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Stress on older cat adding to family

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We are so torn... as mentioned in another post..we lost our 12 year old Mittens after a fight with CRF. Our 13 year old, Angel, that was here first.... is very lonely.
Both female, indoor. Not always best of friends, but tolerated each other. We are now 3 1/2 weeks without Mittens. Angel, is sleeping with us, and everywhere we go in the house. After we go to bed, she goes downstairs in the the kitchen and meows. We think she is calling for Mittens. This is a new behavior. We do not understand it. So we call her and she comes back up to bed.
We are definately going to honor Mittens and get probably two new family members. We are looking at kittens and will keep everyone seporate for 4-6 weeks. We have a large house and this will not be a problem. Angel will be able to smell under the bedroom door we plan to keep them in. We have read up on the extract smell, and rubbing the smells around. Our main concern is, is it possible this would give Angel a heart attack? When Mittens came home from the hospital a day before passing..... Angel had a hissy fit and tried to hide. We know it was because of the hospital stay of 4 nights caused new smells. Mittens only lived another day and we could see she was miserable and could not be selfish anymore.
We have pleanty of time, we want to make it work. We would love to see Angel mother the two kittens, she has never has been a mother. We felt two kittens so they could keep each other company, then eventually we would be one big family when we eventually all got along together.
My wife and I are so mixed up.... we always wanted more kittens, but not like this. We cry in bed at night when we hear Angel meowing at night downstairs. We know she is lonely because if we go to the cellar, where she is not allowed.. she crys for us..... this is all new behavior.
Thank you to everyone for your support and help
post #2 of 19
I'm very sorry about your loss of Mittens and I'm sure it's going to take Angel a good amount of time to adjust to life without her friend.

I'm sure that everything will be ok with the introduction process, again it will just take time
post #3 of 19
I'm not sure I understand why you're not letting her sleep with you at night, but... From long experience, I will say that Angel will see the kittens as a threat (cats don't differentiate between grown-ups and babies!) and may give them a hard time, though it's quite possible that as soon as they're a bit bigger, the tables could turn as older cats are often seen as 'prey'. The natural world is not nice at all sometimes. However, having other cats in the house (friends or enemies) will make her feel better and she will stop crying (really!). I wouldn't do the whole smelly thing myself (never have - lots of cats), just protect the babies til they're a few months old - not behind doors all the time (only for a week or so), but by your being around when they're together (behind doors when you're not til you see how things go). A few hisses or even 'air-swats' are nothing, just letting everyone know where they stand, and those should disappear in 10 days, but whether they become 'friends' is another matter and no one can predict that or manage it.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Larke... yes...I may have miss spoke... she can sleep with us and does..She gets in the middle of me and my wife...lies on her side and purrs away. Its just that before she does this... she goes downstairs to the first floor and meows in the kitchen... Then we call her up... she is a talker anyways...... and comes to bed with us... I spoon her.. that sounds crazy..but I love her.
The kittens would would keep in a seporate bedroom and when we let them out.... keep Angel in another bedroom to let the kittens stretch out and smell up the place so Angel can smell their presents.
So you do not think this would stress Angel into a heart attack.
Also.. the kittens would be eating kitten food in a second bedroom. Angel has to eat senior food....
If the kittens get into the senior food,, is that bad for them. I feed all hard food Science Diet.
post #5 of 19
I don't think Angel will have a heart attack. She's a healthy girl, just a little up in years, is that right?

I've never worked real hard to isolate the adult food. The kitten food just seems so yummy that everyone's focus is on that. I don't know about senior food though (might be lower in some things that kittens need), but one thing I've done to isolate the kitten food is to set up a box or a storage tub, with a kitten sized hole in it. I put the food in the box and only the kittens can fit in to eat. That takes care of half the battle.

I think your plan to get 2 kittens is a good one. It's been my experience, though that girl cats are less adaptive to new 'friends' than boys are. My girls are always swatty/hissy/territorial and the boys act like Mother Goose with new kittens, LOL. My girls aren't vicious...never did any real harm, but they can be drama queens. I would expect a little drama...but it should smooth out in time.

Oh, and you're not crazy...you just love Angel. I'm sure she's a special girl.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Beandip.. Angel is healthy..knock on wood....she is very very talkative. She use to talk alot, but now she does not shut up. But thats ok.. as long as she is healthy. We are going to have her checked shortly for her yearly. She does have a little twitch and drinks alot of water... but she always drank alot of water.. I sure hope it is not CRF. I think we had our share of that already. Thank you for not thinking I am nuts with the cuddles at night... I have been married almost 30 years... so my wife understands. I think we are going to do it.... it will take time, but well worth it. Angel will always be the top cat.. The shelters were almost empty yesterday. We went to three of them and all were very busy. A good sign.
On one other note that may not belong in this thread,,, is CRF a genetic thing.. or is it got by dry food.
post #7 of 19
Cats rarely have cardiac problems until they're really old - and can live to be over 20, so 13's nothing! And there's little difference in the food - one has fewer calories and a little less protein, but none will be harmed by the occasional foray into the others' food.
post #8 of 19
I just hope it all works out for ya'll. It sounds like ya'll wanna do the right thing, I am sending some prayers and hugs from Mississippi for you.

post #9 of 19
First let me say I love that you spoon your kitty while sleeping!!!!!!! I am so happy when Maia curls up with me at night I get the best sleep!
Senior food is not bad for young cats or kittens, its just low cal and nutritional value which often they eat even more of it then. Just be sure you feed the kittens seperate a diet specified for thier needed diet.
post #10 of 19
I do not mean to be rude with this post. I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just cranky right now.

It is my opinion that you would be better off looking for another adult or senior kitty. Myabe lets say 5+ years. I just think that if I had a senior kitty, s/he would be miserable with a kitten or kittens in the house. It's just too much activity. That's just my opinion, though. Kittens take a long time to mature, & Angel might not appreaciate too much "youthfullness"!

I have seen kittens come back to the shelter I volunteer at because they were too spunky for the resident senior cat. I just want to be sure you are thinking this through! (Not that getting kittens is a bad idea, I just like to see people who are thoroughly thinking a decision through like you are! )
post #11 of 19
Based on my experience, I recommend you do not get young cats, and maybe no more cats.

While I love the crew I have now, I had very deep regrets that I subjected my senior girl to new cats in her senior years.

Like you, I had one pass and felt she needed company. WEll she did not, and her remaining two years were hell for her. Yes it made life a little more interesting, but what 80 year old do you know that wants to be tormented by a bunch of teenagers?

I could never leave them unseparated when I wasn't home, because the young cats would torment my girl that I had for 15 years. Boy, some thanks she got for being a loving companion all those years.

My decision was selfish, I needed another cat, she did not. If I had to do it over, I would not have brought another young cat into the house and maybe no other cat at all.

The reason I am being so blunt, is you may be like me, and not pick up on subtle messages. I asked advice, and would get answers as you did above, oh it takes awhile to adjust, give them time, older cats might not like kittens, no one came out and said, you are making a mistake. You will make your old cat miserable.

All that being said, it is your decision, and your experience may be entirely different. Good Luck with whatever you decide.
post #12 of 19
I too would think very hard about kittens, although if you get them in a pair you have a better chance of them getting along, as they will have someone of their own age to bounce off. I never, ever recommend a single kitten with a senior cat - I foster, and my oldies never tolerate anything under the age of 18 months, as they want to play all the time, and mine are too sedate for that. Good luck, but as Gailluvscats says, they dont always want a new friend, they are only mourning their old one, and would be happier just being an only cat rather than having to adapt at their age. My oldies will let me adopt other oldies, cos they are all so grateful to have a home that they find their own space with very little fuss towards anyone else in the house.
post #13 of 19

I cant really say what i think about the discussion between older cats being subjected to kittens. However, my experience has been that slow and supervised introduction is best and watch out for one typical kitten behavior! They will see your older cat as a new play partner and comes dashing up to play. VERY alarming to an older cat not used to this and could create some difficult moments that take a long time to come over, for both parties.

I had my two kittens about two weeks when i had a family emergency and had to fly home. A friend with an older cat (5 years) stepped up and took the kittens for me. When i went to leave them with her, her adult was outside. We lhad et the kittens out of their carrying box to explore when the adult began crying outside to come in. My friend let her in and one of my kittens went flying up to play... not good! It took about 45 minutes to get my kitten to go back on the floor again (having picked her up to rescue her) and took about three weeks before she could be in the same room as the adult without poofing up into a round hairball and peeing. Note- my other kitten and the adult became friends rather quickly-

I cant say what is "right" or not... but take it slow and i bet it will go alright. Maybe they wont be fast friends, maybe they will.. but more then likely they will tolerate each other.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your notes... I have no hard feelings for any of your thoughts. You are all much more experienced than we are. Mittens was one of our first pets.. as a kitten we brought her up and loved her. We felt in a way we groomed her. This is why we felt kittens would be better, but do understand what you are saying. We know we need to do something. Our Angel is more talkative now than ever.. she does not shut up.. and we do not know what she wants... constant talking. She tucks us in to bed, then goes downstairs and meows in the kitchen... so we call her and she comes back up to bed with us. We are so sad with the loss, and now sad for Angel. I hate leaving for work, and go home early just to be with her.
I am sure we will have either one or two new members of the family soon. We feel Mittens would want it that way too. We are heartbroken.
We are glad this group is here so we have a sholder to cry on, and have honest support.
post #15 of 19
I have no experience introducing cats or kitten but I wanted to say that the cat we had when I was young grew much more vocal as he aged. He was not a "talker" but when he got old he used to cry during the night as well. When I was a teenager, my parents would go out of town (the cat was about 15) and I'd have friends sleep over -- they all complained about my cat crying when they were trying to sleep (I think he missed my mom).

Anyhow, not sure what the right answer is but I think it might be very hard on her to accept another cat at her age. We recently got my brother's cat together with my cat (they are siblings 10 months old) -- my cat (the male) was way more accepting of her then she was of him. He was just curious about her -- she was growling, hissing, etc... So, I think there really is something to it when people say females are less accepting then males.

Why don't you wait at least six months. By then she will have forgotten a lot about the other cat and you can better judge the situation.
post #16 of 19
I think adopting an older cat of similar activity level from a rescue may be more appropriate in your situation. The transition should be a lot easier without the kitten antics. I don't think your cat would have a heart attack, but i think living with kittens might be awfully stressful and could effect her quality of life, and there are an awful lot of adult cats out there in need of a loving home.
post #17 of 19
My Senior cat Ox will be 18 in March-my youngest cat is a little over 2 1/2 yrs.
Ox is a survivor and unfortunately has seen many cats in our household over his life. Ever cat seems to know that he is the old man and to leave him alone!!
Bakker when he was a kitten learned after a few swats and even know will try to rile up Ox and it doesn't work!! The others leave Ox alone too!!
There will be some exciting moments to be sure when introducing cats but it works out after a while!!
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by luxum View Post
I think adopting an older cat of similar activity level from a rescue may be more appropriate in your situation. The transition should be a lot easier without the kitten antics. I don't think your cat would have a heart attack, but i think living with kittens might be awfully stressful and could effect her quality of life, and there are an awful lot of adult cats out there in need of a loving home.
I agree with this opinion.
post #19 of 19
I would be tempted to get a geriatric blood panel done on her before trying to introduce a new cat, just in case the vocalisation is down to something else (thyroid probs can cause it), and maybe give it a bit longer for her to get used to the loss of her friend, I think if you do it too early, it could be a lot harder than if she has had a few months of adjusting first.
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