Want To Get A Cat: Costs, Care, Etc?

Disclaimer before reading my :2cents: : my cats are overly spoiled and I am a bit mother hen about them and paranoid.

A few accesories are necessary, like hairball paste, that thay should take regularly. 150 nts to 300 nts depending on brand -and which brand your cat may prefer is anybody’s guess. Toothbrush and toothpaste, and schedule teeth cleaning according to vet’s instructions.

Nails could be trimmed carefully, but it is a delicate process. Hence, a good scratch post, in vertical and horizontal varieties, hopefully different textures, like a sisal rope bar on one side and a cardboard box, for instance. Cost: depends, mostly DIY -Costco boxes are great for this- or bought from 200 nts to several thousand for a cat tree.

Get a couple of balls to chase. Furry toys are better avoided, be careful with parts they can swallow. Toys should be kept in a locked drawer, to keep their attention and to supervise play. A laser pointer makes an excellent toy. Cats prefer interactive play to bond wity you, and play must have a “goal”. They have to be able to “catch” their prey or they’ll become frustrated. Here is when treats come handy. Dried fish special for cats: 400 nts.

Follow the cat’s schedule: eat, pee/poop, clean itself, sleep, wake up, play/explore. Repeat cycle. Observe cat’s rhythm and act accordingly. Best time then, to brush cat -with special brush according to its fur texture- is before he goes to sleep.

Best water/food dishes are glass or ceramic. Plastic dishes “meseta” style -high in the middle, with low borders- are also better for cats. A drop or two of apple cider vinegar in their water promotes good renal health. Ice cubes promote drinking in summer. IKEA glass dishes: 100 nts on sale.

Cats do not need weekly baths, as a matter of fact, too much bathing is bad as it removes the natural oils, causing them to have skin problems and become stinky. Cats are fastidiously clean by nature.

As to sleeping and lounging, cats may like to sleep with you but they also need their own space. Mine have “cat tepees” which are warm in winter. Gives them a feeling of safety.

Finally, you may also want to get them Frontline, Revolution, Advantix or any other montly medicine to prevent infestations. Even indoor cats may get them, really. These can be a bit expensive but they are worth it -800 to 1200 nts per pack of 3 or 4 ampules.

Remember to cat proof your house, as said before, they are curious and may escape suddenly, but also chemicals and cords and locked doors and hatches and fans and heavy stuff that may topple over. Like a baby.

Wow, what a flood of helpful responses. Thanks everyone. :notworthy:

I should say, I’m not new to cats. We had various cats for most of my childhood and I loved them, but they were all outdoor cats and used to bring home dead birds and mice and lizards which they’d drop off at the back door as presents for us, and our cat in SanDiego had the thrill of interacting with a family of foxes that lived on the hill behind us (parents and kits), though she (our cat) was finally killed by a coyote (I was living elsewhere then, but my mom scoured the streets and hills till she found her remains – very sad, but better than getting hit by a car, I suppose). Anyway, I know cats well and I love cats. I’ve just never had a city cat and/or an indoor cat.

I’ll read all the posts in closer detail later, but for now a few responses:

  • Of course we’ll adopt rather than buy from a pet store. No question.

  • DB, thanks for the detailed explanation of how to do kitty litter right, but. . . . well. . . I may just dump the stuff in the box, scoop regularly and change regularly. Even twice a day seems a bit much to me, but I’ll try to make it the rule that once a day is mandatory.

  • Ok, dry food only it shall be. Makes sense. And, I’m sure if they never try wet food they won’t know what they’re missing. If dry is cheaper and healthier, great.

  • I’d love to permit her/him to come out on the rooftop with us, but I’d be a little wary of that. I know what exceptional climbers and jumpers they are and I don’t want her to run off and get lost or run over.

  • No Persians for us. It’s got to be a short hair, as my wife will “I told you so” if the house becomes full of hairs and she has a chance to blame me for sneezing, allergies, red eyes and god knows what other poxes, real or imagined. It’s gotta be short hair and the litter box can’t smell (so I was pleased with all the good reports on the latter subject).

Thanks again. I expect it may still take some more reading and talking before we go get our kitty, but it looks like we’re heading in that direction. :slight_smile:

Good post Icon. YOu can never give em too much care and attention. And the hairball remedy is a must once a week. Dab an inch on ur finger as I do and hold the cats mouth open with one hand and smear the roof of his mouth with it. My cats will not willingly lick that stuff. Some will though.

My persians got a bath every two weeks in Taiwan but once a month in Calif. Short hairs may do well with just a weekly wipe down with a damp towel (no soap/shampoo) and maybe a bath once a month?

Cats and dogs are a LOT of work if you want to take care of em properly. Thats why Im gonna go cat and dogless for awhile.

I disagree. Cats are not a lot of work. I just think they are very low maintenance pets. :idunno:

And you can just smear the hairball gel on their flank, and they will be forced to lick it off just to clean themselves. We only have one cat who gets hairballs, out of four, so we only put it on her, and only once every 3-7 weeks.

[quote=“Dragonbones”]I disagree. Cats are not a lot of work. I just think they are very low maintenance pets. :idunno:

And you can just smear the hairball gel on their flank, and they will be forced to lick it off just to clean themselves. We only have one cat who gets hairballs, out of four, so we only put it on her, and only once every 3-7 weeks.[/quote]

:smiley: I beg to differ. You have never tried to hairball remedy Smudgey. Put it on his butt? He will promptly drag his ass all over the carpet. PUt it on his paws? He will shake that stuff off (onto your carpet). OH no, the ONLY way with that little devil was to pop open his mouth with one hand and smear the roof of his mouth with an inch of that stuff. And his vet said to give persians an inch a week or every 3 days or so, just to make sure no hairballs form. It can be deadly for em as their hair is so thick.

Yes cats must be a lot easier then dogs. Dogs the good thing is that you can WALK THEM, and again the bad thing is that you HAVE to walk them. CAts you can just leave em indoors. Although Smudgey enjoyed his daily walks on a harness (or without as he will just walk just in front of me, but is subject to the danger of a dog attack).

p.s. anything that required me to do anything was “a lot of work” :slight_smile:

Ah, well, jeez, a PERSIAN! What do you expect? Of course Persians are a lot of work. I’m talking about cats.

:frowning: Sorry to hear about that, tommy! A pet can really be a friend and loving companion. I hope you don’t mind me teasing about taking care of Persians vs. other cats above. Short-hairs are of course less work.

No course not. Smudgey was my first long term cat. I used to think “cats? no way, they scratch and bite … get a dog” Now I love cats.

Cats are great pets and probably a lot easier then a dog, but I probably would like to get a dog for my next pet as Iv never had a dog of my own.

Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. That said, they get much attached to you, you are their sunshine. They need some form of entertainment, and plenty of space. For entertainment, access to a window where they can watch the birds and people go by is great. A small perch can be easily built for this. As to space, remember to think like a cat: vertical space is more important. The higher, the safer they feel. So add climbing ladders as well as tunnels, observe if there are gaps in his inspection route -they all have one. Some confident ones stroll down teh middle of the living room, most prefer the edges.

My cats are kings of the Leaning Tower, which means I put the cat tree in the balcony and it couldn’t stand the weight of 3 grown fat cats, so now it leans 25 degrees and counting… yet it is their favorite place to wait for me and check what’s happening at dusk.

Maybe it would be good to have two cats, so they can play together and keep each other company when you guys go to work/school. All indoor cats should be spayed/neutered and chipped, in any case.

I know cats NEED to scratch things, but we’ve always had good luck training them in the past with a good firm “NO” in a loud voice and simultaneously spraying the cat with a water bottle, etc. So I’m fully confident our cat will behave. However, initially, when it’s a kitten, when it’s just learning, is it inevitable it will scratch the couch? I ask because our couch is this big fancy italian leather number that is only half a year old and I wonder if just one single scratch attack will leave it permanently scarred.

I would think fabric would be more attractive for scratching than leather, and hopefully if we have a scratching post from the get go and encourage use of that there will be no need or interest in scratching the leather couch. On the other hand, I can imagine sharp little kitty claws could quickly do serious damage to smooth leather. Or maybe not. Maybe cow hide is too thick. What do you think?

We had a nice white leather sofa set back home. You could do wonders with liquid paper.

As you said, training is vital, but also, several alternatives in other textures. I think kittens claws are too soft and if he gets it from the start, it will stay with him later in life.

An annecdote: When we scolded Toby, our cat back home when I was in college, he would immediately head to the couch, wait until we passed by, and purposedly sink his claws in a “kneading motion”. Yes, the leather couch. Otherwise, he wouldn’t even look at it.

You can try to train a cat not to scratch a sofa, and you can provide alternative places to scratch. This can greatly lessen the tendency to scratch that sofa, but there is no guarantee that it won’t end up with some scars. You simply can’t watch a cat all the time, and if the texture of the leather or cloth is just right, it’s gonna be irresistible. Sharp little claws can definitely scar the surface of the leather and leave marks. I personally would not buy an expensive sofa because we have four cats and we don’t believe in declawing them. :2cents:

Also, the bit Icon says about high places is true. I would not have open shelves with fragile items on them, because a cat will be strongly motivated to get up on those shelves and may accidentally knock the items off. We invested in glass-faced cabinets so the cats can get atop but not into them, and I put away a couple prize items that were too big for the shelves yet not too big for a cat to knock over.

We have ‘greenhouse windows’ along the front and back of our house. This not only makes the house seem bigger but the cats love to walk around in it, checking out everything going on outside, and sprawl out to sleep in the sun. It is also someplace that can be solely their own space. If you own your house, this can be a great addition for cats.

For the scratching, yes, kittens will scratch everything they can, whether you yell at them or not. Trim their claws every couple of days to keep down the damage. We got a scratching post/jungle-gym for our older cat but he completely ignores it. He absolutely loves scratching up cardboard boxes though. Our young kitten is scratching on everything and completely ignores our yelling and hissing to try to get her to stop. She is still too adorable to get my wife too mad yet. (She is about 4 1/2 months.)

For those concerned about lack of water intake for cats eating only dry food, consider getting a cat water fountain. The Catit fountain is widely available in Taiwan. It’s not cheap, but the burbling water is much more attractive to cats than a still bowl of water. (Our older cat is extremely picky and would not drink out of his water bowl, but he loves the fountain.)

CAts are awesome creatures. But dont hiss back at em, cuz sometimes they will claw YOur FACE if you do. :slight_smile:

They are really individual characters. They are subtle so you have to understand your animals to hear what they are saying.

I know always exactly what me Persian cats tommy and smudgey were on about. Im sure you guys know your cats well too.

But yes please get them a nice scratching post . Its a REQUIREMENT. They need to claw. Their nails grow very large and they need to claw so they will split off. Or eventually its very uncomfortable for em. My cats very soon learned to claw ONLY their scratching post and never clawed anything else (except for me and each other).

And they used it many times a day all throughout their lives.

If anyone finds a good CHEAP source of hemp rope or similar rope for redoing a scratching post or making your own please let me know. Everything I’ve seen here was overpriced. The stuff should be dirt cheap.

I think I got a scratch stand in one of those pet stores in Taipei for bout 700nt and it lasted till i took the cats outa taiwan with me after bout five years. Came to the USA and first thing after dropping off my cats at my dads place was to visit a pet store. Bought a bunch of stuff including another nice scratch tower. Its been ten years and the thing has been given to my friends cats because my cats have passed on. Cost like 30 bucks, but well made.

But yeah, all you need is hemp roap and a sturdy surface to nail it into.

Cats are great, and cheaper and easier than dogs to look after by far. You can take them on walks or swim with them if you get the right type.

They are better off as a pair so they can cuddle up and lick each other, have vomiting competitions, and sniff each other’s crap. The best tool to exercise them with is one of these:


Yea, that’s what they all say.

Next you’ll tell us how George Washington grew it and they used to make sails out of it.

[color=#408000]Free Hemp Now![/color]

dont smoke it


Toys: Every cat will have its own favorites, but for ours, a bit of rabbit fur attached to a stick or a string or a stick with some string, to emulate the above mouse, is one of the best types. The plastic rings from milk bottles, and the caps, are good and cheap. A furry mouse mounted on a spring with a base is good for a while but then they get bored. Little fake mice made of felt or rabbit fur are good for playing fetch, too. You can easily stitch up your own from an old piece of cloth, felt or fur, and can fill it with catnip if you like, or cotton.