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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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adding a second cat

I'm hoping I can pick the brains of some experienced cat owners. I've had a bit of a health scare with my cat a few weeks ago and luckily everything is okay now. But it's made me think a lot. I have been thinking for a while that I might want to add a second younger cat. Initially I thought I would wait until mine is a bit older, she's around 9 now, but the original owners lost her paperwork, so it's just a guess. I think that maybe she would manage easier now, than when she's older.

I got my cat because she had an issue with other cats in the household. At first they were 4 cats and everything was fine and that's how she grew up. But once the oldest died, I guess there was a power struggle and the original owner had to give her up because she couldn't get along. I don't know if that's a 'red flag', meaning she should stay an only kitty or if it just depends on the other cat(s).

Mine is very outgoing, eager to greet people and sniff them all over. She doesn't hide much, yet she scares easily if a blanket is creased in a funny place or a jacket is on the floor instead of the hook. She definitely likes things the way they are, but she's not adverse to having people in the house. She's also very affectionate, but it did take us a while to fully bond and for me to feel that she fully trusts me.

I do have the space, time and hopefully patience to slowly introduce them, but I just can't make my mind up if it's a good idea. I do think she's happy and maybe I'm selfish just thinking it might be easier on me down the road, but then I think that maybe she would like a companion. She's pretty active still and loves to play.

Do you have any word of advice? It would break my heart to give up a new cat again, but I do want mine to be happy first and foremost. I would like to adopt a shelter cat, but I think maybe a breeder would be better because I could give her back easier than having to put her back in a shelter. Any recommendations for what kind of a temperament, age, sex, etc?

Thank you all!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 07:32 PM
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chec this out, MARIE, one of the long time members linked this for me a few days ago...there are a few articles about how to introduce.

Cat-to-Cat Introductions | Little Big Cat

Some of them are written be Jackson him if you dont know the name. Hes got that cat show on TV teaching owners how to get their cats to become friendly, get along with other cats, stop destroying furniture etc etc.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 10:05 PM
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If it's a cat with a history of having some issues with other cats AND if she's recently recovered from health problems, she may not want you to.

However, if it's something you want and, as you say, you have the space, time, and patience, then you could do it. Ask the shelter/breeder/foster to give recommendations to help find a cat with a personality that is receptive to other cats (as well as a cat you bond with personally), especially if yours presented herself as an alpha or "leader-of-the-pack" in the previous home.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 10:29 PM
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zuma, i don't necessarily want to discourage you, BUT i will at least tell you my own experience. we adopted angel a year ago and the shelter DID tell us they thought she'd be best as an only cat. however, naive me decided i just HAD to give a buddy for her a try because i was convinced she was lonely and maybe they just thought she didn't get along with other cats because she hated the shelter so much and wasn't happy, anyway. plus, i also figured we had the time, space, and money to try to give another deserving kitty a loving home.

well, it's been 6 months since we adopted the 2nd cat, lucy. angel is going to be 12 this year and lucy will be 15. angel was so spoiled with us as an only kitty and lucy is as mellow as you can get, so we figured angel would be able to accept her. the introduction is still going on really. angel still hisses every once in a while and even fakes a swipe at lucy when she gets too close. both are declawed and there has never been any actual physical contact, but emotionally/mentally, i think angel is still a bit stressed out about sharing her home. i believe the stress caused a herpes virus flareup and also contributed to a ringworm breakout, too! these were caused more by us being REAL suckers for needy kitties and adopting a 3rd cat in the last couple of months, who i think brought ringworm with him! the 3rd is a young male whipper snapper at just 7 and he has NO manners! he's loud and energetic and angel absolutely hates him right now, even though he is a baby and runs when she hisses at him. but we got roped into the 3rd because he was apparently pretty bonded with lucy at the shelter and was pretty depressed when we took her away, so we felt committed to bringing him home eventually, too.

okay, okay. enough of my woes. i'll end by saying that if i knew then what i know now, i don't think i would have ever looked for a buddy for angel. next time a shelter tells me a cat should be an "only" cat, i will believe them. i truly feel i have reduced the quality of angel's life with us by bringing in other cats. i would never give up #2 and #3 NOW, but it's sad to see my angel acting differently and refusing to go to certain parts of the house now. maybe it will improve still, but it is taking a LOT longer than i ever imagined.

good luck with your decision.

Last edited by maggie23; 02-27-2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 04:15 AM
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I have rarely had a problem adding cats to my pride. The only really bad one was my ApacheCat who will be 17 years old this year. I did not get Apache until she was three months old and she was 100% feral. Her mother got killed on the road outside of my dad's house and dad heard her kitten (Apache) yowling for her in our back yard. He said she sounded so lonely he could not ignore her heartbroken cries (this from a man who hates cats). So he and my mom caught her and gave her to me. It took me two months to have her accept me enough to be visible to me while we were in the same room.

I had really bad asthma then, so all my cats were confined to a cat room to help with my allergies. When I finally got her tame enough to allow me to touch her, I tried putting her in the catroom with the other 21 cats. Apache promptly started beating up each and every cat in the room. So I had to take her out of the catroom and allow her the run of the house. Luckily just one cat in the rest of the house made no difference to my asthma. I started introducing her to the more laid back cats from the catroom one at a time in her part of the house, especially keeping sick or cats needing medication in the rest of the house with her and me; and eventually she accepted the presence of other cats. When Apache was about 8 years old, my cat pride had decreased to 12 and I did away with the catroom and opened the doors. Apache has always been the alpha female cat until last year when her chronic illness has caused her to lose weight and be less energetic.

I usually start with my ferals in their own isolation room for at least 45 days to make sure they will not spread disease in my pride. They get a vet check right away to rule out contagious diseases and then get spayed or neutered as needed. Meanwhile my cats can hear the new cats in the isolation room and after the vet check I allow them to sniff one another under the isolation room door. Gradually they get used to one another's smell and then I start allowing the least aggressive of my cats into the room to meet the new cats. There is usually a lot of hiding under the bed by the newcomers; yet they have been in the isolation room long enough to think of it as their territory, so they stand their ground and eventually make friends with the pride. Once there are no yowling cat fights, I open the door and leave it open and the cats begin to mingle and the new ones begin to explore the house a little at a time. Usually within six months, everyone is on good terms and there are no disagreements or fights.

The key is slow introduction with no one feeling they are being pressured or squeezed or neglected and the new cats feeling secure. Often the new cats keep claim on the isolation room for up to a year and often retire to that room if they are feeling insecure or upset or have a disagreement with one of the existing pride.

I have always loved rescuing ferals and I shall miss being able to do so again.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 07:34 AM
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You could conditionally adopt another cat as a companion. I have done this with all my cats. I adopt them on the condition that they are not cat aggressive. Large shelters rarely have the means to check every cat in every circumstance. If the new cat is cat agressive or your resident cat is just absolutely miserable after a month you can return second kitty for a better family fit. In my case, it has always worked out fine (or tolerable).

In our household of 5 indoor cats our Maddie hates everyone new and has never bonded with anyone - hisses when someone gets too close, but for the most part she is now largely ignored. I have never had a real knock down drag out fight, but growling and hissing are a normal part of getting acquainted for newcomers.

Having said all this, the above advice is sound. Use a slow methodical introduction and you may have reigning peace from the get go..... Or you could have fur flying aggression. You will need to decide if you (and resident kitty) can live with that or not or if there is hope or not. Shelters will always take back kitties that are not good fits.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 07:43 AM
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My prev housemate got a kitten a few years ago even though we already had an older cat, Willow who was about 11 at the time, and has always been a bit highly strung and unsure of herself, I warned him against doing it but he did AND got another girl (which I also advised against), Willow was not and is still not happy about it, esp as Abbey is half Bengal and VERY active, it took Willow about a year before she would be in the same room as use, even longer for him and even now she avoids Abbey as much as pos and still goes for her if she gets too close, at least Willow has chilled out a bit now, she is 16 after all and seems to like more cuddles than she used to, I think after watching Abbey for so long and wanting a bit of the action for herself, as Abbey is very much a cuddle kitty. I would personaly think very carefully about getting another cat esp when you suspect your current one really wont like it.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:59 AM
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imho not a good idea. Your cat is 9 y.o. at least and possibly more, is set in her ways, likes things as they are, does not get along with other cats, and recently had a "health scare". What makes you think she would even want a cat friend? I really don't think another cat in the house would enhance her life and may well cause her enough stress to precipitate another health scare. I would not take the chance. She seems to be happy how she is....she enjoys visitors and is very affectionate toward you. I'm sure that would change, as most cats will withdraw affection from their owner for weeks, months or forever. If I were in your shoes, I would love her as she is, which I'm sure you do, and let her live out her days in peace. When she is gone, then get two cats.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 01:03 PM
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I don't think it'd be a good idea to adopt another, either. You knew when you adopted her that you'd be a one cat household for her life. I believe it'd probably stress her out more than anything and could even create more health issues. Plus it wouldn't be fair to a new cat to be put in that situation to begin with. Try stepping into THEIR paws and thinking about how they'd think or react.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 01:13 PM
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Each case is different and you never know what the situation was that made the shelter label them that way. Of course, there are cats that would prefer to be an only cat, but sometimes people throw two cats together without a proper introduction and without giving them time to adjust, and if they dont get along immediately, they will return the cat to the shelter.

If you want to give it a try without any commitment, try fostering

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