Naming a cat and owning an already declawed cat
April 26, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm adopting a cat off of Craigslist and have a few general cat questions (about naming a cat and owning an already declawed cat).

These are kind of dumb questions, so please bear with me.

So I'm adopting a cat. I have not yet "met" this cat as I'm adopting him off of Craigslist, however his owner claims that he is 2 1/2, neutered and declawed on his front paws.

Although I've had cats before, I've never had a declawed cat before, and I obviously know that due to being declawed he can't be let outside. Is there anything else I need to know about being the owner of a declawed cat?

As I mentioned the cat is 2 1/2 years old. Is it possible to rename a cat? Will he eventually learn a new name? I decided long ago that I'm going to give all of my pets food-related names (don't ask me why, I just like it!) - any good suggestions?
posted by floweredfish to Pets & Animals (29 answers total)
My almost two year old cat thinks her name is Kitty, Cosette (which it actually is), Boober, Boomer, Bones, Cat head, Huntie, etc.

Yes, you can rename a cat.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:32 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, you can rename cats. It will take a little bit- but as the cat adjusts to you as the new owner, she/he will also adjust to the new name.

I've never owned a declawed cat either (poor thing!), so no advice there.
posted by Eicats at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2010

Yes, declawed cats should not be let outside. Make sure your screened windows and doors are attached properly.

Since you're getting the cat off Craigslist, you have no idea how long it's been since the cat was at the vet and got all his shots. Even if the owner gives you paperwork, make an appointment to take the cat to the vet immediately. Bring the paperwork you get on the cat, and have him checked out. (We came home with a cat that had tapeworm even though we adopted from a reputable shelter, which meant that we had to treat all of our animals for tapeworm.)

I knew very sweet cats named Shrimp and Scampi.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2010

I fully support food-related names because I have the same inclination, and also don't know why. (Just convinced a friend to name his russian blue Gravy)

But it is possible to rename a cat because the cat doesn't care about it's name, just the voice and inflection used to call it. Example: All cats think their name is "Kitty kitty kitty".
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:39 AM on April 26, 2010

When I adopted my dog from craigslist, I ended up spending $400 at the vet on things that the local shelter does for free. Like microchipping, neutering, check-up, etc. Just a personal anecdote.
posted by Duffington at 11:40 AM on April 26, 2010

A place I used to work at had a cat that was declawed and went outside all the time - for years. It was in a built up residential area, fairly busy streets, other animals about. The cat lived to be really old. Doesn't seem like a good idea, I know, but there it is. Regarding the name, is there a way to turn the existing name into a food name? Like from "Misty" to "Marshmallow" or "Tinkerbell" to 'Taco Bell?"
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:41 AM on April 26, 2010

If you're ever planning on getting a second cat, it will also have to be declawed so this one is not at a disadvantage.
I don't think most cats ever learn their names at all. You can call it whatever you want.
I would wait till you get the cat home and see if his personality or behavior suggests a particular name.
posted by amethysts at 11:42 AM on April 26, 2010

Also cats respond well to crisp consonants so I'm going to go ahead and put in votes for "Turkey" and "Tostito"
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:43 AM on April 26, 2010

Although there are good reasons to keep any cat indoors, I've seen plenty of declawed cats that lived outdoors, and some that were efficient hunters.

Also, I strongly disagree that any future feline additions to the household would need to be declawed. I've been in households with a mix of clawful and declawed cats, and the declawed cats were not at a disadvantage. Anything but.

I've got two cats who probably think their names are "No!" and one who is deaf.
posted by adamrice at 11:59 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

If you're ever planning on getting a second cat, it will also have to be declawed so this one is not at a disadvantage.

Not true, in my experience. I had a cat for many years who had been declawed on all four feet by a previous owner. During the years I had her, we lived with (...doing math...) maybe 10-12 other cats altogether, all of whom had their claws. There were never any problems because of it. I suppose it helped that Susie had a powerful arm for whapping, but she got along with the other cats. Other than that, I can't think of anything special you need to know.

I'm gonna second thinking about the hidden costs of adopting from a person rather than a shelter, if that's a concern for you. We took in a kitten from a family two years ago, and by the time we'd had his earmites treated and his various intestinal parasites and had him neutered and gotten him up-to-date on shots etc etc we'd spent over $300 on the "free" kitten. Our local shelter adopts kittens for $125, and all that stuff has been treated, and neutering is included (also, they often run 2-for-1 specials). Since you haven't met this cat and aren't yet attached, it might be worth looking into. Luke is a really wonderful cat but I doubt I'll adopt "privately" again.
posted by not that girl at 12:05 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I disagree with the idea that a declawed cat's future companions must also be declawed. I've got two male cats adopted through a shelter, who arrived pair-bonded and declawed. I also have two feral medical rescues, both female and clawed. The males are significantly bigger than the females, but the smaller female flashes her claws when she feels threatened.

The boys are named after characters in a book I loved, while the girls carry their feral colony names. As far as I know, this is the third set of names for the boy cats (original owners, shelter renamed, I re-renamed) and they answer to them just fine. As for food names, I think sushi-related words make a lovely set if you're going to have more than one.
posted by catlet at 12:09 PM on April 26, 2010

Do you know why this cat is being rehomed? Keep in mind that some cats end up associating the pain of their declawed feet during recovery with the litter box. This cat may have litter box or aggression issues stemming from a bad declawing.

I am NOT saying all declawed cats have these issues, but they are both known side-effects from declawing. Aside from any issues stemming from declawing, it's just good to know why the cat is being rehomed. Ask a lot of questions and be persistent if you think this person is being shady with you about the answers.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:11 PM on April 26, 2010

You can let a declawed cat out if you want. I think the warning is mostly because the cat is "defenseless" but if you live in a safe area for cats, it shouldn't be a problem. That said, I recommend keeping them indoors simply because you should never have to worry about fleas, ticks, tapeworm and god knows what else they can pick up outside.

Names! Funnily enough, we have food-related nicknames for our children. The older one is "The Bean" and the younger one is "Nugget". These, of course, evolve into beanetta, snugglet, etc.

My husband had two cats named Squidgy and Chubbs. Not food related, but very cute. My brother in law has a cat named Chicken, and one named Sister.

Have fun with your new family member :) Let us know what name you settle on.
posted by wwartorff at 12:14 PM on April 26, 2010

We had an elder declawed (front only) cat that was in charge of all the other clawed cats in the house... we never told him he was declawed, he fought like a champ! Would punch those other cats from here to the kitchen! It was amusing to watch old Whittie sharpen his claws... wait... hmmm

The outside/inside argument is moot here, folks, the OP already understands the dangers of letter ANY cat outside.

And, the cat will eventually tell you what its name is...until then, just call it something loving like poopbutt or stinky cat....
posted by HuronBob at 12:15 PM on April 26, 2010

letter=letting (at least in my post is does...)
posted by HuronBob at 12:16 PM on April 26, 2010

Cats have three names, as is well known. Fortunately, you only need come up with two, and the second is usually a nickname that presents itself after the fact anyway. So you really only need to decide on one: her serious, sensible name.

I've renamed several cats, all rescues. It takes them a couple of weeks, but they quickly sort out that if you call "Fruitloops", food or petting is in the offing and they'll come running. I wouldn't worry to much about it.

A declawed cat is a mildy disabled cat. There may be mild mobility issues. They can be bitey. They do fine outdoors. The main issue I've seen is that they are at a disadvantage in for-real fights with other cats. This may not be a bad thing; they tend to run rather than fight. The territorial whacking that goes on with housemates isn't affected.
posted by bonehead at 12:17 PM on April 26, 2010

Cats don't know their names, so rename it. Anyone who thinks a cat recognizes its name is overly affectionate, dramatic, or insane.
posted by xmutex at 12:22 PM on April 26, 2010

Anyone who thinks a cat recognizes its name is overly affectionate, dramatic, or insane.

:::raises hand:::

If you do get another cat, especially a clawed cat, make it opposite sex, IMO. My whack-job clawed boy was headed for rehoming, and I got the declawed girl as a substitute or as a companion to chill him out a bit. He loves the declawed girl with all his heart and soul. They "fight" and also fight, but he is the one who ends up marked up if it comes to that.
posted by jgirl at 12:54 PM on April 26, 2010

I'm afraid I don't know much about declawed cats.

But they can definitely be renamed. My 3 year old cat was called Fluffy and was renamed when I got her. She also responds to being called Thunderpants.

A previous mog, a Siamese cross, was originally called Siam and renamed The Furry Bomber.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:56 PM on April 26, 2010

My cat thinks his name is "dammit" so I think renaming is a safe bet :)
The declawed cats I know still enjoy "scratching posts" covered in sisal or carpet or "scratching boxes" so you may want to try them - they seem to enjoy the motion.
posted by pointystick at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2010

I have seen a declawed cat punch other cats (and dogs). Hilarious, but effective in asserting its authority.
posted by meepmeow at 1:11 PM on April 26, 2010

Some declawed cats (like my parents' Siamese) still try to 'claw' furniture et. Depends on when they were declawed. Its not a big deal except vigorous 'scratching' with the paws can still wear down upholstery.

Also, said declawed Siamese does go out in the backyard and does fine. Its fenced and he doesn't stray beyond the fence. Other cats' mileage may vary.

As for the naming thing - they come when you call, whatever you call, if it means food, pets, or both. :)
posted by sandraregina at 1:11 PM on April 26, 2010

I've always renamed cats with no problems. (In fact, I don't think of them as names, but rather as "the sound the human found for the cat", that is unique to both human and cat, as in this Weakerthans song.)
posted by Kurichina at 1:16 PM on April 26, 2010

I adopted a 4 yo cat from the shelter named Fancy and didn't rename her because I thought it would be confusing, but after reading the comments here and thinking about it some more I think it could work, because our cats have so many other nicknames they get used to being called things like, "Chunky" and "Demoncat" too.

Oh, and my two gingers are called Cheddar and Colby, so I'm all for food names!
posted by misha at 1:39 PM on April 26, 2010

My cat has a food name! She's Puddin' (no g, don't forget the apostrophe)...but we got her as a stray, so I'm not sure it counts. She goes by Pudlandia, Puddin-bear, kitten, kitten-catia-butt, and so many others that I can't even think of them. And she ignores me by all of them.
posted by kro at 2:48 PM on April 26, 2010

I renamed my sheltered-adopted boy. He went from being 'Frankie' to being 'Bug'. Often he gets called little lovebug, bugaboo, or, occassionally 'Pest'. He answers to anything, but then he's a very affectionate cat.

I foster a declawed monster I call 'The Blob'. He tries to 'claw' the furniture, attacks my oldest cat and roughhouses with Bug. When The Blob is trying to get my attention, he'll bite me using his front teeth (not the fangs/canines, just the tiny front teeth - still, it hurts). It's an annoying quirk.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 3:35 PM on April 26, 2010

Don't have much to add here, but I've heard that if you give your pet a food-related name, it will live a good, long life. So, yes to food names!
posted by misozaki at 5:47 PM on April 26, 2010

Growing up, I had a declawed cat (front only) who went outside (in the suburbs, a safe place - she stayed in the yard) and lived a long, happy life).
posted by insectosaurus at 7:21 PM on April 26, 2010

One of my neighbors has a cat named Lunch. Best name ever.
posted by media_itoku at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2010

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