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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cat Questions

Hello,
I wasn't sure where to post this, as I have several questions about different things.
Me and my Sister are wanting to adopt/get 2 cats if our Dad ok's it.
We aren't picky whether male or female, as we are going to fix either, if its not already fixed. If we get 2 one would stay in my room, and one would stay in her room. If they get along ok, since we are hopefully gonna be able to get from the same litter, we want to have a special time for them to play together daily.
I have Lots of Questions though. This would be my first actual cat. I've been around cats before,held them, feed some,etc. but never owned one.
If I ask a question and it sounds dumb, please forgive me.

1- Is it good to get them Declawed? If Not, is it safe to by the Cat Claw Cover things? I'd have to do something so it doesn't tear up any furniture, since that's my dad's worst fear.

2- What size Cage would be good to keep it in at night while I'm asleep? Once it gets older I wouldn't mind it sleeping with me possibly, but being young still I wouldn't want to smush it,it use the bathroom on my bed or just anything.

3- What's the easiest way to Houstrain one? Any Good Tips?

4- What brand of Food is best to feed a Kitten? And How long does it need to stay on that before being switched over gradually to adult cat food?

5- If we get 2 that isn't fixed what age can they be fixed at?

6- Any toys that should or shouldn't be gotten for them?

7- What shots do they need yearly and while being a Kitten?

8- How often do they need those shots?

I think that's all for now. Again I'm sorry if those sound dumb, but i'm tryng to learn. I know i'm forgetting something to ask, as I had a whole list in my head written down. lol:p Never trust my brain though!

Thanks in advance for any help!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 11:52 PM
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No questions are too dumb to ask!! However, some questions are too many to answer before bedtime. Tomorrow is another day....
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 12:08 AM
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Its great that you're looking for so much good advice before you seriously consider adding a cat or cats to your life. Its better to be overprepared than under!

About declawing - do a simple search either in this forum or on any search engine and you'll be led to hundreds of opinions for and against (though it seems more against). I personally hate the surgery. I think its too often done to prevent scratching on furniture without any attempts to train them to scratch on posts. It can also lead to a lot of problems later on in life. A lot of people say "my cat is declawed and has never had a problem" and that's great - mine is too - was when I adopted him and he's the best cat I could ever imagine! Its just one of those things that isn't really necessary.

Soft Paws are very safe and advertised as a humane alternative to declawing. If you're adopting kittens they can easily be trained to scratch only where you want them to (and they WILL need to scratch, its instinct, excersize and just feels good!) but you can also get them used to having their nails trimmed or Soft Paws applied easily.

I really don't think you should consider a cage. Cats are not meant to be confined. Some may not mind it, but for the most part its really just not needed and can lead to stressing your new cat. Small kittens can be confined in some sort of crate during the night or while you aren't watching them, but for the most part they'll learn right from wrong and will be no problem to free roam.

Housetraining is almost not needed either. Most kittens take to a litterbox before they're old enough to leave mom, so you'll probably not even need to "train" them, just show them where it is. They're easier than dogs in that dogs have to learn to hold it until they are let outside, whereas cats have constant access to their bathroom.

As far as food - its a good idea to get them on a high quality kitten food or food that is considered "all life stages." You can find a lot of threads in Heath and Nutrition about brands. There's also a sticky on why canned is better than dry (at least half and half works well too). Adult food is usually ok to gradually switch to after they've been spayed/neutered (if you do it around 6 months) or sometime before they're a year old and stop or slow down growing.

A lot of shelters spay/neuter their kittens before adopting them. Some as young as 8 weeks! Its really best to wait until everything develops and they are a little bigger, at least 4 months is what we recommend at my vet's office but we prefer to do them around 6 months.

There are a lot of different toys, and each cat will have his and her own preference. Honestly, mine seems to like the "free things in life" better than anything I buy for him... milk carton rings, foil balls, a feather on a string. Just try to make it something they won't swallow or choke on. String by itself is easily swallowed and can get stuck in the intestines.

Most kittens need a series of shots every 3-4 weeks until they're around 3 months old (starting around 8 weeks). They include a rabies, some sort of combo (we use FVRCP) and feline leukemia... many vets are now seeing that yearly vaccinations aren't necessary and can lead to some problems with overvaccination. Talk to your vet about this. Also, if they are going to be strictly indoor only cats, additional feline leukemia boosters shouldn't be given.

Hope that about covered it

A question for you though - although a cat can live quite comfortably in a bedroom (mine did for the first few months he lived at my house) they really do better with more space if they can have it. I think once you get them trained to scratching posts and litterboxes, gradually allowing them more free time in other areas of your house will do them good - it'll give them lots of room to run and play (and interact with each other) and will eventually lead to calmer, happier cats.

Jessie

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 12:12 AM
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*edit* OsnobunnieO posted while I was!

Okay, I'll see what I can answer BEFORE tim comes back tomorrow morning

1. Generally we tend to discourage declawing around here (as do the many european nations that have made it illegal). It's a cruel and unnecessary surgery, that I wish more people would research before actually doing. *kudos to you for asking!* I won't go into the details unless you ask for them, as it's not very nice to hear about. Soft Paws (that's what the nail caps are called) are a WONDERFUL invention. I've never had to use them personally, but I've heard amazing things on this forum, and am considering them for my younger cat who seems to be forgetting his claw manners Also, scratch post training is easy and effective, if you're persistant with the training. I've had good results with posts alone!

2. I personally dont know about crating a cat... I suppose when they're young it would be okay, but a larger crate would be best, with their litter and food and water. It wouldn't be much different from having kept mine in the tiny powder room for the first week or so. But you shouldn't need to do this for very long at all. Infact keeping the kitten in it's own room (like a bathroom) is more often the suggestion.

3. Most kittens are already trained by the time they're ready to come to a new home, so your new addition should already know how to use a litterbox. Make sure they know where it is, and that it's easily accessable to a young one!

4. Food is always a topic of discussion on this forum, stop by the food and nutrition section for more help on this! As for switching from kitten to adult food, most of the premium brands are actually "all life stages" which means no switch is required. If you're feeding "kitten" food, the switch to adult is usually around a year I believe.

5. They usually get fixed around 5-6 months of age, or about the time when they're about to become sexually mature.

6. Toys are really up to you (and the kitties) you'll learn what they like and what they dont, and often they'll prefer the rings from milk jugs, or hair ties to anything you've bought specially for them

7. This should be discussed with your veterinarian, when you choose one you trust (to be honest, i dont know the answer off the top of my head!)

8. Most veterinarians suggest yearly boosters I believe, but there's been a new wave of thought that more frequent boosters are NOT beneficial to the animal. Look into it, decide what you think is best for your cat, and discuss it with your vet

Hope I have helped out! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

<--Julia

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsnobunnieO
A question for you though - although a cat can live quite comfortably in a bedroom (mine did for the first few months he lived at my house) they really do better with more space if they can have it. I think once you get them trained to scratching posts and litterboxes, gradually allowing them more free time in other areas of your house will do them good - it'll give them lots of room to run and play (and interact with each other) and will eventually lead to calmer, happier cats.
This is a very good point. Cats are alot like people in that way. We all need to move, stretch, see some different things. Anyone who's been ill or laid up with some injury can attest that being stuck in one room for days on end really isn't all that fun. Imagine being in the same room for all your life!

Cats like people get bored, but i've seen that the more room they have to run and play and explore, the better they are in the long run, both mentally and physically.

There's always some risk of what a cat will do out and about, but that is just part of having a cat. Like anything there are pros and cons (most of which really arn't big issues), but punishing a cat for being a cat never really made sense to me
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Thanks so much for the great Advice!
I am so glad I found ya'll! Sorry if anything below sounds crazy, its after midnight and I'm tired!

Its not for certain whether or not we can get one, My dad is the type person that goes through every lil' detail on something like this. lol:p Not that I mind, just saying. He also makes sure we do ALLLLLL Our research and that we know what we are getting ourselves into. We pay for the vet,toys,etc.

Anyways,Most of the Cats around this area are already spayed around 10 wks. of age.

I do have a Vet, that I definately Trust with any of my animals. Its a shame he only does small animals, or i'd have him vet all my large animals. He's very knowledgeable,and has been a vet for over 20yrs, I know. I'm not sure how many, but he has always been here as long as I can remember. And I'm 16, and I know before I was born he was already in it for a few years. Anyways(If you haven't noticed I ramble/rambled lol:p) He's an EXCELLENT vet and has a love for the animals. He will cry with you when you've lost an animal, and he's just Wonderful.

As far as the Declawing we honestly, weren't wanting to go that route if at all possible. My dad said his only concern was if they got lose outside or something and needed them for Protection, then he wouldn't want the cat not having them. That's why we were kinda considering the SoftPaws(thanks for telling me the name).
How do you teach/train them to use the Scratch pole/post?

And to answer the question you asked me OsnobunnieO, It will live in my bedroom. But it will be able to get out around the rest of our house as long as I supervise it. We bought new furniture last year, and we cant' have it messed up. Dad wouldn't be happy about that!

So, it'll stay in my bedroom while i'm not here. And I definately wouldn't get a cage to keep it confinded to all the time. But I was saying maybe getting something like an Excerise Pen(Petsmart Carries them), or something to put it in just for a few hrs. if I leave sometime. Could they climb out of something like that, since they climb so well?
Well, i'd just probably get a really large cage,and keep it in that while I was gone. I'm normally here most of the time. And Definately will be this summer. We've got 2 more weeks of school left, so I figured if I got one now I could be here definately all summer with it. Then when I go back to school next year, could still have a certain time to spend with it each day. But that away i'm here pretty much constantly the first few months with it.

Ok,I've really gotta get now! lol:p I'll try and write more later. Maybe introduce myself better, in the other board as well.

Adios!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Joey and I were posting at the same time I believe.

I forgot to mention that, I will be taking it outside some, while on a harness and leash. It will have free run of my room more in likely, and will also be able to get out into other rooms of the house.

As long as I keep it away from my mom's precious lil' Chihuahua!LOL
She's a BABY....SPOILT! Just like a normal housedog I suppose!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 04:37 AM
 
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4pawsforever ,

You can find a lot of good info about cats and kittens on this site:

http://cats.about.com/


Rick
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 10:42 AM
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Just to generalize, it sounds like you and your Dad's main concern is damage a cat might do. I think cat damage is grossly overstated. Dogs are more destructive than cats, and very few people hesitate to get a dog. The way to prevent cat damage is to give them an alternative to do what they need to do, so they don't do it on furnishings. And for confining while not supervised, if you just close the door on your bedroom (assuming food, water, and litter is in there) is good enough.

You've gotten very good advice here. I can only add: good luck, and welcome to the forum!! Any more questions that might come up, feel free to ask!!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yes Tim, that's the main concern.
I can't have it tearing up the house. Dad would NOT go for that, hehe.

Untill last December he had never let us have any animals stay constantly in the house. If we had to bring a sick kid in here, or something he would let us do that if it stayed up here for a few hours, or if we let it stay in the basement. But he wouldn't let us keep it in here permantly.

Then the ice broke last year, and he decided to get my mom a Chihuahua puppy. So, she's been inside since the beginning of December. She doesn't roam lose right now either. She's pretty much potty trained and so during the day while were gone she stays in an Excerise Pen, and of a night she's able to roam around a bit and play.

And there I go rambling again.

Anyways, were still not for sure if we can get one. But before its took 2wks or so, when he decided to let us get out llamas. So, I always hate the wait and see part! hehe

Well,i've gotta run now. Should be back on later hopefully.
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