We're probably getting a rescue cat soon. What do we need to buy and how much will upkeep cost?

(312 Posts)
QueenStromba Sun 10-Feb-13 16:45:08

We're moving soon and have found a flat that we're close to signing the contracts on where the landlord is willing for us to have a cat. If it all goes through we'll be getting an adult cat from Battersea. What do we need to buy and where is the best place to buy from? So far we're thinking:

Transport cage
Litter tray
Scratching post (which will probably be ignored in favour of the sofa)
Cat toys
Food and water bowls

I'm thinking a cat bed would just be ignored in favour of climbing all over us while we're trying to sleep, the sofa, the laptop, whatever point on the carpet the sun is hitting. Should we get one anyway?

Also, neither of us has owned a cat as an adult (we both had them as kids - DP for longer) so we have no idea how much it costs to feed them (is it a whole tin or half a tin a day?), insure them and how much vet bills will cost. How does microchipping work? Is it just the one off cost or is there a yearly charge or just a charge if you change any details etc?

QueenStromba Mon 06-May-13 16:44:31

She's just eaten the 70g or so of fish flavour that I put down when she wasn't interested in the chicken flavour, plus some of the chicken stuff. We didn't get up til 10 this morning so I'm thinking that she might have polished off her supper and her milk just before we got up. She does have water too.

There was a wee and a poo in the litter tray when I got up but she hasn't been since. She's been doing about as many wees as normal but fewer poos - three every two days rather than two a day. I think she's been doing fewer poos since she's been eating less rather than the other way around.

Its 24.5 degrees in the flat today. She's flopped out sleeping on the other side of the room to the window so I've got it open even though it's not cat proof - I'm closing it if I leave the room or if she stirs so there's no danger of her jumping out of it. I think a trip to B&Q is in order to get some chicken wire to cat proof the windows is in order.

I'm thinking hooks in each corner of the windows to hold the chicken wire in place?

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 16:57:32

If it's hot they won't eat so much - less energy needed and more zonked out - so it sounds OK. OK enough to go for a few days and just keep an eye on her, anyway.

I'm not a huge DIY expert but hooks sound OK if you don't have much wind. As an older girl and a housecat, you're not really trying to repulse an all-out attack but more putting it in as a gentle preventative, I think.

See how she reacts to it with you in the room.

QueenStromba Mon 06-May-13 19:06:35

I felt really mean yesterday. She nipped at me so I put her outside of the sitting room for five minutes. I kind of expected her to just go and sleep on the bed but when I opened the door five minutes later she was sitting there waiting to come back in. I know that's a good thing for training her not to bite but it just made me feel so mean. I am a soppy bugger.

I'll try to keep better track of how much she's eating. I think she's had about 100g plus a bit of milk today and actually she'll probably have another 100g by tomorrow morning so I'm just being silly.

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 19:19:46

Not silly - just careful. I keep a weather eye on Seniorboy's intake and tray use all the time, particularly because he's an older boy. It's just something you notice.

Well done for excluding her for nipping. I don't feel mean at all for doing it - you do a bad thing, you reap the consequences and they get to know pretty quickly. In fact, her sitting there waiting means she would have been thinking about it so is good.

QueenStromba Wed 08-May-13 18:04:01

She's got her appetite back now - must have been the heat. I think she was just doing most of her eating in the cooler hours.

How do you enforce the only scratching in allowed places rule cozie? Rice has various bits of cardboard around the flat that we put down for her after she ripped a collapsed cardboard box to shreds. She's figured out that scratching the one in the bedroom means she gets dreamies. She also knows she's not supposed to scratch the carpet because she stops when we shout oi at her and runs away scared if we catch her at it (she looks expectant at us after scratching the cardboard in the bedroom). She just doesn't seem to properly get that cardboard is ok but the carpet isn't though. I'm pretty sure if we took away the bit of cardboard in the bedroom she'd scratch the carpet and expect dreamies for it because she runs away after scratching cardboard in other bits of the flat.

I've just gone and put cardboard over all of the bits of carpet with claw marks. What else can I do? We've tried picking her up and putting her on something she's allowed to scratch when we catch her but that just scares the crap out of her.

cozietoesie Wed 08-May-13 22:22:49

Praise when they do right and telling off when they do wrong. But the most important thing, because they have to scratch to feel good, is finding out what they like to scratch and giving them that absolutely - item and location. Scratching the carpet is fine if you give her a sacrificial carpet sample for example and if she has free run of the flat, she should only use that and not go for any alternate carpet.

I'm just wondering - does Rice actually have one thing, in one place, that is her scratching thing? She sounds just the teensiest bit confused to me.

QueenStromba Thu 09-May-13 14:23:49

She seems really clever in some ways but really thick in others. Yesterday I asked DP to get me some of her nice food (force of habit calling it that) from the kitchen and when I went into the living room to put some in her bowl she was sitting beside it expectantly - I'm sure she's understood that "nice food" is wet food for at least a month now which is impressive since she's probably had 15 years of it being called dinner or whatever.

We've been giving her dreamies and praise when she scratches the right things and shouting at her when she scratches the wrong things but she doesn't seem to quite get it. Maybe she just likes a mix of carpet and cardboard or maybe you're right about her being confused by the mix of things she's allowed scratch. We let her scratch the rugs because they're ours and cheap to replace but don't encourage her to do it. She only gets told off for the carpet and the sofa (which she only scratches occasionally). We spent a while trying to encourage her to scratch her cat tree but she has no interest in it (it is useful to put your food on top of if you have to leave the room and you don't want Rice to eat it though).

Maybe we just need to persist with the cardboard. We've now got packets of dreamies all over the house for if we see her scratching any cardboard (they're a quid a packet in Sainsburys at the moment). She did learn that scratching the bit in the bedroom = dreamies pretty quickly, probably because we tend to be in bed when she does it and I have a packet of dreamies on my bedside table. She was using the original shredded box in the office as a dreamies cow earlier - scratch, scratch, give her some dreamies followed 5 seconds later by another scratch, scratch and some more dreamies. She also got some dreamies for a tentative scratch at another bit of cardboard that she's not sure she's allowed to scratch yet.

cozietoesie Thu 09-May-13 14:48:07

I've generally used a carpet sample or a 'sacrificial' rug. At the moment I'm OK because Seniorboy has a scratching chair - a beaten up old heavy-cloth-upholstered armchair - which is only kept for that purpose and which he knows is his to have at.

He doesn't scratch anywhere else and in fact all my boys, once a place and item is authorized, have used only that if they can get to it. My instinct and experience are that they're far better at remembering scratching 'place' than clocking a 'type of scratching subject' which is why I wondered if Rice might be a wee bit confused because you seem to be going for type over location.

I think if I were you, I'd nominate one location and one only - and then decide what she can scratch there. I know that thecatneuterer swears by scratching boxes which she says attract 9/10 cats. (Note - the boxes and not the pads) so one of those might be worth a try.

Just my suggestions anyway.

smile

Yes Cozie I do swear by those scratchboxes. But I think QS said she'd tried them. Other than that the only way I know how to deal with scratching is by having no carpet (I even got the stairs sanded) and by smothering the sofa in throws. Well that, and simply giving up caring. None of that is much use to QS though so I'm stumped. I do like the idea of sacrificial pieces of carpet though and intend to suggest those to people in future. (in other news, my big, smelly, noisy dog is about to go and leave me and the cats in peace - yay!)

QueenStromba Sun 12-May-13 20:37:12

Gah! I didn't notice that when I ordered 4 fishy and 4 meaty Butcher's Classic from Sainsbury's that they actually delivered 1 fishy and 7 meaty. I specifically said no substitutions for them and it wasn't mentioned when it was delivered. I just picked out the one fishy flavour and one of the meaty ones and put the rest in the cupboard without looking at them. I'm rather annoyed since she really likes the fishy ones. I've just placed an Ocado order to get her some of the fishy ones.

I'm definitely going to complain to Sainsbury's now about their lack of Classic.

cozietoesie Sun 12-May-13 20:56:12

I use Sainsbury's - just complain if you said no substitutions, explain the problem and you should get a refund. If they don't ask you to give back the food, the local rescue will have an unexpected present I guess?

Pity you live so far away or we could do a Jack Sprat. (Seniorboy much prefers meaty to fishy.)

QueenStromba Tue 14-May-13 14:00:20

She does like the meaty ones too so it's not the end of the world - we're just going to have four month's worth of cat food in the cupboard!

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