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Total cat novice considering getting a cat - please fill me in!

(35 Posts)
Aranea Wed 17-Oct-12 21:05:14

I've never owned a cat but am thinking of getting one, mainly because I hope it will stop my mouse problem. But I don't know anything about cat ownership, and I am not sure whether it's a good idea.

What does a cat need to keep it happy and healthy? Would I just put a catflap in and then not need a litter tray in the house? I hate it when you can smell cat in people's houses, and I assume that this would be because they have a litter tray?

Also, with two children (7 & 4) would we best off getting a kitten or an adult cat?

Would it be OK to keep a cat shut into the kitchen at night time?

Presumably if you have a cat you can't have a burglar alarm - is there any way around this, or do you just never turn it on if you've got a cat?

Finally - is it possible that even with a cat, potentially shut into the kitchen at night, we could still have a mouse problem?

Thank you for any advice you may have!

DontCallMeBaby Wed 17-Oct-12 21:30:25

I'm fairly sure we have a mouse problem BECAUSE we have cats - think they bought a little chum or two in to play, and didn't supervise them properly.

Aranea Wed 17-Oct-12 21:49:22

Oh no! But surely a cat isn't going to tolerate a situation like ours, where the little buggers come out whenever I'm sitting quietly in the kitchen?

lljkk Thu 18-Oct-12 08:02:10

Only get a cat if you think you'd enjoy having a cat, there's no guarantee yours would be a good mouser.

Paiviaso Thu 18-Oct-12 12:36:48

I don't think you should get a cat from what you've posted.

You should get a cat because you love cats and you know you will be a responsible pet owner.

From your post the cat sounds like it will be an inconvenience. You want to lock it away. You don't want litter boxes. You think it will smell. You are concerned about not having an alarm. It doesn't really sound like this cat will be seen as an addition to the family, more like it will be a piece of kit to keep the kitchen rodent-free!

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 18-Oct-12 14:14:36

We had a cat who was scared of mice and spiders.

Cats are high maintanance animals, they need jabs, neutering, microchipping, attention, toys, litter trays, food, flea and worm treatments and vet treatment for the injuries they pick up.

I wanted to kick a DJ on radio WM who said cats are for lazy pet owners. Twat.

Get some humane traps and release them over 1 mile away from the house as they have a homing instinct. Block up any entrance holes with wire wool so they cant come back in and call a pest controll if you cant get rid of them like this.

DontCallMeBaby Thu 18-Oct-12 15:56:30

I set my cats on a spider once. They were RUBBISH. Now I have a spider catching device, and recently we have acquired a sonic mouse repeller. I don't rely on the cats for anything other than expense and amusement (I do get the occasional burst of affection as well, after a fashion).

Grumpla Thu 18-Oct-12 16:02:15

Rentokil are a lot cheaper than a cat.

But the nice man in a boiler suit might look at you funny if you scratch behind his ears.

Decide whether you want pest control or a pet, then work it out from there.

FWIW my cat sleeps in the utility room at night and her loo is also there. My house smells mainly of nappies, curry and toast.

Aranea Fri 19-Oct-12 00:14:54

Thanks all. Obviously I like the idea of having a cat in the family, or I wouldn't be considering it. And it would be irresponsible not to consider in advance whether the cat would be unhappy spending the night in the kitchen, no?

Grumpla - I'm reassured by the smell in your house, thanks!

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 19-Oct-12 00:25:12

cats are quite individual - i have 2. One is a mouser and one isnt. One is just a big baby who wants nothing more than to be with us all the time, the other is more aloof.
I love my moggies but do be prepared for the less savoury side of cat ownership - mine are fussy and if the litter tray is used even once they will then pee on the floor.
My mouser does not eat the mice - she simply decapitates them and brings them in for me as presents.
They are sick in the most awkward places - hair balls regularly coughed up and one went down the back of the radiator.....
they can also be quite destructive - my sofa is leather and was my pride and joy - natuzzi italian leather -
not any more. sad
also the curtains are swung from (silk so now hundreds of tiny holes in!)
and my landing carpet is knackered - they use it to scratch (and my walls - ive had to redecorate the same piece of wall 3 times now.....)

really think about it OP. i love my cats - its a good job or else theyd be out on their (furry) ears!

crazynanna Fri 19-Oct-12 00:27:47

Yep. You do have to love 'em.

Vicar...tried your catlitter.

It is vair expensive...bad point.

Absolutely and utterly no smells whatsoever!...good point

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 19-Oct-12 00:31:36

isnt it brilliant?! since using that i have had no accidents to clean up! i think its fab.

Aspiemum2 Fri 19-Oct-12 00:32:46

I have 4 cats, I love cats but only 2 of them are good mousers - the girls. One of the boys is pretty good at catching frogs though hmm

They ALL jump on the work tops, it drives me mad. They know they're not allowed, they just do it to spite me sad

So if you want a cat get a bread bin too. They don't actually eat the bread, apparently tearing the whole loaf open is perfectly satisfactory. I love my cats, which is lucky for them!

monsterchild Fri 19-Oct-12 00:33:39

I agree with everyone else, traps are probably a better way to ensure your house is mouse free.

that being said, cats are (at least mine are!) very affectionate, curious and interested in what people do and want to be the center of attention at all times.

They have a firm belief that they are both transparent and that they own fascinating bottoms that everyone wants to see.

they can and do scratch and claw when upset. So the kids will need to learn animal skills, if they don't already have them.

they do catch mice, they also catch birds, roaches, shoelaces, curtains, braided hair and pretty much any dangly thing they see.

Kittens are cute but a lot of work, they are like kids, they want and need your interaction and will think nothing of climbing up your clothes to tell you something interesting.

You may want a not kitten anymore cat, I know there are many who are needing homes. Often rescued cats (not kittens ) seem to know they have been rescued. However, make sure it's good with kids and people in general!

crazynanna Fri 19-Oct-12 00:34:12

Definitely high quality. The pee just literally rolls into a ball. And absolutely no smell at all.

Price is the only drawback. But I really like it.

Aspiemum2 Fri 19-Oct-12 00:35:51

Oh and my favourite cat out the lot is an old but lovely rescue cat. She was so shy when we got her but totally loving now - and a demon hunter. I'd never get a kitten again, they're a pain in the butt. Get an older rescue, chances are they'll be neutered too grin

monsterchild Fri 19-Oct-12 02:18:37

and the girls are much better hunters than the boys. Boys just want to be petted and loved on. they will go after things, but they don't seem to have the focus for an all-day stare at mouse hole event.

Aranea Fri 19-Oct-12 07:36:36

You're all making me laugh... And I can't decide if it makes me want a cat more or less! What is this amazing cat litter?

AnneElliott Fri 19-Oct-12 07:42:17

You can have an alarm with a cat, you just need some sort of cover over the bottom if the sensors. Both my girls catch things, but they bring them to you and want to be thanked! Mine gave caught mice, frogs and butterflies and then they bring them in the house. They also once dragged an indignant pigeon in through the cat flap and deposited it behind the sofagrin

Grumpla Fri 19-Oct-12 09:38:02

My cat is pretty well trained actually. She never goes on the work tops and she is not allowed upstairs either - although I did find her on the landing yesterday when we had builders in downstairs.

But when we got her I had no children and we both worked from home so had a lot of time to train & reassure her. Found those cat psychology books by Vicki someone(?) helpful.

We did have a spectacular week of pissing everywhere in our old house once, that took months to fully resolve but now only have accidents once in a blue moon and usually it's our fault just as much as it is hers (eg someone shuts the utility room door or gets the Hoover going without putting her in the garden first!)

She is a funny old thing but honestly she is a lovely, lovely pet. I would recommend an older rescue cat - with kittens the fluffy cute stage is over very quick and you have no idea what their personality will be like. With my girl her shy, sweet nature was immediately evident. She's much less shy now - still needs time to get used to you but once she's decided you're okay you have a friend for life smile

cozietoesie Fri 19-Oct-12 09:57:49

Vicky Halls ? (If so, she has a website if you google.)

I'm also a great believer in getting an older cat. My senior boy came to me at 13 years old (now nearly 18) and we had no trouble fitting into each other's lives - once he came out of the cupboard! He also learned my few rules very quickly indeed (no going on kitchen surfaces, no biting in bed, no unauthorized scratching) although to be fair he's a Siamese and that generally means that you only have to exclude them from the room (HUGE perceived punishment for a Siamese) and they don't do it again!

TwoIfBySea Fri 19-Oct-12 10:03:17

Oh they'll sort your mouse problem out Aranea, just be prepared to clean up the leftovers (usually undistinguishable gizzards, maybe a head or tail).

I have three cats, the girl is content to kill and eat house spiders (bonus!) leaving just a leg or two behind, the two boys - 12 and 5 - are good mousers. Eldest was part feral, have had him since kitten though and younger is from house cat so no real tips in getting a mouser. When I was younger we used to get our kittens from the local farm, they'd catch anything and everything!

cozietoesie Fri 19-Oct-12 10:05:47

I wonder whether some of this is being trained to hunt properly by Mum? (Your kittens for example, TwoIfBySea, probably had a farm cat mother who did the proper thing by them - and so on down the generations in the wild/for working cats.)

TwoIfBySea Fri 19-Oct-12 15:20:27

Probably cozietoesie, I was friends with farmer's dd and ds so got to go play with the kittens in the barn every time a new litter was born. Everyone in the village had a farm cat.

Apart from them I've always had rescue kittens.

I'm sure if a kitten is from a pampered house cat (never getting outside) then there wouldn't be that talent or even urge no matter how deep the instinct goes.

evenkeel Fri 19-Oct-12 15:33:52

Yes, you can have cats and a burglar alarm too - ours (ahem, the alarm, obvs, not the cats grin) had a special setting that excluded certain zones, so you could set it at night or when you went out. Ours slept in the kitchen so we just excluded that zone.

I don't have cats atm after my beloved remaining old boy had to be put to sleep. We'd had him since kittenhood. I miss him terribly sad

It might be a long time before I feel up to another but I can't imagine being without a cat in the long term.

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