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Old 03-10-2007, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH surprised me today by agreeing to explore getting a cat for our son (instead of the second dog we've been considering.) He's always said no before, but I guess he sees how much our son loves cats (he calls himself the cat whisperer.) Here's the thing though--I've always been a dog person and I know next to nothing about cats. I volunteer at a "cat house" : with a friend of mine periodically, so I know about feeding and litter boxes. But that's about it!

How do you know if you'd be a good family for a cat? We'd rescue from an organization--are cats fostered like dogs are or is that not a concern when adopting a cat? What should we consider when deciding whether to get a kitten or an adult? What about spraying and using the couch as a scratching post?! How do I keep our dog from eating cat poop? :Puke

Sorry for these very basic questions. My husband has been saying no about cats for 10 years, so I've never made it a point to learn about them. I didn't know my son would love them so much. Anybody have any good websites or book recommendations? Am I forgetting anything?
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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Cats are great. Of course, keeping their litter box clean is very important. Older cats are harder to place (everyone wants the young ones), but sometimes they come with "baggage." They may have inappropriate behaviors to deal with. Young cats are very energetic and tend to get in a lot of trouble as they are learning the house rules! Scratching posts are a good thing to have! As for the litter box thing, the only thing I know of is to put it in a place that the dog cannot get to. The dog fascination with cat poop seriously grosses me out, too! Blech.
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Old 03-11-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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How do you know if you'd be a good family for a cat?
Cats can be pretty easy-going really. A "good family" really really varies according to the individual cat. As long as you're willing to put in the time and effort and care (which since you have a dog I'm assuming you are already accustomed to!) then you should be fine.

We'd rescue from an organization--are cats fostered like dogs are or is that not a concern when adopting a cat?
Yes, many organizations have cats fostered in homes. In that situation they tend to know more about the behavior of the cat and be able to give you a better idea of how they'd act at your house.

What should we consider when deciding whether to get a kitten or an adult?
Well one thing to consider is how much you're willing to deal with. Kittens are little psychopaths. They like to run around like mad, climb things, get into EVERYTHING. Think puppy, but smaller, with sharper claws, and nothing is "too high" for them. Now some people love dealing with kittens... me personally I prefer getting cats who are a little older and past the "crazies". One of ours was about 2 when we got him, one was about 1 (and he's still crazy, unfortunately. ). You can consider getting an older cat as well... cats can live 15-20 years if kept healthy, so even a cat who is 7 or 8 will have many more years left! Senior cats are so hard to place, and they can be the BIGGEST sweethearts. Also to take into consideration is how rough your kid and dog may be.... with our large shepherd we didn't want a small kitten that could get easily hurt.

What about spraying and using the couch as a scratching post?!
We don't get many sprayers at the sanctuary I work... I don't think it happens all that often. Best route is to make sure the cat is spayed or neutered. Other than that... if there's an accident you thoroughly clean the area with an enzyme cleaner that removes all trace of the urine. Scratching.... make sure the cat has scratching posts around the house. I find the cats absolutely LOVE the corrugated cardboard scratching pads (you can get them in any pet store). They're cheap and the cats LOVE them. I leave them around. If the cat starts to scratch somewhere it shouldn't, like your couch, put a scratching post right next to it and redirect the cat onto it every time he misbehaves.

How do I keep our dog from eating cat poop?
If you figure that one out, please let me know. We use a baby gate to keep the dogs out of that room.

Natalie, mama to Katherine (5/22/10), missing Devin (stillborn 3/6/08)
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Old 03-11-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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What about spraying and using the couch as a scratching post?!
Unless the cat wasn't neutered before spraying became a habit, cats will not usually spray. They may have accidents when they are sick or feel threatened where the litterbox is, but otherwise, they are compelled to use their box. You will want to keep the cat confined in the room that the litterbox is going to be situated for a few days to make sure they are well acclimated to going in it. I would suggest you keep the box in a bathroom or other room with linoleum or otherwise easy to clean floors. At least for my cats, accidents always happen very close to the litterbox and it's so much easier to clean for me when it's all kept in the bathroom.

My cats were trained as kittens to scratch on sisal only. We have 4 sisal scratching posts in our house and a cat tree with legs wrapped in sisal for our two cats. My cats do not bother any of my furniture, upholstery, or carpet. They are very trainable as kittens with minimal effort, and fairly trainable as adults. The thing is that cats prefer surfaces that are very rough and scratching on sisal is more satisfying than scratching on other surfaces. If you have carpet at home, I do not recommend you getting a carpet scratching post since that's essentially teaching your cats to scratch carpet.

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How do I keep our dog from eating cat poop?
Some people have been known to keep their cat litter box and feed their cats on a ledge or other area too high for the dog to get to. I've also seen some litterbox cabinets where the opening is at the top so the cat can get into it but not the dog. I am toilet training my cats, and although that won't help you in the short term, if your cat is toilet trained, then the poop would go in the toilet and it'd be difficult for the dog to get to it, especially if you rig up an automatic flusher.
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