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Help with a new kitten

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure this is the best sub-forum to post this, if not I apologize. I actually have a few questions.

As a background: We (my three roommates and I) just got a new kitten (Fish) on Sunday from a friend's girlfriend. She got him from an animal shelter that she volunteered at. Not thinking that cats aren't allowed in her sorority house, she accepted him then immediately realized she needed someone else to take him, so we volunteered. We're not sure how old he is, but we do know he's neutered, has his shots, and eats dry food.

One of my roommates is REALLY overbearing it seems like. I don't think it bothers Fish, especially since he just does whatever he wants instead of coming when my roommate calls him or whatever (he is a cat after all.) I'm more concerned if that could have any implications as he grows, like Fish not only responding to that one roommate. I know cats, like many other pets, often develop one person that they like more than others, and that's fine, but I don't want him completely disregarding the rest of us (maybe I'm just being selfish of a cute kitten.)

On to more important concerns. He doesn't seem to drink much water, but at the same time I don't know how much water he should be drinking. This is his third day here and he's had about a cup of water. Should we integrate wet food into his diet to make up for it, or is this a sufficient amount?

Lastly I've been reading about soft paws because one of my roommates originally wanted him declawed, but I told him there was no way in hell I was letting that happen. How do these effect his "gripping" ability? He likes to sleep and hang out on our stairs, which are carpeted but are the kind that are only steps. As in there is a "hole" between each step. Sometimes he'll start to fall and use his claws to keep from plummeting to the ground (although he did fall once and was fine, it's not a ridiculous height or anything.) He also prefers to get on the furniture by climbing up the back instead of jumping from the front, which we're fine with because we have junky couches.

Sorry, that's so long winded, any help is appreciated! I'm sure I'll have many more questions. While I've been around many cats my life, I've never actually had to raise one beyond cleaning out the box.
post #2 of 8
First off, it's only been a couple of days. I'm not sure what you mean by overbearing, but if both you and your other roommate also pick him up whenever you can, he'll get used to all of you. He might have one "special" person, but he will be used to all of you.

I agree on the NO declawing. I've never used soft paws, but many people do successfully. I do clip mine reguarly (you can have someone show you so that Fish doesn't get hurt). Some cats prefer climbing to jumping, but you might want to invest in some kind of cat tree for him to climb on instead of the couch.

About the drinking. As long as he is using the cat box regularly, I wouldn't worry too much. I have some cats that drink a lot, and some that drink less. If you want to add some canned food it wouldn't hurt. You could also use that as a special "treat" from you so that he comes to you for that, and you would be getting more of his attention.
post #3 of 8
First of all, congrats!

I think soft claws are a great idea if you feel you may not be able to keep up with the clipping the claws. But where the kitty is still young its best to try to get both you and him used to having his claws clipped. I do mine once a week-my cats not me.

Trust me, the cat will choose whomever he wants as his human. Not much you can do about that. You can always get another kitty. But he will also love whomever feeds and plays with him get in there!

I used to think dry food was acceptable for a cat but there is alot of information knowadays about what helps keep your cat healthy (which means fewer vet visits from illness!) I would definately feed wet food more than dry. There is a TON of info here for you in regards to this.

I think it's great you guys took him in and you are looking out for his best interest.
post #4 of 8
congrats on your new cat!

I agree that you should try and get him used to having his nails clipped while he is young (assuming he doesn't freak out when you try, a good way to test it without worrying about blades is to hold his paws and see how he reacts)

As far as your friend goes. I wouldn't worry to much. Spend some time playing with him, learn what he likes most, and don't forget the treats. One of the best thing to do with them (I think) is to get him to come to his name by giving him a treat when he does, I've done this with two cats so far and they really took it to well.

I usually give my cat a can of wet food every other day and he has dry food to eat when he gets hungry otherwise, though I will probably be changing this soon. Wet food is very good for them, and they love it. If your worried about their teeth, try some dry treats. I know they have some that are made to get the plaque off the teeth.

Good luck with the new cat
post #5 of 8
Congratulations on your new kitty. Fish is going to choose his human regardless of what you do. We find that Bijou chooses both of us for different reasons - my hubby for playtime and me for sleeping with. He only ever sleeps with me.

As to food, a wet food diet has been shown to be a healthier diet for our kitties since they are desert animals and need the extra moisture. We got a water fountain and find our 2 drink a lot more water than before. I also introduced wet food and now they get wet morning and night with 1/3 cup dry to share during the day for nibbling. It took trying about 10 different quality foods before I found one they would eat. Stay away from foods with by-products and grain fillers if you can. Fancy Feast is kitty crack! I don't ever give that to our cats. There are many threads here with food information. Our food guru Sharky has posted lots and lots of info on quality foods.

Please do NOT declaw - it is cruel and inhumane. Get Fish used to having his paws touched and handled by gently caressing them when he's relaxed and sleepy/sleeping. I use human nail clippers and clip sideways to nip off the end of the claws (don't go too close to the pink quick). If Fish is already hanging off the stairs then he should have his claws to help keep himself from falling hard. The nail covers will not help him get a grip so I would also avoid those. I would recommend getting a nice cat tree for him to climb and perch on. Scratching posts are usually built right in on the trees. There are also cardboard scratching posts you can get for Fish.

If you find him scratching at inappropriate things like furniture, gently move him to the scratching post and show him what to do, i.e., hold his paws and scratch at the post. It's best to divert him from unacceptable behaviour than to shout at him or hit him - that will just cause him to be afraid of you.

Don't hesitate to ask any questions you have - there is always someone here who has been there, done that and there is no such thing as a stupid questions if one does not know the answer.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, I've quickly learned that putting food in his dish and taking the clumps out of his box makes him like me lots. I'm really not so much worried about being his favorite as I am worried about him just not listening to anyone else in the apartment, but it's apparent that won't be a factor.

Another question we were just talking about, regarding misbehavior. I've read many different ways to get your cat to do what you want (or, more importantly not to do what you don't want.) Some people say making good alternatives rewarding (such as giving him a treat or showing him affection when you put him at the scratching post) as opposed to blowing in his face or clapping loudly when he scratches your furniture. I've also heard that those kind of punishments will stop him from doing that kind of behavior.

Maybe a mix of the two is in order?
post #7 of 8
try both methods - stick w/the one that seems to work best. all cats respond to different types of reinforcement - some better to negative, some better to positive. & while right now you have junky couches, that probably won't always be the case - better get him used to using something else.
post #8 of 8
I find a mix usually works. Depends on the cat, the offense, etc. Just like kids. Always yelling (or ever), not so good. Sometimes redirecting, sometimes squirting, sometimes a rump push (not hitting, gently pushing away). Since there are several of you, just make sure you are all consistent so Fish doesn't get confused.
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