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Questions about first indoor cat

lindsay_314

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Hello, I'm new here!

I am looking at adopting a cat around the new year--at that point I will have all my ducks in a row, so to speak, to take on the responsibility of a pet. It has been almost 8 years since my parents and I lost our 13-year-old tabby, Sophie, and in those years I have moved out, have a steady job, live in an apartment, and am ready for another furry companion--now finally with the funds to do so! I had outdoor cats for most of my childhood (food and water was kept in the garage, had access through a kitty door), but I am inexperienced with an indoor cat--my parents said absolutely NO to an indoor pet when I was growing up. So, I have a few questions:

-What type of household cleaners should I use? Can I still use things like Windex and keep the cat out of the room for a certain amount of time, or should I use something else?
-What is your best idea for keeping kitty off the kitchen counters? All other areas are fine with me (tables, furniture, etc), but I draw the limit at food prep surfaces.
-I keep hearing the debate about wet vs dry food; I will be out most of the day, so should I feed kibble in the morning and wet at night?
-I think adopting an adult cat would be the best for me, but what would you say are the pros and cons of adult cat vs. kitten?
-Speaking of me being at work a lot during the day, should I adopt 2 adult cats so they should keep each other company? Or would one be ok?
-Any other advice for a first-time indoor cat owner?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
 

CatLover49

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Hello, I'm new here!

I am looking at adopting a cat around the new year--at that point I will have all my ducks in a row, so to speak, to take on the responsibility of a pet. It has been almost 8 years since my parents and I lost our 13-year-old tabby, Sophie, and in those years I have moved out, have a steady job, live in an apartment, and am ready for another furry companion--now finally with the funds to do so! I had outdoor cats for most of my childhood (food and water was kept in the garage, had access through a kitty door), but I am inexperienced with an indoor cat--my parents said absolutely NO to an indoor pet when I was growing up. So, I have a few questions:

-What type of household cleaners should I use? Can I still use things like Windex and keep the cat out of the room for a certain amount of time, or should I use something else?
-What is your best idea for keeping kitty off the kitchen counters? All other areas are fine with me (tables, furniture, etc), but I draw the limit at food prep surfaces.
-I keep hearing the debate about wet vs dry food; I will be out most of the day, so should I feed kibble in the morning and wet at night?
-I think adopting an adult cat would be the best for me, but what would you say are the pros and cons of adult cat vs. kitten?
-Speaking of me being at work a lot during the day, should I adopt 2 adult cats so they should keep each other company? Or would one be ok?
-Any other advice for a first-time indoor cat owner?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
:hellosmiley::petcat::hithere::welcomesign:
 

shadowsrescue

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As for cleaners, I am just careful to keep my cats away when I am cleaning. Open a window if the fumes are strong. I am not over the top, but I do take precautions to be sure they are not with me when I am cleaning.

Keeping cats off counters can be hard if they ever get up there. They sell things like sticky paws that cats don't like. I am not a fan of using a squirt bottle and spraying the cat. I find it cruel.

I am not a fan of dry food. I have a male cat that ate some dry food, and some wet food. He had a urinary blockage that required major surgery. He was never a big water drinker and the dry food did not help at all. I feed wet food only. Some in the morning and some in the evening. For adult cats 2 meals a day is just fine. Feeding the highest quality food you can afford will help too.

Kittens can be fun and it's often fun to get 2. Yet if you work all day, kittens can get into so many things. You would have to keep them in a crate for awhile or in a small kitten proofed room. They do require lots of care at first. Adult cats would probably be easier. Adopting 2 to keep each other company would be totally awesome! If you go to a shelter, be sure to get 2 that are already bonded so you will not have issues with introductions.

Be sure to introduce them slowly to your house. When bringing a cat home for the first time, it's often a good idea to keep them confined to a spare room ( cat proofed) for a few days. I am always certain the room either doesn't have a bed or the bed is flat on the floor. Also being sure there are no other large pieces of furniture the cat can get behind. If they are frightened, they often try to hide. Under the bed or large furniture is the first place they will go and it's really hard to get them out.

Here are a few articles that might help
How Much Time Does It Take To Care For A Cat?
First-time Cat Owner's Guide
15 Things You Should Know Before Adopting A Cat
A Kitten Or An Older Cat - Which Should You Adopt?
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home
 

jefferd18

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Welcome to the site!



Citrus peels help keep cats off of kitchen counters and I used a sonic device to keep mine from jumping on them.

I believe in dry kibble so they can have something to munch on during the day.

Most people will tell you two cats and it is totally your call but I don't think cats are pack animals=- they are loners- so one should be fine. Besides, one cat will bound with you better.

With an adult, you know what you are getting- kittens change many times while growing up.

Advice?

Make sure any plants you have or cat friendly.

Yes, keep the litter box clean because he/she will use something else, and you don't want to get that bad habit started.
 

Finley

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I recently adopted two kittens, they're my first indoor cats too! (We had outdoor cats where I grew up, but I'm strictly indoor-only unless they're harnessed and leashed.)

Mine are 3 months. The house must be cat proofed. I just purchased protectors for our electric cords- they are trained not to play with them using redirection, but they're going to be teething soon and I'm scared they'll try to chew on them. Even with a cat proofed house, they'll still find things to play with that they're not "supposed" to, like blinds, and the shower curtain. Practicing redirection and making sure they have PLENTY to do will reduce the risk of them engaging in the behaviors while you're not home, and can't do anything about it. We leave ours home while we go to work, checking in on them on our lunch breaks, and they're fine. We just have to remember to keep doors closed and put their strangulation hazard toys away while we're not there.

They can't jump onto the counter yet, but I plan to use cotton balls soaked in apple cider vinegar diluted 1:1 with water to keep them off while we're cooking. I used Boundary spray under the recliner, and it seems to work, but it didn't work on the TV stand. I prefer natural remedies like citrus scent and ACV as opposed to a chemical spray, but what works for one cat and one situation won't work for another.

Just keep them out of the room while you clean. It's easier anyway, they chase my broom.

Mine are kittens, so my feeding schedule might be different than others: I feed wet food twice a day, and I free feed dry. They don't eat all their wet food at once, so they mostly free feed that too, but they eat it all within a few hours- it doesn't go bad in that time.

I think one adult cat would be fine. I'm very, very glad I got a pair of kittens, because I really do think they benefit from having each other during the work day (they mostly sleep anyway) but the constant playfulness and need to hunt starts to wear off around a year old, and they are usually happy lazing around by themselves while you're not home.
 

LTS3

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-What type of household cleaners should I use? Can I still use things like Windex and keep the cat out of the room for a certain amount of time, or should I use something else?
I've used Windex and my cats never tried to lick the window surface or anything. Try to use "green" homemade cleaners if possible. A solution of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar works to clean many surfaces. Straight vinegar can clean windows, etc. If you need to use a commercial brand of cleaner, follow the instructions for proper use and cleaning and keep the cats out of the room for a few hours. Open a window to air out the room if possible.

Avoid Lysol and essential oils.

-What is your best idea for keeping kitty off the kitchen counters? All other areas are fine with me (tables, furniture, etc), but I draw the limit at food prep surfaces.

-I keep hearing the debate about wet vs dry food; I will be out most of the day, so should I feed kibble in the morning and wet at night?
Canned food can be fed all day. It's a cooked product. Use a programmable timed feeder to provide a few meals throughout the day. If you find that your cat isn't eating all the meals in the feeder, adjust the number of meals you leave out.

Some people prefer to offer a measured amount of dry food out for snacking on.

-I think adopting an adult cat would be the best for me, but what would you say are the pros and cons of adult cat vs. kitten?
Kittens are a lot of work. You need to teach them good behavior. Expect kittens to climb curtains, furniture, your counters, dig through the trash can, eat things they're not supposed to eat, knock fragile items around, etc. And they eat a lot.

Shelters are full of adults and seniors who are looking for homes just as much as cute little kittens.

-Speaking of me being at work a lot during the day, should I adopt 2 adult cats so they should keep each other company? Or would one be ok?
If you adopt two bonded cats, they'll keep each other company. Kittens are usually accepting of a new friend right away but sometimes not. There's a whole process to introduce two unfamiliar cats to each other.


-Any other advice for a first-time indoor cat owner?
Check out the TCS articles for everything you need to know about caring for cats: Articles
 

Maria Bayote

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Hello, and welcome!

Since you mentioned you are mostly out, I'd also go with adopting adult cats. If you can be able to afford 2 adult ones that have already been bonded as what one mentioned above, it would be much better. Kittens are not for everyone. They would need food readily available for them at all times until at least they are a year old, and they have unlimited energy. So who knows what they'd do when you are out? :)

Wet food is way much better for cats, and make sure that they have clean water. However, a bit of dry food is ok, as long as you limit it. I suggest that you feed them wet food before you leave for work, then leave a bowl of kibbles during the day while you are out just so they would not be hungry. When you get home you can feed them wet food again.

If you plan to adopt two cats, at least get them 3 litterboxes, which should be scooped at least twice a day.

Congratulations in advance and have fun!
 

Neko-chan's mama

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Of you'd like to adopt 2 cats, you can ask the shelter/rescue of they have a bonded pair. They can comfort each other while adjusting to their new home. Sadly, that wasn't an option for me as our landlord said only one cat.
 

daftcat75

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So, I have a few questions:

-What type of household cleaners should I use? Can I still use things like Windex and keep the cat out of the room for a certain amount of time, or should I use something else?
I use Seventh Generation wipes for most of my cleaning because they don't contain ammonia. Ammonia is a component of cat pee and can encourage your cat to "urine mark" with his scent over the ammonia he is smelling. There is a Windex with vinegar that you can use in place of normal Windex. I also use diluted vinegar for a lot of pet mess cleanups. My usual "formula" for pet messes is approximately 2:1 water to vinegar plus a tiny drop of blue Dawn liquid dish soap. I use that to blot up stains and then drop down a layer of baking soda to remind me where the wet spot is but also to eat at odors.

-What is your best idea for keeping kitty off the kitchen counters? All other areas are fine with me (tables, furniture, etc), but I draw the limit at food prep surfaces.
I don't. In fact, I encourage it. I built a path with cat trees so she can join me on the kitchen counter during meal preps. This gives us some quality time together. It also gives my 15 year old some extra exercise and something to do besides sitting at my feet while I prep her meals. In the thirteen years that I've had her, I have found it is far easier to wipe down a food prep surface with one of those Seventh Generation wipes before I need to cook than to fight and argue with her about why that surface is off limits to her when I don't seem to care about any other surfaces in the apartment.

-I keep hearing the debate about wet vs dry food; I will be out most of the day, so should I feed kibble in the morning and wet at night?
If you can get away with never feeding kibble, that would be best. You pay for that convenience later in life with health issues like kidney disease, diabetes, and/or IBD. You can use timed feeders (and ice packs if you need them) to keep wet food fresh and available during times when you are not. I feed Krista twice in the morning and twice at night. In between those meals, I leave out timed feeders. Krista doesn't eat as much in any given meal like she used to so I have to split her daily calories into as many meals as she will take. Timed feeders help me keep my sanity and some semblance of freedom. These are my favorite because the seal works well, the food will stay fresh, they come with ice packs if you need to leave food in there for a longer period of time. Cold food from the fridge that opens to her 4 to 6 hours later is no issue without ice packs with my Krista. All cats are different and your mileage may vary. But at $30 for 2, it's worth playing around and seeing what works for you and yours.


-I think adopting an adult cat would be the best for me, but what would you say are the pros and cons of adult cat vs. kitten?
If you spend the day at work, an adult cat would be better than a kitten. Plus everyone wants a kitten. Adopting an adult can literally save a life. I adopted my Krista at 2 years old. She still had so much kitten energy left in her that that first year, I questioned whether her age was misstated or I made a mistake not adopting an even older adult. No mistakes were made. She mellowed out into the best cat ever!

-Speaking of me being at work a lot during the day, should I adopt 2 adult cats so they should keep each other company? Or would one be ok?
Two cats equals two feisty and stubborn personalities plus their bad habits to work with or through. And then there is the relationship between the two cats. If you can get siblings or foster buddies (cats who grew up in the same foster home can sometimes develop social bonds similar to family), that will certainly make two cats at once easier than bringing in a new cat to an already established single cat home. It's not necessary for your cat to have a feline companion. But it's not hard to imagine the benefits of one assuming you're okay with the additional expenses, litterboxes (plan on one per cat plus one spare), and personalities.

-Any other advice for a first-time indoor cat owner?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
Cats are stubborn and don't have the same desire to please their owners like dogs do. That makes them less trainable. It also means discipline is wasted on them unless you want to create anxieties and behavior disorders in them. What I'm trying to say here is that it's often easier to accept the cat for who he is than to think you are going to train his more disagreeable habits (like counter surfing) out of him. If you do try to adjust his behaviors, the best way to do that is figure out the appeal of his current undesirable behavior and either try to frustrate that appeal or present a more appealing and acceptable alternative. I never worry about Krista on the cook surfaces because she is free to join me on the prep surfaces. Occasionally she does jump up to the other kitchen counter with the microwave and stovetop. I keep that counter spotless, again with the wipes, and free of dirty dishes, pots, pans, and even the trivet I pick up and wash after cooking. If I don't do the dishes, she will. So although I haven't stamped that counter out of her behaviors, I've made it about as unappealing to her as I can so that she doesn't get rewarded for her efforts.

Second piece of advice. Play with your cat! Get wand toys or shoelaces or laser pointers. Figure out what he likes and make a point of playing with him at least a couple of times a day. It doesn't have to be very long. But the stimulation, exercise, and bonding is worth whatever time and effort you can put into it. Even my 15 year old with multiple health issues and arthritis still wants to play at least a couple of times a day. She can't chase the feather wand toy like she used to but she still wants to take a few swipes at it. I think it helps take her mind off her struggles and helps her feel young again even if only for a minute or two.
 

Uncled

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As others.have said Orange peels work to keep off area's you don't want them on. I have also used lemon oil on cotton type face wipes, not sure what to call them, with good results as well, you can get lemon oil on Amazon
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2: How exciting to be "expecting" a new cat. I hope you'll come back and tell us all about him/her/them, once you're all settled. :catlove:

Other members have already answered your questions, but I'll post links to some TCS articles that might be helpful. .

-What type of household cleaners should I use? Can I still use things like Windex and keep the cat out of the room for a certain amount of time, or should I use something else?
Household Chemicals And Your Cats

-I keep hearing the debate about wet vs dry food; I will be out most of the day, so should I feed kibble in the morning and wet at night?
What Do I Need To Know About Feeding My Cat?

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat

Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat - Part 2

And since this will be your first indoor cat(s), here's a couple more articles:

How To Make Your Home Bigger (at Least For Your Cats)

How To Prevent Your Cat From Darting Out The Door
 
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lindsay_314

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Thank you all so much for your advice! (Sorry for the late response, I was sick and work has been super busy).

I have a few other questions:

What cat litter do you recommend? As I said before is all new to me since my previous cats were outdoors. :biggrin: I mean, clumping litter seems the best (and I know I have to transition from whatever they would be using in the shelter/foster home), but which one is best for odor? I know scooping often obviously helps, but which brand do you recommend? Also, for one cat, I am planning on a box in the downstairs bathroom and in a corner of my master bedroom upstairs (I rent a 2-bedroom 2-bath condo). Does that sound about right?

Any recommendations for mid-priced wet food? Doesn't have to be organic or anything like that (although if an organic brand is the best bang for my buck, it's a nice bonus). There is a PetSmart in my town with a large selection, but it is quite an overwhelming aisle. We bought Friskies wet food for my cat before, but that was when she was a senior cat; besides, my parents were buying it, and I don't know much about the different brands. :S

And lastly, if anyone is in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee area, any veterinarian recommendations? :)

I am excited but so nervous about having everything just right, I think that's why I have so many questions! Does that make sense? I want my new furry family member to have a happy home with me, you know?

Thanks again for all your helpful answers!!
 

daftcat75

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For litter, I like Worlds Best. I never smell pee and the poop odor will depend on what you feed him/her.

For food, wet is better than dry. Timed feeders (I like WOPets brand here) can help for daytime and nighttime nibbles. Dividing her food over three or four scheduled meals will be better than two gut bombs. Cats will eat as much as ten times a day if they have the option. My 15 yo with IBD doesn’t get through big portions like she used to. So I feed her scheduled meals at 6am, 9am, 6pm and 10pm. I use a pair of the WOPets feeders (in case one doesn’t open) for the daytime and overnight so she can nibble on her own schedule without resorting to dry food.

For specific foods, I like simple recipes as close to meat, moisture, organs, and supplements as I can get. No grains, starches, fibers, fruits, or vegetables. If it isn’t mouse- or bird-like, I don’t want it in her food. On the expensive but worth it end, that’s Rawz. Now if I had to do it over with a cat who doesn’t have IBD and multiple food sensitivities now, I would feed her Fancy Feast Classic pates (bird or beef flavors only) or Tiki Cat in bird flavors especially the After Dark which has extra organ meats. Save fish flavored foods for when they feel sick and won’t eat anything else. Or you need to mix in medicine.

Fish foods are highly appealing and even addictive. If you feed them on the regular, you may not get her to eat anything else. And then when you do need a medicine meal or to restart her eating, you have nowhere else to turn. For these reasons, I consider fish a nuclear option best kept in reserve until absolutely nothing else will work.
 

daftcat75

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And yes. Two litter boxes, one on each floor sounds about right. Though I might even put a second one downstairs or upstairs. Wherever she spends more time. Cats often like to pee in one box and poop in the other. Also if she’s having the squirts, having two boxes helps because you can clean one while she uses the other. I just went through this with Krista this morning. “Don’t bomb my carpet. Here’s another box while I clean the first.” Go with uncovered boxes. Covered boxes trap odors. Good for you. Not so much for the cat. Get a Litter Genie for each box so you can scoop as quickly as she uses the box. Your cat will thank you and so will your nose (and any other noses in your household.). I bag poops in dog bags and add a little baking soda before they go into the litter genie. That cuts down on the odor and makes me feel better about the gross sausage the Litter Genie is making. 😹
 

rubysmama

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I use Arm and Hammer clumping litter, and like it. Litter pieces do stick to Ruby's toes and end up on the floor, but that will happen with most clumping litter. I also have 2 litter boxes for Ruby.

About food, Ruby has a sensitive digestive system, and eats veterinary food, so I can't help with food recommendations.
 

kittenmittens84

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Every cat (and person!) has different preferences but we use Dr Elsey’s Ultra and it works well. Very little smell, clumps well, and there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable dust even when I pour it out of the bag. My little guy uses a big top entry box because he likes privacy and it means he can fling litter around to his heart’s content. It also minimizes tracking since he jumps onto the lid to get out, and the litter on his paws comes off onto the tray in the process.

I know some people recommend having two boxes for a single cat but I live in a quasi-studio apartment and don’t have a good place for more than one, and he seems perfectly fine with one big one. He’s never had any sort of litter box issues though, I might feel differently if he did!
 

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