It looks like I am a cat owner

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2012
It looks like I am a cat owner
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 12:40pm

A week or so ago I posted about a cat that had been in my garbage cans that I discovered had no front claws. I had been feeding it and I made the mistake of letting it in the house during severe weather. She curled up in my lap and I couldn't put her back out.

I got a litter box and litter and a scoop but not sure if I am doing it all right. Can someone tell me how often you are supposed to put new litter in? Also, is all cat food basically the same?

Is it necessary to get her into a vet right away?

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 2:58pm


Litter box: my cat likes about 4 inches of clumping litter to start, the level will go down as you scoop but you can add more if she likes deep litter. I scoop once a day, you might be able to scoop once every other day but if the box gets too full sometimes the cat won't want to use it, and go somewhere in the house instead. By 3 weeks the litter doesn't clump as well and maybe is starting to smell so then I throw it all out, wash the box and scooper, and put fresh litter. You may need to experiment with different brands, with or without fragrance, non-clay etc (the clay litters make a lot of dust).

Cat food: My cat likes the mid-price brands that I can buy at grocery stores or Target (they have good prices on cat food) and I have conducted taste-tests on almost all of the canned food brands available! There are differences between those brands (like Friskies) and the premium brands (like Science Diet or Royal Canin) that you get at pet stores or vets but I couldn't tell you why the premium stuff would be better for your cat (unless she has health issues requiring a special diet) but maybe the other members can. The vet might make some recommendations.

Personally, I would take her to the vet asap. They will scan her for a microchip and check for a scar from getting spayed--although if she's declawed she's probably spayed. She will need shots and to be dewormed, may have flea issues, and should get blood tests for the common cat diseases and other problems. They will charge an exam fee, and do a thorough physical exam of her. They might be able to estimate her age. They will recommend a bunch of things that should be done even on an apparently healthy cat, and before they do anything to the cat they should present you with a printed estimate of those things and the cost for each. If its more than you can spend you can then discuss with the vet what can be postponed and for how long, if some of it is just fluff testing, etc. Whether you're going to keep her inside only or let her outside could make a difference in what shots she needs. My vet is very good at working with me to stay within cost constraints. Ask your friends and neighbors for vet recommendations, or look on Yelp for recent reviews. In some places the ASPCA or Humane Society have vet clinics and are cheaper than a private vet practice--sometimes they do shots only but sometimes they have full service, so its worth it to do some research. (I got my cat microchipped at the County Shelter for less than half of what the vets charge) A common complaint is vets who pressure you to get expensive treatments.

I also suggest some kind of "cat bed" which can be just a folded blanket placed on a chair. So she has her own special spot to sleep during the day, and the blanket catches the cat hair (instead of the upholstery) and can be laundered. She'll probably show you where she prefers. At night the cat usually ends up on the bed with me Smile

Don't forget cat toys! Some of the favorites here are also the cheapest: ping pong balls, and a balled up piece of paper or a wad of foil. My grandcat (the one in my avatar) likes to bat around dried kidney beans on bare floors. Then there's all kinds of catnip-filled mice and feathers on strings etc, which your cat might like. At least you don't have to worry about what kind of scratching post! 

Have fun with your new little buddy!

Community Leader
Registered: 03-24-2000
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 3:30pm

Congratulations to you both.  It sounds like she wrapped you around her little paws quickly! lol

You already have some great suggestions.  Canned food is better for cats than dry, but some cats won't eat it.  You will just have to see what she likes and go from there. I would just stay away from the cheap dry food that has corn, rice or something other than meat as the first ingredient. 

I use clumping litter and scoop my litter boxes daily, them completely clean them out and change the litter once a month. 

I would also suggest that you take her to the vet as soon as you can for a check up.  She probably picked up worms and will need a good deworming and flea control and check her for ear mites.  The vet can also tell if she has been spayed and approx how old she is.  Hopefully she didn't get any of the horrible diseases that stray cats can get.

Toys would be good for her to have. 

Keep us posted on how she is doing and what you name her.


Avatar for tiggs_mom
Community Leader
Registered: 07-02-1999
Wed, 06-19-2013 - 8:42am
Congrats!! Sometimes you choose them and sometimes they choose you. But she sounds wonderful. You got some great advice. I feed my crew Purina One. Mine eat the dry and get canned as a treat. As for litter, get a box big enough that she can turn around. I have a lid on 2 of mine, primarily as my youngest is a "stander" when he pees and it hits the back wall. :) Most cats (esp females) won't so it shouln't be an issue with her. Again - the vet is a good first step. Blood test for FIV/FeLV (please know that a positive test is NOT a death sentence....if they do come back positive, come back and ask questions or feel free to email me). Deworming (esp since she has been living outside), flea treatment (mine don't get it all the time since they are indoor cats, but it would be a good idea since she has been outside) and vaccinations (FCRVP and rabies). They can check for a spay scar as well (being declawed she should be, but I stopped being surprised a long time ago). Be sure to come back and tell us more about her - especially her name. :) Can't wait for an update. And again - congrats on the new family member, and THANK YOU for saving her.