should I get a cat? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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should I get a cat?

Excuse me if this is long, but I really need advice from cat people!

I have always liked cats, but I started getting serious about having a cat when I met a sweet persian at the shelter I volunteer last Sunday. A bit about myself: I already have two pomeranians, both under 8 pounds, in one bedroom apt. (I checked the thread about the animals vs. space, and none of us feel overcrowded). One dog has absolutely no experience with cats other than sniffing a kitten once, and I have no experience with cats other than petting few. I understand it's gonna take a lot of work to introduce a cat into a household with dogs, and I am determined to do it properly if I do decide to get a cat.

Before I jump into cat ownership, I need to know everything before I adopt a cat, presumably sweet and mellow cat who will be happily indoor and can co-exist with my two dogs. I see that most of you don't consider crating a cat, but I am not comfortable allowing a new cat full access of any room when I am not around. I've known one cat died from chewing the electric cord, so I feel better crating a cat in a playpen when I am at work. What is your opinion about playpen?

What does a cat need, material wise, other than good food, fresh water, scratching post, cat toys, and clean litter? Any other general expenses associated with cat ownership? In general, what should I expect as a potential cat owner?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 11:45 AM
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Welcome to the forum!! Looking for many answers!! That's OK....gotta start somewhere!! Should you get a cat? I can tell from your questions that you're going to make a great cat parent, so that's the question I'll answer: YES!!

Stay tuned....I'm sure you'll get lots of advice.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 01:57 PM
 
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Well the general expenses of cat ownership are the same as dog ownership. Food, toys, and vet bills.

Introductions should be taken slowly and only supervision until you are sure that no one will get hurt.

I don't think I could crate my personal cats, they don't take well to being confined. Maybe a bathroom while you're not home? I'd definatly keep dogs and cats separate when you're not home until you know they all at least tolerate eachother.

Jennifer
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 02:24 PM
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It takes time to know what kind of mischief a cat can get into, so it's not a bad idea to confine a new cat to one room for a while until you know what their personality is like and the kinds of things they like to destroy (hee hee). e.g. Rocket likes to scratch on carpet and furniture, Mellie likes to chew things, Tommy likes to get into things, such as the trash and kitchen cabinets. Take the usual precautions that you read in various books and articles, and then just watch the cat closely for a while before you let them loose in the whole house, so you know what kinds of things you need to do to prevent injury or damage.

Oh, and one comment about "ownership"....you've got it backwards....you'll find your cat owns YOU!!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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I agree with Timskitties, sounds like you will make a great cat owner!

Sounds like you have the basics down, good food, water, cat post, etc. I would also recommend ceramic or stainless steel dishes for kitties, plastic is harder to clean (and can cause kitty acne believe it or not!). A good tip is to check with the shelter you are adopting from to see what type of litter they are using and pick up that kind to start with (you can slowly change it after that but if you start with something very different from what they are used to the kitty might not recognize it! ) Good to start good litterbox behaviour right off the bat!

It is a good idea to give a new kitty their own space to start with, until you know their habits and they are comfortable in the house. Most cats don't take too well to a crate and it might become a bit of a battle to get them into one (cats are quick and sneaky!). A bathroom is a great idea, and it probably isn't a place your dogs spend too much time so they won't feel locked out. This is also good for introducing the dogs to the cat because they can sniff under the door at each other. A proper smell introduction is very important to an animal, once they know that a smell does not hurt them it is easier to introduce them visually. A lot of people I know have found success introducing cats and dogs using a baby gate (or similar door-blocking contraption. This allows the cat to leap over and escape if things get too much for them.

Hopefully things go well for you, we look forward to updates on the new addition!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 03:16 PM
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Its also very helpful, if at all possible, to adopt a cat that has already lived with dogs and does fine around them. Of course, ask lots of questions! The shelter I adopted my cat from had him listed as dog friendly, but he still doesn't like my dog. Of course they also had him as a gray male when he's actually a female tortie (long story) so they could have just had the cats switched up.

Anyway - try to get a cat that they know for sure gets along with dogs, but still make a slow introduction.

I agree that a crate probably won't work well for a cat. A playpen won't either, as the cat can easily jump out. Bathrooms seem to be the best option as you can get most stuff out of the cat's sight so there's nothing harmful and its quiet and has all the necessities (such as food, water, and litter) until they get settled. If you're adopting a kitten, chances are you'll have to "cat proof" the house so there's not many things it can get into to hurt itself or cause you much trouble (haha... like that's really possible!!) but adult cats GERNERALLY have basic understanding of the house thing. Not to say adult cats have perfect manners and aren't... well, cats. Just that in a general sense they don't have to be watched as closely all the time as kittens.

Take your time. Pick a cat who has the personality you like. Don't feel like you must pick a cat on your first trip to the shelter. Petfinder.com is a great way to start... basically, time your time, do some research and wait until the perfect cat finds you

Jessie

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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My bathroom has no window, so I would be concerned about vantilation once the door is closed. Otherwise it really would save me the $ to buy a playpen Would a cat do better in a small enclosed area? I know my dogs will be a lot happier confined in the crate than confined in the bathroom, but the bathroom is probably the safest place for the cat.

Timskitties: I did have it backward. Two dogs currently co-own me, but I was hoping the new cat would demand less servitude.

My place will probably be neater too. As of now, I just put things higher so that the dogs can't reach them. I will have to put things away and lock them safely when I get a cat.

I was questioning myself when I typed the subject. It would be more appropriate if it were "what do I need to know." Really... the more I read, the more questions I have! I am taking time to absorb as much info as I could. A vet visit will be the first thing when I am ready to bring a cat home. Any precautionary measure especially related to disease/parasites/etc?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 04:04 PM
 
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When I first got my dog as a puppy, I didn't have the heart to keep her crated all day while I was at work. I kept her locked in the bathroom. Also no window. She had no problems!

As far as your first vet visit. Just let the vet know that you just adopted the cat from a shelter and the vet should automatically do all of the tests for FIV, FeLV, parasites, ect...

Jennifer
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 05:25 PM
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I'd have to vote thumbs-down on the playpen, simply because unless it's covered, a cat can easily jump or climb out. If the cat must be restricted to a confined area smaller than a room, there are cages that would do fairly well for a cat -- different levels, etc.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 06:07 PM
 
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If you turn the playpen upside down...........they can't get out!

I would only do it on a short time basis, until I was sure the dogs & cat would get along. Cats are not meant to be penned.
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