OT - any tips on picking out a cat?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by pantherlj, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. pantherlj

    pantherlj DIS Veteran

    Aug 21, 2006
    We are considering get a cat (or kitten?) for the girls - 7 1/2 and 11. We had 3 cats before kids. The last one died about 4 years ago and she was the unfriendly one of the bunch so they really haven't had a pet.

    I am finally ready again I think (I hated the liter box smell in the house ...) but now have 2 girls that can scoop!

    Any tips on finding a "friendly" cat? I don't want to end up with one like our most recent one that wouldn't give us the time of day. We want a cuddler that will play.

    Any concerns or those in favor in getting a slightly older cat from the SPCA - just a couple of years old vs a kitten?

    I'll take any liter box tips while you are at it :) Favorite brand? Automatic cleaners?
  2. jls886

    jls886 DIS Veteran

    Feb 10, 2007
    No huge tips as I've only had two cats. I got my most recent cat as a kitten (4 mths) and thank goodness he has calmed down and become a very sweet cat as an adult. He was a very rambunctious kitten! I found my first cat on the street, but it was very obvious that she was a domestic cat that had been abandoned. After I got her cleaned up and healthy she was absolutely the sweetest cat ever! I really think it was because she was saved and was grateful for that. Calvin has turned into a sweet cat, but he is definitely not as loving as she was...so I almost wish I had gotten a young adult cat that had been rescued.

    As far as litter, I use Fresh Step Perfume & Dye Free, and we really don't smell the litter box at all. We were using regular Fresh Step, but discovered that the first cat was allergic to the smell, so we had to start using the perfume & dye free version. I actually like it better because then the cats don't smell like the perfumed litter anymore.
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  4. GaSleepingBeautyFan

    GaSleepingBeautyFan DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2007
    I tried to pick one that was playing while we were at the cat adoption place. That's how I ended up with my sweet Lola. She was a 12 week old kitten (now over a year old). She loves to play still and hangs out with DS14 and myself.

    I prefer to adopt a cat between 12 weeks and 6 months old. The younger the better because they'll have had less time to develop bad habits (like biting, not using litterbox, not wanting to be petted).

    She's not a fan of DD10 though so you do need to be prepared that the cat might choose one of your kids as the favorite.

    When we got Rocky last year (2 years old) he was bump on a log. He was picked out by my kids. Sure enough he's still a bump on the log. I tried to talk them into another cat but they weren't having it.

    So I'd look for one that's playing and purrs when petted.

    As far as litter/type of boxes ect. that's more of a trial and error thing. Rocky is very picky and we had to change our litter to accomodate him. Luckily, Lola doesn't care.

    Food is another issue. Lola is easy but Rocky will get sick if he doesn't eat a sensitive stomach food.

    So you may want to ask about the food the cat is eating so you stick with the same type. I'd also ask if they knew how the cat ended up in adoption. Also if you are adopting from a place that fosters the cat, ask how the cat is kept (ie: a room with other cats or treated like a member of the family?). The more info you have, the more you'll be able to figure out if the cat you like will fit in.

    I knew we were in trouble with Sebestian (he was 4 when we adopted him and died of a brain tumor last year at age 10) when I found out after we got him that he was an owner surrender because he wouldn't use a litter box. Rocky had a sad story and Lola is the kitten of a stray.

    Good luck choosing. There are so many cats out there who need homes.
  5. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

    Apr 1, 2000
    We just adopted a cat 2 weeks ago and he is the mellowest "lap cat" I have ever seen. We went to a cat specific rescue place and they had a list of all their cats, and a brief description of the personality the volunteers had observed.

    When we went in the cat rooms, we first waited to see if any kitties approached us, and then those that were awake, we approached and lightly petted and watched how they responded. Most seemed ambivalent, but some would actively push against our hands. Our guy not only strongly rubbed against us, but started purring immediately. Even after 2 weeks, you even go to touch him and his motor starts. We originally planned to adopt young kitties, but we ended up with a 7-yr old, because his loving personality was so overwhelming. When we asked for more info about him we found out that his previous owner passed away. We can tell that he came from a good home.

    After reading up on adult cats, I did see a recommendation that if personality is important to you, you may not want to adopt a kitten. If you adopt a juvenile or older cat, their personality will already be developed and you can see who is a cuddler. A kitten that snuggles with you, may still turn out to grow up to be a more aloof cat.

    Other things that we did, was to gently attempt to touch front, back paws, hindquarters. See how the kitty reacts to being held, turned on back, etc. Our guy you can do whatever you want to him and he makes no attempt to bite, or fight to get away. We watched them trim his nails at the rescue, and he just purred away since he was getting petted.

    In some ways, he is almost a little too mellow. He likes to sleep on my legs at night, and when I try to move them, he refuses to move. If he is already in his "spot" and I go to climb in bed, he won't move, and just lets me shove my legs under him. I kinda miss my space! :lmao:
  6. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

    Apr 1, 2000
    Oh, I forgot about litter question. That is one thing we are still struggling with. Our kitty, is very, very, very good about covering. And he flings the litter, so we end up with piles a foot away from the box. We might have to switch to one of the high sided varieties. He's a big boy, so I think a covered one might not enough space for him.

    Litter, we bought 2 types since we weren't really sure what he would like...Scoop Away from Costco, and Tidy Cat. He seems to prefer the Tidy Cat. But it may be because he prefers to go in his room upstairs, instead of in the family room downstairs. I did read that with kittens, you might want to stay away from the clumping variety until they are 6 months old. They might lick too much of it, and if it swells inside of them, bad things can happen.
  7. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    Check out fostered cats, especially older cats. They may be more settled and won't climb the draperies. ;)

    If you have a Petsmart in your area, they usually work with animal adoption agencies and you can get a wonderful cat that way. We got our three from Animal Welfare, Inc in our community. Plus we wound up volunteering with them taking care of the cats and kittens up for adoption at Petsmart.

    Our three were about 2 years old, 2.5 years old and six months old when we got them. The younger one is still a baby, even though he is about two or three now (I can't keep track). He has to sit on my lap while I work on the computer or near me at the kitchen table when I eat there (trying to break him of jumping on the table with a squirt gun, but he just opens his mouth to get the drink. Goofy cat.). The older two were pals at Petsmart and the older of the two still protects the other one when he hears his "brother" cry.
  8. mum4jenn

    mum4jenn <font color=purple>My dd is the love of my life!!<

    Apr 3, 2000
    Let the cat choose you.
  9. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe

    Aug 18, 2005
    We have had several cats and all have been wonderful.

    We've had two orange tabbies (both males) & both of those have been "extra affectionate" cats...I mean real "love bugs" towards us.

    I did read somewhere once that orange tabbies are like that & I believe it to be true.
  10. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    That must be true. My "baby cat" is an orange tabby. He was paler when we first got him, but he's gotten darker orange.
  11. sherry7

    sherry7 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2001
    If a cuddly personality is important to you, consider adopting an adult cat instead of a kitten. Most kittens are rambunctious, and it's hard to tell their true personality until they get older. Sometimes even a cuddly kitten will change his personality by the time he is an adult, and not like to be held, etc.

    I highly recommend going to PetSmart on a weekend (call ahead). Some Petco's do this as well. They partner with local animal rescue groups and they have the animals there on the weekends. PetSmart typically has a cat room all of the time, but on the weekend there are even more animals. One of our cats came from there. We paid $70, but he had already been "fixed", was up to date on his shots, etc. Believe me, that stuff will cost a ton more if you pay for it out of pocket. In addition, most of the animal rescue groups use foster families to house their cats during the week, which means they gets socialized better than a kitty who is living at an animal shelter.

    The best way to keep litter box odor down is by scooping at least twice a day. Also, the entire litter box needs dumped occasionally too, and refilled with totally fresh litter. Since you have 2 daughters, these chores should be easily accomplished by them. :laughing: Personally, I don't like highly scented litters. We use the generic kind from Sam's Club. I can't remember the name, but it's a green plastic bucket with a blue lid.

    It's also good to note that cat poop tends to stink more if you're feeding the animal a low quality food, mostly because of the unneeded corn fillers in the food (cats don't digest corn, so it makes super stinky poop). Consider using a higher quality dry food that doesn't have fillers. The cat will actually eat less, so the cost evens out in the end. Plus, it's better for their health. We feed California Naturals Chicken & Brown Rice dry formula. I pay $29 for a huge bag which last our 3 adult cats a little over 2 months.

    As a general rule, you won't find good quality cat food at a grocery store. The best they will probably sell is Iam's or Eukanuba, which while expensive, is not a very good quality food at all. PetSmart sells a few good foods, if you know what to look for. We buy our food from a local pet food store.
  12. Muushka

    Muushka <font color=red>I usually feel like I just stepped

    Aug 16, 1999
    Yup, older kitty, can't go wrong.:thumbsup2

    A shelter can match you up with the perfect one.:goodvibes
  13. scard192

    scard192 DIS Veteran

    Jun 11, 2009
    I have an orange "tabby" too and he loves to sit on my lap all the time! He
    is the most affectionate cat I've ever had. I choose him at the shelter because he was so darn cute and I've wanted an orange cat.

    I use the BJ's brand of scoopable litter. 40 lbs for $8.99. Besides the price I like the litter because the pieces of it are not too fine (makes more of a mess) or too big ( hurts my feet when I step on it).
  14. sl_underwood

    sl_underwood DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2006
    We have three cats but one is the perfect family pet. He is huge- weighs nearly 30 lbs and it is all muscle. The SPCA thought he had some bobcat in him. Apparently in our area that is not nearly as uncommon as one would think. He is playful but not destructive. He is cuddly and loveable. My son is currently on the floor with this cat (who is now nearly 5 years old) and they are playing with a extra long sonic straw. I honestly dont know how you pick a good cat. I do know that this kitty didnt start out as one. He had previously been in the home of a cat collector, had fought for food and was the tiniest cat I have ever seen even though he was technically more than 8 weeks old. He was skittish and he had food issues. He ate until he vomited every time he was fed. My daughters and I cuddled him and cared for him and in a few short weeks we had a completely different kitty. I do know that if I had been on the hunt for the perfect cat, we would have never found our Indy. I would reccommend staying away from strays. My mom has a knack for bringing home feral cats or cats with disease. That is definitely not something a family would want to deal with.
  15. uromac

    uromac DIS Veteran

    Sep 22, 2000
    I personally find that male cats seem to be more social and personable to humans on the whole compared to female cats - but that might just be the ones we have had - if I were to get another one it would only be a male cat Although I swore our last cat (lived until he was 22) would be our final cat because he was the best one ever - as a kitten he even nursed on our female dog who began lactating for him - so he became a 'dat'!!

    I second the idea of getting a shelter/rescue pet just because I truly believe they somehow know and are really appreciative how lucky they are coming into a loving home!!

    Good luck :goodvibes!!
  16. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    One last thing. When you get your new cat, keep him/her inside all the time. It's safer for the cat both healthwise and to not get lost.
  17. Good Morning Dewdrop

    Good Morning Dewdrop Have Courage & Be Kind

    Sep 17, 2009
    Ideally try to adopt from a pet adoption group that has foster homes. If the cat has been living in a home situation (as opposed to a shelter with rooms or cages) you can find out a lot from the foster family about it's behavior. Talk directly to them - go in with a list of questions. They'll know if the kitty is a lap cat or not. Also be sure to ask how the cat / kitten came into the group and at what age and temperment. If they came in shy/ skittish and took time to adjust you need to be prepared they may take awhile to come around at your house too.

    While I love orange tabbies myself don't be swayed by the appearance of the cat - the personality is SO much more important.

    Ditto the idea of adopting a kitty 6 months or older their personalities are so much more developed at that point. With a kitten there's no telling what you're going to end up with. Affectionate kittens can stay affectionate or decide to be more independent

    Make sure you're clear on what medical work has been done - if you adopt from a reputable group the cat/ kitten should have been kept indoors for at least 2 weeks prior to being tested for feline leukemia and FIV. They should have had at least 2 rounds of distemper and a round of rabies. Also they should have been dewormed at least twice (2 weeks apart).

    We like Arm and Hammer cat litter.
  18. Big Kahuna

    Big Kahuna Super Silent Lurker

    Feb 10, 2005
    We went to one of our local shelters. This photo show two kittens we adopted. The orange and white male is named Disney and the orange female is Pixar. They are brother and sister, and both are extremely affectionate.

  19. Topper

    Topper The One True Duck

    Jul 16, 2001
    If it barks, it is not a cat. ;)
  20. MsStinkerBelle

    MsStinkerBelle Hittin' WDW Since Space Mountain was 'Coming Soon'

    Dec 7, 2006
    Last July (after we got back from Disney) we adopted two 4 month old kittens for DD10. We got them from a rescue group at our local PetSmart but we checked out kittens for almost 5 WEEKS. Personality was a big thing, especially since DD10 has PDD-NOS. When we finally found our kittens, we picked them because they let DD10 sit and hold them without any squirming or scratching or hyperactivity. Our male kitten even hissed at the other cats in cages because he 'thought' DD10 wasn't going to hold him! :lmao:

    We would up getting a male Russian Blue kitten and his sister (black American Shorthair/Russian Blue) together. Fresh Step cat litter is the only litter I use. One drawback is, the litter box smells so clean you may get lazy and skip a day or two scooping the box when you should. :rotfl:

    Our female cat is pretty downright friendly but very independent her brother is very vocal and a true 'momma's boy'. :goodvibes

    Good luck in choosing!
  21. Erin13178

    Erin13178 Mouseketeer

    Jun 29, 2008
    My cat of 16 years had to be put down last summer so we recently adopted a kitten. If we didn't have a guinea pig I would've adopted an adult cat from a shelter, but I had to do a kitten so it wouldn't want to eat the gp.

    Anyway, we went to a shelter to "look" and ended up coming home with the sweetest cat I've ever owned, and I've had a lot of cats.

    Before we got to the shelter I told my dd that we were going to adopt a very friendly loving kitten and that we had to keep an open mind of what color etc. When we got there this little yellow tabby who was in the cage with 3 other kittens kept coming up to the cage rubbing on it, etc. So the people let us get in there with all of them and he was definitely the most playful and affectionate. When we picked him up he purred automatically. So we brought him home. He is the best pet. He has never had a litter box accident, eats dry food, and wakes me up in the morning kissing my nose (licking). As I type he's getting ready to jump up and get in my lap. He's 4 months old now and such a lover.

    Just my opinion, but get a shelter cat, they are great.

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