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cat questions (noob)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

i have never had a cat before but i was thinking about getting one. i have your typical 9-5 job and live in an apartment. it's very spacious, but i was concerned about whether a cat would be OK with my lifestyle.

-will he going to tear everything up while I'm gone? do cats create a lot of messes when they are bored?
-will he be unhappy being by himself all day?
-how long before i can trust him not to do his business on the carpets?
-how long do cats typically live?
-what sorts of things should I purchase in advance of getting a cat?

Thanks for your help in advance!
post #2 of 8
Hi and welcome to the boards! It's great that you're asking these questions before taking on the responsibility of pet ownership BEFORE doing it.

-will he going to tear everything up while I'm gone? do cats create a lot of messes when they are bored?

I live in an apartment, that's not so spacious. My cat, Ivo, often sleeps during the day (cats sleep around 16 or 18 hours a day). I do try to make her environment more interesting-a kitty condo by the window where I feed the pigeons, toys that won't harm her around the apartment, etc. The biggest mess she's make is ruching up my throw rugs-I think she likes to play on them and with them.

-will he be unhappy being by himself all day?
I'm sure most people will say the best thing to do is to get two cats, so they can entertain each other. I don't have that option, my lease limits me to one. So, I try to enrich her environment as much as possible. I also put aside a good amount of time each evening to play with Ivo, pet her, talk to her and just give her attention. As I said above, any kitty you get will probably sleep a good deal during the day.

-how long before i can trust him not to do his business on the carpets?
Cats naturally have a drive to bury their waste (to protect themselves from other predators). If a kitten has been with it's mother for the proper amount of time, it will learn from Mom. If you provide the cat with a proper sized box and locate it somewhere where the cat feels it's safe, the cat will use it.

-how long do cats typically live?
I believe it's into the teens if they are strictly indoors cats. My family had two cats which both survived into their early 20's. The lifespan for cats who go outdoors is less, because of the greater dangers (cars, predators, diseases, etc.).

-what sorts of things should I purchase in advance of getting a cat?
It's important to first cat-proof (like baby-proofing) your place. Also, ask around and find a good vet. Some vets have cat-only practices, which might make the experience a little less traumatic.

As for stuff-litterbox, scooper, litter, food bowls (not plastic, preferably metal or ceramic), brush (or several if it's a long-haired cat), nail clippers (have the vet show you), toys, cat bed....

Good luck in your decision!
post #3 of 8
-will he going to tear everything up while I'm gone? do cats create a lot of messes when they
are bored?

my kitten never teared anything up when i was gone.

-will he be unhappy being by himself all day?

Cats sleep all day and are up all night, ( well my cats are!!)

-how long before i can trust him not to do his business on the carpets?

Cats already know how to use the kitty litter from there mothers, my cats have never did this.

-how long do cats typically live?

My friend's cat lived to be 15 years old.

-what sorts of things should I purchase in advance of getting a cat?

well you can get: kitty litter box, kitty litter, toys, food, brush thats about it.

Good luck!!!
post #4 of 8
I can only speak from experience.

I adopted Midnight from a shelter two weeks after moving into my own apartment. He was six months old at the time. He was a little bundle of energy and knocked stuff off of windowsills and shelves at first. Then I learned how to cat-proof the apartment In other words, he trained me! As he got older, and after he was neutered, he mellowed out and is quite a laid back kitty.

For the years when he was an only cat, he never seemed to have a problem with me being gone at work all day, just was always happy to see me when I got home. And it was wonderful to come home to furry nose rubs and head bumps!

As far as trusting cats not to make a mess on the carpet, cats are very clean animals, to the point of fastidiousness. Their mother teaches them to use a litter box. There may be an occasional hairball on the carpet, which can't be helped. Besides the need to decrease the number of homeless animals, neutering/spaying will keep your cat from spraying (if it is done before they start this habit, usually around 6-8 months old.)

Your best bet is to adopt an adult cat rather than a kitten; they have worked the kitten crazies out of their system and a good number of them are already neutered or spayed. And you will be saving a life! I tell Midnight (who is currently 11 yrs old and going strong) that his adoption fee was the best $10 I ever spent in my life!
post #5 of 8
A kitten should be 12 weeks old and litter trained before he leaves his litter mates. Don't be afraid to ask questions-wherever you get him. He should also have his first shots-at least-and have a health certificate of sorts. Buy the same type of food he is now eating, and if making a change, mix the new brand with the old to prevent digestive upsets.

Kittens are happier when they have playmates. They love to pounce on papers, or anything else that makes a crunchy sound, especially when chasing each other, so you might want to choose a kitty-proofed room for them to use when you're not there to teach and supervise. When they get older, they can walk around all of your collectibles and not disturb one! However, for a kitten, I would definitely get museum gel to hold down china figurines and other breakables. It's very inexpensive. I got mine on QVC.

You'll need dry kitten food, canned food, (not tuna) a litter box and litter, a few toys, including an interactive one, and some treats, if you want. Get at least two cat bowls, one for food and one for water. Don't give the kitten milk unless it is kitten milk. I mix the wet with the dry food. All of one or the other is not advised by my vet. I would advise getting the kitten on the first day of a long weekend, so that it can get settled in. It will be lonesome for you, but will sleep a lot, especially when it's a baby.

A scratching post is excellent, and if it has a platform, kittens love to look out windows. Some people advise a seisel one and a wooden post. I have a kitty condo, so the kittens can climb, curl up inside, or sleep on top if they want to birdwatch. A kitty bed is very nice, but not necessary. Kitty will be happy to take your favorite chair or pillow as a place to nap, and will love to sleep with you in bed, if allowed.

If problems arise with climbing drapes or scratching furniture, there are citrus products which will discourage them, and you can use double stick tape on flat surfaces, such as tables. I've tried to cover most bases here, including a luxury or two, but you will find yourself spending a lot of time looking for toys. One favorite is a large paper grocery bag opened on the floor. It allows the kitten to run in and hide or pounce on to make crunchy sounds. You are in for so much fun, but please remember that a kitten is a baby, and can be expected to make mistakes. If you need more advice when the kitten comes home, the Behavior forum will be an excellent place to ask specific questions. You will love being a slave---I mean "guardian" of a cat!
post #6 of 8
After adding that a variety of toys that you switch out to keep kitty from being bored, I am going to move this to our Care and Grooming forum.

Also, my #1 cat was home alone all day while I was at work for 3 years. He always did fine, and never wrecked anything. I do have a friend who has 2 about to turn a year old. They are a bit more mischievious. He comes home and finds cabinet doors opened up.
post #7 of 8
Just thought I'd answer with my personal experience ... to convince you to take the leap

* Will he tear everything up while I'm gone? do cats create a lot of messes when they are bored?
My guy Harry has never torn up anything ... except maybe toilet paper! When he was a kitten, I would come home to shredded toilet paper all over the carpet, but he was so cute I would just laugh and laugh

* Will he be unhappy being by himself all day?
Harry sleeps all day, and sleeping makes him happy.

* How long before i can trust him not to do his business on the carpets?
Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, but Harry has NEVER dones his business anywhere but the litterbox!

* How long do cats typically live?
I'm sure it varies greatly, but I grew up with a cat (lived together for 19 years!)

* What sorts of things should I purchase in advance of getting a cat?
covered litter box, a cardboard scratcher, a brush or comb, stainless steel food & water dishes, food, toys, and maybe a nice bed

I hope you decide to adopt a special kitty. Adopting a cat really changed my life for the better ... it opened and warmed my heart ... makes me laugh every day ... it's really like having furry children!

Best wishes,
post #8 of 8
Hi! Sounds like you live in the city. i live in San Francisco.

Personally, i grew up with dogs and other pets. It is not until i started feeding the feral kitties outside my backyard several years ago that i discovered the kitties can be so wonderful! i even volunteer and foster now!

Before i adopted my Daisy (first indoor cat), i did tons and tons of research on the internet. This website is a great avenue to start as well. i even have a kitty care folder, and my two kitties have their individual folders (medical, microchipping records, etc.)

SO, i think it really helps to do research before anything else.

Also, in my opinion, one really has to invest TIME, EMOTIONS, and yes, even MONEY in keeping a kitty. i feel that it is really a myth that cats are low maintenance. Maybe it is just me? cat questions (noob)

i just feel that the three essential ingredients must be there. Afterall, you really do not want to abandon the cat halfway, right? It is horrible for the kitty, especially after establishing some sort of connection with you.

i feel you need the following (just basics)

- litter box (1 box per cat)
- litter (the type that is non-toxic to your kitty)
- ceramic/porcelain or metal bowls - plastic absorbs odor and some kitties develop zits on the underchin using these
- metal litter scoop (again, plastic absorb odor)
- toothbrush/tooth paste
- hair brush
- toys - small ones and at least 1 interactive toy
- scratch pads or even better, a tree (especially if you live in an apartment)
- wet/dry foods
- a cat bed (if he/she likes to curl - the round type, if he/she likes to spread out when sleeping - flat type
- a small, soft kitty towel (for clean work) - i get mine from San Rio's hello kitty
- cotton wool/q-tips - cleaning around the eyes/nose
- nail clipper
- a small basin for any of the kitty wash job
- organic shampoo
- a collar with a tag (with YOUR name, address and telephone no.)
- if you intend to let your kitty out, which i doubt it as you live in an apt, apply a flea product, like advantage, once a month

Also, you need to microchip the kitty (in case she/he runs away and FOUND), bring to the vet for a yearly check up, and most importantly, GIVE LOTS OF LOVE!

i think if you have ample toys to amuse your kitty, your stuff should be not "destroyed." We have a silk carpet at home, and our babies do not make a mess.

Cats, i feel, are very independent. So, i think your kitty should be okay home alone for those hours you are at work till you return. Trust me, you WILL look forward to coming home to your kitty, it is such a pleasure to come home to your baby!

As long as the kitty is litter-trained, your carpet should be okay. If you adopt a kitty from a rescue shelter, like your local SPCA, most kittens SHOULD already be litter-trained. Adult cats tend to already know the ropes!

Cats typically live 15-20 years if all goes well. i learnt this from the internet.

Hopefully, i have helped.

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