need. So the essence of the question is if two cats are better than one cat for the sake of the cats wellbeing.

2) What do I need to buy or do to prevent the wholesale destruction of my furniture. Particularly from clawing and excessive shedding. Does diet come into play? Recommendations there? Toys to dissuade them from using my nice sofa?

3) Do cat breeds or gender impact personality? I would prefer to have a more... exuberant variety of feline. I've seen them before! But I've also seen ones that basically just occupy space on an ottoman somewhere for 20 hours a day.

4) Unfortunately in my neighborhood I could not let them outside at all. Way too many cars and high traffic roads. Does that impact them too much?

kthx!

Jasconius on
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  • Chases Street DemonsChases Street Demons Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    1. Unlike dogs, you can't say that cats will necessarily be friendly by breed. Wifey and I have 6 cats - they all get along, but two of them are definitely "leave me alone, fellow cat" types, while the other 4 all play with each other. It's pot luck.

    At shelters there are usually cats listed as "single cat" - these are less likely to be adopted, so I suggest you look into these, if you're really interested in saving a cat that might otherwise be put to sleep.

    2. Cat clawing is tricky - you can declaw (which I thought was a necessity until I met my wife, a former vet tech) or you can just try to distract them with things to scratch. There are good cardboard type scratch pads at PetSmart - you can try some of those and spray them with catnip spray to attract the cat(s).

    3. You're going to be seeing a lot of mutt cats at the shelter - you're going to be getting pot luck here as well. Some breeds to have certain traits (Purebred Abyssinians are talllllkers) but once you start mixing breeds it's anyone's guess.

    4. Inside cats are safe and happy cats. They are not stuck somewhere, starving to death. They are not roadkill. They are not accidentally going through the Rottweiller's yard during morning walkies. Keep your cats inside. :)

    There may be cats there with special needs - I have a cat with Cerebellar Hypoplasia that I never thought I would be able to handle emotionally. He would break my heart when he would tip over. Now he's just like the rest of our cats - normal. Just be openminded about imperfect cats. Hypercute kittens are going to get adopted by someone. If you have flexibility to save an older cat, do so. :)

    Chases Street Demons on
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  • ThreeCubedThreeCubed Grandma Winky's fat ankles Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Jasconius wrote: »
    1) Do cats benefit significantly from having another cat to play with? Yes.

    2) What do I need to buy or do to prevent the wholesale destruction of my furniture. Particularly from clawing and excessive shedding.
    There's huge sticky tape that you can put on surfaces that they will hate, so they don't claw it. But a new vacuum if yours isn't good and vacuum every other day. It's mostly invisible, so it's not too visually jarring.

    Does diet come into play? My vet recommends Iams. It's darn near the only thing my cat will eat. Don't feed exclusively hard food. Give them some soft to mix it up sometimes. Word, though: if you don't want them puking on the carpet a lot, you can give them hairball treatment if they're long-haired. It works like a charm. It's just bees wax mixed with yummy flavoring. Even my pickiest cat loves it, and they don't puke up hairballs all that often (long-haired Maine Coon and Nebelung)

    Toys to dissuade them from using my nice sofa? The plastic ring off the milk carton, laser pointers, catnip if they're responsive to it (sometimes kittens aren't). Lots of cardboard boxes laying around is good too. If you don't mind your house looking like a toddler lives there or something.

    3) Do cat breeds or gender impact personality? Big time. Like dogs, though, I'd say a mutt cat is better than picking a full-bred cat for personality. Make sure you handle the kittens a LOT. Like anytime you walk by, pet them. If they are under foot, pick them up and snuggle. I suspect that the more you interact with the cat, the more it will want to interact with you, and the better it will be with people. This may or may not be true, but I think that it is. Every cat we've focused a LOT of energy on has been a happy, playful cat.

    4) Unfortunately in my neighborhood I could not let them outside at all. Way too many cars and high traffic roads. Does that impact them too much? I have to keep my cats in and I hate it. One of them was raised is the country, so he LOVES outside. One thing to do is to let them wander right outside the door, and scare the living shit out of them by banging pots together and making outside super scary. Hopefully they'll hate it.
    kthx!

    ThreeCubed on
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  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Jasconius wrote: »
    1) Do cats benefit significantly from having another cat to play with? I'll be around a lot so it's not like it will be isolated, but I am not a cat. I don't know what cats need. So the essence of the question is if two cats are better than one cat for the sake of the cats wellbeing.

    Yeah, they do benefit from having another cat around. Cats are social animals that, contrary to popular belief, don't really like being alone even for short periods of time. They also need exercise to stay healthy and not get fat, something they'll get naturally from playing with each other. They also tend to be more confident and less shy of visitors etc if they have the other cat(s) around for moral support. And cats teach each other to be careful with their claws, much better than a human can; your hands and arms will suffer fewer scratches from your cat getting a bit too playful.

    However, two cats will most likely fight as they mature and need to establish who's boss. It will look and sound absolutely horrible, but generally won't be dangerous. Some cats never fight, usually because one of them becomes dominant early on and the other cat never challenges it.

    Still, cats will be fine even if there's just one of them. You just need to play with them a bit more. A laser pointer is a great way to provide exercise for your cat from the comfort of your own sofa.
    2) What do I need to buy or do to prevent the wholesale destruction of my furniture. Particularly from clawing and excessive shedding. Does diet come into play? Recommendations there? Toys to dissuade them from using my nice sofa?

    One reason cats destroy furniture is that they're bored and/or want attention. I only have anecdotal evidence to support this, but it seems two cats are less likely to destroy stuff than if you only have one. However you do need to provide a scratching post. Bonus points for building something the cat(s) can use for climbing as well as scratching.
    3) Do cat breeds or gender impact personality? I would prefer to have a more... exuberant variety of feline. I've seen them before! But I've also seen ones that basically just occupy space on an ottoman somewhere for 20 hours a day.

    Yes. You need to do some research here. Siamese cats, for example, tend to be extremely active, playful and social. Gender isn't a big issue, although if you get two cats, two males will often form a stronger bond with each other. Female cats often just kind of ignore each other, but as a result they might pay a bit more attention to you. But in my experience (lifelong cat owner + almost everyone in my extended family keeps cats too) most of the variation in cat behavior is due to individual personalities rather than gender or breed.
    4) Unfortunately in my neighborhood I could not let them outside at all. Way too many cars and high traffic roads. Does that impact them too much?

    No, except that indoor cats can get extremely agoraphobic and be terrified when you do take them outside (to the vet for example). So better invest in a cat carrier, because trying to hold a panicking cat in your arms is not a pleasant experience.

    Bliss 101 on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    1: My cat does not like other cats. She keeps herself entertained with cat toys and things that are not cat toys like my envelopes or hair ties or anything she can bat around. Different cats like different toys and you'll find out what yours likes.

    2: Get a scratching pole and keep the nails trim and you won't have any problems. I cut my cat's nails myself but you can always have them done at places like Petco for about $10. Do not declaw. The ASPCA will flat out tell you not to declaw and most shelters will not let you adopt a cat if you plan to declaw. Declawing is cruel.

    3: The shelter should be able to give you an idea about the personalities of their cats. I picked mine because she didn't shy away from the cage door when I came in. She walked right up to the bars and started sniffing me and nuzzling. She's at least half Maine Coon, she's a bit small to be pure. As such I have a very bright cat who likes to stalk things and is quite chatty. Personally, I'm partial to Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats both of which you can find on PetFinder easily.

    4: You shouldn't let your cat outside unsupervised and many shelters will not let you adopt if you plan on putting the cat outside. If you really want to take your cat outside you can get a harness and a leash. I have one for my cat and she likes the occasional walk.


    edit: I forgot about shedding. Mine is a medium hair so she sheds like fucking crazy. You can get swiffers that roll the fur off of furniture pretty easily. Also, if you keep it brushed regularly it will shed less.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Oh yeah I forgot to ask, do males pee on stuff? Like dogs do?

    Jasconius on
  • TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Boy cats spray if they get territorial, which is a very good reason to just get one cat.
    Cats are solitary animals and don't usually like their own kind very much to start.

    Trillian on

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  • RikushixRikushix VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    They can, yes. This will often start happening once the cat reaches sexual maturity, but neutering will usually fix it.

    Also it could be less of a problem if he's the only cat in the house. Master of his domain, so to speak.

    Rikushix on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    And obligatory pics:
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    IMG_6648.jpg

    VisionOfClarity on
  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Jasconius wrote: »
    Oh yeah I forgot to ask, do males pee on stuff? Like dogs do?

    They will, unless they're fixed. Unfortunately some will continue, even after they're fixed.

    But, for reference, I've had two boys for 8 and 6 years now, and they've never marked a thing. They were fixed as kittens, so this whole sex thing completely passes them by. The closest they get is a good dose of the catnip making them feel good. ;-)

    Aurin on
  • RikushixRikushix VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah, my family's male cat is now....four years old? Going on five I think. And he's never marked anything. He was fixed at around seven or eight months of age.

    He's a fatty.

    Rikushix on
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  • TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Cats can start peeing on things if they get an invader in their territory, or when they get old and senile, regardless of testicular status.

    Trillian on

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  • mare_imbriummare_imbrium Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It depends on the cat, whether or not they require others. Some breeds more often like to be alone, some like to be with others, some only like to be with others if you catch them at the right time. I would say that more often than not cats would prefer another cat playmate but older cats are not as good at making new friends. Now, if you're going to be home a lot it might not matter so much and you might want it that way because the cat will want to play with you more that way. But you might get a different kind of job later and then the cat might be lonely and by that point may resist other cats. When I was a teenager our family had a cat that had a small litter of kittens. My boyfriend and I kept one of them when we moved out. I don't remember exactly how old she was but I think it was after she was old enough that we'd had her fixed already. The three of us lived alone for a while and then we had to cat-sit for her mother and her aunt and they did nothing but fight. Then a few years after that we moved back in with my mom and still our cat and her mom didn't like each other and fought. They eventually got used to each other but never really got along. But before we moved out they had all lived together pretty happily. Littermates are usually a good bet for getting along. We have siamese sisters (and not in that they are joined) who are about 10 mos old and they get along very well with each other and with the family (the cat I mentioned previously died in 2009 when she was 12 :( ). And too they seem pretty easygoing with other cats - we were possibly going to cat-sit for a while when a friend of my sister's went on vacation and she brought her cat over to see if they got along - our cats were fine during, but the other cat freaked out, so other arrangements had to be made.

    Breeds will affect personality but there is also difference among cats in the same or similar (mutt) breeds. We picked our cats as kittens a few weeks before they were ready to leave their mother (we then came back and got them when it was time). I picked mine based on the fact that she was the only one who seemed to "like" me - that is, she sat in my lap and let me pet her and didn't try to claw me or run away from me. My mother couldn't get one to do that so she picked based on how she looked while she was playing. Now while both cats can tear through the house like a herd of elephants, if you don't know where Clio (my cat) is, she is probably sleeping on my son's bed. She lays around alot. She will actually lay on her back by choice or sit back like in this couch potato position and it is hilarious. Whereas Kali is more energetic and playful (and also more liable to bite or scratch you, but she's really not bad compared to some cats I've known). So see if you can play with or handle any of the cats before you adopt one. Once they get to be 8 or 10 weeks old you can get a feel for their personality.

    As far as clawing, there used to be some little sort of silicone covers you could put over the cat's claws that some of my friends swore by, but I don't know if they are still popular/a good idea. I think they were these things http://www.softpaws.com/ or something similar. Now, we have a couple of scratching posts and our girls have been used to using them since they were born, basically, so that helps. They do occasionally claw but honestly I have a 4yo and a 7yo so it's not like we have anything nice anyway. :D

    Some cats will want to get out. Some don't. Our first cat was an indoor cat all the time we lived alone (as in without my family) and she only got out once to the extent it was scary (we lived right next to a major street) and mostly rarely tried for the door. Then for some reason when we all moved back in she became an outdoor cat. We are trying to keep these girls in, and are mostly doing well at it. But they seem to take turns being the annoying run who is always trying for the door. Once Kali gets out she kind of stands there (in fact I guess she got accidently shut out once and cried to get let back in) whereas Clio makes you chase her. But I really want them to stay in so we do our best and even the kids know not to leave the door open. They don't seem emotionally bothered so much by not being allowed outside, though they do like to look out the window.

    Oh and if you get a cat under 1 yo it's good to try a couple of different kinds of foods so they will be okay with variety. Never just switch one food to another, always mix it together. But I also recommend you look into grain free kibble. Most big name cat food is mostly grains, which actually is not really a natural part of a cat's diet. The grain free foods do usually have some vegetable matter in them, I believe, but it is still mostly protein, which is really how it would be for wild dogs and cats. We feed our cats Innova EVO because that's one of the foods recommended to us, though actually when they were kittens they were partially fed a raw diet, but honestly I do not have that kind of time, so grain-free kibble it is. Though that hasn't stopped them from becoming tubbos. Our other cat was able to self-regulate her feeding during the day and she was always skinny. With these two they have gotten tubby (traditional siamese are heftier than the wedge-head super-skinny ones, but really, we've never had such fat siamese and I and my mom have been around the breed all our lives) so we're trying to limit what we give them and give it on a more of a breakfast-dinner kind of plan.

    Also if you're going to keep them indoors you'll want to read about a good vaccination schedule for indoor cats. Indoor cats don't need as many vaccinations as often which is honestly better as there is a kind of cancer that is linked to vaccination-injection sites - at least, from what I have read.

    Okay, I think I have exhausted my cat knowledge. Good luck and be sure to post pics. :)

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  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    YAY KITTENS!

    I've found it's easier to have two kittens than one kitten, because then they can entertain each other when you're away. Or when you're sleeping. It will also lead to twice the adorableness.
    333934.jpg333935.jpg

    If you EVER want to have more than one cat, get them now as kittens . . . because you can easily introduce any two young kittens together and they will be friends but mature cats, especially "single cats", are usually not going to accept a newcomer easily. I don't think being littermates or not really makes a difference with kittens.

    Kudos for going to an animal shelter! My cats are shelter cats and they're delightful.

    Re: furniture. You have to a) train them not to scratch the furniture and b) train them to scratch something else. My cats love those replaceable cardboard scratchers and also sisal covered scratching posts. If you have really expensive or easily damaged furniture, I'd suggest some sort of protective covering for it until you've got the cats reliably using their Approve Scratching Object. Do not declaw. It's cruel.

    Breed and gender: Well, specific cat breeds are sometimes known for specific traits, but you can also find all same traits in non-purebred cats. Also, I've found that the way you raise a kitten has a big effect on their personality. One of my kittens started out super-shy, but with encouragement became extremely outgoing and affectionate.

    My cats are indoor-only, it hasn't effected them negatively at all (and protected them from my neighbor's FIV-positive cat who she lets run loose, REAL RESPONSIBLE, LADY.)

    Also, my male cats have never marked anything. They were neutered as young kittens (eight weeks old), which I highly recommend--not only because of the marking thing, but because young critters recover from surgery extremely quickly. My little guys were literally running around the next day like nothing had happened.

    LadyM on
  • zilozilo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Get two if you can. They'll do a pretty good job keeping themselves entertained, especially if they're from the same litter. They also learn pretty quickly not to use their claws when playing, which is... helpful. They can stalk each other, wrestle, and generally be cat-social which is good for their personalities.

    Males can spray if they're not neutered. It's much, much rarer if they are. Spray is different from pee; it smells far, far worse.

    The most common breeds at shelters and rescues are called DSH- domestic shorthair (though some have long hair). They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and are awesome cats. Lots of genetic diversity means none of the major hereditary issues of purebreds. Personality is a crapshoot, as with any pet, but if you get them as kittens (~8 weeks) already fixed then you'll have a lot more input in how their personalities are shaped- and they do change over time. One of our cats was kind of a jerk as a kitten but now he's super friendly and affectionate.

    You can basically eliminate scratching with proper training and lots of alternatives. You'll need at least one big scratching post / climbing thingamajig (preferably something wound with sisal rope), and 3-5 cheap cardboard scratchers. Place the big thingamajig in the room you spend the most time in and the other scratchers everywhere. If the cats start scratching the carpet or furniture, put a cardboard scratcher nearby.

    Definitely don't let them outside. Indoor cats are a lot healthier, live a whole lot longer, and don't bring fleas / dirt into your house.

    My advice is to find a rescue service in your area and adopt 2 siblings. I've only had male cats but I think any mix of genders would be fine. What most services I've seen do is foster pregnant cats and adopt out the kittens, so they never see the inside of a shelter (and don't risk contracting shelter diseases, some of which are uncurable like FIV or feline calcivirus). They'll also fix the cats for you, get their booster shots, and have a vet test them. They usually cost around $75 apiece with a discount for getting two. We got our pair of brothers for $100. If you live in Los Angeles I'd be happy to recommend a couple.

    zilo on
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I have a spray bottle filled with water that I use on my cat when shes bad.

    It works pretty well. You just have to make sure to only use it when the cat is in the act of doing whatever it is that you don't want them to do.

    Actually; I'm not sure if this is teaching the cat to avoid doing certain things or just fear the bottle.

    Al_wat on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Actually; I'm not sure if this is teaching the cat to avoid doing certain things or just fear the bottle.

    Could be either, really.

    If the cat starts doing it when you're not around, it's definitely the bottle/you.

    End on
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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    End wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Actually; I'm not sure if this is teaching the cat to avoid doing certain things or just fear the bottle.

    Could be either, really.

    If the cat starts doing it when you're not around, it's definitely the bottle/you.

    Some cats are clever enough to do it right in front of you, but only when you don't have the bottle in reach. My cat will even get my attention before he starts. My cat's not allowed on tables, and he's generally good about staying off unless A. I'm in the room and B. the bottle isn't. He'll then do his high pitched "Look at me" squeak and throw a fit until I come look at him and then hop right up. When I say, "Down!" he flops his belly down and gets nice and comfy.

    No matter how much you love them, cats can be seriously infuriating sometimes.

    Hevach on
  • EntriechEntriech ? ? ? ? ? Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Jasconius wrote: »
    1) Do cats benefit significantly from having another cat to play with? I'll be around a lot so it's not like it will be isolated, but I am not a cat. I don't know what cats need. So the essence of the question is if two cats are better than one cat for the sake of the cats wellbeing.
    You can honestly go either way on this. Cats are definitely not always social animals as a rule. Don't feel like you have to get two cats, though, especially if where you live is fairly tiny or you're concerned about the expense. We've just got the singular cat, and he does fine. I'll throw balls for him, or we'll chase each other around the house, or play wrestle (my hand vs all of him). As long as he's getting enough attention, it's fine.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    2) What do I need to buy or do to prevent the wholesale destruction of my furniture. Particularly from clawing and excessive shedding. Does diet come into play? Recommendations there? Toys to dissuade them from using my nice sofa?
    Get him a cat tree of some variety. They come in a variety of sizes/materials, but the most important thing is that it be sturdy so he feels he can use it. Some of the weak cardboard scratching toys feel like they're going to fall over when a cat leans on them, and he won't want to use it. Praise him every time he scratches on the thing he is supposed to scratch, and scold him if he goes after anything else. He'll get the idea right quick.

    Keep his claws clipped. Getting him used to having his feet handled can be good, like if you just play with them while you're holding him, so that when it comes time to snip away he won't be as jumpy. I like to ambush mine when he's napping, as it usually takes a few minutes for his brain to fire up, and I can have the job done in that time. If you have issues, you can investigate something like SoftPaws which are little latex caps for the claws. Do not declaw a cat, it can cause them a lot of pain, both acute and chronic. It's like having the last joint of your fingers cut off.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    3) Do cat breeds or gender impact personality? I would prefer to have a more... exuberant variety of feline. I've seen them before! But I've also seen ones that basically just occupy space on an ottoman somewhere for 20 hours a day.
    Just go in and play with the cats at the shelter. Also talk to the shelter workers about the personality of the various cats. Note that a more adult cat (say six months on) will have a more static personality than say a kitten.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    4) Unfortunately in my neighborhood I could not let them outside at all. Way too many cars and high traffic roads. Does that impact them too much?
    Nope, cats can live quite happily indoors only. In fact that's the best way to keep them healthy, as they'll avoid exposure to other animals/people/etc which could hurt them, either physically or via disease. Like another poster said, you can get them a harness and leash if you want to take them on walks. I take my cat out once or twice a week during the summer and let him eat grass and sharpen his claws on the trees.

    The other usual cat advice applies. Get at least one litterbox per level of your home, at least until you see what his usage is like. Introduce the cat slowly to your house, starting in one closed off room and slowly opening things up so they aren't overwhelmed. Clean litterboxes every day. Cats are obligate carnivores, and have a shitty thirst drive, so feeding them a high quality wet food is best in my opinion. I feed ours the grain-free Wellness brand stuff (One 6oz can per day, split over two meals) and he's got a great coat, lots of energy, and loves the wet food. Cats are very much creatures of habit, hate change, and love steady schedules. Bear in mind whenever you take an action with the cat, you may be laying down a pattern they'll expect in the future.

    Edit: Oh! Don't forget toothpaste. The shelter/pet store/local vet will have some enzymatic toothpaste/toothbrush/finger brush for cats. Get some. How far/much you'll be able to brush his teeth depends on the cat, but it's good to make the effort as dental issues are pretty common in cats, regardless of wet or dry food being used. Also it will help his breath not smell like death incarnate.

    Good luck!

    Entriech on
  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    1) Do cats benefit significantly from having another cat to play with? I'll be around a lot so it's not like it will be isolated, but I am not a cat. I don't know what cats need. So the essence of the question is if two cats are better than one cat for the sake of the cats wellbeing.

    I would say definitely yes, even if they don't exactly love each other, the stimulation and exercise is good for them - especially if you're out of the house for a sizable portion of each day.
    Some cats are clever enough to do it right in front of you, but only when you don't have the bottle in reach. My cat will even get my attention before he starts. My cat's not allowed on tables, and he's generally good about staying off unless A. I'm in the room and B. the bottle isn't. He'll then do his high pitched "Look at me" squeak and throw a fit until I come look at him and then hop right up. When I say, "Down!" he flops his belly down and gets nice and comfy.

    Wow, one of my cats does almost this same exact behavior when he's trying to camp out in our pantry - he knows darn well he's not supposed to be in there, so he immediately tries to dodge past me and then lay down as fast as possible...then he screams bloody murder when I have to slide my hands under to pick him up. And then 5 minutes later he's headbutting my leg and wants to go sit on the sofa and have his head scratched :P
    so feeding them a high quality wet food is best in my opinion. I feed ours the grain-free Wellness brand stuff (One 6oz can per day, split over two meals) and he's got a great coat, lots of energy, and loves the wet food.

    Just wanted to recommend this also, we actually feed both our cats the grain-free Wellness CORE canned wet food, one 5.5oz can per day for each of them, split over 2 meals. Don't be put off too much by the cost of higher-quality foods - I personally feel the extra money is balanced out by the fact that it helps keep them in better health and avoiding vet visits. For male cats in particular you really want to consider an all-wet food diet to help avoid urinary blockages and other issues, which are freakin' expensive to treat.

    Our two kitties, briefly getting along:
    catschair.jpg

    bothcatstree.jpg

    Deathwing on
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    4. Inside cats are safe and happy cats. They are not stuck somewhere, starving to death. They are not roadkill. They are not accidentally going through the Rottweiller's yard during morning walkies. Keep your cats inside. :)

    There is a cultural difference here between the US and the UK. US cat owners believe all cats should be indoor cats, and it is abusive to let them out. UK cat owners generally believe the opposite. However the OP is using American spelling so your advice is probably good.

    As for getting only one cat, I don't believe this is as harmful as some people suppose. Cats are adorable to watch playing with each other, but they seem happy on their own, too. If you want to get two at the same time, get two related cats who already live together. Introducing two unrelated cats is an advanced task, and not guaranteed to work - they might never stop fighting.

    CelestialBadger on
  • OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    4. Inside cats are safe and happy cats. They are not stuck somewhere, starving to death. They are not roadkill. They are not accidentally going through the Rottweiller's yard during morning walkies. Keep your cats inside. :)

    There is a cultural difference here between the US and the UK. US cat owners believe all cats should be indoor cats, and it is abusive to let them out. UK cat owners generally believe the opposite. However the OP is using American spelling so your advice is probably good.

    As for getting only one cat, I don't believe this is as harmful as some people suppose. Cats are adorable to watch playing with each other, but they seem happy on their own, too. If you want to get two at the same time, get two related cats who already live together. Introducing two unrelated cats is an advanced task, and not guaranteed to work - they might never stop fighting.

    It may be a cultural thing, but the life expectancy of an indoor cat far outweighs an indoor/outdoor (by roughly 6-7 years) and a straight outdoor cat (by 13!). The life expectancy of outdoor cats in America is around 2 years. I mean stats always vary, but those were from the Humane Society a year or two when I looked.

    Cats can get bored by themselves. But they also sleep a lot of the day. It's not cruel to have a cat be by itself, but I think in general most cats are happy with a companion. Now, some cats will never get along with each other, but the younger they are the better they do with it.

    OnTheLastCastle on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Some cats are single cats only, some cats love having a buddy. You could look at getting a "matched pair" at the shelter, if you want two.

    As for the activity level and breeds, this is actually due more to body morphology than a particular breed. Of course, breeds tend to guarantee body morphology, but in general: Thinner, longer, lankier cats are going to be more active and mobile than stout, stocky builds. Same with size -- smaller cats are going to be up and around more than larger cats. I've also found that long-haired cats tend to be less active than short-hair cats.

    Go to the shelter and play with some, see how you feel. If you get them a scratching post they should leave your stuff alone. Peeing is generally not a problem if you have them fixed but they are animals and they might end up with an accident. Use the same cat litter they're using at wherever you got the cat to start. And I've recently starting using the Clever Cat box and really like it compared to the "normal" kind.

    EggyToast on
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  • Kitten SwarmKitten Swarm Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Just got my cat a year and a half ago unintentionally.

    1) If you're getting younger cats or kittens, get two. They will wear each other out and it might help save your extremities from constant stalking. Plus they can teach each other proper bite inhibition and response. This is something I think my boy missed out on as an only kitten, and he tends to be nibbly and very focused on me. This is great when he's loving, bad when he's hyper (the only way to cure it is long laser pointer sessions).
    Even better, get two adult cats that were surrendered together. Yes you miss out on the kitten stage (which is cute but a nightmare). However you'll be allowing two friends to continue to stay together rather than be separated and adopted into different homes. Plus if you decide to add another cat later, *then* you can get a kitten, which tend to integrate with other cats better since they're too young to pose a threat to the older cats.

    2) Get a cat tree (they can be pricey, but put one near a window and it's the new favorite thing in the house). I just trim my cat's nails every so often and it works out for me. Favorite toys for him include the laser pointer, 'Cat Dancer' (little cardboard thing on a wire, it's super cheap and fun), and his crinkle-tube. He tends to be a very active cat, so he likes chasing toys.

    His other favorite thing is the Kong brand 'Wubba' octopus toy. He's had it since he was a kitten and he carries it around in his mouth like a dog, and sleeps with it.

    3) I've always heard male cats tend to be friendlier to people, but I would go by individual cat.
    If you want a more active breed, you might look for ones with siamese characteristics like color points and long lean bodies. My boy has some siamese in him even though he's a mutt cat, you can tell because of his coloration which is a "Flame Point" (pale orange stripes on his points). He's also fairly talkative, but not overly so. This is another benefit with adult cats, you will be able to see their full grown size, color, and personality. Keep in mind some cats in the shelter might be slightly 'shut down' or shy. Ask to see them in a separate one on one room.

    4) I got a harness and leash for my cat so I could take him out and let him explore. He mostly sticks to the front yard and enjoys smelling things more than running around. If you can crack a window and set up a cat tree near it, it will be the best entertainment for your cat(s). Bonus if you put a bird feeder or seed outside the window.


    I had my cat fixed at 5 months and he has never marked anything. New cats in a big space can get overwhelmed though, so you might want to keep it(them) in a single room for a day or two so they can calm down and get used to the location of the litter box.

    Obligatory pics of Liam:
    IMG_0557_1.jpg
    IMG_1195_1.jpg
    IMG_1199_1.jpg


    Do give an update on how it goes! I would also feed wet or raw rather than dry. Dry is convenient, but I have had much less stinky cat poo on raw/wet as well as a silkier coat.

    Kitten Swarm on
    You may learn that one day to your sorrow.
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  • RikushixRikushix VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    What, uh, Kitten Swarm said!

    This is vitally important:

    When you first get your kitten, take your litterbox, food and water and put it in one of your rooms - the den or games room if you have one, or the master bedroom if you're okay with it. Then take your kitten and release it into that room and close the door.

    Yeah, cats have a MUNDO GOES WHERE HE PLEASES attitude but the truth of the matter is that cats can get very overwhelmed by their environment (this is demonstrated by the reactions of many indoor cats when they're exposed to the outdoors: they're intensely curious about going outside but once they're actually OUT there they freak out). You don't want to scare your new cat. It will warm up to you and your house/apartment a lot more if you let it get comfortable with a smaller area first. After ~12 hours, or even a full day depending on where it is, you can open the door. The cat will explore new territory when it feels so inclined.

    :)

    Rikushix on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I have an entire empty room that will be "Cat Room"

    Jasconius on
  • Kitten SwarmKitten Swarm Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Jasconius wrote: »
    I have an entire empty room that will be "Cat Room"

    :^: :^:

    Good plan! Don't be freaked out if they don't eat much the first day either, since cats often don't eat when stressed. Do get concerned if they don't eat *anything* for longer than that. Cats have very strange livers and they can start clogging their liver with fat while starving to death, called Feline Hepatic Lipidosis. A good way to encourage eating if it comes down to it is drizzling tuna juice on their food.

    A minor note, if you don't have any cat color preferences do make sure to take a look at black cats. They have a significantly lower shelter adoption rate than any other color. Personality fit is most important of course, but give them a look.

    Kitten Swarm on
    You may learn that one day to your sorrow.
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I was aiming for either black or tuxedo as my first preference.

    Jasconius on
  • RikushixRikushix VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I don't understand why black cats are adopted far less than others, black cats are the most adorable.

    Rikushix on
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  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Rikushix wrote: »
    I don't understand why black cats are adopted far less than others, black cats are the most adorable.

    It is harder to take good pictures of all black animals, maybe that plays into it?

    Kistra on
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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Don't know if this is an issue for you, but some apartments will insist that cats be declawed.

    MushroomStick on
  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Don't know if this is an issue for you, but some apartments will insist that cats be declawed.

    And it's the most evil thing in the world. Avoid those apartments. :evil:

    Aurin on
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Aurin wrote: »
    Don't know if this is an issue for you, but some apartments will insist that cats be declawed.

    And it's the most evil thing in the world. Avoid those apartments. :evil:

    In some areas, that'll be pretty much every apartment.

    MushroomStick on
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Is that because of carpet?

    I have no carpet and it's also a very small complex. I already checked the lease and there's nothing like that in there.

    Jasconius on
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Most landlords/apartment managers will say its because clawed cats can ruin carpets/door frames/walls/etc. But a lot of the time its probably because they don't really want to allow pets, so they give a requirement that some people wont like as a deterrent.

    MushroomStick on
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yes, like my $350 non-refundable fee per pet.

    Ridiculous

    Jasconius on
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but if you adopt an adult cat you'd be doing a kind thing. Kittens are much more likely to be adopted from a shelter, adult cats have it kind of rough in that regard.

    -edit-

    As far as taking cats outside goes, my cat absolutely thinks she loves the outside. She has the ability to sense any window in the house being opened regardless of her current location or sleep status and she will proceed to camp the windowsill.

    And when we take her out on the harness she gets wide-eyed and proceeds to lay on the ground wherever we set her, barely moving.

    So the desire to be outside is one thing, but the reality is another altogether.

    Regina Fong on
  • FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Check out your local housing laws. In Ontario, you can't forbid a tenant from owning a pet until it becomes a problem.

    Figgy on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I have obtained a cat.

    I got just one at the recommendation of the shelter

    Female six months old, tuxedo shorthair

    It's the softest coat of fur I've ever seen on a cat.

    It was adopted last month and recently returned.

    It doesn't have a name. I'll put a picture as soon as it decides to come out from the couch.

    Jasconius on
  • RikushixRikushix VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    We look forward to it!

    Let her take her sweet time :) edit: And what figgy said about apartment laws. When I was renting a house in Ontario, the landlords couldn't stop you from having a pet; however on leases they would ask you to not have one due to "allergies" (pffft) and sign your name that you understood. Obviously this wouldn't hold up in a rental dispute, but most university students i know wouldn't do it because they didn't want to piss their landlord off.

    Rikushix on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Still under my sofa after 4 hours, but playing and talking. Just refusing to come out. Haven't been able to show it where the cat box is, no way I can get it out from under there either.

    *edit*

    It's out to look around a little, but I can't get near it or it goes back to the sofa.

    Jasconius on
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