July 24, 2003

Here Kitty, Kitty

Now that I'm living on my own, and especially after falling in love with Nuala's cat, Ribbon, I really want my own cute, wuvable wittle kitty. Besides, I miss having a furry someone to cuddle. Although I've always been a dog person (especially the larger breeds), I'm succumbing to the wiles of feline felicity. Plus, I think a cat would be more comfortable and happier in my living space.
But the problem is, I work all day and then roughly two days a month, I go out of town. I'm also planning a couple week or two-week long trips over the next year or so. I do have a roommate, but don't want her to have to take responsibility for my cat. My parents are in the neighborhood too, but they aren't exactly cat lovers, so I don't really want to burden them with the responsibility either. I suppose I could pay a neighbor to cat-sit, though.
Would my absences leave my cat lonely? Would the cat also be difficult to train since I'm gone a lot? Should I get a cat? And if I do get a cat, should I get one from a rescue society or pet shop/breeder?

Posted by at July 24, 2003 11:19 AM

if you're worried about the cat being lonely, i'd suggest two cats, if your roommate wouldn't mind. cats are delightfully low-maintenance so two isn't really that much more work than one.

as for training, once you show the cat where the litter box is that's about all you need to do. cats like to do their business where they can dig, and once they know where that is they'll generally be good about keeping to it (unless they're upset about something). if you're worried about the cat scratching the furniture, you can either get a scratching post or use cat repellant spray. neither of these things are training intensive.

finally, i prefer the rescue places over pet shops. some pet shops also do rescue work, so those are pretty cool.

Posted by: holohan on July 24, 2003 12:13 PM

get a cat. two is better than one. i agree with everything holohan said. except for the cat repellent spray. that stuff doesn't work worth shit.

Posted by: michele on July 24, 2003 01:24 PM

yeah, i've heard mixed reviews about cat repellent. it seemed to be working for a while to keep neighborhood strays from turding under my window, but i'm not sure about furniture. it also smells pretty bad, so it's not that good for indoor use.

so just get a scratching post. the cats will be happy to ignore it for you.

Posted by: holohan on July 24, 2003 01:50 PM

two cats may be a bit overwhelming, especially at first. i think i may just ease into cat ownership.
and i don't think i have any furniture to really worry about scratching...though animals have the lovely tendency of finding things to ruin that you never thought to protect until it's too late. :)
is declawing or trimming a preferred recommendation?
also, any tips on keeping your house from smelling like cat? cuz I know people whose houses smell like a litterbox, but then i have friends whose houses don't smell like cat at all. is it just a matter of keeping the litterbox area clean and well-ventilated?

Posted by: jade on July 24, 2003 02:15 PM

yes to that last question. vacuuming regularly is also strongly recommended.

i don't like declawing becuase if they ever do get in a fight with an outdoor cat they have no real means of protection. and also it's just plain mean to rip out their toenails. in my opinion.

Posted by: michele on July 24, 2003 03:33 PM

definitely keep the claws if they're going to spend any time outside. i've never had a declawed cat, but i know two very happy cats sans claws.

others feel differently:

http://maxshouse.com/Truth%20About%20Declawing.htm (with pictures!)

Posted by: holohan on July 24, 2003 03:38 PM

don't declaw! My vet says it's the equivalent of cutting a human's TOES off...The poor kitties walk around all off-balance. I have had six cats in my life and the furniture's fine.
Also, I think getting a second cat to keep first cat-to-be company may not be necessary depending on your kitty's personality. My cat Chase doesn't even deign to associate with other felines.

Posted by: robyn on July 24, 2003 03:53 PM

I think you should definitely get a cat (well, I suppose I am biased because as you know I am a cat person). I wouldn't worry about going out of town 2 days a month and working. I have had cats my entire life and trust me, cats can handle themselves on their own. My parents both worked all day, my brother and I went to school and we went on vacation every summer for 3 weeks. When you go out of town just fill a huge bowl of cat food and water and it will be fine. Just remember that if you go away for a long time you will need someone to change the litter.

As for declawing, as people have already mentioned it simply depends on if the cat is going to be indoor or outdoor and if you have things that the cat could ruin. If the cat will be an outdoor cat you should keep its claws. If it will be an indoor cat I suggest you declaw it. In fact, my cat right now is declawed and she goes outside (although I would only suggest this if you live in the right area. This only happened because we moved and changed our mind about the indoor cat status). She is 14 and has never been in a fight. If the cat will be an indoor cat I personally think you should declaw it.

Posted by: Nicole on July 24, 2003 03:58 PM

yikes! i looked at those websites about declawing...poor kitties! i think i'll get scratching posts, and if those don't work, try other means, like trimming or those soft paws nail cover-thingys before considering declawing as a last resort.
i'll definately keep my cat indoors. i don't want to worry about it running away, fighting other cats, or getting hit by a car. especially in my neighborhood, people drive really fast. I'll also get it spayed or neutered to prevent fights/kittens.
thanks for the advice and the reassurance that my lifestyle is still conducive to cat-owning! damn, now i really want one...

Posted by: jade on July 24, 2003 04:38 PM

I'm late on the cat debate, but here's my two cents:

1. declawing is bad. Ribbon has never ruined furniture, except once when we left him for a long time alone and the neighbors wouldn't let him outside. He was mad.

2. I would go to a pet shelter, because if you're not up to the energy of a kitten you can get an older cat who already has some manners, that needs a home and usually all they want is some love. But if you want a kitten go for it.

3. Cats are always self sufficient and most of the time Ribbon ignores me. Although I like to have someone come in and check on him whenever I'm gone for a while so that he can get some cuddling in, and get fed as he gets pissed without his wet food, however he is a bit of an oddball and very spoiled

4. Can we get the kitten on Saturday while I'm there? I want to play with the kitten. It'll be fun.

Posted by: nuala on July 24, 2003 10:41 PM

i was talking to someone at work about it and they're friends with a vet who frequently takes in strays and finds homes for them. the vet actually has 7 cats of her own because she felt too bad for the kitties to let them be put down. so i thinking of talking to her (and then the cat will already have been taken care of as far as shots and other medical attention) and apparently my friend at work has 2 cats from this vet, and because the vet cares about the cats so much, does all the shots and stuff for free. nice, huh?

Posted by: jade on July 25, 2003 08:19 AM

that's REALLY nice. some of the shots are expensive. and if you can get an already neutered one, even better. because that's like $75 or something. but an already neutered one will be older than 4-5 months...and that is not a kitten. and kittens are the best thing ever. shit i want a kitten.

Posted by: michele on July 25, 2003 10:46 AM

ok. i've decided. i'm getting a kitty!
i still need to talk to my roommate cuz she's actually out of town right now. but i know she's had cats before so it shouldn't be a problem.
and if it is...well it's my house, and she'll just have to live with it! (just kidding. i wouldn't be that mean.)

Posted by: jade on July 25, 2003 03:58 PM

and i just got a call from a lady who has a 15-week old kitten that's white, with gray spots and a gray face and bushy gray tail...and he's social and fluffy and furry and i can't wait to meet him!!

Posted by: jade on July 25, 2003 04:01 PM

Yea I get to see the kitties!

Posted by: nuala on July 25, 2003 04:59 PM

i love my cat.he started scratching on my furniture so i got some of that spray repelent.works like a charm.you have to do it every day though and must be consistent for about 2 weeks until they get the picture.get a scratch post for sure!i got some of that spray on catnip oil.i used to spray that on every day too.he uses his post all the time.he is a wonderful cat.i got him from a shelter.he was 8 months old and neutered.he is great.clean,affectionate,great company.

Posted by: heather on September 1, 2003 08:59 AM

Hi, I have two cats of my own. One is an indoor kitty and one is indoor\outdoor. On my indoor kitty I put little plastic caps over his claws. This is an alternative to declawing (which is inhumane!) Go to www.softclaws.com and you can learn all about them.
Good Luck!!!

Posted by: Nicole on December 14, 2003 08:52 AM