|Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 10:09pm PST |
A good first step that I would recommend is to seek out a kitty who has been in a home environment with a dog, whether a breeder's home or a foster home. You can ask in any shelter or rescue group which kitties have been fostered with dogs, and there are a lot of foster parents happy to talk to prospective adopters about a kitten they have looked after. This is probably more important if you are adopting an adult, as kittens often adjust really well. Most shelters and breeders will also be happy for your dog to meet the cat prior to finalising an adoption.
This website has some very good information on declawing- http://www.declawing.com/.
There are some easy things you can do that should make declawing a non-issue. One easy thing you can do is resist the urge to use your hands as a toy, or use any rough play (for example pinning a kitten on their back). Kittens learn that it's ok to use their claws on you by doing that. Toys like wand toys are a really good way to play- it's a good bonding tool, and they can be rough without hurting you. If a kitten gets the 'crazies' and starts using their claws or biting, stop a play session and ignore them for 5 minutes or so. It's a good way to show them that it's not acceptable, and is the same kind of thing a littermate would do if they were play fighting and one got too rough.
Having a good scratching post is a really good investment. It helps a kitten to 'get' what it is if you gently run their paws on the post, and praise them. If they scratch somewhere you don't want them to, like the couch, you can use the same tactic. A tall post that a grown cat can extend fully against is a really good idea. Also, you might want to look into having an additional type of scratcher. We have a flat carpeted one that Fui loves, and I've seen ones set at 45 degrees, too.
If the new kitty is a bit nervy around a dog, it can really help if you have a high position in a lived in area, such as the lounge or the kitchen, where you hang out a lot. For example, a cat tree or a shelf that they're allowed on. It'll help the kitty to see that you're a cool dude, while allowing them to feel a bit more secure while getting to know you.
Our shelter routinely desexes at 1kg/2.2pounds. I've seen some studies that say cats grow to be bigger if they are desexed at 6 months, and others that say that isn't true. I think it really comes down to choice. A lot of breeders and shelters will sell a kitten who is already desexed, or on a contract to be desexed by 6 months.
Good luck at bringing your kitty home, if that's what you decide to do
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