...because home doesn't happen overnight.

WARNING: This post has relatively little to do with houses but a lot to do with home.

cheetah

“Dear friends, please help me find a home for this gorgeous rescue kitten! She is sweet, cuddly and litter box trained. She has a small voice so would be safest inside. We love her but have too many animals to give them all they need. Thank you!”

That was the exact text that popped up on my phone while we were watching the boys’ swim class two Saturdays ago. It was from my cousin. I showed it to Steve and he smiled but didn’t say a word. The kids had been asking for a pet for a while and my go-to response was “maybe after Mabrey is potty-trained.” I didn’t think I could nurture one more living thing. In fact, I had recently brainstormed a post all about why I wasn’t ready for a pet right now. I had a lot of excuses. However, when I received the text, Mabrey had been potty-trained for a week so my usual response wasn’t going to hold up.

I called my cousin to see if the kitten was spoken for yet. She said she was ours if we wanted her. I told her I wasn’t a cat person and was clueless about all things cat. Up to that point, my experiences with cats were limited to outdoor farm cats and Pet Sematary. Not only did I think I didn’t like cats, I was scared of them – afraid they would pounce and claw my eyes out at any given moment. Steve’s thoughts on cats were similar. We weren’t cat people.

But my cousin assured me that this kitten wasn’t skittish. She was good with kids and other animals. She liked to play and cuddle. And THE KITTEN EYES. I couldn’t say no. I knew deep down there wasn’t a good reason why we couldn’t take her in. And, of course, the kids would love her. So the next thing I knew we were driving down to my cousin’s to retrieve a cat without so much as a litter box.

Upon meeting the kitten, we learned a little more about her. The story goes that my cousin’s nine-year-old daughter found the kitten and (what they assumed to be) her sister in the woods behind their house. The kittens were super scrawny and barely breathing. They brought them inside and gave them food and water. For a few weeks, they lived in the garage, grew stronger and learned to use a litter box. But the sister eventually ran off leaving this kitten alone. Heartbroken for the lonely kitty, my cousin brought her inside until she could find a home for her. (They already had four cats and a dog as it was!) That’s where the text message came in. And that’s how I ended up with a kitten on my desk not even 24 hours after declaring we didn’t own a cat.

cheetah

After we brought her home (luckily, my cousin sent us home with a small litter box) Layne and I spent a good hour at a local pet store asking a million mind-numbing questions about litter boxes, litter, cat food, vaccines and such. You guys, I didn’t even know that cats drink water! I’m sure the employees were half-scared for our new kitten.

Anyway…

cheetah & mabrey

We’ve been living with a kitten for almost two weeks now. She’s a she and her name is Cheetah. (She came to us already named and we couldn’t bear to force another change on her.) The kids love telling people “We have a pet Cheetah!” A neighbor noticed the “M” marking on her forehead and informed us she’s at least part Maine Coon.

I fully expected there to be some difficulty with the transition to a new environment but Cheetah hasn’t had one single accident. (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.) And she is SO GOOD with the kids. They love her! Layne scoops the litter box and Everett is in charge of food and water. Mabrey regularly manhandles her and Cheetah just goes with it. She is cuddly but has little bursts of energy when she likes to scamper and play. (Do cats scamper?) Her meow is almost silent. Having had a dog in the past, I can’t believe how quiet she is. Sometimes she will be right underfoot but I won’t know it until I nearly trip over her. She loves watching the birds, squirrels and rabbits out the window but never seems interested in escaping outside. She will come to us when called by name. She barely sheds. She has a daily schedule she made up herself which I find amusing. For instance, I know at 8:00 a.m. she will be perched in the boys’ windowsill waiting and watching for the neighbor dogs to go on their morning walk. She even naps when Mabrey naps and I don’t think it’s pure coincidence. She’s pretty much too good to be true. My friend who used to have her own pet-sitting business says we hit the cat jackpot.

That’s not to say I haven’t freaked out a few times. Domestic cats are nocturnal?! Cats have an innate need to scratch?! And climb?! Catnip is the cat equivalent of ecstasy?! I told Steve I sorta feel like a first-time mom. I want to do everything right but I’ll probably look back in a few years and laugh at all the ridiculous stuff I did in the name of ignorance.

Steve has really fallen for Cheetah, too. When he gets home from work he asks “Where’s Cheetah?” and the first thing he does after the kids are in bed is participate in a little kitty snuggle session. In short, this kitten is growing on us and we feel badly for having wrongly judged cats in the past. We aren’t entirely sure how it happened but we’re glad this kitten found us.

Are you a cat person? Have you ever ended up with a pet you never imagined owning?

Pssst – Since introducing our newest family member, everyone wants to know where we keep all the cat paraphernalia and how our décor is holding up. I’ll address those in a separate post later today!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

133 Comments

18.September.2014

As I read, my cat is vigilantly stalking the moths through a curtain. I cannot imagine a home without a cat or dog! When my 19 year old cat died, we waited about a year for our next to find us. It was a quiet, boring year! That picture of Mabrey really says it all. (PS, if Cheetah is Maine Coon, she could eventually be a whole lotta cat to love :-) Enjoy!

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18.September.2014

I adopted two abandoned Maine Coon mix kittens last year and they are the greatest! Maine Coons are often known as “the dog of the cat world” so they are great for people who aren’t 100% about cats. Ours are so cuddly and sweet but they do run laps around the house sometimes. I would love to know if you found any cat furniture or toys that work with your home or how you hid the ugly litter box. Happy for you guys!

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18.September.2014

Congratulations on the new addition to the family! It’s funny because when I was little my mom worked nights and one morning my brother and I woke up to a scrawny cat in the house that my mom had brought home after finding her in the rain outside our apartment building. Long story short, she became the unofficial protector of us kids (she would wake my parents if one of us was sick and she once attacked a dog that had gotten loose and ran up to me). She was pregnant as we came to find out and we kept one of the kittens that we couldn’t find a home for and that kitten was basically my companion (I dressed him up in cabbage patch doll clothes and pushed him around in a doll stroller) so I always say, people who think they aren’t cat people just haven’t met the right cat. Looks like you met yours! This brought a smile to my face this morning!

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18.September.2014

I’ve been reading for years, but it’s taking me a cat story to actually comment (#catlady). I have a similar story. A bad few months of mice led to me taking in a friendly stray that had been appearing on my friends’ porch. I’m allergic to cats, so I thought I would just foster her and we’d mutually benefit each other (I’d get her cleaned up and updated with shots, she’d take care of the mice). Well, that was almost five years ago and she’s still here! She’s the sweetest thing to come home to after a long day. I hear you on the cat cluelessness. I still joke with friends about my Google search history the first night she spent in my apartment, including such gems as “What does cat poop look like?”; “Can cats see in the dark?”; “Why isn’t my cat looking out the window?”. When she went into heat a month after taking her in, I called the vet in a panic thinking she was dying. I’m pretty sure they put a note on my file declaring me an idiot cat owner after that, but oh, well! Congrats on the new furry family member! She looks like a real cuddly ball of fluff!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Oh I have been doing my fair share of googling cat-related topics. I can so relate!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I’ve had a cat since I was a little kid, but still once and awhile I google something like “why is my cat staring at me?” (for the record- it is apparently because the cat is bored)

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18.September.2014

Ah! She looks so much like my kitty! Cats are the best. Two things- she’ll definitely start shedding as she gets bigger. Buy a Furminator brush- it removes the undercoat and makes a huge difference. Secondly, the nocturnal thing settles down after a while too- she’ll adjust to your schedule. I think when my cat was around 6 months, she started sleeping when we do (with us, like a little person, tucked under the covers and everything). <–I just made myself sound like a crazy cat lady, but I swear I'm not. haha

Enjoy it!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Thanks for the tips! I did buy a Furminator brush. I figured she would start shedding more as she got older. But how I wish she would stay little and virtually shed-free!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

See! You’re going to be a pro ;) Already ahead of the game!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

ah the furminator is everything! It will make such a huge difference in the amount you sweep up. Just make sure you have the right kind for her hair length. I’m so happy that you gave cats a chance! I think it just takes the right kind of cat and anyone can be hooked. They keep life interesting [not that you were lacking in that department] ;)

Also, maybe when she is a little older… look into the Litter Kwitter. I know I sound certifiably insane but I hate litter and this worked for us. And if that’s way too far for you to go mentally, we personally love Worlds Best Cat litter and a second box using the breeze system that they use for number one. And the litter genie cuts down on smell and that’s awesome. Good luck!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Rachel – my cat has to be tucked in too! If her head is under, or her body is out too far, she stands up after ~10 minutes and then meows at me to be let back under the covers (I have to lift them up for some reason). This will repeat all night. If I make sure the covers are up to her neck, with her head out like a person, she sleeps through the night! So I don’t think you’re a crazy cat lady! (Which probably just means we both are. :))

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I can’t help but comment on this conversation! My cat (who also somehow chose me against my wishes!) was also an under-the-covers-cat. He would paw until he made his way under and then he’s go allll the way down to my feet, or, better yet, curl up in the crook of my knees. He passed away 2 years ago and we all miss him sooo much!

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18.September.2014

Oh my goodness! That is one of the prettiest cats in existence! If she is part Maine-Coon, then she will be playful and energetic, but also very loving, patient and gentle. Any kind of forest cat tend to be perfect when you have children. I’ve a number of friends who have never liked cats as, like you, have only known cats who are outdoors or haven’t had the best lives. When they met ours, including our Norwegian forest cat (very similar to Maine Coons), they were shocked by how gentle, fun and loving cats can be.

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18.September.2014

Welcome to the light! Lol. I agree with Sylvia, non-cat people just haven’t met the right cat. I also think rescue cats just know that you’ve saved them, and there’s a certain amount of gratitude and love that comes from that. Enjoy your new family member!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I totally get that from Cheetah! I feel like she’s so easygoing because she’s just so happy she isn’t lost in the woods anymore.

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18.September.2014

Another long-time reader and cat lady coming out of the quiet to comment. Cheetah is adorable! I have a Maine Coon mix myself (named Elephant), and like most of the breed, she LOVES water. She splashes in her water bowl and loves to drink from the faucet. You should see whether Cheetah inherited that same trait.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Cheetah does like water! She’s verrrrrrry interested in the bathtub and my cousin said she doesn’t mind baths. (I haven’t bathed her yet. Is that something I’m supposed to do?)

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replied on September 18th, 2014

No, cat’s don’t need bathes often at all. And you KNOW if/when she does need one. Our kitty is about 17 years old and while we plan on taking a break from animals for a while, I know that we’ll end up getting another cat eventually. I’ve always been intrigued by the main coon breed – I have a 2 yr old son and another on the way…I think this will be a great breed for them when we are all ready!

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replied on May 2nd, 2015

I also have a Maine Coon mix who loves water! Cats are generally pretty good about bathing themselves, but Anabel is extra-clean because she can’t live without bathtime once or twice a week (we use WEN pets in the tub.) And if I want to take a bubble bath, I have to make sure the door is closed well, or it ends up a bath for two. :l lol

18.September.2014

My husband always declared himself a dog person, even though he had never had a pet. Fast forward to 12 years with the most awesome cat ever (Leonard) we often talk about how we wish we could immortalize him. Cats are really great pets and very smart, too. They do their own thing a lot of the time, which I appreciate. I hope your family gets to love her for a long. long time.

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18.September.2014

Congrats on your new addition! She is adorable!! I am definitely a cat person. I think because they are less needy than dogs. I have a Maine Coon as well- they are wonderful cats. Very easy going and friendly and great with kids. The only thing I might suggest is to keep an eye on the coat- mine gets matted in spring when the undercoat is trying to she’d. I ended up getting him shaved once a year at the groomer and he has less hairballs and no more mats. I am so happy for you!!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Do you have your cat shaved in the spring then? Sorry, I have a lot of questions still.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I do get him shaved every spring- it takes about 9 months for his coat to come in completely. He’s long haired so when he’s shaved he’s not naked- he just looks like a regular shorthair.

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replied on September 19th, 2014

Thanks for the info!

18.September.2014

We have two kitties and I couldn’t imagine our home without them. They are always there to keep me company when my fiance works at night; they seriously are wonderful little things!

I didn’t read the other comments so if someone already posted this sorry! Get her a little scratching post, that way she has a place of her own to scratch and won’t go after the furniture. If you do see her go to scratch the furniture, make sure she knows it’s wrong. We use a little spray bottle/squirt gun and just gave our cats a squirt when they tried to scratch the couch. It took about 3 squirts and now they only touch the scratching post! :) Also keep her claws trimmed so she doesn’t accidentally scratch your leather couch when walking on it. :)

Enjoy your new little Cheetah! :)

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Thanks for the tips!! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the furniture to some extent. So scratching post and trimmed claws it is!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Here’s a tip for trimming claws – to start with, ease into it. Wrap her up in a towel and cradle her in your arms like a baby – softly touch her feet and grasp her toes to force her claws out. Let her get used to that position and having you mess with her feet. Give her some treats afterwards and do that a few times before you actually clip her claws. Then, when you are ready to clip, start with one and see how it goes. Don’t force it and over time, she’ll be completely fine with it. You can even give her a treat and/or a break after each foot. If you are lucky, she’ll be totally fine with it right away!

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18.September.2014

This post made my eyes tear up. Cats are wonderful. My husband and I adopted two sister cats from a shelter when we were living in Spain. They had lived in the shelter for the first 14 months of their lives. They were a little skittish when they came home with us, but seven years later they snuggle up with me during my husband’s deployments and bring such light into our lives. Enjoy Cheetah and all of the heart melting love she will give you. And, thank you for opening your hearts and home to a cat in need…

Peace. <3

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18.September.2014

I am not a cat person. Myself and my family are allergic. I have a PomaPoo puppy named Tucker. He’s half poodle and wonderfully hypoallergenic. He acts much like a cat. I’m in the process of teaching him how to meow :) because it seems so fitting.

M…. I believe is for Miller! Perfect fit

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replied on September 18th, 2014

A puppy that meows…I love it.

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18.September.2014

Hi Dana!

Now you know, cats are the best! We have a rescue kitty which we initially thought was a girl and named her Lady. Well lo and behold – not a girl so now his name is Mr. Lady lol! He is awesome! Never scratched the furniture thank goodness because declawing cats is a medieval practice IMO (please don’t declaw Cheetah), and he even will fetch! They are such entertaining creatures to watch as well. Enjoy the new addition!

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18.September.2014

Aww, Cheetah! As you know we have two four-leggers in our house. Originally, 9 years ago, I went to pick Mini up at age 12 weeks and it turned out her brother wasn’t spoken for so at the spur of the moment I decided to take them both. Of course we had to name him Bonus. Wille still says it’s the happiest day of his life :).

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replied on September 18th, 2014

My grandma went through something similar years and years ago! She went to pick up a white kitten with one tiny black spot on her head (named her Smudge) and saw a little silver tabby that was the only left from her litter. She couldn’t resist bringing both kitties home. She named the tabby Extra!

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replied on September 19th, 2014

Extra, how cute!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I never knew the story behind your cats or Bonus’s name. So cute!! P.S. – I immediately thought of you when we brought Cheetah home. You have such a lovely home with two cats. Surely we can handle one! We’ll see…

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18.September.2014

Hi,

She’s nocturnal now, because she’s a kitten. But soon, you’ll notice that she’ll be crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk times).
Also, she’s not shedding right now, because it’s Fall and the temperatures are dropping. She’s building a winter furcoat.
One last thing, feral cats, or kitten who got weaned off at an early age don’t know how to meow. They know how to hiss, but without their mommy around, they don’t know that they can meow. I rescued two kittens (from the Almost Humane Society), and one of the kitten fake-meows. She opens her mouth and “lip-synch” to a meow. (The vet checked her vocal chords, and years later, she started meowing a little bit, so she has had the apparel but just did not know how to use it). How funny is that?

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Fake meowing?! Fascinating.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

You’ll also probably notice that she gets more vocal as she gets older – cats mostly meow for their human’s benefit!

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18.September.2014

When I first moved out to Ohio, I had two cats AND a dog. Now I’m down to one cat and one dog after the older kitty developed a tumor that kept her from using the litter box. Goodness that was a horribly sad weekend! I’d had that cat for literally half of my life! Thankfully I have some wonderful memories with her :) I’d gotten the other kitty when I was living in my very first apartment, so that the older one would have a friend to talk to. The younger one loved the older cat, but the older cat absolutely hated her younger sibling. There was rarely a shortage of cat fights and I often wondered why the heck I really got the second one?! She’s grown on me though. She had very little personality for years, but once she became the sole kitty in the house, I discovered that she’s very cuddly and laid back! I don’t plan on getting another cat after this one though. I’ve become much more of a dog person!

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18.September.2014

please tell me you’ve taken her to the vet and had her checked out for all the contagious and dangerous cat diseases associated with non-immunized stray cats such as FeLV (feline leukemia) FIPV (Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus) … and other general immunizations.
http://www.ivghospitals.com/preventive/answers-to-your-frequently-asked-new-kitten-and-new-puppy-questions/

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18.September.2014

I too was never a cat person until I had one. My husband had always wanted one, but was allergic. He finally decided he didn’t mind taking meds every day, so we adopted a cute tabby kitten. He’s now 10 and has two sisters. One we adopted, one who was a stray who adopted us. Ooops.

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18.September.2014

This is a great story! I have to say I’ve never been much a cat person (we always had 1 dog growing up) but now as an adult anytime I am at my friends houses who have cats my and my husband’s allergies start acting up! My eyes get puffy, runny nose, etc. So that’s my excuse for a cat (and pet) free home :)

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18.September.2014

I felt the very same way about a dog.
We now have three dogs. Three. We have three kids and three dogs. Did I mention that they are big dogs? I love them dearly. :)

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18.September.2014

I laughed at the Pet Sematary comment…good golly that’s a freaky movie, and that cat! So happy she found your family and a wonderful home. Enjoy your furry baby : )

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18.September.2014

What a cute cat! It really does sound like you hit the cat jackpot. We have a dog that we got spur of the moment. I always knew I’d have a dog, but I thought it’d be a couple years before I got one.

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18.September.2014

I have been obsessed with dogs for as long as I can remember. My parents used to call me Dr. Doolittle because the neighborhood dogs would always flock to me. With that being said, when my little sister turned 11, she got a kitten for her birthday and we all adored her. My boyfriend’s parents also have a cat who is a wee bit bonkers. Not sure what, but something is just a little off with him haha. My boyfriend loves cats though and we just recently started entertaining the idea of adopting a kitten. We do have a 70 lb hound mix that we adopted 2 years ago though and we aren’t sure how he would feel about a cat in his territory!

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18.September.2014

Awww so excited for your family that you took in sweet little Cheetah! I have always had a cat (also have a dog now too) and they are so wonderful! They are the best cuddlers! Enjoy! :)

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18.September.2014

Hooray for new a new fur-baby! Check out Purina’s Yesterday’s News Litter. It’s made out of recycled paper and doesn’t have that distinct litter smell.

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18.September.2014

Awwwwwww! She’s beautiful!

I never had any pets growing up. My mom was allergic to cats and my parents said a dog was too much work.

When I was finally settled into a place that was just mine I adopted Molly. She was the smallest and most timid of the litter…..until I got her home. But I wouldn’t change a thing. She has LOTS of personality.

Then at the beginning of July I went into a pet store to get Molly some treats and a little kitten was sitting there waiting to be adopted. I left with her shortly after. I think Molly thinks I have betrayed her by bringing an intruder into her home but Maxie is such a doll and I’m hoping once Maxie calms down a bit, Molly will warm up to her more.

Yaaaay for cats! (I would still love a dog too though ;))

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18.September.2014

So stinkin’ cute — and your daughter looks totally smitten with her! If you are not declawing her (which I hope you are not!), I would suggest the Purrfect Post cat scratching post http://www.purrfectpost.com/ … they are a bit pricey but a total furniture saver! We have one cat but two posts because he likes to scratch in our family room plus our bedroom, so the post totally saves our sofa, chair, and bedspread. And if the post wears out, you can just order a new post (and not the entire base).

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Thanks for the link and advice! I’ll take all I can get!!

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18.September.2014

Congratulations! Folks have commented on the scratching post drill, and you definitely can train kittens to use the posts and not your furniture. Keep an eye on kitty and notice her habits – if she heads for the same chair for scratching, put a scratching post there. We also bought several disposible cardboard scratching boxes from Trader Joes and attached them to the wall.

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18.September.2014

I am a veterinarian’s daughter so I grew up with lots of animals and love cats especially. My husband is a city slicker and his parents bought one outdoor dog when he was scared of them when he was little. Needless to say he wasn’t a cat person. A Maine Coon mix found his way to my back step while we were dating and my now husband is the one that wanted to take him in if no one claimed him. We were nervous when our daughter was born since he’s not de-clawed but she hit him on purpose the other day and he just ran off instead of retaliating (thankfully). Nine years later, he’s still one of the best cats I’ve ever owned.

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18.September.2014

Congrats! I just love cats! Cheetah looks a lot like my cat who I think is part Maine Coon. My cat is 12 years old and going strong. I never get tired of all of the cute things she does and our kitty cuddle sessions every night! Have fun with her!

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18.September.2014

Excellent. I’ll look forward to future posts about how you custom-built a cat tree or incorporated cat-wall elements into some room’s design ;)

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18.September.2014

Aw, she’s adorable! I often marvel at how those crazy furry creatures manage to sneak into the hearts of people who are “not cat people”.

Have fun learning all the exciting and insane things cats do! My tiny kitten used to carry huge potatoes around the house and leave them on people’s beds. Another would always race past me while I was folding laundry, jump up on the couch, and take off with a rolled up pair of socks as she went. Every laundry day. The hilarity never ends!

Three things that have saved my home from my rough and tumble kitties over the years:
1. As someone else mentioned – claw trimmers. It’s pretty easy to learn to do, and reduces the risk of scratches to you and your furniture.
2. Scratching posts – vertical and horizontal (some cats have a preference), away from furniture that might also be enticing to scratch.. The cardboard ones are great (or logs with bark can work and look great too), and there is no confusion for the cat. e.g. carpet covered posts can result in them scratching other carpet in your house.
3. Nature’s Miracle stain and odor remover. It works, and will save your furniture/carpets if there are any accidents.

Oh, one last thing, a happy cat it a cat with a box. Any box will do.:)

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18.September.2014

Welcome to the world of cat servitude. I have had cats my entire life. I currently have 4 (only planned on having 2). I can’t imagine life without them. I had a maine coon once. She also had a silent meow like Cheetah. I look forward to how you design around the litter boxes (vets say you should have 1 more box than you have cats). I have 5 that I need to figure out a better solution for,

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18.September.2014

I’ve been a cat person my whole life. When we lost two of them within a month of eachother in Winter 2012, we took a pet-break. It was much needed. But that void eventually needed filling and much to my surprise, we got a little maltese puppy. I never imagined owning a dog in my whole life. I didn’t dislike dogs, I just wasn’t a dog person. Too much work for this busy girl. As it goes though, I am so insanely in love with that pup. I didn’t know love like that was possible. It’s a bit different than cat love. My affection for felines hasn’t waned and there’s a good chance we may get one in the future, but having a dog has changed my life in many positive ways and it has been the best thing to ever happen to our family. I now know that I am not a cat or dog person, but an animal person :) Good luck with Cheetah!

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18.September.2014

I have to send you photos of the ingenious cat bathroom we created. We have an attached garage, so my husband put a cat door on the wall between the living room and garage. He then created a “bathroom” out of 2×4’s and wire mesh. The front wall is hinged and swings out-easy access to clean the litter box. The cats love it! They use their litter box in privacy, no litter in the house. It’s the best! They also love to sit out there and watch us in the garage.

I’ll send you pictures soon. It’s been a life-saver.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Cat bathroom?! Mind. Blown.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

That’s AWESOME!!!!!! We’ve thought about doing something similar.

I’m amazed that architects and home builders aren’t more pet friendly in their plans – i think there would be such a market for things like pet bathrooms. Dogs are starting to get some leverage (think doggy showers in mudrooms etc..) but cats keep getting snubbed!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

You should check out this post from Cuckoo 4 Design. Her cats are mostly indoor cats so she built them an outdoor encloser. So cool! Love this idea for inside cats!

http://cuckoo4design.blogspot.com/2012/05/cuckoo-for-my-cats.html

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I am officially the lamest cat mom ever.

replied on September 18th, 2014

Click on the link above to see the pictures. Please don’t mind the kitty treat just deposited. Every time I clean the litter box, Gus has to use it. Immediately!

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18.September.2014

Congratulations! The only advice I’ll offer that you might not find out until too late is: trim her nails early and often. With mine, I started with just one paw immediately followed by treats every 5-7 days. Eventually we got to all four paws every 2-3 weeks, followed by treats. They’re 7 and 8 now and I can still trim their nails easily by myself. What you don’t want is to end up with a cat that you have to take to the vet once a month just for nail trims.
Congrats again and I’m raising a glass (tea) to all of the cat related fun, snuggles, and projects in your future!

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18.September.2014

Hello from a long time lurker :) Your little kitten (and kids too) is absolutely adorable! I always say that I’m not a cat person. However, every time I meet a cat I say “well, I’m not a cat person but I really like you!”. Your post is very timely – my husband and I had our girls at the pet store last weekend and we saw two adorable gray kittens from a local shelter that were/are up for adoption. Man, did the girls and I want to take them home! Even my husband was starting to crack and admitted that they were adorable. Unfortunately, I decided with a 5 year old, an almost 3 year old, a high energy dog with a tendency to kill small groundhogs in the woods, an aquatic frog and three guppies it was probably in everyone’s best interest that the kitten go home with someone else. It kind of makes me want to move to a farm…and get a goat too! I wish you the best with all of the living things you’re taking care of now :)

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I soooooooo want a goat! They just make me laugh!!!

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18.September.2014

What a sweet little baby! I’ve always been a cat person, but my husband had never been around one and was dubious. I eventually convinced him to let us get a stray kitten our friend had rescued, and he immediately fell in love. Cats are the best pets, in my opinion. Pretty self-sufficient, but still available for affection (on THEIR terms, haha). I’m so glad your family has a new, furry member to love.

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18.September.2014

Ahh, Maine Coons (and any mix with Maine Coon) are the best! Such a great temperament and so loyal. So excited for your family to have discovered the pure happiness of sharing your home with a cat!

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18.September.2014

It’s about home indeed. Very cute post. Congrats on Cheetah! I am glad it worked out so smoothly with the kids. You will be vaccuming more. And buying the rolls of sticky pads to remove hair from your clothing.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I have a supply of lint rollers in waiting! haha.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

That’s it, I could not think of the name lint rollers to save my life!

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replied on September 18th, 2014

I forgot to say that picture of Mabrey is ADORABLE!

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18.September.2014

Nicely written Dana,

I am no cat person either and your story makes me wonder if I should try too. But I too have a hundred questions popping in my head about the space, care, food, litter, sleep, play, vaccines, safety… as you said, may be excuses, may be just scared or lazy?? But this post makes me wonder again.. Should I try???

Best of luck and have a happy time with Cheetah.. feels like whole “house tweaking” home is complete..

Anima

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18.September.2014

We were the exact same way about cats. Always thought we were NOT cat people. I always said I loved kittens but hated cats and therefore would never get one. After my husband and I got married, we decided to go look at the kittens at a local shelter. But that’s it – we were just looking. We came home with 2 kittens an hour later.

We’ve had them for a little over a year and we love them! They are the best cats in the world. They will snuggle and hang out with you and they understand what they are not allowed to do (scratch on furniture, get on the kitchen counter, etc.) They know their names and come when you call. People say you can’t train a cat but you can! So happy for you and Cheetah. I personally think a pet is one of the best experiences a child can have and I’m sure your kids are ecstatic.

Looking forward to hearing/seeing your thoughts on how the house decor is holding up and what/if it will change.

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18.September.2014

now that you have one, you will love cats.
i am a cat person to the core – they are so sweet and interesting!
my cat is a main coon and a manx mix…main coons have such interesting personalities – can’t wait for y’all to experience cheetah’s developments! :)
yay!!! she is truly beautiful!

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18.September.2014

First, I wanted to clarify that your neighbor is misinformed–just because a cat is a tabby, does not mean it is a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon mix. Tabby markings (often called tiger stripes) in cats is the most dominant or “wild type” coat pattern in domestic cats. It comes in three basic patterns, so tabbies often look slightly different, but the gene for tabby coloration is very common in random-bred domestic cats. It is true that Maine Coons are most often tabby patterned, but they also come in many shades of solid colors and bicolors; the tabby pattern is, by no means, exclusive to the breed. And the most important defining characteristics of the Maine Coon breed is an unusually large size, large bone structure, and long, full coat, particularly the tail, none of which your little kitten has.

Your cat is a “domestic shorthair” and her coat color is “black tabby.” I can’t be positive from what little I can see of her in these photos, but it looks like she is a striped tabby, which is properly called a mackerel tabby. Here is a great link for information on tabby characteristics: http://messybeast.com/spotted-cats.html

Finally, I wanted to post some information on the all-too-common practice of declawing housecats. I know this advice is totally unsolicited, but as soon as you said you had adopted a kitten, I started worrying about this. Please do not declaw your cat. Declawing is nothing like having your nails trimmed, or even losing a fingernail; to remove a cat’s claws, the veterinarian must remove the bones in the feet to the first joint. It is a horribly painful procedure with a nasty, painful recovery for the cat. I have been a cat rescuer for 15 years; we often see declawed cats abandoned at shelters because of litterbox problems and temperament changes–these are both extremely common results of being declawed. During the painful recovery, when cats must learn to walk on the backs of their feet in an unnatural way and experience a lot of pain, they begin to associate the pain they feel with their litterboxes (the pain is exacerbated by the digging behavior they naturally perform and also the typical stance they use when defecating, with all four feet placed close together). So they avoid using the litterbox, hoping to avoid the pain. It is a vicious cycle.

Temperament changes are just as common, although they are more common among cats declawed as adults and cats that live in multi-cat households. But declawed cats sometimes become shy and/or aggressive toward other animals and children after being declawed; it is believed to be because they realize they have no means of defense.

Declawed cats also have difficulty jumping and balancing. Without their claws to provide traction, they often miss their jumps (or make several small practice jumps first), and many, some cats more than others, often fall off their intended targets. Having owned declawed as well as normal cats, it can be heartbreaking to watch declawed cats try to jump and exhibit normal cat behaviors.

There is also a difference in how the cats walk, which places more weight on the backs of their feet. Personally, I find the unnaturally small feet of my declawed cats very uncomfortable when they walk on me and knead my lap, whereas I have no problem with my clawed cats doing the same things. All of their weight being concentrated in a much smaller area makes them feel super heavy with each step.

I hesitate to link you to information about declawing on the internet. I don’t know a source that is totally honest and presents both sides of the equation, so I wont provide you with a link. But I just wanted to present this plea, as a cat lover, that you please keep your cat whole. I know you love your home and furnishings, but often the side effects of declawing are worse than simply trimming your cat’s nails regularly.

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replied on September 18th, 2014

Not to mention biting. Declawed cats often learn that their only defense is biting, and cat bites are a serious medical issue, Some people believe that it will be safer for their kids if the cat is declawed. However, a scratch is easy to clean, disinfect, and bandage, but a bite basically injects oral bacteria deep into the tissue. Frequently cat bites require oral antibiotics as the infections can worsen rapidly. Though as I type this, I realize that as a former pharmacist Dana, you probably have experience with this.

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replied on May 2nd, 2015

Wow…the first part of this post is so incorrect. First, she never said Cheetah was a Maine Coon because she has tabby stripes but because of the distinctive “M” marking on her head, which my cats-only vet (Harvard B.S. in biology, Baylor D.V.M., several feline-specific certifications) has previously confirmed is a signature trait of the breed. Second, her color is NOT mackeral. Third, Cheetah is very clearly NOT a shorthair (LMAO).

Good information on declawing, though. Such an inhumane practice!

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18.September.2014

I always end up with unexpected pets. My theory is that they find you – and your life will be better forever for it! So happy for you guys, to find the perfect pet for you is really like heaven on earth.

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18.September.2014

Cat lady here. I love when I hear about reformed “non-cat people”. Cats are the best!
I never understood it, Why are so many people afraid of cats!? It takes time to get to know and understand a cat, but it sounds like you have a great cat for a first timer.
I have two cats and one dog now. My second cat just appeared in our shed one day. It happened to be just a few weeks before we lost our beloved dog to a brain tumor. I don’t know what we would have done without her. She is the sweetest and cutest tiny little cat, and also happens to now be best friends with our rambunctious puppy.
You may find that there are all sorts of controversial subjects when it comes to your cat. I’m sure you’ve heard all sorts of opinions about declawing a cat. I have found with my cats if I provide them with plenty of scratching posts I have no problem with them scratching my furniture. Another big issue with cats is whether or not you let them outside. We have a cat door. It gives them so much freedom, and lets them get that crazy energy out. Otherwise, I think my big cat would beat up my small cat daily.
Whatever you choose is best for you. However, cat people are very opinionated, so you may not want to share all of those details.
Also, cats love cat wands. They are basically a stick with a string attached and a toy at the end. You can mimic birds flying and that sort of thing and they go crazy. It is hilarious to watch and so much fun for the cat.
Good luck with little Cheetah!

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18.September.2014

Awww, she’s adorable! Don’t worry, she won’t have any accidents – cat’s aren’t like dogs that way. They don’t even really have to be litter trained, they just innately know to use the little box.

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18.September.2014

Your cat is so cute! Please don’t declaw him. Get a scratching post, the cardboard kind are great and the taller the better as cats like to stretch up as they scratch. And make sure to neuter/spay.
A cat just makes a home more “homey”!

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18.September.2014

What a beautiful, beautiful cat!!! Agreeing with Susie to not declaw. You’ll need to keep up with trimming her claws, but she’s young so you can probably train her (just burrito wrap her with only the current paw you’re working on, pet her and talk to her softly, and maybe give her a treat afterwards.. let her connect claw trimming time with bonding and snack time!)

I’ve had my cat Yoda since she was born underneath my bed when I was 10 years old… she is now 18 and a half! She’ll be 19 in April. When I moved in with my fiance last year, he liked referring to this apartment as her retirement home. She now has thyroid issues so needs medicine every day, but I give it to her in wet food so she’ll bug me every morning until she gets it! She’s also at the age where she’s beginning to have cognitive issues, but she’s still as sweet and cuddly as ever.

Anyways! Sorry for the long comment. So happy you were able to give Cheetah such a loving home!

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