question.. my mommy is learning!

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

(Page 1 of 3: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2  3  

Member Since
Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 4:13pm PST 
Hi there!
This is Bam-Bam the mastiff from dogster. Mommy is researching kitty stuff because she might let daddy get one for V-day.
She wants to know if, like in dogs, there are pros and cons to spaying and neutering at a young age verses an old age, and what are they?
Do kitties need any supplements? Like, Mommy gives me glucosamine and chondroitin and Vitamin C because I'm a big boy, but do kitties need stuff like this?
What about declawing? What are the different schools of thought on that?
Mommy says my brother or sister would be an inside kitty, and since she hates litter boxes she'd get one of those neat-o ones that cleans itself and all she's gotta do is dump the thing. She hopes I don't get a taste for kitty crunchies!
Thanks for the information!


Miss Feisty
Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 8:30pm PST 
Hi Bam-Bam, welcome to Catster and congratulations if you get a cat brother/sister.

If your mum adopts a cat from a local shelter she should ask the staff/volunteers which cats like dogs/have lived with them before. Mum volunteers at the local SPCA and some cats are great with dogs and would love you and some are terrified. Most shelters will also take care of spaying/neutering and all the initial shots so its a good deal.

To avoid behavioral issues (like spraying, escaping and roaming etc) or unwanted kittens its best to have cats spayed/neutered before they hit puberty. In females this also reduces the risk of breast cancer if they are spayed before their 1st heat. You can spay/neuter cats from 2 months of age/over 2lb in weight and they usually hit puberty at about 6 months though it can be earlier.

Cats usually don't need any supplements. Older kitties can be given glucosamine and chondroiting for arthritis but we don't suffer from major joint issues like large dogs do. The important thing is that we must get cat food (which has taurine in it) and can get sick if we only eat dog food (which doesn't have taurine added).

Declawing is contraversial but I think its a bad thing as they cut off the last digit of the our fingers and not just the claw. It's illegal in England where my mum's from and I think it's usually unnecessary as you can clip our claws, get a scratching post etc instead. Also it removes our defenses and can sometimes lead to anxiety issues.


Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 9:01pm PST 
Yeah as petra says. If this is your first cat spca is the way to go. Not only do the kitties need a second chance there is no training involved. Some shelters will let you go in with mommy and daddy so the the kitty can choose you.

Petra answered quite concisely so I have nothing further to add. Keep us posted on how your adoption goes.

♥- Suey- ♥

Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 10:09pm PST 
Hi Bam-Bam!smile

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 dosmile


I fetch,- therefore I am.

Purred: Mon Feb 9, '09 10:45pm PST 
Hi Bam-Bam! Welcome to Catster!wave

Good advice from everycat so far!

Cats who haven't been spayed or neutered can develop all sorts of undesirable behaviors. Spraying, howling, escaping and getting into fights and, of course, creating unwanted litters. Cats who do get into fights are at risk for FIV (feline AIDS) and other diseases transmitted by bites. Unspayed females are more likely to develop mammary cancers and can get a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra. I don't think there are any cons to spaying/neutering.

Declawing is a painful amputation of the last joint of a cat's toes. Many cats who are declawed recover from the procedure and are fine, but it's not uncommon for declawed cats to develop related behavioral issues like biting or refusing to use the litter box (it can hurt to dig in gravel with stumps). Claws can be trimmed, and a lot of cats have had success with SoftPaws (nail covers which are glued on). Of course, as also mentioned, a kitty will need guidance to learn what is and what is not acceptable for scratching.

Here is a good site that explains the differences in the nutritional needs of cats and dogs:
Cats are Different

Good luck, Bam-Bam! Let us know what happens!

Edited by author Mon Feb 9, '09 10:47pm PST

Member Since
Purred: Tue Feb 10, '09 4:12am PST 
Me thinks my mommy used the wrong word... She meant DE-clawing... like getting rid of the kitties toenails altogether. Is that still the same thing???

♥- Suey- ♥

Purred: Tue Feb 10, '09 4:37am PST 
Hi Bam-Bam,
There is a graphic on the top of this page that shows the bones and tendons in a cat's foot , and where the amputation occurs. http://www.declawing.com/htmls/declawing.htm

Declawing is the removal of the whole nail, but because of the way the foot is structured, it does involve 10 seperate amputations of bone, tendon and joint on each claw. The claw is a part of the third phalanx, rather than simply attached to it. The parts of the foot that produce nail cells also need to be removed. Because the last phalanx is part of a working joint, like human fingertips, the tendons also need to be cut.

It is a major surgery, and it's illegal here in Australia.

There are a lot of people on here with very strong opinions on whether or not to declaw. The best advice I can give is to read as much as you can about it, and ensure you are fully informed of the implications prior to making a decision.


I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
Purred: Tue Feb 10, '09 8:01am PST 
Bam-bam, there is no way that any vet has devised to remove a cat's claws without amputating the first joint bone. I personally am against it for several reasons. I don't want to turn this into a declawing debate, so I'll leave you with only one reason: if nothing else because it tends to leave a cat with no way to defend itself were something to happen to it. It could not climb a tree to get away from a dog, or use its claws to fend off attacks from wildlife. I know you said your kitty would be indoors, but accidental escapes can happen any time, no matter how vigilant you are.


Purred: Tue Feb 10, '09 10:06am PST 
Your Mom should also understand that an indoor cat can live 15-20 years, which is longer than a lot of dogs.

As for declawing, Mika and I were already declawed when we were adopted, and Molly still has her claws. Molly was scratching at some of the furniture at first, but now her favorite place to scratch is a wavy scratching thingy Mom and Dad bought her. Molly uses her claws so rarely that Mom sometimes forgets she still has them.


I'm not a cat,- I'm satan!
Purred: Tue Feb 10, '09 11:25am PST 
Hey Bam-Bam. I just wanted to add one more thing about the declawing debate. Since you have a Mastiff, keeping your kitty's claws will be very important since it will probably take a while for Bam-Bam to stop considering the cat a threat. I grew up with several Mastiffs and they made it so we could only have barn cats. If you plan on having them live together, kitty needs to be able to defend itself. You'll also need a few baby gates so the cat has some areas of the house that are safe.

My 3 youngest cats were all fixed before 6 months of age and they haven't suffered any side effects from it. For females, the biggest thing is the weight issue, while you can have a kitten spayed at 2.2 lbs, I personally think it's best to wait a couple more weeks and let them get to be around 3 lbs. but that's all up to personal preference. For males, the best time to get them fixed is within a week of them showing signs of sexual maturity. This can happen at any point between 3 and 6 months of age and the first signs tend to be aggression, humping other animals (unlikely to happen in your case), and "showing his excitement" when and if he gets belly rubs. Those are the signs that I've seen but every cat is different. If you have your cat fixed at a young age, the risks of cancer in the reproductive organs are completely eliminated. Your also helping reduce the pet overpopulation.

On the matter of food and supplements... Unless you happen to get a large cat like a Maine Coon that's known for having hip problems, don't even bother with supplements other than small amounts of either fish or olive oil to reduce dander and excessive shedding. supplementing with oils also helps to keep a cats coat soft and shiny. As for the issue of keeping the dog away from the cat food: If you can, try to get a tall cat tree or build some shelves for you cat to eat on. Most cats like to be elevated when they eat anyway so it'll also keep the cat happy. As for "crunchies", have you researched the different foods that are available for cats? While feeding dry is convenient, wet food really is better. Since cats hardly ever get enough water on their own, giving them wet food can help prevent UTI's and many other common dehydration related diseases. The best foods out on the market are Wellness grain free for wet and if you really do want to feed dry; Wellness, Natural Balance, and EVO all make good dry formulas. Natural Balance's wet food is also pretty good and it's a little less harmful to the pocketbook than Wellness if money is a huge concern for you.

  (Page 1 of 3: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2  3