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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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considering a second cat, would like some advice.

Hi, I'm pretty new here but I was hoping I could get some advice from people that know more about cats than me. I got my first cat (Juliet) about 4 months ago from the local shelter. It took her a little while to warm up, but now she's a little bundle of love who sleeps on my bed and is currently in my lap making typing tricky . When I got her I was totally new to cats and still believed the myth that cats are solitary and don't really care about other feline company/get bored when they're alone. Of course I try to spend as much time at home with Juliet as I can, but the reality is I'm in college and can't be there for large parts of the day which is only going to get worse because I'm applying for a nursing program next year. I feel bad leaving Juliet alone, so I thought perhaps a second cat would keep her company and keep her from being bored during the day when I'm gone, not to mention I would have the chance to rescue another cat. I've gone over the money aspect and I'm confident that barring some unforeseen catastrophe I can afford to support a second cat, but what I'm concerned with is the way an addition to the family would change my relationship with Juliet. I don't want her to feel jealous of another cat in the house, but I also don't want to feel jealous if she winds up spending all her time with the other cat. Also I don't want to feel like Juliet is any less special to me because there's another cat in the house, and I would also hate to play favorites and like Juliet better than the new cat. Since I know a lot of you here have more than one cat I thought perhaps someone might be able to give me some insight into the interpersonal (interfeline?) relationships involved in a multi-cat household. The other thing is that I'm not even sure if Juliet would like another cat, I know some cats don't but I did find out that I can take her over to the shelter to meet any prospective new addition to see how they get along. And the very last detail (I promise) is I wonder whether a male or female/young or old cat would be most likely to do well with Juliet. She is a 3 year old female. I can't do a kitten though, I don't have the time commitment for that at the moment. Sorry that was so long! Thanks in advance for any advice on this.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 11:21 PM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

I am a multi-cat household. Currently I have 8 of my own and two fosters, but I have had up to a dozen of my own, and fostered from between 6-3 at a time.

All of my cats get along, per se....meaning, I don't have any hissing, snarling, scratching, biting, rolling-around-on-the-floor-I'm-trying-to-kill-you cat fights, but I do have cats that don't care for certain other cats. They have learned how to live together and they just avoid each other. Some have made alliances/friendships with several different cats, but each cat who likes other cats, does not like all of the same cats a different cat likes. Ugh, that was confusing! I found that littermates made the closest bonds.
I have also found that young kittens were accepted by all of the cats, compared to older cats who just worked their way in and found a few 'friends' after a while.

I think it is going to be a luck-of-the-draw. If YOU want another cat, get one. Single cats really don't need to have another cat, but when they get along, it is very nice. I like to watch mine playing together and sleeping snuggled with each other.
If Juliet was okay at the shelter with other cats, I'm sure she'd accept another cat in her home after a transition period. Look for another shelter cat who is "good with other cats" and hope for the best. Be sure to do a proper cat-introduction with: isolation, scent-swaping, room-swaps, footsie under the door or through a partially open door. Use toys and treats to distract and get them used to being close to each other and "good things" still happen.

Let us know what you decide and how it goes. I prefer a multi-cat household because at least ONE cat out of my group will want to snuggle with me, no matter where I am or what I am doing. ...and I usually have 3-5 on me when I'm in the recliner watching a movie.
h =^..^=



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2009, 11:31 PM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

Cats really do sleep most of the time. I wish I had stayed with just Cinderella, but of course, now I have three other cats that I love, and that she doesn't so much. Taking Juliet to the shelter doesn't sound like a good idea to me, you can't just put cats together like dogs and see if they get along - in most cases.

As long as Juliet has a couple windows she can look out of and toys to play with, I think she's fine while you're gone. ALL my cats sleep while I'm gone. It seems no matter what time I come home, I wake them up.

But like Heidi said, if you really want another cat, go for it. There is the risk that you may end up with two cats that don't like each other, but from what I've seen on the Forum, that's the exception, not the rule.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 12:05 AM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

My standard advice is to tell people to only get a second cat if they want the new cat. Don't get one because you think your cat needs a friend. Best case scenario is that they love each other, worst case is they hate each other (but that's usually a failure to do a proper introduction). With 2 adult cats it's likely to be something in the middle...tolerance and possibly friendship. I think the best bonding opportunities are litter mates or adult with new kitten.

I wouldn't worry about them bonding and excluding you, it's not likely to happen to that extent and when they do snuggle you'll find it amazingly cute.

And I agree, taking Juliet into the shelter to meet another cat is not likely to give you much info, if fact it's likely to be discouraging. Cats take a while to warm up and engage, an intro process is needed.

I don't see any advantages to various combinations of different sexes. It all depends on the personality of the cats involved.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 01:29 AM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

I'll give you my own honest experience. After having Jack I wanted another cat--I loved Jack and having him around and loved the idea of rescuing a second. Much like you I'm away from home all day--not currently, but hubby and I normally work full time jobs so Jack was home alone a lot. We waited about 7 months before we found a cat that both Hubby and I actually agreed on and went for it. Until about 3 weeks ago life with Jack changed drastically. Before Harley came Jack was a loving, sweet cat who always slept on our bed, wanted cuddled, extremely dependent on us etc That all ended when Harley came here. Harley was shy, had been in a shelter cage for 4 months, prior to that was a stray, had never known love. So he sucked it up when he got here. Always on our laps, slept in the bed etc. Jack would have nothing of it and never slept with us, never came for cuddles was a different cat. He and Harley get along, the sleep in the same vicinity and occasionally cuddle-once in a blue moon-but Jack plays rough (was taken from mom early, as was Harley I'm sure, so neither knows how to play real well) I had accepted that Jack was no longer that cuddly cat and that was okay because Harley was and Jack still seemed happy.

3 weeks ago Hubby and I were talking and realized that Jack is returning to his old self. It has taken 7 months for him to establish his role as alpha or as we like to say, taken his throne back and forgiven us. It is a bit sad for Harley, but at the same time because we are aware we are sure to love on Harley alittle extra when he does come for cuddles. We know that we did the right thing. Harley needed a furrever home and we wanted to provide that. He is loved, he will always be our snuggle bunny, the kitty who sucks our ear lobes at 3:30 AM, but Jack is head of the household, he rules the roost and we are glad he is able to be himself again.

I don't regret bringing Harley home--I just had no idea how it would change our lives and Jack's life and how long the transition would take.

Leslie
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 09:56 AM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

You're absolutely right Leslie, the dynamics almost always change. Sometimes for the good, sometimes worse, sometimes they go back to normal after a few weeks or months, sometimes never. You just don't know. Which is why I say don't do it for the cat, only do it for you....because you need to be accepting and willing to deal with the consequences.

When I brought Holly home (at 12 weeks), she and Kobi bonded almost instantly....within 2 days they were snuggling and there was no change in Kobi's personality/attitude towards me at all. On the other hand, Maggie doesn't take well to interlopers at all. She would never be aggressive, but she spent a good part of the first few weeks watching life go by from high places. Anytime she spotted Holly she'd hiss and go the other way. Eventually it got to the point where she'd only hiss if Holly got into her personal space. Finally 6 months later she stopped hissing at her. It's over 2 years now and in the long run, the change has been for the good. They now play together and Maggie will even let Holly sleep near her (not cuddle, but within a few inches). Holly is very slowly working on Maggie and I have no doubt that they will eventually cuddle. This is a wonderful change in Maggie, who for her first 10 years would barely let me pet her (she would duck and run). And Maggie is much more lovey with me. So it's taken a long time, but I do attribute many of the changes in Maggie as being due to having Holly here and they're good ones.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 10:34 AM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

My cat is an only cat and always has been. I have a very intense job and work long hours and I have been concerned about leaving him on his own all day and often wonder if a 'friend' would be beneficial. Seeing how he has reacted to my mothers cat over a period of time (I go visit her once a month with Toby for a weekend) I know Toby, in theory, would be receptive to another cat. Indeed, he has often indicated that he wants to make friends with Felix (my mothers cat). Felix, however, thinks otherwise

On the other hand, I think Toby is quite content on his own. As Marie has said, cats sleep most of the time and Toby is no exception.

Something else to consider. Felix grew up with lots of other cats (7 others) and was always shy and quiet. As the years have progressed, the number of cats have decreased until it was just him and his brother remaining. When Liam died (about 2 years ago now), Felix became an only cat. And his personality changed dramatically. He is now feisty, quirky and not at all shy. In other words, its likely that he would have been much better as an only cat from the start.

Much depends on the cats personality I think. Toby would be fine with another cat I'm sure. Felix far less so.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 11:06 AM
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

I agree, almost any time you bring a new one into the mix they all have to re-establish their roles in the household. What surprised me, though, was when the readjustment happened after we lost Tucker. He was the king of the household but he was not a fighter. He would just give the other cats that certain look and they would back off. After his sudden death the other cats began fighting amongst each other more. They were trying to decide who would rule the roost after the peacemaker was gone.

Most of the time it is not a problem to bring a laid back cat home. The people who work at the shelters usually know who the alpha cats are and can direct you away from them. Good luck no matter what you decide.

Sue



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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: considering a second cat, would like some advice.

Thank you all so much for the fast responses and the advice. I'm really glad to know that Juliet should be alright without other feline company. I have decided (I think) not to get a second cat, at least for the time being. I have no doubt that I will wind up with more eventually but I don't think this is the best time, besides which I would like some more time just one on one with Juliet. Though I did happen to go to the shelter about a week ago with a friend and there was a really sweet white/brown tabby older girl (8+) who did hit a soft spot with me. I may have to go back in a month or two and consider bringing her home if she hasn't found another home by then. We shall see. Thank you all again.
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