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Introducing older stray cat to older, declawed indoor cat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new here and have a question. I have two dogs and an 8-year old, declawed, neutered, indoor male cat (Smokey Joe). He is wonderful. Very low maintanance.....very laid back.....very adaptable (rides good in cars, boats, doesn't freak out with loud noises, new dogs I bring into the house or visiting friend's dogs, etc.)....takes 24 hrs. to eat his food....sleeps on my feet with the dogs on bed.....never wakes me up...we're just one big happy family!
So, now, there's this 7-10 year old stray, female cat, with claws, that I've fallen in love with (at a house I've listed to sell). The female cat is very friendly and was abandoned in her neighborhood because of a divorce. My seller's have been feeding her and letting her in when she wants to go in. But they'll be moving, and winter is approaching and I hate to see her out there.
I just had to put my 14 year-old Sheltie down, and will probably get another dog in the near future, but honestly, had decided I should probably not get a cat, because I know it would be harder to introduce. But now this cat comes into my life and she's captured my heart. My questions are....1) if I rescue her, do you think I can make her an indoor cat, or does it just depend,....would it make her miserable to be inside? (I would worry constantly if I let her be outside). 2) Since she has claws, I'm worried about her scratching my dogs and Smokey Joe. (I think my dogs will be fine with her....more worried about my cat, and although I can't imagine Smokey fighting, I know it's a distinct possibility) I know this is a anti-declawing site, and I wouldn't want to declaw an older cat, at all, but I also don't want to worry about my other pets eyes being scratched or faces being clawed. What do you think?
I realize I should probably just let well enough alone, but I hate the thought of her being out there when this family moves. And she's so beautiful and so sweet and cuddly. I know she's a hunter and my seller says she can be quite feisty with other animals. I don't know if she's ever used a litter box. (my vet said I should get one or two new boxes if I bring her home). The seller also says she's hardly got any teeth left (they feed her only soft food). I would take her to a vet first, to have her checked out (don't even know if she's spayed, although my sellers have never seen any kittens in two years), checked for diseases, etc, before I brought her into my home. I'm so torn. My seller says to try it for a weekend, but I think it would take much longer to introduce them, and I'll be so attached to her, I'd never want to bring her back. Oh well, sorry this is so long....what do you think about keeping her indoors and do you think I need to worry about her clawing my other pets. (Smokey Joe is my first cat and he was already declawed, so I don't know much about cat's with claws). Thanks for any comments, ideas, suggestions.
post #2 of 8
Just clip her claws every two weeks or so. That should keep them blunt so she won't accidentally get your other pets in the eye or anything. I've had multiple cats, all with claws, for years and they've never injured each other. You could probably have the vet clip them the first time.

What a wonderful thing you're doing.

Also, you may be surprised. Sometimes cats that have been forced to survive outdoors due to abandonment or whatever are VERY happy to be indoors all the time.

Also, I'm a big believer in the gradual introduction, as in keep the new cat in a separate room for a few days, then if you have a spare uninstalled window screen (if not, you can probably get one at the hardware store), stick that in the doorway and let them sniff each other through that. After that, let them hang out together for periods of time.They may spar a little, but that's very different from extreme cat fighting. (That involves hissing and growling and screaming and arching backs.)

Please let us know what you decide to do and how it goes.
post #3 of 8
I have no declawed, toothless, deaf cat that rules then entire housefull of 2 large dogs & 6 other fully clawed cats. Trust me, declawed & clawed kitties can live fine!

As for an intro, I know there's a thread somewhere on it....go slowly. Expect hissing/general hatred for awhile....it often takes weeks, sometimes months.
post #4 of 8
I have a mixed house of clawed and declawed cats as well as a dog, the claws really aren't an issue, just keep the sharp tips trimmed off.

As for converting her to indoors, you'll just have to be consistant, she will probably try to get out, and will probably cry about it for a bit, but she can be converted.
I have in my house a former feral who is now a very well adjusted indoor cat.
post #5 of 8
As long as the declawed cat still has the back claws you are safe to introduce a clawed cat. Cats don't fight with front claws with each other - they use more of the back ones. So you'd have to keep the clawed cat's nails cut short on a regular basis (like once a week or as needed).

It will take a lot longer for introductions given their ages. As long as you are willing to work on it, things will probably work out. its easier for the resident cat to be a male then a female. Females tend to be more territorial and take longer to adjust.

I'd bring her to a vet first to be checked out completely, given shots, etc. and then put them in separate rooms with own litter pan, food/water, etc. Do SLOW introductions. It may take weeks or months to adjust. When doing the face-to-face meetings, you can try one of these:

1. Sprinkle both with cornstarch baby powder (to smell the same).

2. Put a dab of vanilla extract on their noses and butts (to smell the same).

3. Wash both cats in the same shampoo.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, I'll probably go for it......I have a little time to decide since we haven't sold the house yet. And yes, my Smokey has his back claws. Ya know he has taken so, so well to every dog I've adopted that I'd like to think he'll just look at this new cat and think "oh well, just another pet (yawn, yawn)"......well, that's what I'd LIKE to think!!! Wouldn't that be great???!!!
I did find a thread on the introductions, about keeping the new kitty in a separate room, etc. But here's the strange and funny thing. I recently moved to my cottage (that my dad built before I was born). It has always just been a cottage in the summer. Well, it has no doors!!!! It has curtains (well drapes) as doors! And I have left it that way....it seems "cottagy" and charming to me. And I know Sheba (the new cat I've already named!!!) could climb over any gate I'd put up, etc. I do have what I call a beach room that I could keep her on (large, lots of windows, and with windows into my living room....which could be good cuz my brood could all see each other), but it's not heated very good (although it would probably be fine for her, since she's used to being outside). So I thought "ah good idea" , until I remembered that I have to bring my final items (furnature, boxes, large appliances) from my other house I just sold (my tenant has been letting me store my stuff, but now she's buying and I have to get it all out). So I don't know if they'll be room for little Sheba!!!!! Hmmmm......Oh, and by the way, Sheba is probably about 8-9 pounds....Smokey's a big cat at 16 or 17? Do you think that is of any consequence? I guess if I left Sheba on the beachroom, even with all the furniture, it still might be okay, huh?
post #7 of 8
Here are a couple of articles

Introducing Cats to Dogs


I'd like you to Meet... - Introducing Cats

They include a lot of the tips you have already gotten. And we're here to help as things progress.

P.S. I will move this to the behavior section since you are more concerned with the cats than the dogs.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by PinkDawn View Post
Oh, and by the way, Sheba is probably about 8-9 pounds....Smokey's a big cat at 16 or 17? Do you think that is of any consequence? I guess if I left Sheba on the beachroom, even with all the furniture, it still might be okay, huh?

My smallest cat has always been able to pin my bigger guys in play, even though one was about twice his weight.

I think she'll be fine in the beach room, even if it's stuffed with furniture. It's just an initial, temporary arrangement --- and the most important thing is, she'll have a home and be safe ---- that's wonderful.
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