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Owning a cat?

SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!!Registered User regular
I'm trying to convince my wife to let us get a cat. I like cats, but I've never owned one. I have two kids (5 and 7) who I think would love to have a cat (they love my mom's cats).

I don't really know what owning a cat is all about, though. I get the litter box in an available area and obviously food and water and stuff, but what pitfalls do I not know about with cat ownership?

I have lots of electronics with cables so I fear that a cat might chew them, but certainly there are ways to prevent that, yes?

Also, with regards to scratching and clawing, how do people typically handle that? I'm pretty sure declawing is cruel (yes?) so I wouldn't want to go that route, but I also don't want my stuff ripped to shreds.

My wife doesn't want to have to clean up after it so everything I know about caring for a cat would help me persuade her.

Help me get a kitty! :)

VishNub
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Posts

  • ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    Litter boxes are gross, they smell bad pretty much no matter what you do and the litter gets fucking everywhere. Basically, all you need to do is put out food and water for the cat, change its litter box (mine is just under once a week, we use wood pellets) and play with them. They are quite low maintenance.

    I never had an issue with her chewing on cords, so I don't know if that is a common problem. Scratching will be a problem, but you can curb that behaviour. Declawing is cruel and you would be hard pressed to find a vet willing to do it even if you wanted to. I would suggest getting the cat used to your trimming its claws early on, otherwise you end up having to wrestle with it once it's older, which is a miserable time for you and the cat.

    It will piss/shit outside of the litter box, it is annoying but these things can happen... Ours was doing it because she hated the door on her new litter box, turns out once it was gone, she was fine.

    I highly suggest getting a kitten/cat beginners book from a store, they can give you a lot of good advice on how to solve common problems.

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  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 6
    Scratching and clawing are usually handled by providing other things for the cats to shred. This works great for my cats, but not all of them are so complaisant (also, I don't have any fabric upholstery in the home). You can buy scratching posts, cardboard scratchers, etc., apply catnip and encourage the cat to use them, then hope for the best.

    I don't think most cats chew on cords, but for people who have rodents or lagomorphs there are cord sheaths and repellents you can buy.

    Regarding litterboxes, I like the top-entry boxes, as they keep my problem cat from spraying his urine over the side and onto the wall. Precious Cat Litter is often on sale on Amazon ($14-18 for 40 lbs), it's a good deal. Get a cat litter scoop and a mat or something else to put under the box.

    You can also buy a pet toothbrushing set and (especially if you get a longhaired cat) a Furminator brush. If you'll let the cat out, even into the yard, flea meds and a flea comb would be advisable.

    I know a lot of people discourage buying toys when a lot of cats will happily play with milk jug tabs and rolled up paper, but I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest), but they seem like good exercise for the ones who do.

    EDIT: Also, post pictures if you do get a cat. Or better yet, cats.

    Orogogus on
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  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Cats by and large will demand lots of attention, especially when they're smaller. When the cat wants attention it will gladly interrupt anything you're doing to get it. Attempts to rebuff this will be met with lots of meowing, which is pitched to perfectly mimic that of a baby's cry and is thus very hard to ignore for very long. The cat will eventually settle into a pattern of its own as it grows up, sleeping for long periods of time in its favorite spots, but they do get attached to particular people and will seek them out for physical contact.

    Oh, and if you get one cat, get a second one. They can be solitary but having a "sibling" helps immensely in keeping the cat occupied and active so they're not constantly bothering you. When they get older they'll also play with each other usually, so it keeps them healthier than the lone cat that's allowed to sleep and eat all day.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited March 6
    Cats are awesome! My cat is my best friend and loving companion.

    You can typically get a spray that you can use to make cables and cords distasteful for most cats. I say most, because some cats will be obstinate.

    Make sure there are plenty of toys for the cat to play with. A bored cat is a destructive cat. Most cats like the keep scratching up the same objects over and over, so be sure you have at least three different things that are okay for cats to scratch (usually Sisal twine posts). Most cats also just love plain cardboard boxes, so if you have a large Amazon shipment, you can just leave the box out for them to play in.

    If you get a kitten, try to train the kitten to tolerate getting its claws trimmed (I use a normal human nail-clipper, because my cat hates the pet nail-clippers and scissors, but doesn't have the same reaction to a human one) and teeth brushed early on. If they accept this as "normal" early on, they will tolerate it better as an adult.

    I clean my cat's litterbox twice a day and use a Litter Genie to store it. :-P That greatly cuts down on the odor and generally makes the cat happier. The frequency of litter box cleaning is largely a matter of how much you tolerate the smell. I also use the Arm&Hammer Clump and Seal stuff, but every cat will like a different kind of litter, so feel free to experiment. If they willingly dig around in the litter box to shove the clay/pine around, then that means they like it. I also bought a handheld vacuum, which charge on the wall next to the litterbox so I can do a spot cleanup every day.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    I have a lot of experience with cats. I adore cats. I did a lot of research when I got my first cat (first cat that wasn't actually owned by my parents, that is. I've had cats in my family since before I was born) and I've continued to do research while owning my three cats, so that I'll have the happiest kitties. My tips are:

    1) When you go to pick up the cat (preferably from a shelter or the SPCA or another rescue!), make sure the personality of the cat suits you. Don't just choose a cat just on how it looks. Bring your kids when you're picking one out, also. Let the kids handle the cat and see how it reacts. The cat should be one that gets along with everybody and doesn't get nervous around children.

    2) Clawing furniture is going to be the main thing you'll have to work on avoiding, chewing cords not so much. Ways to dissuade cats from clawing are: double sided tape on the surface you want to protect, or aluminum foil taped to the surface. It's also good to have several scratching posts around the house to give the cat an alternative.

    3) Cats need their claws trimmed like once a week. I only bring this up because I didn't know it until I was preparing for my first cat. (I'd had cats growing up but my parents took care of that stuff so I didn't know)

    4) If you have a big house, or a two story house, you'll need more than one litter box, eventually - at least one per floor. There's no real way to have it not smell, but I've found that the Breeze Litter System works better than most. It's also more pricey than your average litter box, and the litter and pee pads mean it's also more pricey in upkeep. Also you still have to scoop out poops if you want to keep the poop smell down (Breeze only really eliminates the urine odor).

    5) If you want to get a cat and your wife doesn't, be prepared to be the pooper scooper, urine cleaner and vomit cleaner. Nature's Miracle works pretty great for cleaning cat messes. I'm not saying your cat will be messing up the carpet constantly or anything, but sometimes accidents will happen and it's good to be prepared for that.

    6) Make sure to have furniture specifically for the cat - a cat tree and/or a cat bed. If you don't want to invest money, you can use cardboard boxes to build something since cats usually love those. Having a spot the cat can rub against and feel is theirs helps you have a happy cat, and keeps the cat from doing behaviors you don't like such as peeing on the carpet. Cats need their smell around and become anxious if they don't have objects to rub their odor on. Also if you can have some high spots that it's OK for the cat to be on, such as a cat tree or carpet covered cat shelves, it gives the cat a place to run to when they aren't feeling social. This is especially important when you have young kids: A cat that can't escape a child who might unknowingly pet them too roughly or pull on their tail is a cat who might scratch to get out of that situation. If the cat knows they can just run up to a top shelf that's there explicitly for them, then you get a better behaved cat with kids. There are certainly some cats are gentle enough that even if they're being mistreated by a child they won't claw no matter what. While that's a great cat to have, it's still kinder to the cat to give them an escape.

    7) Make sure to have several sources of water for the cat and keep those water sources clean. Also don't keep the water near the food bowl, for probably instinctual reasons cats prefer water when it's further away from food.

    8) Introduce the cat to your home slowly. Maybe only start the cat out in a single room. Let the cat get comfortable in that room, and with the residents of the house, before letting them spread out. However outgoing the cat behaved at the rescue or shelter, they will likely be freaked out at being in a new place.

    9) This one might be hard to communicate to young children, but when you play with your cat don't teach the cat that your bare hand is a toy. Have actual toys around for the cat, that the cat can feel free to bite to pieces - toys on a string and rod go over well with all cats, this one is a universal favorite in my house. The little toy mice with catnip in them that you can buy basically everywhere are also loved by all my cats. Use your hand for petting and scratching the cat's chin, and if the cat starts biting or clawing that hand, then stop petting the cat at once, walk away and do something else. Some cats will just naturally react in a playful way when you touch them in certain areas. For example, two of my cats love belly rubs and will stretch out when you start giving them out. The third takes belly rubs to mean play time, and bites when you rub his belly. We don't want that cat (who is the youngest and most kitten-like) to get the idea that our hands are for biting, so we pet him instead in areas that don't get a reaction, like his back or his face and chin.

    Hopefully this is not too much of a tl;dr. I think cats are the loveliest fluffballs in the universe and I'd own all the cats if I could. I think cats are ideal with kids.

    dispatch.oRainfallMichaelLCBlameless Clericphysi_marcMrAnthropycabsy
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Going to second the idea of getting more than one cat, especially if you plan on keeping it housebound. The benefits to the cats and yourself are pretty significant and should not be dismissed. Plus, two cats are not that much more work than one. And three is not that much more work than two. (After that you might start becoming the cat people though.) It is significantly more difficult to acclimate an established cat with a new one - even if you do everything right there are plenty of cases where cats will literally run away because another one was brought home. So I'd just get two right away, especially if they are siblings, and save yourself the trouble later.

    Cats have varying personalities, so it's hard to give standard advice that will work across the board. None of my cats ever had particular issues with chewing things they shouldn't, but it's definitely a thing that can happen. Similarly, some cats are incorrigible and difficult to train, so you may end up with a cat that loves knocking shit over and you basically can't stop it from doing that when you aren't in the same room, so you may decide to just not put stuff up that you can't afford to have knocked over (or to bolt everything down).

    The big thing with having a pet like a cat is that you need to be prepared to change your day-to-day life and living arrangements to accommodate the cat. It sound stupid, because it's a pet, but the reality is that it's a living creature, not a slave robot, and you can't expect that it will do everything you want exactly the way you want it done. It will piss on the floor sometimes (see: the other post about cats on this subforum). It will climb the drapes. It will probably ruin at least one piece of furniture and force you to reassess your next purchase in terms of how "cat proof" it is instead of how much it matches your nice leather ottoman. It will require constant feeding, cleaning, and attention, and it won't always be on your schedule. If you aren't prepared to make those kinds of changes and you are generally in a home environment that is intolerant of that kind of thing, then I would not recommend getting a cat (or any pet outside of a goldfish).

    A lot of people are unwilling to come to terms with the responsibility of owning another living creature, and they resort to abuse or neglect (e.g., abandoning the pet). I'm not saying that you are that kind of person, but the fact that it happens with alarming regularity is something that cannot be ignored. Be realistic about the amount of work and adjustment involved (which it sounds like you are trying to do, so yay!).

    All that being said, cats are much lower maintenance than dogs. The vast majority do not require any housetraining because they naturally gravitate towards litter boxes. Which will, as others mentioned, always smell (even when you get used to it) and needs to be cleaned regularly (not just refilling the box, but replacing all of the litter and actually cleaning the box, not to mention regular vacuuming and what-have-you because shit gonna fly around). But that's usually the "worst" thing that you have to deal with on the regular when it comes to cats.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Whether to get one or two cats depends on what you want in a cat. If you have someone at home most of the day and you want the cat to always look to you or your children for attention, get one cat. That will mean that any time the cat wants to play (which will be often, especially as a kitten) it will want you or the kids to bust out a toy to play with it. And if you don't bust out the toy, the cat will do those things that humans commonly misinterpret as "revenge", like knocking things on the floor or walking in places that get you to yell at it. It's just attention-seeking behavior; these are the things that get you to pay attention to it, so it naturally does the things it knows works. (I should mention that all cats will do this when they want something from you, unless you're able to ignore them when they try the attention seeking behavior)

    If you get two cats, then they'll be much more able to be independent of you, not needing you to meet all their needs since they have a companion. I'll add my vote in here that if you plan on getting two cats, it's a good idea to adopt them both at the same time. This gives you the chance, for one, to see how the two cats' personalities mesh in the shelter, and for two it lets both cats acclimate to your home at the same time, which gives them a stronger bond. That said, if you do just get one and decide to get a second cat later, it's still quite doable if both cats are young (say a year old or less). You just have to introduce them slowly. There are methods for this that you can read up if it comes up. The older the cat, the harder a time you will have trying to introduce a new cat.

    Having two cats still does mean you need to play with the cats sometimes to keep them stimulated.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/192519/planning-on-adopting-a-cat-update-got-a-cat/p1

    Just wanted to share my old thread because I got a lot of good info in it.

    Nearly 2 years later, I'm still glad we got an older cat. You have kids that may have the time to play all day with a kitten. For me, when we first got spectre, he could easily play for two hours of SOLID chasing time and not really get worn out. Unlike dogs, you can't just take your cat for a walk and exhaust them, so play time can be a little more monotonous. We have one cat, so this gives you an idea of how much they can potentially need your attention. I dont have room for two litter boxes, so getting a pair would have been a poor choice.

    My cat is stubborn, but hes clicker trained to sit and be quiet before meal time. We did this to modify his behavior (he can be very vocal) but also to have good 1 on 1 time with him through training. It wont work for everything, my cat deliberately gets on the kitchen counter after I sit at my desk and put on my headphones, but hes mellowed out on most of his bad habits over time.

    He only walks on cables to get us to pay attention to him, I've never seen him idly chew on something static that wasn't cardboard. He sometimes rips paper if it's on the floor.

    DeliciousTacos
  • manjimanji Registered User regular
    a couple of things to add here. if you have access to a decent amount of outdoor space you can dispense with a litter box fairly quickly. cats seem to prefer burying outside. litter training is normally as simple as sitting your cat in the tray and making a digging motion with its paw a couple of times.

    i'm not sure i hold with all this claw trimming talk. destructive clawing can normally be dealt with with sprays/ repeatedly chasing them off and giving them a more desirable target. removing your cats ability to climb or defend itself seems pretty harsh unless you're planning to have it spend all its time indoors.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    manji wrote: »
    i'm not sure i hold with all this claw trimming talk. destructive clawing can normally be dealt with with sprays/ repeatedly chasing them off and giving them a more desirable target.

    Claw trimming is, admittedly, for indoor cats. It does not remove their ability to fight at all (the claws still do what claws do), but if you don't trim them they will grow into the cat's pads and then only a vet can help you.

    Of course I personally don't think it's OK to let cats run around outside without a leash or a pen or something to keep them from roaming. And at least in the county where I live, it's not legal to let cat's roam unrestrained.

    CalicaMrVyngaardLovelycabsy
  • manjimanji Registered User regular
    it seems your country and mine are polar opposites! i have a garden and a back door with a cat flap. my cat is basically zero maintenance, i just keep a bowl of food in the kitchen and take it to the vet for shots every so often and that's it. no litter tray, no claw care (trees keep them sharp), no leads. i don't even provide water, it gets all its liquid from wet food and puddles.

    that we mostly live our own lives except for cuddle time is for me the main selling point of cat ownership.

  • EchoEcho Where da waaagh at? Moderator mod
    All that being said, cats are much lower maintenance than dogs. The vast majority do not require any housetraining because they naturally gravitate towards litter boxes. Which will, as others mentioned, always smell (even when you get used to it) and needs to be cleaned regularly (not just refilling the box, but replacing all of the litter and actually cleaning the box, not to mention regular vacuuming and what-have-you because shit gonna fly around). But that's usually the "worst" thing that you have to deal with on the regular when it comes to cats.

    Finding a really good brand of litter really helps here. I have one where I pretty much never have to replace all of it, though I do it every now and then anyway to clean the whole box.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Kittens chew on cords sometimes, if there's a lot of it crisscrossing around the house. Hasn't been a big problem, but keep an eye on them anyway.
    Should be less relevant in this wireless future.

    The more time a cat spends outdoors, the less maintenance it needs, but that's more viable the more land you've got available for your own use.
    Oh, yeah, and cats are likely to leave dead critters everywhere outdoors. Especially birds.

    Cats are probably going to scratch you and bite you sooner or later. Generally won't do much real harm to a human, since cats are made of tiny hooks and pins. They're only pointy and sharp. Ripping your own hand away from the cat's grasp in a startle is a good way to cut yourself open on one that isn't even moving. Getting away faster won't do you or a child any good.

  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited March 8
    As far as scratching posts go, it's good to place them next to the entrances to the home and places where visitors tend to hang out, like the living room couch. It's good to keep a few scrap pieces of carpet around and if you notice there is a piece of furniture or wall that just wont be left alone no matter how close you put a scratching post next to it, just nail/staple to rug to that spot.

    With the litter box you need to decide what YOU want to do as far as cleaning it goes for the next decade or two. As little as possible, then buy an expensive self cleaning box. If you're fine with cleaning pee clumps every day then buy a clumping litter. If you prefer to do full cleanout 1-2 times a week, instead, buy a non clumping litter (like wood pellets) and do that. Also be ready for cat exercising her/her veto rights regarding litter and type of box.

    Set up some high perch spots. Near windows and places where you hang around a lot around the house. Many cats like to lay around and observe from above. Might want to get a covered garbage can for food scraps. Cooked bones can be fatal (raw ones are mostly fine).

    Siska on
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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    The vast majority do not require any housetraining because they naturally gravitate towards litter boxes.

    For the record: Cats are taught by their mother to use a litter box, and can easily forget this training when stressed or averse to your particular litter box. And since they do like to hide it, they might use places in your house that you rarely see. So keep an eye on them in the beginning to see if they really use it. (Also, if getting a kitten, make sure it's older since very young cats may not be properly taught yet.)

  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Cats know how to land on their feet, but they need airtime to turn, so they're not always going to appreciate being dropped.
    Also some cats are clumsy idiots that make cows look graceful.

    It's a good idea to leave clean water out even for outdoorsy cats. It's reliable. Just leave a wateringcan filled, or something.

  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    edited March 7
    We've never had a problem with our indoor cats and their claws. They've both got a scratching post they love to use and that tends to hone them pretty well.

    Also one of the major benefits of cats is admiring how graceful they move while at the same time smiling because you know that magazine they're about to put their weight on is hanging over an edge and whoopsa-daisy there she goes! Also when in the throes of rolling on their back they are remarkably prone to goofball falls.

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Noxalas! Registered User regular
    Orogogus wrote: »
    ...I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest)

    are you sure you don't have dogs?

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The laser pointer also doesn't work on my cat. I've had the most success with crinkly stuffing-less dog toys.

  • ZavianZavian Senātus Populusque Rōmānus Registered User regular
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Orogogus wrote: »
    ...I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest)

    are you sure you don't have dogs?

    also, laser pointers are more fun for the human than the cat. They get satisfaction out of hunting and capturing their prey, but with a laser pointer they never will. It's sort of like if you go into a buffet and are starving but aren't allowed to eat anything. It gets the cat active, but there's no reward and just makes them frustrated and stressed. You're better off getting a fishing pole style cat toy that you can fling around and have them chase and pounce on, much more satisfaction to be had when they can claw and bite into something

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited March 7
    Cambiata wrote: »
    manji wrote: »
    i'm not sure i hold with all this claw trimming talk. destructive clawing can normally be dealt with with sprays/ repeatedly chasing them off and giving them a more desirable target.

    Claw trimming is, admittedly, for indoor cats. It does not remove their ability to fight at all (the claws still do what claws do), but if you don't trim them they will grow into the cat's pads and then only a vet can help you.
    This isn't a common problem. I've never heard of it happening. As long as they're good about using their posts, and not being aggressive with you or your children trimming is not a necessity.

    At 5 and 7 your kids are probably old enough to begin to understand to respect the cat's space. No pulling on tails, ears, etc.

    And while surprise kittens are tempting, I'd suggest taking them with you when you go to pick them out. Sit down in the middle of the cat room and see which cat wants to be with you. Much more likely to got the stereotypical aloof antisocial type that way.

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think trimming claws really depends on the size of the cat. My giant guy has talons and if we dont cut them now and then he will accidently shred through jeans when he jumps on a lap. If you get them used to it and buy proper clippers its a pretty low maintenance thing.

    Blameless ClericJuliusQuidcabsy
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    edited March 7
    That reminds me, breeds! Most cats you'll find at shelters are mixed breeds, but visually you can largely identify what they take most after. Different breeds have different stereotypical "attitudes" and reactions. For example, our two current cats have a large dose of Siamese and are very friendly and affectionate to people they know, seeking out a lap to lay in or lounge next to. They also don't hurt us when they're playing, it's only incidental claws rather than going too far in play. Look up some of the friendlier breeds and that'll help you potentially identify a cat you might want to take out of the cage at the shelter.

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  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    Zavian wrote: »
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Orogogus wrote: »
    ...I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest)

    are you sure you don't have dogs?

    also, laser pointers are more fun for the human than the cat. They get satisfaction out of hunting and capturing their prey, but with a laser pointer they never will. It's sort of like if you go into a buffet and are starving but aren't allowed to eat anything. It gets the cat active, but there's no reward and just makes them frustrated and stressed. You're better off getting a fishing pole style cat toy that you can fling around and have them chase and pounce on, much more satisfaction to be had when they can claw and bite into something

    Anecdotal, but I've seen a higher rate of interest in friends' cats with laser pointers than with pole toys. And the laser lets the cat really speed across a room instead of being constrained to the length of the toy or how fast the human can run.

    And really, getting the cat active is the reward. Cats can be prone to sedentary lifestyles and then getting fat.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Also a good cheap toy? Nylon zip-tie. Preferably one of the longer ones so you can keep your fingers away from the Fun Zone. If you know someone who works in shipping warehouse or something where they tend to use those who can snag one for you.

    The little ratchet knob on the end plus the sproingyness of them has never failed to drive a cat bonkers in my experience.

    My cats seem to love those grasses that grow the long stems with seeds on the end fit the same reason. But unlike the grasses the zipties don't easily snap or have seeds the cats try to eat.

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  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    The favorite toy of one of my cats is crumpled up receipts. She's partial to the "non-glossy but still somewhat thicker than normal" kind. She will play fetch with them where we throw and she retrieves.

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  • Skull2185Skull2185 Cute'thulu Registered User regular
    Orogogus wrote: »
    ...I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest)



    Man, all I have to do is pick up the laser pointer, and the cats come running. Some how they know just the sound of it getting picked up off the table. Then I get to make em do all kinds of dumb shit, like pounce on eachother or spin and get dizzy.

    Playing with a laser pointer also helped my fatass cat lose some weight too.

  • GizzyGizzy <- girl PhoenixRegistered User regular
    I have a cat that chews cords and repellent on the cords doesn't work. I've found with him it's an anxiety issue so I just drop what I'm doing and give him some attention if I notice him chewing. It stopped happening as frequently when we got a second cat to keep him company.

    Also be prepared for the possibility of your cat attaching itself to one human. Ginger likes all people but specifically me the most. Gremlin likes all people but my husband the most. Odin likes me and only me - he will tolerate my husband sometimes.

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  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    You really don't need anything special to cut nails we just use a regular nail clipper. Helps to start them young playing with their feet and extending their claws to get used to handling

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Gizzy wrote: »
    I have a cat that chews cords and repellent on the cords doesn't work. I've found with him it's an anxiety issue so I just drop what I'm doing and give him some attention if I notice him chewing. It stopped happening as frequently when we got a second cat to keep him company.

    Also be prepared for the possibility of your cat attaching itself to one human. Ginger likes all people but specifically me the most. Gremlin likes all people but my husband the most. Odin likes me and only me - he will tolerate my husband sometimes.

    be careful, they will learn the behavior of chewing cords is how they can get your attention

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Orogogus wrote: »
    Zavian wrote: »
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Orogogus wrote: »
    ...I'd recommend a laser pointer, which costs like $4. It doesn't work for all cats (mine have no interest)

    are you sure you don't have dogs?

    also, laser pointers are more fun for the human than the cat. They get satisfaction out of hunting and capturing their prey, but with a laser pointer they never will. It's sort of like if you go into a buffet and are starving but aren't allowed to eat anything. It gets the cat active, but there's no reward and just makes them frustrated and stressed. You're better off getting a fishing pole style cat toy that you can fling around and have them chase and pounce on, much more satisfaction to be had when they can claw and bite into something

    Anecdotal, but I've seen a higher rate of interest in friends' cats with laser pointers than with pole toys. And the laser lets the cat really speed across a room instead of being constrained to the length of the toy or how fast the human can run.

    And really, getting the cat active is the reward. Cats can be prone to sedentary lifestyles and then getting fat.

    Cats do love laser pointers, but if that's the only toy you use for your cat they can get frustrated. It's better for the cat's well-being if sometimes they catch the thing they're chasing.

    And maybe you don't have to clip every week (we do in our house because the kitties love to knead on our arms which leaves us filled with holes even when we do clip), but it's something to keep your eyes on even if your cats are outdoors. If they don't use their claws often enough they will grow into the pads. Scratching posts don't necessarily take care of the problem. Clipping them doesn't mean they aren't still sharp. I'll take pictures of my arm scratches if you don't believe it!

  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    If you do end up with a cord-chewer (not common, but it can happen - we have one right now), look up split loom cable cover on Amazon or at a hardware store. It ain't pretty, but you can buy it in a wide variety of circumfrences for way cheaper than the cable protectors you can get at pet stores. Works great for our guy because he prefers to chew thin cables and the way it's shaped is uncomfortable for chewing.

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  • JusticeJustice Registered User regular
    Pretty comprehensive thread, but just to chime in on claw trimming: all it means is nailclipping off the needle-sharp very tippy-tip at the end of your cat's claws, which then becomes needle-sharp again within a week. Cat claws are the same material as fingernails, so snipping off the very tip of them isn't a big deal. The cat can still climb, shred things, and fuck you up, but it ameliorates the worst of it. Also, it's an either/or deal: either the cat will let you clip her claws, or you won't be able to. Don't even bother fighting the cat, you'll lose. You start off with one or two claws, then get to the point where you can get them all in 30-40 seconds before the cat gets pissed.

    Biggest tip for keeping your cat happy: vertical space. A tall cat tree adjacent to some book shelves for the cat to sit on is ideal. Cats feel more secure when they have the option of sitting high up.

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  • Blameless ClericBlameless Cleric Seelie in the streets, Unseelie in the sheets Registered User regular
    edited March 8
    My two cents is that getting a cat that's at least a year old is ideal! If you get a kitten, despite your best efforts you cannot really be certain what you are getting, and the personality they develop may not jive with you over time. If you can get a cat a little older, you can be more sure of their behaviour and temperament.

    Also, I haven't seen anyone else say this yet so - When you get the cat in your house, it won't necessarily know at first where the litter box is. What you do is pick the cat up and drop it in the litter box. Just do this a few times and eventually it'll pee in the litter box, and then you're golden. Also!! Keep the area around the litterbox tidy (as well as the box itself), and away from other things in your house. Cats don't like to go in a messy place, and also don't like to eat or really hang out near litter boxes.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    edited March 8
    Echo wrote: »
    All that being said, cats are much lower maintenance than dogs. The vast majority do not require any housetraining because they naturally gravitate towards litter boxes. Which will, as others mentioned, always smell (even when you get used to it) and needs to be cleaned regularly (not just refilling the box, but replacing all of the litter and actually cleaning the box, not to mention regular vacuuming and what-have-you because shit gonna fly around). But that's usually the "worst" thing that you have to deal with on the regular when it comes to cats.

    Finding a really good brand of litter really helps here. I have one where I pretty much never have to replace all of it, though I do it every now and then anyway to clean the whole box.

    I've had cats my whole life. Currently i have two that i got at the same time as kittens. Heres some advice.

    1) Get them as young as possible. the biggest problem I have with my cats is trimming claws as I'm single and lacking a third arm, trimming claws is a difficult thing to do because i made the mistake of not getting them use to it as a kitten. If you get a kitten, make sure you get your cat use to being held, and touch there legs/paws often all the time. One of mine is friendly as hell but hates to be touched on her legs or belly. Luckily she uses my scratching post so ive not had to worry about her claws much. The other one whines and complains and runs from me if she sees the clippers in my hand.. I have to sneak up on her.

    2) Litterbox. I suggest the first one you get for whatever cat (or cats) you end up with be a covered one...this will keep the litter from spraying as much and get your cat use to it from the getgo. I also suggest the Tidy Cat litter that has a BLACK 4 in 1 label. It clumps better than any litter ive seen, making cleanup of the box very easy, and also does a great job at keeping the odor down.

    3) if you are going to get one, then get two. again, as young as possible from the same litter if possible. Dont get two older cats unless you have the chance to put them in the same room and see how they behave with each other first.

    4) Don't expect the behavior in the pet shop/shelter to completely reflect them once they get home. My friendly as hell cat was one of those in the corner of the cage, kinda too scared to move or get near anyone. They are nervous and scared in many cases until they settle in.

    5) If you have a good spot for it, one of those cat water fountains will save you lots of trouble and worry if you have to leave them alone during a vacation or something.

    6) If you buy them a scratching post or anything that comes in a box. Don't let them see the box. they will rather play in that instead of the toy and you will feel like you wasted money.

    7) I've always had female cats (I like calicos so its pretty much a given) so I've never had to worry about spraying males in heat before. My parents have had male cats and its not always a problem but I prefer never to have to worry about it.

    8) Hairballs happen. The cat isnt necessarily sick when this occurs. I use those lysol wipes to clean the carpet after a mess. Don't expect your cat to always puke on the lenolium.

    9) never spank your cat. Water bottle is slightly more effective and less guilt inducing.

    azith28 on
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  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    Cheap cat toy recommendation:

    rubber bands.

    My cats absolutely love those fat rubber bands that you get with broccoli.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    I would be afraid of giving them rubber bands. could be swallowed and choke. My brothers cat died from swallowing a length of string.
    Like, shoestrings are okay if you tie a big knot near both ends, but not rubber bands or loose string.

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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    Reznik wrote: »
    Cheap cat toy recommendation:

    rubber bands.

    My cats absolutely love those fat rubber bands that you get with broccoli.

    Definitely be careful about this. My wife's first cat ate a rubber band and didn't find out until she saw it partially sticking out of its butt later on. I doubt it was as big as the rubber bands you describe, but just be aware!

    Lots of good advice in here, so I don't have much else to add.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    Reznik wrote: »
    Cheap cat toy recommendation:

    rubber bands.

    My cats absolutely love those fat rubber bands that you get with broccoli.

    Warning: My cat ate a bunch of rubber bands over the course of months without me knowing. He had to get expensive surgery to get them all out, as they had formed a knot in his stomach.

    Apothe0sisEchoShadowfirechrishallett83
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Reznik wrote: »
    Cheap cat toy recommendation:

    rubber bands.

    My cats absolutely love those fat rubber bands that you get with broccoli.

    Warning: My cat ate a bunch of rubber bands over the course of months without me knowing. He had to get expensive surgery to get them all out, as they had formed a knot in his stomach.

    Well I hope he bounced back after that.

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