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Author Topic: the very best cat things  (Read 4564 times)
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hannah
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Posts: 9366


« on: Oct 13, 2011, 07:20:31 PM »

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook might know that I rescued a stray kitten this past weekend. We're still figuring out if we can keep her or not—she may go to my mom for a few months while we save money (or she may end up a Biggins!)—but in the meantime I'd like to spoil her rotten. To that end, I am seeking recommendations on:

- kitty litter
- cat food (preferably something bougie that's organic, sustainable, even vegetarian [!], etc., etc., but let's not kid ourselves, we're poor grad students)
- must-have cat accessories
- anything and everything

Oh. And, for now, her name is Ingeborg, after this movie.

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clare
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Posts: 5192


« Reply #1 on: Oct 13, 2011, 07:39:22 PM »

She's lovely!

We feed ours California Natural (dried food) but it doesn't seem that exciting to me. Our cats like to play with the "feather on elastic dangled from a stick, spritzed with catnip spray" toys, and laser pointers. We use a litter made from rice by-products, which is local, but I'm sure there's an equivalent. The good thing about it is that it's biodegradable _and_ flushes pretty easily, so disposal isn't a big deal - you can put it in your garden, in the rubbish, or down the toilet, all with a clear conscience!
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You must have a very long, thin, tapered penis.
Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #2 on: Oct 13, 2011, 08:10:07 PM »

Aw, she's adorable!

As far as food: literally the shittiest wet food is better for cats than even the best dry food, so go with any of those.  Natural Balance is the one I get for mine most often (they have it cheap-ish at PetCo), and looking it up just now, I see that they're number one on about.com.  I don't think anyone makes vegetarian cat food, since, unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores.

As far as litter, I've used Swheat Scoop, which is made from wheat, Yesterday's News, made from paper, and Feline Pine, made from pine shavings.  Of those, Feline Pine absorbed the most odor and smelled great (like a woodshop!) but ultimately, all three were kind of lacking in odor-control, and the cats tracked them everywhere.

So I now use basic Tidy-Cat clumping litter, which I would feel worse about, except that my hippie vet-tech ladyfriend with five cats also uses it, and I pretty much defer to her cat knowledge in all things.

Does Inga have something to scratch at? If you cover a small piece of furniture with carpet, she can climb on it AND scratch it!

Also, new empty cardboard boxes should be left out for a day or so; I've found a lot of cats seem to love sitting in new boxes, like, twice, and then don't give a shit.
« Last Edit: Oct 13, 2011, 08:18:49 PM by Greg Nog » Logged
Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #3 on: Oct 13, 2011, 08:17:46 PM »

Does Inga have something to scratch at? If you cover a small piece of furniture with carpet, she can climb on it AND scratch it!

By the by, what I did was:
scavenge a metal shelving unit from the curb
buy someone's old crappy carpet for cheap off craigslist
use zip-ties to attach the carpet to the shelving unit

So the whole thing cost me like twenty bucks, and they fucking love it:
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jess
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Posts: 3571


« Reply #4 on: Oct 13, 2011, 09:16:13 PM »

Must have cat accessories: a furminator. Best grooming tool ever—will remove half your cat's fur but in a good way. Also, most cats like being furminated, though I've yet to try it on a kitten.

Wet catfood is pretty disgusting and intensely smelly, so kudos to people who use it, but I won't unless my cat needs it, and my cat is super healthy on dry. Furthermore, she's one of the majority of cats who do ok free feeding (I fill her food bowl when it gets empty and don't worry about precise amounts, though she doesn't like stale food, so I don't put too much out at once), and if you can get away with that, it's so much easier. Kittens will probably be fine with that. My vet from Cambridge who I trusted immensely recommended three brands to me, all of which he said are pretty good in terms of being high quality/non-fillers, etc., one of which was Royal Canin, which I use and Calliope likes quite well. I give her Greenies treats most days, a few of them, which seem to help her breath.

I use clumping litter unapologetically too, and furthermore, if you are at all sensitive to artificial scents like me, I recommend staying far far away from the scented ones which will result in your whole house being coated with that scent. I can't stand it and it gives me allergies. One brand of supposedly unscented litter did that too, and the Arm & Hammer litter didn't clump well. I buy "ExquisiCat" from PetSmart and it works excellently.

Kittens don't respond to catnip, that only kicks in sometime in adolescence/early adulthood, so don't bother with any of that. Calliope also loves new boxes, and I've yet to meet a cat who doesn't love a lazer pointer—in fact, it's the only toy that has never gotten old with my cats, who have usually gotten bored with everything else eventually. Avoid toys with bells—only get mice/balls without, otherwise you will be sorry. Unless you like constant bell noises that is, in which case go for it.
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hannah
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Posts: 9366


« Reply #5 on: Oct 13, 2011, 10:13:23 PM »

Oh, this is all excellent. Thanks so much, Clare, Greg, and Jess! And if anyone else has any other advice, please, don't hesitate to chime in!
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jm
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Posts: 4803


« Reply #6 on: Oct 13, 2011, 10:14:58 PM »

I don't have any advice.  But oh my god that cat.  That goofy tongue.
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His hand is holding my hands, which are rested on his knee.
G.C.R
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Posts: 6219


« Reply #7 on: Oct 13, 2011, 11:00:03 PM »

I like that kitten a lot, Hannah. The cat that lives upstairs from me who likes to come and hang out thinks bubbles are about the most confusing, mildly alarming and hella fun thing ever, if the two of you are looking for an enjoyable game.
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I think it's fair to assume we'll be inebriated and covered in bodily effluvia all weekend
peacocks
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 13, 2011, 11:11:30 PM »

Swheat Scoop, as Greg suggested upthread, is where it's at. A bit pricey as litters go but it clumps like mad and doesn't smell. Most of the "oh, you have cats" smell isn't actually from the poop, it's from the stupid litter! Sweat Scoop with a few dashes of arm n hammer littler powder stuff makes everything smell totally normal- unless they just pooped and then it smells like poop for a minute or two. Plus it is good for their precious respiratory systems and the environment. Oh! You can also FLUSH the clumped up pee and poop! You don't have to throw it away! So convenient.

Greg, about the wet cat food thing. Really!? I'm going to have to read that article. I always thought dry was better for their teeth and stuff.
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dick-check your priviledge
mixed cats
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Posts: 3200


« Reply #9 on: Oct 13, 2011, 11:11:43 PM »

My cats also eat Royal Canin. They make a food that's specifically shaped for my cats' stupid mouths, but we don't even use that kind - just the regular adult food with some of the special skin food added in because Hugo gets dandruffy. They get wet food a few times a week, which Hugo licks and abandons, and then Linus eats all of it.

We also use clumping litter for the cats. I grew up never using that kind with our cats, but it's a little easier to deal with.

Linus doesn't understand the laser pointer at all (Hugo LOVES it), but he loves noisy trash and bags and boxes. The greatest toy in the house according to both cats is sparkly pompom balls.

also: GREAT CAT PIX A+
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call me, and we'll sit down and work it out
over pancakes and orange juices
alistarr*
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Posts: 8129


« Reply #10 on: Oct 14, 2011, 03:25:52 AM »

Advice based only on my experience with our two cats (not sure if you'll already know any of this, and I'm phrasing it as instructions just because I'm in a bit of a rush, but feel free to ignore any/all if you like!):

Dig out a cardboard box big enough to sit in but not too big to jump in and out of. Cheapest and best toy ever.

A weighted feather type toy on a fishing rod thing is also an amazing toy - if it has a couple of feathers then it will flutter slightly unpredictably as you pull it through the air which apparently makes the hunting even more fun. With kittens you should try and spend a bunch of time with it and help it play at first, so this is a good one.

Our kitten loves this weird little fluffy spider toy made out of pipe-cleaner type stuff. But our kitten is a bit crazy.

Also there is this thing that says "kong kickaroo" on it which is like a rat-sized elongated cushion with a tail which both our cats like to kill.

Give it lots of physical contact so it knows you're its boss/owner/mum/whatever - big strokes from head to tail and pick it up and sit it on your lap, etc.

I don't know if you're planning to let it out, but don't let it out the house until it's been neutered. Seriously, just don't - they become sexually active pretty quick and you don't want another half dozen kittens.

For a rare treat you could give it a half tin of tuna (tinned in water not oil/brine, and don't drain the water before dishing it up).

Make sure it knows when it's done something wrong - you won't do it any favours by letting it get away with whatever it likes, especially if you're rehoming it. Minor misdemeanours snap your fingers and chase it away from the source of misbehaviour, bigger problems pick it up and stare it out and say "no". If it keeps misbehaving pick it up and blow in its face or pat its bottom then put it down again.

It needs something to scratch. Greg's shelf looks amazing. Ours have a couple of scratching posts and they're allowed to scratch the doormats. If it scratches somewhere you don't want it to scratch, tell it off and then carry it to the scratches-allowed item and hold its front paws on the scratchy stuff for a moment.

Don't put the food and the litter next to each other. And don't put the litter in your sitting room if that's where you spend all your time, just in case it likes privacy.
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Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #11 on: Oct 14, 2011, 08:31:16 AM »

Must have cat accessories: a furminator. Best grooming tool ever—will remove half your cat's fur but in a good way. Also, most cats like being furminated, though I've yet to try it on a kitten.

Oh YES, The Furminator is literally the best of all cat accessories; I'm a little evangelical about mine, and my ex (who hates cats) went from barely tolerating her boyfriend's cats to actually being okay with them thanks to the amount of stray floating fur that disappeared from the household with regular furminating.  I know it looks unspecial and overly expensive, but seriously, it's great.

And on the grooming tip, you can clip their claws with a little pair of scissors or fingernail clippers, or you can spend a wee bit more for a one-time cost and get the spring-loaded professional kind -- I got the latter, and it seriously makes everything easier when you're holding the clippers in one hand and a squirming cat in the other.  The non-spring-kind will work just fine, but I'm glad I paid an extra five bucks, given the rest of the stress involved in nail-clipping.

Swheat Scoop, as Greg suggested upthread, is where it's at. A bit pricey as litters go but it clumps like mad and doesn't smell. Most of the "oh, you have cats" smell isn't actually from the poop, it's from the stupid litter! Sweat Scoop with a few dashes of arm n hammer littler powder stuff makes everything smell totally normal- unless they just pooped and then it smells like poop for a minute or two. Plus it is good for their precious respiratory systems and the environment. Oh! You can also FLUSH the clumped up pee and poop! You don't have to throw it away! So convenient.

It's entirely possible that you guys might have a more wonderful peacocks-type experience with the Swheat Scoop than I had; one of my cats has a really fucking nasty GI tract, and his poops tend toward the liquid side, which I think made the Swheat Scoop ineffective.  Liquid gut bacteria + wheat = smell of baking bread covered in feces, which is a remarkably nasty odor.
« Last Edit: Oct 14, 2011, 08:38:52 AM by Greg Nog » Logged
Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #12 on: Oct 14, 2011, 08:46:58 AM »

Oh!  And if you want to get hella fancy where the water dish is concerned: Drinkwell Water Fountain.

I'm one of three people I know who has/had one, and my cats love it.  Caliban Party Ghost is happy to drink out of standing water, but Thunder Perfect Cat never seemed to drink any water unless it was running from a faucet or something.  So the fountain seems to work great for both of them.

Of the other folks I know: fenster had one for her cat, but it started to accumulate mold that never seemed to be able to be cleaned, so that went poorly.  But she got the deluxe model, whereas I only had the basic, so that may have been the difference?

And another friend of mine got rid of hers after her cat developed a plastic allergy.  Poking its little nose up to the plastic fountain was causing it to break out, so they switched to stainless steel bowls.

So the fun of a drinking fountain is in no way guaranteed, but if you notice that the kitty seems hella jazzed about running water, it might be something to think about later on.
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jess
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Posts: 3571


« Reply #13 on: Oct 14, 2011, 09:04:06 AM »

I had one and Calliope loved it, but it kept accumulating algae, b/c there are few areas in my apartment that don't get sun (I know, such problems). So right now we're taking a break from it, and she seems fine with just a water bowl, but she prefers the one I put away from her food, which is what I'd heard was recommended anyway.

Re: discipline, I agree w/what alistarr said and add that it's key to train them not to scratch and bite right from the start, even if it doesn't hurt now. The minute the kitten does either, say NO and stop playing with her for at least a few minutes (put her down, walk away, etc.) When I've trained cats like that, they grow up to never, ever scratch or bite, except by accident.
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ausdemfenster
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Posts: 167


« Reply #14 on: Oct 14, 2011, 11:53:09 AM »

Everyone else has most of the excellent advice covered, but I just want to join in to say that if you were to put her in a box and ship her to me, I would not complain even a tiny bit. That faaaaaaace. That slightly derpy inquisitive fluffhead! Eeeeee!

Do you know how old she is? If she's still pretty kitten-y, I'd try to get her used to being picked up/touched/brushed/tooth-brushed (if you wanna get fancy)/claw-clipped as much as possible. I did not get to do this with my old lady cat, and she is a persnickety touch-averse monster compared to the very easy younger cat I've been constantly messing with since he was four weeks old.

Re: water fountains, I found the algae/mold issue on the plastic one to be more trouble than it was worth, but I'd be into the idea of a metal one.

Also please post more pictures, constantly.
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hannah
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Posts: 9366


« Reply #15 on: Oct 14, 2011, 12:02:51 PM »

Here she is chilling on my desk/in my Russian flashcard box:



And yawning:



We're taking her to the vet this weekend, and I hoping to get some things (e.g., her age) sorted out then. We'll probably make a decision about keeping her by Sunday, too.

And, again, thank you, everyone! This is all great advice. She was using me as a scratching post this morning (and this is where my minor allergies really flare up), so I'm going to start on the disciplining pronto.
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Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #16 on: Oct 14, 2011, 12:14:14 PM »

Oh, the vet might suggest this, but you may want to get her microchipped, if it's not too expensive; If, gods forbid, she escapes from the apartment, the first thing any shelter does is check her microchip to see if she's already got an owner.  Plus, if she has a registered microchip inserted into her hand or forehead, she can buy and sell things.

On the scratchy topic: If she seems to be sharpening her claws on you, she may just be kneading, which is how a lot of cats express affection.  When I first got Thunder, she would do that to my body, but each time she did, I would be all, "OW, YOU FUCKER, NO" and put her directly to the side of me; now she just comes up next to me and kneads the couch or bed while purring.
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hannah
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Posts: 9366


« Reply #17 on: Oct 14, 2011, 12:25:13 PM »

Oh, yes, she kneads a little bit, but this was more of a scrambling-up-my-entire-body-with-aid-of-very-sharp-claws kind of action.
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alex
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Posts: 6287


« Reply #18 on: Oct 14, 2011, 12:29:06 PM »

She's adorable! But of course you knew that already.

When cats do the kneading thing on me, I'm always deeply conflicted between wanting them to stop because it hurts and wanting them to keep doing it because it's so endearing.
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Greg Nog
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Posts: 21629


« Reply #19 on: Oct 14, 2011, 12:36:55 PM »

Oh, yes, she kneads a little bit, but this was more of a scrambling-up-my-entire-body-with-aid-of-very-sharp-claws kind of action.

AH HA HA YESSSS SHE'S A KEEPER
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jess
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Posts: 3571


« Reply #20 on: Oct 14, 2011, 02:27:22 PM »

Some claw clipping will help with that. The vet can show you how if you are at all nervous about it. I was at first, but I learned that if I err on the side of clipping too little, worst case is I have to do it again too soon. Now it's easy, and Callie is used to it enough that she puts up a fuss, but it's clearly not actually bothering her that much and she lets me do it, though she starts getting squirmy after the first paw.

And yeah, my allergies make me super sensitive to animal scratches too—they get red and puffy. If you need something to help with allergies ever, Zyrtec works really well on cat allergies (for me and many other people), whereas Claritin does nothing in my experience. Zyrtec, HEPA air filters and a good vacuum are also key cat accessories for me.
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Thermofusion
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Posts: 10000


« Reply #21 on: Oct 14, 2011, 05:36:46 PM »

Fräulein Katzenstein's Feline Pleasure Dip
Catlantis(R) Irradiated Fish Meal by PurrCo.
Gato Vegano(R) brand Catpotle(tm) No-Meat Tex-Mex Slurry (ONLY buy the Holistic Formula what are you a monster)
Tabbynacle(tm) Cruciform Scratching Post

only the best for my fuckin cats
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triple paisley minimum
Thermofusion
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Posts: 10000


« Reply #22 on: Oct 14, 2011, 09:18:03 PM »

ONLY THE VERY BEST FOR YOUR KITTY'S CROTCH
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triple paisley minimum
Lucy
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« Reply #23 on: Oct 16, 2011, 12:02:15 AM »

she really is the cutest of all time
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jess
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Posts: 3571


« Reply #24 on: Oct 16, 2011, 12:04:28 AM »

she really is the cutest of all time

Callliope is offended now. That is why she is avoiding you. If you give her some turkey she might forgive you.
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