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Soon to be first time cat owner

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm new to this forum, and I actually don't own a cat. I am planning on getting a cat though, so that's why I'm here.

I currently own 2 dogs, 2 cockatoos, and lots of fish. I'm a hige animal lover, but I've never owner a cat before, and I as I was thinking about getting one, I realize that I don't know all that much about them.

The main reason we're getting a cat is because we recently moved to an acreage where there are lots of mice. We were hoping a cat would take care of that problem for us. We have not yet decided what type of cat we want - inside, inside/outside, outside, etc. What are your thoughts on this?

One of my main concern is the dogs. They are 2 10 month old English Mastiffs. For those of you who don't know what English Mastiffs are -they are a giant breed dog - they already way about 140 pounds each. They have both been extremely well socialized, but I'm not sure about how one of them especially will react to a cat. Any thoughts on that?

I also would like some comments on what to feed them. I have no idea what's good and what's not good. What about cat litter? Toys, scratching posts?

Is there good information on the internet? Please direct me.

Any and all comments would be very much appreciated.


post #2 of 24
Darryl, My main concern is the size of the dogs. If they were to play with the kitten, they might hurt it without meaning to. You would have to be very cautious and slow with the introduction, and then watch carefully. My collie was raised with cats, so they call the shots!

I keep my cats inside because our road has become very busy in the last few years. I don't want to lose one to a car. As for the mice, there is an easier way to keep them out of the house. I have 2 of the Riddex plug-in devices that I got on QVC. Rodents cannot stand the vibrations it emits so they leave the house or barn. You have to have one for each floor, and put them on opposite sides of the house.

Cats will eat mice; there's no doubt, but they pay a price for it. They get infested with worms. If you have a cat, the mice tend to leave the house, and if you use the Riddex, that should be sufficient.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi Jeanie,
Thanks for the reply.

When cats kill mice, they actually eat them? I didn't realize that. I thought they jsut killed them and played with them.

The one thing about our dogs is that they are not hyper or very fast dogs. And they'll get lazier as they get older . I'd be very surprised if they could even catch a cat at all.

That being said, its not something I'd chance. I think what I might do is have a friend come over with their cat, and see how the dogs react.


post #4 of 24
I'm going to move this to our behavior forum. You'll get the best advice there for the introductions with your dogs. Also your other questions will get more attention there as well.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks dtolle,

Jeanie - what's QVC?
post #6 of 24
QVC is a shopping network. There is a too. However, perhaps other people sell the Riddex. I don't know. Just don't set traps, please. Cats get into things. They have to know what everything does. Good luck Darryl!
post #7 of 24
As Jeannie said, cats will catch and eat mice and will become infested with worms as a result. In addition, if the mice eat any rat/mouse poison, it can kill the cat when the cat eats the mice. So, if you are going to use a cat as a mouser DO NOT ever use poison to control the mice. And, plan to de-worm your cats on a regular basis so they do not become sick.

Also, I am very very concerned about the dogs. Although I am not well read on dog behavior, aren't mastiffs bread to be animal hunters? I would be afraid that the cat's movements would trigger an instinctual attack by the dogs in the exact way a mouse's movements trigger an attack by the cat. Perhpas others who know more about the breed will have better thoughts on this.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
First I would never use poison. Besides the fact that I already would have to worry about my dogs eating the mice, I think thats an aweful way to kill something.

English Mastiffs were originally breed to be guardians of estates in England - they were used to stop poachers mainly. They don't have a high prey drive compared to a lot of other dogs but it certainly is there. It also varies quite a bit in the different mastiff lines, and thats why I'm more worried about my one than the other - she definately has a higher prey drive than the other.

That being said, its tough to see how she'll react. She's an extremely curious dog, and I think its that more than anything. She used to crazy around my cockatoo's but now that she's used to them, she pretty much ignores them. Thats what I'm hoping would happen with a cat.

post #9 of 24
you might want to think about contacting a feral cat rescue organization and say you would like a barn cat. If you feed your cat plenty to eat, they will usually not devour the entire mouse, and the food you feed will help push any parasite out, plus you can do a regular worming program. I have two barns and two horses and 14 ferals (socialized) I have no more mice raiding my grain and hay storage. I also have a German Shepherd who is a big dog, and she was introduced to the kittens and cat slowly and gets along with them great. But it was a long process of introduction. A barn cat will hunt and keep an eye out on predators and will consider your dogs predators. If you can train your dogs to not chase a running cat that is fleeing across the yard, that would be wonderful. There are so many feral cats in need of a good place to stay, and your place sounds like feral cat heaven to me.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
We have 3 acres, 2 of which are completely fenced - this gives the cats the advantage of going where the dogs aren't. Although I must say I can't see my one dog NOT chasing a cat if they start running. What happens if the dog catches the cat, I don't know.

Another good thing about my place is that vehicle traffic is fairly mimimal.

Can any one point me to a feral cat organization in Canada, specifically Edmonton Alberta.

We have a local SPCA, so maybe they'll know something about it.


post #11 of 24
These guys are in Toronto- they can point you to a closer place in need be.

if you would like you can email me and I will tell you how I got our shepherd to stop chasing running objects

Annex Rescue
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
What one mastiff owner I know did was put an remote controlled electric shock collar on her dog. The first time the dog ran after the cat, he zapped her good. The second time zapped her again. That solved that problem.

My dog that I'm worried about chasing the cat is also by far the smartest dog I'm ever had - she knows how to ring the doorbell, figured out how to open a window, loves watching dog shows on tv . . .

That being said, I don't think I could zap my baby.

post #13 of 24
I hear you, Darryl! I love my collie. I hope you find a way to keep both.
post #14 of 24
Please... I urge you, if the only reason you want a cat is to get rid of your mouse problem. Then do not get a cat.

I'm trying very hard not to get mad at this thread.
Cats, are like babies... they need love, they need to live in a house with you, be held by you and fed by you. Do you place babies out on 2 acres of "fenced" area to fend for themselves against dogs, or other random animals?

If you have a mouse problem, call a professional, cats eating mice can make them sick, or kill them. Not to mention if one of your dogs or any other animal got ahold of them.

How deep does your fence run into the ground? (about 2 feet I'm hoping) how high is it, and is a fence that a cat can CLIMB, or do you have a top to your fence?

Traffic is every where, your cat could always escape your fencing, and can travel for many many miles. There are so many potentially deadly things outside for animals that are set free (off leash.)

Please I urge you to learn a great deal about cats, before adopting one, know how they are suppose to be cared for and live with you as companion animals, (Not outdoors, and not micers).
Any self respecing rescue or SPCA will not adopt out to you if they know you want a cat for a mouser, or your just going to let it live outdoors. (Aka, your not really taking responcibility for a PET)

Caring For Cats

Welfare for Cats
post #15 of 24
In rural parts of the country, barn cats are very common. As long as they are loved, well fed, neutered, and vetted there is nothing wrong with this (IMO) -- especially if this gives a feral a chance to live a full and happy life. I have friends who care for a "herd" of feral barn cats. These cats are down-right FAT because they are so well fed. Although they are feral, they follow the wife around whenever she is outside, though they always remain out of reach of her. If they were not given the chance to live in her barn, they would surely all be dead by now.

I wish we could bring all cats into our homes to be loved and cared for just like children. But, this just won't happen with the number of feral cats that there are out there. Of course I would never bring home a tame cat and then pitch it in a barn to figure out how to survive on its own, however I find nothing wrong with saving a feral's life by providing it a safe barn to live in and healthy food to eat.
post #16 of 24
There aren't many people who could afford to put top fencing on two acres of ground to save a feral cat's life. It would be such a blessing for a feral cat to have a warm place to live and nourishing food in a bowl, and a human being who cares instead of living out in this freezing weather and scrounging all day in garbage cans to find food.

I agree that babies and cats deserve love and caring. Darryl, you sound like an animal lover to me. It would be wonderful if you can manage it with the dogs. Of course, a house cat is great, too, and there are thousands scheduled to be killed in shelters who would also prefer life in the countryside if they could speak. Please let us know the outcome!
post #17 of 24
But has anyone here mentioned this to her/him? While I personally feel all cats are better off inside, IF that particular cat can deal with living indoors, I know that there are some that you just can't change, or would be too risky of a stress level to force them to live indoors, but you can't classify all ferals as this.

But who here has told her to get a feral? And one that has NO shot of becoming a loving indoor house pet, (this is an important factor). Do we know if this is REAL fencing that would hold a cat in? Let alone a feral cat? Fencing that might keep a BIG dog contained might not work the same for a kitty.

I know in rural parts it's common, but that doesn't mean it's always right. And I know a lot of people who use the whole 'barn cat' thing as a sore excuse to not taking care of what WAS their pet.

I just want this person to be FULLY educated on cats, before (s)he gets any, be it a feral, stray, or a purebreed. There are lots of people who "hear" things from people and then say "Oh, I didn't know that, I'll never do it." But of course they turn right around and do it any way... aka take a rescued PET and set it loose as a mouser, some people are just too ignorant to own a cat to begin with, or they are too stubborn to want to listen about them. Obviously he/she doesn't know that much because they don't even know if cats should live indoors or outdoors, hence why I gave them a few links.

That is all.
post #18 of 24
AngelzOO, If you read the thread, your questions will be answered. The man is here for information, and the experts on feral cats and cat behavior have advised him, so he's in the right place. He's seeking information. He might ask the feral cat what it would prefer, but I doubt it could answer. Strays and ferals are two different things. Perhaps you misunderstood.
post #19 of 24
No I didn't miss understand. I know that some ferals can be reabilitated, I have worked with several of both ferals and strays for years. But where did anyone say to take in a feral, one which can not be reabilitated into a home enviroment?

I just wanted to point that information out.
I know they are coming here for help and that's what we are giving them. That's why I'm telling them of my personal feelings (along with millions of others), and gave him information on them, his fencing, his dogs, etc etc.
post #20 of 24
As the owner of several feral cats- many of whom only come inside when the weather gets really rough, I just have to say that Angel you are the one who is misunderstanding. A feral cat prefers to be outdoors. I have one cat that if I bring Cleo inside- and I have been taking care of cleo now almost 10 years, he will literally crawl up the walls and eat a hole in the wood trying to escape. I have several barn cats that when I got them, they were labeled as unmanageable and today they are our biggest lap kitties. Did it happen overnight, nope, they stayed outside and out of reach for years, but gradually came to understand that this home is full of love and no one will hurt them here.

If you contact a rescuer in your area and ask to go on a feral run, you will see colonies of cats living in deplorable conditions and only staying alive out of the kindness of the volunteers who feed and manage those numbers. If I could find people like Daryl I would in a heartbeat scoop up a feral and present it to him with my blessings.

In a perfect world there would not be such an overpopulation of wild cats. If someone such as Daryl does not offer them at least a barn, then they are destined to die or to be exterminated. Many states are now actively trapping and killing all feral cats. Long Beach California at the Veteran's Hospital there is a big outcry because the cats who have lived on the grounds for years, are now being trapped and KILLED! So take a feral and put it in a barn, you betcha! Give it shelter, food and over time the love will come and the cat will either accept it or reject it, but the cat will be better off for it. And no, unless you spend thousands of dollars to reinforce your fencing with special wiring, there is no fence that is going to keep a cat from exploring. But again, when you look at the options for ferals, colony life or extinction or a barn to sleep in- I would take the barn anytime.
post #21 of 24
Here is another link which will direct you to animal organizations closer to Alberta.

Animal Organizations
post #22 of 24
Kass, I'm sure Darryl will appreciate your constructive contribution.
post #23 of 24
Hissy: As I said before I have worked with ferals. I have had them in my house, seen them in other peoples houses, I have taken care of my "own" feral colony, and helped trap and transport several other peoples.
What I'm saying is that it CAN be done, not all the time but it can. I personally, if possible, would like to see any cat indoors and happy, rather then outdoors and happy or miserable. That's all I'm saying. I think indoors is safer for them, and I just wish every cat POSSIBLE the nicest indoor home.

I've known many people who have just picked up ferals or found them and didn't bother to see if they wanted to live indoors, or to try and make that transition with them, I feel every cat should have that chance if possible. To adopt out a feral, or rather relocate one that has never been evaluated for life indoors, and is just thrown off and kept outside, is horrible to me.
Even if you have a really tough time to break a feral even half way to accept living indoors most/all the time, it's better then not trying at all, even if the cat likes the outdoors, in the end we know it would be safer indoors. THAT is what I am saying.

I'm not fully objecting her getting a feral that can 100% only live outdoors/in a barn. I was questioning their "fence" that they have, I'm curious as to what type of fence it is.
post #24 of 24
Darryl, You asked for some general information. You might find this site helpful with that! Good luck. Let us know what you decide, please.
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