Thinking about getting a cat. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Eckhardt, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Kevin Eckhardt

    Kevin Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    My allergic to pets housemate is moving out in December, and so I've been seriously considering replacing him with a cat [​IMG] I've been searching around on the web at pet related sites, but thought I would get the HTF's perspective as well. I am leaning toward an adult cat from one of the local adoption/rescue centers.
    What should I look for in a cat?
    Litterbox placement?
    Things to do to get the house ready?
    "No Scratching" signs for the RPTV?
    I've had pets as a younger kid, but that just means mom and dad took care of them, so I'm open to any suggestions or advice.
    Kevin
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Word of advice... get 2 of the same sex and age. The cats'll be more happy to have a playmate.. and you'll be more happy to watch them.

    My 2 boys are best buds... they chase each other around the house at about 48mph.
     
  3. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    I've had one cat per time over the past 25 years: One died at age 16, prob of old-age kidney failure, I dont really know. The last two were weaned kittens brought to my door my little neighbors girls {"pleease, pleeease..." they implored.) One died accidentally.

    Currently, my 7-year-old fixed male is quite happy, spending the night in the garage with his little swinging in/out doorhole to the outside sideyard. I raised him as 90 percent outside/10 percent indoors cuz I went to work and no one else was at home. Also, when I take vacations, the cat is used to taking care of himself, with the help of a neighbor kid I pay to fill the food dish every other day.

    As kittens, they seem to instinctively turn to the litter box (again, in the attached garage). After they were fixed, I have always used dry food; currently using crunchy "dental" variety for my middle-aged cat.

    I firmly advocate fixing kittens AS SOON AS THEY'RE OLD ENOUGH esp. males so that territorial spraying and female attraction doesnt get imprinted.

    Will a cat indoors try to claw speakers and other fabric? Sure, you just gotta be aware: My shout now is enough to pull him off.

    Be aware that a good medical plan with your vet will cost $200+ for the baby shots, checkups and spay/neuter. Annual feline shots and checkup can run $100. And FrontLine flea drops applied to the nape can cost $10 a month (I hold off in the winter).

    So I have no experience with a grown cat from the animal shelter, but everyone loves a kitten.

    To sum: big decisions are Indoor or Outdoor and what mix here; dry food or occasional canned meat (and to cats canned cat "beef stroganoff" and "chicken parmesiana" or whatever are all the same), and to Fix.

    Some say allowing a cat to be an "outdoors" guy/gal is street-dangerous. But I live on a cul-de-sac and my cat has always been yard territorial, not a great roamer. When I get home, he's perhaps sleeping under a shady bush in the back yard or sunning on the garage driveway.

    I suppose my guy may be pooping in neighbor yards; I actually dont know. But I have some dirt piles next to the garden which I occasionally shovel over and bury old poops, hoping he'll use this "facility."

    g'luck
     
  4. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    I advocate getting a male cat (they seem to be more social) and adopting it from a shelter. Kittens are fun but they can be a little overwhelming at times, until they grow up and mellow out. Definitely get him fixed as soon as the vet says it's okay.

    Also, check their teeth and gums, or at least their breath. Red gums and missing teeth are a bad sign.

    Don't pick your cat by appearance alone...personality means everything.

    Indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats. I remember hearing that the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only 18 months! They can get seriously hurt or killed out there.

    Put your litter box down in your basement or in a low-traffic area...cats need a little privacy!

    If your cat even looks like he's going to scratch your RPTV, whack him with a newspaper, or if your aim is good, use a squirt gun. After a couple punishments like that, he won't go anywhere near it.

    I agree with Dave, if you get 2 cats they can keep each other company and won't drive you crazy the way that one needy cat can. I have 3: two males and a female, and they keep each other entertained.
     
  5. JamieD

    JamieD Supporting Actor

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  6. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Yeah I got Katie and Susie - littermates - from a local rescue society. They have always been together. What a pair. Susie took one look at me at the rescue society and determined that she could easily manipulate me. They decided to come home with me.

    Another alternative is to sit in your house and let the cats come to you. I've had several stray cats show up in my backyard and decide to move in with me. The last one is the one and only Fluffy Pumpkin.....

    If you have a garage, get a cat door between the house and garage. That way you can leave the litter box in the garage. Trust me on this one.
     
  8. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I have 2 cats, both females and both strays that I "rescued"
    unfortunatly, they just tolerate each other, they do not play when I am around
    this is what youput up with when you have a friendly Kitty
    i always have help when I am on the internet
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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    If you want an affectionate cat, look for a Tortoiseshell. Of course, "affectionate" and "insane" are interchangeable here.
     
  10. Kevin Eckhardt

    Kevin Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
    Most of the adoption places around here have either already fixed their cats, or require you to do so when you adopt them. Even if they didn't I'd have done this anyway. After all, I did watch 'The Price is Right' a lot as a kid [​IMG]
    I was planning to make the cat an indoors-only cat.
    Getting two cats has been suggested quite a bit, both here and elsewhere. If I do this should I go ahead and bring home both at the same time?
    I had thought about putting the litter box in the garage. I'm just a little bit worried about safety, such as escaping when the garage door opens, hanging around the underside of the car, the lawn mower, other tools, and such. Is this something to worry about?
    I had also thought about putting the litter box, at least initially, in my bathroom. That way I could could close the door and keep the cat(or cats) in my bedroom while I was gone until they had acclimated themselves, and I felt comfortable giving them full reign of the house while I was gone.
    Thanks again for all the advice. Now I need to start figuring out what movie I should show to introduce the cats to the HT [​IMG]
    Kevin
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I also have two, former strays. And my cats are very picky when it comes to canned food. (For a couple of walking flea motels who used to live on hand-outs from the guards at the county jail, they've sure developed expensive tastes. [​IMG])
    Yes, get them fix as early as possible, especially if male.
    If you're worried about furniture, invest in a water gun, preferably the battery-powered kind with a long range. The noise of the pump adds to the scare effect. Just a tiny shot will shock them away from wherever you don't want them to go, and it does them no harm.
    I use the inverted-bottle style dispensers for dry food and water. Unlike dogs cats won't eat every visible scrap of food the first day you're away and then starve until you get home. I used to travel a lot on business, often for short 2 or 3 day jaunts, sometimes for 10 or 15 days at a time. For the short trips I just filled up the containers. For longer trips I'd have a relative (mine, not theirs) stop by and refill the containers. My two split a can of Fancy Feast each night, 'cause I read somewhere that an all dry-food diet can lead to urinary tract infections, and I figure they've already had enough things disconnected.
    If you can possibly afford one, spring for a Litter-Maid self-cleaning cat box. Go for the deluxe model. It is bigger (good for multiple cats) and comes with a little felt-covered ramp to clean their feet as they exit. I got the optional "tent" to enclose it the the whole thing sits in the corner of the screened porch. With good quality clumping litter (I like the kind with the crystals blended in) there's no detectable odor outside the tent. Every couple of days I swap out the litter containers. (I rotate several of them, soaking them in a bleach solution in between uses.) The box is always clean, I almost never touch litter and nobody else has to clean the thing if I'm away for a day or two. I have a glass and aluminum panel that locks into the sliding glass door track that has a little kitty door-flap in the bottom. So they can get to the porch 24/7. And that's where they spend most of their time, sunning themselves during the day, running around like lunatics at night. (I'm convinced that cats don't actually need to eat because they're solar-powered.)
    Finally remember this immortal truth:
    Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
    [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, I rejected the garage as a place for the litterbox for this very reason. But I do employ the "cat airlock" principle. The two doors of my laundry room, the one to the garage and the one to the house, are never opened at the same time.

    Dennis, don't know how cold it gets in your neck of the woods, but anybody who experiences a genuine winter should be doubly careful about keeping the cats in the garage on cold nights - or even allowing them to go in there. They tend to seek warm places to sleep and that can mean under the hood of your car. Cats and fan belts do not mix.

    Regards,

    Joe

    In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. They wonder why you have.

    Dogs think they are human. Cats think they are God.

    In a cat's eye, everything belongs to cats
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    It gets as cold around here in the winter as it does in Florida. Generally nighttime temps in the 40s and 50s with perhaps one freeze each winter.

    Speaking of fleas, the new flea treatments are wonderful. I use Advantage. Use as needed, but I only find it necessary for 2 or 3 months during flea season. Which is good as it's $10 a dose. Fleas just don't exist in my neighborhood anymore.

    Cats think Cthulhu has a problem with low self esteem.
     
  15. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I just got a cat about 2 weeks ago. My daughters were begging for one. Let's just say that my cat has a very strong personality. Kind of like a 4 year child, telling them no means just run faster towards it! Putting up the Christmas tree and decorations was a hoot...So far the tree is still standing and we were gone 4 days for T-giving.
    One funny thing. I never knew cats poop this much! [​IMG] Good Lord, It seems I'm changing the litter box alot.
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    My friend keeps his cats' litter boxes in his garage, and there's a car door to the litter boxes (from inside the house to the garage, common wall). The thing my friend did was create a wood frame with chicken wire covering it so the cats would only do their business and get back inside the house. Imagine a rectangular box frame missing bottom side and the side next to the wall (4 sides are still on the frame - left and right sides, top, and front). Once a year I do the pooper scooping duties for him and his family when they go on vacation for a week. In my next house, I'll have to give this idea serious consideration.
     
  17. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    My dad's cat, Milo, is an ornage tabby and an indoor cat. He mostly lounges around the house, but that's okay. At night he paws at my door (when I'm home) until I let him in. (he starts making his rounds around midnight, almost to the dot.) When I let him in, he gets up on the bed and waits for me to get back into bed as well. As soons as I do, I start playing with him a little and sometimes he neads my stomach or my upper arm (why my upper arm, I don't know, but it feels really good, so I don't complain.)

    Cats are cool. Dogs are cool too, but I'm a cat person.
     
  18. Fletch

    Fletch Agent

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    How about a Hobie or a Nacra? They sail quite nicely.And no litter box to change.
     
  19. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Lots of good advice here. I also agree with your decision to raise your new addition as an indoor cat, Kevin. There are a lot of dangers in the outside world (other animals, diseases, cars) that could really shorten your new cat's lifespan. Besides, it also keeps your neighbors happy, since kitty will not be using their flower beds as a litter box. We have two cats (never been outdoors since we've had them), but I still do not want to clean up someone else's pet mess in my yard.

    We have a male (Casey) and female (Sheena) -- they were litter mates that we got as rescued kittens, and they are now 14 years old. The male is always looking for attention, while the female only wants attention when she's in a certain mood. It's funny how each of them has bonded with us -- Casey adores my wife and follows her everywhere, while Sheena is more drawn to me. Our two feline friends are living proof that cats have very distinct personalities despite identical upbringing.
     
  20. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Hi Kevin,
    Good idea getting a cat! We have two and just love them to death. Here's another 2c to your questions:
    * What should I look for in a cat?
    Go down to the SPCA or wherever and the right cat will jump right on you, literally. You will KNOW the right one when you play with it.
    * Litterbox placement?
    Just make sure the litterbox is well away from the food dish. Cats have a great sense of smell and would you like to eat right next to your toilet?
    * Things to do to get the house ready?
    You might actually want a couple of litter boxes to begin, say one on each level. A kitten usually won't walk up a flight of stairs alone to relieve themselves, but they will step into the next room.
    * "No Scratching" signs for the RPTV?
    Put a scratching post or something more attractive nearby the RPTV for kitty to scratch. Sometimes they will just do it because they know it pisses you off and they are cats.
    Other:
    * Get it neutered/spayed at 5-6 months of age, it will save you a lot of hassle. Cats that never go through heat usually have better health records later on too (or so I have heard.)
    * Decide on declawing early and either get it done as a kitten or not. This is really a personal choice (no matter what anyone says), but the earlier you do it (if you do it) the better for the cat. We did both ours after they had shredded the carpet in our apt, they are so darn domesticated they would never make it in the wild anyway [​IMG]
     

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