We're probably getting a rescue cat soon. What do we need to buy and how much will upkeep cost?

(312 Posts)
QueenStromba Sun 10-Feb-13 16:45:08

We're moving soon and have found a flat that we're close to signing the contracts on where the landlord is willing for us to have a cat. If it all goes through we'll be getting an adult cat from Battersea. What do we need to buy and where is the best place to buy from? So far we're thinking:

Transport cage
Litter tray
Scratching post (which will probably be ignored in favour of the sofa)
Cat toys
Food and water bowls

I'm thinking a cat bed would just be ignored in favour of climbing all over us while we're trying to sleep, the sofa, the laptop, whatever point on the carpet the sun is hitting. Should we get one anyway?

Also, neither of us has owned a cat as an adult (we both had them as kids - DP for longer) so we have no idea how much it costs to feed them (is it a whole tin or half a tin a day?), insure them and how much vet bills will cost. How does microchipping work? Is it just the one off cost or is there a yearly charge or just a charge if you change any details etc?

BagCat Sun 10-Feb-13 16:59:29

Try and get a littler tray like this: www.petwarehouse.co.uk/large-litter-tray-with-hood-lid-odour-filter-handle-door-flap-for-cat-pet-dog-made-in-italy-blue-white/ They are great at keeping any smell contained and you don't have a yukky tray lying exposed. They are great! Keep the tray clan as much as possible and that encourages the cat not to do the loo anywhere else. Cats are exceptionally clean and love to have a clean toilet.

Pets at home I find quite expensive, so only buy the mega packs of litter from there. Flea treatment should be done every 4-5 weeks if your cat is going to be going outdoors. The best one is called Frontline and you get multipacks of it online. It's a little pipette, you just squeeze it on the back of the neck and the skin absorbs it. Also, worming should be done every 3 months, again, if your cat is going outside.

M&S insurance for our cat is £7.99 a month but M&S will pay meds for life if needed. Lots of insurers will only cover meds for a year (let's say if your cat was to end up diabteic or something, can be very expensive). Vet bills (operations can easy cost literally thousands) are an arm and a leg so would defo recommend insurance. The yearly combo flu/luekemia jab is around £30 and a check up £16 if needed (from my vet).

If getting a rescue cat, it will probably already be microchipped. There is no yearly charge for this. All you do is complete the change of address form that you will be provided with and send it off.

My cat eats 2 pouches a day (sometimes only 1), she is quite small but we also have a bowl of kibble biscuits out for her to munch on, so she has a bit of both. Plenty of water should be available but it will probably end up drinking from puddles and dripping taps grin

You're doing a great thing and will get so much pleasure from having a new little friend smile They all have different personalities and it's a fab thing to be able to give them a nice life.

IAmNotAMindReader Sun 10-Feb-13 17:14:30

Dreamies cat treats are kitty crack.

Forget cat beds they will be pointedly ignored, perhaps slept next ot to illustrate displeasure in a "Look I'm so disgusted with your offering of sleeping arrangements I would rather sleep on the cold, hard draughty floor next to the cat bed."

Wet food is commonly 375 - 400g a day and if feeding dry it will give reccomended amounts on the box.
Cat insurance isnt much about £7 - £10 a month. Neutering is inexpensive, at about £45 - £65 depending on whether it is neutering or spaying and cost varies from area to area.

Flea treatments something like advocate is a spot on multispectrum parasite killer, dabbed on monthly and used in conjuction with quarterly worming and vaccinations means you cat is likely to remain healthy and disease free. Your vet will advise you on the best courses available for you.

Oh yes, you don't own a cat. You are now cat staff.

QueenStromba Sun 10-Feb-13 17:38:41

Thanks for the tips BagCat - especially the insurance and litter tray. I've been massively broody for a cat for years which is the only reason we want this place and are willing to pay a small fortune in extra rent to get it.

Thanks IAmNotAMindReader. I think we'll be asking Cattersea for a cat that's already been neutered to minimise it's displeasure at us. We know full well that we'll be cat slaves which are easily replaced if we're not up to par smile The flat is currently unfurnished and the landlords are letting us pick the furniture out - we were trying to decide earlier if we should get a double or king-sized cat bed!

BagCat Sun 10-Feb-13 17:42:44

Laughing at 'you are now cat staff' grin So true!

QueenStromba Sun 10-Feb-13 17:42:49

Oh - forgot to ask. How often will the litter tray need cleaning assuming that the cat decides that going outdoors is beneath it? How much litter would that equate to in a month?

Ponders Sun 10-Feb-13 17:45:34

one of our cats sleeps on the dining table grin so no, a bed is def not essential. We used to have a short scratching pole when they were kittens which they used briefly & then ignored, but the one we have now is about 3' tall & they do like that - after a good scratch they run up it & perch on the top like a vulture.

I have this litter tray from zooplus. The tray has its own scoop, which tucks away under the filter lid in the top, & zooplus is great - loads of choice at v good prices, quick delivery & no need to lug tons of food & litter home with you.

Our cats are 8 months old now. They eat 2-3 small tins daily between them - atm it's animonda carny from zooplus, £1.50-£2 a day, plus one bowl of biscuits - Royal Canin neutered female, a 1.5kg bag costs c £11, I don't know how much a bowlful weighs though. 50p a day? maybe less

One 5 kg bag of crystal cat litter only lasts 1 week because mine wee a lot, but according to the reviews it should last longer. It's normally between £3.60 & £4.50 a bag but they've got 3 for 2 atm so £3 per bag. It's much nicer to use than ordinary

Insurance is £13 for 2 from Argos (& there was £20 cashback with topcashback)

ooh, you can save on the furniture scratch damage if you get some claw clippers like these

I can't remember how much all the vet bills have been. Ours weren't rescue as such (just moggies a friend needed to find homes for) so we've had to pay for vaccination, neutering & microchipping ourselves - maybe £300 all in, I think the vacs were either £50 or £70 per cat.

Advocate works for fleas and worms & you don't have to try to get a pill into them which is brilliant! It's prescription only; you can get it much cheaper online, but it's only worth it if the vet will give you a reasonably priced prescription for a reasonable length of time. Ours charges £12.50 for one prescription for 6 doses; they "negotiated a discount" with Bayer so the net cost ended up the same hmm - £6 per cat per dose

You will need a carrier for trips to the vet, kennels etc. Ours sometimes sits around downstairs & they sleep in it voluntarily so it isn't full of horrors for them when we do need to take them somewnere.

You will end up buying lots of toys too. They play quite happily with eg aerosol tops, scrunched-up balls of sellotape (the entire contents of the waste paper basket in fact) & ping-pong balls, but little squidgy things to "kill" are very popular & you have to get a laser pen, it's the law! They also love computer keyboards, hessian shopping bags & cardboard boxes.

Ours are utterly different from each other, fascinating, hilarious & wonderful. You will have such a good time!

(I appear to have written an essay - sorry grin)

All good points made above. I would really recommend the Willows Scratch Box from Pets at Home instead of a scratching post http://www.petsathome.com/shop/willows-catnip-scratchbox-102077

That one is £8 and there is a more basic one for about £5. All cats seem to love them and use them (whereas not many seem to bother with the poles unless they're enormous) and they even like to sleep on them.

Also when buying a carrier make sure you get one with a metal grill/door rather than plastic as the plastic ones aren't study enough to keep some strong/panic stricken cats in, which can lead to disasters.

Also, if you're going to be out a lot, a pair of cats might be a better idea so that they can play together and keep each other company. Just a thought ...

IAmNotAMindReader Sun 10-Feb-13 19:12:06

With regards litter changing it can depend on what type you use.
clumping and paper based about twice a week (and can set like concrete) and most of the others around once a week (bearing in mind to scoop out crap daily). The most expensive ones say you can go a couple of weeks between changes because the crystals dehydrate averything, although I'd play it by ear and the snap crackle and popping from them when introduced to moisture may freak your cat out.
Everyone has their favoirites we used wood pellets which break down into sawdust, are antibacterial and have a natural smelling pine scent (not sure how much of it is truly natural though).

QueenStromba Sun 10-Feb-13 19:23:45

Thanks guys. This is why I love Mumsnet - my DP said "surely someone else has already asked all of these questions - shouldn't you just go looking for the answers?". I had to explain to him that Mumsnetters love giving personalised advice and support.

I was thinking of something like this rather than just a scratching pole - would most cats like that or is it likely to get ignored? I'll definitely take the tip and get the willows catnip one too because I'd rather not have to replace half of the landlords' furniture if it can be avoided with an £8 purchase! I really don't fancy trying to cut their claws unless they turn out to be really docile like this one!

I'm currently working from home so for the the first few months at least the cat will have company all day most days. If I'm out for work then I might be out all day (very unlikely) but DP can come home for an hour at lunch but I'm more likely to just be out for 4-5 hours in the afternoon. We might be out for 3-4 hours in the evening a couple of times a week. So I don't think we'd need two to begin with. How difficult is it to add another cat to the household if I get a full time job and the first cat seems lonely?

I think you might be wasting your money with that scratching pole. Some cats might like it but I can imagine a lot ignoriing it, whereas the Willows ones seem to be loved by all cats and are £40 cheaper!

Your cat should be fine for company then. If you're going to get two cats then it's always easier to adopt a bonded pair from the beginning. However it isn't generally that difficult to add another cat later. The shelter will be able to find you a second cat that seems to like other cats, but of course your first cat might object at first. Generally there is always a couple of weeks of hissing but they then come round and end up anywhere on the spectrum from tolerating each other to being inseperable. But there are a small minority of cats that really do hate other cats, and if your first cat is one of those then he'll be happier being on his own. Again Battersea should be able to tell you if the cat you adopt seems to be anti or pro-cat generallysmile

Chick crumb can be used as cat litter, it's less smelly and is quite small size chunks so its soft on paws.

I use black farm gate, there's a list of suppliers on the website. It's £8 for 20kg and lasts ages.

QueenStromba Mon 11-Feb-13 18:14:15

It really looks like it's happening smile We're just waiting for my supervisor and our current landlady to get back with references.

What should we look for when picking a cat? Is a young, affectionate cat likely to become more standoffish as it gets older? Also, how much is the difference in insurance premiums between a young cat and an older cat? It would be a bit of a shock to be thinking a tenner a month for insurance then come out with a 10 year old costing £50. I'm sure all sensibleness will go out of the window once we find a cat we love but it would be nice to know what we're getting ourselves in for.

How does this look as a shopping list for non-consumables?

Litter box

Food/water dish I'm thinking 3-4 of these so we can stick the food dish in the dishwasher between uses

Cat carrier

Toy

And of course the willows scratch box smile

Can anyone recommend some good toys and is it worth getting some feliway?

best cat toys are a piece of string or a dangly thing on a stick!
Don't go buying expensive toys as your cat probably won't play with them. Ditto beds although all the cats I have had love cardboard boxes

insurance premiums will go up dramatically once the cat is over 7...or it might be 8. My cats aren't insured but my dogs are.

A young affectionate cat won't necessarily get stand offish as it gets older. It all depends on how much cuddling, handling it gets, although some cats are naturally stand offish and less cuddly. i have 3 cats, all related, only one will sleep on my lap the moment I sit down regularly, although all of them are cuddly.

My cats just have a basic scratching post, more than one might be a good idea as mine do like to use the table leg and chair backs too!

I use Sainsbury's clumping cat litter, and when it's snowy or really wet I have to clean it out at least once a day. More at the moment as i have a small puppy who likes to clean it out too ..ewwww. I buy a bag a week and only completely empty the tray and scrub it out about every couple of months.

I had feeding bowls like the ones you have linked to and I found them a bit shallow. The cats would flick or push the food out whilst eating and make a mess. I bought these basic metal camping bowls which I have found much better.

How exciting for you
I love cats grin

That sounds like a reasonable list.

As you are going to be living in a flat, not a house with a garden, I'm sure Battersea will point you towards cats that, for one reason or another, shouldn't go outside who don't appear to want to.

I'm with the Celia Hammond Animal Trust in London and we have cats specifically advertised on our website as 'flat cats'. I imagine Battersea will do the same. That is going to be your most important factor when choosing a cat.

I've never known initially friendly cats to become less friendly, but of course a lot of shy cats end up being very friendly.

You may find this information on our website on rehoming useful and of course applies equally to cats adopted from any rescue centres: http://www.celiahammond.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=40&MMN_position=67:67

QueenStromba Mon 11-Feb-13 18:59:35

Thanks. I really want a cat who'd be straight on my lap the second I sit on the sofa - my father had one like that who I adored. Our neighbours in the last place got a young cat who at first would always come to say hi and have a pet when we were in the garden. As time went on she got less friendly and I was wondering if that was due to lack of attention/mistreatment by the owners of if that was just something that cats do sometimes.

I'm massively excited but my DP won't let me really talk about it until the contract is signed. I can see his point but I'm ready to explode here!

QueenStromba Mon 11-Feb-13 19:06:07

We're actually getting a bit of a strange flat thecatneuterer. We'll be third floor but the stairs to the flats are on the outside of the building and the landlords are happy to put a cat flap in so the cat will be able to get outside. We're in the town centre though so it would have to be a cat that already knows not to go near busy roads.

BagCat Mon 11-Feb-13 19:16:23

Aw, this is is exciting for you!

As for toys, a piece of string, shoelace, long piece of wool, ball of tin foil, anything like that they can chase. Fishing rod toys are good to keep the claws away from your hands smile Also the laser pen someone mentioned above is great, but I have read they can get frustrated because they can't 'catch' it - so keep a couple of little biscuits and give them at the end of play to distract them after the laser.

My cat hates balls. She loves wool and licking furry things and anything with feathers (yuk). I guess a bit is trial and error to see what they like.

Rub a bit of catnip on the scratch pole, that will encourage him/her to use it straight away. You also get little mice that have a velcro belly and you can stuff a bit of catnip inside, my cat loves them too.

You will know your cat when you see it.....or rather your cat will choose you grin

Am keeping my fingers well crossed for you.

QueenStromba Mon 11-Feb-13 19:27:20

Thanks BagCat smile

I'm sure we're getting the flat. We got on really well with the landlords straight away and they have four cats themselves so understand us wanting the flat because they'll let us have a cat. They seem really keen to rent to us and have bent over backwards giving us a discount for the first couple of months, changing the contract to our specifications, offering us a 6 month break clause without them having one, letting us in unattended to measure up for furniture they're letting us pick etc. My DP is just a buzzkill pessimist and isn't letting me plan until we've signed the contracts.

BIWI Mon 11-Feb-13 19:31:49

How exciting, and how lovely! I can't imagine living without cats in the house.

The only thing I would add is that whatever you buy specifically for the cat will be totally ignored.

And definitely agree, the cat will choose you. Good luck with it!

Do keep us updated (with photos smile ) won't you?

Ponders Mon 11-Feb-13 20:49:57

my cats do play with actual toys sometimes, as well as the bits of string, balls of paper & other random delights.

hessian-covered balls & mice are good, they enjoy getting their claws into those. as with small children, you can put toys away for a bit, then get them out again & they are greeted like new friends wink

this one got one of mine so excited she literally ran completely out of energy & had to lie down afterwards grin - it's on elastic, I had it dangling about a foot off the floor, she was turning 180 degree somersaults trying to catch it every time it slipped out of her claws.

Ponders Mon 11-Feb-13 20:55:42

when do you sign the contracts, QueenStromba?

QueenStromba Mon 11-Feb-13 21:27:59

Don't worry, there'll be lots of photos and probably a video or two - I personally think it's very bad form to post about getting a cat and then not put pictures up!

We're just waiting for the references to come back Ponders, so I'd guess Wednesday or Thursday. I've added that toy to the shopping list.

QueenStromba Wed 13-Feb-13 14:10:17

We're signing the contract tonight! And DP still won't let me talk about the cat. I think I might have already picked one though blush

It's this one - she sounds lovely and doesn't need a garden.

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