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Adopting a kitten. Any Advice? Natural food/litter recommendations?

So, I may soon be sharing my home with a lovely little female kitten.  Growing up we never had a cat or dog (allergies), so my experience is limited to an iguana, gerbils, chicks and a ferret (all were beautiful creatures, just different from cats and dogs!  I did volunteer at the local shelter in junior/senior high, but still have no experience actually living with a cat).  As such I would like to be prepared before I bring the kitten home, and am hoping you might have a tip or two to share with me.  As it stands I live alone in a smallish one bedroom apartment (approx. 500 square feet), so I may need to get creative with my space, to accommodate things like a scratching post, litter box and eating area.  Please approach your replies as if you are speaking to someone who has NO experience with cats, I'll likely be ignorant to even the most seemingly self-evident detail and would appreciate the sharing of your superior feline knowledge/experiences!  ;)

Thanks in advance!!

PS.  It would be lovely to learn what expenses I should expect to incur as well, if anyone has a figure or two they can lend.
PPS.  I'm excited! ;D

Wow!  How exciting for you and the kitty.  My husband and I have six cats (all rescues, all females) ranging from 6 years to 5 months.  Here is a great link for cat advice that I turn to when I have questions or problems.  (Like when my two year old starting using the kitchen sink to do her business  :-[)  http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/cat_behavior_tip_sheets/index.html. 

Some miscellaneous things I have discovered...

1.  Never correct a cat with physical discipline.  It is ineffective and scares them.  Try using a water bottle and spritzing them if they do something bad.  Should you find yourself with a cat that likes water (we have a cat who showers with us every day!), the best thing to do is redirect their attention.  For example, when my kitten wants to bite my hand, I move my hand and give her a toy.

2.  Scoop the litter box at least once a day.  You wouldn't want to use a dirty toilet, right?   ;)

3.  We put the best food we can into our bodies, so why not give your new pal the best food for him/her.  I buy Life's Abundance dry cat food http://www.healthypetnet.com//HealthyPetNet/Products/LifesAbundance/LifesAbundanceCat.aspx?Ath=False&realname= and Wellness canned cat food http://www.oldmotherhubbard.com/.  It is a little bit more expensive than store bought brands (I spend about 100USD/month for six)there are no animal by-products (i.e. the euthanized pets that Purina LOVES to stick in there food), plus they have blueberries and sweet potatoes - great antioxidants!

4.  Different cats have different personalities - just like people.  Let your cat set the boundaries for personal space in the beginning.  I have one cat that loves to be pet but goes insane if you try to pick her up.  She has never had an accident, just has always been that way.

5.  Cats like to invent their own toys and games.  The number one game for all six of my cats is... sitting in an empty cardboard box. I don't know why, but they LOVE it.

6.  Buy some organic catnip if you want the best cheap entertainment you can get.

7.  Although it stings a little bit, tea tree oil helps cat scratches heal wonderfully. 

8.  DO NOT declaw your cat.  If you have a 'scratcher', you can put on claw caps.  http://www.softpaws.com/article.html  Not only is it better for the kitty, but he/she can be fashionable, too.

9.  Depending upon the age of the cat you are taking in, expect to spend about $100-$400 on shots, spaying/neutering, feline AIDS/Leukemia tests, etc.  The shots are the most expensive part, the spaying/neutering costs about 90USD where I live.  Your cat should be fixed at about six months.

That's all I can think of right now, but feel free to contact me through my profile if you want more info.

Good luck and enjoy your new friend!

Dominique

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how wonderful for you!!  i just wanted to say congrats!  growing up we always had adopted stray cats but with eight kids we couldn't afford anything but dry food for them (and mostly beans for us ::)) and they still thrived.  if you can afford  the best/better food by all means buy it, but i just wanted to point out that if you aren't at that point yet, remember that you are saving this beautiful kitty and with everything i've seen you post and how you are you will undoubtedly be giving her the best possible love and home she could ever want.  that means a lot!!  :)

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How wonderful and congrats!

Many people think cats are very independent and unfriendly.  Yes, they are independent but all of mine (4) come when they are called and love to be hugged, kissed and cuddled.  They loved to be brushed too.

There must be a pet store in the Avalon Mall or even the Wal-Mart where you will be able to pick up some very needed items.

One of the best scratching posts for cats are the cheapest ones.  Don't know the brand but Wal-Mart and nearly every pet store sells them.  They are corrugated cardboard.  Either flat or a circle in a round thing that has a ball go round.  There isn't a cat in the world that won't use it and dirt cheap.  Rub the cat nip on it.

Cats need meat.  Huge controversy on this site.  Cats are carnivores.  Please feed your cat as she is meant to be fed.  I do home cook and as I think many people won't, buy the best food you can for her and put little tid bits of meat and veggies in her processed food.  Processed food is not good for anyone.  Vets do get kick backs to say no table scraps and eat this or that food.

Wal-Mart carries a very good kitty and dog vitamin in Canada.  Dr. Goodpet's vitamins.  I would check it out and add it to whatever you feed your kitten.

Cats do not need a huge space.  I hugely disagree with over vaccination.  My cats are indoor cats because firstly, they will live a long life and secondly, I am sick of seeing pancake cats on the road.

My 18 1/2 year old cat hasn't had shots for at least 12 years.  My baby cats who are now 6 has their first shots and then the booster a couple of months later.  My 12 1/2 year old hasn't had shots since I got him 6 years ago.  My holistic vet is totally against over vaccination.  I could go on about what it does to animals but my views are often not welcome on this board.

Just do not let your vet make you do something you have researched and do not believe it.  Yes, they do need the first set and the booster a few months later.

Please also be warned that many of the furry little toys that look like fur but don't say they are fur actually ARE fur.  Usually the ones made in China, the Philippines etc.  They do not have to state they are using dog, cat or bunny fur.  So, be careful in your toy choices.

Get some hard wheat berry seeds at a health food store....organic if available and I know St. John's is getting more available to these things and grow them in a dish.  Allow your new "baby" to graze on them.  Very healthy and helps keep kitty off the other house plants.  OK, not mine but the well behaved ones.

Just have fun with your kitty.  They need lots of love!  Clip her nails often.  I find using people clippers easier on cats than pet nail clippers.  Do not clip in to the pink.  It hurts and they will bleed. 

The main expenses of a new pet is the first set of shots, the booster shots and the spay or castration which is a must.  Many vets do it very young now but the rule of thumb with many is still elt them develop and then do them.  % to 6 months for a female cat or dog and 8 to 9 months for a male.  This is what I still believe in.  I worked for a vet for a few years and the vet I have been going to for over 20 years believes the same.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

Di

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Some good info here...do remember to have your cat wormed regularly even if she never goes outside, they pick up parasites from their food and can pass them on to you. I agree on having your new furry checked over at once, and make sure you get her vaccination and treatment records from the shelter.
And if she's too young to have had it done already, get her neutered at the right age, please! This may cause controversy but if you don't intend to breed it's the kindest thing. She won't go into heat (which can be very, very annoying when she starts "calling" at all hours), try to get out because she's in heat, and end up either flattened by a car, attacked by other animals or preggy with a batch of kittens that need to be re-homed. There are sooo many unwanted kittens and puppies in the world, I don't feel it's responsible to add to their number.
Make sure she has a corner all her own, she may find one herself, but you can place her bed in an out-of-the-way spot where she can "hide out" if she needs to. My cat had his "bachelor pad" behind a bookcase in a corner of my husband's den, a place of refuge where he could think long, deep cat thoughts.
And just remember, cats are very very smart. You may not train her but I can bet she will train you! ;D

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Some good info here...do remember to have your cat wormed regularly even if she never goes outside, they pick up parasites from their food and can pass them on to you. I agree on having your new furry checked over at once, and make sure you get her vaccination and treatment records from the shelter.
And if she's too young to have had it done already, get her neutered at the right age, please! This may cause controversy but if you don't intend to breed it's the kindest thing. She won't go into heat (which can be very, very annoying when she starts "calling" at all hours), try to get out because she's in heat, and end up either flattened by a car, attacked by other animals or preggy with a batch of kittens that need to be re-homed. There are sooo many unwanted kittens and puppies in the world, I don't feel it's responsible to add to their number.
Make sure she has a corner all her own, she may find one herself, but you can place her bed in an out-of-the-way spot where she can "hide out" if she needs to. My cat had his "bachelor pad" behind a bookcase in a corner of my husband's den, a place of refuge where he could think long, deep cat thoughts.
And just remember, cats are very very smart. You may not train her but I can bet she will train you! ;D

Hee hee hee...you are so right about a private spot.  As some of the older people on the  board know, I have a pet bed fetish.  During my recent de-cluttering which was huge, I got rid of at least 10 pet beds that were just yucky!  I still have at least ten! :-)
I do however disagree on the worming thing.  I hate giving my critters any form of drug (poison) that kills something that might not be there.  Have the stool sample checked yearly by the vet but please don't just give worming tablets that are basically pesticides.  None of my cats have ever had worms.  They were all indoor although a few ran out the door over the years.  They wanted back in but they were out.
My cats have all lived between 20 to 21 years without parasites. The new batch are between 6 and 18 1/2 and have never had parasites.  Don't medicate unless you have to.  Once a year, drop off a stool sample at the vets.  They will test it and let you know.
As for spay/neuter...a no brainer.  Millions and millions of animals are put to sleep yearly in shelters.  You don't want male cats hanging around and an female that isn't spayed constantly goes in to heat.  not a fun thing.
Have fun with your kitty and please let us know what you name her!
I am so over due for a trip to Newfoundland.  Maybe we will meet up one day!

Di

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:o
Wow!
Thank-you so so so much, all of you!  I have no worries of being ill-prepared after reading all of your comments. However I do have a couple questions.  Before I start this is a link to our wonderful shelter:
http://www.spcashelter.nf.ca/default.asp
I wish it wasn't so far away from my house, otherwise I would be spending much more time there.  I actually spotted the little kitty I would like to welcome into my home at a pet store that just opened: http://www.petcetera.ca/page118.htm 
They have the most novel, brilliant setup of any pet store I've ever seen!  They have a little 'shelter' on-site (they don't sell dogs or cats) where they showcase stray animals for adoption (all from the SPCA).  This way the animals get much more notice than ever before, and it increases adoption, thereby decreasing euthanasia of homeless animals.  I think it is a wonderful addition to our city.  They don't sell exotic pets either: "Due to the lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of keeping exotic animals as pets, Petcetera does not support the sale of these animals."  I respect that big time.  I remember when ferrets became the popular Christmas gift for children about 10 years ago, and how ill-prepared most who bought them were.  Within weeks after the holidays there were ads everywhere selling/giving away ferrets.  The local pet chain capitalized on their sale, selling to absolutely anyone who wished to buy.  Very sad.

The local shelter requires the adoptees to be examined by a veterinarian within 7 days of adoption and the exam/vaccination are free!  It says to spay/neuter cats the procedure is between $100-200.  Luckily that won't be for a few months (6 months, right?), I have little left to live on until the holidays.  It'll be much better come January when I actually get full student loans and my income tax return.  Phew.  (;

My questions are about cat food.  I like the links you sent, mdvegan, but they do not ship to Canada (likely shipping would be too costly for my budget, anyhow).  I've noticed a couple 'natural' brands of catfood at the pet store above:  Nutro and Royal Canin.  Has anyone heard of these?  My biggest concern is what to look for in a cat food, what should the first five ingredients be and which vitamins should I be looking for?  I know tons about human nutrition but when it comes to animals I'm clueless.  I will buy cat food containing real animal products (no by-products) but I don't think I could bring myself to cook it.  I certainly cannot afford to buy vegan catfood, and at this point don't know enough to be sure it is nutritionally adequate for a feline.  I am a person who looks at the bigger picture of things, and obsessing over small details such as to buy or not to buy vegan catfood are not a concern which is paramount for me right now.  The lifestyle choices I am currently committed to are the most I can afford time/money-wise at this point in my life, and I am happy that I am contributing at least somewhat to the betterment of the environment and the lives of humans and animals.  I believe it is our responsibility to provide proper nutrition for domesticated animals because we are the ones who have taken them from the wild and compromised their ability to hunt for food.  Accountability and responsibility are not words we pay enough attention to these days.

About litter and toys.
Which is the best type of litter to buy?  Which one that has the least impact on the environment and is safest for cats?
Are the items below worth purchasing?  The Cat Pan kit* is $22 CDN, is that a reasonable price (it seems so) and the bed thing $20 CDN. 

Again, I appreciate all your help.  I couldn't ask for a better resource and a warmer, more intrinsically beautiful group of people.  THANK-YOU!!!!

*Van Ness
Cat Pan Kit. Includes: Enclosed Cat Pan, Disposable Plastic Liners, Food & Water Dish & Litter Scoop.
16"Hx13"Wx18"L Opening 7"x7"

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how wonderful for you!!  i just wanted to say congrats!  growing up we always had adopted stray cats but with eight kids we couldn't afford anything but dry food for them (and mostly beans for us ::)) and they still thrived.  if you can afford  the best/better food by all means buy it, but i just wanted to point out that if you aren't at that point yet, remember that you are saving this beautiful kitty and with everything i've seen you post and how you are you will undoubtedly be giving her the best possible love and home she could ever want.  that means a lot!!  :)

I just wanted to reply to this!  Yours and the kind words of others are so encouraging, and you make a great point that saving a life is saving a life.  It so important to do what you, as one person, can do in this moment.  The world becomes a better place everyday no matter how tiny each step towards balance and peace are.  Every bit counts!

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6.  Buy some organic catnip if you want the best cheap entertainment you can get.

I second that!!

Enjoy your feline companion!! They are such fun!

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Wonderful advice all around, and thanks idioglossia-- I feel the same way about all of you.

Here's a few of my own tidbits:

Cats who live exclusively indoors live lots longer, are lots safer, and are not deadly to the local wildlife.  Keep her in.  She will love windowsills and balconies (watch her to make sure she doesn't do a nose dive) and patches of sunlight, but it's best to keep her in if you can.

Please, no flea collars!  They're poisonous to the cats, particularly to kittens, as well as the fleas. 

Air travel is stressful and dangerous.  If you must take her somewhere, arrange in advance to take her with you in the cabin of the plane: lots of animals die or are lost in the cargo section of airplanes.  Consider a tranquilizer for stressful trips; it does seem to help.

Confine her if you're taking her for a car ride.  You don't want her under the pedals and she'll be almost "seat-belted" if anything happens.  She will cry, yes.  But she'll be safer.

Royal Canin has a good reputation nutritionally speaking-- it's one that is often recommended for maintenance of sick cats, anyway.  (My cat's sick and I've been researching.)  The kitty will try a lot of people foods: find a list online of those you should avoid and you'll be fine.  Not Purina; not IAMS.  Canned food is healthier for the cats than dried, generally speaking, but quality ingredients are what matters.  Always LOTS of fresh water.

As for litter that has less environmental impact: they make scoopable pellet litter from various pressed plant materials, like corn, alfalfa, and cedar.  I'd go for one of the corn ones if it's available in your area!  Since she's a kitten now, what she adjusts to is what she'll be comfortable with for a long time.

A note from unpleasant experience: do please save up and get her spayed as soon as you humanly can.  A cat that goes through "heat" is very much more likely to suffer from breast cancer.  My cat has fought with breast cancer for years, and I am heartbroken that I let her go for a few years unspayed.  I don't know that I caused it, but I sure didn't prevent it!  (Also, a cat in heat is a special kind of annoyance-- you and the cat will both be miserable.)

Try catnip, but it's a genetic anomaly in some cats (like my little monster) not to have a reaction to the stuff.  No biggie, but if you don't see a reaction, don't worry about her.  Mine just mildly dislikes the stuff-- she unfortunately doesn't go through the transports and frenzies that a "normal" cat does. 

Kittens are very social and they don't keep your hours.  Be patient and try to delight in her amusements.  Expect to wake up with a frenzied kitten tangled in your hair and her claws in your scalp because your hair IS THE BEST TOY.  Distraction is your helper (and maybe sleeping in a scarf, which is what I had to do when Pepe was little).

A word about furniture: rocking chairs and chairs with moving parts can be dangerous to kitties.  Do check them EVERY TIME before you sit and be alert to her darting into them while you're in them.  Try to get your guests to do the same.  I got rid of our recliners when we got Pepe, since she liked to hide in them and I worried (my husband had a childhood kitten tragedy).  Also, no nylon beanbags: they feel to the cat like a swanky litterbox.  I know this one from flopping down into cold cat pee... ugh!  :o  Cats can squeeze under a dishwasher if the faceplate doesn't cover it, and will sometimes tear a hole in the gauzy stuff that covers the bottom of a bed's box-spring and hide inside (I've fished Pepe out of many hotel box springs). 

The best toy Pepe's ever seen is a crumpled little piece of paper.  She plays soccer-goalie with my husband.  :)  Also, open a paper bag and tip it on one side.  Scratch the bottom.  Wham!  Kitten in the bag, looking for the noise-monster!  Hmm.  Oh yes!  The "what's under the sheet" game (wiggle a finger just under the edge of a sheet-- expect claws) is lots of fun.

She'll understand a lot of what you say to her, if it's frequently repeated phrases in similar contexts.  Before my cat went deaf, we had quite a shared vocabulary.  My husband has taught her about six distinct "signs" he made up since she went deaf: "come to the kitchen," "get down from there," "quit that," "come get cuddled/petted," "where's the problem," and "want a taste?"  She also understands several gestures to be overtures to play.

Touching is what life's all about: pet, pet, pet her!  Every cat is different about where they want to be touched (and how!)  Mine likes her cheeks to be scratched, right behind the whiskers.

Vaccuums are scary.  Tinfoil is scary.  Rustling plastic is scary but OH SO DELICIOUS.

Phew.  Can't think of anything else.  ;)

You are going to have so much fun, and a cat is a rewarding companion.  You are acquiring a dear friend who will be your solace and constant company for years.  I'm very happy for you and your new darling.

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I have used Royal Canin food for my cat and found it very good. They have a pet hotline you can call (at least here in Europe) and I found them friendly, knowlegeable and helpful. RC isn't as pricey as say IAMS (the feline branch of Eukanuba) but it's well balanced and healthy food. They have different ones for different ages and needs. My Saul was what they call a GCPO (Geriatric Cat Prone to Obesity)--all of that and a bag of chips! He was a very large albino Siamese, but even counting his long body and legs, I think 18 lbs is pushing it a little... :o Sigh! Down Memory Lane we go...I miss my kitty.
Duckalucky: I've heard horrid things about Purina (and Saul went into automatic eject over the very smell after one mouthful), but why "not IAMS"? Aside from the price factor.

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Ack!  I feed Pepe Eukanuba kibble on the side-- didn't know they were owned by IAMS (though I do still see IAMS-branded cat foods... are you sure that's how they're connected?  I'll look!  To the Internets!)  IAMS has attracted the Wrath of PETA for their inhumane and superfluous animal testing, that's all.  Thank goodness they don't have the "roadkill" reputation.

I would avoid all "supermarket" brands of cat food, except in emergencies: they aren't healthy as a dietary staple, and vets dissolve into tears about people feeding their babies a steady diet of junk food.  I reckon they're like potato chips for cats: tasty, but not great for the bod.

EDIT: bloody hell, they are both under the same ownership. Well, they've had the last dollar from me that they'll ever get.  Thank you yabbit! 

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Hi there and congrats on your furry little friend!
I feed my cats Petguard canned food and one earth naturals, both from a health food store. Most important thing is that the food does NOT have "chicken/or other animal by products" in it. Those are the parts that are not fit for human consumption, such as tumors, beeks and feet etc.
Spaying and neutering should be available at a lower cost? Here you can go through a spay neuter program or a clinic at the Spca and a male is around $25 to $30 and a female around $70.
Good luck with your new kitty! You have gotten some great advice here  :)

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Go to vegancats.com. They have some great cat food options.

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I... am... so... EXCITED.

I visited the shelter and Petcetera today.  What gorgeous cats and dogs they have  up for adoption!  I tried to focus my thoughts on experiencing love with them in that moment, and away from the realities of what may happen to them in the future.  Being happy in that moment allowed me to share happiness with them in that moment, and it was beautiful for everyone that way (aside from all the sneezing my poor boyfriend did, he adores cats but has allergy troubles around the longish-haired varieties).

After our trip to the shelter we headed to Petcetera to visit the rest of the stray kitties from the SPCA and the baby girl I had been eying just a few days ago.  I had armed myself with a camera, but (regrettably) the batteries were dead, so I have no pictures to show...  BUT!  I can tell you I sat with all the little kittens there for as long as I could and although they were all very wonderful little creatures I chose just one (even though I would love to take them all home).  She is just 7 weeks old and sporting the cutest of fur coats--black all over with a white little face and feet.  Upon the completion of my background check, I will pick her up tomorrow!!!!!!

Wonderful.

I have chosen the name Kava (Kah-va) for her.  Kava is a little known herb from the South Pacific that induces feelings of euphoria.  I imagine the kitty Kava induces a much more potent form of euphoria than the herb does because I have been so happy since I found her!  And I expect she will continue to bring me that happiness for many years to come.  I only hope I can return the favour!!  A very fitting name for such a beautiful cat.

I will post pictures tomorrow!

PS. Thank-you, Duckalucky, for the great info.  You are just a fountain of wisdom!  I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts.
Yabbitgirl/katzenfreund: great food info., I think I wll go with Royal Canin.  Thanks!

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you to everyone.

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Our house would NOT be the same without a furry friend.  I think it's so important for kids to grow up with a pet, my boys are 2 1/2 and are already learning to feed our cat and change his water, and they've already mastered "be gentle" and "pat nicely".

We feed our cat "Innova" dry, and "Wellness" brand wet. All human grade ingredients and no by products.

His litter is Swheatscoop..  Its made from wheat, not clay, so if he injests it (by cleaning his paws etc.) it won't clump in his tummy.

One thing to think about... if your cat is indoor/outdoor you may want to consider pet insurance.  Our cat is a fighter :-\, he doesn't fight very often, but when he does :o !!  For $10/month ($120/year) he has "accident" insurance; this type of pet insurance covers very specific perils. Like animal attacks, falls, accidental poisoning, etc. There are other types or pet insurance which cover illness as well. This may seem like alot but one fight and the subsequent vet visit, surgery (yes surgery!!) and medication can easily run $500, so it pays for itself.

Okay that's my $0.02.

Later,
K^2

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I too am allergic to cats (not dogs except dobermann saliva, for some reason, which makes my skin burn like fire). My vet who is a feline specialist told me that it sounds crazy but living with a cat 24/7 will help the allergy...and it's true. I only ever had trouble if I stroked Saul and then touched my eyes, or the 2 times in his life he scratched me (both accidental).
I can say that rescuing a cat is wonderful. Although some are semi-feral (and remember, no cat is fully domesticated--they don't choose to be!), Saul was just so grateful to have a happy home he never offered any agression, even under threat (ie at the vets!). They had to do some tests, which involved shaving his paw to draw blood etc. and he just sat there and purred. I know purring is a response to stress but the vet just couldn't believe it. The only thing he ever refused to do was go outside! I tried to take him up on the roof of our building for a change and some air, but he would cling madly to the door mat and plead with me to leave him inside.
I better shut up now. All the best with Kava.

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idioglossia, I am so jealous. I've had cats for years but after my last one died (just about killed me) I decided I didn't want to go through that again so I've been catless for a couple of years. My youngest daughter adopted the sweetest kitty I have EVER known (even sweeter than my sweetest) while she was living with us and I was able to enjoy her for a year before they both moved out. Now...reading all these postings from other cat lovers has made me miss having a kitty like crazy.

The contraption I'd like to recommend is called Litter Locker. You do have to use clumping litter with it and it does use special plastic bags, BUT it keeps the used litter smell under wraps, as it were. Since you will be living with Kava in a fairly contained space, you might want to at least consider it. If you've ever seen or heard of a Diaper Genie, it works on the same principle. You scoop clumped litter into it, turn a handle, and it twists and seals that portion of litter. We got one for the above-mentioned daughter and grandcat and we never smelled the litter. It was great!

Check out this website: http://www.petmate.com/Catalog.plx?ID=1600

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Awww...congratulations to you on the new addition to the family :) You are going to be a wonderful pet-parent.
We have fed out cat Natural Balance since he was little. We had some trouble finding something that was good for him & that he would eat...he's fussy. Here is a link to the brand. I get it at our local pet store, which right now I can't for the life of me remember but it is available in Canada.
A bag of dry will last you a long time. There is also canned.
http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/catformulas/home.html

Good luck to you & enjoy the little one ;)

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Felicitations!  You will enjoy each other so much. 

Kava is a lovely name for a kitty.  :)  I cannot wait for pictures.  Pepe's a black-and-white tuxedo kitty too (she's named after Pepe le Pew... she kind of ran all-four-feetly like he does in the cartoons when she was a small uncoordinated kitten).

Thanks for the warm words-- I always enjoy your posts here too!  This is the kindest, most beautiful community I have ever lucked into online... maybe anywhere.  I always feel like I'm sitting on the porch with good neighbors, having tea and conversation. 

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If you're serious about feeding naturally, try these two sites:

http://www.wysong.net/
http://www.animalfood.com/

Though they taste and smell different and have different textures, both are in a dehydrated form so they keep well.  This is the best natural food next to whole prey as these patties have the 3 necessary ingredients for these types of carnivores (felines)-- muscle meat, bone, and organ meat.  Again, they are "processed" to some degree so you won't see any "parts" except for the bones which will decrease the need for dental cleanings.  (Whole, raw meaty bones completely remove the need for vet cleanings.)  :)

My thing is "Pay now or Pay later".  Natural food will cost more, but You'll see considerably better health in the long-term which translates into lower vet bills.

For litter, I liked Swheat Scoop.

cheers and best of luck,  :D
MD

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Go FUZZ!
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Mahatma Gandhi:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." 

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