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Two old unhealthy cats being introduced to my healthy cat home

rjesak
September 17th, 2007, 02:56 PM
Hey all, I'm new here so be patient with me!

I love cats and have six (which is already too many, really - but I'm not giving them up!) My mother is planning on moving in with me soon and she has two cats. I'm really concerned about this for a few reasons listed below and I could seriously use some advice on how to integrate them and how to get them healthy. Needless to say, I didn't get six cats at one time so I've introduced new cats into a home before, but never like this.

1. Both of these two cats have never used litter boxes. My mother and her husband kind of let them run loose and they peed down the vents and in every room. They literally made the house unsellable without replacing the duct work, the sub-flooring and carpets, and tossing all the furniture. I'm really worried about this problem. Is it too late? Will they teach my cats their bad habits?

I don't want to relegate the cats to the garage but I don't know what to do. Is it possible to build a cat-proof fence so that I could keep them in the yard? I NEVER let my cats out, but I'm afraid to let these cats IN!

2. One of the cats is allergic to fleas. He is almost constantly covered in scabby leaking sores (mostly during the Spring and Summer). Needless to say, this is another reason I don't want to keep the cats outside (fenced or otherwise - I can't fence the fleas out!). Can I just get him dipped? My mom has used a pill medication and she uses flea collars but it doesn't seem to help him. Watching this cat is painful - he'll scratch for hours on end.

3. My mom's two cats are HUGE. One of them is 30 pounds and the other is 25. My largest cat is 12. Are they going to beat up my cats? I introduced my six cats into the home one pair at a time, but I was always introducing kittens, not full-grown adult (and very grouchy) old-man type cats.

4. My mom's dog (who disappeared about a year ago) had worms. Could her cats have gotten worms from the dog? Obviously I'll have to take these cats to the vet before letting them be integrated into my home.

I know this is a long post but I'm really worried about this and I'm not sure what to do. I have often disagreed with my mother's care of her pets (she loves them and they live on her lap, but she's lazy about their overall health and manners) but I love her and want her to be welcome in my home. Her cats too! I'm just very afraid of this situation and I don't know how I'm going to handle it. Any suggestions on one or all of these problems???

Regards,
Robin

krdahmer
September 17th, 2007, 03:10 PM
Man have you got your work cut out for you from the sounds of it....:o

I too have six and one with a severe flea allergy.

What I would do, so this is my suggestions:

1. Before they come anywhere near your house take these two to the vets, have them get treated for fleas/worms etc with a med like Revolution. If possible even have them stay overnight so that you bring home no live fleas. Get treatment for the one with the sores (poor poor baby... I know how my Fagan suffers:sad:) (And I'm assuming they are all spayed/neutered...if not that is also a priority.)

2. Have them sequestered in one room, until their health is stable and they are potty trained, I've always found that it doesn't take long to teach even the ferals to use a litter box. Size does not necessarliy mean they will be aggressive (I would think more grateful for finally being taken care of properly!), so make the introduction slow, minutes, hours etc at a time. Use carriers so that your cats can check them out when it is safe to do so.

3. Anything your mother is moving in with needs to be treated for fleas and eggs.... sprayed/washed/thrown out. Or you may end up with 8 cats needing treatments!!!:eek: (and I thought 6 was bad!) (For myself I would also treat the other six with Revolution just to be preventative.)

and 4. God bless you for taking them in :angel:and giving them a chance... I think they will probably adjust in time to staying indoors and being healthier and eventually will also be happier.

Is your mother moving in due to age or health? You may have to also make sure that she doesn't let hers and yours outdoors if there are aging or health issues for her.

Oh and best of luck and welcome to the board!

rjesak
September 17th, 2007, 03:26 PM
Hey, thanks so much for your reply! Those are really good suggestions. I already feel less worried. :thumbs up

Mom is mainly moving because she's retiring. I'm glad to have her, and actually very glad to have the opportunity to care for these cats. My mother does adore them (they're very sweet lovable old coots), but she's been very depressed and didn't provide, I think, stellar care in the first place. Their daddy (my step-father) died only a couple of years ago and all three of them have suffered for it. :sad:

You give me so much hope. I was afraid my house was doomed! I'm glad to know I might still have a healthy Home For Wayward Cats as my friends call it. My cousin works at an animal shelter. She loves it, but I think I'd end up with too many cats to be good for anyone - including the cats!! I can't even stand to see the dogs in shelters...

Anyway, thanks so much. I feel much less stressed! :cool:

Robin

I'm wrapped around the claws of Storm, Misty, Oscar, Gus, Zander, and Anya

krdahmer
September 17th, 2007, 07:40 PM
I hear ya.... rescuing has been dangerous for me... I want to take them all home, but I think I am stretched far enough juggling 6. If I had a bigger family (its just me most of the week as hubby travels) and a little more space I might consider adding a dog or two, or some more cats. But as it is now, house is full!!! :rolleyes:

I'm glad I could be of help, I know sometimes one can get kind of flustered when things fly at ya too fast. Just slow down and take each situation as it arises. It sounds to me that maybe coming to stay with you might be the burst of light those three need right now.... and it'll be nice to have your mom to help with all that litter!!!:eek::laughing: (Also sorry to hear about your step dad :sad:) And you never know, maybe 8 will be just right!

This is my favorite place to come and 'cool off' or vent or get good pet advice, recipes, jokes, etc etc... so again welcome, and andelay with the photos! :D

sugarcatmom
September 17th, 2007, 10:53 PM
3. My mom's two cats are HUGE. One of them is 30 pounds and the other is 25.

Hi Robin, and welcome to pets.ca! Krdahmer gave you some really good advice so I won't bother repeating what was covered, but one thing that caught my attention was the weight of your mom's cats. :eek:! At those sizes, they can't be anything other than obese. I'm going to jump to the conclusion that they're free-feeding from a bottomless bowl of dry food and make a recommendation that you get them on a canned only, meal-fed diet as soon as possible (but after they've settled in at your place for a bit - don't want to bombard them with too many changes at once). They are at a huge risk of developing diabetes if they stay that size, as well as other complications like hepatic lipidosis and debilitating arthritis. Please read these sites for more details:
http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm
http://www.catnutrition.org/obesity.php

And I also want to commend you on your generosity in welcoming these cats into your home. Here's hoping everything goes nice and smooth! :fingerscr

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 07:35 AM
Actually, you're right, they are overweight. They're actually not as overweight as you might think from their size. They are two of a litter - the whole five of which ended up being enormous cats!

That said, they DO need to go on a diet. That's going to be a little tough because, although my cats have always fed from a bottomless bowl, they are all at healthy weight. I think I'm going to have to change it for all of them, but changing their habits will be hard. They LOVE canned food though (they get it now as a special treat on a VERY sporadic schedule - so they don't get used to it and beg for it) so it might not be so difficult.

I think as long as they all get along, it'll be especially good for mom's cats, and, hopefully, my house won't be TOO full! :D

Robin

want4rain
September 18th, 2007, 08:15 AM
anyone have any thoughts or concerns about the cats peeing in the vents?? i'll admit to being curious about peoples solutions to that. :)

-ashley

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 08:27 AM
I thought there would be a place where I could post pictures to go along with my profile but I can't find it. :confused:

So, I'll just attach them here!!! :D

Hmm, can only do three though... I'm clearly missing something!!

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 08:29 AM
I must say, the peeing in the vents is a BIG problem. It's not like you can really clean it up and every time the heat or air would kick on... Well, nuff said, I'll be unhappy if they pee on the carpet but I can clean that up. Down the vents is a problem!!!

want4rain
September 18th, 2007, 09:05 AM
i would be livid if i had to replace my vents. i guess worse case you can block off the vent in a single room and keep the cats in there.

so 3 pictures per post max but you can just keep posting different posts with 3 pics each. also, there is a 'pet photography' forum.

personally... i dont think anyone will care WHERE you post pics, as long as you post them. we have some rather shameless pics beggers here on pets.ca without even the slightest modesty in asking/begging/demanding. :cool: im not one of those people of course... im pretty patient in waiting... im just here to help you do it a little faster.... ;);)

-ashley

want4rain
September 18th, 2007, 09:09 AM
but sorry... back to the peeing vents... i would confine them somewhere until you are positive they are using the litter box every time they go potty and then slowly let them out of that room, maybe for just a few hours at a time??

how many litter boxes do you ahve now?? do you keep them super ultra clean? with the new guys around, i would maybe even go so far as to keep a littler box in each room, next to the vent?? but not so they kick litter into it though.

:shrug:

-ashley

want4rain
September 18th, 2007, 09:11 AM
BTW those are some LOVELY kitties.

-ash

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 09:53 AM
Right now I have three huge litter boxes which my six cats share quite happily. Since there are six, I scoop them daily and replace the litter every few days.

My mother has one teensy litter box (and since her cats are enormous), I'm not surprised they don't use it. I'm very much hoping that when they move in, they will be in love with my capacious clean litter pans and use them just because they're so lovely and clean... I can hope, right??? ::GRIN::

So here are three more pics (sorry they're so huge...)

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Here are the other two (I hope)...

krdahmer
September 18th, 2007, 11:15 AM
Aw... they are all beautiful!!! And I am thinking the vents at your house might not be an issue, they had probably started to pee there because of a scent, and then continued to do so because they weren't ever cleaned enough to get rid of their urine scent. I imagine yours have not ever been peed in and thus won't be as inviting, plus you're an everyday scooper like myself so they always have a clean and diggable alternative.... most do prefer to bury it. A good idea is to take them to the box first thing when you get them and rub their paws in it to show them the texture, I have found that worked with most cats I've taken in that hadn't really used them before. And if they are sequestered and don't get it right away, you can take a poop or pee from your boxes and put it in theirs to give them the idea. That also worked for me. :D Oh Oh... and just to be extra safe when you introduce them to the whole house make your litter boxes the first stop, I always try to orient them out from the box so they know where to go.... and just in case you could put a scent they won't like, like citrus on your vents just to make sure they don't find them at all inviting. (Plus it smells nice if you have your air on!)

I see you have quite a few tabbies, are you a sucker for stripes like me?

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 11:37 AM
Good ideas there! Adding some almond rocha from another box is a very good idea. I'll probably take theirs from their trip here (Mom's coming from MO so it's an 18 hour trip) and put it in their sequested box until they get used to it. VERY good idea. Thanks!!:highfive:

I'm actually a sucker for cats in general. I do like color and stripes. My best friend has three all-black cats - that's what she's a sucker for!

A year ago I almost adopted a little calico but I chickened out because I already had six. I still regret not taking her home. Now I don't go to shelters!

badger
September 18th, 2007, 12:01 PM
almond rocha :laughing::laughing:
I notice your house is furnished for cats already - I call them the Twelve Stations of the Nap - time to add two more!
I have a feeling everything will go swimmingly. It's a question of management.
Your mother and her kitties are lucky to be joining you.

want4rain
September 18th, 2007, 01:20 PM
the citrus in the vents is a fantastic idea!!!

try this- cut an orange in half. squeeze the juice into a cup, scoop the pulp out as best as you can. drink the juice. set your oven for broil low. put an orange half in for each one of your vents. broil them for no more than a minute or two. that should release the essence in the peel. next take some yarn and after they have cooled, make a purse out of it. you dont want to put a hole through the center because you wont be able to drop any smells into them for fear of them dripping. tie the orange purses to the under side of the vent, try to hide the strings... you have a bunch of cats you know. :)

you can now put things like sliced/broiled orange peels or do the same with lemon peels.... each time the heater comes on it will release a little more of the smell. you can also broil the sliced ones that fit inside of the purse with whole cloves!! yummy!!

lemme know if you try this and it works!!

-ashley

rjesak
September 18th, 2007, 01:23 PM
That's a good idea cats or not! I'll definitely try it!

krdahmer
September 18th, 2007, 06:50 PM
almond rocha... :laughing: cute.;)

And don't forget to keep us updated, I'd love to know how it goes with all your new arrivals! When do they come?

rjesak
September 19th, 2007, 07:52 AM
A friend of mine talks about his dog eating almond rocha from the litter box and I found it disturbingly apt - not to mention hilarious and highly disgusting!

Mom says she'll be packing next week. She was supposed to be out at the first of October but apparently she's thinking about waiting until Thanksgiving now so I may not have to worry for a while.

chico2
September 19th, 2007, 08:56 AM
Your cats are soooo beautiful,I really have nothing to add,only that I think you are a wonderful daughter and kitty-mom:thumbs up
I am assuming the two newbies are spayed and neutered:confused:
and of course a vet-visit before anything else,fleas on 8 cats would be an absolute nightmare:evil:and a very expensive one.:cat:

rjesak
September 19th, 2007, 11:26 AM
::GRIN:: You ain't wrong. My kitties have NEVER had fleas and I hope very much they never have to experience them (not to mention me and my poor ankles)!! :yuck::eek:

Both the new cats are nuetered. Thank goodness for small mercies but since they were allowed out doors, they almost had to be. My stepfather found them the day before Christmas hiding in a tree during a snowstorm. :mad: They were about six weeks old. He got them nuetered as soon as they were old enough! ...and we got lots of pix of kittens in a Christmas tree that year!! :laughing: