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Old 02-07-2009, 11:29 PM
 
Location: mass
2,905 posts, read 6,982,139 times
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Well let me start off by saying I have always considered myself a dog person more than a cat person.

Some months ago, my DH showed up at home with a dog. We had talked about getting a dog when we bought a house, and for some reason he thought the day we signed on our house was a good time to arrive w/ a puppy

Anyway, try as I might I was not able to keep the dog. We had it for 9 months, DH was never home due to work, I was away from the house for long hours, had enough pressure from the kids, etc, didn't know how to train a dog, and the dog was pretty rambunctious. In any case the dog now lives with a relative, which works out great. I THOUGHT my DH had learned his lesson when i gave the dog away, even though he spent thousands of dollars on it with buying it, all hsi stuff, medical bills, etc....

Well, last night he walks in with a CAT. I asked him how in 15 years he could possibly not know that I am NOT a cat person. I don't like hair everywhere, and I don't like animals that can jump on my kitchen counters.

Plus, I am afraid of cats. Plain and simple. I don't like them because they make me nervous. Once as a child I was sitting on a friend's bed and her cat came out and scratched me on the ankles for nothing. So they kind of scare me.

So he comes in with this cat.

And it's BEAUTIFUL! If there is a cat that will turn me around this is the one. long soft hair and HUGE eyes! It is so adorable. It was scared and stayed under the bed for the evening, then late it came out little by little then jumped on the couch with me and wanted to be petted. So sweet!!!!! Omg, he is so cute. I have never seen a cat this cute.

And better yet, he has shown that he knows how to use his litter box! (Whew, that would have been a deal breaker).

So what I am wondering is what to do w/this cat, how to take care of it, etc. We are supposedly having it for a "trial" period according to my DH.

What questions should I ask the previous owner? DH says she is getting rid of him (he's three) because she has too many cats and the husband is on her back. The cat seems to need a grooming, his hair is long and looks a little messy. I suggested to my DH that we take him to the vet to get checkup and blood work to be sure he is not sick (hate to say it but I am worried that there is something wrong with him and that is why they are getting rid of it), I told him to ask the lady what vet they used.

How often do I need to clean the litter box? Will he not go in it if it is too dirty? How dirty is too dirty? He eats some wet food every day, how long can it stay in the dish before I need to throw it out? (There is a little left and it's been there since 3pm or so). He feels a little bony around his shoulder blades. Is this normal? Should I have it declawed if it is a house cat? How can I prevent it from getting on my counter? How long do cats live? Will I have a problem bringing a dog into the house later? What about another cat? If I keep him mainly in one room will he be too bored or upset? Dh says to keep him in our office over night or when we are out but I don't want to leave him cooped up for no reason. How often does a long haired cat (I think he said this is a Persian cat) need to be groomed? What questions should we ask the owner?

Please tell me about cats. I know NOTHING about Cats except what my DH told me, which was next to nothing.....

Oh, he just jumped up on the desk. I think he wants me to pet him. I am still a little nervous about this cat. Like he might scratch me or bite me any second!!
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,857 posts, read 62,092,229 times
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Some cats like a very clean litter box, like clean it daily and some don't mind once every 2-3 weeks. Just see how he does. Really, all your questions have been answered here, use the "search this forum" for each topuc and see what has been discussed. I am big on keeping cats inside: they live MUCH longer, are cleaner, healthier, and safe from dogs, kids, cars, mean people. An indoor cat can live to be 18 or so w/o much trouble. The average age of an outside cat is 2 yrs b/c so many die so young. I used to think I was a dog person and now I have 3 dogs and 4 cats. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
1,055 posts, read 3,916,073 times
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Hrmmm, where to start? I guess I will try to take it more or less in the order you asked it...

What to ask the previous owner? Just the basics (I type this as my cat invades my desk, lol) like when was he last to the vet, any known problems, what is his temperament, what does he like/dislike, etc. Knowing these things will help you greatly in getting him settled in and making sure both of you are happy.

You mention grooming... get a wire brush for him. Not only do most cats love being brushed but it will greatly reduce the amount of hair he sheds all over the place.

Yes a vet visit is a must in my opinion. Get an initial checkup, tested for the usual suspects and let the vet tell you if there is anything wrong or anything you should look out for. You will find out if the cat is under weight (or over) and if there is anything you are unsure about it gives you a chance to ask the doc.

Keeping the litter box clean is a big one. Not only can they stink terribly if they are ignored but some cats are picky and will let you know when they are dirty but going somewhere else. Usually with one cat scooping it out every day or two and replacing all the litter every week is plenty to keep everyone happy. I switched over to the Tidy Cat Breeze system which in my opinion is a lot easier to keep clean and a lot less messy. Worth looking at if you haven't setup everything already.

I feed mine dry but am pretty sure the wet can stay out for a long time before becoming a health issue but any longer than 4-5 hours and it is probably so dried out the cat won't have anything to do with it. If he leaves a lot behind then comes back and picks at it you may want to just do half a can, twice a day. Just pick up the dish and clean it out before putting the next serving out.

Please, if you listen to nothing else I advise, do not declaw your cat. Just keep the claws trimmed and with training he will not scratch at what he isn't supposed to. For that to work though you need to provide him with his own places to scratch. There are plenty of posts and gym type setups that will keep him entertained and take care of that scratching/clawing need all cats have.

Keeping a cat off the counter is just training. Depending on the age of the cat and how much freedom he was afforded before you got him it might be an easy process or it might be difficult. Most people go with the spray bottle. As soon as the cat jumps on something he shouldn't give him a squirt. It shocks them enough to make them leave, enough times and they get the hint. Sound works too. On the rare occassion mine messes with the drapes (only happened once or twice) a quick 'hey' or hand clap was enough to shock the cat out of what it was doing and send it running.

I think average age for a cat is like 15 years though it isn't uncommon for a well cared for cat to live much longer.

Bringing another pet into the house can be difficult depending on the temperment of both your cat and the new pet. There will be territorial issues at first while they work out a pecking order but as long as both animals are willing they should settle in fine. There are some real horror stories out there but if you take it slow and give them each their own space where they can feel safe to start it should work out ok.

It is up to you but I don't suggest keeping him in one room. Let him roam the house. As long as he is trained and uses the box like he should there shouldn't be any real issue with him having free movement.

Wow, that was a lot. I think I covered everything you mentioned though.

Seriously though. Cats are damn near maintenance free and will pretty much take care of themselves. Keep the litter clean and make sure the get fed regularly and they're happy. If it was me I would get a spray bottle or two to keep around the house then give him the run of the place to see how well he settles in. He'll have you trained before you know it, lol.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
1,055 posts, read 3,916,073 times
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Oh and as the other poster mentioned. Indoor cat is the way to go. They are healthier and safer when kept indoors and you aren't being a nuisance to your neighbors as outdoor cats will tear up gardens, crap in flowerbeds, bother other pets, etc.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,755 posts, read 33,759,964 times
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I think you should buy a book keeping in mind that cats are all very different. The long haired ones could use a brushing every day. Cats can get very loving when you get out the brush, they say it reminds them of when their Mothers bathed them but I don't know how they know that for sure.

Take your que from your cat in just about all the questions you have.

For example, I wouldn't declaw your cat unless he NEEDS it, for example if you have a cat that likes to sharpen his claws on your furniture and that furniture isn't something you want clawed, then maybe he needs to be trained to use a scratching post. I have one cat who beats on the others and uses his claws, the others came to me with no claws, declawed by their previous owners so I had to bite the bullet and take my baby to have him declawed. I hated doing it too him but I also hated hearing Rufus scream when he would catch him and scratch him.

Fluffy kitties often hide a little boniness. I don't know if its that you expect them to be a porker because they are so fluffy but thats how it seems. I have a pretty long haired white cat, he seems like a bag of bones but he is fine.

Its always a good idea to take him to the Vet, get an idea of his age from the Vet and find out if he looks OK. I would ask the woman who sent him home with your husband if he has had any shots, I assume he has been fixed.

He sounds like a real sweetheart, love on him and he will love you back. There are four of them in the bed with me now, anything to be close to my daughter and I.
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:29 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,857 posts, read 62,092,229 times
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I love the Furminator, a tool for getting dead hair out of pets. It's the best thing I've ever used and as another poster said, cats love being brushed. Mine purr up a storm when I do it.
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:36 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,755 posts, read 33,759,964 times
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One of my cats is deaf, yea the one with white furr and blue eyes. When you get out the vacuum cleaner he gets all amorous towards the nozzle, I give him a good vacuum and we don't have a problem. Too bad they aren't all like that.
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:53 AM
 
Location: Canada
589 posts, read 1,466,571 times
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Cats are the easiest pets to have at home. If he wants to be petted he will come to you... but most of the time cats like to be left on their own.
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:57 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,755 posts, read 33,759,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilvan View Post
Cats are the easiest pets to have at home. If he wants to be petted he will come to you... but most of the time cats like to be left on their own.
WOW, my cats are so different. I am surrounded by 4 out of 5 of them at the moment. There are times when I feel smothered and wish they did like a little more distance. My youngest one is like a baby, he crys if I don't pay attention to him. I think it depends on the cat. One of my cats only wants me to pet her when I am going to the bathroom. She comes running to me when I go in the smallest room, otherwise I don't see much of her.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 19,726,229 times
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Two suggestions, on counters etc, get a squirt gun. It goes further. A few good squirt (the face seems to make a lasting impression) and the cat gets the idea that squirtgun equals water and they leave before you can squirt.

With a dog, look for a dog raised around cats. Instead of something to chase the dog will think of the cat as a potential pal. The cat may have other ideas but they'll settle it. My dog runs up to cats expecting to play and has no clue when they hiss and run away.

Sounds like the cat has already decided you are his/her person.
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