Kitty Newbie!

For all your feline miscellany - any interesting stories, news or subjects that do not fit in the other sections.
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Chezzu
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Kitty Newbie!

Post by Chezzu » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:34 pm

Hi there!

I joined the forum today, exciting! I'm a total kitty newbie and I want to be educated!

Me and my boyfriend are soon to be moving from our current situation into a flat and will be in the position to finally get a feline friend!
I very much believe in doing extensive research into an animal before you make a commitment and that's what I'd like to do!

I've always found forums are the best place to learn because there's just so many experiences to go round and you can get more of a consensus
rather than just reading a couple of guides and not having any actual experience or feedback!

I'm not sure if I'm in 100% the right place - would this be a good starting place to find out more or could anyone direct me to the best place for it if not? ♥

Thank you! Have a lovely day!

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Amber_Kaddu » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:37 pm

Welcome Aboard!

Ask away, there's always somebody who will be able to advise you :)

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lilynmitz
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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:14 pm

Welcome! This is a fealty friendly and helpful forum. A good start for the newbie cat slave is to read “Cat Confidential” by Vicky Hall, a great way to learn about cat psychology and behaviours, and how to both meet their needs and improve your bond with them. It’s a very easy read, don’t be put off. I hope you’ll get a rescue kitty, so many beautiful souls waiting for a fresh start in life.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Mollycat » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:27 am

Welcome! You're definitely in the right place. I've been a member of another forum that was very judgemental and snooty. This one is nothing like that, honest friendly and supportive.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by fjm » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:25 am

How exciting, to be anticipating your first cat! My advice would be to think hard about the kind of relationship you want and the kind of home you can offer - do you want a very independent cat, a more clingy companion, or something in between? Remember cats that need lots of companionship may not be happy at home alone all day. Do you plan on letting your cat go outside, or indoors only? Adult or kitten (in which case one kitten or two)? Moggie or pedigree? Unless you are very set on a particular breed, rescue is the best way to find a cat in my experience, as long as you choose a good rescue. Cats and kittens should have been checked for the major diseases, like FeLV and FIV, and at least started their vaccinations. Plus the rescue or foster parents will be able to give you a good idea of the cat's temperament and likes and dislikes.

Unless you have a large sum set aside for possible vet bills I would also strongly recommend getting your new cat insured immediately. Premiums are low for young, healthy cats, and that way you have peace of mind if any new health issues emerge or there should be a fall or accident you will know that the bulk of the vet bills will be covered.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Mollycat » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:49 am

Just to add to fjm, you can still have an adult pedigree rescue if you're happy to take on a retired stud or queen. Girls are normally retired younger than boys and coming from a responsible breeder they will have been health checked regularly and treated very well, and should have no hereditary health faults in their lines.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Ruth B » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:11 am

Welcome to the forum and we are all happy to help in any way we can.

I can agree on Vicky Hall's books being a great starting place, she has done a lot more than just Cat Confidential, and they do get a little repetitive if you read them all, but they are full of insights into cat behaviour.

As fjm says, have a good think about what type of cat you are after and what life style you can offer them. Personally, for any first time cat owner I would suggest you seriously think about an adult rescue cat, or two if you can afford it. A good shelter will help pair you up with a cat suitable for your life style and will also be available should you have any problems afterwards. Don't be tempted to buy of one of the internet pet selling sites, the cats may be cheaper but they often don't have the medical records that ones in charities have. Spaying/Neutering, defleaing, deworming, vaccinations, disease tests, all cost money and what you pay in an adoption fee rarely starts to cover it. Make sure you get as much information from the previous owner, rescue, breeder or otherwise, on what they like to eat and what litter they are used to, keeping that type of thing the same will make the stress of moving to a new home far less.

Kittens, while incredibly cute, don't stay as kittens long, and are far more work to start with, it is also far harder to know what their temperament as adults will be like, than ones that are already grown and settled into their adult temperament. You will also likely avoid a lot of the chewing cables, climbing curtains, and walls of death runs around the room.

Also to mention that while many rescues don't rehome over the Christmas period due to their volunteers wanting time to themselves and their families, Christmas is normally also a very busy period with family and friends visiting, children getting over excited, or people going away for an extended period, none of which aren't good for helping a new cat settle in, then there is always the problem of kittens being given as presents ending up in back in the shelter soon after the new year starts as the people hadn't really thought it through. However having said all that, if you don't have children and have time off work for Christmas and are staying quietly at home it can be a perfect time to adopt a cat as you are there for them and some rescues understand this and are willing to discuss it and make decisions on an individual basis. If you can go to one and explain why you have decided you want a cat at any particular time they are more likely to work with you around their volunteers' holidays, seeing you have put some thought into when to adopt can go a long way towards them helping you find the perfect cat at the perfect time.

Good luck with your new kitty or kitties, let us know how you get on, and we will all be willing to help with any questions.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Chezzu » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:42 pm

Thank you all for your advice!

Especially on the books, I'm going to browse around and see where I can get it cheapest! I don't mind paying at all but moving house is a costly process in itself haha!

The good news is that we want in ourselves to be settled and comfortable with the home bills before we make the commitment so it will probably be a good few months from now - so we'll miss the Christmas time hassle!

I'm a big part in the hamster community where we also very much advocate for adopt don't shop so I'm eager to adopt! I can't deny that the idea of getting a pedigree Siberian or Rex isn't tempting because I do actually have a tragic allergy to cats (and most other furry friends!) but at the end of the day I'd rather give a cat a second chance!

The debate of a kitten is on the table, understandably they're demanding. Being honest it's more my boyfriend's thoughts than mine! However in the plans, we're only planning on getting one cat. Mostly due to the allegy reasons, it's a lot easier to groom, hoover up after and cope with the dander from one cat that two! Money is something we're considering too though.

Talking about personalities, I work long days 3 days a week and a shorter day 1 day a week - but I work full time over four days so I do get the other three off! My boyfriend works a mixture over 5! A cat that's social is what I'd love in my heart of hearts but ideally a kitty that isn't too clingy for both work and allergy reasons is probably ideal!

I've heard Bozita cat food from Zooplus is good because of the high protein content and obviously cats are Carnivores, does anyone have any experience with it or other reasonably priced reccomendenations?

I've also read wood pellets are great as litter because they absorb odour and break down into sawdust once wet so they can be sifted rather than wasting a ton of litter! Heard some not so good things avout clumping litter too - but what are your thoughts and experiences?

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Ruth B » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:22 pm

Sounds like you are already thinking things through well.

You might want to have a look on the Cat Chat home page, there are links to various rescues including ones for pedigree cats. If you know your allergies are better with certain breeds you might want to contact those specific charities and get your name on a list for any that come in, even pedigrees end up homeless at times.

Food is a subject of great debate on here, but we all agree that in the end as long as it is a 'Complete' not a 'complementary' food and so has all the trace vitamins and minerals a cat needs your cat should be fine. Mine at the moment are on Felix As Good as it Looks and Gourmet Gold and Pearl which I get from the Supermarket, and Thrive Complete and Applaws from Zooplus, the Applaws isn't complete but mixed with rest it isn't a problem.

Some cats are fine on the wood pellet litter, others hate it. I had to take in my Mothers cat last year when she had to move into a nursing home and my Mum insisted on getting Wood pellet even though her cat insisted on going out in all weathers to use the garden. At the time I used a clay based clumping litter but was prepared to go out and buy compost or top soil if I had to to give her something to go in while she was confined to barracks. The moment she was let out of the carrier after a 2 hour car journey, she went straight to the litter tray and started to dig, and never looked back, she couldn't dig in wood pellets so wouldn't use it. Since then I've moved to a litter made from corn kernels which i'm finding just as good and in someways better. It does clump, but doesn't glue itself to the side of the litter tray, the corn smell isn't unpleasant once you get used to it and it is just as good as the Catsan clumping litter for masking the smells till I can get to clean it, best of all it makes use of a waste product and is bio degradable. I've always found that the Catsan clumping litter and this corn kernel litter were far better at masking the odours than the wood pellet.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by lilynmitz » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:10 pm

I agree with some others, kittens can be HARD WORK so I've always avoided them, as a rule, but rules are there to be broken and I did home a 6 month old and 11 month old (separately) over the years. Both were nutters, they never grew up and wreaked havoc (but I loved them to distraction anyway). With an "older" cat, you do have a better idea of their personality, so the rescue may be able to better advise you on one that's suitable for your lifestyle. I've also adopted older cats, and two of them outlived the "kittens", losing two of my younger ones to cancer when they were only 4 and 7 yrs old. Don't avoid shy cats - if carefully introduced, they can become complete snuggle buddies. Some just don't cope well with life in rescue centres and blossom when in a loving home.

Definitely insure though - even if they're going to be housecats. I adopted two at age 8 and 10, and as we quickly realised the 8yr old was blind, and the 10 yr old arthritic, we didn't bother insuring them as they wouldn't be going out much. Big mistake. The 10 yr old collected medical conditions for a hobby, and cost me thousands over the 7 years we had her, but despite that she still lived to an older age than all the others. Mind you, most of the others haven't cost me much in vets bills other than vaccinations and the odd minor issue, so it's just a gamble. One of my vets suggested setting up a savings account for vets bills, to the equivalent of the insurance premiums. It's there if a big bill comes along, and it's money in the bank if you get one of the healthy ones.

As for age of cat, like I've said, I've lost young ones very young to RTA and medical conditions, and my oldest adoptee cost me a fortune but outlived all the others. So getting a young one is no guarantee of longevity.

Good luck with your choice. I used to go in with preconceived ideas of what I was looking for and always came out with something completely different, as the cats kind of chose me! But ask lots of questions of the rescue centre, and I'm sure they'll find you just the right puss.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Amber_Kaddu » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:27 pm

Chezzu wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:42 pm
I've also read wood pellets are great as litter because they absorb odour and break down into sawdust once wet so they can be sifted rather than wasting a ton of litter! Heard some not so good things avout clumping litter too - but what are your thoughts and experiences?
Very much a minefield as obviously different things work for different people but we tried these and there was an overwhelming smell of cat wee (Which is pretty pungent!) and we soon gave up. We also found they got trailed everywhere!

Our cats use Lidl litter which seems to suit them and us, the litter trays are in the bathroom and to try keep the smell down we have the window permanently locked open. Obviously regular cleaning of the trays helps too

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Chezzu » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:33 pm

Super thankful for the additional info on wood pellets! It's good to hear from those with experience! I've always known wood based pellets to be absorbant and a good odour control for smaller animals but not odor control options work for all animals or even all pets of thesame animal type! It seems like the food and litter situations may just have to come with the preferences of whoever we bring home and a bit of testing!

I'm definitley up for using a more environmentally friendly litter if possible, but money and effectiveness are always going to be the biggest factors with us! I feel like I'm more adaptable with food for sure - whatever works for us and our soon to be kitty is fine for me. I'm less involved with the process for food, sticking something in a bowl then giving it a wash on the daily isn't quite like having to clean a litter tray a couple times a day after all!

A lot of things I'm looking online for because there's definitley a wider varitey and honestly a lot of the time cheaper options online, however it would probably drive me wild having to wait for the cat litter to come - that seems like a risky move so I'm definitely going to have to peruse the local and supermarket options too!

I know it's a widely debated topic, but as we're moving into a top floor flat and due to a few friends' cats getting ran over or getting badly injured in the past I firmly stand on the decision that our cat will be an indoor cat {I've read and seen some cats can eventually be took on walks so that may be something we work with if our kitty wants!}. However, with my allergies I know it's going to affect me more having a cat indoors 24/7! Does anyone have any special cleaning tips/products/anything for coping with this?

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Mollycat » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:45 pm

A friend of mine years ago got two cats precisely because she was allergic and after a short and horrible time her allergies actually improved. I have an inconvenient issue called histamine intolerance so have read up a lot about allergies. In my research and experience unrefined sea salt can really help, there are people who swear by Himalayan salt chambers, I just take a bath in unrefined local sea salt regularly to keep the hives at bay. Natural cleaning products ie the less chemicals the better for you and the cat. One of my friend's cats was run over and the other vanished, and her allergies got worse again, then the missing one was found 2 years later and the same happened again, allergies got worse then eased. But everyone's unique.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by lilynmitz » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:14 pm

Sorry, no tips on cleaning products, but Cat’s Best litter is cheaper than World’s Best, and lasts ages as you only need to scoop the soiled bits, and wipe the soiled bit of the tray each time. I let it run down to very shallow and do a full clean out and change at that stage, usually takes c 3 weeks.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Ruth B » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:20 am

While it wasn't due to allergy I did get some cat wipes some years ago as our Ragdoll was getting old and was having problems grooming, however they are recommended for people allergic to cats as they remove some of the dried saliva and dander which are the main causes of allergy, so they would be worth a try. These are the ones I had, but you might want to look at others, the main thing is to make sure they are unscented ones.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earthbath-Hypo ... 159&sr=8-7

If you are keeping your cat inside all the time, and I can understand why are planning to I would suggest you check out Jackson Galaxy's videos on Youtube. You might have heard of him as the cat behaviourist that did the TV series 'My Cat from Hell', he is very good on how to 'catify' your home partly because indoor only cats are far more common in the States than they are in the UK, and one of the big problems an indoor cat faces is boredom which is often the underlying cause of a problem cat.

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Re: Kitty Newbie!

Post by Chezzu » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:10 pm

Ruth B wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:20 am
If you are keeping your cat inside all the time, and I can understand why are planning to I would suggest you check out Jackson Galaxy's videos on Youtube. You might have heard of him as the cat behaviourist that did the TV series 'My Cat from Hell', he is very good on how to 'catify' your home partly because indoor only cats are far more common in the States than they are in the UK, and one of the big problems an indoor cat faces is boredom which is often the underlying cause of a problem cat.
I honestly LOVE Jackson Galaxy's videos! I think they're so entertaining and I just love he way he talks about cats, from my experiences with ex's cats they're definitely a mini wild animal! Me and my boyfriend like to watch both cat and dog behaviourist programs (like my cat from hell and its me or the dog)

I'll admit, I've never really been around an indoor cat before so I'm not sure how well I'll fare but I've lived with one dog for years and have in the past few years had to get used to another dog and slowly I have acclimatised to both. Obviously dogs tend to be more... on the floor than cats so we'll have to see how that goes but I'm willing to adapt! I know the one thing I will struggle with is the aesthetics because I do like a very neat home - but at the end of the day it's us choosing to get a cat not the other way around so how can I not accommodate?

We're moving into a top-floor flat too in a flat block (did I mention that?) so outside access is not only not preferred but will be difficult to accommodate - we will have a balcony but I could never forgive myself if our cat jumped up and fell or something so outdoor access will be minimal - once we're in I'm going to see about perhaps a "cat cage" I've seen some people have for balconies for a very small amount of outdoor access! Most places I see tend to recommend outdoor in the UK - perhaps it will be something I can provide by leash training but we'll have to figure that one out!

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