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Not familiar with cats. Please Help!!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello friendly cat people. I often read these boards in hopes that maybe there is someone out there with my very same questions. I see that I will have to be the one to ask them. Hopefully you will be able to assist me. May I start off by saying that I do not dislike this cat I am speaking about. My boyfriend of one year has a five year old cat that has pretty much run of the entire house. I have never had to cohabitate with a cat before, and some of his behaviors bother me. I'm only trying to find out if these are normal cat behaviors, or if I am just being crazy or unreasonable. Is it wrong to insist that the cat not be on the kitchen table when we eat, or even if we arent eating, for that matter? He has other places to sit on, as I understand they like to be up on high places, so I believe that it is not too much to ask that the tables we eat on be off limits. I also would like the bedroom to be off limits as well, since I have read that to assist in easing allergy symptoms the cat should not be in the sleeping quarters. Is this true? I know I have to deal with my clothing being covered in fur, but is there a way to lessen this? I have alot more questions, but these are the most pressing. Please any advice welcome. This cat has been my boyfriends companion for the last 5 years, so I have a deep respect for their relationship. But I would also like to find a balance in which I fit into the picture without rocking the boat too much.Thanks in advance for everything!
post #2 of 26
Hi and welcome! From what I read, you have a few problems. You have a boyfriend who did not set boundaries for this cat from the very beginning, and why that is, well who knows? The damage is done and the cat is used to having the run of the house so now what do you do? Here is what I would do. I would ask BF if he minded if you just stopped the cat from getting up on the table. I have a cover over our table and during the day, the cats can go up and sleep there, though they rarely do. BUT they have been shown that when there is food on the table, they stay on the floor. When we eat, I take the old cover off, wipe down the table, put on a fresh table cloth and we enjoy a peaceful dinner.

So if bf says that you have his blessing to stop this cat from jumping up on the table period, there are several ways to stop this. One is to put bubble wrap over the top of the table, bubbles up. Cats jump and use thier claws for purchase so once she lands, she pops the bubbles it scares her and she jumps down.

Helium balloons taped to the side of the table, with a small fan directing them so they move on their strings, will also startle a cat from getting on a table.

Taking several litter pans and filling them with just a little bit of water and setting them end to end all around the outside edge of the table, will also stop a jumper.

Using a lemon scented cleaner on the legs, on the chairs and on the table itself will stop a cat from jumping

Taking empty soda cans, putting a few rocks inside and lining the outside edge of the table will also work.

When you eat, insist the cat be shut into another room with her own food and water. Once the table is cleared, let the cat out.

About the bedroom that is a tough one, cats enjoy sleeping with their people. Instead, I would cover the bed with a old coverlet, and then at night take it off, roll in up and sleep on blankets that do not have much fur on them. Grooming the cats outside helps, plus taking the allergy pills to cut down your reaction to cat dander will help. It is not the fur that is bothering you, but the dander that makes allergies worse.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all of your suggestions. I guess my real problems now lie with the owner and not the cat!
The bedroom issue....the cat never slept in the bedroom until I came along. Is this maybe a jealousy issue? When I am there, we close the door at night. But first thing in the morning, he is let in, and immediately starts to give himself a bath. Isnt that what spreads the dander? I dont see why he cant stay outside the room, and b/f go out to play with him if he is missing him so much.
Anyway, thanks again for the advice, and I will start working on these issues immediately.
post #4 of 26
Dander is basically small flakes of skin 'shedding' from the body. Most refer to it as scales. Makes me think of lizards. So, the cat cleaning itself won't spread the dander anymore then kitty walking around and playing.
post #5 of 26
Hmm, I would have a very difficult time helping you with this one. My cats go on the table, counters and yes, sleep with me all the time. Of course, one loves to sleep between me and my wife The idea of a cat on the table and things like that never bothered me. So, my cats are spoiled rotten
post #6 of 26
First off let me say that I think it is wonderful for you to be asking these questions instead of the "it's me or the cat " rutine. That said your BF's cat needs a few manners. Hissy's suggestions are wonderful for keeping the cat off the table. I do not allow mine in the kitchen at all when we are home-especially while cooking. I worry about them getting under foot and having something spilt on them. Wishing for the cat to be off the table is perfectly accpetable, ESPECIALLY while eating. Has your BF been giving the cat food or treats while eating at the table? If he has, try to ask him politly to stop. The cat will eventually realise that being there gets him nothing. Or as was suggested, keep the cat in another room while eating.
As for at night, if the cat never slept with him before, I do not see the need now. You could always ask (since you do have allergies I believe) that the cat not be let in till after you wake. Once you are verticle and moving, you should be less affected. Though having a warm furry face to wake you up can be wonderful!

Hope all goes well!
post #7 of 26
My cats can be on the counters when Im not cooking and can be on the table when we arent eating. My cats also sleep with me. But I dont mind it. I couldnt deal with the cat being on the table when Im eating, that is totally unacceptable around here and the cats know it.

I hope you and the cat can live happily together, good luck.
post #8 of 26
My cats like to see what is going on while we are at the table and while we are in the kitchen. So, we have small but tall butcher block table that is in the kitchen that the cats can sit on (its big enough for 2 cats) and watch what we are doing. Similarly, in the dining room, the cats have bar stools to sit on so they can see what is happening at the table while not being on the table. This has been the perfect solution to keeping the cats off the table and counters.
post #9 of 26
thats a good idea! Beats having to constantly remind them they cant be up there
post #10 of 26
Bella's pretty funny about it - she gets on the counter to get to her favorite perch, the corner above my kitchen cupboards. But if I come into the kitchen while she's on the counter, she gets this guilty look on her face and jumps down, before I've even said anything! The other morning while I was eating breakfast at the table, which I'll admit is a rarity for me, she climbed up on the table to look out the window. Just a light rap on the nose and she turned around and got down. Think someone must've taught her some manners a while ago
post #11 of 26
I'm an allergy sufferer too, but I like cuddling with my kitties. Try Flonase and Claritin together, that seems to work for me. Also, since I have been exposed to my cats I have noticed that my allergic reactions have lessened, and I used to get really itchy eyes and nose. Now, it is very rare that I have that kind of extreme reaction.
post #12 of 26
I'm a home economist by background, so you can guess my bias. Cats don't belong on a dining table or kitchen counter! Sanitation! Cats bury their feces. Think of what they might be carrying onto the location where you might be placing your silverware or laying down your toast. Eek! Seriously, do you use bleach on your table or counters to sanitize them each and every time after a cat has been there? Washing alone will not kill bacteria.

I've had my two cats for five and three or four years respectively. In that time, I believe one jumped on my dining table once, the other on the kitchen counter once. I have even left a bit on tuna in a can on the counter over night, and the next morning found it had not been touched. (I'd meant to give it to them when they came in from outside and forgot.) I've left salmon thawing on the counter; same thing. So cats definitely can be trained not to jump on those places. Both of my cats were adults living outdoors when I got them, so they had had few restrictions, though it is possible they may have had some good training from their first owners. But every time they even looked like they were thinking of jumping on the table or kitchen counter, my late husband and I were consistent about saying "No!" And I'm sure that consistency made the training much easier. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is going to be much more difficult. If you are unable to get your BF's agreement that he will also allow no exceptions to getting on the table or counter, I think your only sure solution is to keep the cats locked in another room during food preparation and dining.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Seriously, do you use bleach on your table or counters to sanitize them each and every time after a cat has been there?
I do bleach my counters and tabletops before anyone eats or puts anything on them. But then, I have no life
post #14 of 26
I put a tall cat tree in the kitchen and it helps their temptation to jump on the counters and table.
post #15 of 26
I don't bleach my tables or my countertops, and so far hubby and I have never had nasty dangerous germs attack us.

As I said, I have a special cover during the day that the cats can sleep on for the dining room table. And when we eat, they get off. They know when the new cover is in place, it is off limits.

It also helps to have a small cat condo in the kitchen- but I do have cats that like to be on my counters, and I just don't freak out about it.


post #16 of 26
I must say, I have had cats all my life, they have gone on the table and counters and not once have I ever gotten sick from it. Of course, I never lay food directly on the counter. But, one thing I never ever do, is use bleach or any antibacterial cleaners. Just good soap and hot water. This could be a whole thread in itself, but does everyone know just how bad these chemicals are for you? The air you breathe in your home is more polluted then the outside air do to chemical fumes. The cleaners you use in your home are far more dangerous than most of the bacteria you are trying to kill. How many of you have seen that "Air sanitizer" spray that is out there? If it kills bacteria in the air, which it really can not do unless the room you spray it in is 100% air tight, just imagine what it is doing to your lungs and your cats lungs as well
post #17 of 26
I know just how you feel!! when I first started dating my current b/f he had a cat that was allowed to climb where ever she wanted. Then I took her into my home for a few months before his ex got "custody" of her. She was always on my table, my counters and on top of other furniture that I did not want her on. During her time in my home I got her trained to stay off the table and counter just by being persistant with telling her no and putting her on the ground. But I could never get her to stay off of the other furniture that I didn't aprove of her being on. She even had a good 5 foot Condo she climbed on and it didn't keep her off of my simple 3 foot high Dresser,( I didn't want her up there because I was afraid she would scratch it and my dad had made it for me before I was even born). My current kitties know they belong on the floor in the kitchen and that they are allowed to sleep in the chairs but that's about it. The kitchen is almost totally off limits to Cats. I to have my hang ups about clean kitchens....use bleach on almost everything!! lol As for the bed I suffer from allergies but I couldn't go a day without cuddling my furbabies So I live with the stuff nose and sinus headache. But I think the Idea of not letting him in there while you are sleeping is a good Idea wait until you are up and going before he joins in the good morning greetings.
post #18 of 26
WillowsMom. Be very careful with all that bleach. Chlorine, the main ingrediant in bleach, is very harmful to your lungs. And never mix bleach with any other chemical, it will release deadly chlorine fumes. Just use soap and hot water, it is safer for you.
post #19 of 26
Hi Ok, first of all I can understand having to get used to living with an animal. It took a while for me to get used to my husbands dog when we first moved in together. As for the behaviors you are describing from your boyfriends cat, well they all sound prefectly normal, if those are things your bf has always allowed the cat to do. To a cat, the dining room table is not a sacred place for the humans to eat. If they're not taught otherwise, it's just another high place for them to hang out.

The good news is that cats are very smart, and can definitely learn things like, do not go on the dining room table. I have tried to teach my cats that from the time they came home, and while one of them will still occasionally chance a jump up there, they know that all that's going to happen is that they are picked up and put back on the floor, and told 'no'.

I have a lot of experience with cat allergies, as I have been a sufferer myself, and yes, most allergy doctors will recommend not sleeping with the cat in your bedroom. However, there are several other things you can do to relieve your allergies too. There is a product called allerpet-c that you can buy in most pet stores, that you put on a paper towl, and rub the cat down with. They don't mind it, and it cuts down significantly on dander. Even a wet paper towel will do the same trick. If you are allergic to cats, you probably have other allergies too, so it may be well worth investing in an air filter for the bedroom. We use one on each floor of our house, and they are excellent. I'm sure you already know this, but you should also vaccum at least once a week, preferably twice to get rid of most of the dander also. And finally, Fabreze makes a product for reducing allergens, which is recommended by my allergy doc. It may be a good idea for you to spray your bed down each day, and keep the bedroom door closed during the day, so the cat isn't hanging out on your bed all day.

There are lots of things that you can do to learn to coexist happily with your boyfriends cat. If he backs you up on the simple training for the dining room table issue, and you take care of what you can to reduce your allergy problems, you can all enjoy a happy life together.
post #20 of 26
I agree. I hate bleach and the way it smells. It can create holes in fabric so how safe can it be (rhetorical question). I use Simple Green in my house because it is environmentally friendly and smells good too. My concern with chemicals is that my kitties may step on a surface that has been cleaned with them. When they lick themselves as they always do, they may ingest some of the chemical content, a thought that really scares me.
post #21 of 26
I use vinegar and hot water for my countertop cleaner. My table gets wood polish because anything else will hurt the surface. I only use bleach outside when doing the litter pans and I let the pans air dry for a few hours.
post #22 of 26
I've generally found that it's best to have just a few restrictions, but to really enforce them. The sink, stove and food preparation area are completely out of bounds, as is the kitchen table when we are eating. We have a window perch next to the kitchen table which he can sit on so that he doesn't feel left out. JC really loves sleeping in bed with us (what pet doesn't want to at least share the bedroom? I'm allergic), so we keep two acrylic blankets folded loosely side by side at the foot of our bed for him to snuggle up in. They act as a magnet for cat hair, and I throw them in the washer and dryer every week. I've had a lot of luck with the Petkin brand "Allergy Relief Kitty Wipes", which I use on JC when my allergy kicks up. He actually enjoys a good rubdown with them. We have air filters/humidifiers, and have banished as many textiles as possible from the house (we stick to leather furniture and hard floors).
As far as cleaning is concerned, I got a steam cleaner a few months after we got JC, and use that to clean just about everything. To me, that's practically a "must" for pet owners and/or parents of small children.
If the cat started wanting to sleep in the bedroom after you became part of the family, my guess is that he wants to sleep with you!
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberThe Bobcat
WillowsMom. Be very careful with all that bleach. Chlorine, the main ingrediant in bleach, is very harmful to your lungs. And never mix bleach with any other chemical, it will release deadly chlorine fumes. Just use soap and hot water, it is safer for you.
Oh I know..........I use the same mixture that is used in almost all day cares, I mix a half cap full with all the rest water..........or I use just the plain ol clorax cleaning spray they sell........as for just soap and hot water.......It may be safer but I don't feel it kills germs as well as bleach and since working in child care for 10 years I am very suseptable(sp?) to alot of sicknesses. So I try and keep my kitchen and bathroom VERY clean more so after other people have been in my home. Just a little bit of a clean freak. lol Anyway I know all the dangers of Bleach..........and since it's pretty much all I use to clean my house with I don't have to worry about it getting mixed with anything else....and as long as my house is open and aired out I don't stress to much about the fumes.
post #24 of 26
I know, a lot of people think that having the house opened up does the trick. But, while you are using it, you are breathing it. A lot of people in this country have a big fear of bacteria lately. I never use antibacterial cleaners when I handle raw meat, chicken or liver, I am still here By the way, the chemical companies are not required to list what is in their product, only if it poses an immediate threat of poisoning if it were ingested or if it has a danger of causing an explosion. All the ingrediants that pose a threat from long term exposure are not listed. I understand in child care, where there are so many kids, that you may need to use something like bleach. But comapnies like Lyesol (sp) show commercials spraying their products near kids. Not good people. This is slowly poisoning them! I use only all natural cleaners that are safer for you and the environment.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberThe Bobcat
I know, a lot of people think that having the house opened up does the trick. But, while you are using it, you are breathing it. A lot of people in this country have a big fear of bacteria lately. I never use antibacterial cleaners when I handle raw meat, chicken or liver, I am still here By the way, the chemical companies are not required to list what is in their product, only if it poses an immediate threat of poisoning if it were ingested or if it has a danger of causing an explosion. All the ingrediants that pose a threat from long term exposure are not listed. I understand in child care, where there are so many kids, that you may need to use something like bleach. But comapnies like Lyesol (sp) show commercials spraying their products near kids. Not good people. This is slowly poisoning them! I use only all natural cleaners that are safer for you and the environment.

Well according to my Paramedic brother and my EMT/FireFighter soon to be Father In Law. Well ventilated is better then closed up....Not 100% on keeping it out of my lungs no, but cuts it down a bit........plus when mixed correctly with water there is more oder coming from my litter boxes then my spray bottle. I use it mainly for precautionaire measures like I stated before I am very suseptable to many viruses and bacteria's. by using the bleach I cut down the chance of passing it on to friends and my b/f's son and his Ill mother. I'd much rather have myself suffer from the ill effects of the bleach then watch my FMIL catch a cold I brought into the home and see her die from it. She has multiple breathing problems and one tiny cold could cause her a crap load of problems. As for Commercial's showing the useage around children. I think most parents and teachers are smarter then that. But you never know!
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberThe Bobcat
This could be a whole thread in itself, but...
I agree. I use a little bleach with my whites and I use it on the red mould that grows on my bathtub. (It's slanted a bit and the water collects in the corners)

How much is this environmentally safe stuff?

And I like the idea of a power washer. Apparently that sanitizes without using any chemicals at all. Now wouldn't that be a huge bonus?!
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