Advice on kitty proofing house..

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    OK, folks, I'm getting my first non-fish, non-arachnid pet.. two little kittens:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/cycleslug/Kittens

    I have never owned cats since my family was very allergic to them (mostly my dad). I'm very mildly allergic at least growing up, but I've noticed I've tolerated them when I'm around them and have no problems playing with them and petting them. I am going to try to kitty proof my house, which I'm thinking of moving anything small and swallowable to someplace they can't get at them, but is there anything else to think of? These guys are pretty young and they will be spayed/neutured once they get to the right age. (is there a right age?).

    I don't know their sex and I just have pictures but I know they are brothers/sisters since they come from the same litter and they are a friend of a friend's cat who said they'll take them back if they don't work out (if I break out in hives or grow two heads...well, if I grow two heads, I'll quit my job and run away with the circus (and keep the cats) [​IMG]).

    Jay
     
  2. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    The most obvious thing would be to also have them declawed because your beloved speaker grills, curtains, furniture legs, or anything hanging is going to get scratched all to hell. Get used to the smell of cat urine as well, i've never owned inside cats but know people who do.
     
  3. KurtEP

    KurtEP Supporting Actor

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    I'm not really sure you have to worry about them choking on small objects. I've never heard of a kitten choking on anything, that seems limited to children and turkeys. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Well I hope so... I've seen that Animal ER program on Animal planet and like 75% of the cases it seems is a dog or cat swallowing something that gets stuck in their digestive tracts... seems like coins are popular... I just dont want the same thing...

    Jay
     
  5. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I've had a lot of cats, and never has choking on small items been a problem. I think the Animal ER show was going for the sensationalist angle. Now they do eat plants and throw the stuff back up.

    All of them will claw to some degree (to stretch maybe?); but the problem comes in when they destructively claw things. Having them declawed is pretty cruel. It involves cutting off the bone; the same as cutting off the ends of your fingers so your nails won't grow.
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I've only had one cat, but everything I read said that as long as the cat is trained to use a scratching post it won't go for other things in the house. My experience supports this, but what my cat would often do is chew on things. This includes speaker cables, plants, etc. Not sure of the remedy for that.
     
  7. David Hobbes

    David Hobbes Stunt Coordinator

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    Get them declawed. It is utter nonsense when people claim it is cruel. All of my cats have been declawed with absolutely ZERO problems. Animals adapt better than humans. and cats are much more fun to play with when you have no fear of claws digging into your skin [​IMG]

    What i find sort of cruel are cats who are allowed outside. Too many end up hit by vehicles, killed by other animals, contracting diseases, etc. Keep your cats in the house.
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks for the help so far...

    I hope they don't go chewing into electrical cords... I'll have to monitor them for a bit. As far as the declawing, I'm all for a all-natural cat, but I'm also for my speaker grills and furniture.. so I'll have to be careful of that and see... I have a nice vet. nearby within very reasonable cycling distance so I might be able to give my little guys a ride every now and then in a travel box on my rear rack...

    Jay
     
  9. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    You are so wrong. Ask a vet, they are amputating part of digit when they do this. It is cruel. Just because a vet is willing to do it, doesn't mean it's not cruel. You will not find any humane organization that approves of declawing.

    Make sure you provide a scratching post and keep a squirt bottle handy. When you see them scratching something they shouldn't give them a brief squirt with a firm "no". Than take them to the scratching post and talk soothingly and petting them.

    Something else to remember, which I think many people forget. You've invited another species into your house to live with you. The cats won't always do what you want. Remember, they are not little humans.

    Always keep the litter box clean. Use clumping litter and scoop it daily. Cats are fastidious and don't like smelly litter boxes. When you use the clumping litter and scoop out the clumps you are removing the urine and the smell. You and the cats will appreciate it. Be leary of those automatic boxes. The noise and movement may scare the cats and turn them off of using the box.

    These are kittens so play with them a lot. I've always had fun with the feather on a string attached to a pole. They are always available at pet stores.

    My vet prefers I feed our cats a quality dry food as opposed to wet. Their teeth will stay cleaner with less buildup of plaque. Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Iams come to mind.

    This is the formative stage of their life. Do a lot of petting and holding now, while they are kids and you will reap the rewards as they mature.

    Aw, one is black, I'm a sucker for black cats.

    They should go to the vet once a year for a checkup and vaccinations. You are going to have them spayed/neutered I presume? Intact males will start spraying inside your house and females will start screaming for a man. If either gets outside, they will reproduce. If you've got a male and female, they don't need to go outside to reproduce.

    On their first vet visit, have them tested for FELV/FIV (feline leukemia/feline aids). If positive for either have them retested again 2 months later. It may be a false positive because they have their mother's antibodies in them and she was exposed. I've seen this happen often, so don't assume they've got it.

    If positive for felv, that cat will not have a long life. Talk to your vet about it. An fiv positive cat can live a long, healthy, happy life. There is little chance the cat will pass it on to the other.

    If expense is an issue, talk to local humane organizations. Often they provide low-cost spay/neuter services which may also include testing and vaccinations. Remember these organizations depend solely on donations. They also may be able to point you to a vet whose rates are low.

    To sex them, lift the tail and look at the rear. If you see an upside down exclmation point! it's a girl.

    I hope you have 20 wonderful years with them.
     
  10. David Hobbes

    David Hobbes Stunt Coordinator

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    Do you know of any cats that truly suffer from being declawed? i don't.

    I'm not saying the act itself, when presented in all of its grisly manner by some people, doesn't indeed sound cruel, but it causes no long term negative effects on any of the cats i have owned or any that my friends and family own.
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I've had two cats for about 10 years now. Here are some of the things I've learned.

    Cats will use the scratching post and leave your stuff alone if properly trained. I find a battery-powered water pistol (range about 25 feet) to be the ideal training device. [​IMG]

    I also used a little battery-powered motion sensor, the kind design to secure windows, to be a great way to train them to stay off my dining room table when I was at work. I aimed it diagonally across the table, facing away from the front door. Whenever one of them jumped up there the alarm would scare him and he'd jump back down. It didn't take long before they gave up entirely.

    I keep gravity-fed water and dry food dispensers available for them 24/7 and keep them filled. The two of them split a can of Fancy Feast every night when I get home from work. (And on weekends. If I haven't fed them by about 5:30 they come and find me and meow loudly until I come up with a can of food.)

    I also have a Littermaid self-cleaning litter box. This is actually my fourth unit in 10 years. (It really isn't that they break a lot, either. I shorted my first one out by getting water in the wrong place without realizing it, then turning it on before it all evaporated. The second was killed by my dad, who had stopped in to check on the boys while I was on a business trip and found the rake apparently stuck. He tried to "fix" it. Scratch one Littermaid. The third one was still working fine after about 7 years when they came out with a really improved version and I just decided to upgrade and give the old one away to a friend.)

    There are a couple of other brands of self-cleaning litterboxes these days, which I can't comment on because I haven't used any of them. But trust me, if you decide to keep the cats there is no better investment you can make. The litter is always clean, waste disposal is much easier and the cats tend to be happier. I keep mine behind the shower curtain, inside the tub of the guest bathroom. As long as I keep up with the occasional mistakes (litter and other things projected outside the box), stick to my regular cleaning schedule and use good quality clumping and deodorizing litter, you can hardly notice that the thing is there unless you pull the curtain aside and take a deep breath. (And no, my condo doesn't smell of cat urine, thank you very much. The only time my guys have ever peed on the rug or anything else has been when they've been trying to send a message to me - once when I was out of town even the Littermaid got a little nasty, once when I got a new bed, and twice when I've moved. Cats do not handle change well. In every case one of several commercial pet-urine neutralizers took care of the problem.)

    When I'm done rennovating my condo (assuming I live that long [​IMG]) I plan to move the litterbox out to the screened balcony. I have a molded Rubbermaid patio storage box that I'm going to install a kitty door in, then drill a hole for the power cord. They'll have a nice private latrine, the containment will keep things neat and I'll have easy access for emptying and cleaning through the top of the box.

    Littermaids cost anywhere from $100 to about $170 depending on the features and model, and I'd imagine comparable units are about the same. I think the things are worth every penny. YMMV.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  12. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    I have had many cats through out my life. I currently have 2 inside cats. I had 3 but one did not like my new house and moved to my mothers. If they are outside cats, I don't get them declawed. They need their claws for defence. Inside cats I get declawed, they can tear up far too much furniture. Even by jumping on the furniture just to sit on your lap. I don't see that it is any more cruel than spay or neutering them. Both are operations and they recover quickly.
    Keep the litter box clean and they will use it. We have an automatic one that works fine. It waits a few minutes after the cat leaves before it cycles.
    Enjoy them and be sure to post pictures of your new family members.
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    We had two cats from the same litter for 17 years (got them as kittens). A couple of things:

    You may want to have two litter boxes. When they were younger, the female decided to use a rug in the entry way to do her business occasionally. We added a 2nd litter box, and the problem was solved. As said above, always keep the litter boxes clean.

    The squirt bottle can be an effective training device, but it depends on the cat. It always worked on our male, but the female loved water for some strange reason (she would walk into the shower with one of us after we were done, and I found her under a running faucet in the sink of my apartment one day when I came home), so it was not as effective on her. Fortunately, she was a very well-behaved cat, so a simple, firm "no" usually worked on her.

    We did have a few problems with the male chewing cords and speaker wire when he was younger. I tried to block entry to the area behind the sound system, and used the squirt bottle approach to training him. The female never was interested in the cords.

    I know people have different feelings on indoor-only cats, but personally I think you should keep them indoors. The cats will be healthier, and you will not subject your neighbors to having your pet use their yard as a litter box. Our cats never went outside, and they lived 17+ healthy, happy years. Unfortunately, they ended up passing away within about 6 months of each other. I think the female really missed her brother after he died.
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    As of now, being kittens and new to me and my house, they will definitely be indoor only cats. I know I have a couple adult stray cats running around and I know that I have a groundhog running around and 2 very fat raccoons nearby.

    I will get more pictures of them once I pick them up... I am going to be going to a dollar store and picking up litter boxes, right now, I don't think I'm going to spend the $$$ for an automatic one anyway but I'll keep your brands in mind...

    Is there a particular good time for the little guys to get their shots and or spay/neutering?

    Jay
     
  15. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Declawing can introduce behavioral problems, the most common being in-appropriate urination. I.E. going outside of the box. I strongly recommend you do not declaw, but if you must, do it while they are young, have it done when the s/n is done. Declawing an adult cat increases the possibility of behavior problems.

    Also consider that once this behavior has been introduced, it's difficult to control. Now you've got a cat peeing indoors outside the box. I'll bet you don't want that cat anymore and who will? You've now got an unadoptable cat, and because its declawed, it needs to stay indoors.

    For those who might say "I've had my cat declawed and he didn't show any sign of pain" I will pass on what my vet has told me more than once: cats can be difficult to treat because they are stoic. They can be in pain and not show it. My wife and I have welcomed many cats into our family and I don't remember one crying in pain from an illness. I once had a cat with a broken leg and she wasn't crying in pain. I noticed she wasn't putting weight on that leg so off to the vet and xrays showed the problem.

    Along that line, it's important to observe your cats behavior and note any changes, they may be a signal of an illness or injury.
     
  16. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Screenwriter

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    I bought one of the automatic litter cleaners (littermaid) for my daughter's cat and it is the only way to go as far as I can tell. Seriously.

    Her cat has never had an issue with using it and it really makes the cleaning job about a thousand times easier.
     
  17. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Ha, just checked out the deluxe littermaid with the cat condo privacy canope...

    I was wondering if it is heated and has a bidet? [​IMG] I wish my toilet was as nice as how that sounds....

    Jay

    Maybe I can put that on my christmas list... (the littermaid, not a canope on my toilet).
     
  18. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    We have identical twin brother cats, and we probaboy waited a bit too long to get them neutered. When they were about 10 months old, one of the cats tried to "mount" his brother. We made an appointment with the Vet the very next day.

    We have not gotten the cats declawed and I have had run into a little problem with them clawing at my speaker grills. I put the scratching post next to the speaker and sprinkled the post with catnip. They are pretty much cured now. The key is dilligence. If you catch them going toward the speaker, put their claws on the scratching post.

    As a matter of fact, my avatar is a picture of them when they were about 6 months old. Their names are Charlie and Jake.
     
  19. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Couple of ideas:

    1 -- Cats can and will get just about anywhere. It will not take long for those little kittens to find their way on top of your kitchen counter, etc. One good way to prevent them from jumping on things that are high up is to use aluminum foil. Once they started jumping on these things spread out some aluminum foil. The cats cannot generally see it before they jump since it's up high and it really freaks them out when they land on it. Once they've done that a few times they will learn not to jump up there.

    2 - I've always heard that sprinkling vinegar works to keep cats away from things. I've never tried it with my two cats, but apparently some people have pretty good success with it.

    3 - If you ever plan to put your cats outside do not declaw them. They will need those claws for defense and escape (climbing trees). If they will always be inside then the choice is up to you. I would suggest going elsewhere to read about the pros and cons instead of everyone getting into a pissing fight over it here -- which happens in every time a thread like this comes up.
     
  20. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    If you have floor vents, be aware that cats tend to pee down them! If you don't have central air conditioning running through those vents right now, cover them over (stick cardboard under the lift-off grills) until the cat learns to pee in the litter box. If pee gets down them, the smell will be forever. Though there are some cleaning products designed to neutralize cat pee smell.

    Once you uncover them for winter, hope and pray the cat won't decide they're new places to pee.
     

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