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First Time Cat Owner Advice

Discussion in 'Grooming & General Cat Care' started by joelh, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Hmmm, well, hmmm. :think:

    Do you have room for a larger litter box, a super high sided or hooded one, that he can stand up in and pee against instead of your wall? Brian used to pee standing up and I didn't have room for a huge litter box (which I now have) and would pee all up the wall in a box without a lid. With the lid on, he'd still pee half way up it and some pee would go between the join and still get on the wall but a lot less of it. I used to just clean the wall each time as he wasn't doing it to annoy me, he just needed to stand up. After a while, we came to an understanding about this (he was a remarkably bright chap) and he started to mostly pee in the bath when he had an extra full bladder that needed standing up and a long, forceful flow. He used to do this over the plug hole so his pee would go straight down it. I would find tell tale signs of yellow splashed on the side of the bath and shower it down, then put disinfectant down the plug hole. Not helpful for you but perhaps look into a high-sided box.

    It can take some cats up to a year after neutering for all the latent testosterone to leave the body. In a few (very few) cats the testosterone never leaves and so they continue to spray. The spray doesn't have the foul stench of intact tom spray though. The strays outside must be really doing his head in. Is the area outside the window yours to use? You could try growing some cat deterrent plants like lavender, rosemary, and the curry plant - all of which smell lush to humans and yuck to cats, and none are harmful. And perhaps spray the outside of the window with citrus (lemon) juice, which cats don't like either. Trapping and neutering would also be a wise move as intact stray tom cats are no good for anyone.

    Also, does he have a cat tree? A cat tree or shelf higher up than the outside strays can climb might make Dova feel more secure in his territory. And cats like to be high up regardless and also love looking out of windows, so a cat tree near the window would be a good idea. And, if he has his own high platform he might not jump up onto tables and counters so much. I figure that cats will go wherever they like and although I don't encourage them jumping on kitchen counters, I don't shout at them for it. I just put them on the floor, repeatedly, without making a fuss, just perhaps saying "no" once in a firm but friendly voice. Cats take a long time to "train" but will get the message eventually if done calmly and repeatedly. And, cats respond to reward rather than punishment, so hissing is perhaps not the best method as it signals distress for cats. Try just saying "no" then putting him down or in the the hallway, over and over and over again. And, when he walks passed a counter without jumping up but looks up at you, and perhaps gives you a wee "meow", then reward his good behaviour with encouraging words and soft tone of voice; and maybe even give him a treat if/when he gets to grips with not jumping up.

    As for aggressive playing, the best I can suggest is what you're already doing, and that is to stop what you're doing and back off completely. Hopefully he'll grow out of it. He may find something you're doing overstimulating, so doing nothing until he chills out is the best approach.

    Now, chomping down on bin rummage and growling is most odd, indeed. Have his teeth been checked? Maybe they hurt and he's trying to tell you. Or maybe he's guarding stuff in a territorial manner. Does he have plenty of toys strewn all over the place? I really don't know, but simply turning around without making a sound and relocating yourself away from him is the only thing I can think to try at this stage. But check his mouth and teeth out.

    As for stinky poos, why not try some probiotic paste or powder, the friendly bacteria will help fight the stinky unfriendly bacteria from within. Talk to your vet about it, and generally bring up the stinky poo issue as it could need veterinary attention. Also, does he have access to enough clean, fresh water? Fresh water can only help. Cats don't like to drink in the same area as they eat or go to the toilet, so move his water bowl away from these other areas.

    I'm glad he was howling with joy at your return. Now that he's had a test run and knows that you'll return, Christmas shouldn't be so disorientating and lonely for him. And, perhaps you'll bring him a present home, joy!

    :hangin:
     

  2. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 19, 2016
    Yeah a high sided box is definitely on the cards, it might be his Christmas present. I imagine he won't have any issues with a new box either, I know a lot of people have their cats react badly to different types of litter but we mostly get our groceries delivered and they do substitutions on certain items so we've gotten all sorts of litter in the past and he's used them all the same. So a big old box will do him fine. I might source a good easy to clean one. The current basic one is awful when litter changing time comes around, it's dusty so all the particles scatter up into the air and into your face which is far from pleasant!

    I'd imagine some citrus spray or lavender would be my best bet, I'm not touching those cats. They're very feral. I named the strays though. Doug came around today and I noticed Dova was very submissive from the other side of the window, lying on his back and showing him his belly. So I'm to be very careful that cat never gets beyond the window.
    That stray is brilliant here for rats though, I've seen him catch and kill massive rats from the wild grass in front of the building as if he was the star of a nature documentary.

    He has a perch which he enjoys. The perch is in the hallway where he spends his day when I'm at work, it's a large hallway so he has plenty of room and access to the bathroom with a window.
    I even have his bed up on top of a few boxes there stacked high so he climbs about 4 foot high or so to sleep, his choice too as he has another bed on the floor next to the radiator.
    I've taken a calmer approach now and I'll save the hissing for if and when he's being obnoxious and needs to be put in check

    Ignoring him does work wonders I learned early on.

    I've checked his teeth regularly and he's got a healthy set. He has plenty of toys and he doesn't growl with them.
    Even yesterday I let him in my bedroom and he knocked open a tub of Q tips, put one in his mouth and growled for a solid ten minutes before he got bored. His tail shoots between his legs, his back arches, ear slick back and he growls like an angry dog. And for no reason, he woke from a nap on my bed, stretched, jumped down, up on a table, straight to the Q tips, knocked one to the floor, sniffed it, picked it up and straight from relaxed cat to growling cat. Then he gets bored, drops it and he'll jump up on the bed to get a rub off me. Very unusual

    He gets fresh water with every meal and never drinks it all so he has a constant supply of water. I might be over reacting but it's the smell a fully grown man would make, but a couple times a day and he doesn't know how to light a match or crack a window. Next time I'm with the vet I'll bring it up.
     

  3. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Yeah, definitely bring up stinky poo with your vet, he might have malabsorption syndrome or something else that would need to be treated (daily). Have you tried trial and error 'elimination' of each food stuff to see if he's got any food allergies, which cause mayhem with the digestive system? This experiment is when you take one aspect away, let's say chicken, for a week, record the stench level, then reintroduce it, and take another foodstuff away... You do this with each food stuff until a culprit is hopefully found. :fear:

    I really wanted to feed my cats on 75% and above meat kibbles, with no grain, and few fillers. However, having tried a varied range for a number of months, with the eye-watering stench even freaking my poor boys out, especially when Parker treads in Dudley's as he's just got follow him about, copying, I've reluctantly given up. I tried them on veterinary prescribed 'digestive' food for a month or so, which dramatically reduced the number of poos, the looseness, and the stink. Then, the last bag I got was Royal Canin Ragdoll (32% meat), which considering they're both ragdolls seemed worth a shot. I can't tell you the difference it's made; well I can, it's a humongous improvement. And their fur instantly groomed and fluffed itself, as if by magic. :vibes:
    I'm about to send off for a 10kg bag. :poop: Not that this helps you any but shows that stinky poos can be sweetened through food. And, I'd definitely ask your vet about those probiotics, even if just for a course, to rebalance his tummy bacteria.

    I still recommend putting up a cat shelf near that window, as showing his tummy and being submissive means he's not feeling in charge of his own inside territory. A nice, wide, high shelf, so he can look down and go "na na na na na, I'm the king of the castle, and you're the dirty rascal," at the dominant stray. :bliss:

    From what you describe, he's taking a fearful, defensive position when growling with bits of contraband. This is going to take some unraveling..... :crossfingers:

    I recommend some extensive research into your new litter tray and low dust litter. Saves money in the long run, spending time on research. You could maybe even start a new thread, asking for recommendations. :think:

    :bluepaw:
     

  4. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    @mservant suggested putting 'puppy pee pads' at the back of his litter tray to soak up his overspill. And it made me think that you could also put one under where he sits at the window to soak up his spray. They look reasonably comfy to sit on, like a nappy. :cloud9:

    Also, make sure you clean the inside of the window thoroughly with something like vinegar, which will not only deodorise and kill off any lurking bacteria/tempting pheromones, which will attract Dova to keep spraying the area, but will also make your window super glistening clean. :cool2:

    I recommend cleaning the outside of the window with vinegar also, before spraying it with lavender and/or citrus, to minimise the aforementioned tom attracting scents. I use Apple Cider Vinegar for a variety of household, pet, health, and beauty chores and the initial smell wears off quite quickly, so you won't be left with eye-watering vinegar fumes in your livingroom, just sparkling clean glass.

    :sunshine:
     
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  5. mservant

    mservant The Mouse servant Veteran

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    The Mouse Pad, UK
    You have certainly been on a journey with Dova @joelh , and he's doing a pretty good job of training you up. :biggrin:

    Before I get on to puppy pads and litter behaviours, that bin raking / q tip steeling and growling sounds to me like he's getting hold of prize 'prey' to me, and he's growling to make sure you don't try and steel them from him. Kind of thing you would expect if he had a yummy bit of food but maybe these are his big hunting successes and he's letting you know about them. :dunno: It's weird how some cats can come up with really basic hunting instincts without ever having been shown them - one of my previous tabby females would roll in anything stinky she could find when she got out - her favourite was dog pee, :disturbed: :cringe: :nono: presumably to mask her own scent and hunt down all unsuspecting dogs (which she would do given half a chance).

    That same cat had a chonic bladder inflamation and was prone to urine infections. From when that started she began to spray her urine up high and invariably peed out of their regular tray. I moved on to using a covered tray but found the urine would seep out of the join even when there was a big ridge to hold the lid in place. :frustrated: At that point I started using the puppy training pads under the tray to catch any leakage and reduce the amount of smell and cleaning up I had to do.... They also worked well when she got older and didn't always manage to pee inside her tray (I swear she didn't realize how big her back end was and wasn't aware she was missing the litter at that point). Looking back I would also have tried those very high sided / top entry style trays and deep trug / large bucket alternatives that have been talked about already, so the tray walls were high enough to catch even her high pressure upward spray.

    For removing urine stains and odour you need to clean with something that removes all trace of the fats and proteins in the urine - that means either one of the expensive enzyme cleaners specifically manufactured for removing urine (cat / dog / or human), or both a biological / enzyme laundry solution followed by either surgical spirit or regular household vinegar. You can add bicarbonate of soda along side the vinegar or surgical spirit if you like. Vinegar is great is it is one of the few things that actually permeates to remove things like mold on wood. You need to thoroughly clean any area either your cat or the outdoor strays spray or mark as soon as possible after the event and every time it happens.

    Dova sounds adorable to me, as many of the attention seeking behaviours like the biting remind me of a young Mouse. He calmed down massively when he reached 2 1/2 and is now one of the most chilled out cats you could imagine. So whether it is when he is one year, or two, I am confident Dova will also chill out. I do hope you manage to sort out that odour issue though - Dova probably doesn't like it much more than you do, and it doesn't sound right to me. :vibes:
     
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  6. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Thanks for all the advice again. Definitely the vinegar is a good idea and will be used in future, I just cleaned it the old fashioned way with disinfectant and he's generally stayed away from the window which I'm grateful for. It's been a clean window for the last month at least.

    I suppose he's slowly getting better at the litter, it's not quite as stomach churning cleaning it as it was but it still isn't exactly pleasant but that's to be expected! He's also much much better at eating and to my wallet's delight he's a giant fan of the cheap brand wet food. Anything with fish in it and he can't help himself. So that food literally costs less than half of the whiskas that he would eat before so I'm delighted with that.

    He still definitely hasn't calmed down, I can identify his attention seeking and play fighting but sometimes out of nowhere he can get very nasty. Not so much with me but more with my girlfriend. He might take a trip up to sit on her lap (which has sadly become very rare, he doesn't really spend his time chilled out with us so much any more) and sometimes out of nowhere he would wrap himself around her arm, stick his teeth and claws into her and he would have to be physically peeled off her, drawing blood and some really nasty cuts. I'm definitely not a fan of this. When he does it I'll put him back in the bathroom where he can stay to chill out. I really hope that stops, I think it's more very very rough playing that he is doing there but it's very bad behaviour, all I'm thankful for is that he doesn't ever dare try it with me.

    I do feel a bit sorry for him from time to time, he spends a lot of the day, well most of the day on his own when we are in work and when we get back he'd do something like that and have to be removed again. But not much we can do sadly. I know it's behaviour that's probably amplified by long periods of him being on his own, so I feel sorry for him. He's well looked after but needs more company I feel. Company that we can't provide.

    What's even worse is that we need to move by the summer again. And where we live and work is in the middle of a housing crisis. Rent is at an all time high and supply is at an all time low while demand has never been bigger. So finding a place in this pet-phobic world is going to be extremely difficult. Finding a place that will even take us humans is difficult never mind adding a cat to the mix, a cat who when introduced to carpets equals tears and an ungodly amount of hair.
    So it's something that's on the horizon, I never accounted for the renting market to get so bad that I might have to get him another home. I'm sure finding a taker will be easy but it would be horrible losing him and I am going to try to avoid it at all costs. I really hope I find a place where it is okay but it is unlikely.
    Whatever happens I will continue to publish the story here anyway. Whatever does happen will always be whatever is best for him anyway.
     

  7. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    :hellocat:

    I'm in the same boat, regarding housing. There just aren't any flats that I can afford, and the ones that I can are either squalors or there are a million other more desirable tenants than me applying. It's extremely depressing. I can't even get a foot in the door. Ho hum.

    Whenever he grabs a hand or arm, play dead, and go completely limp. Do not struggle or 'peel' him off. He will leave hold of his own accord and save you both some blood.

    It sounds as though he'd benefit from a buddy. I know that Dudley is a gazillion times happier and less stressed since I brought Parker into the fold (and I'm at home 24/7).

    Thanks for the update.

    :thanks:
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

  8. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Life is a bitch.

    My girlfriend suddenly and out of the blue forced Dova's fate this week. She left me, abandoned me and the cat and our home and left for a few hundred miles away.

    It was uncertain before with renting but now I have to re-home him. I have a charity who are looking for cats to rehome. I'll send in photos of him later.

    I'm all on my own now, can't afford rent on my own. I don't even know where I will go. I personally know nobody who will take him in. It's unfair on the cat, I hope his next care giver will give him a better life than I could. Not how I expected this story to end after not even a year and a half.
     

  9. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    :alright: Oh, I'm ever so sorry to hear this news. You must be devastated. :vibes::hugs:

    Not that I want to suggest this, as I'd rather you and Dova stayed together, but when you send his photos to the charity please mention all the issues you've had with him to give his new family his background. You could even point out this thread to them as the past year has been documented here. If I were adopting him, I'd be really grateful to be able to read this.

    Chin up. And, try not to beat yourself up about things. I'm sure when your life settles down in the future that you will be able to have another cat. Onwards and upwards, hey.

    :grouphug:
     

  10. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Thanks Brian,

    There definitely was no accounting for this, 5 years together, i thought that was stable but what can you do.
    I'll do my best for Dova anyway, I'm sure he'll be okay. I will have to advertise him well because it's hard to find a home for an adult cat. But I will have all the information needed to make sure he has the right care. Poor cat doesn't deserve all this but hopefully he'll have stability again soon.
     

  11. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    I'd say Dova was very desirable for adoption myself. I think his age is a plus, to be honest, as many people don't want the drama that having a young kitten can bring. If I were looking for a new cat then a one and a bit year old would sound most tempting, especially one as cute as Dova.
     

  12. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    I think I've found a home for him.
    Out in the seaside. I should get some updates about how he gets on there too because they are a friend of a friend sort of thing.
    He'll be left outside too. I'll make sure he gets the right shots and vaccinations and is weaned into it gradually. I'll ask them to keep him indoors at first and slowly introduce him to outside. I'll also ask them to get him microchipped.
    He'll probably have a better life there. I'm sure it's cruel for me to have him on my own when I'm only home an hour or two a day before having to go to bed. He's just cooked up all alone. Besides I have to leave and possibly move home where we have our 14 year old doberman pinscher who I'm sure doesn't deserve any shocks at his age either. So as hard as it is I can't keep him.

    It's pretty horrible. It's as if he knows it. Today he wouldn't leave me.
    All morning he was either on my shoulder or on my lap, same after I got home again, hours and hours not budging from my lap.

    I really hope they take good care of him.
     

  13. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 19, 2016
    One of our last evenings together.
     

    Attached Files:


  14. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    That's a bitter sweet post about his new home. I'm sure he'll enjoy the seaside, though. Please do make sure they know to introduce him slowly to outside life and that he has some sort of an outhouse with a comfy bed to make his own. He will still need daily fresh water and food and cuddles but I'm sure his new family will know that. It will be quite a shock for him but also exciting. In many ways it's good that he'll be faced with such a massive change in circumstance as he won't have time to miss you so much what with everything going on. He'll be too busy practising his mousing skills.

    That photo very nearly made me cry, it's beautiful. He's such a lovely wee boy. And he clearly adores you. But onwards and upwards, hopefully he'll soon make lots of new friends. And you will have your doberman to comfort you, which is ever so good and pleases me greatly. You'll be able to take him for walks and clear your head.

    Don't be too hard on yourself and allow yourself to grieve for him, as missing him will feel a bit like grief for a while. And you've suffered a double blow with your girlfriend, too. Come back on here to moan if you need to, I'll be here.

    Take care of yourself.

    :cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader:
     

  15. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dova is gone.
    He was collected and taken away this morning. I had all his toys and everything all together along with a shopping list of things he needs to be cared for properly. The lady who is taking him has had cats in the past, she should take good care of him and she knows what he needs.
    I put him in his travel box, placed him in the car, scratched him on the head one last time and told him to be good and I choked up. Once he realised I wasn't getting in the car he started crying for me. I just walked away back into my empty house and they drove off and I sat and came to terms with what just happened.
    And thus ends my time with a great friendly lovely little cat who I had the pleasure of raising through kitten-hood.
    I feel like I'm now in mourning, I always kinda questioned if I really did love him like how I loved my dogs in the past. So many ups and downs, so many messes, bad smells, bad behaviour. But other times he would whinge up at me and I'd be confused as to what he wanted, he'd have food, water, toys, open doors, he wouldn't stop until he'd jump up on my back and rest on shoulder purring. He just wanted to be with me. I could tell I was everything to him. At times I had difficulties with him which id post up about on here, I wouldn't post about the times I'd fall asleep and wake with him curled up beside me, or when I'd come home from work and he'd jump up into my arms, or the literally thousands of photos I'd take of him. I didn't know if I loved him properly until I heard him cry as I shut the car door and I felt like a part of myself was torn out that I will never get back.

    Here's to Dova anyway, I can only hope he has a good life from here and learns to forget about me, I know I will never ever forget about him.
     
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  16. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 19, 2016
    [​IMG] Goodbye Dova
     
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  17. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Please be kind to yourself. Losing Dova is a grief and you must give yourself all the time you need to come to terms with it. My soulmate cat, Brian, died almost two years ago and I'm still grieving. I know that Dova hasn't died but your missing him will still be awfully lonely.

    Here are my two, Dudley and Parker, today. We wish you all the best.

    IMG_2148 (1).jpg

    :hugs:
     
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  18. joelh

    joelh Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Dec 19, 2016
    For any interested.

    Dova is doing well.
    He lives out in the countryside, hunts mice and other small animals and even hangs around with other cats.
    His new owners changed his name which I don't like but I doubt he minds too much.

    Every day I think about him and I still miss him as much as I did on day one. I want him back but he's living a decent life for himself now at least.

    I think in conclusion to this whole thread, for a dog person thinking about getting a cat. My advice now that I've been there and done that it absolutely go for it. Dova was absolutely fantastic and I mourn for him as if he died now that I had to let him go. I miss him more than I miss any dog I've had before.

    My only advice would be that if you are to get one make sure you are stable enough yourself. I think I was ready for him and the responsibilities but I never considered wether or not my partner was too. She wasn't and it cost me my best friend, Dova who I got to have around for over a year, far too short a time.

    I continue to get updates on him occasionally. I haven't seen him in person, I don't think it'd do me any good, I doubt he would remember me anyway. And it'd probably just do more harm than good for me but I'll see how things go.

    The attached photo is the most recent I've gotten of him. He's fantastic.
    If you are stable enough in your own living arrangements and think you have the time and effort needed, absolutely go for a Dova of your own and you really won't regret it. [​IMG]
     
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  19. Brian007

    Brian007 Furmate and Famulus Top Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Edinburgh, Scotland.
    A worthy update with sage advice, thank you for thinking of others.

    And thanks from me for Dova's report, it's wonderful to know he's thriving.

    :rock:
     

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