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need help quick, have two new cats (story inside)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
First of all, I'm new to the forums here, but this site was recommended to me so I know it will be great. I'll tell my cat story first, then the questions.

My girlfriend and I moved into a house near our university in June with 2 other people. Whenever we sat on the porch, there was a full grown cat that would come over and let us pet her. Then she had babies. All but one were taken in less than 5 weeks. They were born and living under the porch next to us. Those people couldn't feed them and the pound wouldn't take them so they were cold, wet, and not getting fed. We started putting food and clean water out because we felt bad for them, and when it got very cold we built them a house to stay in on our porch, where they had taken up residence. We asked the neighbor if the cats were hers. She said the mom had been but her roommote made her get rid of it. Anyway, she just gave the mom and last kitten to us. The day before it was time to go to the vet (we wouldn't let them in until they had been to the doc) the kitten disappeared, so we put up flyers and she was returned to us this evening due to the combined efforts of our postal worker, a homeless man, and 2 patrons in a blood-donation place (it sure is a convaluted story). It is too cold to leave her outside so we put a flea collar on the kitten and brought her in, though we have since found some live but sick and dying fleas on her (OH NO!).

We have food, toys, etc except a litter box. Our thought was to let the mom out to use the bathroom and play, and that has been working fine for a week. No accidents - she is about 18 mos old (according to the vet) and very nice, well-behaved, etc. Now for my questions.

#1 - how can we get them spayed cheaply? We are all in college and have little money for caring for pets. They chose us as much as we chose them. The office bill for mom was over $130!

#2 - baby has already pooed on the carpet, though I think it was due to her being very scared. Is this normal and will she 'go' outside with the mom?

#3 - mom is very bossy with our food. She always has food in her dish, and often warm can food and kibble, but she still jumps on the dinner table, noses into your plate, and pesters us so badly when we eat we often have to put her outside. How can we treat this?

#4 - what else do we need to know? I have been reading the Humane Society website for a couple of hours, but still know very little about cat behavior/psychology, care, training, etc. I only have experience with dogs.

#5 - do they make cat treats (same idea as dog treats) to train them with?

Please address as many questions as you can, we need an infusion if cat knowledge before they drive us nuts!
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus_2006 View Post
It is too cold to leave her outside so we put a flea collar on the kitten and brought her in, though we have since found some live but sick and dying fleas on her (OH NO!).
take the flea collar off of her - they're quite toxic! get a flea comb [petstores have them] & comb her, dipping the comb in slight soapy [liquid dish soap] water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus_2006 View Post
#1 - how can we get them spayed cheaply? We are all in college and have little money for caring for pets. They chose us as much as we chose them. The office bill for mom was over $130!

#2 - baby has already pooed on the carpet, though I think it was due to her being very scared. Is this normal and will she 'go' outside with the mom?

#3 - mom is very bossy with our food. She always has food in her dish, and often warm can food and kibble, but she still jumps on the dinner table, noses into your plate, and pesters us so badly when we eat we often have to put her outside. How can we treat this?

#4 - what else do we need to know? I have been reading the Humane Society website for a couple of hours, but still know very little about cat behavior/psychology, care, training, etc. I only have experience with dogs.

#5 - do they make cat treats (same idea as dog treats) to train them with?
#1 - check out this site: spayusa for a clinic in your area...
#2 - she's probably just scared & untrained. mom should teach her the 'proper' place to go [altho an inside litterbox would be a good idea - you can make one from a 9X13 baking pan that would be good for a kitten]
#3 - she's been living on the edge for a while... she should get better as she adjusts to food always being available.
#4 - check out this link for good articles - there are loads of different sections!
#5 - they make cat treats, altho not all cats respond to them.
post #3 of 15
FIRST OF ALL... PLEASE .... TAKE THE FLEA COLLAR OFF OF THE KITTEN! THEY ARE TOXIC!!!!

How old is the baby?

You can give her a bath in Dawn dishwashing liquid and use a flea comb to get some of the eggs, until you can get her to a vet and get Advantage or whatever is safe for them both. Be aware that the fleas will migrate to her face when you bathe her. Try not to let her swallow any of them cuz they cause tapeworms. If you're afraid to give her a bath, then get that anti flea ASAP. And let me say again, get the flea collar off of her!!!

The mother is pushy because she has had to fend for herself. Perhaps some free feeding is good for her so she learns that she doens't have to be pushy for food. Do you feed her before you guys eat? That would help. Also, when she jumps on the table, blow a puff of air in her face, say "no" and put her down... then distract her with something she likes. She will understand... eventually not to eat off your plates... maybe. See below where I said, cats are not like dogs. Do praise her and you can give her a treat when she does good, like using a scratching post and not your sofa!

Can you keep the cats in your living space? Are you allowed? If so, you can litter box train them. If they have been living outside, get some CLEAN dirt (not potting soil), top soil, fill soil, etc or or clean kiddy sandbox sand and mix it with litter. You can also get something called Cat Attract - it's a litter with a safe additive that draws cats in to use the box.

Frankly, I am an advocate of keeping cats inside unless you leash/harness train them, but not everyone agrees with that. I work with a rescue and I see what happens when people let their animals outside unsupervised.

They both probably have worms. A local Humane Society or ASPCA office is likely to offer low cost services; your local county shelter might too. I know ours does for low income poeple and as students I'd imagine that you qualify.

yes, they make cat treats. But cats don't train the same way dogs do. The only similarity is positive reinforcement. Dogs want to please; cats will do something because they WANT to.

I am not the big guru expert on this site. I am also learning. I'm sure there will be others along shortly to give U more details. In the meantime, search the site, look in the cat care areas for info on what to do.

Good luck and bless you for taking in these two unwanted souls!
post #4 of 15
You are doing great. Things will settle down soon and they will get accustomed to their new home.

Great site for kitten information written by a very experienced cat/kitten rescuer. http://www.kitten-rescue.com/

Ditto on taking the flea collar off.

Any baking pan or low sided cardboard box can be used for a litterpan. Can help to mix the soil and litter together until everyone understands what it's for. With a kitten, you may need to place a pan in the area where you have the kitten. They can't hold it too long and then they forget where the litter pan is located. So have one handy and take the kitten to it after eating. If it poops on the floor, put the poop in the litter box. That helps train them to the box.

Confine them to one room with the litter box when you are not there to supervise. They will develope good litterbox habits this way and when the weather is bad and you don't want them out they will readily use the box.

Call your local shelter and ask if they offer any assistance with spay/neuter. SpayUSA is a great resource. Some vet offices will give a 'stray discount'.

Feed mom cat before you get food. It may take her some time to get over not having food available. Put her down and ignore her when you eat. She will eventually understand.

See if your university library has any books on cat behavior for your casual reading.

The kitten needs a food made for kittens or they both can eat an 'all life stage' food. Many feed some wet canned food in the evening and leave dry out to nibble on during the day. Being left abandoned outside not knowing where there was food , mom cat will do better with food available.

Keep asking questions and keep everyone updated.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay, flea collar off. I called a lot of vets this morning and made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon after our classes. Things have settled down and Millie (the baby) is doing better. She likes to be held and petted, though we found more poo by the food dishes this AM and about 5 minutes ago, so I don't know about that. Her poo is very, very runny.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus_2006 View Post
Okay, flea collar off. I called a lot of vets this morning and made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon after our classes. Things have settled down and Millie (the baby) is doing better. She likes to be held and petted, though we found more poo by the food dishes this AM and about 5 minutes ago, so I don't know about that. Her poo is very, very runny.
Again, how old is the kitten? You should do what others here have suggested... give her several appropriate places to go potty. Get Kitten Attract litter. Avail at big box pet stores. Works like a charm. She's a baby and if she is having poo problems, she really may not be able to hold it back. That goes to getting her several litter pans and showing them to her, putting her in there, putting her poo in there... etc. She'll get it.

Runny poo can be a sign of a lot of different things, including change in diet... or a bacterial infection....so good that you're taking her to a vet.
post #7 of 15
I'm glad to see you joined us!!

Leslie
post #8 of 15
My wife and I got our first cat (as a couple--we'd had cats before at home) while I was in my last year of college, so I know what you're talking about on almost every level.

First, as to spaying, if you haven't found a low-cost location so far, contact your local animal shelter, SPCA, Humane Society, etc., and ask them for suggestions. Some of those even have their own vets and will do it inexpensively. It's a little more complicated for females than males, costs a little more, and requires more time in recovery.

I think you will find almost everyone here will recommend that you keep the cats indoors, if at all possible. The domestic cat is not evolved to even have a niche in the modern outdoors. It knows nothing about cars, pit bulls, coyotes, cruel people, etc., and domestic cats are a leading cause of the depletion of songbirds in North America. The average indoor cat lives 16 years. The average outdoor cat lives 6 months.

I take it you are averse to having a litter box, for some reason?

The kitten needs to be kept in a small area, like a bathroom, where he can easily find the litter box. Imagine yourself at age five in the Louvre museum with only one bathroom available, and you have some idea how the kitten feels in your house or apartment.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
That goes to getting her several litter pans and showing them to her, putting her in there, putting her poo in there... etc. She'll get it.
I put the kitten in the litter box and gently show them how to scratch and bury with their front paws. It has always worked like a charm for me!!!
post #10 of 15
Also, just so you know, if they have/had fleas, they probably already ingested some and probably also have tapeworm but the vet will fix you up for that.

You may also have fleas and eggs in your carpeting. Pick up some diatomaceous earth at a nursery or order online (not expensive) to sprinkle into your carpeting and sweep it down into the fibres to kill any existing fleas or eggs. Vacuum more often and empty the bag outside immediately after vacuuming. Take that toxic flea collar, cut it up into pieces and put some of those pieces in your vacuum cleaner bag.

Good luck getting a reasonable vet and thanks for taking the responsibility for these cats. You'll find lots of information on this site - from health and nutrition to behaviour and caring for your cat. Start reading and enjoy.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
She is roughly eight weeks old. We were wanting to avoid the litterbox to avoid the smell. Found a cheaper vet, and a place that helps out with spaying on a sliding scale. We should qualify for their lowest bracket. Everything has settled down. We are taking the baby to the box about once an hour and she uses it when she needs to. I guess they have decided to be inside cats though, neither wants to go out at all, and if you set them out they just sit by the door and look at you. Thanks for all the help so far!
post #12 of 15
if you scoop regularly, the smell shouldn't be too bad.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Kitty leaked a bit of urine on the couch :/

Is this just a symptom of bein so young?
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus_2006 View Post
Kitty leaked a bit of urine on the couch :/

Is this just a symptom of bein so young?
Yes, that's possible. So young it's hard to tell. They cannot hold their bladder/bowels as long as an adult or older kit. Have they made it to the vet yet? With a litterbox trained cat, peeing OUTSIDE of the box can mean a urinary tract infection....

So I can't really decipher from here.
post #15 of 15
You need to be sure to clean the couch with a product like Natures miracle which is a cleaner that will remove the pee smell--not just from your nose but from your cats nose (which is much more sensitive than yours). Otherwise if the cat smells it they will return there to use the potty again.

Chances are you will need to take little kitty over to the box quite often--as they can't remember to go potty just like a little kid. Playing is too much fun, they'd rather play than take the time to go potty.

Leslie
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