I keep thinking this thread is about furries. Were I not greeted by cute pets every time I enter, I would be completely disappointed by this audacious bait-and-switch!
So my roommate moved out last week to go to Australia for a semester, as a result I’m rather lonely in my empty apartment. I’m thinking of getting a cat. Any advice for someone who is basically a first time cat owner? We have outdoor cats at my parents house.
Before anything, get a good book on cat ownership. Learn the basics, even the seemingly technical stuff, first. While a lot of pets do mostly fine with amateur owners, having a higher level of expertise will give them a longer and healthier life, and also prepare you for any emergencies.
Take dogs. Most dog owners don’t know that grapes and garlic are both dangerous for dogs.
I’m not saying you have to be able to do the things a vet tech would do on your own, especially not immediately. But knowing the basics of what those things are will save you a ton of anxiety and issues down the road.
Expert pet ownership is the best pet ownership!
Makes sense. Anyone have a recommendation for a good book?
I have a good friend I’ve know for a long time. Cat owner and volunteers at an animal shelter. Also avid reader. I’ll ask her if she has any good book /advice recommends for first time cat owners.
Owning a pet means you should be able to afford to own that pet.
This means you have to be able to afford pet insurance and the vaccinations and extra consult fees that the bastard Vet clinics will squeeze out of you in the first year.
A cat is not a dog.
There won’t be immediate trust, the cat just knows you’re a free vending machine for food, water, poop cleaning, shelter, bedding and warmth.
Most smart cats won’t give you 100% trust till 18 month of age or in houses with multiple humans and animals 2 - 4 years. At this point they will trust you with their lives, answer their names come when you call (no food needed if trained properly, essentially be your shadow but also need to go off and do their own thing. Possibly also challenge any new comer to their apartment. Try to vocalise with you (although this will happen more if you have more than 1 cat).
What’s happening in the first few months / years? The Cat is on level 10, your on level 1 you’re his butler. When full trust is given, you’re both on level 10, a few more years the cat will start placing you at 11 and itself at 10.
Cats are obligate carnivores they need protein in their diet.
Indoor cats are going to be bored as fuck
Like indoor dogs are going to be bored as fuck. Solution get a dumb as fuck breed who can be entertained and contained indoors and know that you need to spend some time cultivating activities and play time. This also builds your trust. If you end up getting a smart stray or oriental cross, if they’re bored or want your attention they are going to make some definite noise until you do what they want. You can train cats just like dogs so this in and of itself is a way to keep the cat mentally active.
Cats are going to try to manipulate you and use emotional blackmail like a 14 year old at 4 weeks of age.
All the bullshit stories you hear of cats being bad pets or untrustworthy is because they demand respect in terms of understanding how to fit into the highest level achievable in the hierarchy. They’ll want to be above you or at the same level as you height wise, remind them not to by placing them down. Scratching your sofa? Spray bottle of water during a kitten while also providing approved cat scratching furniture and cat toys where scent can be applied will save all furniture for the rest of your life.
Good quality dry food means very few dentals in the entirety of the cat’s life.
Get a raised and inclined bowl to start off with, so the cat is standing from day 1, will reduce discomfort if they get up to 20 years of age.
Like a child or any other animal run a routine for food don’t make this confusing.
Don’t give treats.
Pets don’t need them. Attention is more important to them than the treat. You answering their pleas for treats and giving them a treat is more important than whatever the treat is. You can pretty much use the biscuits for normal consumption during early training when 100% trust may not be present. 99% of the time a male cat that’s meowing at you is not asking for food, he wants you to pet him or scratch his belly or massage him.
Declawing is retarded
The US is the only country I know of which pretends like declawing is a normal surgery rather than mutilation as it’s better known around the rest of the world. Although I think there are some states where the procedure is not allowed, not sure not in the loop with US Veterinary legislation at the moment.
Keep that litter tray clean
Clean litter tray means less acting out, also less likely that your cat will think you’re an asshole and start pissing on your shoes in retribution. Get a clumping clay based litter. There are exhaustive scientific studies which prove this is the preference and is primarily because cats don’t want to smell their faeces or urine and the clay absorbs all this and is the quickest to absorb the odour.
Cat forums are hilariously inaccurate
Don’t use these as a primary source of information, everything is here say.
Don’t hesitate to change your Vet / Clinic
If they take a blood test and your cat comes back with 2 legs and its neck clipped, tell them to fuck off and learn how to handle feline patients.
Literature is well and good but won’t be your be all and end all.
Get an adult cat.
Make a list of what temperament, features, etc. you are looking for before you go out to look at cats.
Go to places where the staff want to talk to you about the sort of pet you want, preferably a place that has attempted to put together as complete a file on each animal as they can. They will help match you up with a cat that is most likely to work out for you.
Some costs you might not think of because they aren’t immediately obvious:
- Monthly flea preventative like Advantage II (yes, indoor cats can get fleas - YOU still go outside)
- You may occasionally need to purchase medicine for your cat, like stuff for ear or eye infections, parasites, etc.
- Climbing equipment (trust me on this one)
- Your time (do you have at least 30 minutes a day to dedicate to your cat? Do you have the energy for a 15-minute active play session at some point in the day?)
Besides that and what’s already been said, if you get a cat you need to be willing and able to observe it consistently so you can have a good sense of when something is wrong. That includes making sure the cat is peeing enough (but not too much) and watching the poop for irregularities.
How your cat should behave during a shower:
The family tom cat being showered by my brother last year via Mum’s camera. You may be able to hear him purring in the end, not due to anxiety but more because of the attention and full body massage he fooled his owners into giving him.
No, it means you have to be able to afford vet bills. Pet insurance is not always a great investment. Do your research and compare pay-ins versus pay-outs of such insurance. Know as much as possible about the overall health of your chosen pet (it helps if you are adopting a pet that is at least a year old) as well as its species/breed’s common ailments. Sometimes, saving the money you would pay into an insurance policy for emergency and routine vet bills ensures greater returns than the pet insurance would give you.
[quote=“sK0pe, post:28, topic:135”]
Indoor cats are going to be bored as fuck
Like indoor dogs are going to be bored as fuck. Solution get a dumb as fuck breed who can be entertained and contained indoors and know that you need to spend some time cultivating activities and play time. This also builds your trust. If you end up getting a smart stray or oriental cross, if they’re bored or want your attention they are going to make some definite noise until you do what they want. You can train cats just like dogs so this in and of itself is a way to keep the cat mentally active.[/quote]
In addition to this, cats can be walked on a leash. For real.
If you are training your animal, then treats may be quite useful - even for cats. Discuss your animal’s diet, training, and lifestyle with your vet. Every pet and home has its own unique needs and circumstances.
From my perspective it’s always been a benefit to the patient and client who get it later on wish they had it earlier.
It makes it easier for your Veterinarian to provide the best quality care without having to pitch it to you while your pet is dying and you’re not in an emotionally correct state to even understand what is being communicated.
The earlier the pet insurance, the more conditions are covered. It’s got all the benefits of human health care.
Human healthcare isn’t a great investment until you actually need it. Then again I don’t know how screwy the insurance system is in the US. In Australia and the UK, pets were covered for everything from vaccinations to blood tests, emergency surgeries, dentals it really comes into great use at an older age with joint disease, cardiac and endocrine disorders plus the lump removals being attended to early rather than later.
The only reason our family cats got away with it was because I get everything a warehouse prices and have done tens of thousands of dollars of work at zero cost to my parents.
Sure you can go without it for the first few years, especially with an indoor only cat but I would recommend getting it at some point.
I’m still going to say no, because owners are shit about regulation and this just allows for another avenue for a pet to produce expectant behaviour, which can lead to aggression or further manipulative behaviour. Allowing for this avenue to even be over leads to increased likelihood of obesity in an indoor animal.
Treats are made tasty with fat and salt and flavouring, the vast majority are not AAFCO passed and the ones that are, end up being mildly different tasting dry biscuits in different shapes. Most pet food related poisoning occur from untested treats going onto supermarket shelves.
Beyond this, if you do manage treats well, they’re still a waste of money, 100% of obesity consultations involve clients giving their pets treats for the wrong reasons. i.e reproducing known inappropriate behaviour till treats were provided or extra nutrition.
In this scenario, the pet directs how it is fed, which means the owner hasn’t a clue.
Treats will also lead to begging behaviour which is not desirable, especially if friends or family are around as they are more likely to give in to this type of behaviour (literally all the BBQ, chocolate, weed related poisonings. You do not need treats to train a cat or dog. Treats enable food oriented behaviour and gorging.
Do whatever you want but at the end of the day the only thing a treat does is make the human feel better about giving the pet a treat, the pet doesn’t give a shit either way because they have your attention.
Pet insurance in the US is kind of a wash. Projecting our vet bills for a decade of two rabbits, the insurance was at best going to be a breakeven, even if we assumed multiple serious interventions.
I think the situation where pet insurance pays out is if you have like, a pet that gets seriously ill when it’s relatively young and you want to save it instead of letting it go.
It’s obvious that any vet like @sK0pe will have confirmation bias. A vet sees all kinds of sick pets, and people who don’t have insurance to pay. A vet doesn’t see a ton of people coming in with healthy animals complaining about buying insurance and not getting their money’s worth.
Wow that’s pretty unfortunate.
There is truth to that thought process but many people are surprised at the cost of a regular dental. Even a scale and polish is around $500 to start off with due to the requirements of general anaesthesia. The major issue with ignoring dental disease is that a dental further down the road will cost more due to a longer period under anaesthesia and more drugs. It is often the initial cause of cardiac disease (bacteria in blood stream getting to the valves of the heart where they will be killed off but often cause scarring leading to irregular blood flow).
But yeah as long as you’re aware of the dental situation I can’t see an issue for an indoor cat to surprise you with any issues unless it’s as @Apreche says an unlucky early disorder or accident. Most of my views would be confirmation bias and dealing with clients who never had the money to spend on pet care to start off with.
That is a delightfully chill cat.
It also depends on trust. The difference can range from the eyes of a tiny betrayed trust, to defying gravity while running horizontally across your sweater.
I wish my roommate would let me get a cat. The petless life is a depressing one.
Most pet insurance available here doesn’t cover routine care at all, and if it does, it’s several hundred dollars a month. At which point, it costs the same as, if not more than, paying out of pocket.
When I looked into it, it was fairly obvious that it was a ripoff unless you are planning to go all-out to save your pet from a serious condition. Personally, I’m not putting my pet through a painful and expensive treatment so they can live a few more years. But that’s me.
But again, healthcare here in the US is vastly different from elsewhere.