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Hi I'm New to board and cat ownership

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi there.

I am new to the BB, and never owned a cat. I have grown up with dogs and horses and the occasional barn cat, but never an indoor cat.

My husband and I have decided we want to adopt a kitty when we get back from our Christmas vacation. I know it's 3 months away, but I am very excited and I want to spend these coming months really learning as much as I can to make an informed decision in a cat, as well as have our apartment as ready as possible.

So far as a new cat owner, we are looking for a declawed cat (we have leather furniture and we rent, so we need to not damage anything in the apartment with scratching). This is the only non-negotiable. I want to adopt something that is already declawed though, as I don't want a kitten and I never would declaw an adult cat. Also, it has to be short haired.

Other than that, I am willing to look at anything and everything.

Any advice, experience, knowledge, ideas would be greatly appreciated. Do far, I have found a listing of foster care/adoption/rescues in my area, and I will start calling them after Christmas to see what they have.

post #2 of 14
Welcome to the board. And it's wonderful that you are willing to rescue, and especially an older cat. The rescue I volunteer for often has quite a few older cats looking for adoptions, and while we don't condone declawing, we do have adults that are declawed up for adoption.

I would also recommend you look into something called Softpaws..they are caps that go over the claws to protect furniture etc from clawing (if you choose to get a non-declawed cat).

See you on the boards.
post #3 of 14
Welcome to the board!!

Everyone here is very helpful!!

My advice. Whatever you do adopt from a shelter or anywhere; havens, humane societies. Please don't buy a new cat from a pet store...

Cats are better for a new pet,, especially older ones. Even a 6 month old or older is great. They are still playful enough, but also pretty much know you are rescueing them and are ever loving and need a home so badly!!!!

Even if you don't find a declawed cat,, do soft paws! Soft paws are basically these tips you put on the cats nails and they are life savers and so easy to do. It'll save your furniture, and make you cat happy that you aren't ripping out there nails.... They still function and mine forgot they have them on!!

Good luck and post pictures of your new baby when you get him or her!!!!!!!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
As you can probably tell (by my posting 3 months before looking at a cat) I am extremely excited about getting a cat! We just moved into an apartment that allows cats (and one that is large enough to comfortably share space with a litter box), and I couldn't be happier to be getting a pet!

I definately am interested in an adult cat. For some reason, the whole idea of a kitten is just a little too much for me. I work 40-50 hours a week (but go home for lunch everyday) and I just would feel bad leaving a kitten alone in the apartment all afternoon. Plus, I want something slightly less energetic, which is why adult cats appeal to me so much. And I know a lot of kittens get adopted easier and if I am going to adopt, then why not get something that just needs some lovin.

The declawed thing is something I have gone back and forth about (and prob will for the next while). I couldn't get a cat declawed (I think it is unnecessarily inhumane), but I would definately prefer an adult declawed cat. But if I fall in love with a cat with claws, then I will just have to get a cat with claws.

My plan is to gather as much info as possible so when I call the list I have of shelters/foster programs, I know exactly what I want. The only big thing for me is not getting something that was given up for behavioral issues. I have ridden horses my entire life and the worst combination of ownership is newbie owner paried with a horse with issues. I don't want to take on more than I can handle!
post #5 of 14
Well, you are already experienced with animals--horses, in your case--and that's going to help you understand your cat when you bring it home.

I have a friend--a housemate, actually, one of three--who used to work with horses. She learned to understand horse behavior, and to train horses to work with abused, mentally disabled, and autistic children. Naturally she had to train those horses to take almost anything in stride... an autistic kid having a meltdown will scare adults who know what to expect, much less a clueless horse.

Now my friend owns a dog, a hound named Mercy who used to be abused. There are differences between dogs and horses; the biggest difference being that a dog is a predator and and a horse is prey, when they're in the wild. But, apparently, once you have learned to listen to one species of animal, to read their language, learning a second species' language is easier. Mercy has made great strides in the month we've had her... she's much more confident and happy.

That all goes to say: You've had experience reading animals... now you get to try your hand at reading cats!

Some things to remember when communicating with a new cat, from my own experience with cats:
--Cats are very big on body language. Not just tail, ears, and whiskers; but the way the cat moves and the shape of the body can tell you what s/he's thinking.
--Cats are solitary hunters, unlike the pack-oriented dog. A dog's social relationships are insanely important in its life; so a dog will demand your attention, desperate to be a part of the "pack". A cat, however (barring mating) seeks out relationships mostly for "fun"--social interaction, mutual grooming, huddling together in cold weather, that sort of thing. A cat doesn't instinctually *have* to be part of your pack... so she will probably sit back and observe for a while, figuring you out, until she chooses to befriend you. Her instincts don't demand that she seek you out. (Some cats, raised by humans, will transfer friendship with humans from one to another and be immediately affectionate.)
--Cats are motion-oriented. When they look at the world, they can see color and shape, but it's moving things that really get their attention. So when you play with your cat, make sure the toys grab her attention--that is, that they move! Most cats will love "wand and string" type interactive toys, where you can dangle a "bird" or drag a "mouse" for the cat. (You want to put these away when you're not playing; the string can be dangerous for a cat playing alone.) Paper balls also seem to be a big hit--the rustling sound they make may sound like a mouse in high grass, to a cat.
--Litter box: Cats have an instinct to bury their waste, so you'll probably have little trouble with acquainting yours to its box. However, they absolutely hate eating anywhere near the box (would you want to eat in your bathroom?), so separating the two a decent distance is recommended.
--Climbing. Some cats love to climb; and practically all cats are capable of amazing feats when getting up into a high spot is concerned... they've even been found perched on the tops of doors! So putting something up high to get it out of a cat's reach isn't that effective... closed doors, more effective, unless you've got a Houdini that can open them (if that's so, child-safety locks on, for example, the medicine cupboard or the cleaning supplies should solve the problem). If you've got a climber, consider buying or making a cat tree that the cat can climb. Window seats are great too, because it gives your cat a view of the outdoors. It's like kitty TV!
--Home Alone: Cats aren't social creatures in the way dogs are, but they do need entertainment, or they'll go stir-crazy. A good way to get a cat entertainment if it is left alone for a long time is to get a second cat. For adults, this usually means finding two cats that have been living together before, or else introducing them very carefully.
post #6 of 14
Welcome to the forum! Good luck in finding the perfect cat!

I hope you will be able to post some pictures of your new addition. Let me know if I can help with that or any other questions
post #7 of 14
Welcome to TCS and good luck in finding your new baby! Personally I would never have a cat declawed - they do remove more than just the nail you know! However, adopting an older kitty that has already been done is admirable! If not, like the others, I would say use the Soft Paws if you end up with a scratcher! Plus your new kitty would have a fancy manicure to admire!
post #8 of 14
Congratulations on your decision! You're much like me, I plan well in advance of a major decision like that!

I'm sure you'll find just the right kitty to suit your needs. Declawed cats do show up in shelters, so I'm sure you'll be able to find one, and thank goodness you would never have it done to a cat

When the time comes to look, ask lots of questions of the staff as to the cats personality, and any behavioral issues since that is a concern for you (understandably). Take your time, you and the kitty will know when it's right.
post #9 of 14
How wonderful that you are doing this "right" for you and the kitty. Adopting a rescue is definitely the way to go!

I wish you the best in finding your new baby, and I echo the advice above. If the kitty of your destiny does have claws, use the Soft Paws.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for such a welcome!

I am so excited about starting the proccess. I just have to keep myself from going ahead and looking at kitties before mid December or I will end up bringing one home too early. I have waiting 4 years of college and 2 years of apartment dwelling to get a pet, I can wait another 3 months!

I am going to look first at adult declawed cats, but I am going to tell the rescue volunteers (or workers, depending) what temperment I am looking for and if there is the perfect cat who has claws, then well I guess the kitty will be getting a manicure ala Soft Paws and coming home with us!

One question about Soft Paws and leather. I know they can still scratch with the Soft Paws, and that the ends are round....but could that still damage my leather couch? I seriously doubt with a scratching post, the cat would opt for my leather couch, but just out of curiosity....can they still damage furniture with Soft Paws on?
post #11 of 14
Hi there Tia we're so happy to welcome you to TCS. I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay with us - we're one great big family and you'll find loads of friends here. If I can help at all while you're finding your way around TCS just click on my username and send me a Personal Message - I'll do what I can to answer your questions

It's wonderful that you're so committed to offering a kitty a home and doing your research before you find the right one
post #12 of 14
Hi and Welcome to TCS!

See you on the forums!
post #13 of 14
Hi welcome to TCS!
post #14 of 14
Dear Tia:

Hi! I just joined two days ago, and am trying to get to know everyone. Thanks and congratulations to you for wanting to adopt a cat! You'll never know more unconditional love and loyalty, beauty, joy, and companionship than a cat will give you. I'm currently owned by 9, and have lived with cats since birth, so loving and knowing them comes naturally for me. THANKS for wanting to adopt from a shelter or rescue rather than a breeder -- saving lives is so much better than anything else! and every cat in shelters/rescues so desperately needs a loving forever home. You should have no trouble finding an adult shorthaired declawed cat (and I won't go into the reasons why I oppose declawing; I, too, have leather furniture, and have rented most of my adult life, and have never had any problems, having let landlords know right up front that I have cats, and paying a deposit for them before I occupy. Having scratching posts and corrugated cardboard scratching pads eliminates the need to worry about furniture; besides, leather is the best kind of furniture to have with cats, as they aren't interested in scratching something so smooth and non-textured as leather.) You can always visit http://www.petfinder.com and locate local shelter and rescue cats in your area, and probably even view their photos. BEST of luck with your (eventual) new feline family member, and I know it's going to be a lifelong loving relationship. If I can be of help in any way, please let me know!
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