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Author Topic: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet  (Read 3682 times)

Waldhexe

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thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet
« on: August 10, 2011, 01:44:29 am »
I feel a bit lonely in my flat and wish a pet. I wanted a cat since I can think, but I have just a little flat (31 m²) with a balcony and couldn't let the cat out on the streets (I live on the 2nd floor and there's a dangerous street).

So I'm wondering if 31 m² are too little or if I just have to prepare the flat well. I'm considering maybe getting an older cat from the animal shelter.

Can anyone give any advice on flat cats, especially on how much space they need?

Alternatively I'm thinking about degus. They are awsomely cute and interesting to watch, but I'd love a pet I can cuddle a bit, so that's plan b without 'cuddle factor'.

I also have a bit of a problem with whom to ask to care for a cat if I should be away for a weekend or a couple of days. (Which is a few times per year, but not very often or longer than a week).

My friends in the region don't live near my flat and have cats themselves. So going to my flat would steal some time, giving the cat to them isn't a good idea because most cats are stressed by such moves and you never know if they like the other cats...

Degus would be easier to handle there because they can spend a few days without attention (if the food and water dish is full and secure) or I could simple give the whole cage to a friend without letting the friend drive to my flat every evening...

*thinking*

Inca

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 04:03:24 am »
Quote from: Waldhexe;11911
So I'm wondering if 31 m² are too little or if I just have to prepare the flat well. I'm considering maybe getting an older cat from the animal shelter.

 
It's small but if you get a cat that can live indoors. Ask your shelter for a cat that is compatible with what you want and can offer.

Cats vary enormously in character. Some cats need to be outdoors much and live very independent lives, those are the ones you shouldn't move too much. Those are also the ones that are probably not very fit for appartment living.

Other cats are more dependent on humans. The races linked to showcats are more like that: much more used to being handled and moved and they appreciate it. Those are the cats you usually can move a bit easier. (And I know one cat that got so depressed being home alone, even though he was cared for and even groomed every day) that he was picked up to stay with someone else for the holiday - and that move was totally ok with him. He just needed humans. (He lived with another cat, one of the independent types, and that one was left behind and totally fine with that too.)

Some cats are very shy and insecure. They may benefit more from staying in a secure environment at home. It varies. Find out what's best for your future cat.

Also, many shelters here also provide holiday care, so you should ask about that too.

Stardancer

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 05:27:59 am »
Quote from: Inca;11926


Also, many shelters here also provide holiday care, so you should ask about that too.

 
Most cats are probably also fine with being home alone for a couple of days (for example if you are out of town fri-sun). Leave enough food and water and maybe an extra litterbox if it's fussy. Just make sure to close any doors you don't want it to get stuck behind! We made that mistake once with ours and she managed to close herself into a room for over a day - poor thing was _very_ thirsty (and had shit on a sofa) by the time we got home.

I know people who keep indoor cats only - it's entirely feasible, with enough toys and cat-poles/climbing stuff. I seem to remember that it sometimes works better with two cats though; a playmate to have fun with. Cats are flexible.
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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 07:09:42 am »
Quote from: Waldhexe;11911

Can anyone give any advice on flat cats, especially on how much space they need?


Depends on the cat, but all of the cats I've ever lived with have been entirely indoor cats, and my cat has spent a couple of years living in a single room, without being unhappy (while I was living with housemates who had other cats: my cat is very much a one-cat-household sort of cat.)

However, a cat who'd previously lived outside (and liked it) might have more trouble. A younger cat might also want more play space (as long as you have some clear floor space, you should be fine: cats don't need lots.)

Quote
I also have a bit of a problem with whom to ask to care for a cat if I should be away for a weekend or a couple of days. (Which is a few times per year, but not very often or longer than a week).

 
Honestly, many cats can easily be left for the weekend - the real trick is food. I free feed my cat (that means she has access to food at all times), but some cats will overeat a great deal if you do this.

(If that's the case, there are feeders you can buy here - and I assume in Germany - where they will open to feed a measured portion at the times you set.)

When I go away, I just make sure she's got tons of food (so she won't run out), plenty of water, and that her litterbox is clean. If I'm going to be away more than a weekend (Friday to Monday), I ask a friend to stop by once every 3-4 days, just to make sure everything's okay. (And that's as much for the house as it is for the cat.)

There are probably also pet sitters in your area, and they're usually not very expensive for a simple thing like stopping by and checking in or refilling a food dish.

I will say: I adore my Athene, and I'm convinced that she's part of the reason I survived my divorce as well as I did. Even on the days (like today) when she goes chasing around the apartment at 4am.
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BunnyMaz

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 09:04:08 am »
Quote from: Waldhexe;11911
 

 
My cats are indoor only, have been all their lives and are fine with it.  Mine were a brother-sister pair adopted as kittens, and they've never been apart.  The most important thing is that they have stimulation and access to food, water and clean litter.

I free-feed mine, too. They have a trough of dried food that is regularly checked to ensure it is fresh and replaced/topped up as needed.  They also receive one wet meal a day, either of tinned meat or something I make myself, like boiled chicken, or occasionally our leftovers.  Indoor cats do need access to greenery, so a planter of cat grass and another of catnip in a sunny, accessible place is generally a good idea.

I water mine in a simple bowl, but I notice they often prefer to drink from my own glass if I've just filled it.  If you can afford it, you can get moving-water stations for indoor cats that keeps the water tasting fresher;

http://www.firebox.com/product/3848/Catit-Fresh-and-Clear-Drinking-Fountain

Actually, if you can afford it the Catit stuff is pretty awesome.

Back to the cat though, make sure you groom your cat regularly with a proper catbrush.  Not only is it intimate family time that reinforces your position as surrogate cat-mother, but it keeps their fur in gorgeous condition.

Other than that, just provide them with a scratching station and access to toys, as well as playtime with you.

As to going away... mine are fine if we're away for anything up to 3 days.  We've not tried longer than that without going to check on them, because of the need to keep litter fresh and top up water, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.  Splodge will sulk for a few hours when we get back, while Looshkin just demands cuddles for the rest of the day, but we always bring them back a treat, like one of those fancy pouches of food or some catnip drops, or treat sticks.

Waldhexe

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 04:34:22 pm »
Quote from: BunnyMaz;11950



Thank you all for your input. :)

 I think I'll visit an animal shelter, look how I like the cats there and maybe they can advice me a bit.

I'm not in a hurry at the moment. Need to safe some money to get supplies before I get any pet...

victoreia

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 04:47:47 pm »
Quote from: Waldhexe;12050
Thank you all for your input. :)

 I think I'll visit an animal shelter, look how I like the cats there and maybe they can advice me a bit.

I'm not in a hurry at the moment. Need to safe some money to get supplies before I get any pet...

 
I'll echo all the advice given above, regarding indoor cats. All of mine have been strictly indoors; I also know of at least one feral cat that had been cadging food from students on campus, who got adopted by a staff member. Last I heard, Henry the cat was perfectly happy being an indoors-only cat, and loves bossing around the resident dogs.

I would also second the "two is better" rule, particularly if you have to be away for a couple of days on a regular basis.

You can get cat furniture and window perches, if you prefer that they not climb your furniture. But that can get expensive, unless you know someone who's handy with wood and tools. (Sadly, I'm not.)
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acidrica

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 05:12:00 pm »
Quote from: Waldhexe;11911
I feel a bit lonely in my flat and wish a pet. I wanted a cat since I can think, but I have just a little flat (31 m²) with a balcony and couldn't let the cat out on the streets (I live on the 2nd floor and there's a dangerous street).


 

Have you considered getting a pair of rats? They can be -very- cuddly.

victoreia

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 05:23:39 pm »
Quote from: acidrica;12060
Have you considered getting a pair of rats? They can be -very- cuddly.

 
Or bunnies. But I have no experience with those.....
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Nyktipolos

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 05:41:52 pm »
Quote from: Waldhexe;12050
Thank you all for your input. :)

 I think I'll visit an animal shelter, look how I like the cats there and maybe they can advice me a bit.

I'm not in a hurry at the moment. Need to safe some money to get supplies before I get any pet...

If possible, I would suggest either setting up a separate savings bank account, or getting a credit card with a $500-$1000 limit (uhh, unsure of what the equivalent would be in Germany, but basically enough to cover an emergency operation, plus medication, special food, etc). Accidents can happen, and it's better to be safe than sorry should you need to make an emergency run to the vet for something.

You might also want to look into "pet insurance". I've heard of it in the US, but I don't think up here? You might be able to find it in Germany. I honestly don't know how it works (like, do all vets accept it?), but I've heard good things about it (it covers a great deal) and it's pretty cheap (I've seen anywhere from $7 to $15 a month).

This isn't mean to scare you or anything, just to rather to give you some help with financial matters. Regular vet visits are usually pretty inexpensive, but it's the accidents and emergencies that make things really expensive.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 05:43:06 pm by Nyktipolos »
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Etheric1

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 06:18:37 pm »
Quote from: victoreia;12064
Or bunnies. But I have no experience with those.....

I have two cats and they are just fine on their own for a few days, I've been gone for a week or more at a time and if you can get someone to come over and check on them, it's no big deal at all.

Reptiles can be fun too, depending on whether or not the bother you.  Some (key word: SOME) are incredibly low maintenance.  I've also had a snake or lizard from time to time and they are even easier.  Snakes for example, may only eat once a week or even longer depending on their age and size (older ones generally eat less often, but take in larger meals).   I used to have a red tail boa that was a very well mannered snake that if you put on your shoulders would basically give you a massage as he moved around.  He only had to eat once every two weeks when he got older.  Obviously, reptiles are not for everyone, but it's another option too.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 06:19:31 pm by Etheric1 »
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Inca

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 04:00:50 am »
Quote from: victoreia;12053
I would also second the "two is better" rule, particularly if you have to be away for a couple of days on a regular basis.

 
Actually, I am not convinced of this. Cats that really lived as pairs shouldn't be separated but I know quite a lot of pair of cats that really have nothing in common and don't interact or play at all.

victoreia

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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 03:54:07 pm »
Quote from: Inca;12177
Actually, I am not convinced of this. Cats that really lived as pairs shouldn't be separated but I know quite a lot of pair of cats that really have nothing in common and don't interact or play at all.

 
True, but just having each other for company can make a difference.

When the younger of my first pair, Butch, had to be euthanized, my surviving cat Tabby moped for quite a while. While they were both alive, they didn't chum around much, but they were company for each other for years while the humans were all at work or school.

(My father named them; I would have at least gone for something other than "Butch". Tiny little orange kitten grew into his name in some unfortunate ways; my sister, mother and I still have the souvenir scars. And I don't know how he thought "Tabby" fit a tuxie girl.)
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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2011, 11:07:11 pm »
Quote from: Inca;12177
Actually, I am not convinced of this. Cats that really lived as pairs shouldn't be separated but I know quite a lot of pair of cats that really have nothing in common and don't interact or play at all.

 
**nods** Depends on the cats.

Ollie and Howdy = not particularly friendly. They don't fight, but they don't like each other.

I blew two cardinal rules when I brought Ollie home. First, bring in a second cat that's younger than the resident cat. Second, remember that male/female pairings don't work all that well.

I think if Ollie had been younger than Howdy, the sex might not have mattered so much, but he's a much older cat (10 to her 5) and he's a big, black male.

When I brought Howdy in a few years ago, the resident cat was a five year old male. After the initial hissy spitty stuff, they settled down and became best buds.
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Re: thinking about getting a cat or maybe another pet...
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2011, 02:03:33 pm »
Quote from: Waldhexe;11911
So I'm wondering if 31 m² are too little or if I just have to prepare the flat well. I'm considering maybe getting an older cat from the animal shelter.

 
I would DEFINITELY go to adopt from a shelter!  (I would suggest checking out kill shelters before no-kill shelters because you very well could save a life!)  It's a pretty small space, but cats are very adaptable animals.  When I lived in a little apartment when I was young, we had two cats and they were quite happy despite the limited space.  I also recommend some sort of screening on the balcony so that the cat doesn't accidentally fall or jump two stories down.  Or, you could always buy a kitty leash and harness so that your cat can enjoy the outdoors safely!  :3  Obviously, the harness will take some getting used to, but once kitty gets used to it, I think he/she would be very happy.
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