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"Cat rookie" family rescued a kitty - lots of questions

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Member Since
11/30/2013
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 30, '13 9:32am PST 
Hello,

A few weeks ago we had a kitty show up on our doorstep begging for food. Poor thing was literally skin and bones, but she was so friendly and had such a sweet personality that she stole our hearts, and we decided to adopt her even though my wife is allergic to cats. At first we thought we'd get her spayed and let her be an outdoor kitty. She learned when we left in the mornings and always showed up for breakfast, and she was always waiting for us when we got home in the evenings. She was outdoor only for about 3 weeks until we could get her to the vet for a health checkup and spay. Then of course we had to keep her indoors while she recovered from the surgery.

We're currently 4 days post-spay, and we're discovering that she's such a well-behaved kitty that we're contemplating keeping her indoors full time. We've found a few ways around the allergy problems (we have 100% wood floors in our home, and we keep her off of the upholstered furniture and out of our bedroom and so far so good). We were also very surprised that we had NO litterbox training issues whatsoever. We just made a litterbox available to her and she has used it without fail without any prompting from us. She also responds to a firm "no" - if she starts to climb up on the couch one "no" does the job. This all leads me to believe that she may have been an indoor kitty before someone decided to let her go. Either that or she's just a very mild mannered stray, but from everything I've read that would be very unusual. The vet estimated her age at 7 - 8 months due to the condition of her teeth.

I had cats as a child but they were always indoor/outdoor cats who came and went as they pleased through the pet door. I guess times have changed since then - everything I've read now say keep your cats indoors 24/7, and I don't have a problem with that based on how well she's done as an indoor kitty so far. I do have a few questions though...

- Ever since her spay operation, she has been mostly sedentary. She has her favorite spot that she likes to lay/sit in to sleep or groom herself. She'll get up and spend 5 minutes walking around and exploring, then go back to her spot. We've bought her various types of toys but she hasn't really shown any interest in them, and hasn't been playful at all. Is this normal for a post-spay cat, or will she return to more "normal" activity at some point? Problem is I don't really know what "normal" is for her since I don't know her full history, but it seems to me that she's still a kitten and she should be a lot more playful.

- What other things should I be doing to make the home more stimulating for her? She's getting lots of attention, but other than crawling into someone's lap to be petted she doesn't seem interested in much else. I'm a little concerned about her not getting enough exercise, or maybe she misses the great outdoors?

I'd appreciate any advice!
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Queenie

I want it and I- WILL get it!
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 30, '13 1:12pm PST 
It's Queenie. You are so lucky that she is happy being inside. Our person found that these feral kittens still wanted to go out even after 6 years indoors.

Did the vet give her a clean bill of health? Reasons for being sedentary might be that she has worms and is weakened by them, or that she has some other kind of disease. All of our cats were so wild a day or so after they were spayed that we worried about them tearing their stitches.

Some things that you can do for your cat: A nice high cat tree by a window is an all-time favorite cat activity. Cats love windows and any perch where they can look out a window is a big favorite. Does she have a nice bed of her own, since she can't sleep with you? Different cats like different toys, so you will have to experiment to see which one she likes. We are all partial to scooting some little thing over the linoleum floor. Right now it is an acorn that bounced in from outside, but we also like bread ties, plastic strips and actual cat toys. Some cats like dangling things. You should get her a nice scratching post, and some come with dangling things that stick out of the top.

If she doesn't chase a ribbon or piece of string that you pull along the floor or dangle over her head, I would wonder about her health. It may just be taking her a long time to recover from being so thin and scared outside.

Good luck! Hope the allergies stay away and that you have a wonderful time with your new kitty!

PS The best toy for a kitty is another kitty, but that might be too much for your allergic person.
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Member Since
11/30/2013
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 30, '13 2:10pm PST 
Yes, the vet gave her a clean bill of health. She's up to normal weight now and no signs of worms or any diseases. I don't really think she's feral. Based on her behavior and demeanor I really believe she's an abandoned pet. If not, then she's an extremely smart kitty! Right off the bat she has acted like she knows her way around the inside of a home. The litter box thing totally blew us away. She knew exactly what that was for right from the get go. She's also very affectionate and sweet. She purrs a lot. Any time someone approaches her she mews, starts purring, and rolls over on her back. I'm beginning to wonder if it's a combination of recovering from the surgery and finding herself in a completely new environment. She was a 100% outdoor kitty right up until a couple hours before her spay appointment. She hasn't really asked to go outside much either. The first day home from the vet she'd go to the door and mew a little bit but she hasn't done that since.

Thanks for your advice on the toys and cat tree. We will keep trying things with her and see what sticks. We've tried various beds as well and she turned her nose up at them. Her favorite spot is just a simple purr pad which right now is sitting on top of a cardboard box.

I should also add that she's wearing an e-collar right now, which I know is bugging her. I don't know if that's de-motivating her from being more active or not. She does tend to bump into a lot of stuff whenever she's up and about.

Edited by author Sat Nov 30, '13 2:19pm PST

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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Sun Dec 1, '13 4:55am PST 
How lucky you are - she sounds like the perfect kitty! It's possible that she may become more active as she gets more comfortable. I foster a lot of cats and sometimes it takes weeks for their true personality and nature to really come out. Take your cues from her - she'll let you know what she needs! And kudos for bringing her in. She's lucky to have found such a great family.
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Queenie

I want it and I- WILL get it!
 
 
Purred: Sun Dec 1, '13 10:46am PST 
It's Queenie. Oh, yeah, the e-collar is a major downer for kitties. Can't tell what she is like unless that is off. The collar is worse than any pain from the operation! She will bounce back when that comes off for good.

Our person always thought that cat beds were a waste of money, as her cats were allowed to sleep on beds and furniture, but when she got one for the first time we all loved it. At one point we each had our own--or let us say, there were 4 cats and 4 beds but it was not always the same cat sleeping in each bed! The heated cat bed that she got for old, achy Delyte was also a big favorite, but you don't need one for a young cat.

Giant purrs to you and enjoy your new kitty! Hope to see some pictures soon? welcome
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Snowflake

1314105
 
 
Purred: Mon Dec 2, '13 2:27pm PST 
I'm still trying to figure out how to get my account profile set up properly, but I did upload one pic of her to her profile (with the e-collar waiting to be fed in the morning. She looks so pathetic! That's probably how she ended up getting adopted! laugh out loud http://www.catster.com/cats/1314105

Thanks again for the advice. She gets her stitches out and the e-collar off on Friday, so hopefully her activity will pick back up then.
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Snowflake

1314105
 
 
Purred: Fri Dec 6, '13 8:33pm PST 
Update: Snowflake is doing much better - getting a lot more active and playful like a normal kitty. I think it was combination of the surgery and being undernourished before we adoptedher, so her recovery took a little longer than normal. That, and her transition from outdoor cat to indoor cat and adjusting to new surroundings all at the same time. I thing we have a very happy, and very lucky, kitty.
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