Indoor cats?

Laurelin

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#1
Okay so... I like cats, I've discovered. I really have always thought if I get a small pet, it'll be a small dog. I still may never get a cat and just stick with little dogs. But I like my dad's cat quite a bit. She's very friendly and easy going. She is really LOUD though and always wants to be petted. The dogs and her get along great. She is really social and follows me around. She comes when you call her and is just a real delight. As far as breed goes, she's some mix of many generations of barn cats.

It wouldn't be until after I moved. But I have some questions. Keep in mind I've NEVER owned a cat and am honestly totally clueless. The only cats I've been around much have been outdoor cats. And most have been declawed. If I got a cat, I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

So I apologize for stupid questions. :eek: I figure you guys will be more lenient with me since you know me, right? I'm really just clueless.

1. How do you keep a cat inside and happy? And without tearing up everything without declawing it?

2. Do you just... leave them loose while you're gone? You don't have to crate them or make a cage for them? I'm so worried they'll get into everything...

3. What do you do for outdoor time? Do you give them outdoor time?

4. Food- in general is a good brand of dog food going to make a good brand of cat food?

5. Litterbox and smell- how do you keep the house from smelling? I've changed shelter litterboxes and they SMELLED bad. I don't want my house to smell like dog or cat.

6. Pros and cons of adopting a kitten versus adult. I almost wonder if it might be better to find an adult for adoption that has a good, easy personality.
 

PWCorgi

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#2
1. How do you keep a cat inside and happy? And without tearing up everything without declawing it?
Lots of attention and playtime! Things like flirtpoles keep them mentally stimulated and active, and in general if they've never been outside, they don't miss the outside or try to escape because they don't realize outside is an option.
As for keeping them from tearing up everything, redirect to good scratching places. If it becomes a problem you can use a squirt bottle if you want. Mainly though with Whiskey, we clip his nails like twice a week and he just isn't able to do any damage because he doesn't have nails to do damage with. Even when we are playing I never feel his front nails. Plus he's so easy to clip, just sits there and purrs the whole time :p

2. Do you just... leave them loose while you're gone? You don't have to crate them or make a cage for them? I'm so worried they'll get into everything...
When Whiskey first came here we kept him in a large dog crate but he made a huge mess of the water and the litter by throwing them everywhere so we put his litterbox, a bed, and a bunch of toys in our bathroom and that is where he stays when we go to work. They sell cat condos which I would highly recommend with kittens, our foster cats are in them at work and they can get quite a bit of exercise in there from chasing toys and jumping from level to level.

Like this:


3. What do you do for outdoor time? Do you give them outdoor time?
Nope! In my experience once most cats have known what the outdoors is they tend to be hell to try and keep inside. Yeowling and clawing at the door to try and get out. Not something I am even remotely willing to deal with.

4. Food- in general is a good brand of dog food going to make a good brand of cat food?
For the most part. You want lots of protein and ideally all wet/raw food as cats are desert animals that are made to get their water from the critters that they eat, not standing water.

5. Litterbox and smell- how do you keep the house from smelling? I've changed shelter litterboxes and they SMELLED bad. I don't want my house to smell like dog or cat.
If you feed crap food then the poop will smell terrible. Raw fed cat poop is about as good as it gets. Canned food poop smells better than kibble poop. And some cats just have smellier poop!

6. Pros and cons of adopting a kitten versus adult. I almost wonder if it might be better to find an adult for adoption that has a good, easy personality.
Pretty much the same as dogs I would say. You know what issues you might be getting into. But you also don't have the option to start good habits when they are kittens, like grooming and such.
 

AllieMackie

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#3
Pretty much everything PW said, I second!

June Bug is left loose when I leave. She has some tall areas she gets away to if the dogs bug her at all, and we trimk her nails at least once a week, usually twice, and she doesn't destroy things as long as we do that. I rub catnip all over her scratching posts regularly, and I also feed her on her taller one so she associates it with good stuff.

She also gets a LOT of play, between the dogs and us. She's active, but content as long as she gets some exercise daily.

Covered litterboxes are the shiz. We have to have ours against the wall though, with just enough room for her to get in or else the dogs will eat poop. Gross.
 

Maxy24

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1. How do you keep a cat inside and happy? And without tearing up everything without declawing it?
Play with them. The ideal thing to do is mimic a natural schedule. Cats wake up, hunt, eat, groom, and sleep (for a loooooong time). So the ideal play time is before a meal. That will keep them happy. As for not scratching things, redirection onto appropriate places works best. Just walk over, pick them up from where they are scratching and carry them over to the post and encourage scratching there (dragging a toy over it works well) Then let them scratch there in peace.
The first step is finding a scratcher your cat likes. It does not matter how badly you want them to scratch it, they decide if they like it. Generally you have three material choices...carpet, cardboard, and sisal. Neither of my cats like sisal, both cats like carpet, one cat likes cardboard. You have to test it out. Then you have both flat, horizontal scratchers, and vertical ones. My suggestion is get a cat tree for vertical and a couple horizontal scratchers. Most vertical scratching posts are too short for most cats, some will even tip over. If you do buy a vertical post try and get one like this: http://www.purrfectpost.com/ tall and sturdy. When you bring home a post you'll find out pretty quickly whether or not the cat likes it.
You can also make your furniture less attractive by putting sticky paws (large double sided tape patches) where they scratch or by using a citrus air freshener sprayed directly onto the area their face goes while they scratch the furniture. That way they find it repulsing to scratch there. I've done that and it worked, you just have to respray the spot fairly often.
The other things to do is clip their nails. One of the main reasons cat scratch is to remove nail sheaths. You'll find them lying around the posts. When you clip nails these sheaths often pop off, reducing the cat's urge to scratch. It's obvious when my cats need a nail trim because their trips to scratching posts will increase so dramatically.

But honestly the most important thing is finding scratchers they love. I had to get creative once and make one out of fabric from the store because Willie didn't like any of the posts we had. It worked. He hasn't touched the furniture since.


2. Do you just... leave them loose while you're gone? You don't have to crate them or make a cage for them? I'm so worried they'll get into everything...
When they were kittens they stayed in one bedroom (lots of people use bathrooms) while we were gone. But that was only for a few weeks. MOST kittens, though not all, don't get into too much trouble. They sleep a lot. They don't really chew. They are litter box trained already. Obviously you'll have to see for yourself and make that decision. Some will chew wires, mine never did. With an adult I doubt you'd need to confine once the cat and dogs are friends.

3. What do you do for outdoor time? Do you give them outdoor time?
Nope. I tried taking them out on leash. With Neko he ended up out of his harness and I ended up bleeding, all because some random noise spooked him. Willie was great out on leash and loved it but started yowling constantly to go out and tried door darting (thankfully he's forgotten about it) so I stopped. Generally if they've never had it they won't miss it.

4. Food- in general is a good brand of dog food going to make a good brand of cat food?
Generally, yes. But I have a hard time recommending any dry foods for cats, wet food or raw it much healthier. Cats seem to react more poorly to carbs and low moisture than dogs do, from a medical standpoint. UTI's, crystals, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, IBD, etc. seem to be running rampant through cats and these diseases are often (though not always) caused by or made worse by lack of moisture in the diet, or high carb content in the diet. Even if you can't feed all wet/raw, try to feed as much as you can.


5. Litterbox and smell- how do you keep the house from smelling? I've changed shelter litterboxes and they SMELLED bad. I don't want my house to smell like dog or cat.
Shelter cat boxes are horrendous for many reasons. Depending on the style of shelter you've been to there are sometimes too many cats to a box or the cat gets a tiny box with a 1/4 inch of litter in it. You want a good three inches of litter in a box. These cats are usually stressed out which leads to loose stool. Also most of these cats are fed crappy brands of food and usually free fed dry food. This all makes for stinky litter. If you feed good food and scoop your box daily you shouldn't have an issue.

6. Pros and cons of adopting a kitten versus adult. I almost wonder if it might be better to find an adult for adoption that has a good, easy personality.
This is a hard one. I got both of mine as kittens and didn't meet them first. They are perfect, but also the same breed so maybe I just click with Siamese cats. I don't know how much of who they are was caused by how they were raised. From working at the shelter I'd say it's VERY hard to have any idea what a kittens adult temperament will be, assuming none are semi feral they are pretty much all the same to me. The adults have much more obvious personality differences. BUT I think it's harder to gauge a cats personality in the shelter than it is to gauge a dog's (and even that can be hard sometimes). The shelter is a scary place for most cats, so they might not show their true colors. So It's a hard one. Some shelters allow cats out of their cages and I think that might give you a better idea of what the cats are like. If you want to avoid the getting into trouble, making your hands bleed stage, then go for an adult. Just be aware that adult cats usually take longer to adjust to a new house and to dogs and other cats.
 

PWCorgi

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#5
I would definitely recommend hanging out with cats in general quite a bit before getting one, figure out what you want. I think a lot of people think that cats are just cats and dogs are all different based on breed. So not true! lol

For example, I lived with a Korat for about a year. Never will I ever have a Korat, just not my kind of cat. We also had a siamese mix rescue and again, no way I'd go for a cat like that again. When we have foster cats, after about a week I can definitively say whether or not I would want to live with that cat. Decide whether you want a super active cat or a lap cat, a loud cat that talks a lot or a quiet cat, etc. Also if you decide to rescue an adult cat and feed canned/raw, try and figure out if they will accept it first, because it can be a long, hard road to convince a cat to eat wet food if they were raised on dry.
 

AdrianneIsabel

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#6
Outside cats that have been declawed? :(

I grew up with 4 cats as inside/outside and now my mom keeps them inside only after having a few die.

If I get so lucky, I really want a cat, I would keep it inside only and follow most of the tips laid out above.

Just be sure you can stomach the litter box, the hair, the walking on everything, and the smoothering your head while you sleep. LOL <all reasons Denis doesn't want a cat.
 
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#7
Pretty much everything has been covered.

My plan for future cats is to build an enclosure attached to the house with a cat door for them. I will sometimes let mine into the garden while I can watch and have used a leash and harness before as well but I think an enclosure with branches to climb would be better. That or I thought about putting cat fence around my backyard and letting them out there some while I am watching.

I do agree that if you start taking them out they want to go out but luckily my cats are really good about settling back into not going out.
 

Shai

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#8
Sample size of two (Brie and Thomas, the housecat we had when I was younger) but here you go...

1. How do you keep a cat inside and happy? And without tearing up everything without declawing it?
We praised a lot and/or gave little bits of cooked chicken or salad shrimp for clawing the cat trees (sisal rope-wrapped poles) and stopped her from clawing inappropriate items by removing her and putting her back with what she should be clawing. Basically like teaching a puppy what items are appropriate to chew and what aren't. And like puppies, some get it faster than others.

2. Do you just... leave them loose while you're gone? You don't have to crate them or make a cage for them? I'm so worried they'll get into everything...
I confined Brie when she was a kitten -- had a walk-in closet in my office with a tile floor so put a tree, hammock, and litterbox in there and stacked two babygate to block the door. She wasn't a very young kitten when I got her...about nearly 4 months old...which is young but old enough that it didn't take very long before she could climb out...once she could I just let her out lol.

Nowadays she either has the run of the house or stays in the basement while we are gone. Basement is if I leave the dogs out...the size difference means I don't trust them alone together all day even if they are great when I'm here. And since Mira runs the house when we're both gone, that means Brie is usually curled up in the sunpatch on her tree in the basement. But if I'm taking the dogs somewhere, she gets the whole house. Which happens a lot.

3. What do you do for outdoor time? Do you give them outdoor time?
She wears a harness and a long line. Just in the yard or barn though -- I don't take her out on the town or anything.

4. Food- in general is a good brand of dog food going to make a good brand of cat food?
I dunno. She eats TOTW and it seems to agree with her.

5. Litterbox and smell- how do you keep the house from smelling? I've changed shelter litterboxes and they SMELLED bad. I don't want my house to smell like dog or cat.
Well maybe it's the diet or maybe it's just having one or maybe it's that unlike a shelter cat Brie isn't stressed out but it's not a problem. Maybe RIGHT after she poops if you are standing near it or if we travel for a long weekend so no one's cleaned them in 3-4 days lol. But she has two litter boxes and I use multicat litter and clean daily.

6. Pros and cons of adopting a kitten versus adult. I almost wonder if it might be better to find an adult for adoption that has a good, easy personality.
I dunno. Thomas was a young adult outdoor cat (maybe 2 years old?) who moved in due to a broken leg. By the time he was healed and mobile he had acclimated and was great in the house and just never left. But he was declawed so maybe it just seemed like he was good. Brie on the other hand was young like I said and she's done really well. I'm sure if you found the right cat it would be great, I just don't know how hard that would be.




The most annoying thing, to me, is the high elevation walking. With the dogs there is at least a certain height above which my things are safe. With the cat...not so much. Ever.
 

Laurelin

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#9
Outside cats that have been declawed? :(

I grew up with 4 cats as inside/outside and now my mom keeps them inside only after having a few die.

If I get so lucky, I really want a cat, I would keep it inside only and follow most of the tips laid out above.

Just be sure you can stomach the litter box, the hair, the walking on everything, and the smoothering your head while you sleep. LOL <all reasons Denis doesn't want a cat.
Yeah, not my decision. :( The cat is 16 now though and pretty much just hangs on the porch all day.

I am not sure about the walking all over everything and litter boxes either. Maybe one day I can foster a cat or kittens. I have a friend that does cat rescue so maybe I can borrow one. She's always trying to pawn kittens off on me.

I am reading all the longer posts right now. :)
 

Laurelin

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#10
This is very interesting! Cats are just so different it seems.

I know nothing about cat breeds either or how to pick a cat. If I went into a shelter I know I'd just pick one I thought was pretty. That's pretty bad... But I doubt I'd ever buy a purebred cat though. What kinds of traits are you looking for when you look at adopting a cat? Maybe the foster to adopt would be best.

I did not think about the dogs eating the poop. I am sure they would if given the chance. And they are small enough to fit in a covered litterbox too.
 

Shai

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I know nothing about cat breeds either or how to pick a cat. If I went into a shelter I know I'd just pick one I thought was pretty. That's pretty bad... But I doubt I'd ever buy a purebred cat though. What kinds of traits are you looking for when you look at adopting a cat? Maybe the foster to adopt would be best.

I did not think about the dogs eating the poop. I am sure they would if given the chance. And they are small enough to fit in a covered litterbox too.
Erm yeah my highly scientific method was to walk into the cat room and pick out a couple younger females that I thought were super cute and take them to the meet & greet room. One was especially interested in me then shimmied up a cat poll in the room and sat on top surveying her kingdom. The others mostly played with each other in a corner or hid behind a box. I took the climber...figured being bold and vertically inclined would be helpful in a house of dogs.

It worked out but who's to say that the same kittens on a different day wouldn't have acted differently? :dunno:
 

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#12
I have always had indoor cats, to many coyotes and varmints around me.

Everything has been covered I think..Right now I have 4, (had 5 one passed recently). All rescues, they are quite entertaining but definitely not dogs..I do take them out on harnesses occasionally. They get along great with the dogs and funny to watch their antics.

Cats are more independent I would say.

Just wanted to add, my sister's papillon LOVES kitties, he'd rather hang with a kitty than a dog:)
 

PWCorgi

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#13
Laur, do you have any small independent pet stores there that foster? If so I would just keep an eye on the cats that come through there, ask the employees questions and such.

Or go through a rescue that keeps the cats in foster homes.
 

Laurelin

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My papillons love cats too and aren't fond of strange dogs. I think it's a breed trait. I have always joked paps are part cat with the amount of climbing mine do and some of their mannerisms. Mine follow Joy around and try to clean her face all the time.

I don't know of any stores that foster. Petsmart gets some cats in sometimes to adopt.

When I worked in the shelter, I liked a good number of the cats. Especially some of the bobtails. I don't know if that's a breed trait but I found all of the bobtailed cats to be a lot of fun and very interactive. Of course that's different than actually owning them.
 

Maxy24

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#15
There are definitely big personality differences, but not everyone is picky about it. I am pretty specific. I like VERY interactive cats. Cats that want to be on you and touching you all of the time. If you stop petting them and walk away they follow you and ask for more. I like cats that talk, either when spoken to or as a form of begging. I like annoying cats lol. If I brought home an aloof or independent cat I'd be super bummed. If you could volunteer at a shelter that gives their cats out of cage time I think you could figure out what you are looking for (and maybe bring one home). You have to think about it long term though. A lot of people like my type of cat for short periods. They come over, ask for pets, are sweet and friendly, and people think that's awesome. But if they had to live with a cat who is literally ALWAYS in their way, they would be miserable.
 

Shai

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There are definitely big personality differences, but not everyone is picky about it. I am pretty specific. I like VERY interactive cats. Cats that want to be on you and touching you all of the time. If you stop petting them and walk away they follow you and ask for more. I like cats that talk, either when spoken to or as a form of begging. I like annoying cats lol. If I brought home an aloof or independent cat I'd be super bummed. If you could volunteer at a shelter that gives their cats out of cage time I think you could figure out what you are looking for (and maybe bring one home).
Haha yeah that sort of cat would probably make me crazy lol. Brie is sort of middle of the road. In the evenings especially she likes to play so we get out her bell ball or she will chase and tackle plushie dog toys too. But she's quiet unless it's past her dinnertime. The rest of the time she is usually nearby but not in your face. Like right now she's napping on the windowsill in my office. If I go downstairs she'll appear on the living room cat tree shortly thereafter. Bedroom, on the vanity. If I leave she'll be in the window or in Hubby's room with him. But the whole time she'll act like it's happenschance that she's in the same room as the human lol.

Right now:
 

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#17
I am finding this thread really interesting. We are adding at least one, but hopefully two, Bengal kittens to our household this winter. Jason's really into cats and gave me a list of breeds he likes. Luckily, we have a friend that breeds them that is only 3 hours away and very reputable (she has GSDs too). She's going to pick them out for us. She has three available right now but says not one of them is suited for our doggy lifestyle so we'll wait. That is what is making me most excited - someone else that knows what they're doing is going to pick them for me!
 

Laurelin

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#18
One thing that is really interesting to me (from an indoor dog owner perspective) is that you don't have to let indoor cats outside. I really would not have expected that.
 

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#19
my indoor kitties seem very content being indoors, they aren't carrying on to get outside, tho when I do take them out, they do like to explore:)

I always advise people to get two, they do keep each other company and are so cute when they have a buddy, altho with small dogs, it's kinda like having a cat around, so one would probably fit right in.

The Petsmart's here that offer cats/kittens for adoption usually get them from HS>
 

Shai

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#20
One thing that is really interesting to me (from an indoor dog owner perspective) is that you don't have to let indoor cats outside. I really would not have expected that.
I think it depends on the cat. Brie goes out periodically and it doesn't seem to change her approach to the door. She only goes out if carried...doesn't try to walk out.

Make sure you have a very well fitted harness though. The first harness I had on her was one that I thought fit well...it did fit well by dog terms...but she got out of it and thankfully just ran over to me when called...scared me though and we got a new and better fitted harness before going back outside.
 

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