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Hi! I am new to this forum and registered to ask you cat experts your opinion. I am considering getting a kitten, but still have my doubts. Allow me to introduce myself and explain my reasoning.

I am Jeremy, 22 years old, and just graduating from college. I begin working full-time in July, and just rented an apartment. I am definitely a "dog person", but I do love all animals. However, since I will be living in an apartment and will be working full-time, I defiitely do not believe that I will have the time (and space) for a dog for at least a couple more years. Hence, I feel a cat would fit my lifestyle.

As for a kitten, my girlfriend will pretty much be living with me and we would consider the cat ours, and together, we will be able to devote enough time at least for the first year, to caring and raising a kitten. So, I am not worried about not being around enough, because the kitten will receive plenty of attention from both of us. Our relationship is very strong, but if anything ever changed, then we would have to address the situation of who gets the cat.

Another major concern of mine are claws. I am planning on purchasing a leather furniture set, and would not want the kitten to ruin it. However, after researching the subject, I would not want to declaw the kitty. I really want to get leather furniture, but don't know if its the best idea if I am going to get a cat. How likely is it that I would be able to train the cat well enough to use a stratching post so that my couch is not damaged.

Finally, since I am so young and obviously during the lifespan of a cat, I will have my own children, and would want to get a puppy as well once I get my own home, how would a cat adjust to all those changes?

I have little experience with cats as I have grown up with dogs, but my girlfriend has had cats. I would want to get a kitten from a shelter and raise it myself. What are your thoughts? Recommendations? Suggestions?

Thanks
-Jeremy
 

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Hi there and welcome to the forum!

I think you have a couple of things going in your favor - it sounds like you might have a bit of time between graduation and starting work in the real world (what a nice time that is!) to be with the newcomer and help her settle in and learn where to scratch and set up a daily play routine and such, and we are coming into kitten season, so you should find a variety to choose from at the shelter.

Cats can learn where to scratch, what to scratch, and what not to scratch, so as long as you are willing to put in a little time and effort to help the kitty learn, I think you'll be fine.

As for the dogs and kids in the future, there's no way to know exactly how a cat will do with changes. You'd probably do well to avoid cats that seem especially skittish or nervous. Some cats - like my Pfeffa - just couldn't deal with a dog.

I'd like to mention also, that there are a lot of adult (younger and older) cats in the shelters that are desperate for a home. The chances are high that you will find a cat who is known to get along great with young children and dogs - something you won't necessarily know with a kitten. Adult cats have more developed personalities and temperments, as well, so you'll be able to choose someone who will fit with what you'd like to have in a kitty friend.
 

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You seem to have put a lot of thought into getting a kitten. Good. First, as far as wanting to get leather furniture that shouldn't be a problem. It is possible to teach your cat to use (his/her) scratching post. However, if you find that the cat has been scratching at it you can not punish them unless you catch them in the act. Otherwise they do not understand.

As far as declawing going it is not an extremely horrible thing. Make sure you do it at a young age. As younger cats heal better and faster. Have you picked a veterinarian yet? You can ask them what is involved during the procedure. I know what my vet. does but some do it differently. You can also ask for pain meds. Yet most cats are back to their selfs in a couple of days. It really is not as terrible as it sounds.

As far as getting a dog in the future. You would need to be careful that the pup doesn't hurt the cat. Or visa versa. Also cats can go through a period of time which they would be mad at you for not paying them as much attention as the dog. You need to remember to spend as much time with your "older" pet as the new pup.

Just be smart and think about it as if you were in the cats "paws". If you have anymore thoughts or questions let us know. Anyone here will be willing to help. There my be different opinions but you can decide for yourself.

Good Luck!!!!
 

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Hi Jeremy and welcome to the cat forum. You are looking at getting a cat in a very sensible way and in the end you have to decide for yourself. Personally, I do not believe in declawing a cat, I would not like to have my nails ripped off my fingers and toes, even though they would grow back. A cats claws don't grow back and they have no way of defending themselves, if they go outside (even indoor cats can on an odd occasion get out). You can train a cat to scratch on a scratching post and you will be in a position to do this before you start your career. If you see your cat attempting to scratch anything else just shout NO, clap your hands and gently lift him or her and take them to the post and show them what you want them to do. Make sure the kitten has plenty of toys to keep them amused. The question of a dog later on is very unpredictable, some cats leave home when a dog enters the home (antoher good reason for not declawing). Let us know what you decide and how you get along. In the meantime everyone is here for you. :)
 

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I am going to respectfully disagree on the de-clawing comments made by Sippycup.

My Angel is a rescue kitty (can you imagine somebody giving the little doll up?? :wink: ) and she was four paw de-clawed by her orginal owners. Overall, I cannot see that she suffers from the procedure, other than the fact that when she jumps down from high places, she grunts and groans as her paws hit the floor.

From what I have been able to learn, there is often a lingering (and often considerable) pain from the de-clawing procedure. Dr. Jean, if you read this, I know you can add to it!

Thiis the only time I notice any adverse side effects, but it pains me to hear her hurting like that. I would do anything to prevent her from experiencing the pain, but I cannot reverse the de-clawing procedure.

I think if you start checking with catteries and shelters, you will find that most will require you to state that you will not de-claw a kitty that you get from them.

Several posts have addressed the issue of training kitties to use scratching posts and I have to agree with all of them. Please do not de-claw a kitty. Use proper training, instead. We do not withold food and water from kitties to prevent accidents, we teach them where their litter boxes are located, right? It is just as simple and easy to teach them to use a scratching post.

Of course, all of this is my unsolicited and not-so-humble opinion and worth exactly what you were charged for it... :wink:

Peace,
Mike
 

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One thing you will find is that until a cat has grown enough to be able to jump onto the back of a couch, it will use its claws to climb it. I don't know of any way to prevent this other than completely covering the furniture.

Cats can be taught where to and where not to scratch but climbing? I don't know about that.
 

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Hi, Jeremy! You sound like you would give a cat a great home. I agree with most of the others that declawing is not too nice; I'm glad you don't want to do it.

However, Richo has a good point. I think it is unrealistic to expect an animal to have zero impact on its environment. Especially a kitten! Yes, there will be some damage at some point. I remember Lemur and Frodo climbing the curtains as kittens, and Lemur likes to scratch the carpet...

You can train cats to scratch in more appropriate places, and ours do *for the most part.* However, they're not 100% perfect.

One option if you are really concerned about claw damage is adopting an adult, already-declawed cat from the pound. You can often find these on Petfinder.com.

As far as a cat adjusting to a puppy or dog in the future, it can be done. They probably won't be the best of friends, but will usually tolerate each other. I adopted a retired racing greyhound, and things are fine. The adult cats weren't thrilled, but they all adjusted. Even Lemur, my spook, is ok. She doesn't like to be very near the dog, but that's fine with me. We also adopted a kitten after the dog, and that has been very interesting. The kitten and grey *love* each other (see my photo album for evidence!). That presents its own challenges, of course, since my very large and powerful grey sometimes wants to play with her best friend the kitten Xander, which of course we can't allow. But it all works out.

You know, it's possible you'd have a similar dynamic adopting a puppy with an adult cat. Although less likely they'd have a close bond--I think adult dogs are more tolerant of baby kittens than adult cats are of baby puppies! But they could at least live together in reasonable peace, most likely.
 

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I just got a young rescue cat (estimated 4 or 5 years old) and shes definately better than a kitten, much less hassle, no expense of getting the cat neutered as its already been done, less furniture killing (kittens are more likely to cause MAJOR damage than adult cats, kittens tend to shimmy up curtains...lol) and shes just so sweet :D We got a cat with a lovely personality & she is very youthful at heart, we have hours of fun playing games with her. The best bit is knowing that we gave a needy cat a loving home and a second chance:D

As for kids & cats: our old cat was about 7 years old when me & my brother were born, my mum says that she used to sit outside our bedrooms & guard us, she wouldnt let anyone in! the cat had a close bond with my mum & we think that she saw it as her duty to defend her 'mummy's' children as her own :?
 

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Like Kristi said about getting an already declawed adult cat, another positive side to that option is that adult cats at shelters seldom ever get a second chance at a home :cry: because most all people want kittens, either because of their cuteness or because adult cats tend to be more set in their ways.

Many people don't realize (I didn't) what they are in for with a kitten. Much like a human baby, kittens are a handful, don't know right from wrong, are full of energy and get into anything and everything. I'm not saying that's a bad thing because I love them as much as the rest of us here, but you have to have the patience for it.

Just something else to consider.
 
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