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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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advice/opinions on a playmate for Celia

Long post, but I'm starting to feel like it's a bit urgent that I find Celia a playmate, because she is having a really hard time. Even though she and Margaux were never close, she isn't doing well being alone. Obviously, it'll depend on the individual kitty, but general opinions and personal experiences would be much appreciated.

She's 14.5 years old, very skittish, submissive, easily stressed, needs lots of mommy time, and has not lived with any other cats for the past 13 years. She may have lived with other cats before I adopted her; she seems to want to play with other cats and I think she would have loved it if Margaux had given her the time of day. I feel like it's going to be pretty tricky to find the right kitty and am not sure what will be the most important considerations.

First, would you go with a mellow senior kitty or an older kitten? Celia is still playful, but she's never been the kind of kitty to wreak havoc. I really don't want to adopt a kitten, but I know that cats usually accepts kittens more easily than they accept adult kitties.

Celia's a small cat. Would she be intimidated by a bigger cat? The stray who was here for a few weeks was about 7 months and a little smaller than Celia. Celia was very curious but not fearful at all. It looked like she wanted to make friends with her. But she is still afraid of Mr. Casper (my outdoor kitty who stays in the screened porch), who is not a huge cat but bigger than her, even though they've known each other for 5 years.

As for temperament, Margaux was definitely the dominant kitty, so Celia's used to that dynamic, but bringing in a new dominant kitty seems like a bad idea. If I bring in a kitty as submissive as Celia, will Celia become the dominant kitty? Mr. Casper is actually a submissive cat, but after a while, he seemed to zero in on Celia as the weak kitty and went right after her a couple of times.

Is a submissive kitty going to be a velcro kitty? Celia would not handle that well. Margaux was never a lap cat, so Celia got used to having me to herself in the evenings. When Margaux started claiming a spot on the couch last year, I'd get her to move down towards the other end and Celia would hop in between my legs. But in the last few months, if Margaux came towards Celia looking for space closer to me, Celia would swat her, something she had never done before. So I might be one of the few people looking for a non-cuddly cat, lol.

Anything else I should be considering?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 01:25 AM
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Margaux was never a lap cat, so Celia got used to having me to herself in the evenings. When Margaux started claiming a spot on the couch last year, I'd get her to move down towards the other end and Celia would hop in between my legs. But in the last few months, if Margaux came towards Celia looking for space closer to me, Celia would swat her, something she had never done before.
Sounds like Celia would like having you to herself.

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She's 14.5 years old, very skittish, submissive, easily stressed, needs lots of mommy time,
To be honest, I wouldn't add another cat. What behavior makes you think she's having a hard time?

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, you wouldn't think she might want/need a companion, and I really thought she'd be thrilled to have me to herself. She does love it, sometimes. But there have been so many behavioral changes...She's taken to sniffing and whisker-tickling me awake. In the past, she did this very rarely and only when desperate for food. Now, she wakes me up and drags me downstairs (she's strong) even though she's not hungry and she doesn't want to play. One day after dragging me downstairs, she just climbed into her bed and went to sleep. (This made me unhappy.) The vet wonders if she's afraid being by herself. Yet she won't sleep upstairs with me.

Strangely, she spends time upstairs in my bedroom when I'm downstairs. ?? When I'm awake and at home, she doesn't often ask to spend time with me. She used to just sleep most of the afternoon and evening, but her sleep is all out of whack right now. Sometimes, I go into the living room figuring she's sleeping and find her sitting on the back on the couch, just staring at the window or the wall. If I come to give her some attention, sometimes she likes it, sometimes she acts like I'm bothering her.

She has been more playful, which is nice, and it makes me think having a playmate would be a good thing. I'm not often out of the house for more than 7 hours at a time now, but the problem is that I do a lot of work at home, so even when I'm home, I don't necessarily have time to spend with her.

Having written all of that, I just realized that, as hard as it is to admit inadequacy, what I'm feeling is that I'm not enough for her.

So I've contacted a couple of places about possibly fostering, in which case I wouldn't take a senior. I feel like the kitty in this description is the type of kitty who might be a good fit:

"Bella is a beautiful calico cat. Bella is a small cat. She is very friendly and gets along well with dogs. She tends to be bullied by other cats and would probably do best as an only cat."

This cat is on the other side of the state, but I am really worried that Celia is so sad. She just seems to be withering.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 03:35 AM
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I don't know. It hasn't really been that long since you lost Margaux. Celia probably does miss her, but she may need time to readjust and find her own new position in the house now. What if the new cat doesn't work out? The stress on Celia would be much worse than what she's going through now. I think I'd wait another two months and see how her behavior is.

I'm sure this has been hard on you, too. Maybe you're wanting another cat in the house?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 04:54 AM
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I know this dilemma. When my 18 yo died the 16yo got the run of the house. At first she seemed fine but once it slowly sunk in she started to want to play rougher with us. I wrestled with the idea of getting a second cat for her last years. My husband didn't think it was a good idea but I knew she missed having another animal in the house- not necessarily for a playmate but just to make her feel at ease as she had always been in a multi-pet household.

Cats each have a personality and I find that it is a little hard to predict who is going to gel with who. For example I have one cat named Choo, who was 9 months at the time we brought in our second cat Matty. Choo was big and powerful. We used to joke that she was a football player and she was bold enough to stare down the vacuum cleaner and never back away from a new thing.

We then brought in Matty as a foster from the shelter we work at. He was the ultimate timid kitty. The smallest and most terrified of the litter and he was on his way to becoming "unadoptible." I took him home as a fosture and after a long period of safe room, scent and then sight swapping some magic happened. Matt got to see how my bold cat Choo, was fine around humans. She enjoyed pets and showed no fearful body language around us. With Choo modeling how to interact with humans, Matty was able to calm down around people and enjoy the love too!

Choo benefitted because she was going through some biting period of her own but with Matty she just allogrooms. She hasn't been biting us since and she and Matty have this perfect BFF relationship. When the wand toy comes out they take turns, with the older Choo stepping back so Matty can go wild with the toy until she decides it is her turn and Matty waits. These cats had opposite demeanors but it has been wonderful for us!

You could take some time to see if she adjusts but I don't believe it is absolutely necessary. You should research privately run cat shelters in your area. Then make an in-person visit during their public hours to see the cats. Again you can't fully predict how two cats will take to each other but you can at least get a general idea from the staff how a specific individual deals with other cats. I've seen young person-friendly cats huddle up with the senior "rafter" or people-fearing cats and I've seen plenty of adults play with kittens. Usually the seniors all hang out together. So if you didn't really want a kitten an older cat could work out too- even another senior. It is all about personality.

Tell the staff that you are looking for a companion for your 14.5 old cat who is acting differently since losing her housemate. Ask the staff which cats they can recommend. After you get their suggested candidates ask more questions. If they have not already offered the information have them describe the cat's personality to you. Ask if the cat gets along with other cats, then ask if those other cats are kittens or adults, outgoing or shy etc. Keep in mind that shelters usually have some hierarchy where there are people who either run the adoptions process or those who have worked for a long time and really know the cats' personalities. There are also a lot of us that are there one or two days a week or who just started last months and don't really have a familiarity with all the cats' quirks and personalities. If you think you are talking to someone who is newer or who doesn't know the info you need. Ask the worker to tell you who the best person to talk to about the individual cats would be.

Fill out an adoption application while you are there but when you talk to the adoption counselor fill her/ him in on your situation and inquire if foster to adopt is an option.

Sorry if this is so long. I'm lengthy when I'm tired.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 10:48 AM
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Patty, I think you know Celia best and if you feel she needs a companion, then get one! Even if they aren't BFFs, they will have each other in the house as company. Just like a new kitty won't ever replace Margaux for you...it won't for Celia either. But, it may offer her that companionship you feel she is needing. Good luck!

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 11:14 AM
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I don't really have any advice, but I'm wishing you all the best. Sounds like fostering might be a great option to see how Celia reacts.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 10:55 PM
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Hi Spirite,
There's some good advice here...
I agree with Carrie, you know Celia best...
I know you both are missing Margaux...
(((HUGS)))
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An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2015, 12:54 AM
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From what you've said about Celia... I truly think she could benefit from a nice, quiet, calm, similar temperament companion. I picture a small, gentle girl being a great companion for her. Possibly not a kitten, but maybe a younger cat as long as their temperament matches up with her. It really does sound like Celia is lonely and missing a kitty companion... and at that age, I think having a nice companion can only help her and raise her spirits which is so important!

I think fostering is a great idea, especially if a rescue would let you take the kitty that sounds like a good match home to see if it works out first. But even if you look at shelters, if you can have an area to play and get to know the cat, you might be able to find a kitty with a similar personality to Celia's.

I'm so hoping it works out for you and your dear Celia. *hugs*

And don't feel bad about admitting inadequacy... I felt the same way with Ellie. Ellie is naturally timid and very needy. She was depressed when we were gone, but even when I'm home I'm often busy with college work so didn't have enough time to dedicate to her. Getting Tootsie as her companion was the best decision I ever made! I think every kitty deserves a nice companion, if they seem to want one.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2015, 02:33 AM
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Aww, I'm so sorry that Celia seems to be having such a rough time adjusting. That must be so painful to see, especially when comparing her "before" behaviors to now. I've no clue how long a kitty's grieving period can last, but if you seem to think she is deteriorating from lack of companionship, it may be a good idea to start looking at least, and talk to someone at the shelter to see if there's a special kitty available that may fit right in.

The only additional thing I'd ask when adopting out a new kitty (if you decide to go ahead) is to see if they'd be willing to accept the kitty back in the event that Celia isn't liking the situation or getting along even with a slow introduction. Sure hope that will not be the case, however!

Good wishes to Celia and you both! Hugs and pets, too! I'm crossing my fingers for both of you, whatever you decide.
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