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Help for a clueless soon-to-be cat owner!

Chaser
November 13th, 2008, 07:23 PM
For anyone not in the know, I'm going to be adopting Rupert, the baby daddy of the kittens that Toonces has been caring for. See: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=56275&highlight=baby+pics
I'm expecting to get him around Christmastime when we go to see her for the holidays. Only one small problem: I've never ever had a cat and am feeling kind of clueless! I've got Toonces and my best friend to ask for help, but I think I'm driving them up the wall with questions so I thought I'd start a thread to ask random kitty questions and benefit from the wealth of knowledge I know all the pets.ca kitty lovers possess!!!

The two areas I'm good on are cat nutrition and introducing him to the dogs - but that's about it! Litter is a totally foreign concept to me, as are scratch pad thingies. I'd also like to know what toys your cats like that won't be a choking or blockage hazard to my dogs. So please, give me any advice you think a new cat owner should have! What are your favourite products, where can I get a deal on them, etc. Any links to old threads that would be helpful are also appreciated (though I've been reading the recent kitty litter one and am still baffled!)

And are litter pan liners necessary or more trouble than they are worth???? I have to wonder if cats are likely to get kinda miffed about a plastic bag lining their poop box...:confused:

Thank you in advance for any advice!

dogcatharmony
November 13th, 2008, 07:52 PM
The best toy in the world for a cat that I have found is a paper bag, or a box and a wadded up peice of paper. Hours of fun. Cheap, easy and no hazard to the dog.

Congrats on becoming a cat owner!!!

Jim Hall
November 13th, 2008, 08:15 PM
also lazer tags for boyh dogs and kits

litter is what the cat uses mow , for now and maybe swhet scoops or a product clled yesterdays news

clump litter is ok but can be a problem with tracking it out of the box also you want to try and keep the kits litter away from the dogs sometimes they like it

you got the two big things beat though , nutrition and intros

your gonna love it!!! rember patince and tuna are your two best tools in cat dom

sugarcatmom
November 13th, 2008, 08:43 PM
Yay!!! Congratulations on your new fur-family member.

For cat litter, I would recommend getting 2 litter boxes (open, not covered) and seeing what kind of litter the kitty prefers. Put the kind that he currently uses in one box and another kind, if you want to change it, in the other box. Leave it for a week and see if he goes in one more than the other. Swap the boxes around so that you're sure it isn't a location preference.

I say no on the litter pan liners. They are actually less hygienic because they trap urine underneath and in the folds of the liner, and I have yet to meet a cat that likes them. Plus, it creates more waste for the environment.

Dogcatharmony is right, the best toys are the improvised ones. But do get some cat nip! And the taller the scratching post, the better. Since you have dogs, you might want to invest in a cat condo where Rupert can get up high and survey the peons down below.

Chaser
November 13th, 2008, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far! I'll skip the liners and would like a cat condo eventually, but that will require waiting until we have more space and saving up some $ for it. I love the box/paper idea - the dogs eat paper products on a pretty regular basis anyway! :laughing:

A few questions: Toonces told me that Rupert likes to kick his litter out of the box, so I really want to be able to use a covered pan. Any way I can get him accustomed to this idea? Or am I looking at a high likelihood of rebellion and poop on the floor?

The problem is that we'll have his litter in our office - in our not-very-big apartment - for about 3 months. We plan to move to a townhouse and once I can put his pan in the basement he can kick litter to his hearts content.....but I'd rather stop it from happening on our office carpet!

Also, how often do you all find you need to change the litter completely??? I obviously want a clean box, but i don't want to spend a crazy amount of money every month! How often is typically necessary for one cat? And any tips on a cleaning product that is safe for cats and doesn't leave a scent he may not like? Not sure what a good litter pan cleaner would be....or if it even matters. :confused:

Geez....dogs seem so easy all of a sudden!

14+kitties
November 13th, 2008, 09:53 PM
Depending on the type of litter used ....... you can scoop every day and just change the whole thing about every two to three weeks for one cat (Yesterday's News, Feline Pine, etc). The clay ones need changed completely about once a week. I scoop four or five times a day but I have lots of cats and change completly once a week. I just top off with fresh stuff when it gets down from scooping.

For toys tin foil balls are great too. Mine love to bat those things around. Also, you can get a package of 12 "mice" at most pet stores. My guys have more fun with those things than almost anything they have. Just be prepared to dig them out from under stoves, fridges, etc. :rolleyes: And TT loves ear plugs! They all do to bat them around but TT carries them around and talks to them. :rolleyes:

Rupert may not take to a covered litterbox if he is used to having an open one. He may rebel against it by using another spot you don't want him using. Like, the carpet. How about just putting some of those kitty liners under and around the box on the floor and then you don't have to worry about litter being kicked around. At least you will make use of them. Or just use a garbage bag.

For a kitty condo you can pick up one fairly cheap. It doesn't have to be big and fancy. Just one where Rupert can hide a little. Or make one with carpet covering wood, circles, etc and nail it all together. :shrug:

MommaKat
November 13th, 2008, 10:53 PM
I have tried many cat scratching posts but the most loved in my house is the cheap (under $10) cardboard scratching post. It's on a tilt and my cats like to lay down and dig into it. Downside is cardboard shavings occasionaly need to be vaccumed up with a mini vac but not a choking hazard.

When you do get a cat condo, shop around. I paid a fortune for the one we got for our cats and since then I have seen nicer ones for MUCH cheaper :wall: .

Toys depend on the cat. Mine like toys that bounce and they can chase. I have a ball on a string that I actually made so I could play with them.

There are all kinds of litter boxes out there, don't panic! If Rupert is fussy you will eventually find one that you both like. If he does not like a covered box you can get ones with high sides that help with the mess.

Congrats :cat: :thumbs up

Jim Hall
November 13th, 2008, 11:18 PM
scratching posts wood semi soft like a un treated 2x4
cardboard carpet samples esp the cheap indoor out door kind good for putting in carriers too

toys lol i use the cello wrappers fprm my cigarettes a few in a rubber band drives cats crazy couse it makes noise if you squuzze it and it flys when you bat it


hanging out high a box with a blankie on top

an empty shelve on a book case

hide outs you have doggie crate put some blankey in one and cover it instant hidey hole and jump up cats love to be enclosed too sometimes

Tundra_Queen
November 14th, 2008, 12:16 AM
Those kitties are so cute! I want one or two..or all of them. LOL

I would suggest u get 2 kittens. :D That way they will keep each other company and they will also tire each other out by playing with each other instead of getting into trouble if there is only one of them.

I have 3 felines now, 1 six yr old and 2 6 months old. The kittens are so much easier to take care of because they keep each other busy.

The first one I had I had to amuse him much much more and he got into much more trouble! .....:laughing:

So I think getting 2 kittens would be much easier.....:D

As for the toys,,,all my 3 cats love the creamer containers that we get from Tim Hortons. :laughing: They love to smack them around and they are so light it keeps them amused for a long time.

I also bought a cat house that stands on the top of 3 pillars from Walmart. Two pillars are made of carpet and 1 is made of sisal rope and they love those for scratching.The old cat lays on the top of the roof and the kittens are inside the house. *S*

Debbie

badger
November 14th, 2008, 05:53 AM
One of my litterboxes is a big plastic storage bin, about a foot high, and even the most enthusiastic digger can't get more than a few grains over the side. The trick is to buy it big enough so the cat can function normally, without providing them with too much range. This one is about 17" long and maybe 10" wide. Don't worry about the height, they manage just fine (although for a tiny kitten just getting the hang of it, you'll have to go considerably lower at the beginning. Then surface area may be more important than height.)

As for litter, I buy the No-Name (in Canada) clumping kind and have never had a problem (other then cleaning up in a five foot radius :D). The really cheap store brands are lousy, extremely dusty, gloppy when wet and it gets in between their toes (then to their mouths :eek:) so avoid those like the plague.

2 X kittens, definitely. Walking through my neighbourhood late in the afternoon, I see dozens of kittens (and cats), sitting on window-sills, anxiously awaiting their only source of entertainment to get home from work and fire up the laser pointer :laughing:. With two, they get a good workout during the day and with any luck, sleep better at night.

Love4himies
November 14th, 2008, 06:44 AM
Congrats on becoming a kitty momma :thumbs up.

We use Max Scoop kitty litter, I know there are some issues with the dust but I have found it quite dust free and Jasper and Puddles do a lot of their business outside under the deck. We don't completely change the kitty litter too often about every three months or so, but do scoop daily and keep the litter full until we are going to do the full change, then we let it get low. Sweet Pea likes to dig to China and bury her business like she building a mountain causing kitty litter everywhere. We keep a broom behind the litter box to clean up after her. I second no kitty pan liners.

I HIGHLY recommend a very solid high scratching post (kitty condo) that your kitty can claim as his own territory and can safely get away from the dog. Cats like to be high. Be prepared to spend the bucks (about $200). Petcetera has cheap ones, but they are wobbly and as far as I am concerned they are not safe for active cats. If your hubby is handy, it would be much cheaper to get some scrap wood from Home Depot or Rona and make one himself. Only use plywood for the base and tiers, particle board is to flimsy and the screws come loose.

As for food, if you are not prepared to feed raw, another great food is Nature's Variety Instinct is a great canned food, please don't start your kitty on kibble, not the best as they don't get enough water.

As for toys, my kitties fav is a long skate lace or string (Sweet Pea), tennis balls (Puddles) and the small mice with the short fur that come in grey or white (Jasper and Snowball).

DoubleRR
November 14th, 2008, 09:15 AM
Best deal for non DIY cat tree I have found is this one from Walmart for $55. Floor to ceiling, easy to put together, and the part on the ceiling is rubber footed. Has a tension pole up there like the old pole lamps, and works great.
http://gallery.pethobbyist.com/data/23124Cat_Tree-med.jpg

phoozles
November 14th, 2008, 02:06 PM
I just got a 'tube' for my kitties .. it's made of crinkly fabric, it's about 5 ft long and has a few holes throughout - my guys LOVE IT! I thought for sure we'd put it out and they'd go in once and that'd be it, but they play with it enthusiastically every night.. it was only $13 at JYSK so the price was right :thumbs up

The other toy my guys love is a 'bag ball' .. I take a regular plastic shopping bag and twist it so it's like a cord.. I keep tying knots in it until it's one big knot and snip off the ends - they play with them for hours!

My kitties also love the cardboard scratchers - they aren't as much as an eyesore as some of the traditional scratching posts are, and they're pretty cheap to replace .. none of them scratch up the furniture, which is nice (Jake's pretty funny .. if we tell him he can't do something, he heads over to the scratcher to take out his aggression on it :laughing:)

You might want to get him his own bed too .. but it's hit or miss whether or not he'll use it.. :shrug:

14+kitties
November 14th, 2008, 02:19 PM
I'm pretty sure Toonces is feeding Rupert some good quality food now so switching him over shouldn't be an issue. You should be able to keep him on the same food. If Toonces can get it, you sure can. She's in the boonies. :p

I had forgotten about using storage bins for litter. That would work great! I am putting some over in the catuary for me guys. I am hoping it will cut down on the number of boxes but we shall see.

Chaser
November 14th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas everyone! :) But I need to clarify: Toonces found homes for all the kittens - I'll just be taking their daddy, Rupert. He enjoys hanging out with her dogs already, so although he'll be an only cat, I'm not worried about him being bored or lonely! Since he's gentle with his little ones I'm sure I'll add a kitten later on, but not for a while.

If I have any more specific questions as I start getting stuff for him I will be sure to ask!

clm
November 14th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Best deal for non DIY cat tree I have found is this one from Walmart for $55. Floor to ceiling, easy to put together, and the part on the ceiling is rubber footed. Has a tension pole up there like the old pole lamps, and works great.
http://gallery.pethobbyist.com/data/23124Cat_Tree-med.jpg

I have that same tree, the cats love it. I rub catnip on it once in a while too.

Congrats on getting a kitty!. I have both cats and dogs and love having both. Keep the kitty littler boxes somewhere the dogs can't get to it, or they'll be eating out of it. :yuck:

Make sure the kitty has somewhere that he can go and the dogs can't, at least for a while. Mine were fine with our last dog, but they find Baxter and Bentley a little too rough right now, so they like the fact that they can go upstairs or down in the basement and the dogs can't follow.

Kitty nutrition is simple. Grain free wet is best. Loads of variety out there now. Unlike a lot of dogs, cats must have variety. They can be really picky too. Lots of fresh water is a must as well.

As for toys, I have to admit, most of the cat toys have to be kept away from the dogs, they're just too small, although Gabby often feels obligated to drag them into the livingroom for the dogs. :laughing: One toy mine all love is a round thing with a scratch pad in the centre and a ball that runs around the outside track. They play with that thing for hours. Again, I've got that somewhere the dogs can't get it because they feel obligated to eat the scratch pad. :rolleyes:

Cindy

Chaser
November 14th, 2008, 08:25 PM
I have that same tree, the cats love it. I rub catnip on it once in a while too.

Yeah I really like that one - and $55 is a good price. Will likely invest in one once we move to a townhouse in about March.

Congrats on getting a kitty!. I have both cats and dogs and love having both. Keep the kitty littler boxes somewhere the dogs can't get to it, or they'll be eating out of it. :yuck:

Make sure the kitty has somewhere that he can go and the dogs can't, at least for a while. Mine were fine with our last dog, but they find Baxter and Bentley a little too rough right now, so they like the fact that they can go upstairs or down in the basement and the dogs can't follow.

Rupert will be getting our office to himself, and when we move he'll get the basement. We already prop a baby gate against the door to keep the dogs out and they know not to go near it....there's always a kitty-sized space at the bottom that Rupert will be able to sneak through.

Kitty nutrition is simple. Grain free wet is best. Loads of variety out there now. Unlike a lot of dogs, cats must have variety. They can be really picky too. Lots of fresh water is a must as well.

Not to worry - I've picked up on a lot of nutrition advice since I joined here! He'll get wet every day and a little dry to snack on because we need to stretch our dollar a little further. The dogs eat Orijen so I may go with that, but haven't decided for sure. Fortunately Rupert is not a picky eater, so that will make it easier!

As for toys, I have to admit, most of the cat toys have to be kept away from the dogs, they're just too small, although Gabby often feels obligated to drag them into the livingroom for the dogs. :laughing: One toy mine all love is a round thing with a scratch pad in the centre and a ball that runs around the outside track. They play with that thing for hours. Again, I've got that somewhere the dogs can't get it because they feel obligated to eat the scratch pad. :rolleyes:

For toys, I'm leaning towards paper products (the dogs eat that anyway :frustrated:), interactive toys that would be put away out of doggie reach when we're not playing with Rupert, and heavy toys that he won't be able to carry out of the office....therefore not posing a risk to the dogs! I'm thinking one of those rings with the ball in it that you just mentioned, and Toonces said he loves a kitty tunnel that she has so she is going to try and pick one up to send with him. I think that should be good for him - and if he gets bored then he'll have two dogs to beat up! :) I'm avoiding all little mice and plastic balls....Kailey is somewhat OCD and eats anything that she sees on the ground before you even realize it was there. If he carried any little toy out of the office she'd eat it in seconds, so I can't take any chance at all of that.

Cindy

I think I'm finally starting to wrap my brain around cat needs. I even found some Now! Grain-Free treats for him today - they're so little and cute!

Thanks again for all the help!!! You all have some very creative ideas.

kathryn
November 14th, 2008, 09:05 PM
I rather care for this company

http://www.armarkat.ca/1/classic.htm
This is the model I have:
http://www.armarkat.ca/1/b7701.htm

I got free shipping and such though. So it was only about 160$ onsale.

Kitties are easy. Dogs are a pain to deal with :o

sugarcatmom
November 14th, 2008, 10:49 PM
A few questions: Toonces told me that Rupert likes to kick his litter out of the box, so I really want to be able to use a covered pan. Any way I can get him accustomed to this idea? Or am I looking at a high likelihood of rebellion and poop on the floor?

Instead of a covered box (most of which are way too small for any normal cat anyway, therefore making the whole elimination process that much more awkward), you could try putting the box inside a much larger cardboard box with the top and one of the sides removed.

Also, how often do you all find you need to change the litter completely??? I obviously want a clean box, but i don't want to spend a crazy amount of money every month!

I do a total clean out maybe once every month or 2, but I'm super fastidious about scooping every time I see something in the box (amounts to 2-3X/day for one cat). I use a 50/50 mixture of pine pellets and newspaper pellets, but not all cats go for the pellet texture. Whenever I scoop out the pee-soaked pellets, I sprinkle an equal amount of fresh pellets on top.

And any tips on a cleaning product that is safe for cats and doesn't leave a scent he may not like? Not sure what a good litter pan cleaner would be....or if it even matters. :confused:

I try to use the least scented products I can find (right now that's Seventh Generation Free & Clear (http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Free-and-Clear/All-Purpose-Cleaner). Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and many odors (like citrus) can be off-putting. Whatever product you decide to use, just make sure to rinse everything really really well.

kathryn
November 15th, 2008, 04:10 AM
Oh, forgot to mention. My mom cleans out the litterboxes totally about every 5-6 weeks. dunno, my kitties must be really clean? :shrug: She uses pine sol to clean them out. Then we use about 10lb of cat litter in each box. Otherwise, we scoop 2 times a day and inbetween as needed for smelly poops or big piddles. We add fresh litter as needed. We just use scoop clay litter. Too much $ for the good stuff. Plus, don't think my kitties will go for anything else.

Chaser
November 15th, 2008, 08:43 AM
Instead of a covered box (most of which are way too small for any normal cat anyway, therefore making the whole elimination process that much more awkward), you could try putting the box inside a much larger cardboard box with the top and one of the sides removed.

Now that is a really good idea! :thumbs up Thanks!

I just found out that Rupert weighs 18 lbs.!!! :eek: And not a stitch of fat on him either! He was around 9 lbs. when Toonces took him to get fixed.....which reallly shows just how badly he was starving when he arrived. Toonces definately saved this little one :angel:

ancientgirl
November 15th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Congratulations on the soon to be new member of the family!

Lots of great advice here, not much else i can add. I do want to say that the liners are just a waste of money. I used to line my boxes with heavy duty plastic and it worked great, but with 3 boxes it was just getting to be a huge hassle. I clean the boxes daily so it's not too bad.

I just bought a covered box for the kitchen. It's high, and I may opt to just use the bottom and take the top off. Vlad, Czarina and Maks dig like their mining for coal or something so sometimes I find more litter outside the box than in! So I do recommend a box with high sides.