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Discussion Starter #1
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 (8), 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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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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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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:D 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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Discussion Starter #7
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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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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Discussion Starter #11
We brought her home this afternoon! Decided to put her in the basement (finished, bright, awesome basement!).

I fed her at the top of the stairs by the door, which is right where Smudge eats. At first they didn't seem to notice each other, then they were sniffing. Smudge is SO curious and has been camped outside that door, laying down. Not a sound from her.

The new kitten meows a lot, and I thought that would set Smudge off, but it didn't. No reaction!

BUT! At one point, the kitten let out a nasty-sounding growl! I know it's normal, but she is SO sweet with everyone, it was surprising to hear. I would've thought Smudge would do the growling!
 

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Aw, congratulations!! Kittens are funny that way - trying to be all tough. Smudge sounds like a very laid-back kitty, and since the new kitty is still young, you might have smooth(ish) sailing with intros. I think going slowly and doing the scent-swapping are probably key. I had no idea about any of this when I adopted my two, a month apart. I just plopped Celia down in the middle of the living room and told Margaux to say hi. No hissing, no growling, no nothing - but also no bonding during their 13.5 years together. I've always wondered whether they would have bonded if I had done things correctly.

Have you named the little one yet?
 

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...I just plopped Celia down in the middle of the living room and told Margaux to say hi. No hissing, no growling, no nothing - but also no bonding during their 13.5 years together. I've always wondered whether they would have bonded if I had done things correctly...
They might have bonded, or might not have. No guarantees. My first pair of cats as an adult got along wonderfully as kittens but then decided they didn't like each other much as adults - very different personalities developed after about 6 months of age. My second pair, 15 years later, were brother and sister and together from birth. They tolerated each other, but didn't do social grooming at all after they grew up. The female half was a cat's cat, quite territorial and ruled her brother with an iron paw.
I'm inclined to think that a cat that has always been around other cats might possibly be more open to the idea of making cat friends. It will have more social skills than a cat that has been taken from it's mother at about 8 weeks of age and taken to a household with no other felines.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The new kitty lived in a foster home with her three siblings before moving to PetSmart a few days ago. Hopefully that's a good thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
What makes an intro "successful"?

Summary of questions :

Is it successful when there is NO hissing/growling/swatting? Or is it still OK if they do those things?

When do you let them be together for good? How do you know the intro period is done?

Now, my long story!

I posted in another thread that we just adopted a 4-month-old kitten on Wednesday. She had three siblings and I think they were raised in a foster home, so always together and in a loving environment. She's used to cats and is clearly lonely. We're keeping her in our finished basement, away from our resident cat, Smudge, who is exactly a year older.

Smokey, the kitten, is very lonely and LOVES people. She snuggles with my husband and two boys. She sleeps right by the door, and meows when she hears us.

Smudge had been laying down by the basement door, keeping watch. I think she even slept there last night! She usually sleeps outside my door.

We had them meet through French doors yesterday afternoon. Smudge was hesitant and watchful, and Smokey was curious but a little scared. Smokey also got to explore the house alone and loved it.

Last night, we did it again, and they seemed to want to meet, so we opened the door. She ran past Smudge and Smudge followed her silently, curiously. Smokey ended up under the couch, and growled at Smudge; I think she felt cornered. We started playing with Smudge, and Smokey came out and explored more. We then played with both in the same room (different toys), and then it was time for bed so we put Smokey back in the basement.

This morning she was meowing like crazy, and like I said, I think Smudge slept by her door. I fed both at the same time, separated by the door. I then played with Smokey for a while, but when I left, she meowed a ton. Smudge never left the door.

I decided to open the door to let a paw through. Smokey showed no fear of Smudge and was desperate to get out. Smudge was curious and quiet...so, I let Smokey out. Smudge followed Smokey quietly again. But this time, Smokey kept trying to approach Smudge face-to-face. Smudge backed away each time, except one time, when she lightly swatted the air. At one point there was one growl (Smokey) and one hiss (Smudge). I had to leave, so I put a meowing, lonely Smokey back in the basement.

Does this seem like it's on the right track? I'm very nervous about the hissing and growling, so I only do this when my husband is home. But, I'm curious to know if they will do better each time. Maybe I can try it again this afternoon?

FWIW, Smudge's scent is ALL over the basement (fabric furniture and blankets), and she bathed herself (on the cloth) and then slept on a cloth with Smokey's scent yesterday.
 

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I'm currently introducing my new rescue Spot (Manx, 4 years old) to my resident fluff Jasper (Himalayan, 11 monthes old) and this sounds like how my two have been when they've been together. Jasper is clearly more curious and will approach Spot, at which point Spot will hiss. Occasionally I hear some growling from Jasper after this happens (his growl is hilarious - so non-threatening!) We've had some paw swipes and loud meows from Spot if Jasper surprises him, which usually happens when we're trying to play and Jasper gets hyper and runs past Spot very quickly. I have fed them together and they will not trouble each other if they both have a plate in front of them, although when one finishes he won't hang around the other. Does this sound like it is going OK? I want to keep progressing slowly, we have a lot of turmoil in our household with people moving out and I don't want to add any extra stress with a botched intro.
 

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Have to get ready to go soon (hour long drive home) but a lot of the behavior your describing sounds exactly like Sera and Vincent. It took three days in my case but every time she saw him she would...

1. Hiss
2. Swat the air a little bit
3. Run away
4. Hiss some more as he followed (she was 10 months at the time and he was 11 weeks old).

Eventually he became the problem child chasing her away from food or maybe it would be better to say she left of her own will (she knew more would come whereas he didn't and wanted nothing to do with kibble lol).

But now they play together, eat together, sleep together (with me when I sleep lol), and now they clean each other (Sera cleaned him from early on just saw him do it this week was shocked).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, they are integrated as of this weekend! This went SO WELL!! They are sleeping next to each other, too (not curled up...yet). Though maybe they are. One is already up by the time I open my door. The kitten is not meowing all night, nor in the morning, so she must like the company she's keeping!

As for bonding, the kitten LOVES everyone, but is attaching to me a bit more because I'm around most of the day, and I love to do nothing else but snuggle cats! My boys play with her, but their attention span maxes out at around 10 minutes, LOL. I think it will be OK if I'm her main person, because she's a total people person and loves everyone. She also likes to nap NOT on me. She disappears when she wants to sleep!

Guys, I am SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY right now with these two kitties. :luv

Thanks for all your help!!
 
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