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Unread 01-09-2009   #1 (permalink)
MutantCel
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Question Disabled - Looking at getting a cat

Hello, my name is Jay. I have a rare disease causing complete signals from my brain not to reach my muscles.

I have a wife and 3 kids(human) but after my affliction got bad enough, I moved to an apartment building to accommodate my wheelchair as my house could not.

I have been here a few months and greatly underestimated the loneliness. I do not see my kids as often as I would like.

Normally I am not a soft-hearted fellow but living alone has done something to me. I think my illness has effected my mental state too.

But this is a site for cats so I wanted to ask a few questions. Not all in one post but some now are on my mind.

I do not want to trivialize the process of getting a living creature. I am quite impulsive by nature and one day decided I wanted a cat and if I had the opportunity, I would have just gone out and gotten one without ANY research. I am thankful I did not. Choosing a cat is a very big choice.

I am not sure now if I should even get a cat. I do spend a lot of time at home, yes, but I am in a power chair now and do not want to run over my cat. Besides that danger, I am barely able to walk and though I care for myself mostly, I am afraid I won't be able to give a cat the care it needs.

As for money, I am on Social Security Disability and the bills would be covered I think.

What kind of cat would be good for me if any? I read on a website that volunteering at a local shelter is a good way to familiarize yourself with cats if you are unsure about owning one. Do you think this would be a good idea for me? Considering the danger of my chair and not so controlled muscle movements?

Plus I live on the 12th floor. I would definatly have an indoor cat.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Last edited by MutantCel; 01-09-2009 at 02:51 PM.
 
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Unread 01-09-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome!

An older cat...non kitten (over 3 years old) I mean, probably could learn how to adjust to your wheel chair and stay out of it's way, as you learned to watch for her or him, it would be a learning process for both of you, but not impossible.

Volunteering at the shelter is an excellent idea. Not only will it help you to understand companion animals a little more, and the work involved in caring for one, but it will help you get to know the cats available, and find the right match that way.

How would you manage feeding and cleaning the litter boxes? Cats, contrary to popular belief, do require quite a bit of care and attention, but I think it would be lovely for you to have a cozy kitty to curl up on your lap, or if you can't support that, on a chair next to your wheel chair.

Cats are wonderful companions, but are not inexpensive. No one can predict if your cat will get sick. So it is very important to consider not just the cost of routine vet care (annual check up and shots) but how you will pay for any more costly illnesses. Also to consider how you will get kitty to the vet if there is an illness or emergency.

My Uncle had ALS and was in a wheelchair for the last year or so of his life. His cat Jill understood all about his wheel chair. and she understood that he couldn't have her on his lap anymore. she had a special stool that was set next to my uncle in his wheel chair, where ever he was, so she could be close to him and guard him and take care of him.

Please do stick around and ask more questions, browsing the forum will give you an idea of the variety of personalities cats have, and what is involved caring for them

Last edited by acerlt; 01-09-2009 at 07:05 PM. Reason: posted the wrong version..this is the complete reply
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Unread 01-09-2009   #3 (permalink)
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I spoke with my wife today and she thinks it would be too difficult for me to work in a shelter. She thinks that there is not much I can do there. Cleaning cages is out of the question and one cat may be able to become accustomed to a wheelchair but not a bunch in a shelter.

I think I would have little trouble feeding the cat. I once worked at a dog/cat food plant so all I know of cat food is hard food like cereal. I have also seen ads on TV for wet cat food like Fancy Feast. I can open cans. Though it is not overly easy with a manual opener, I can do it.

As for litter, I was told that there are very good clumping litter brands which if I kept it near my toilet, I should not have too much trouble scooping the droppings...Is it even recomended to scoop items out of a litter box into a toilet? If not, a garbage would work too.

I do not have a big apartment so litter box placement does not effect my access to it. I have my wife and two daughters come in and do cleaning for me. A plesant side effect of having a cat will be for my girls to want to come more often to see the cat!

Thank you for your answer Acerit. I hope to hear more responses.
 
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Unread 01-09-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Why don't you call the shelter and ask them? You might be very useful for socializing cats (getting them used to people) or just for petting them and giving them some attention. It's worth trying anyway, IMO.

No, you can't flush clumping litter (or most forms of litter) down the toilet. But, as you say, scooping it into something else, then dipsosing of it is fine, as long as keeping it clean is not an issue. Cats hate dirty litter boxes.

Most cat food cans have "pop top" lids now. Do you have strength in your hands to pull that type of can open? Many cats live long healthy lives on dry food only, be sure plenty of fresh water is available at all times.

I prefer a combination of kibble and canned, if that was your choice you could always get the cans opened on the days when family is visiting you.

I, too, look forward to what other members can add to this very interesting discussion!
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Unread 01-09-2009   #5 (permalink)
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I will call the shelter on Monday. I am not sure if they are open on Saturdays. I will check that too.

My wife is a big "Animal Cops" fan and she says that she has never seen anyone in a wheelchair both in the shelter or as a foster home owner. Based on her opinion, I am uncertain.

I do have enough hand control for pop top lids. That is part of what frustrates me, I still have a good amount of strength just not the control I used to.
 
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