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Help: Bringing home kitty

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!
I will be bringing home 8 month old male kitty home in two weeks. I've never been a cat owner. I've read the Cat Book but I'd like some hands-on advice .... Can someone give recommendations for first couple of weeks? Any would help!

I know I need to get supplies such as wet/dry food, water bowl,litterbox,litter,catbed. Is there anything else I immediately need?

I am concerned on how to introduce kitty to my home. I live in a studio in an open unbordered space. I heard recommendations to first intro him to small space/room - not possible here. I heard kitty can get stressed/lost in large open space ...

I also have wooden floors. I also have computer, etc. cables running on floor and some hanging. How much of my home should I catproof w/o going crazy?

For the cables, are they a real concern? Does spraying stuff on the cables work? Could the stuff actually damage the cables?!

He has been spayed but is it possible he may spray b/c he is in new home?

Should I anticipate/expect him having accidents in not making to litterbox b/c of his new home?

Can someone also give opinion on preventing litterbox odor? My apt sadly has NO cross ventiliation to air out the place. Also, where I am considering placing literbox, there is no moving air / window! Even a window fan I plan to buy would not likely reach that corner! What do I do so that I don't walk into an apartment that has literbox odor all the time?!
If I use the Scoop-Away and scoop out his poop each day, would that be enough?!

Much thanks for any suggestions to make kitty's move to my home stress free!

Kind Regards,
FeanX
post #2 of 12
I hope this helps you -- I moved Diesel into my new apartment a few years ago after about a year of being cat-free. He had been my cat before, but he stayed back with my folks when I left, so some of the more personality-based stuff is a little more subjective, since you don't know your little guy like I knew mine.

Quote:
I know I need to get supplies such as wet/dry food, water bowl,litterbox,litter,catbed. Is there anything else I immediately need?
I've had cats all my life, and none of them have ever slept in anything I intended for them to sleep in. They prefer cardboard boxes, computer keyboards, in sinks, on windowsills, and especially a good sofaback... Essentially, everywhere you didn't buy especially for them You may want to nix the catbed, depending on whether or not you're going to be into having kitty on furniture and such. In replacement, you may want to look into a kitty tree, so he has somewhere good to perch.

Quote:
I am concerned on how to introduce kitty to my home. I live in a studio in an open unbordered space. I heard recommendations to first intro him to small space/room - not possible here. I heard kitty can get stressed/lost in large open space ...
Depending on the size of your studio, it may be a relatively small space He may end up crawling under a sofa or bed, no matter what sized room you have. When I brought Diesel to my new apartment, I just let him have at it. There really wasn't anything to get into - No holes, no air ducts, no inside the washing machine. He hid under my sofa for a while, but he made his own little comfort zones. He was an incredibly relaxed cat, and about six at the time. Your mileage may vary, especially with a younger cat.

Quote:
I also have wooden floors. I also have computer, etc. cables running on floor and some hanging. How much of my home should I catproof w/o going crazy?

For the cables, are they a real concern? Does spraying stuff on the cables work? Could the stuff actually damage the cables?!
Don't rub salsa on the cables. Don't ask how I know this. Otherwise, I'd call that a wait-and-see. Some cats love wires. Some don't give a flying furball about 'em. My roommate's gone through three laptop cables 'cause he lets Meepy in his room while his cable dangles. If he puts his cable on the floor, he's fine.

In general, as far as catproofing goes, remove any plants you don't want him to eat, and make sure he has a scratching pad that's up to his standards, so he doesn't try to use your furniture. I like the cardboard scratchie that goes in the middle of one of those ball-trapped-in-a-circle things.

Quote:
He has been spayed but is it possible he may spray b/c he is in new home?
Should I anticipate/expect him having accidents in not making to litterbox b/c of his new home?
Anything is possible on this one. He probably won't, as spayed males typically don't spray, but until you know his personality, you can't really guess.

Quote:
Can someone also give opinion on preventing litterbox odor? My apt sadly has NO cross ventiliation to air out the place. Also, where I am considering placing literbox, there is no moving air / window! Even a window fan I plan to buy would not likely reach that corner! What do I do so that I don't walk into an apartment that has literbox odor all the time?!
If I use the Scoop-Away and scoop out his poop each day, would that be enough?!
My apartment had no windows in the litterbox room. I hated any of the typical litters like Scoop Away 'cause it made the house smell like dusty clean litter. I tried Feline Pine (which smelled AWESOME but Diesel tried to eat it...) and Swheat Scoop with better, less stinky results.

Good luck to you and your new little pal!
post #3 of 12
When I brought Hercules home to our first apartment I just let him go. Now granted I kept a close close close eye on him for any scratching potty movements to get him to a litter box he did great. It would look like kitty is pawing/scratching at the floor moving something. Thats generally a sign of getting ready to potty. But we had a 2 bedroom apartment which was huge as far as 2 bedrooms go and Herc did just dandy didnt hide under the couch bed anything. He did find that his comfort zone was under our dresser till he got bigger and was too fat to fit under it anymore. As for toys and stuff it all depends on the cat. Herc doesnt play with toys but GiGi does and Fatman once in a while. So I just have a mix of all kindsa stuff. Get PLENTY of scratching posts of different textures. I have one cat who likes the turbo scratcher things made of cardboard another who likes the taller sisel (sp) type scratchers and one who will only scratch on my rough oak entertainment stand. Also get atleast 2 litterboxes and if you dont want something too strong smelling dont get scoop away IMO its not horrible its what I prefer to buy if I have some extra spending room but Special Kitty clumping with crystals is good too and its not too strong smelling. In regards to the spraying, I have 2 males one was already fixed and never sprayed ever, and the Herc who didnt get fixed until about a month ago never sprayed till I made the appt to get him fixed. Chances are he wont spray but might take a big getting used to where you put the litter box so make sure you just reenforce where it is by taking him to it everyonce in a while and watching for the scratching motion so in case of an accident you can hustle him over to the potty.


BTW! Congrats on the kitty and good luck bringing him home. We love pictures so if your able to please post some!
post #4 of 12
I would recommend that you get 2 litter boxes, especially for a young kitten because they are like babies and depending on how large your place is, he may not make it to the litter box so giving him several will help him for a little while. Once he's a little bit older you can take away one box if he doesn't use one for pee and one for poop. The general rule is one box for each cat plus 1 extra. Having said that I've only had one box per one cat my whole life and even though I recently added another box for Bijou, he seldom uses the second one and still prefers the original.

Kitty litter - you will get as many suggestions as there are kitty litter as each of us has a preference. I personally do not like clay litters because I find they hold the urine smell too much. Besides it's not good for little ones to breath in the clay dust which can clump in their lungs and some will eat the clay which can clump in their stomachs - that's taking chances as far as I'm concerned so I won't take that chance. I have tried Swheat Scoop but found it much too dusty - my dresser beside the litter box was always dusty. I switched to World's Best Cat Litter, Multiple cat formula and love it. I scoop once per day, we live in a small bungalow with 2 litter boxes and I have asked my non-cat friends to be honest and they say there is not odour when you come into our home. I only change the box out completely about every 6 weeks. I add 2 or 3 cups of litter every 10 days or so and it works great for me. Having said all that, you may have to use what the current owner is using for a little while and gradually adding the new litter until it is completely changed over to the new, otherwise kitty may not use the litter box.

Food - again, you should continue feeding what the current owner is feeding and gradually change over to whatever food you want to give the kitten. Kittens really should be eating kitten food as it has more calories and is better for a growing baby. With dry foods you will need to change over to a new food slowly or the kitten will likely get diarrhea and with diarrhea there is always the danger of dehydration. Gradually add a bit of the new food to the old food, increasing the amount so that over a period of about 1 week to 10 days the food will be all new food. With wet food that isn't so important but unless the kitten is used to wet food they may not like it. When I introduced wet food I had to try at least 12 brands before I found one Bijou and Mika would eat. It ended up being Merrick's but even then they won't eat any fish or seafood so I only feed 2 flavours. Don't buy plastic dishes - get stainless steel or glass and wash after each and every use. Plastic dishes can cause acne.

Beds - I wouldn't bother personally. Chances are the kitty is going to sleep on your furniture and at night close to you on your bed.

Toys - wand toys are great, especially for young kittens because they haven't yet learned their claws are sharp! Don't play with your kitten with your bare hands as he'll think they are toys and will grab, bite and end up scratching your hands. Often young kittens have not acquired the "taste" for catnip so don't be surprised if your kitten doesn't go nuts for a catnip mouse.

Care - Do start snipping the sharp little ends of his claws off so that he'll get used to having it done. I started by touching and stroking Bijou's paws to get him used to having them touched since most cats do not like to have their paws held and touched. Now I have a cat that I do not even have to hold in order to clip his nails - wonderful!

Your kitten will probably not spray if he is neutered early. Most modern vets will neuter at 2 lbs. Male neutering is much less invasive than female spaying so he'll recover very quickly.

Your kitten will lose his baby teeth at around 4 months old. At this time he will get quite "bitey". Get some of those fat plastic straws and toss them around your home for him to chew on. When one gets chewed up, toss it out and add some new ones. If (and it's likely) you kitty bites, you must teach him that it is unacceptable. Hiss or blow in his face when he bites to let him know it is not acceptable. Do NOT squirt water at your kitten. Besides the possibility of making him afraid of you, if you get water in his ears he can get a serious infection.

Do have him vetted for his vaccinations. Often kittens are born with worms that they may get from their mothers so your vet will probably deworm him.

Your kitten may hide for a day or so if he is feeling a bit strange or frightened from being moved to a place he is not familiar. That is normal - just give him his space and time to come to you on his own. Do not force him out of hiding. Get down on the floor at his level if this happens, talk gently to him or just sit and read aloud. Have some treats handy so that if/when he comes out you can give him one. I had one cat that hid behind our headboard of our bed for 4 weeks before he came out. Once he was comfortable enough to come out he ended up being the biggest lap cat and baby we had had to that point.

This should be a good start and as you and he get adjusted to each other, if you have more questions, just come on back and ask. No question is a dumb question if you don't know the answer.

Relax and your kitty will relax. Enjoy!

And finally, if you have gotten through this long post - congratulations on your new kitty!
post #5 of 12
Yosemite...I just had to reply quick about your kitty in the headboard thing...When we got Fatman he hid in the bed under the covers (giant lump in the bed) for a month till he came out and then he ended up coming out the week we moved and went for another month of hiding under the covers in the bed for a month after we moved. And just like your cat Fatman is the lovey dovey lap cat we knew he could be and will continually talk to us or yell at us depending on his mood.

FeanX- When I went thru the transition phase of Fatman hiding under the covers what I did to try and make him feel more comfortable was A: kept Hercules out of the bedroom and made it Fatmans safe zone and B: I would sit on the bed and lay there and watch tv and talk to him about whatever I was watching to help him get used to the noise and get used to me and BF would do the same thing when he got home from work and it really did help. I also would shake a treat can and then give him 2-3 treats to reward him for letting me pet him and not running away. It really did work and to this day if you shake a treat can Fatman is like greased lightening running from where ever he was to the kitchen counter to get his treats!
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for giving your time and advice so generously in writing these details for me!

I expect to be home fulltime probably for first 2 weeks that kitty is home and so can observe him, see what he does. Although I get that it can still happen no matter what I plan, I want very much for kitty to settle in happily and not for me to come home one day with all the things I value shredded or peed on b/c he is unhappy in some way!
If it isn't obvious as first time cat owner I just don't want to have to return kitty back to shelter b/c I could not make it a good home for him!

Thank you again all! I will let you know what happens. I am thrilled but very nervous too -

Feanx
post #7 of 12
Your new kitty will sense how relaxed or not you are so try to be calm and relaxed around him.
post #8 of 12
Hi FeanX - so far it sounds like you will be a great fur mommy! He is a lucky boy! (and we expect pics!)

Hanging out here you will learn A LOT.

A lot on his adjustment will depend on what kind of cat he is. I brought my baby home at 9-11 mns. She was skittish and scared but also passive. I live in a small place with doors that dont stay closed. Keeping her in bathroom first day helped her a lot. I made it comfy for her, used the tub for the litter box. The next day I took her out to a safe region with her food, water, toys, box nearby. She felt safe as long as she was on her window perch.

Some cats come right in and make themselves at home.

As far as litter/odor: you might need to play around. I found Tidy cats clumping works me/kitty the best. No poopy foot and I can go maybe 10-14 days before a change, as long as I scoop daily. I also have it located in a closet with the door kept ajar. In a small place this has been a great choice for box placement. I dont have to see it or smell it really, unless I'm right on top of it.

I dont know if there is scientific proof on this - but the odor of poo is affected by her diet. I dont feed beef really, but occasionally if I get a free can of beef or fish I will feed it to her: the beef makes her box stinky! The lower quality dry food does too.

My little angel, even at 5 lbs, required a huge box with high amount of litter. That is her preference, and it probably keeps her box a bit less smelly.

I've never had a litter trained cat miss his box or avoid it ever, even when gravely ill. After all my years of having cats, if my kitty did start with mishaps I definitely would run to the vet. I would only assume they were ill. Others experience may be different, but 40 years later, I have not seen it personally.

IMO, the best thing you can do for your new kitty is to establish a routine and stick to it. Cats adore routine and thrive in an environment of the same. A cat tree or perch of some kind as well is essential for kitty's happiness. And a happy cat is a better pet...that's why we spoil them so
post #9 of 12
Don't be nervous! All three of my cats made themselves right at home right out of the box!

I live in a studio with three cats and they are all fine! As for needing anything more, cats are easy. You have the essentials, everything else is extra fun stuff. I recommend eventually getting nail clippers, and a brush for grooming.

A cat likes to have your affection and playtime! Playing with your cat is a great way to cut down on stress and boredom which can help keep the typical cat behavorial issues away! Not least of all it helps you bond much quicker with them.

Cat trees are very nice, cats like being up high and if you don't have alot of high spaces in your place than getting one may be a nice addition to the house.

When he gets to the house show him where the litter is and where his food and water are. (Don't put the food/water near the litter box please! ) Cats are smart and he shouldn't have a probelm using the box.

Clean the litter everyday! Twice a day preferably. I do mine when I get up and before bed (and because I have 3 cats I do it alot more than that but at least twice!) The smell won't be an issue. You can use a covered box as well so you don't have to look at it.

He is 8 months old so I don't think you need to assume on what to kitty proof just yet. Wait and see, he may be totally easy going! ReeRee was my big chewer but the other two could care less. I got black tubing that encased my wires and he never bothered with them again. Just be careful when you are charging your phone! I've lost a few chargers that way.

Don't worry about spraying. My cats don't spray. Its mainly an unneutered male habit anyway. Rocko even makes a tail twitching move like he is spraying but never has. Spraying in an unneutered male can signal a health probelm, so if you do see him do so get him to a vet!

Don't forget you have us if you have any issues when he comes home! Congrats!
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
thank you again all for your advice. from all of your experiences it helps give me a better sense of what to expect.

maybe I shouldn't read too much of these other posts b/c I think i will start to panic

after i get back from a trip i will be home for a while to get kitty from shelter.

btw - have you folks seen commerical for the nail trimmer for pets that instead of cutting the nail, it shaves away nail and not risk cutting the quick. does it really work?

how often should i brush kitty? would it help keep down all the shedding? he is medium hair.

Feanx
post #11 of 12
A lot of cats don't like their paws being touched, so trimming nails takes a little skill and patience. The "machines" all look to me like an invitation to freak the cat out. I wouldn't go near any of mine with it.

I guess I need to shoot a video of me trimming Punkin's claws. He's the only one that really doesn't like it, so he would make a good example. I can do it easily by myself.

Cats are not dogs. I know, that's obvious, but their personalities vary quite a bit and they don't need your approval to be happy. At 8 months, your kitten will be mostly grown up. He shouldn't be the rambunctious brat a little kitten can be. That doesn't mean he won't get up on counters, beg for food, claw at furniture, or get the 10-o'clock crazies. It just means it won't be constant.

An important thing is for him to be able to see out some windows. It doesn't matter that there's not much outside to see; he'll just want to be able to look out. If you have a place that he can look out at an active scene, so much the better.

A cat tree would be a good idea. You can even build one yourself. Carolinalima built one out of boxes. Another member built one out of plastic storage containers (look up "tupperlair"). I have seen one that has a storage space in the bottom for a litter box, so it's not out in the open.

The most important thing is for the cat to trust you. Don't try to pick him up every time you see him; some cats just don't like that. If you smother him with attention, he is likely to become less "cuddly," if he is now.

Don't even think about trying to keep him off the bed, if he wants to sleep there with you. And there is nothing like a purring cat to comfort you when you want to relax.

Ask lots of questions. Some things about your cat will totally mystify you. Some will mystify us. A cat is the product of its genetics and its experiences. Without knowing its background, there will always be things you don't understand.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Some things about your cat will totally mystify you. Some will mystify us. A cat is the product of its genetics and its experiences. Without knowing its background, there will always be things you don't understand.

Well spoken!!!!
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