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Thread: Cat advice???

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Cat advice???

    The story: There was a stray cat wandering around in the neighborhood and it seems to have taken to us. You may recall we had problems with a cat using our mulch as a litter box - it turned out it was the neighbor's cat...

    This cat is fairly new in the area - It's extremely affectionate. We called animal control to pick it up and a neighbor brought over a pet carrier to hold it - it actually walked into the carrier! It has claws, but doesn't seem to want to use them - it was very gentle with my wife and I with no desire to bite or claw when picked up. Found out one of the neighbors kids has been feeding it. The Animal Control Officer called and said he would pick it up if we wanted but by the description it probably belonged to someone and there was a 99% chance it would be euthanized. We let it go instead of having them pick it up, figuring it belonged to someone, but it didn't want to go, instead hanging around our house and our neighbor's houses. It has no collar and is an un-neutered male black and white. It's not a kitten, but not very old.

    My wife obviously was showing an interest in keeping it, but we left it back outside.

    Sure enough, this morning it was still hanging around and was always trying to get inside people's houses again, so I let it in to see what it would do. It has no interest in going back outside at all, even when presented with open doors. It would rather follow me around the house than anything.

    I left it in the garage, ran out and got some food and a litter box. It was very thirsty and ate like it hadn't eaten in a long time. I then presented it with an open door again and it sat down next to my leg - obviously uninterested in going outside even after being fed. I'm waiting (and watching carefully) to see if it's litterbox trained. I suspect it is - when placed in the box it pawed at the litter, but didn't go.

    I'm beginning to suspect that it either belongs to a neighbor who it escaped from, or someone dropped it off because they didn't want it. It's too familiar with people to just be a stray - and also too clean. But how it ate and drank makes me think it hasn't been properly cared for.

    We're going to post signs and take care of it for a while - if no one claims it in a week or 2 we'll probably keep it and it'll be going to the vet for flea treatments and a checkup. It's currently asleep on a chair next to me.

    So, what I'm looking for here (now that you have the full story) is advice on caring for a cat. I know we'll need to get a "claw post" and some catnip spray to get it to use the post instead of our nice furniture. We have some friends back home with 'indoor only' cats and they declaw the front paws and have them "fixed", which is probably the route we would take if we keep it. I know that outdoor cats tend to want to stay "outdoor cats", but like I said, this one seems to only want to get inside, not go outside even when offered the chance.

    What else do we need to know? Any cat owners care to give advice? - Anyone familiar with taking in strays? We're not that familiar with keeping cats...

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Ross's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Cats are great pets, they take care of themselves pretty much. You can go away for a couple of days and leave food and they're fine.
    Yes, get a cat post & catnip spray - essential purchases. Get the wee one 'fixed' as well, pretty much essential nowadays as well.
    I've had 2 cats now (lost the first one, Joey, on the road...) and they are fantastic, low maintenence pets. I used to live alone and it was nice having a 'thing' there to welcome you when you came in. I now live with my girlfriend (who wasnt a cat person) and who now loves him as much as I do!
    It sounds like you have a good tempered cat as well, thats a major bonus, I'm sure you've met the cats who spit at you, ignore you, run away from you etc etc.
    I have fitted a cat flap in my front door which allows Coober to go in & out as he pleases - I think cats are happiest outside but they like they;re home comforts as well - my advice would be to get a cat flap fitted.

    What name have you thought of for your new family member?

    Ross

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    My advice is please, please do NOT get the cat declawed. It is the equivalent to having your fingers cut off at the first knuckle! Most people do not know this and most vets don't tell you. Declaw article Another article Another...

    We have two cats and all we do is just clip the nails every so often. We have several "scatchers" around the house for the cats. Scatching for a cat is natural and should not be repressed, only redirected.
    Fixing a cat is recommended as it helps reduce cat over-population.
    Sorry, I'm no PETA member, but I feel strongly about alteration of animals for convenience. Cats (and dogs) are predators and should not be altered into some form of neo-rabbit![img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Oh, most importantly, Thank You for "rescuing" the cat. So much better than the store bought kind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Cats that stay indoors live longer. We've got a 19 year old cat that stays indoors, and other than some expected "old age" problems is healthy, spoiled rotten, and is a very significant part of the family. He has no desire to go outside, and is content just watching the great outdoors through the windows. Not all cats are that way, some grab every opportunity to go out, and then of course grab every opportunity to go back in. The seemingly inability to make up their mind as to whether they want in or out is characteristic apparently of some great intellect beyond our pitiful human understanding.

    Cats and dogs both are great pets, but cats want both worlds; the social companionship of humans and the independence of the wild. Dogs much prefer simply the social companionship of humans and are quite content if they never get a taste of the wild.

    The dog's philosophy:
    This person cares for me, feeds me, grooms me, pets me and sees to my every need. He/she must be a god.

    The cat's philosophy:
    This person cares for me, feeds me, grooms me, pets me and sees to my every need. I must be a god.

    Regarding declawing. Please keep in mind that removal of a cats claws is a very extreme act, and is in fact removal of more than their claws. It's illegal in many parts of the world, but is legal in most states of the U.S. Run a little search on Goggle on declawing and you'll find an overload of information that may help you make up your mind. There is an alternative surgery that isn't as extreme, but is still a bit severe.

    The most humane method of keeping a cat from clawing everything if they don't exclusively use a scratching post is called Soft Paws. You apply them in a manner very similar to the way ladies apply artificial fingernails. They're reasonably priced and very effective.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Catman10's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    First off, I think that what you're doing is definately "the right thing to do". I will try to answer your other questions. I think that to start, you need to decide whether or not you want to keep the cat indoors. Cat's enjoy being outdoors more, but outdoor cats have an average lifespan of only 4 years, as compared to the 14 years of indoor cats. If you are going to keep it inside, getting it declawed is one option. In this operation what they actually do is remove the top portion of the cat's toes including the bone, not just the claws. This is a little bit cruel, but it is still much better than euthanasia if you have a lot of valuable furniture that you prize. If you are going to get this done it is best to do it while the cat is still young. If you do keep the cat inside, it is important to get it a good number of scratching posts/devices. A good one is the one where there is a circular device that has a cardboard scratching pad in the middle and a ball in a track around the outside. They don't have to be big, but have enough of them so that they'll always seem novel to the cat. If you do this you should be fine. Also, a relatively cheap solution is giving them mid sized (ventilated) cardboard boxes to play in. As for litter boxes, most cats do well with them provided they are placed in an easiy accesable place where they have some privacy. Finally, I would get a water/squirt gun for training it. With the proper techinques it is possible to train cats, but you'll probably just be interested in stopping it from doing certain actions (and sometimes they are just indifferent to yelling). A couple of water guns around the house will allow you to immediately punish undesired behaviors leading to their extinction. Hope this helps, and good luck. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Our two cats were adopted from a rescue shelter and are now exclusively indoor cats. Part of the 'deal' between us and the cats for them getting the benefits of a nice home, food, love, etc. was that the front claws had to go. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all of the anti side of that issue, we got hammered by my fiance's brother and his wife over it.

    It took the cats about two weeks to regain the mobility that they lost when the claws got ripped out. Their paws are not any more sensitive and they show no horrible emotional scars from it. Given that the other option was to live outside in a rat infested dump, I'm pretty sure they got the good side of the bargain.

    On keeping and raising cats, *toys*. Cats love to explore, hunt, and attack things. Toys that make noise or move around are wonderful. Toys that do that by themselves are even more fun. Attention is good. House cats get all of their socialization from people and any other pets, so it's very important to make sure they experience people. Don't let your cat become one of those shy little things that dissappears when guests come over.

    I'll second the water gun idea. Cats do not understand ballistics and have *no* idea where the water is coming from. They just realize that 'I do something' and 'I get wet'. They can quickly fill in the 'If I do this, I get wet, I don't like getting wet, so I will not do this'. Worked for us.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    It sounds like the cat must have been abandoned. Sometimes when people move, they leave a pet behind. Hard to believe, but it happens.

    Go easy on the cat nip until you get used to the cat's personality. It might induce some aggressiveness and might increase the liklihood of scratching furniture or even your hand. They can get pretty dynamic on that stuff and that might not be the best thing while you are all getting to know each other.

    The squirt gun idea is a good one and don't worry about the claws.

    Cat's won't use an excessively dirty litter box, so keep it clean if you don't want to find "accidents." The clumping litter is the most convenient to clean. Some litter boxes even rake themselves clean.

    Overall, cats are very easy to keep. Especially so if kept indoors.

    It sounds like the cat adopted a good home. Congratulations on your new owner.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Congrats Quickbeam on your new friend. Let us know what his name is.

    We have a cat named Pete (Merri named him while we were dating) we rescued from the pound as a kitten. It came from the pound neutered and we later declawed it's front paws. We live right next to a busy street so it is definately an indoor cat.




    Pete weighs about 40% more than our Poodle "Cotton" and has no trouble keeping Cotton in line.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Catman10's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    As an added bonus, if the cat is making too much noise at night you can use your squirt gun with the Rogers/Surefire technique and possibly justify getting another flashlight! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    great cat advice :

    http://www.catchow.com/

    DO NOT EVER SQUIRT YOUR CAT WITH A SQUIRT GUN!
    This is highly insulting to a cat, and it may run away for no other reason, or else frost it's relationship with you for months..
    OK, maybe a select few cats will enjoy being squirted, but don't try it till you know your cat better..

    Gransee, please refer Pete to the DIET thread.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    We feed Pete the amount recommended on the cat food bag but he still seems to be a bit large at 15 pounds. He is fairly active (still a kitten).

    We put Pete on a diet for a couple of weeks but he then acted liked he was being persecuted. He also resorted to some kitty terroism. We them put him back on the recommended amount (3/4-1 cup/day) and he now loves us again. Maybe he is just a big cat? I just don't want his lifespan to be reduced.

    We use a squirt bottle as the primary punishment. He knows where the water is coming from. This is evidenced by the fact that often we don't even have to squirt him, we just wave the bottle around or place it somewhere we don't want him to go. The sound of the squirt gun is an additional deterent so I sometimes shoot a warning shot past him.

    I think Pete thinks he's perfect. When he does something he shouldn't he looks around like nothing happened and then walks over to us and asks to be waited on. He's also a very vocal cat and like to sing and talk about nothing at all. He watches the birds through the window and does his, "mra mra" sounds.

    All in all, Pete is a great cat and we love him very much. He's spoiled and thinks that the house is his and we work for him.

    Peter

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    This is advice directly from the vet (wife).
    "Treat it like you just got a new cat"
    Vet check up (age, gender) shots as needed.
    Spay/neuter the cat.
    Investigate alternatives to declaw. We've used soft paws to good effect. Use declaw as a last resort.

    ___________

    Peter, Pete needs to lose some weight. Weight can/will create physical problems the older the cat gets.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    take the cat in! i took in an older stray and was glad i did, he's friendly and lovable just like you described your cat is. i couldn't just let him go to the pound to die or wander the streets and get run over.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Cat forum and Info

    This is a pretty nice forum about cats, I believe there are several Vets and Vet assistants on the forum. It also has a number of articles about pet care for different animals.

    The SoftPaws that Empath mentioned do work rather well but can be a nuiscance to get on the cat [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]. Usually a two person job around here.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Peter, I'm the same way, I express myself vocally, but not so much as Pete seems to, I watch the birdies, but quietly ;&gt
    What does Pete do that needs so much squirty discipline?
    ..and 15 pounds for a kitten? That is huge. I know how dificult it is to be ruled by a vocal cat, we just torture you till you obey! Don't listen to the catfood bag instructions, listen to your vet, certainly he/she could advise you how to get Pete to shed some pounds, maybe a diet catfood? If you gradually reduce the amount you serve Pete, maybe he'll let you get away with it..?
    check out http://www.catchow.com/ , there are hundreds of cat behavior and feeding questions listed, with answers ..

    Meow,
    --Leon (Ted's cat)

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* sunspot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    My Wife and I have five strays. Two from a Vet office. One from the streets of Downtown. One from work and the last one chose our house and us.

    Great advise here and please do not de-claw.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice??? + Pic

    Wow! I wasn't expecting this much help! I'm taking it all in and will weigh the benefits/detriments of each of the "nuisance resolutions" before make a decision about declawing. We'll see if the scratchers work first.

    Right now we are going through the "Lost pet" process required by animal control. Waiting for a call back. All found pets have to be reported or turned over to the county. Once I get more details we'll decide when to take him to the vet for vaccinations, neutering, etc.

    This cat is super loveable. He's falling asleep purring at my feet right now. We'll see how he is at night.... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif[/img]

    [ QUOTE ]
    As an added bonus, if the cat is making too much noise at night you can use your squirt gun with the Rogers/Surefire technique and possibly justify getting another flashlight!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    LOL! Good Idea - "Honey, we need cat litter, cat food, and an M2" [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Here's a pic:



    Common household noises don't bother him at all - the dryer buzzed and he didn't even twitch...

    Don't have a name for him yet. My wife and I will have to work on that.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Great advice here...

    My wife & I now have three cats, all rescues. We removed the claws from the front paws of our first two cats BUT would not do so in the future. We were simply ignorant to the devastation it can cause to the cat. Our third cat ,Simon, came to our back door close to death. We took care of him and now he loves us. HE IS COMPLETELY DECLAWED. Somebody owned this cat and threw him out to fend for himself. With no claws, he would have died. He was also fixed so we knew somebody once owned him. Anyhow, it sounds like you have a pretty good kitty.

    Kev

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* sunspot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Doug, you have a Tuxedo cat. Name him Sylvester or Sly.
    "Great sufphering sucertsat's"

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Name suggestion: Oreo

    Good luck.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    I've always liked Gizmo for a cat's name. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  23. #23
    Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Mine was just called "Cat". R.I.P. 1981-1999

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    DO NOT declaw - it actually cuts the first digit off!

    Also, before you vaccinate - DO ONLY the MINIMUM, and make SURE your vet follows the new protocols on WHERE to inject

    There is a HORRID cancer called "VAS" (Vaccine Associated Sarcoma). If the vet injects in the scruff area (which used to be the preferred area - the leg is now the place), and the cat comes down with VAS, it's a death sentence

    Look at

    http://www.shorti-online.org

    PLEASE - My Tuxedo cat has this horrid cancer


  25. #25

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    this is from catchow.com

    If you have a very young kitten, it should be taken to the veterinarian for
    its first vaccination (panleukopenia and the two upper respiratory viruses)
    at 6-8 weeks of age. Three weeks later (age 9 – 11 weeks), it gets a second
    vaccine. Three weeks after that (age 12-14 weeks), it gets the third and
    final vaccine in the kitten series.
    If the kitten is greater than 12 – 14 weeks of age when it is first taken to
    the vet, it gets one panleukopenia/respiratory viruses vaccine, and that’s
    it. A second dose is not needed.
    Revaccination is recommended one year later, and then every three years
    after that.
    The rabies vaccine is given to all cats at the age of 12 weeks or older. A
    rabies booster vaccine is given one year after initial vaccination, and then
    every three years.
    Kittens or cats that are regularly presented to high risk environments, such
    as cat shows, catteries, or boarding facilities may be given an intranasal
    vaccine against the upper respiratory viruses.
    All kittens should be tested for the feline leukemia virus as early as 8
    weeks of age. If the cat tests negative, and is determined to be at high
    risk for acquiring the virus, it may be advisable to vaccinate the cat
    against this virus. A second vaccine is given three weeks later, and then
    every year after that. I rarely vaccinate against FeLV.
    I do not recommend the FIP vaccine, the ringworm vaccine, the chlamydia
    vaccine, the Giardia vaccine, or the Bordetella vaccine.

    I believe that vaccinations have done more to ensure the health of our companion animals than practically any other medical development. Recent studies have shown that if a cat has antibodies in its bloodstream against the viruses that we commonly vaccinate for, then that cat is protected from the disease. Rather than routinely vaccinating your cat, have your veterinarian send out blood to determine the antibody level. If there are no antibodies, I would recommend vaccination. If there are antibodies, your cat is protected. Rabies vaccine is required by law, and needs to be administered. Vaccinations should be given under the skin, on an arm or a leg, as far down as practical. In the worst case scenario, a tumor developing on a limb can be treated by amputation, assuring the complete removal of the tumor. These tumors are very difficult to completely remove; your cat’s tumor returned because it was not completely removed during the first surgery.

    Dr. Steffen Stacey Runquist
    DVM, Feline Specialist



  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Thanks all! Getting lots of info from the links you posted.

    The cat only jumped on the bed 4 times and each time was scolded and sent to the floor. It's going to take some getting used to for all parties involved. We checked the whole house and he didn't appear to damage anything in the night - so that's a good sign. We'll keep a sharp eye out for the next several days.

    We put flea killer drops on the back of his neck today and he's not too happy about it... Oh well...

    Something I totally forgot - I have a small 2xAAA laser. He was just bouncing off the walls trying to catch that little red dot! Hilarious! And before anyone freaks - I'm careful not to shine it in his eyes.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Quickbeam,

    Lifetime and current cat owner here.

    Take the cat for shots.

    Declawing isn't necessary and it's the equivalent of removing the first joint on your own fingers. I'm not some PETA wacko; there are other ways to deal with claws.

    Dr. Snip is also a good thing and it mellows the beast too.

    Flea & tick drops are from heaven although not all products are created equal. The ones from Hartz are known to cause breathing, dehydration and other systemic problems. The adverse reaction will make you think your cat is dying. Instead, spend the extra money and buy Advantage. You can get it at the vet but also online or at larger chain pet stores. You need a prescription (just like for online Viagra!) but no exam is necessary.

    Good food is also a big plus. Cats have a short intestinal tract which is sign of a meat eating diet. Can't feed the beast meat everyday so something from Science Diet, Iams or other premium food allows for better digestion/absorbtion than most other food that is usually cereal based. The proof will be in the litter box (tight compact stools = good and loose puddley ones = bad).

    Despite what you might hear, cats can be trained. I give twice daily insulin injections to our cat who has been trained to actually start purring loudly whenever she sees the syringe!

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Figures.... we just put the Hartz stuff on him. He'll have to deal with it...

    <font color="red">[Edit/Correction]</font> - My wife and I are/were having a little dispute over the name. Just a little one. Really. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/twak.gif[/img] So his name is officially:

    "Oreo"

    Like the cookie. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* sunspot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat advice???

    [ QUOTE ]
    Jeff said:Flea &amp; tick drops are from heaven(snip)Instead, spend the extra money and buy Advantage. You can get it at the vet but also online or at larger chain pet stores. You need a prescription (just like for online Viagra!) but no exam is necessary.

    [/ QUOTE ]I have to disagree with you on this, Jeff. Frontline and Advantage do not need a script anymore. There is a newer one on the market called Revolution that does need a script at this time.

    Just for general info:
    Frontline Top Spot treats flea &amp; tick.
    Frontline Plus..flea, flea larvae and ticks.
    Advantage...flea and flea larvae.
    Revolution...heartworm, flea and intestinal worms.

    Advantage is not listed for ticks but it does kill them.

    Jeff, it sounds like you remember the days before this stuff was out. Bleck!!!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Cat advice???

    Sunspot,

    You know, I think I was mistaken after all. I used to need a prescription and come to think of it, I haven't had one in a while. Advantage works very well but I'm going to have check out Frontline and Revolution to see what they're about.

    All I know about cats is that they are little poop factories. And if they swallow a rubberband - yikes! There were little braclets in the litter box that were a source of great mystery and intrigue. Don't even get me started on my parents dog swallowing baby Jesus from the manger scene. We had to wait awhile for the nativity celebration in more ways than one.

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