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Assorted questions from a potential cat owner

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sorry if this isn't the right forum. I wasn't entirely sure where to put it.

1. How common is it for urine to permanently stain carpets or hardwood floors? Assuming I can find an apartment with either, which would I be better off choosing? (My current apartment doesn't allow pets, but my lease is almost up.)
2. I'd probably prefer a studio apartment since it's cheaper, but do you think a 1-bedroom apartment would be better so the cat(s) aren't always waking me up at night?
3. I was thinking about adopting two cats who are already socialized. Do you think this is a good idea, or would I be better off adopting one cat first then maybe getting a second later? For the most part my shifts are 6 hours long currently, but I'm occasionally gone longer, and I'll likely get a full-time job at some point.
4. I've done quite a bit of research online and at the library, so I think I have a decent idea of what to expect, but would it be a good idea to try fostering first since I've never owned a cat before? I assume animal shelters aren't opposed to people adopting the cat(s) they initially foster, eh?

Thanks
post #2 of 9
1. Cat urine may not stain a carpet, but it will make it stink to high heaven. That said, we have 3 cats, have had cats since we bought the house, and we've only had a couple of accidents, and that just from one cat who was new to the house and probably forgot where the litter box was.

2. I personally think it's unkind to lock your cats out of your bedroom. They like to be social, and most like to sleep on the bed with you. Yes, you can turn them into an alarm clock inadvertently by feeding them as soon as you get up. But most adult cats won't be bothering you, unless leaning against you is going to bother you. Personally, I find nothing more soothing than a purring cat next to me, but Sterling does occasionally put his cold nose on me!

3. I wish you were near us. At our shelter, we have two wonderful black cats, 4 years old, been together their whole life, both neutered, both declawed. You can find such a pair at most shelters, if you ask.

4. Fostering is high on the heartbreak scale. You are likely to have cats placed with you that have problems that an experienced cat person would know how to handle, but would either baffle you or escape your notice.

Please note: The above answers are my "gut reaction" answers. Others may well disagree or have different experiences. Keep in mind that cats have as much variability in their personalities as people do, shaped by their instincts, experiences, genetics, etc. What one person will tell you a cat definitely will do, another might tell you they'll never do.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that was a helpful reply. Ideally I'd prefer not to have much trouble with cat urine either, but it seems to come up a lot, on forums like this for example...
post #4 of 9
No, Mike, I agree with you. One thing to add about the fostering though is that most places won't let you foster if you don't know much about cats - so that may not even be a possibility.

For the OP, the issue with fostering is that the whole idea is that you're taking on cats that are ill, or not properly socialized, or are small kittens - and they require socializing and a LOT of energy. So most places won't let you be a foster unless you at least have experience with cats in general.

Cat urine can stain a wood floor. It generally does not stain the carpet - but it must be completely soaked down to the floor boards. Any accidents MUST be cleaned up with an enzyme cleaner - it is the only thing that works. Most kitties do not pee outside the litter box unless there's a health issue - or unless something in the environment has changed, and they feel stressed out.

We live in an RV with seven cats. So a studio is fine. I am highly allergic to cats - but I take zyrtec-D and have no problems. I cannot imagine sleeping without several cats with us at this point! If you adopt young kittens, it's like having a baby in the house, and babies wake you up at night even if they're not in the room with you. Older kitties may take a little while to adapt to your schedule if they're not already on it - but our kitties do not wake us up at night. We let them free feed on dry food, and we feed them one meal of wet food every night - somewhere between 7:00pm and 11:00pm. We specifically never got them on a set schedule so they wouldn't freak out if we got home late from work or something - and we specifically did not feed them breakfast so we could sleep in late on the weekends.

I think adopting two kitties that come as a "pair" and are a little older is a GREAT idea. Kittens are a LOT of work and have a LOT of energy - and unless you want that for 6 - 12 months, they can be incredibly cute but a real PIA. Shelters and rescues have a hard time adopting out kitties that really shouldn't be separated - so I would look for those. They need the home - and cats often are happier when there's more than 1 (though plenty of kitties are very happy being "alone" cats!). The problem is that there is no way to know if the cat you adopt wants to be alone or wants a companion - and then once you decide to adopt the companion - it's hard to know if you've picked one that is going to work out personality-wise. FAR better just to adopt two that rescuers KNOW want to be together. And slightly older - you know what the personalities are going to be - and with kittens you just never know what's going to develop.

...and don't forget - we're here for all kinds of questions and just generally sharing (espcecially pics!) once you've adopted a kitten, cat, kittens or cats!
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the detailed response, LDG.
post #6 of 9
1. How common is it for urine to permanently stain carpets or hardwood floors? Assuming I can find an apartment with either, which would I be better off choosing? (My current apartment doesn't allow pets, but my lease is almost up.)

No idea on the hardwood - but urine will sink into the padding under carpet. That said, *most* people don't have much of an issue with urine stains.

2. I'd probably prefer a studio apartment since it's cheaper, but do you think a 1-bedroom apartment would be better so the cat(s) aren't always waking me up at night?

Never lived in an apt - so no advice here.

3. I was thinking about adopting two cats who are already socialized. Do you think this is a good idea, or would I be better off adopting one cat first then maybe getting a second later? For the most part my shifts are 6 hours long currently, but I'm occasionally gone longer, and I'll likely get a full-time job at some point.

My 2 cents? Adopt 2 adult/senior kitties. Yes - kittens are cute & it's fun to raise them - but for first-timers IMO adults are better so you can get used to living with a kitty without having to worry about the teenage years/kitten stuff. Like Mike, at the shelter here - we've had so many pairs who need to be adopted together - from the 4/5 year old pair to the 10-12 y/o mother/son duo. They are hard to place, so not hard to find in shelters.

4. I've done quite a bit of research online and at the library, so I think I have a decent idea of what to expect, but would it be a good idea to try fostering first since I've never owned a cat before? I assume animal shelters aren't opposed to people adopting the cat(s) they initially foster, eh?

I'd go with adopting - from the standpoint of a foster person - both Laurie & Mike are right - it's hard to let go - and the ones who need fostering the most are often "problem" kitties. Believe me, having cats for years - I wasn't at all prepared to let my first foster go.
post #7 of 9
I agree. Fostering is VERY hard. YOu will fall in love.

I also second and third the advice to take a bonded pair ... they will keep each other company and already know one another. And it doesn't mean they won't bond to YOU! I have a foster pair of brothers who are about 18 months old and they are WONderful cats!!! I really, really want to see them go together... I don't know if that is going to happen.

Sooo.... do you live in SE Michigan??? You could cooommmee meeeet theeeem???? hint, hint!!! LOL!!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Haha. Sorry guys, I live in Utah. I added my location to my profile.
post #9 of 9
Welcome to TCS!

I have lived with both hardwood and carpet. I have never had a cat urinate on either surface though. But for furball vomit it doesn't matter as long as I used this stuff called Nature's Miracle. Its an enzymatic cleaner and it is the best stuff for cat messes.

I do have to say that having carpet is easier to keep up on instead of the fur flying around. All I had to do was vacuum every few days. With the hard wood the fur can roll around and hide in the worst places and I can't ever seem to get it all up.

I live with 3 cats in a studio. Some days they can be needy and bug me early in the morning. Usually if I have food down they let me sleep but sometimes we have one of those mornings. I wouldn't lock them out anyway because they would just rattle the door knob and cry at the door anyway. So I deal. It doesn't happen often thank goodness.

I agree that you should get mature cats rather than kittens. Lessens the need to worry about kitten proofing your apartment and all the potentials issues dealing with frisky kittens in a small space. Older cats seem to learn the routines of the house quicker and are more inclined to chill out and hang with you. Kittens like adventure and seek out trouble. It would certainly be easier to get a couple cats that are already buddies than try to introduce one to another. It can be difficult for two cats to get adopted so if you have that option available to you I would highly recommend you go that route.
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