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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?

QueenStromba Tue 14-May-13 14:00:20

She does like the meaty ones too so it's not the end of the world - we're just going to have four month's worth of cat food in the cupboard!

cozietoesie Sun 12-May-13 20:56:12

I use Sainsbury's - just complain if you said no substitutions, explain the problem and you should get a refund. If they don't ask you to give back the food, the local rescue will have an unexpected present I guess?

Pity you live so far away or we could do a Jack Sprat. (Seniorboy much prefers meaty to fishy.)

QueenStromba Sun 12-May-13 20:37:12

Gah! I didn't notice that when I ordered 4 fishy and 4 meaty Butcher's Classic from Sainsbury's that they actually delivered 1 fishy and 7 meaty. I specifically said no substitutions for them and it wasn't mentioned when it was delivered. I just picked out the one fishy flavour and one of the meaty ones and put the rest in the cupboard without looking at them. I'm rather annoyed since she really likes the fishy ones. I've just placed an Ocado order to get her some of the fishy ones.

I'm definitely going to complain to Sainsbury's now about their lack of Classic.

thecatneuterer Thu 09-May-13 16:42:59

Yes Cozie I do swear by those scratchboxes. But I think QS said she'd tried them. Other than that the only way I know how to deal with scratching is by having no carpet (I even got the stairs sanded) and by smothering the sofa in throws. Well that, and simply giving up caring. None of that is much use to QS though so I'm stumped. I do like the idea of sacrificial pieces of carpet though and intend to suggest those to people in future. (in other news, my big, smelly, noisy dog is about to go and leave me and the cats in peace - yay!)

cozietoesie Thu 09-May-13 14:48:07

I've generally used a carpet sample or a 'sacrificial' rug. At the moment I'm OK because Seniorboy has a scratching chair - a beaten up old heavy-cloth-upholstered armchair - which is only kept for that purpose and which he knows is his to have at.

He doesn't scratch anywhere else and in fact all my boys, once a place and item is authorized, have used only that if they can get to it. My instinct and experience are that they're far better at remembering scratching 'place' than clocking a 'type of scratching subject' which is why I wondered if Rice might be a wee bit confused because you seem to be going for type over location.

I think if I were you, I'd nominate one location and one only - and then decide what she can scratch there. I know that thecatneuterer swears by scratching boxes which she says attract 9/10 cats. (Note - the boxes and not the pads) so one of those might be worth a try.

Just my suggestions anyway.


QueenStromba Thu 09-May-13 14:23:49

She seems really clever in some ways but really thick in others. Yesterday I asked DP to get me some of her nice food (force of habit calling it that) from the kitchen and when I went into the living room to put some in her bowl she was sitting beside it expectantly - I'm sure she's understood that "nice food" is wet food for at least a month now which is impressive since she's probably had 15 years of it being called dinner or whatever.

We've been giving her dreamies and praise when she scratches the right things and shouting at her when she scratches the wrong things but she doesn't seem to quite get it. Maybe she just likes a mix of carpet and cardboard or maybe you're right about her being confused by the mix of things she's allowed scratch. We let her scratch the rugs because they're ours and cheap to replace but don't encourage her to do it. She only gets told off for the carpet and the sofa (which she only scratches occasionally). We spent a while trying to encourage her to scratch her cat tree but she has no interest in it (it is useful to put your food on top of if you have to leave the room and you don't want Rice to eat it though).

Maybe we just need to persist with the cardboard. We've now got packets of dreamies all over the house for if we see her scratching any cardboard (they're a quid a packet in Sainsburys at the moment). She did learn that scratching the bit in the bedroom = dreamies pretty quickly, probably because we tend to be in bed when she does it and I have a packet of dreamies on my bedside table. She was using the original shredded box in the office as a dreamies cow earlier - scratch, scratch, give her some dreamies followed 5 seconds later by another scratch, scratch and some more dreamies. She also got some dreamies for a tentative scratch at another bit of cardboard that she's not sure she's allowed to scratch yet.

cozietoesie Wed 08-May-13 22:22:49

Praise when they do right and telling off when they do wrong. But the most important thing, because they have to scratch to feel good, is finding out what they like to scratch and giving them that absolutely - item and location. Scratching the carpet is fine if you give her a sacrificial carpet sample for example and if she has free run of the flat, she should only use that and not go for any alternate carpet.

I'm just wondering - does Rice actually have one thing, in one place, that is her scratching thing? She sounds just the teensiest bit confused to me.

QueenStromba Wed 08-May-13 18:04:01

She's got her appetite back now - must have been the heat. I think she was just doing most of her eating in the cooler hours.

How do you enforce the only scratching in allowed places rule cozie? Rice has various bits of cardboard around the flat that we put down for her after she ripped a collapsed cardboard box to shreds. She's figured out that scratching the one in the bedroom means she gets dreamies. She also knows she's not supposed to scratch the carpet because she stops when we shout oi at her and runs away scared if we catch her at it (she looks expectant at us after scratching the cardboard in the bedroom). She just doesn't seem to properly get that cardboard is ok but the carpet isn't though. I'm pretty sure if we took away the bit of cardboard in the bedroom she'd scratch the carpet and expect dreamies for it because she runs away after scratching cardboard in other bits of the flat.

I've just gone and put cardboard over all of the bits of carpet with claw marks. What else can I do? We've tried picking her up and putting her on something she's allowed to scratch when we catch her but that just scares the crap out of her.

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 19:19:46

Not silly - just careful. I keep a weather eye on Seniorboy's intake and tray use all the time, particularly because he's an older boy. It's just something you notice.

Well done for excluding her for nipping. I don't feel mean at all for doing it - you do a bad thing, you reap the consequences and they get to know pretty quickly. In fact, her sitting there waiting means she would have been thinking about it so is good.

QueenStromba Mon 06-May-13 19:06:35

I felt really mean yesterday. She nipped at me so I put her outside of the sitting room for five minutes. I kind of expected her to just go and sleep on the bed but when I opened the door five minutes later she was sitting there waiting to come back in. I know that's a good thing for training her not to bite but it just made me feel so mean. I am a soppy bugger.

I'll try to keep better track of how much she's eating. I think she's had about 100g plus a bit of milk today and actually she'll probably have another 100g by tomorrow morning so I'm just being silly.

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 16:57:32

If it's hot they won't eat so much - less energy needed and more zonked out - so it sounds OK. OK enough to go for a few days and just keep an eye on her, anyway.

I'm not a huge DIY expert but hooks sound OK if you don't have much wind. As an older girl and a housecat, you're not really trying to repulse an all-out attack but more putting it in as a gentle preventative, I think.

See how she reacts to it with you in the room.

QueenStromba Mon 06-May-13 16:44:31

She's just eaten the 70g or so of fish flavour that I put down when she wasn't interested in the chicken flavour, plus some of the chicken stuff. We didn't get up til 10 this morning so I'm thinking that she might have polished off her supper and her milk just before we got up. She does have water too.

There was a wee and a poo in the litter tray when I got up but she hasn't been since. She's been doing about as many wees as normal but fewer poos - three every two days rather than two a day. I think she's been doing fewer poos since she's been eating less rather than the other way around.

Its 24.5 degrees in the flat today. She's flopped out sleeping on the other side of the room to the window so I've got it open even though it's not cat proof - I'm closing it if I leave the room or if she stirs so there's no danger of her jumping out of it. I think a trip to B&Q is in order to get some chicken wire to cat proof the windows is in order.

I'm thinking hooks in each corner of the windows to hold the chicken wire in place?

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 16:21:25

Has she got water down for her, QS? And how has her tray been? (If they get a bit constipated, their intake sometimes drops.)

QueenStromba Mon 06-May-13 15:11:31

She's not had much of an appetite since Thursday. I thought it was because we had a decorator in on Thursday and Friday and she was a bit put out by it. I'm not sure exactly how much she's been eating because we always have a fishy tin and a meaty tin on the go which makes it hard to keep track. All she's had so far today is a little bit of milk and a lick of her food. She's still affectionate and has the odd running about like a mad thing episode so she seems alright in herself. Could it be the hot weather that's bothering her or should I be worried?

QueenStromba Mon 29-Apr-13 11:33:06

DP and I both have waist length hair so that could well be it. The little bit on the bath mat didn't look dry.

She seems to be enjoying the cat milk and it's not stopping her eating her food or even drinking her water. I might start giving it to her every day - the extra calories and fluid will probably do her some good.

cozietoesie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:59:56

Her poos might have got a bit dry if she hasn't been pooing regularly. You don't have longish hair do you by any chance? That will sound like a daft question but I've found that cats can sometimes ingest some hair from their owners and if it's longish (ie more than an inch or two long) then it can sometimes connect poos up the intestine so that a poo could be out of the body but still be dangling for a minute or two - by a hair! (Sorry if TMI.)

QueenStromba Mon 29-Apr-13 10:52:45

She's had a poo now and got all but a mini turd (bath mat again) in the litter box.

cozietoesie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:22

Good that she's not been sick - but keep an eye on the poo situation. (A great thing about housecats is that you always know precisely how their insides are working.)

QueenStromba Mon 29-Apr-13 10:31:02

She hasn't been sick or clingy so far today. She also hasn't had a poo but it's still early. I got her some cat milk and she's had a bit of that so hopefully it will help.

cozietoesie Sun 28-Apr-13 22:38:02

If she's been eating and drinking OK then that's better news. She may have been having a one-off constipation. I'd wait and see how she is tomorrow then.

Good luck to Rice.

QueenStromba Sun 28-Apr-13 22:26:35

She's not really been having periods of lassitude - she's been sleeping/dozing/resting the same amount as she normally does, she's just been wanting to do it on me more than normal. I guess that's the kitty equivalent of a child wanting their mummy (and only their mummy) when they're sick. She's actually been behaving normally since about 1 and has been eating ok and has even had a wee since the icky poo incedent.

I'll see how she is in the morning. If she throws up again/hasn't done a full poo/is being really clingy then I'll give the vet a call. He seems like a decent chap - when we got all worried about her D&V when we first got her he advised us to take her to Battersea rather than taking our money.

cozietoesie Sun 28-Apr-13 21:37:15

PS - I'm conscious that you went to the vet a short while ago so they may be prepared to talk you through it rather than having another expensive visit.

cozietoesie Sun 28-Apr-13 21:35:27


I'd actually be thinking of getting her to the vet. The vomiting and the constipation could be linked and yes - she could get dehydrated but I suspect the vet will best advise you on that. At the least, I'd give a
phone, especially with these periods of lassitude she's having.

I had this with Seniorboy who is now on a mild laxative from the vet to assist and hasn't had any more pooing problems.

(If she suddenly has an enormous big poo and returns to normal, I think I'd still go but in a more relaxed fashion in the next few weeks.)

QueenStromba Sun 28-Apr-13 20:30:35

She seems to be a bit constipated. DP caught her dragging her bum across the sofa cushion and I had to pick a large bit of poo from just next to her anus. After scrubbing the poo mark from the sofa, I found another two in the hall and a small lump of poo on the bath mat. Her litter had been kicked about but there was nothing in it. Looks like she tried to go for a poo in her litter tray but it got stuck, she wiped on the bath mat and got a bit out and wiped a further three times before she dislodged it and I picked it off her.

I'm a bit worried this means that she's a bit dehydrated. Should I give her some cat milk tomorrow to encourage her to drink?

QueenStromba Sun 28-Apr-13 11:33:18

She got me up to feed her at 6.30, ate about 30g and threw it up an hour or two later. Since then she's had a lick of her food and a tiny bit of smoked salmon I was silly enough to try and eat with her sitting on me. I've got a bit of roast chicken defrosting for her to have later.

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