Thinking of getting a cat . . .


Hey, folks, I was wondering if I could get some good starter information here:

I am thinking (ONLY thinking at this point) about getting a cat; my younger brother and his wife picked up not one but two cats (well, large kittens) a few months ago and they take great delight in them.

DH is not crazy about the idea, but he said it would be okay as long as it was primarily an outdoor cat (doesn't like cat hair shedding) and could be declawed at the appropriate time so that it wouldn't claw the furniture when it was in the house. I was thinking we could put a basket in the garage for the colder months.

Does anyone have any suggestions about appropriate breeds, given what I've listed above as considerations? And how to find a reputable cat breeder?

TIA for your info!

Go to your nearest animal shelter and adopt the first cat that makes your heart melt.

If fur shedding is an issue, get a short-haired cat.

Do not declaw the cat if it is going to spend time outdoors. You will take away its defense and escape mechanism. Expect that your house and furniture will show some sign of a domesticated animal living with you. It is a small price to pay for the pleasure of owning a pet.

Really, the garage?


Annette: IMO, it doesn't sound like DH wants a cat, since he doesn't want hair, claws or perhaps other things that are natural to a cat. I'd also wonder if YOU really want a cat, and not just what you are seeing as associated with having a cat, since it seems perhaps like it's because younger brother and his wife are enjoying their cats so much (but how can you enjoy a cat if you stick him in the garage, have his claws amputated, and don't want his fur around?). Please don't take offense, I'm just thinking primarily of the happiness of the cat.

If you think this all out and decide to get a cat for reasons that are good for both you and the cat, please adopt from a shelter.;)

And reconsider declawing ( visit for some information and alternatives).

I would definitely NOT recommend declawing an outdoor cat (truthfully, I am against declawing unless it is for the benefit of the cat... and unless that cat has something like gangrene of the toes, it's not for her/his benefit. I just don't see why we humans--as a supposedly superior species---can't think of other solutions to possible claw damage than having kitty toes amputated. Or why furniture is more important than a living being?)


If you get a cat declawed in CANNOT go out PERIOD! Sorry for the caps but I cannot stress that enough. Another thing to keep in mind is a cat that lives primarily outdoors has an average lifespan of two, that's right only two, years. An indoor cat lives on the average 15 to 20 years. If your husband is adamant about the outdoor thing I would advise volunteering if you want to be around cats. Leaving a cat outside most of the time is not exactly providing an animal with a good home. Unless you live on a huge farm really far away from any roads. Even then I'd keep my pets inside at night.


I wouldn't declaw a cat, it is the equivalent of cutting a human's fingertips off. Particularly if the cat is outside it renders them defenseless, not only being not able to defend itself but also not being able (or very difficult) to climb up the next tree when chased by anything that wants to eat or kill them.

I have had cats (and dogs :D) for many years and I never had a problem with my cats scratching the furniture, well, at least they did not tear it apart but they always had scratching trees .

That being said, if your husband is really concerned about the scratching and shedding it may be that a pet is not a good decision, at least not at this point. No matter what, cats shed, cats do claw to varying degrees and despite of being very clean in general, oopsies do happen occassionally and there is nothing worse than cat urine stains .

I would also keep in mind that the lifespan of outside cats is a lot shorter than those of indoor cats. Not to mention that it sometimes causes "neighborly disputes :eek:" if your cat roams into their yards and leaves their business on the neighbor's patio or veggie garden.

In the end you (and your husband) have to make a decision as to why you want to get a pet and if whatever the reason is for getting the pet warrants the trade off or drawbacks of pet ownership. To me it's worth it, my house has never been a Martha Stewart show case home, with or without pets and now my kids and I share our home with 5 dogs, 3 cats and a hamster :cool::eek:

Good luck with whatever decision you make.
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Please do not adopt a cat under those conditions. No cat deserves to be an outdoor cat only and certainly not declawed and left with no means to defend itself. Many rescues will not allow you to adopt if you are keeping the cat outdoors. You say your friends are having a great time with their 2 kittens. I am assuming the cats are in the house. How much fun can you possibly have with a cat that is kept outside? Outdoor cats have very short lifespans because of traffic, predators etc. You cannot possibly adopt a kitten and leave it outside. Reconsider. You can see this is a touchy subject for me. I love cats and have 3.


So you might get a cat-cool! We have a dog that lives outside. She does have a doggy door to go into the heated garage. She loves being outside (we can't even get her to come into the house). She loves watching the other animals outside and running around all day (we have a large yard). I don't know a lot about cats but your cat would probably like being outside just as much as my dog. Maybe, someone else on here has an outside cat?



I used to have outoor cats. The other posters are correct in that cats that live primarily outdoors live much shorter lives. My first cat died at about 9 years old, the second one died at 1 year old after being hit by a car. Since then we have gotten 2 cats who are littermates and kept them indoors. One lived until 18-1/2 years old, and his littermate is still going strong. She'll be 19 in a few months.

Cats are wonderful companions, and I can't imagine our lives without them. I agree that they should not be declawed, since they would be totally defenseless if you leave them outside.


I had to jump on the bandwagon and agree that declawing a cat, especially one that is primarily outdoors, is not a good idea. I'm not really sure having a primarily outdoor cat is a good idea either. Our three come and go (when someone is home to do their bidding) in and out, but spend every night inside - they are a favorite meal of owls and coyotes. Also, the best cats we have ever had are the ones who found us. Chester, Frank, Rudy (notfrank) and Molly all appeared on our doorstep. And remember, every single cat is unique and has it's own personality. You may be hoping to get a lap-loving, cuddly pet who turns out to hide under the bed most of the day.


For anyone thinking of getting a cat, the kitty rescues can usually provide good info as to who will likely be a lap cat who will be happier chasing dust bunnies under the bed. When I went looking for my first cat a little lady meowed my way and she was the one I took home. She may have left a few claw marks in my furniture but she has been a faithful cuddly companion through the good and the bad. :)
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Good stinkin, Beavs. There is a no-kill cat shelter in my area and I know the volunteers spend lots of time getting to know the animals.

You may also be better off getting an adult, or at least an adolescent, rather than a kitten. As cute as they are, sometimes those kittens can wreck havoc.



Many vets will not declaw a cat. Google declawing, you will see how inhumane it is. You can not adopt at any shelter if they know you are going to declaw them. A breeder who puts their retired breeders up for adoption will not let you delcaw them. Maybe a cat is not for you


Just throwing in with all the other commenters -

It does sound like the DH would prefer a "Not-Cat." Cats are furry, sheddy, and clawed. While the possibility of the cat damaging furniture is certainly present, it is generally easy to prevent with ample provisioning of scratching posts, toys, games and diversions.

If all else fails, temporary measures such as covering furniture legs with tin foil or loops of tape are pretty effective deterrents. Declawing is really traumatic and the only folks I know who did get their cats declawed really regret it - there were complications and infections, extremely long recovery periods, and in short, it was bad. In the UK it's considered "unnecessary mutilation" and I'm inclined to agree.

Outdoor cats...oh jeez. They kill SOOOOO many songbirds. They are at terrible risk of being hit by cars, attacked by other animals, getting rabies or other sicknesses (FIV comes to mind), of being presumed homeless and unwittingly abducted...there's a pretty good article here.

There is a woman who lives in my neighborhood who actually walks her cat. She doesn't use a leash, she just ambles along behind her cat as the cat explores, rolls in the grass, sits in the sun, etc. She's and the cat have been together for 10 years and it seems to be working well for all involved. This way, the cat is supervised but still gets to enjoy some outdoor time. I also think those two have a wonderful relationship - with each other, and with all the neighbors they get to visit during their peregrinations.

Hopefully we haven't all talked you out of it by now. I also agree that visiting a local no-kill shelter is the way to go - they can match a kitty to your particular personality and are adept at matching up feline and human friends. :D


I agree with everyone else, and want to add a few things.

1st: indoor only is really the way to go. If this is a deal-breaker then I don't think you guys should get a cat. Not only because of all the issues mentioned above, but also because the personality you want is not usually the type of personality that wants to live outdoors. Domestic cats are, well, domestic. My kitties make awesome pets and spend most of their time lounging in various comfy places. They have no interest in the scary world outside. Also, a kitty who goes outside will cost you more in vet bills getting hurt all the time, not to mention worry, and suffering for kitty, and then the kitty won't live as long as he/she should. Outdoor kitties are also predators themselves and many people have a problem with their killing birds especially. It's just too hard.

2nd: totally agree about declawing, and I would never declaw a cat and wish that others wouldn't either. I welcome the day that it becomes illegal in the U.S. BUT, you can easily find a kitty who has already been declawed. I always visit the kitties in Petco when I go to get my babies' food, and most of them are friendly and often they are declawed. They are usually surrendered by their families who can't afford them, and they are totally house-trained and used to people. They are usually not kittens but they are generally young and the bonus with grown-up cats is that you can get to know their dispositions pretty easily. I had the hardest time walking away from a Petco kitty girl this past Saturday. Her name is Lizzie and she is such a love. She's also declawed. But I can't get any more kitties and with her winning personality I think she'll find a good home.

3. If you do get a kitten with claws, please let her keep them. I have tried many types of scratching toys and I would be happy to share with you the most popular.

4. Don't let us scare you away if you really want a cat. It's not so hard to accommodate a cat properly once you get used to it. Cats can be such amazing companions. My dad recently got adopted by a stray kitten who found his way to my sister's neighborhood. She rescued him and them my parents took him home to Maryland (from my sister's house in Texas!). Not a single day goes by that my parents (dad especially) don't tell me some story about what a fun and sweet little dude he is. This is great for my dad who has some serious health problems and tends to get down. He is like a different person in terms of mood since this kitty boy came into his life.

Good luck!

Sandi S

cats are lovely

I live in the country and cats and kittens are dropped off routinely. I've rescued many over the years. So, my thoughts are coming from a little different view. A responsible pet owner is the most important thing. Food, water and health care is the most important thing a cat should have. Aquajock - I think you would be a wonderful cat owner because you are taking the time to think about it.

There are many pros and cons when thinking about indoor versus outdoor, declawing or not. I can not help to wonder why people think it's wrong to declaw but think it's necessary to neuter or spay. Both, are surgeries that are painful to an animal. Both, are done to improve the relationship of the pet and owner. Cats that are not neutered can be more aggressive, mark their territory and have unwanted kittens. And, let's not forget the cat howling when they're 'in season'. So, neutering a pet makes life easier on the owner and pet. Declawing on older cat is painful and should be avoided but I've had kittens declawed and it didn't slow them down. They are still lovely kitties and haven't shown negative behavior because of it. There are cats that are given up because they have ruined furniture. Are these some that I find when their owners can no longer tolerate the behavior? I don't know... So, follow your heart in this area.

Pure breed or a mix - I've never had the pleasure of owning a pure breed. If there's qualities that you're interested in, getting a pure breed might be a nice choice but I love the idea of adopting from an animal shelter. There are so many cats that need a caring home. Outdoor cats usually have a shorter life span though and I wouldn't declaw an outdoor cat because it wouldn't have a way to defend itself. But, there's nothing better than watching an outdoor cat climb a tree or chase a leaf.

Indoor cats are delightful and that would be my first choice. My husband tolerates my kitties because he knows how much I love them. There is nothing better after a long day to have one of my furballs jump in my lap.


PS - these are my opinions so don't be offended if your opinion is not the same.


Sandi, I do respect your opinion, though I disagree about declawing. It's common practice here so people naturally assume it's humane, but that doesn't make it so. I do agree though that it's harder on older cats than it is on kittens.

Neutering/spaying is very different than declawing. Declawing is like cosmetic surgery, whereas neutering/spaying is essentially life-saving surgery. Millions of unwanted and homeless animals are born, suffer, and die because people don't spay/neuter. All this suffering could be completely avoided by getting animals fixed.

Declawing is a radical solution to a problem. It's like someone who doesn't like cat fur on their furniture giving the cat an operation to permanently remove all of the cat's fur. It's like people who have their dogs de-barked. Claws are like fur--part of the package.

On the other hand, spaying/neutering is a humane solution to a real problem.



I really can't add much to the declawing thing. Everyone above covered that :)! However, as Amy said, if that is important to you, maybe find a cat that is already declawed. Then of course, as others have said, he/she cannot go outside...unless you have a big screened in porch and not really OUTside.

Cats can be the most wonderful of companions, but they definitely shed. It can be helped some with regular brushings, and short haired cats she less than long (obviously). I have also found that my orange mail cat sheds A LOT more than my darker haired female cat. When you go to the shelter to adopt, you can certainly pet lots of kitties and see which has the least amount of hair left in your hand! Though, they may all shed because they are in need of a good brushing!

Good luck to you in whatever you decide. And heck, you did mention in a previous thread thinking of names for a cat you don't have so the naming part should be easy :)!!



I had great luck with Soft Claws for my cats but I stopped using them when I got a dog. My dog loves to play with the kitties but sometimes needs a reminder to play nice ;)

I will also say that when my mom was alive she loved to watch the cats. They provide quite a bit of entertainment when left to their own devices. :)


Things to think about:

Indoor cat = clean, affectionate, fun, loving, playful, cute, snuggley, likes to be handled and held, your best friend, lives a long happy safe life, sheds much less because they don't need the extra coat growth to survive changing weather.

Outdoor cat=independent, nervous, wild, fights with other cats and gets abscesses and sores and more, filthy dirty, stinks, sheds a ton more, gets fleas and worms and other parasites, sprays urine and marks territory (usually on yours and your neighbors outdoor furniture and yes females do it too), doesn't like to be held near as much, and I can't say this enough...A HUGE NUISANCE TO YOUR NEIGHBORS due to the spraying and the pooping in the flowers beds and the screaming fighting sounds they make at night!

Outdoor declawed cat= Poor helpless defenseless vulnerable and eventually Dead Cat. Basically a kill-me target to other cats and dogs. And yes, they turn to biting as their only defense.

I would rethink and not even concider a cat if you don't keep it indoors. I would also check the shelters and humane society and I'm betting you can easily find a nice already declawed cat there. DON'T declaw one yourself. You'll feel aweful and guilty for years to come and the cat will never ever forgive you. It's cruel.

Just think about all this and if you do get a cat you'll enjoy it much more if you give it all the safety and security it needs. It will probably bond to your husband and he'll be all protective of it and it'll be all your fault if it sneaks out.;)

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