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Your Questions About Older Cats, Pregnant Cats and Cat Harnesses

Lizzie asks…

Dilemma on moving my older cat from home or adopting my foster baby.?

In a couple weeks, I will be moving in to my pet friendly apartment to start my third year of college. We are only allowed two cats, and my roommate is already bringing hers. My original plan was to bring my 11 year old cat with me. However, I fostered a kitten for several weeks over the summer from the time he was 3 weeks old, and became very attached.

I had doubts about whether the move would be a good idea before this happened (at about 4 years old he became an indoor/outdoor cat because he started to pee inside the house, and in his new home I would have to keep him inside the apartment with another male cat – I wouldn’t want to keep him inside my room all the time.

Now that I have become so attached to this kitten, I feel bad…I tried going back home and leaving him behind, but I really really miss him after a week. I still love my older cat, but I got him when I was much younger and didn’t do most of the work of raising him myself, my mom did it, so I never bonded with him quite the same as I did with bottle-feeding the kitten. I feel like the kitten is my baby, and while I feel like my older cat deserves more attention (though he does get love at home with my parents, he’d get more if he was more of an only cat with me), I’m not sure it would be fair to uproot him and then either have to leave him alone in the apartment when I went back for breaks, or move him back and forth several times during the school year.

And though I am a college student, I do have the ability to provide excellent care (quality food and pay vet bills) for a cat, so that isn’t an issue, I know kittens cost more at first because of all the vet care required for fixing and vaccinating them.

At home there are currently three other cats (female) so my older cat hasn’t technically been an only cat, but we don’t let him wander free in the house so he doesn’t get much interaction with them. I’m just worried that a male cat in such close quarters might cause him to start peeing inside again, or that the move will be too stressful.

Also, if I don’t take the kitten instead, he will have to go to a different home because of the limit on cats in our apartment, which makes things even harder. I feel like I’m betraying my older cat, but I love the baby!

I could possibly more to a different apartment next year that allows more cats, but that isn’t definite.
Oh no, I’m not rehoming my cat! If I don’t take him with me, he will simply stay at home with my parents like he has been doing for the past two years.

admin answers:

While you have a better chance of rehoming the kitten, its possible for the older cat. And I can’t begrudge your attachment. I suggest if you’re really set on giving away the older cat, put an add out on craigslist and find a good home. If he’s used to being outside, it would be cruel to keep him trapped inside. Find a family without young children, preferably people who lost an old cat and want to get an older cat to replace it. A lot of people would be open to future contact to make sure he’s ok if that’s what you want.

Donna asks…

Ideas for quarantining a stray, pregnant cat?

Long story short, there’s an abandoned, stray cat in my neighborhood. She’s extremely friendly and sociable, so I plan on bringing her home with me so that she can deliver her kittens in a safe place. I plan on adopting the kittens out only to approved homes as indoor, neutered cats. I also hope I can adopt out the mother after I have her spayed, but realistically she will probably take longer to adopt out than the kittens, and she’ll probably grow on me in the meantime.

However, I have two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit. The dogs and cats have free roam over my house except for my bedroom, and my rabbit is free-roam in my bedroom. Because I don’t want to stress this cat out by forcing her to tolerate and mingle with the other cats and dogs while she is pregnant, I want to keep her in my room. At the same time, I recognize that my rabbit is a prey animal, and that while my own cats have never hurt my rabbit, this cat may not feel the same way.

So, how best to quarantine this cat in my room, so that she is both comfortable, and all of the animals are safe.

I’m considering building something using cubes and zipties, like these…
http://www.binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/CoolHabitats/tabid/71/Default.aspx
But I’ve only ever found cubes online, so it may take me a while to get them.

Or, I could buy a pen like these…
http://www.amazon.com/Wildwhiskers-Outdoor-Feline-Funhouse/dp/B000AL5C1Q/ref=sr_1_18?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1307897044&sr=1-18
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=14629&cmpid=08csent&ref=3665&subref=AA
But I want a cheaper option…

What do you think? Any cheaper options? Any ideas?

-Alika613
Innocent, the problem is that she lives in a barn that is boarded up and can’t be entered without breaking into it. I’m pretty sure that is where she will want to have them. The other problem is that if I leave them without taking her in, and socializing and neutering them, the feral cat population in my neighborhood will grow.

admin answers:

A bathroom is inconvenient but works. Otherwise a large dog kennel will work if you can find one on Craigslist or something – could put either the rabbit or the mom/kittens in it. Or perhaps you could close off one of the other bedrooms for the stray cat? Good luck!

Michael asks…

Having cat wear a harness for the first time?

I’m going into my third year of college and have been living away from my parents house. I have a cat who I got about 4.5 years ago who has lived with my parents for the time that I’ve lived in pet-free housing. This fall, I’m moving into a duplex which allows pets and my roommates have agreed to let me move my cat with me.

However, she has been an indoor/outdoor/as-she-pleases cat since she was about 6 months old (I got her at 8 weeks). My parents live on land, on a dead end road with a huge field across the gravel road. Where I’ll be moving her to is in a city, but a mostly residential area, but not quite a full-out development, so I’m planning on making her more of an indoor cat. I would really like to take her outside at some point, but I don’t really want her being free to roam since there will be a lot more car/person traffic in the direct area.

How easy is it to get a cat to wear a harness and be comfortable in it? She doesn’t get bothered by many things (blankets over her head and tape on her feet don’t bother her). She tends to follow me when I go outside now anyways, so do you think it would be hard for me to get her to walk on a leash? Thanks for your time and input!
She’s quite energetic (I’m pretty sure she’s part Siamese) and that’s a big part in why I want to be able to take her outside. But she’s pretty chill with getting put through odd things.

admin answers:

Get a cat harness (or one for small dogs) and a leash (I would recommend a flexi-leash since that allows your cat more controlled freedom where the area allows.

And then start it as a game.

1) put the harness at your cat’s most favorite napping spot. This way she will get used to have it around and when she is allowed to play with it a bit she will see it as a fun thing.

2) after few days, take the harness and just lay it over your cat’s back. She may shake it off, which is OK. Play that “harness over my kitteh’s back” game until she carries it around.
Reward her with a praise – even when she was carrying it only few inches before shaking off.

3) Then lay the harness over your cat’s neck. Same procedure as step 2. Again reward your cat – even when she was carrying it only for few inches at the beginning.

4) When she carries the harness around for a long time, you can adjust the harness to fit it to your cat.
Start with the neck – Take your cat, and put the harness’ neck part on your cat to check if it fits.
Open the harness again, reward your cat and release her. If necessary adjust the harness a bit.
The neck and chest parts are fitting perfect when you can easily put a finger between your cat’s body and the harness.

5) If the neck part fits, put it on and start adjusting the chest part. Again release the cat from the harness and reward her for the teamwork before you correct the adjustment of the chest part.

6) If the harness fits, put it on right before you are feeding your cat. This way the cat is distracted and gets a big reward right after she got “dressed up”. Take it off when your cat starts to be stressed and reward her anyways. Give your cat a break and try again after 20 minutes or so.
Add play time when when she wears her harness – try to distract her with games, treats, food etc to get her used to the harness.

7) when your cat accepted the harness, lure her to the front door, attach the harness and open the door. The new freedom most likely will make her forget that she wears the harness and is on a leash and she will sneak out. Make sure you keep your cat on a short leash at the beginning and stay close to your apartment. This is to be able to pick her up and bring her home in case she gets stressed.
Bring treats with you to reward her for each feet she walks on the leash at the beginning to get her used to it. Later on also bring treats to reward your cat frequently outside and a poop back (in case she needs potty when you are outside for a longer time) with you.

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