Want a cat but work full time

(33 Posts)
polexiaaphrodesia Thu 31-Jan-13 17:34:09

I have always grown up with cats and now DP and I have finally got our own home we are keen to rescue an adult cat.

However... we both work full time and there is no possibility of putting in a cat flap (back door is french window). I would prefer not to have an indoor cat but want to ask your opinion on having a cat shelter/ cat cabin in the back garden with food, bed, water etc. Has anyone got one of these and does their cat actually use it? We would keep the cat inside with a litter tray on very cold or very wet days. Are Cats Protection or Rspca likely to turn us down aa potential cat-adopters without a cat flap to the house?

StuffezLaBouche Thu 31-Jan-13 17:37:24

I work long hours (out the house approx 630 till 5 or 6pm)
I got my kitty when he was 9 months old and he's fine. He is an.indoor cat though.
I just make sure i give him lots of play and cuddles in the evenings.

Sparklingbrook Thu 31-Jan-13 17:38:54

Do you have a shed you could put a catflap in or into the garage?

SilverBellsandCockleShells Thu 31-Jan-13 17:40:25

I don't know what Cats Protection will make of it, but our cats are happy living outside in their shed, which is actually an old lean-to. They have cat-flap access, food, beds, water and a few things in there to entertain them, plus a heater which is on a thermostat so comes on when they get cold. We let them into the house when they're around, but they're happy outside too and always enormously grateful for a cuddle when they can get one!

polexiaaphrodesia Thu 31-Jan-13 17:41:54

No shed (yet!)but we do have a garage although not sure if you could put a cat flap into a metal garage door as we have no side door to the garage.

polexiaaphrodesia Thu 31-Jan-13 17:44:34

I've been looking at cat shelters online but knowing feline behaviour grin I can see that a specially purchased cat shelter may be met with hmm from the cat!

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Thu 31-Jan-13 17:45:03

RSPCA wanted me popping home at lunch & to have 2 cats.
But the cats were fine (even when i changed jobs so couldnt pop back)I'd leave a window for them to come and go and they were fine.

catladycourtney1 Thu 31-Jan-13 17:52:54

I have a work friend who successfully adopted a cat from Cat's Protection and she works 12 hours a day (she has two jobs). But she ended up sending it back because she felt guilty. I have to say I think it is a bit selfish if you're out most of the day.

People will probably tell you to get two cats to keep one another company, but this only really works with kittens - older cats are much more likely to take an instant dislike to the other and this can lead to territorial aggression, urine-spraying/marking, accidents and distress for one cat if the other is "guarding" litter trays, and all sorts of other problems. They can (in most cases, anyway) be brought together in such a way that they accept each other, but this takes a lot of time and attention, and they can still turn on each other. Having a cat flap can also cause similar issues, since the cat perceives it as a breach in the walls (which it is, really) and will be constantly anxious about other cats getting in, especially if that ever happens (and magnetic collar-activated catflaps have their own set of problems).

I know at least our branch of RSPCA won't rehome kittens if they won't be let outside, but that doesn't mean you need to install a cat flap. They're happy to rehome older cats to indoor-only homes if that's what they're used to, or they've had a bad experience outdoors, as are Cat's Protection.

polexiaaphrodesia Thu 31-Jan-13 18:20:44

Thanks everyone for the replies and for the advice. We certainly want to give this as much consideration as possible rather than rushing into things.

I think I will give my local Cat's Protection a call to see what they think of the situation I've described above and potentially ask if they could do a home visit to assess our house and outside space.

Sparklingbrook Thu 31-Jan-13 18:35:17

That sounds sensible polexia. At the moment the cats at the Cats Protection have no home so they would prefer to rehome a cat if at all possible, and consider all circumstances.

MrsOakenshield Thu 31-Jan-13 18:39:18

we had sliding french doors and when we got our cats we got the doors replaced by double glazed french doors with the botom bit on both doors a white panel, into one of which we put the catflap. Sounds extreme but as we were also at work all day we wanted a catflap. (we actally got the whole kitchen done at the same time so in effect ended up with a £15,000 catflap grin).

We were turned down by Battersea Dogs home because of being at work but the rescue centre we eventually got our kittens from said, quite rightly, that our house was better than their rescue centre, and actually wanted us to take more than 2!

tipsytrifle Thu 31-Jan-13 19:27:24

I got a large bunny hutch for the yard by way of shelter. I removed a small middle grill to make a little doorway, put straw and old jumpers in ... cats love it!

I'd also recommend getting two cats because, contrary to popular opinion, they are social beings and need companionship. You may well find that there are two cats in a rescue centre hoping like crazy that they aren't going to be separated after whatever drama rendered them homeless.

Could you maybe fib a little about coming home at lunch time if you're asked? *oops ...

milktraylady Thu 31-Jan-13 20:07:17

Or you could get a cat that is a bit dim?
Our (sole) cat is in during the weekdays, has a run around the garden in the morning & evening. Obviously out all eve in the summer. Having been off sick the odd time I promise you she sleeps 22 hrs out of 24, even if there is someone in who will let her out- just not interested.
She is a pedigree & DH is convinced she is a bit thick, but a lovely wee cat & seems very happy!

polexiaaphrodesia Thu 31-Jan-13 20:28:42

milktraylady I like the idea of a dim cat! grin

Actually there was an older cat on our local rspca website a few weeks ago who was used to being let out in the morning and evenings for a potter about in the garden but was othewise pretty happy to sleep indoors for most of the day. I think he was in the process of being rehomed but he sounded like he could be my dream cat!

tipsy glad to hear your cats like their cat house. That's definitely the sort of thing I was looking into getting and then spending the summer in the garden introducing the cat(s) to the idea of using it!

sashh Fri 01-Feb-13 07:38:42

An older cat would be good for you and you for them. They sleep most of the time but all cats play like kittens, well until they are about 20.

I've recently started work so I'm out 3 days a week 7.30 - 5. She goes out in the morning for her usual kitty adventure and is home all day.

I do get told off when I come home. But then she tells me off if I have a bath.

milktraylady Fri 01-Feb-13 13:03:16

<cute cat anecdote thread hijack alert!>

Ha yes every time I have a bath my cat has a good look in the bath & sniff, as if she's about to jump in. Luckily it hasn't happened (yet!)

Corygal Fri 01-Feb-13 13:52:31

I worked ft when I got Mr Cory - he is an indoor cat. I bust a gut to decorate the balcony with interesting branches, plants and scratchers; played football with him nightly; cuddled and conversed incessantly.

Nothing doing. His favourite thing is sleeping on me, and he deliberately gets cuddly when I am trying to get up. Going out is a personality decision from a cat - they'll let you know if they're bored, trust me.

woozlebear Fri 01-Feb-13 15:16:22

1) You can put cat flaps in glass
2) You could get a deaf/FIV cat or a cat who has never been outside before?
3) Have you considered fostering cats? Your arrangements might be more suitable as fostered cats aren't allowed outside and some charities will build you a little chalet in your garden for them to live in.

Working full time not a problem (although Battersea and RSPCA will possibly sneer at you but most other places will welcome you with open arms.) As long as the cat has access to a garden or plenty of stimulation indoors (assuming indoors is suitable for that cat) cats are fairly self sufficient. You could try to get a slightly less sociable one so it doesn't mind - one of ours is uber uber friendly and she does miss us during the day, which I feel bad about.

Lovethesea Sun 03-Feb-13 20:54:35

We don't have a cat flap, but we have a summerhouse with a door left open all the time for the cat to shelter in if we are out. In decent weather he has breakfast then wants out for the day, hunting and eating out, then comes in for food around 5pm. So he'd be great for you!

He sleeps in overnight on our feet and is happy pottering indoors in snow. We have a litter tray as backup but in good weather he uses it about once in 3 months.

Lovethesea Sun 03-Feb-13 20:55:01

Meant to say - he's a cats protection cat. They wanted some garden shelter and him in at night.

polexiaaphrodesia Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:09

Thanks lovethesea our local Cat's Protection people are at the Pets at Home near us in a couple of weeks' time so I think I'm going to pop in and have a chat with them and have a sneaky peek at all the cat accessories.

I was working full time when I took on my cats. Cats Protection were fine with it, I ended on taking mother and daughter tabbies (2 and 1).
Mum tabby passed away in 2011, daughter is currently curled up in front of the fire at the ripe old age of 17.
She has a microchip cat flap so no strays, food and water all day. She rarely goes out apart from the essentials and is quite happy on her own all day.
You can easily fit a cat flap in a glass door BTW. I would recommend rehoming a pair if you're prepared for double the costs! smile

I volunteer for a cat rehoming charity and in this situation we would recommend a bonded pair of adult cats that would be happy to stay inside most of the time and could keep each other company. Many cats come into shelters in pairs and look for homes in pairs.

Also it is possible to put a cat flat in glass. If it's single glazed then you just need someone who can cut glass to cut you the hole. If it's double glazed then you will need to have a a new glazed panel made with the hole in it. Most double glazing companies can do this and the cost depends on the size of the pane to be replaced.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 09-Feb-13 19:03:31

we got an older cat when we both worked full-time
i worked from home for a bit, and the cat's routine was:
7am - up, breakfast, wander about a bit
8am - back to bed
4.30pm (the sort of time I'd return home when working in the office) - get up, have a snack, potter around for the evening
11pm - back to bed

I agree completely with Charlotte. An older cat (10 +) would also do the job. Also they are more difficult to rehome than young cats so you'd be doing a good thing ...

lozster Sun 10-Feb-13 20:56:14

I have a cat who i adopted after she had been living rough for months in our street. we toyed for ages with the idea of getting a cat flap as we were both out the house for up to 12 hours. However i read a couple of cat behaviour books (vicky hall I think) that said that cat flaps can make some cats anxious in the house as they feel a need to guard them and never feel safe from predators. Our cat was a nervous girl anyway so i bought a Katkabin in time for winter and trained her to use it starting her off with it inside baited with treats. She goes in there or under a bush until I come home and is perfectly happy.

Interestingly vicky hall also recommends not getting more than one cat as she says they are solitary animals. Our girl blanks other people apart from us so I don't think she hankers after another puss to hang out with to cramp her mousing style.

I still think you're better off with a cat flap than with a cat shelter. And if you were to have a problem with other cats coming in then you could always get one of those that reads the microchip and only lets your cat in.

And as for cats being solitary animals - I don't know how the author of the book mentioned above can say that. Feral cats live in colonies. They're not solitary. In my multi-cat household many cats have paired up and, even though they came to the house at different times, they follow each other around and groom each other and sleep together. And I took in a mother cat and two small kittens, who have now grown up but the whole family is inseperable, and if the brother cat decides to go out for a while his sister scours each room in the house crying until he comes home. It's true the some cats seem to prefer to be alone, and others aren't bothered one way or the other, but to say most cats prefer to be alone doesn't seem right at all.

WhatKindofFool Sun 10-Feb-13 23:39:55

Cat flap in the front door maybe? Are both doors glass?

MortifiedAdams Sun 10-Feb-13 23:43:34

My MIL has a cat flap in her wall - she removed the bricks through like a tunnel, just above the skirtinf board and put a catflap.on the outer wall.

It doesnt look the prettiest but is tucked away behind a couch. When her elderly cat started getting incontinent,she added a large dog cage onto the indoor hole of the flap so the cat could be indoor.or.out but when indoora was contained so as not to.pee everywhere
The cage had blankets and food and water in so everything they needed.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 11-Feb-13 00:04:15

On my work days I'm out from 9am-7.30pm and my cat is fine. He gets used to going out first thing in the morning then again when I come home. He's not an indoor cat, far from it, but he's a lazy bugger and is very happy to snooze the day away on a bed in the sun. Or in the front window so he can nosey at the world.
I used to leave a litter tray out for him when I first had him (8 years ago) but he never used it. He's been fine all these years but he's started pooing indoors now and again as he just doesn't want to go out in the morning any more (getting old). But he's very considerate and does it next to the toilet so I'm not going to get cross at him.
Cats Protection weren't bothered about a cat flap for us, they were more concerned that he had somewhere safe to go away from the dcs.

lozster Mon 11-Feb-13 16:24:06

That's a really interesting point about feral colonies cat neuter. It adds a new perspective. I did a bit of research and found this link

I don't think it's black and white but certain cats have certain personalities and early experiences that don't equip them for communal living. The suggestion seems up be that on colonies mature males leave the group to establish new territories and that newcomers who are not related are not tolerated well. Life in the group may also be quite stressful for some members. I think that maybe the point vicky hall was making is that two cats isn't necessarily a recipe for harmony and that a cats need for company is lower than a dogs say.

Here's a link too on the cat flap issue from Vicky Hall
You need to page down to find the relevant question 'should I install a cat flap'. She describes them as a mixed blessing. Even a microchip operated one could be problematic if your cat doesn't grasp that the hole in his territory is exclusively for him.

VeryDullNameChange Mon 11-Feb-13 16:35:22

I agree with cat neuterer that I see a lot of cats advertised in pairs from our local rescue. Getting two random adult cats and asking them to share a home is routine, but many will bond as kittens very well, and if their owner then has to get them rehomed then they'll need a home together.

milktraylady Mon 11-Feb-13 17:52:22

Ok this is a bit odd- my colleagues friend has just adopted a born in captivity hedgehog as a pet, as she is out all day!
Mega cute!

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