Father-in-law thinking about getting a cat - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Father-in-law thinking about getting a cat

so my father-in-law, who lives in Stockholm, has been seeing my girls via skype for some time and is considering contacting a rescue to get his own cat. MIL passed away a couple years ago and I think he may be lonely. He is an active, healthy senior in his 70s, lives in a 2 bdrm condo with a balcony on the 6th floor of a building. His main concern is he does travel on occasion to see family in Italy, and would probably have to find a cat-sitter.

What advice should I give him? My suggestion so far was to get a senior (10yo + cat), as he probably won't be prepared for an active kitten, and also, it would be a shame if he should go before the cat, and then have to rehome the cat yet again. He does have some family members in Stockholm, but I'm not sure if they'd be able to take the cat if he should pass.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 11:49 PM
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I think finding a senior or maybe a senior pair would be more suitable. Finding a cat sitter shouldn't be a problem,but would you be able to check in on the sitter to make sure they are doing what they need to do? I know it kinda defeats the purpose,but I dont' think you can be too safe,until the person proves to reliable.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:40 AM
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Would this be the first kitty he's ever had? If so, a kitten might be more than he's ready to deal with. You're right, too, that a young cat might outlive him. And as gharrissc said, he might consider 2 cats. That way, when he goes away, they can play with each other.

If his whole building is condos, I'd bet there's someone in the condo who'd be willing to catsit. They must have some way of sharing info among the condo owners where he could get the request for a catsitter out. I don't know how the media in Sweden is about posting ads, but he could probably just search online to see if there are professional petsitters too.

It seems like a great idea. Haven't they done studies that show that cats are good for seniors in particular, that they lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and I forget what else?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 07:01 AM
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Yes, an older cat, maybe not a senior but 4, 5, or so would be a good choice. Very senior pets may have health issues sooner rather than later, and being inexperienced he may not be willing or want to deal with that. If he has neighbors that can pop over twice a day while he is away that would be a great help. Is he gone for long when he travels? If its more than a few days at a time, perhaps a pet is not a very good idea after all. Also, considering his age he should definitely make prior arrangements for the cat's care if he passes before the cat. Our shelters here have a "seniors for seniors" program. Adoption costs are either waived or are half price for seniors that adopt senior pets. GREAT program.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:01 PM
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I adopted a senior because of the age I am. I felt it was wrong to adopt a younger cat and bond with it as I may go first. As it turned out, my beautiful Zenobi (10 yr old) had metastasising lung cancer that had spread to her bowels, and I suspect (although not diagnosed) her brain. Now it's me that's suffering, but I wouldn't have missed having her around for those few short months for a million dollars. Honest.

Now I have Missy (around 12), a good cat who really tries to do what I want. She always likes to be near, (she's sleeping in her bed on the couch at the moment. 5 feet away) and I don't know what I'd do without her. But age creeps on and I'm fairly certain she'll be my last live in because of problems of looking after a live in cat.

Given the intelligence of a cat, it might not understand the limitations of a person in their 70s. Also, with an older cat, there are previously learned behaviours that might cause problems. Zenobi had been abused and one of the first thing she did was to get very angry and bite me. I had to learn what I'd done wrong, plus, by pantomime convey to her that biting was not good. She bit me a total of four times. Two angry. One where I was lying on my bed trying to entice her to come close, and she mistook my thumb for a worm, and once in an automatic reaction that led to embarrassment on her part. I mention this as something that could happen with a senior, but which does not necessarily mean they're a bad cat.

A healthy man in his 70s, though, should be able to manage a kitten, but for the reasons given above, I don't think it's kind.

The travel bit I know nothing about.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:21 PM
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JusJim you are a person after my own heart! I adopt the old cats too, and sometimes it is just so heartbreaking to have to let them go so soon, but I remind my self it is not about me, it is about them and a loving human to spend their last days with no matte how little time that may be. Whatever this CJinCA's father in law decides he will have support of his DIL and if he joins this forum, the support of dozens, if not hundreds more!

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Would this be the first kitty he's ever had?
It would be his first Indoor only kitty. He's had indoor / outdoor cats when he lived in a house.

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I'd bet there's someone in the condo who'd be willing to catsit.
Your probably right, he is rather gregarious and knows quite a few neighbors, but the closest ones seem to be young couples with little kids, and he doesn't know them so well.

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Is he gone for long when he travels?
Usually about a week, but its not frequent.

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he should definitely make prior arrangements for the cat's care if he passes before the cat.
Agree. Hubby and I need to make arrangements for our own cats in case something happens to both of us...neither one of us has family nearby and would be too stressful to the cats to rehome them that far away. I need to find some closer options. I'm sure their foster mom would take them back, but Lickorish was rather stressed in her home with all the other cats.

As far as him joining this forum, well, he doesn't speak English....only Swedish, Italian and German. He says there are x billion people in the world speaking English, they don't need one more
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 09:02 AM
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There's a really nice swedish speaking cat forum at Svenska katters diskussionsforum • Index where he can probably find people locally who'd be willing to cat-sit or give advice how to find one. (Like this forum, they can be a little... obsessive - it can be offputting to complete cat newbies who ask apparently innocent questions, like "should I let my cat outside" or, well, you know what I mean).

I got my cats privately but via the big Stockholm cat shelter, Stockholms Katthem - they have not only the cats in the shelter currently, but also private placements listed there, which is how I found mine, then we made arrangements directly. There's always plenty of private placements there (on this page: Omplaceringar - Stockholms Katthem - it's a bit hard to find on it's own) The girl at the top would be pretty ideal for instance: 8 years old, wormed, neutered, chipped, vaccinated, and insured, and they describe her as calm and a bit of a couch potato.

Outdoor cats in an apartment building are pretty unworkable, but taking your cat for a walk in the building yard on a leash is quite normal in Stockholm (my cats came leash trained, or as near as any cat ever gets, and they were central city apartment cats). He should check about netting on the balcony - it is required if you have a cat allowed on the balcony in some places, depends on the area - it's pretty easy to put up. The forum I put at the top will probably be able to help with that too.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks krazykiwi:

I sent him your links...I think he is planning to visit a shelter and talk to the people about an appropriate cat this week or next. he is a little reluctant to let strangers in his condo though.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 02:11 PM
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I live a little far out of town to be useful (an hour by train) or I would have offered to be more direct help.

I hope he finds a nice friend. I had to stop looking at the placement cats on that page already, I was on the verge of ringing up about 3 of them! There's a gorgeous big old tuxedo tom that's 12 years old and his family is homeless in particular that my heart is busting for.
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