Cat thoughts

Posted on May 29th, 2008 @ 03:36 in Uncategorized

God, I’m still awake. But then I did sleep some 14hrs last night or sth. So let’s talk about cats. I keep going back and forth between “I must have cats, I will have cats” and “I shouldn’t have cats, it’s not right to have cats.”

One of my “testing grounds” was gonna be to submit the question to AskMefi, who are notorious catlovers and harsh & ruthless in their opinions… I was pretty sure people would tell me to forget about it, but the vast majority encouraged me. Which is nice. But Mefi is US-centric and cat-habits are different in the US than here.

One thing I have carried away from the thread is that I should probably abandon the idea of getting kittens cuz they’re so cute and fun and playful and would make for great Icanhaz pictures, because indeed
1. grown cats have less need to play / run around / do youthful things and I do have limited indoor space,
2. grown cats from shelters usually find fewer takers anyway
3. if I get 2 cats I can adopt a “set” that know each other, which usually find even fewer takers, and on the plus side for me I’ll know they’re used to each other

I still have reservations tho. The main one right now, stupidly enough, is I cannot think where to put the bloody litter box. The bathroom is absolutely totally too small. The kitchen is totally too small without the absolutely… but still pretty much unfeasible – it would involve moving the thing every time I wanna open a cupboard. Which leaves the lounge (yeah cuz the bedroom is… too small! also I don’t fancy catshit-smell in the middle of the night, nor cat-digging-sounds when I want to sleep). So… litterbox in the lounge yes/no? I could put it under the table which is sort of a “dead area” unless I am drawing etc. But it’s right next to the radiator which I assume will increase any smells. And will make the thing quite, um, warm in winter. Oh! Or under the chairs (stacked up next to the chest of drawers).

Ok. Next issue. Scratching post / climbing tree / something. I won’t have a sofa for them to scratch on. A climbing… thing would be nice. You know, like this. Not sure where that would go either. *lol* But even if it’s not one of them – I need stuff for cats! I’m sure they can “choose” their place to sleep (my bed, my “sofa”) but they would still need things to climb around, play, etc. Definitely somewhere to scratch. (or I could just declaw them, American-style! *lol*).

And then there’s the whole “I want outdoor cats” issue which creates so many more problems! The only constant outdoor access my cats would have would be the roofs. This is ok, to a certain extent. But it means leaving a lounge or kitchen window open at all times. Incl. winter. Or getting a cat flap, which would still have some impact on inside temperature etc. Or if I decide not to have outside cats (tho I can’t quite imagine doing that) it would mean never fully opening windows without constant supervision (or closing doors). Remember that lost cat story? Turns out that wasn’t an outdoor cat at all, he just escaped through a window. And they never found him.

There are so many implications – both for me and the cats. Thus much humming and hawwing. Also of course my repeated – if mostly short – absences. Getting two cats (and constant roof access) would make that mostly manageable – if I go away for a long weekend I can use one of them food dispensers (yes yes I could also ask Rita but I’d rather not). I’ve also had volunteers at work for cat-feeding. But what if I’m gone for 2 weeks? What if I finally decide to go to NYC for a full month? What if what if what if, cats live for about 12 years, by which time I’m 42, and yes I know lots of people have cats and move with them, and it’s not usually much of a problem, and even moving back onto the continent would be feasible, but it’s still a big decision to make.

I will be responsible for those beings. If I don’t feed them they starve, if I don’t clean them their litterbox turns into a mess. It’s weird cuz I regularly (I dunno, about once every 2-3 months) dream about having guinea pigs again and forgetting to feed them. They never die, but I just notice upon checking their cage that they are out of dry food, and feel bad cuz I totally neglected them, and had my mum not fed them their usual salad / fresh food twice a day they would have died.

And it’s really silly cuz altho my mum did usually give them their fresh food (or reminded me to do so) while we (the pigs and I) lived with her, I lived in my nan’s flat for a full school year and always remembered myself (or the pigs would remind me by squeaking loudly). And similarly I’m sure I would remember to feed the cats, or they would remind me. But it still scares me.

Ok but I will get over that. So I’ve read through that thread again and am still kinda mystified as to everyone’s “your flat is plenty enough for cats.” Is it really? REALLY?? Ok I think maybe I should talk to a local shelter about this.

PPS Bed now – no really!!


Vega said on May 29, 2008 at 8:52 am

Actually, talking to a local shelter is probably the best thing to do. They wont sell you cats if they dont think the cats will be alright in your flat. The shelter will solve your problem!

(I dont agree to outdoor city cats. First of all, its way too dangerous out there for them (loads of traffic, etc) plus usually in the city there are more cats living in the same area, and they will most probably fight over their “kingdom”, which will result in a very sad and scarred cat if its less dominant than the others. However, roof access would probably not put the cats to any of these risks? So if thats the case then Im alright with outdoor roof cats! (tho roof sounds really scary too!))

stagiaire said on May 29, 2008 at 11:32 am

Cats mostly get older than 12 years. My kitten I had at school is still alive at my grandparents. The cat we had before got older, too. I think they mostly get around 15 years or even 17.

Clarissa said on May 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Hm yeah maybe @ older. Tho if I let mine out they will statistically live less long. πŸ˜›
Plus if I get grown cats they will already have a certain age.
I want cats. 😐 *ahem*

I don’t agree to indoor cats. I mean look at you-know-who’s cats and how crazy they were.
Roof is not really scary, cats are very good climbers, plus our roofs have these balcony type things so there’s non-sloped parts that they can walk around on.

The BML said on May 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Hmmm. I personally don’t agree with indoor cats. Unless they’re a specific breed that have to be indoors, I think it’s cruel. And I don’t get why you need catS anyway. Why not cat, singular? Much less hassle. If anything goes wrong and you have to give them up (a-la guinea pigs) it’ll be SUCH a bitch to give up two cats, one would be much easier.

Vega said on May 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Ideally I think cats should be outdoors, but out in the country. The you-know-who situation is worse than anything else. Roof solution sounds very good to me!

Clarissa said on May 29, 2008 at 8:38 pm

The consensus among everyone I have asked is that two cats is better than one if they are alone for stretches at a time, cuz even if cats are not pack animals, it’s a rather lonely life all on your own. And as long as they can get out of each other’s way if needed it’s fine. My father had loads of cats and they loved being together.

stagiaire said on May 30, 2008 at 8:14 am

Lately I heard there’s a new law in some country – I just forgot in which European country it is – but it says you’re not allowed to have only one pet anymore. You have to have two, so they’re not alone.

But so far I’ve never had trouble with having only one cat, even though I had to go to school and left one of that cats I had alone then. But it was not an indoor cat, therefore the cat was busy when I was gone, and he met other cats outside.

Clarissa said on May 30, 2008 at 10:59 am

Yeah I think it’s Switzerland – in fact I’m pretty sure cuz I remember the article spoke about “MeersΓ€uli” lol. But I wonder if it also applies to animals that are known to be non-Herdentiere like cats.

The BML said on May 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I wouldn’t have thought more than one would apply to cats though, generally cats hate other cats. If they don’t then you’re lucky, but usually cats prefer being alone.

Clarissa said on May 30, 2008 at 5:15 pm

No indeed it doesn’t. However saying that cats hate other cats is just rubbish. Otherwise how do you explain this or this or this. If cats are used to each other (and to sharing their “hunting ground”) from a young age they are perfectly fine with each other. They just need to be able to get away from each other if they feel like it.

You should be best equipped to know this, Miss “I had two male guinea pigs that didn’t fight each other to their death.”

Mon said on Jun 2, 2008 at 12:58 pm

lol I don’t think that that law is for cats, it’s for animals who naturally live in couples or packs and get totally depressed if they live alone. It always breaks my heart when I see one single bird locked up all alone in a cage. πŸ™

I don’t know how much pleasure a cat gets from living with another cat. Might be true that it would get lonely if it’s left alone for a long time? But judging by the cats we have I rarely see them do… nice stuff with/to eachother (apart from when they were kittens and liked to play with eachother). Seems they mostly stick to themselves and try to avoid they others. And they also had big fights when they were younger (they’re calmer now and seem to accept eachother more). Well not BIG fights with bleeding wounds and stuff, but they would chase eachotehr out of a room/the house because they wanted the space for themselves. So if you have more than one cat I think it’s even more important to have lots of space and give them the option of going outside.

I agree with LJ about that btw, unless it’s special “inside” breeds, cats should definitely have the option of going outside. And I also think it’s really important to castrate/steralise (however it’s spelled) them, that also prevents them from getting into fights with other cats.

Cats generally don’t like moving. I learned from one of my ethology teachers that dogs prefer to stay with their pack and usually have no problems moving to a new place, but for cats the best thing is often to let them stay in the house/area when you move becuase THAT’s what they care about, not so much the family/pack. And they also find it much more stressful if you move furniture around and things inside the house change. I’m sure lots of cats deal well with moving, but it’s no doubt stressful to them. One of my cats stayed inside the cage for days after we moved here before she dared to go out (but then, she’s a bit weird poor thing). The oldest one has moved 3 times though, and she’s dealt with it great everytime and it seemed to be no big problem to her at all.

Er, that was long. Anyway, I think it’ll be fine no matter what you choose lol. If I were you I’d probably just get one cat though, and definitely let it go outside. It’s a good idea to contact an animal shelter though, and ask what they say. If they have a couple of adult cats who already are great friends and are used to living together, that sounds like a good option if you think you’d prefer to have two?

Mon said on Jun 2, 2008 at 12:58 pm

(omg that really WAS long, almost as long as your entry)

Dee said on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

I’d like to think I am not being cruel for having indoor cats. When we got ours she had never been outside, so letting her out, to me, would have been cruel. And of course I would never get a cat that had been outside already. THAT to me is bad and can cause problems, if you make an outdoor cat into an indoor one. Well, I just think that if you look at it that way, then keeping alot of animals can be considered cruel, can’t it?! Anyway, of course animals being outside/free etc is ideal, I don’t disagree with that, but yeah…I just don’t think an indoor cat means an unhappy cat.

We just got a kitten (as you know, hehe) and even though they don’t completely get along yet – when things calm down I will definately feel better knowing they have each other when we are away. Like Citz said, they just need to be able to get away from each other. My friend has two male cats and they often sleep next to each other and seem to like each other’s company alot even though they ocassionally fight..all cats will.

Our litterbox is in the bathroom, but when we shower we have to move into the hall (our bathroom is dumbass) – could yours go in the hall?

And though I love our new kitten – if you like your sleep – get a grown one *lol* He is cute but not at 3 am when he decides to attack your ass while you are asleep *lol*
I know this passes, but my god, he is insane when he is awake :))

Clarissa said on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Ja I agree with pretty much all you said & yeah I’d get cats who know & like each other if I get too. And ja will ask shelter. Had also read that cats are more tied to the place than the ppl. Our cat kept returning to our old house when we moved (was not far). Will see about only cat. I mean I AM home fairly much.
We shall see. Can’t get cat til August anyway πŸ˜›

Clarissa said on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:12 pm

My comment was @ Mon as Dee hadn’t posted yet.
So yeah I don’t agree with Dee’s indoor thing. And yeah of course keeping an animal is often cruel. 😐 Depends what you make of it.

Dee said on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Hmm ok. *lol*

Dee said on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Not that it matters, but forgot to say that I didn’t mean that letting our cat out would be cruel. I meant in this area (lots of dangers)…for a cat that had never been outside. (agree with Vega about the country) – I’d love it if we had a garden for her.

Anyway, hope you decide what to do…but I’d say if you have too many doubts then I probably wouldn’t do it myself.

The BML said on Jun 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm

What you said doesn’t even make sense. Male guinea pigs NEVER “fight each other to the death” – who the hell told you that? You’re SUPPOSED to keep guinea pigs together. Go anywhere, to any pet shop, and guinea pigs are together – young or old. So my guinea pigs not fighting is totally unrelated to the current cat discussion. And that’s why I said generally/usually cats hate other cats, because they do. I didn’t SAY all did. Obviously all don’t, I’m well aware there are a lot of cats who don’t. I said most do, as a lot of cat websites will tell you.

Clarissa said on Jun 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Domesticated guinea pigs thrive in groups of two or more; groups of sows, or groups of one or more sows and a neutered boar are common combinations. […] Groups of boars may also get along, provided that their cage has enough space, they are introduced at an early age, and no females are present. (Wiki)

Of course “fighting each other to their death” is exaggerated – just as “cats hate other cats” is!! Male guinea pigs don’t usually get along as well as female/male combination or females.

So it’s pretty much the same situation – they can get along if used to each other from an early age and have room to get away from each other. As a lot of websites will tell you.

I find it funny how everyone extrapolates from their own situation and decides that’s the rule and the best way to keep pets.


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