Lots of questions for the pet owners and lovers

Ok, so i’ve been working on this for a year or so and I believe I’ve finally talked my bf into letting me get a kitten!

So now, I’m going to be taking care of EVERYTHING, and it has to be an indoor cat as we live in an apartment complex. What I’m looking for is any and ALL advice from those of you to a person who has NEVER had their own pet. We had kittens at home but none was ever MINE to make all decisions, on a budget, and train as I pleased.

Seriously, let it all come out. Type of food? how to litter train? can you move from litter to outdoors? Will they go to the door like a dog? Can you train them to go on walks? Boy or girl? What can I knit for it? Etc, etc, etc. Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say!

ok, i have 15 cats, mostly kittens as i rescued ferrals before christmas, and had 1 accident in scooter who is the love of my life now.

kittens are a total joy, i actually prefer them when they are adults that still play as they know when to keep the claws in and teeth away from you lol.

Personally i would only feed dried cat food as its better for teeth etc. mine get meat as a treat, birthdays x mas etc.

as for budget toys etc, if you have scrap yarn, ball it up then sew through then ends to make balls. i made 30+ of these, they lasted over a month with about 10 kittens which i thought was pretty good going as i made them badly (late at night and shattered as i was hand rearing at the time).

dried food also tends to be cheaper.

litter training, my loy tought themselves to do it tbh. i just showed them the box and that was in they used it and are soo clean (cleaner than my older cats who get lazy and just do it where they feel like it, its grose).

persoanlly i wouldnt bother with books etc as you can find everything out online and from your vet. i’d go and pick your vets brain as well.

id invest in a thermomiter as well (digital is best) that way if kitty gets sick you can check that straight away to know if you need vetinary help.

cheap litter works just the same as the dear stuff, its just the odor controll isn’t as great as some of the expensice stuff.
kitten will need to be on kitten food until he/she is a year old.

vaccinations i think are done 6 or 8 weeks and then at 12 i think. i was told by my vet taht indoor cats dont need them as much as outdoor so my lot arent done at all. if he/she will be socialising then def get it done. its flu tetnus and other once that i cant think. if you have rabies in your area then thats a must tbh, not worth the risk for what it costs.

i would look into insurance as if kitty gets poorly ever its a huge peace of mind to know that all but the excess is covered. also if its something pricey a lot of vets wotn even tell you about it until they hear your insured, they just say sorry kitty must be put to sleep. i dont know what that costs in america, but in th euk its cheap for 1 cat.

they are very easy to care for, just follow your gut and you will know if something right/wrong.

anything else just yell, tahts all i can think of right now

but wow you must be sooo excited. i know i was when i brough my 1st home. also go to your rescue centre they will probably have kittens this time of year. if not they could put you on a waiting list for one :slight_smile:

I love cats! I had planned on getting a kitten last year when my DBF and I moved in together, but when I was at the Humane Society I realised that everyone wants kittens and they’re a lot of work, so I got a 1 year old cat who has had 5 kittens and has 3 teeth knocked out. She needed me more than any of the kittens did. Lucy is still a lot of work, but it didn’t matter that I left her to go to school/work or whatever. She was okay alone. You can’t leave a kitten alone for very long, keep that in mind.

Lucy is an indoor cat, which I believe strongly in because they live longer etc. I also believe in feeding them the best quality food you can afford. When you first get your cat, take them to the vet immediately to make sure everything is right and ask the vet about food. You will want to feed the kitten the same food they were on for a little while before you switch, and when you do you will do it gradually, as in a little of each until you’ve switched over.

As for litter training, they will probably be “litter trained” before you get them. Make sure the litter box is somewhere easily accessible, quiet and comfortable. You don’t want it near the dryer where it’s going to be loud, for example. As for litter types, ask what they were using before you got the kitten as that’s what they will be used to. If you want to switch, you’ll have to do it gradually like the food.

Boy or girl- it’s your choice. One kitty will call out to you when you see it. Try to go to the Humane Society or the SPCA. That way you will be getting a kitten that really needs you.

There’s some cute things you can knit for your cat. One is a Kitty Pi, which is a cat bed that’s felted. There’s also a ton of cat toys to knit. You probably won’t want to make it a sweater like a dog, but you never know!

Whatever you do, be prepared for the costs. A cat doesn’t cost as much as a dog generally, but costs can arise. Depending on whether you need to get it “fixed” or get it’s shots updated, it can add up.

Hope that helps!

:yay: How exciting!! I love cats (and dogs)…

Our cats love Friskies Indoor Delights cat food, I’ve tried cheaper food and it had 'caused problems (runs, hairballs, etc) so after talking to my vet we went with this cat food and it has helped a TON. It can be expensive esp when one of mine likes to figure out ways to get into the food containers :teehee:

Also you may find that your cat won’t drink water from their dish but prefer to get it from the tub/sink…I finally found a dish set they would drink from although they each have their own dishes :teehee:

For litter boxes most of them are trained by their mother cats…I’ve always heard how well they do with the litter box will be how well their mom was :shrug: …I’ve never really had to train one to go to the litter box they just always knew…My cats won’t let me change the litter on them though…it has to be tidy cats or they will go beside the box (thankfully it’s in the basement)…also both of my cats (they each have their own box) have to have a CLEAN litter box…can’t skip a day on cleaning

I would also look into adopting a cat from your local shelter…start them off at the Vet’s right away and make sure they are healthy :thumbsup: (our shelter will let you take a cat for a week to try him/her out)

You can get a harness and leash for your cat…I’ve never had luck with my 2 but mom has…she had an indoor cat she would walk outside so it could get some fresh air :teehee: (we live out in the country so ours can go out with us)

I have a boy and girl cat…either is fine as long as you get a boy neutered before they start to spray (stinky stuff then)…but make sure you also get the girl spayed too or she can drive ya crazy when she goes into heat :teehee: (plus it is healthier for them)

Have a place your cat feels safe that can be their place…Bella has a rocking chair that is hers…and Gideon’s place is on top of my quilt rack…open the windows if you can and let them sit on the window seal…they love that

You may also want to get a scratching post…Gideon we never had to have one but with Bella we did…as soon as she wakes up she looks for something to sharpen her claws on…thankfully she likes the post…

Gideon is the one all stretched out his favorite pastime… Bella getting some fresh air

I would check with your local humane society. THey have tons of cats (and dogs) who need homes. On the cost side. Humane socities generally spay/neuter and give them shots and check up which is included in the cost of taking it home. THis is so much cheaper than my experience. I got my cats from a friend and had to pay out individually for all that stuff. Spay/nueter can be really expensive, Dr.visit, shots, etc. THey add up, at least the first go round. So adopting from humane society is much cheaper. Plus it makes you feel good that you adopted someone who needs it. Cats can be picky about food. I start with the cheapest dry store brand and go up from there. We use a store brand in a big bag that is $10 that will last a month. My cats aren’t that picky. I never feed them wet sticky food cuz it sticks tot hier teeth and rots thier teeth.

I went out an bought/made all these toys for my cats and they could care less. So make sure you got a playful cat before you buy stuff. I bought that cat video that is 30 minutes of birds and squirells and stuff, and my cat watched it for about 15 minutes and was really into it and then that was it. THey never watch it anymore. There’s $19.95 I’ll never see again :roll: The lesson is, get to know your cat before you buy a bunch of stuff

Our cats are indoor/outdoor. WE rent a house so they come and go.If that is the case for you someday when you move out of your apartment then shots against kitty aids is important cuz that stuff spreads like wildfire. And fleas. Some cats get them bad and some cats don’t. Check with your vet. Oh and get a vet! Ask yer friends who they like, see if there are stories about them inthe local paper, etc. They can tell you everything but find one you trust and like.

I wonder if you can become a foster parent to a cat at you local humane society? That way you can sorta “test run” a cat first before you adopt. Or maybe cat sit for a friend. Try before you buy ya know?

OK that’s all I got. Good luck! And take lots of pictures when you do get one

Awwww Getting a new kitten is very exciting and it’s great to see you being so careful and asking for help. I know we’ve all seen people who haven’t been as considerate.

I agree with a comment another member said, that when you see a kitten, you’ll it’s the right one for you. The cat hubby and I have now picked us, and we felt straight away she was the one for us.

Buffy has a mixture of dried and wet food, that way she has the crunch for her teeth and moisture from the wet food. Her favourite toys are a piece of scrunched up tin foil which she plays fetch with. And any stinky sock of hubby’s which she carries around with her. We found we’d by toys but she wasn’t really interested in them. Give her a cardboard box and she’ll go nuts.

Buffy has her own door which we taught her to use when she had been ‘done’ at the vets. She prefers to stay indoors most of the time but will go out if we are in the garden.

I hope you have fun choosing your new kitten. Can’t wait to see pictures.

My cat did great on Purina cat chow for 17 years. She was an adult stray I found injured in my barn. I had to have a back foot amputated and taming a feral cat took a little time, but she was a great cat. She never weighed more than 5 pounds.
I’m not generally a cat person so I treated her a lot like a dog and she learned what was acceptable behavior as a house cat. No getting on counters or scratching furniture. She took to a litter box with no problems.
My husband made her a scratching post by wrapping a burlap type cloth (more tightly woven than burlap sacks) around a 4x4 which was nailed to a square of 3/4" plywood. We wrapped the cloth multiple times around the post so we could remove layers as she shredded them. She was very good about using that instead of furniture or curtains.
My friends cats were not as fond of the commercial cat posts using carpet, their claws would get hung up and they wouldn’t want to use them again.
Best of luck with your new kitty and I know you’ll get years of enjoyment from him or her.

Wow, so many wonderful replys in such a short ammount of time!

new questions:

There won’t be much of a chance for this this year but my bf and I like to camp with his parents. How long can you leave a cat by itself? I know my bf doesn’t want to feel “tied down” and that is a big concern for me.

also, i have classes this semester starting monday. Kitty will have to be alone from 830-1045ish about every other week. Is that too long? Bf will be there about 50% of the time but he will be asleep the other 50%. I’ll be home after that for a few hours before I have to leave again for two hours.

also, what do you think about cat nip? My friends think it’s bad for cats. Idk.

I keep thinking of lots of things. I want to be SURE we can do this! I love kittys so much and want the company when the bf is gone but I want to do my kitty justice!

My girlfriend and her husband leave their cats in the house for up to 3-4 days with a large bowl of water and a heaping bowl of dry food. I don’t know how many litter boxes she uses. I do her chores when she’s gone for the outside animals but don’t have to worry about her cats. Cats don’t seem to require human interaction like dogs do and seem to do fine alone for long stretches of time.

:cheering: We’re thinking of getting a cat too, probably in 1-2 months. So I’m also very interested in everyone’s advice! Thanks Duessa! :teehee:

The only thing we know is that we’ll adopt our cat from the SPCA. Knitgal, I am really considering the option of adopting an older cat too. It’s not possible for us to stay home all the time because of our work, so from what you are saying perhaps it would be better for us (and for the cat). From what I could see on our SPCA’s website, it won’t be difficult to find. Which I guess means that many cats are abandoned by their previous owners. :pout:

To train a cat or a kitten to the litter tray… all you have to do is place them in the litter pan… so, they’ll know where it is-- (and if you do get a kitten don’t get a pan that’s too tall for them to climb in and out)
And, they just use the litter pan after that-- they just seem to think: “COOL, I have my own private bathroom place right in the house.”

WAY less work to train them… in this aspect- than dogs are to train.

to get a dog - well, 2 dogs so they play with each other :wink:

If you are really set on getting a cat please go to the SPCA or local human society to adopt. Don’t know about the shelters where you live but ours spay/neuter, deworm etc so while you pay an adoption fee you don’t end up paying those initial vet bills and most shelters have a list of vets they work with who won’t even charge you for the first vet visit you do make. Plus, while you’re there you can take a look at the puppers and see if maybe you’d rather have a dog :slight_smile:

Buy the best food that you can. See what your vet recommends. It will pay off in better health. Also, get it young and get it used to your life and to the way you hold it and all of that stuff. I think adopting older pets is wonderful, but I like getting a baby because it grows up thinking that I’m normal. lol Seriously–my dog has no idea that it’s not normal for a dog to wear dance costumes and give recitals. She takes for granted every single thing that my DD dishes out!

We go away for 3 days at a time. We have a timed pet feeder which opens compartments at certain times of the day. We also leave a large portion of dry food, she doesn’t go hungry. Cats are very independent, we find when we come home she acts like she’s not interested for a bit then doesn’t leave us alone. Cats do sleep a lot but when they are awake they are usually just content in lying there or having a bit of a play.

Buffy has a few cat-nip toys but doesn’t seem to be too bothered by them. We did have cat-nip bubbles once which sent a bit funny, I think as long as you don’t dose them up too much every now and then can’t hurt.

Growing up we took our cats with us camping :rofl: …we had a huge kennel cage and then again mom had a way of training them on a leash…many of our camping photos shows a cat with us…

We will leave our cats for 3 days if longer I usually take them with me…I have extra litter boxes and we set them all up…I have an automatic feeder and water for that time too… she will be fine during your classes…they are really more independent than dogs…I love dogs (we have a basset) but I think cats are easier to take care of :shrug:

First off, I got my cat (also my first cat since I grew up with dogs), Ellie, at a local Animal Shelter when she was about a year and a half old. No one wanted her because she came in preggers and had kittens. When I showed up, all the kittens were gone and no one wanted this sweet kitty who wasn’t really grown up herself. Nothing in my life up to this point has been more rewarding than knowing I saved her. Having a cat that is just past the kitten stage can save a new pet owner a LOT of trouble, I think.

If you wanted to, you could take some of the other advice here and teach your cat to go camping with you. I don’t have anywhere to have my cat outside, so when she whined at being put in a harness I didn’t force the issue. If you put the cat in one and let them just wear it around the house like a collar, they’ll get used to it–especially if done from a young age.

Nip is all-natural. It is actually an herb-like plant that you can easily grow in your home in a window box or something similar (just keep kitty away from it until it is too big to be totally destroyed). I’ve never read about it being “bad” for cats… I can’t imagine that there’d be so many toys out there with nip in them if it was. However, I’ve read that some cats just aren’t affected by it. I haven’t experimented a whole lot with Ellie, but it doesn’t seem to phase her. She likes her nip toys quite a bit, but they don’t make her act weird or anything. Something else that some cats love (and Ellie could care less about) is pet grass/animal grass. You can buy this as seed packets or a whole growing kit from pet supply stores. It is also easy to grow and safe for cats to eat.

Kitty will be fine if home alone for that short amount of time. I’m away for work 8 or 9 hours a day and mine has always been a good girl. If behavior problems come up, there are ways of training and other safe measures you can take to end whatever the problem is.

Some suggested products:

  • Nature’s Miracle stain remover (this stuff is seriously so great I have started using it for tons of stuff that is not pet-related)
  • Soft Paws nail caps (we haven’t had scratching problems in my house, but a bunch of my cat-owning friends HIGHLY recommend them)

Good luck and keep asking questions! :slight_smile:

my BF gave me a little orange ball of fluff my birthday last year (now he’s huge!) He was the most active in the bunch so that means he’s not much of cuddler so if you’re looking for a cuddler a quiter kitten might be best
He prefers to snack Goodlife chicken dryfood and he gets half a can of wet food in the morning and night. I learned pretty early on that he will play with mice and mice only (and now paper bags and 7Eleven Straws…go figure)
For kitty littler i like using the crystals, they’re a little more expensive but they do not smell at all and i feel they last a little longer than regular litter
I got him all his shots but as he is an indoor cat I dont keep up the rabies shots because i dont think he needs them since hes never ever outside and some people think they can be bad for cats
If you’re like me and cant bear to hurt animals, there are caps you can get for its nails to protect your furniture (and you!) but usually after about 6 months depending on its weight is good for declawing

I dont think leaving the kitten alone will be a problem, make sure you leave him someplace he can be cozy and cant get into trouble (found that out the hard way, turned around for one second and he fell down the side of my bed!

In some other cat communities I am a part of, this is a heated debate often, so I’m only going to say this. Please, please, [I]please[/I] read about what actually happens to a cat when you get it de-clawed before you take him or her to have it done. I had no idea what was involved until the people at the Animal Shelter gave me literature on it. For me, the reality of it was fairly distressing and turned me off to it completely.

Destructive scratching is a reality for plenty of cat owners, but not all… and that’s why I mentioned Soft Paws (there’s another brand that’s the same thing called Soft Claws, too). Just some food for thought.

A couple of things make me think that a dog would not be right #1 they live in an apartment #2 the BF doesn’t want to be “tied down” and #3 school obligations. Dogs definitely need much more attention than cats and I’d hate to see someone get a puppy and then not be able to give it all the attention it deserves :slight_smile: And dogs for sure can not be left home alone for days.

Now about cats, I have 2 of them. Keeping the litter box CLEAN is a must. Kitties don’t like a dirty bathroom anymore than we do and their sense of smell is much more sensitive. I give my cats Purina One and they seem to enjoy it. I was giving them much more expensive California Natural before. I love that food, but I just couldn’t afford it anymore and you just have to be realistic about those things. So I give my kitties the best I can afford and I suggest the same for you :^)

I give my kitties cat nip toys as a treat sometimes. I try not to let them over do themselves though.

As far as going away. I have had luck with my cats up to about 3 or 4 days. I’ve never tried longer, but I would worry so I have a friend or someone I can trust go in and check on them.

If you are training your cat to be indoors realize that some cats are escapers. Make sure they do know their surroundings at least, because contrary to opinions I’ve heard, cats do get lost. My boy cat has always been an indoor cat, but he always wants to escape. once he gets out he doesn’t know what to do with himself and usually just runs around the house and back in the door, but one time he got scared by another cat and ran across the alley into a locked gate. I tried to coax him out for a while and then thought that he would probably come back on his own. When he didn’t after a few hours I went back to the gate and meowed for him. he came right away, he was shivering from fear. I think he didn’t know how to get him and was afraid to get across the alley because of some trucks that were idling nearby. Poor baby!!

For that reason I also recommend getting a chip put in. Lots of kitties don’t like collars. My boy cat always pulls them off. My girl cat, who’s scared to death of the outdoors, doesn’t mind having a collar on at all . … lol

Also, it would be good to let your kitties get some fresh air in a window, but make sure you have a sturdy screen. They sell pet proof screens. You can find them on the internet or your local DIY store and they aren’t that expensive actually.

Hope my 2 cents help :slight_smile:

O my goodness! Thank you all SO MUCH! I think we are going to go for it. Also, my mothers cats just had kittens about a month ago and there is one slightly roudy but still cuddly little white and gray with big blue eyes that is just crying for me. lol my mom even said i would love her. Maybe we will do that. I’m thinking about going to petsmart and seeing what there is to rescue but it’s expensive and probably won’t get much for shots because will be an indoor all the way.

You guys are great!