2nd cat... foster? and a bonding question - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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2nd cat... foster? and a bonding question

I adopted Smudge in October when she was 6 months old. My husband and I were pretty adamant about never wanting to have pets, though we always loved other people's pets. Then I made the (happy!) mistake of going to the local shelter at a new PetSmart, and two days later, we all (husband and I, and our two kids) realized Smudge needed to come home with us.

She is AWESOME. She doesn't do any of the things that scared us away from pets -- scratching furniture, making a mess, vomiting. She doesn't wake us at night and is fine sleeping outside our door on her super plush pillow, or anywhere else in the house. She's a lap kitty that ADORES me. She follows me everywhere and loves to "chat". She likes my older son (, and tolerates my younger one (5). She'll sit on my husband's lap if I've made my lap unavailable. But I'm definitely her #1.

Which brings me to my questions. I wonder if she'd be happier with a playmate to snuggle and play with. She seems to want to play rough, but I discourage it because she's not currently a scratcher/biter, and I don't want to bring that out in her. She has a sad-sounding meow that sounds like she's looking for another cat. She jumps up my leg all the time, trying to get my attention. It makes me jump each time even though it happens so often! She doesn't use her claws when she does it, thank goodness.

I fear that another cat wouldn't behave as great as she does, and we'd need to rehome. Would you recommend fostering in this case? My husband and I had talked about fostering cats before, because of the limited commitment. How common is re-homing?

Also, one of the big things I was hoping to see was my 8yo, who has autism, bonding with a pet. Smudge seems to love him more each day and now hangs out in his bed sometimes, but we keep her out of the bedrooms at night because supposedly cat dander/hair can make eczema worse (both boys have it). Would letting her sleep with him potentially help shift her bond from me to him?

Do the bonds ever shift? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that she loves me so much and we have 10-20 mintues of one-on-one active snuggle time twice a day where I give her my full attention and talk to her, in addition to all the petting and lap-sitting. But I'd love to see my son have a buddy.

I would only ever consider a cat 2 years old or older. I didn't even want a kitten in the first place, but Smudge won our hearts, and has turned out to not really have much kitten behavior! At least, not the destructive/disruptive kind.

Can you help a bond form? Like if we did get a cat, even if it's a foster -- keep it in the spare room and let my older son be the one to go in to see him/her?

Thanks for any advice!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 11:11 AM
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A second cat is guaranteed to change the dynamics in the home. It will certainly be a learning curve for everyone. Cats come with no guarantees - and you lucked out with Smudge in getting a wonderful kitten right off the bat, but having said that, I have met some awesomely laid back kittens in my year of volunteering. I would recommend a year old, but talk to a shelter volunteer - several really, and just those that have experience with the cats - not one that only comes in for an hour once a week. Ask for the crazy cat person that has the most hours at the shelter.

Having your son feed her, play with her and sleep with her will certainly help create a tighter bond. Getting a second cat she may bond with the other cat and prefer to snuggle with her/him. Just never know.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 12:57 AM
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Argh. I had written a whole response, hit the wrong key, and everything disappeared.

In a nutshell, how wonderful that Smudge has turned all of you into cat lovers!

As Marcia said, there's just no way to tell what will happen between two cats. Fostering could be a good solution for you. Many shelters have foster-to-adopt programs, or have some stipulation on the adoption contract that if things don't work out, you will surrender the kitty back to them. I'm also looking for a kitty playmate and am thinking about fostering to adopt.

Most, if not all, of the people on this forum would do everything possible to avoid rehoming. But rehoming is not a dirty word, and is sometimes in the best interests of everyone, including the cat being rehomed. It's situations where a cat is surrendered for what appears to be frivolous reasons that create such a negative view of rehoming.

The kitty I've been eyeing was surrendered, after 2 weeks, for being unfriendly. In that municipality, owner surrendered animals are the first to be euthanized. That kind of thing bothers me, since 2 weeks is not enough time to figure anything out, and unfriendly is not, in my opinion, a good reason - especially when the woman who runs the shelter says the kitty is an absolute sweetheart and loves to snuggle. She's just timid and needed a little more time to feel comfortable.

But sometimes rehoming is necessary, and no one should feel bad about rehoming when it's clear that things are just not going to work out. I hope you won't be in that situation though, and that you'll find another perfect kitty to complement Smudge! (And I hope the same thing for myself!)
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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I can't seem to edit my original post, but that sunglasses guy is supposed to say that my older son is 8, LOL.

The shelter I'd use home-fosters most of their cats, and keeps a couple at PetSmart. They are a no-kill shelter that will take back any cat. However, this morning I woke up content with just Smudge. She sleeps most of the day and seems happy. I'm sure that tomorrow I'll wake up thinking about another cat. I'm guessing this will be an endless cycle?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 11:27 PM
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LOL, probably. A couple of recent posts have been by people who went "just to look" and ended up adopting immediately. So the moral of the story is if you're not sure, definitely don't go to look! (But I probably will on Saturday )
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 08:12 PM
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the rescue I just adopted from has a foster-to-adopt option. you have 2 weeks to see if the cat is going to adapt to your family and be happy. if no, they will take her back. idk for sure but I think most rescues would take an animal back if there were problems. even though my boys still aren't thrilled, the hissing and growling (mostly from the new girl) has stopped. now they just stare at each other and sneer. they actually let her eat first but she really gets the stink eye I got really lucky with her, so far she's been a perfect little cat and she seems to love playing with my 15 month old granddaughter. my boys run from her!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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I wanted to update. I have not gotten a second cat, but it's still on my mind. I decided to volunteer as a cat cuddler at the local rescue where I found Smudge. My boys go with me. We've gone maybe four times over the past month, and so far, no other cat has caught my heart. Playing with them just makes me love and appreciate Smudge even more!

I think if one ever does catch my attention, I'll send my husband over that same day and go for it if we both agree.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Not even a week after I posted, and I fell for another kitty today! She seems WONDERFUL, and is around 5 months old. But nice and calm, the way Smudge was when we met her when she was 6 months old.

I have a few questions about a second cat:
1) The room I used last time is now Smudge's room, with her litter. Do I just take it out and put it somewhere else for now?
2) Or, do I put the kitty in our newly-finished basement instead and just keep Smudge out? (Easy to do; we usually keep the door closed and only let Smudge down once or twice a day. if she wants to go.)
3) I just bought a SleepyPod carrier for Smudge, and she's been in it a lot. Can I use it to bring home the kitty, or not, because it smells like Smudge? I still have a hard carrier, but don't like that I can't buckle it in the car.
4) Eeek, is this totally nuts?? Is it even possible that a 5-month-old kitty will really be as calm as Smudge?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 12:11 PM
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1) The room I used last time is now Smudge's room, with her litter. Do I just take it out and put it somewhere else for now?
I'd be inclined to let Smudge keep her room. Otherwise it's too many changes all at once and would stress her out.
2) Or, do I put the kitty in our newly-finished basement instead and just keep Smudge out? (Easy to do; we usually keep the door closed and only let Smudge down once or twice a day. if she wants to go.)
That sounds like a better idea. Maybe brush them with the same brush for a week before allowing Smudge into the new cat's area, so that they have a group scent before they are introduced.
3) I just bought a SleepyPod carrier for Smudge, and she's been in it a lot. Can I use it to bring home the kitty, or not, because it smells like Smudge? I still have a hard carrier, but don't like that I can't buckle it in the car.
Try wedging the hard carrier between the front and back seats, if possible.
4) Eeek, is this totally nuts?? Is it even possible that a 5-month-old kitty will really be as calm as Smudge?
Not necessarily nuts, but there are no guarantees that two unrelated (or even related) cats will get along as adults, especially two females. Is the new one spayed already? You just do your best with scent transfer and playing and offering treats in each other's proximity and hope for the best. Our female cat was described as a "cozy cat" (low energy lap cat) by the SPCA. After prenatal spaying she turned into a little energy machine who just wanted to play all the time.
Putting lots of vertical spaces in your house can help a lot as they then have more territory each to themselves when they want time alone.

Last edited by Nuliajuk; 07-29-2015 at 12:14 PM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

I work out in my basement a couple times a week, though, (full gym, plus a kids play area and lounge -- it's 500 sq ft) so I wonder if that would be too stressful for a "safe room"?

Would my boys' bathroom be better? (It has a long double vanity, so it's roomy but not huge.) Or not, since they still go in there to brush teeth and shower? I'm hoping the kitty will bond with one of them, so my plan is to have them be the main visitors to the safe room. They are 9 and almost 6.

The kitten is spayed already. Smudge was born in March last year, and the new kitten was born in March this year. So they are a year apart.

I feed Smudge wet food only. I was going to try just wet food at the start with the new kitty, or is that a bad idea? I remember that with Smudge, the rescuer suggested I feed a baby food chicken jar from my fingers, but Smudge was WAY SHY and wouldn't come out to see us, even when we first met her at PetSmart. The new kitty was all over me today, as well as exploring the room.
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