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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Should I get my cat a companion?

Hello everyone. I'm new around here but I have been enjoying reading all the great information.

My family and I need a little help with my 7 month old cat Cole. We got him when he was around 8 weeks or so from a couple who had rescued him from a farm. They said the farm was overrun with cats and the owners were planning on killing a bunch of them so they took him home. Cole was also sick when we got him so the situation he came from didn't sound too good to say the least. He also liked to kneed and suck on your shirt or a blanket and still does it to this day.

Cole can be very sweet and loving, wanting to sit with you and purr or snuggle up next to you and sleep. He also follows you around everywhere and doesn't like to be left alone at all. If someone manages to go upstairs while he's eating or something, once he realizes he doesn't know where you are he starts crying. He is also very vocal in general. On the other hand, he runs away from us a lot and dodges away from being petted or picked up, often trying to bite us. He also attacks our ankles or arms. Sometimes it's little nips but a lot of times he bites hard and it can be difficult to get him to let go. He'll meow in a high pitch and continue to lunge at you and bite until he gets distracted and quits. Cole is also very anxious and high-strung. Any little noise can scare him and he can be quite jumpy. I also feel he may be a bit bored as he sometimes just runs around aimlessly or paces a bit and then he'll just sit down and sigh. He obviously had other cats at the farm and the couple who took him home had another kitten that he ran around with and played with as well as an adult cat. Could Cole be trying to tell us he wants a companion? We do play with him a lot and he has a lot of toys to play with but he just seems discontent. He is also left "alone" for around 7-8 hours a day (someone is home but sleeping) and as I said, he doesn't like to be alone.

We don't want Cole to be unhappy and want to help him, but the other problem is the biting. I personally have a weakened immune system due to several illnesses and have been warned from the doctor and the vet about the bites and scratches and the possibility of infection. I just can't continue to have this be a problem.

Sorry this was so long. We will appreciate any advice that anyone can give us. Thank you so much for your time.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 12:29 AM
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Tough question. It depends on Cole. I got a companion cat for Mia and found out she'd rather be an only cat. She tolerates her step-sister. Her step-sister loves her but is too active for Fay.

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 12:40 AM
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I have never dealt with introducing a new cat (although a lot of people on here have!!), but I can speak from experience with having two kittens. Our kittens are almost 7 months old. I cannot imagine how one of them would be alone - they are just SO active!! They use up a lot of their energy playing and wrestling together, and I feel better knowing they have each other when we're not home. However, our kittens are brother and sister, so there was never any problem with them getting along.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 12:44 AM
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I got Monkey a playmate when she was 4 years old, thinking she would like to have someone to play with since I moved out with her and we left her "siblings" behind at my parents house (my two other cats who belonged to my mother and sister).

She tolerates Dexter but has never really played with him. She would much rather be an only cat. Now Dexter LOVES her and if it wasn't for the strong bond he has with my dog Stark, I would worry about him.

Monkey is content to be with me and could careless about the others in the home.

Definitely depends on your little ones' personality. Can you foster-to-adopt? Test the waters with a foster and if it works out great - adopt but if not work with the rescue to find a suitable home for the newcomer/foster?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 06:49 AM
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I would only get a second cat if that's what you and your family want, not just for Cole's sake. If you decide you do want a second, then it is generally easy to introduce a 7-month old to a new cat. Or, put another way, it will get more difficult as Cole gets older. If you decide you and your family really don't want a second cat, then I'd try to deal with Cole's biting, etc.

It sounds like Cole was separated from his littermates quite young, which may mean he never learned to control his biting. When he does bite, you should say "No" in a calm but stern voice, and then ignore him for a good 10 minutes. You can also consider other things to help alleviate his boredom. You'll find lots of other threads here about things to do to amuse a bored cat.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for answering!

Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowdaisies View Post
I have never dealt with introducing a new cat (although a lot of people on here have!!), but I can speak from experience with having two kittens. Our kittens are almost 7 months old. I cannot imagine how one of them would be alone - they are just SO active!! They use up a lot of their energy playing and wrestling together, and I feel better knowing they have each other when we're not home. However, our kittens are brother and sister, so there was never any problem with them getting along.
Cole is definitely very active and we were told he enjoyed running around with the cat he was living with for a while before we got him and I thought another cat would benefit him with having another cat to play and wrestle with. Also a buddy for when he is alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey_Girl View Post
I got Monkey a playmate when she was 4 years old, thinking she would like to have someone to play with since I moved out with her and we left her "siblings" behind at my parents house (my two other cats who belonged to my mother and sister).

She tolerates Dexter but has never really played with him. She would much rather be an only cat. Now Dexter LOVES her and if it wasn't for the strong bond he has with my dog Stark, I would worry about him.

Monkey is content to be with me and could careless about the others in the home.

Definitely depends on your little ones' personality. Can you foster-to-adopt? Test the waters with a foster and if it works out great - adopt but if not work with the rescue to find a suitable home for the newcomer/foster?
I would love to foster-to-adopt but it just doesn't seem practical for us unfortunately and living in a small town I don't know if there are opportunities for that. I love that idea though.

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Originally Posted by Susan View Post
I would only get a second cat if that's what you and your family want, not just for Cole's sake. If you decide you do want a second, then it is generally easy to introduce a 7-month old to a new cat. Or, put another way, it will get more difficult as Cole gets older. If you decide you and your family really don't want a second cat, then I'd try to deal with Cole's biting, etc.

It sounds like Cole was separated from his littermates quite young, which may mean he never learned to control his biting. When he does bite, you should say "No" in a calm but stern voice, and then ignore him for a good 10 minutes. You can also consider other things to help alleviate his boredom. You'll find lots of other threads here about things to do to amuse a bored cat.
I would like another cat and I feel the others would too but their biggest fear is that if we got another cat, they wouldn't get along. When I was young we had two cats at home and it didn't work out because our first cat should have been an only cat, he wanted to rule the house and didn't react well at all to a second one being brought in.

We definitely felt the same way on Cole being separated from his littermates too soon and that could be part of the problem. We've tried several different things with the biting, most recently as you said and so far it hasn't helped at all.


If we were to get Cole a companion, should we get him one about his age, older, younger?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chochie1 View Post
I would like another cat and I feel the others would too but their biggest fear is that if we got another cat, they wouldn't get along. When I was young we had two cats at home and it didn't work out because our first cat should have been an only cat, he wanted to rule the house and didn't react well at all to a second one being brought in.

If we were to get Cole a companion, should we get him one about his age, older, younger?
I suspect the cat you had when growing up was older than 7 months when first introduced to your other cat, although correct me if I'm wrong. If Cole were much older, you might have an issue...but, at 7 months it would be unusual for him to be so "set in his ways" that he would need to be an only cat...not impossible, but unlikely.

I note that I introduced my girls when they were quite young (Muffs was 5 months, Abby was 10 weeks), and I had a rough introduction (3 months). That said, mine was an unusual situation and was not the norm. And, on the plus side, my girls are now best friends...so the problems weren't permanent. I've never regretted adopting Abby, despite the initial difficult introduction. My girls are now very close and you rarely see one without the other.

If you do get a companion, I would go with one that is at least 4 months old, but not much older than 1 year. I would try to match Cole's personality as best you can. I don't mean another cat that's high strung, jumps at every noise and bites! But, if on the whole, Cole is more of a shy, quiet cat, then try to adopt another shy, quiet cat. If he tends to be more active and rambunctious, then go with another active cat...and so forth.

It would be also be best to adopt a cat that is accustomed to being with other cats and gets along with other cats (if you adopt from a rescue, the foster parents can likely advise you which cats do well with others).
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 07:26 PM
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We've had several fosters in and out here. Cookie loved some and hated others. The last one we had was here for a few months and they NEVER clicked. But with Sprinkles, they were friends almost right away. It totally depends on your cat With dedication, though, You can probably get through anything! I say YES, add another!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 07:49 PM
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Adding a second cat was totally the right decision for us. Wicket is really vocal, curious, and would follow us around constantly. After the first month we had him he really seemed bored. After we introduced him to Atlas, he seemed MUCH happier. Wicket is about two years old, and Atlas was about 4 months old when we took him in. I had a vet friend (long time cat owner) tell me that if you're introducing another cat to a household, the easiest way to do it is usually to try introducing a cat younger than the one you already have because they tend to be a bit less territorial (or not territorial at all) with kittens--and since Cole is still a kitten himself, I bet he'd take really well to a friend!

Is he neutered? The only thing would be, if he's not, making sure that you get another young male cat instead of a female kitten so you don't end up with waaaaay more than 2!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan View Post
I suspect the cat you had when growing up was older than 7 months when first introduced to your other cat, although correct me if I'm wrong. If Cole were much older, you might have an issue...but, at 7 months it would be unusual for him to be so "set in his ways" that he would need to be an only cat...not impossible, but unlikely.

I note that I introduced my girls when they were quite young (Muffs was 5 months, Abby was 10 weeks), and I had a rough introduction (3 months). That said, mine was an unusual situation and was not the norm. And, on the plus side, my girls are now best friends...so the problems weren't permanent. I've never regretted adopting Abby, despite the initial difficult introduction. My girls are now very close and you rarely see one without the other.

If you do get a companion, I would go with one that is at least 4 months old, but not much older than 1 year. I would try to match Cole's personality as best you can. I don't mean another cat that's high strung, jumps at every noise and bites! But, if on the whole, Cole is more of a shy, quiet cat, then try to adopt another shy, quiet cat. If he tends to be more active and rambunctious, then go with another active cat...and so forth.

It would be also be best to adopt a cat that is accustomed to being with other cats and gets along with other cats (if you adopt from a rescue, the foster parents can likely advise you which cats do well with others).
Thank you again for the response, it's been helpful. The cat I had growing up, and actually just lost before we got Cole, was much older when another kitten was brought in. After we had to put that cat down due to illness, he was much happier. It was an unfortunate loss but I know it also made the bond I had with my first cat stronger. He was 21 1/2 years old when we had to have him put to sleep due to renal failure and I still miss him a lot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyreflie View Post
Adding a second cat was totally the right decision for us. Wicket is really vocal, curious, and would follow us around constantly. After the first month we had him he really seemed bored. After we introduced him to Atlas, he seemed MUCH happier. Wicket is about two years old, and Atlas was about 4 months old when we took him in. I had a vet friend (long time cat owner) tell me that if you're introducing another cat to a household, the easiest way to do it is usually to try introducing a cat younger than the one you already have because they tend to be a bit less territorial (or not territorial at all) with kittens--and since Cole is still a kitten himself, I bet he'd take really well to a friend!

Is he neutered? The only thing would be, if he's not, making sure that you get another young male cat instead of a female kitten so you don't end up with waaaaay more than 2!
Thank you for the response. Wicket sounds a lot like Cole and I do think he would enjoy a friend. Definitely needed some advice since I'm no cat expert and only have one experience with having more than one cat and I was young at the time. Cole is neutered so that wouldn't be a problem.

Does anyone have a strong opinion on whether it's better to have a male and a female or both males?
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