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rusty cat mom needs refresher course

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We will soon be bringing home the cat we have adopted from a shelter where we've been volunteering. It's been a very long time since I had a cat around. I was real good as a dog mom so...

She's a medium haired torti. How often should she be bathed, whether she wants to be or not? Any opinion on kitty shampoo and conditioner? I already know better than to brush wet fur but what about using a comb on it? Metal or plastic?

What's the best kind of litter to use? I'm willing to put in the extra work if there is a kind that won't cause her bladder infections. She's never had them, to my knowledge, and I'd rather spare her that annoyance.

Nails should be trimmed, what, once a week?

Is it true that an all dry food diet leads to kidney stones or some kind of kidney problem?

All advice welcome.


post #2 of 10
Prinny: Ok, I was just about to send my message to you when it closed, so I will type this all again!

I hope you enjoy your new cat, I spent most of my life in Maine, and I'm kinda amazed at the price increase to the local Bangor Humane Society, I don't know if the others have started to do that same.

On average a cat will never need to be bathed. A normal healthy cat will not stink, it will have a nice pleasent scent of its own just like a human. I have found that most dogs naturally seem to be a bit more robust in that area. But a cat shouldn't be quiet that bad.
You can bath a cat if you have allergies to them, of if they get something toxic or otherwise un removable on her skin/fur.
I would not recommend bathing your cat more then once every 2 or 3 months (which is what we do her, re allergies.)
There are also dry baths, and pet wipes which serve the same purpose. We use Natures Miracle pet wipes inbetween bathing.
As far a shampoo's go, if you have a kitten, use one formulated for a kittne, or other wise buy an adult. Generally it's better to use a shampoo that is only for cats, and not cats & DOGS.
I like to use a shedding shampoo, as it helps the shedding process speed up, and leaves less fur and dander all around your house.

I've learned the hard way that you shouldn't use metal slicker brushes on most cats, only dogs with a lot of very thick fur seem to be able to fair these brushes.
I say get a good metal flea comb, and a plastic slick brush, this is what we have here. (Well we have a metal slicker brush). There are many kind of brushes and some of them will just be trial and error.
Are you looking for something to style your cats hair, or just reduce shedding and matting? You should comb her every day, or at least once a week.

Not every litter will work the same for every cat..
If she's a kitten or a very small cat, stay away from CLAY based clumping litters.
Otherwise all other litters that are clay and non clumping or other substance based which are or are not clumping are ok.
I prefer scoopable, and you should scoop the box about 2 times per day, and have at least one box per cat per floor of your home. Try to get the biggest box you can, as if you have a big cat you want her to feel comfortable in a BIG box. I like covered litter boxes, which is great IF your cat will use them, as it reduces smell and litter tracking.
The 2 brands I like the most are
Scoop Away + Cyrstals

Nails should be trimmed one a week with sharp cat nail trimmers.
You can also try SoftPaws, which I believe last about a month.
And some people have great sucess with them.

About the food, this is the tricky part, every type of food, wet/dry/freeze dried and BARF have their goods points and bad points. You have to research each of them and find out which one works best for you and your cat.
I say to feed the highest quality you can afford, and that your cat will actually eat.
Not all cats who eat dry food will fall ill, and this can be said for any food. In some tests wet food as been shown to cause more dental problems then other diets. But like I said, it just goes 'round and round. So you'll just have to research for yourself, and of course feel free to ask further questions here.

I personally for my 3 current cats feed mostly dry food (high quality) and every 3 days I will give them a bit of canned food, more so for a treat then anything.
Make sure your cat has a constant supply of fresh clean water. You can even buy one of those filtered cat water foutains if you want, and those only need to be refilled once in a while, adn they promote more water intake by the cat, which is good for them.
post #3 of 10
Hi Prinny-

Congrats on taking in a shelter cat. Here are the answers to your questions.

Honestly, unless you are showing, or have allergies, or are treating your cat with medicated shampoos at a vet's request, cats are excellent bathers and groomers themselves, and seldom if ever need baths. You can easily strip the natural oils in the coats and dry out the skin big time by bathing a cat. People bathe cats for their own pleasures, and not for the cat. If she gets stinky, just sprinkle cornstarch in her fur and groom her out.

I really don't know of kitty litters that cause bladder infections- that is a new one on me. Basically you want to stay away from heavily perfumed litter, or one that is very dusty. I have used clumping litter forever and have had great results with it.

Nails should only be trimmed once a month try and do it when the kitten is napping and relaxed, usually after a big meal of wet food. Get her used to first just having her feet handled, then work with her with a special pair of trimmers just for cats. This alleviates the kick action they do if you just grab them and start trimming, they usually rebel, and jerk and you end up cutting the quick and they bleed, making it all the worse the next time you try.

There are some new studies out that dry food only does lead to bladder infections. It is best to give your cat a variety. I feed wet in the morning, and at night, and in the afternoon I feed dry. My dry food is Royal Canin, they have so many different brands for so many needs. They sponsor these forums and you can click on their banner to find a distributor near you. If you get a small kitten I recommend their BabyCat 34 blend.
post #4 of 10
Hissy: What is your reason for trimming the nails only once a month? Most people I know trim them about once a week, per advice of other pet owners and vets and shelters.
I personally have to do it about every 1 1/2 - 2 weeks because my cats nails grow so fast, and get sharp so fast.

For anyone else who is viewing this thread, how often do you have to trim your cats nails?
post #5 of 10
the time frame is right because she has to get the kitten used to the procedure. This kitten or cat is going to be going through enough changes getting used to not being in the shelter having to adapt to new smells, sounds, being lonely etc.. without the added stress of grabbing it up once a week to trim it's claws. Plus if you get a sissal scratching post and get the cat to use it, trimming becomes nothing necessary to do, because the cat will blunt its own claws when scratching. Even dragging a tree limb inside for the kitten to play on will also serve to blunt the claws.
post #6 of 10
My cats must take my nail filers at night and use them to sharpen their claws when I'm not looking.
post #7 of 10
Hi AngelzOO, just wondering what is wrong with slicker brushes? I use one on Harry and he loves it, but is it dangerous to him? Thanks in advance for the information ...
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know the folks at the Knox County shelter trim the cats' nails once a week. I figured I'd start slow, giving her a chance to get used to us, to being an only cat, to having a whole house to call her own, starting one room at a time. As for the claws, I thought I'd only do one single nail the first time, two the second, etc., to get her used to me. She needs time to adjust. And we need to adjust to having her around, too. She has her really affectionate moods and she has her typical cat moods. Either is just fine with me because I enjoy just being near her.

After all, this is a cat we're adopting, bringing a life into our lives. She doesn't have the personality of a golden retriever and I don't expect her bond to us to be immediate. On the other paw, she does know us. We are not total strangers to her. I've told her that we love her, that we'll be back for her on Saturday. Even the people at the shelter acknowledge that she loves us. I'll take that with a grain of salt but she doesn't run in terror at the sight of us. In fact, one day we hadn't even been inside the building 30 seconds when my husband spoke to me, I turned to look at him and he had an armload of cat! It was like she realized 'Daddy's here and I'm gonna get there first'. Sometimes it's so quiet that she falls asleep in his arms and he's practically dozing off in the chair. It's such a cute, sweet sight. How can I not love her and want to be a good mom?

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble. Hopefully it's coherent rambling.
post #9 of 10
Prinny: That's so cute, sounds like you guys are a good match, and I'm glad you've gotten to see her so many times. As I told you in PM the humane societys often don't get the chance to become the best judge of character for all their animals, and most the time when you get a pet from them it's kinda with a hope and a prayer!

Harry: As far as I have found out, it's not really bad persay, but, the metal ones, that do not have plastic tips on the end, are often very sharp, and hurt to be brushed with, specially on an animal that doesn't have much fur, and their skin is sensitive. I've known many animals I have used mine on, and other people who own these metal slicker brush's and these animals will fight them tooth and nail about the grooming, because the brush HURTS them.
I mean, take one of these brushes sometime and then pretend like your combing your arm, and it WILL HURT and often leave scratches, lol.
So that's why I say, if you get a brush like that, it's best to use it on an animal with A LOT of very thick fur. Cause that way the brissles wont actually reach the skin to hurt the animal. But it works great to take fur off!
The last dog I was taking care of, a Shiba Inu mix, they blow their coat, so I could use this metal slicker brush on him at first no problem, worked great to get ALL of his fur off, but after he was done blowing his coat, it wasn't thick, and he didn't have as much and he would flip out and get very upset when I tried to groom him with it, because now it was actually able to reach his skin and it hurt. He even gave me a warning bite, cause he was so bothered by it. But I'd pull out our other softer brushs or flea comb, and we had no problems.
post #10 of 10
the best thing I did for my kitties what get them a nice big kitty condo. they love the thing and don't claw where they are not supposed to anymore. I normally trim there nails when they get sharp :LOL: if i notice when they are kneding on me it hurts I trim them.
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