Yes, our little furry doll reached the masculinity a little bit early. Barely six months old, Nine started spraying, and our odor free house began to smell like a cattery…
We’d already had the appointment booked, but had to move it to a sooner date, due to Nine’s fast development.
I was very nervous. He is still such a small kitty and anything could go wrong. Also, I found this article on pet-happy.com: follow this link to the article (will open in a new tab). I did not realize that there could be downsides to neutering. Well, of course, it is a surgery and such, but I recommend you read the article to fully understand the impact of neutering and spaying on your furry babies.
So, overall, I was not too excited about the experience. Why was I so persistent to carry on with the neutering? Well, it needs to be done. So, off we went and got it done.
Nine was quite hyper when we picked him up. His pupils were diluted and he would not sit still for a minute. He is not a big talker, so he was not making any sounds, but I had super difficult time keeping him secured in the car on the way home.
The vet gave us the cone. Though Nine looked adorable in it, it broke my heart to see him struggling to do simple things: get a drink of water, play with his toy. He kept bumping into the wall with it. He was still very much under the effect of the sedation.
So, the next thing we did, was to remove the cone and outfit Nine in a 3 months old size baby sleeper. I bought it at a second hand store just in case. It did become handy. We had to cut out the bottom, so that he could still do his litter box business, but it prevented him from licking where he should not be licking that night.
But Nine was showing no intentions to reach to down below. He was still hyper when we arrived, and did not go to bed till later on in the evening. We thought it was all right then and went to bed shortly after. At around 1 am we were woken up by the very strange noises coming from the kitchen. What happened next was one of the funniest moments of our life with Nine so far. But we will let you discover it for yourself:
First of all, I would like to mention this right from the start: The Stray Cats And Feral Cats are NOT THE SAME type of cats!
The primary difference is that Stray Cats have left the human environment and may have lost interest in human companionship, but are still open to it, and The Feral Cats never experienced human companionship and are not that eager to start any friendships.
Because the author of this article is a die hard kitty fan, and has successfully adopted, raised and re-homed a few rescued cats, you can be sure that it will be a straight to the point advice that you are about to receive.
In this article I will be concentrating on financial aspects of adopting a new cat. And since my whole life is now dedicated to saving the stray cats, it is assumed that the cats I will be talking about were not purchased from a breeder, a pet store, or even from the shelter etc. I am concentrating on the stray cats and stray cats only. You know, those kitties on the street, that have been wondering around long enough to forget their relationship with humans, yet still crave the shelter and company. Please, understand that stray cats and feral cats are not the same.
The cost of the first 3 months
Though, of course, the circumstances may vary, and situations and cats are different. I have been tweaking this for a while and came up with more or less general costs, tailored to the average situation. The calculator will only add the minimum costs.
Regardless of the situation, the vet appointment must be scheduled as soon as you decide you will provide shelter (even temporary) in your house. This becomes crucially important if you have younger children or any other pets.
The average “Health Check Intake” varies in cost from $ 35.00 to $ 145.00 (totally depends on your location). This Intake appointment will not include any vaccines or meds. Try to set an appointment with a regular vet, not the emergency clinic. Their rates are, typically, higher.
It is pretty much inevitable that you will have to get your new find vaccinated right away. If your new baby is a kitten, be pretty much 99% prepared to also get the anti-mites and fleas treatments. This will all cost you between $ 45.00 and $ 200.00 on your first appointment. The mite treatments must be repeated a month later. So, imminent, a second appointment for vaccines will add another $ 45.00 to $ 200.00
Consider yourself very lucky if your new find is spayed or neutered. Because otherwise, you will have to pick up the following costs:
If you are on a tight budget, any supermarket cat food deal will do. Do not shop in the convenience stores/gas stations, unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes the single can of food costs twice as much at the convenience store/gas station vs. supermarket/food store.
Since the kitty is new to you (especially, if it is a small kitten), you will have to try both types of food – dry and wet. Wet food is much more expensive. Choose wisely. Please, check the expiry date if buying in a convenience store/gas station.
Average cost of combined wet and dry food per week for a kitten: $ 10.00 Try to get the kitty used to the fact that the wet food is a treat as soon as possible. So, the first 3 months will cost you between $ 100.00 and $ 200.00, depending on the size, medical condition and the age of your cat.
Litter and Litter box. An absolute must, unless you planning on having your kitty use the enclosed outdoors area. But if you have an old plastic container, you can use it for a box for the first time. If the edges are too tall, the plastic can be easily cut with a knife or scissors. If you do decide to buy a box, places like Wallmart will have them for much cheaper than a specialty pet store. Remember, that the cat needs to do its business. Yes, it does smell. But buying a fancy self-cleaning box is really not that necessary. Just scoop on time. $ 5.00 – $ 10.00
To save money on litter, shop for the scoop ble type. Just don’t be lazy! $ 9.00 – $ 12.00 per bag (some last up to a month)
Toys. Cats can amuse themselves with pretty much anything if in playful mode. Don’t go too much overboard. Limit yourself to $ 20.00 in new toys. That’s plenty.
Honestly, I can not really think about too much to add here. Any food container will do as dishes. The only item I would insist on, is a pet fountain. Your kitty needs plenty of clean, fresh water. Approximate cost varies. between $ 19.00 and $ 45.00 (plus you will need the replaceable filters here and there).
As far as the fancy dishes, beds, etc… It is really up to you. They are not a necessity.
So, approximately, the budget for the first 3 months will be starting at $ 300.00
Regardless of what you decision is – save that cat! Even if you can not afford it yourself, there are fosters, no kill shelters and other ways available. Please, do not leave the kitty to die on the street.
In these series, I would like to share everything I know about voice training a kitty. This is based solely on my own practices with quite a few cats I had in my life. Both males and females, pedigreed and (mostly!) strays.
Where did I learn this stuff?
My first kitty, a stunning Siberian, named Katka, was a subject of envy of many for her behavior was amazing and she understood what the humans wanted with ease. I believe, nowadays she would have become an Internet sensation. Not that she was just gorgeous and big, but also for all she could do.
I was 8 years old when we got her and back in the day we did not have any “clickers” or “super treats”. In fact, I had no idea what to do with a cat. I really wanted a dog. But there was no way in the world my mother was giving in on that wish. Seeing me very upset of not getting a puppy, my Dad somehow talked her into getting a kitten. He promised me that cats can do tricks and go for walks with me, basically, to do all that a puppy will do.
When the fur ball arrived in my lap, my heart melted instantly. She was only 3 months old, fluffy and very playful. Just like any healthy kitten, she would get instantly amused by anything that moved, and just like any healthy kitten she was set to explore the world around her. That world included kitchen table, drawers, my Mother’s knitting basket (oh-oh!)
Whatever amused the kitten, amused me. But not my Mother. I was brought up in the Old Country, and not in the most loving and caring environment. It was quite an easy practice for my Mother to threaten me very often that she would throw my kitten away to the streets.
My heart would stop when I heard that. I started spending as much time with Katka as I could, and not just to train her to stop getting into my Mother’s way, but because I was scared that if I left her unattended, she would get thrown away.
Without any experience, without any help, driven by fear, I turned into a cat trainer at the age of 8. By the time I was 10, my Katka knew a lot of tricks, used the handles to open the doors, sat on my shoulder on the bus and could understand about 20 commands. All that I achieved by using the different tones of my voice. Well, OK, sometimes I combined the voice training with cheese – her most favorite treat.
Looking back now, I think I had more time on my hands. Because training a cat is a very dedicated process. Not because the cats are stupid, no, quite opposite. The cats are very smart and very inquisitive. Therefore, their attention spam to something is very limited. They are geniuses in fur. But you do need to spend time with them to discover their genius and work with it on your cat’s terms. Yes. Everything is ruled by the cat.
Remember: a lot of cat intellect is based on the sound of things! Use this for the best training practices!
The expense free training
So, what do I mean when I say “voice training”? Obviously, the use of human voice. The use of different intonations (ranging from the softest low to annoying high pitch) and certain words.
Nine is the first kitten I named without having “crispy” consonant in the name, as opposed to Sky, Jackie, Junior and Lucy and other cat names I had for my cats. My fiancee said that he will have difficulties with his name. He was right, partially, as if I simply say “Nine”, as you would do in a count, Nine would not really drop everything and run to me. But the story changes when I say his name with a little pause in the middle, something like “Nah-hine”, and making sure my voice is deep.
Cats are absolutely amazing when it comes to their recognition and perception of the sound! You probably, already heard that cats hate loud sounds. That is absolutely true! These predators by nature were born to detect the slightest leaf moment, disturbed by their prey. There is a high price that the cats pay for their incredible hearing – just like in humans, their hearing decreases if exposed to too much loud noise. So, basically, when the cat hears something really loud, the sound is split into so many additional pitches, that it is physically painful for the kitty.
I am not preaching yelling at your cat when you want to punish the unruly feline. No. I am just saying that properly using short commands in loud, high pitched voice will get your cat to avoid that kitchen table much faster than “spraying” (I hate this method of training and it is useless!) or giving her treats when she jumps off (kind of stupid – the cat can not process that much information and tie it up together – she will simply think she is getting the treat just because), or, worse, like flicking their ears (this is absolutely disgusting and I consider it abuse).
Yes, of course you want to demonstrate in action what you want the cat to do – pick them up and put them on the floor, point a finger at them, so on.
Also, this method does not involve any expenses – you do not have to buy clickers, wet food, toys… Nothing! Well, may be, a little treat here and there would not hurt.
Example of voice training when something is not allowed
Let’s voice train the kitty to get off the kitchen table.
Choose a word. First of all, you need to chose the word you want to train your cat to associate with something you do not like them doing. I would not recommend “off”, for 2 reasons. Reason 1 is because the consonant in this word is not “crispy” and it will fade. Reason 2 is because you are limited to only about 20 words that the cat will respond to. So, you want to use as many universal words as possible. The word “Get” will help you in the kitchen table situation (meaning “get off”) and if the kitty is destroying your flower arrangement in the living room (meaning “get away from those flowers”) and if the kitty is really hogging the front door as you are in a rush to work (meaning “get out of my way, please”)
What we are trying to achieve here, is to train the cat to obey one word, which will apply to all situations where the cat needs to know they are doing something wrong.
Practice your tone. This is everything! In the example word “get”, I always emphasize the “g” and say it loud, in higher pitch. Don’t yell! The cat will just ignore you. You need to get their attention, and you need it fast. At the end of the word, emphasize “t” and make it a bit longer, sound like “Gett”. You can compare the ways of saying in this example:
Practice the delivery. Always say it faster and clear and very firm. You do have to deliver the message that you are not pleased. And repeat. Usually, 3 times works the charm. The longer you stick to your practice, the less repetitions the cat will need.
Implement additional sounds. Ideally, you want your cat to just not to do the things you do not like. Well, that’s doable, of course. But be prepared that here and there the cat may violate the rule again. So, if you want to make the communication even simpler, come up with some sound that the cat will associate with the same meaning as “get”.
Listen to the examples:
Use both the word and the sound together at first. Once your cat is very familiar with the word and sound, practice using the sound only.
Very important – do NOT treat the cat when they obey this command. They will misunderstand the meaning of the “mean” word and will associating it with the treat. This will cause them seeking “negative attention”.
Once the cat obeyed your command, just leave the situation.
Coming up next:
Voice training to get the cat to come to you no matter what they are doing!
First, – know the difference between the stray cat and a feral cat!
If you think this cat is a stray, then first of all, it needs to be fed! Let it taste the food and enjoy it a little. You do not want to stress the kitty more, you want it to start thinking she did find a good place again!
Place the food in a manner where you can approach the cat from the front. Hungry cat NEVER backs away from food, but will run if suspects danger from behind or the side.
Have a blanket or a thick towel ready. Place the towel on your stretched in front of you arms, but do not cover the palms.
Slowly reach out with your palms open. Slowly raise yourself so that you can be at about 45 degree angle. Always sweet talk to the cat! The strays DO detect the changes in tone. They crave the Love.
Once sure that you can drop the towel over the body, do so quickly and raise the cat with both hands, keeping the towel wrapped up around the belly, and closer to the hind legs.
Join the palms, thus wrapping the towel under and maintaining the firm grip on the belly. A this time the longer end of the towel that was resting closer to the elbows in your arms is still covering the kitty eyes. So, you have a few moments to act. Cats become a little fruzzled when they are crowded. But only for a second or two.
Make sure to keep your face at a safe distance. Slowly position your hands so that they now cover the kitty’s elbow. Place the kitty in your lap. See what she will be doing next. If she really is trying to escape, let her go, Could be a feral cat or you stressed her out too much. If latter, she will come back again.
At all times, make sure that there are no little kids around, or anybody who is just trying to “pet the kitty”. No palms approaches from down towards! Only stretched and opened palms.
If the kitty is settled right away, you can be pretty sure she was desperately looking for s shelter. Please, give her one.