What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not?

Hi everyone,

I have a very laid-back 2 (almost three) year old DSH. For the first year of his life, he was raised as a single cat with my small dog. Then I fostered a female and for the first week or so, he spent all his days following her and watching from a distance, no hissing/growling/fighting. I couldn't keep the foster, so she eventually found a forever home and he went back to living by himself.

Well, recently he had been living with a male kitten for 3 months and unlike the first time, he didn't show much interest. It was the kitten who insisted on following him around and cuddling up to him. Again, no hissing/growling/fighting (told you he's laid-back, lol) and he tolerates it.

However, when he's playing and the kitten joins him, he'll stop and walk away. When he's eating and the kitten joins him, he'll stop and walk away. Even if he's just standing there and waiting for food and the kitten walks up to him, he'll walk away. He's not a very touchy-feely cat because he walks away when humans try to pet him as well. When I bring home a new toy, he is really interested, but refuses to play unless the kitten is nowhere in sight and not playing with him. He only plays when he's by himself.

Based on these signs, I was tempted to believe that he preferred being a single cat, but there were a couple of other signs I noticed, which confused me. He was quite a lean cat and getting him to eat is a chore sometimes. Both times when I had a second cat in the house, he had an increased appetite and gained some weight. It wasn't a chore to force him to eat anymore. We think it's the stimulation he gets from having another cat in the house because...he did play with the kitten, as in biting, wrestling, chasing, and playing rough. He also has an obsessive licking/grooming problem and he did groom the kitten, but we're not sure if that's out of affection or just because he's obsessed with licking something all the time. He will lick any and everyone's hands that are in front of his face.

When he's sleeping and the kitten joins and snuggles up to him, he's fine with it. It's just that you will never find him making the first move.

The kitten is gone now (I was watching him for a friend while she got her life back together again) and he is back to being a single cat. He sleeps more and follows me from room to room again, something he stopped doing when the kitten was around. He also sleeps in bed with me again for the night whereas he stopped doing that when the kitten started sleeping there.

So, I'm really confused -- does he enjoy cat company or no? I would consider permanently adopting a friend for him if he truly enjoyed having a friend around, but at the same time, if it makes him jealous or uncomfortable since he does a lot of walking away, then I'd rather leave him as a single cat. As I mentioned above, he is always in the company of my small dog although they don't cuddle, play, or anything like that. He's just never home alone.

Thanks for any insight!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 07:08 PM
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Re: What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not?

Hi! I am not very experienced with multiple cat situations, but I wanted to comment on one of the points you mentioned. I think you mantioning that he started eating more when the kitten was there might really not be due to increased activity, but, rather, due to increased anxiety and worry that if he doesn't eat his food, than the kitten will. It's like he has competition now and he wants more of everything just to make sure no one steals it away. That's probably also why he became more needy after the kitten is gone. He wants to re-establish his "ownership" of you. But then again, I am not very experienced with these situations, so I may be completely wrong.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 07:17 PM
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Re: What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not?

I don't know. To me if he was washing the kitten and wrestling with the kitten, it sounds like he was OK with the kitten. And if he isn't cuddly in general it's not surprising he doesn't cuddle with the kitten, either.

He may feel food competition, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's upset about the other cat. My ladies compete with each other for food, but they still love each other. (They don't cry when *I* walk out the door but sometimes they *will* cry when separated from each other!)
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 07:18 PM
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Re: What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not?

He sounds very stoic- whereas most cats would swat and hiss at an annoying kitten, he simply walks away. What a gentleman! This is exactly how my mom's cat, Elfie behaves. Nothing seems to phase him, Because you mentioned that they were wrestling, and even doing some grooming, I don't think he would be offended by you adopting a kitten. In fact, he might even like it. In my experience, calm neutered male cats do a great job "raising" kittens. Better than spayed females sometimes!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 08:48 PM
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Re: What do I make of this? Does he like having a friend or not?

The first time I tried getting a friend for Cinderella, it did NOT work out. Keesha hated Cinderella. But Cinderella tried over and over to be friends. So I waited a few months and adopted Cleo. Three years later, they're still not friends.

Another kitty could work out fine. Or not. It could be a completely different reaction. Get a second cat because YOU want another cat, even if they don't end up as buddies.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
Always in my heart, my sweet Cali, running free at the Bridge.

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