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Has anyone ever done anything like this?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'll spare the long explanation as to how I got into this predicament. Long story short, I'm a single guy who has to travel a lot for work (leave early Monday, get home late Thursday every week), I have a 21 month old boy Russian Blue.

My cat and I are about to move into our own place soon. I knew this situation was coming, so I've thought a ton about it and this is Plan A:

I'm picking up a second Russian Blue on Saturday, a 3 1/2 month old girl. Hopefully, her and the boy will become friends or at least tolerate each other and interact. We'll be moving into our own place in about 1-2 months. At that point, so the cats aren't left alone they'll be staying with my mother at her house from Monday night-Thursday morning every week. They'll stay with me at my place Thursday-Monday every week. My mother has 2 cats and 2 dogs of her own that get along fine.

Is it possible for my two cats be able to happily adapt to this situation? The one I already have has traveled a fair amount already, and seems to handle it ok.

Has anyone ever done anything like this with cat(s) or know someone who has? Am I crazy for trying this?
post #2 of 17
Okay, let me get this straight... you are asking your current cat to get used to

1) A new sibling
2) A new apartment
3) Your mother's place
4) All of her pets, including dogs

All at the same time? Forgive me, but that's a recipe for disaster. From a cats point of view, every time you move them from yours to your mothers, it is new and strange. I don't mean they won't recognize it, but basically both cats will be in a constant state of stress and anxiety.

The absolute best thing I can think of is to bring the girl in to whereever you live now, introduce them properly (we have lots of threads on that) and then once you move keep them both there. That is already too much for some cats, but if you have to move and get your new cat, then that's the best way. Some cats take years to get used to a new place anyway, like my sister's cat. He gets UTIs from stress every time you move the furniture.

Cats love routine. People love change. So sometimes it's hard for us to see how freaked out and stressful that sort of thing could be for a cat. But, we can't explain to them what's going on, so they will constantly feel insecure and anxious, which can become aggressive and sick very easily. They would be way better off if you leave them alone in your apartment most of the week if someone can come once a day and feed them and play and clean up their box... since you travel so much, if your mom wouldn't do that could you hire a petsitter?

Is the traveling a temporary thing? If so... it could possibly be okay to have them all at your mother's until you settle down and bring them both home.

Whatever you do, moving them twice a week is not an option, especially not the new girl.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Okay, let me get this straight... you are asking your current cat to get used to

1) A new sibling
2) A new apartment
3) Your mother's place
4) All of her pets, including dogs

All at the same time? Forgive me, but that's a recipe for disaster. From a cats point of view, every time you move them from yours to your mothers, it is new and strange. I don't mean they won't recognize it, but basically both cats will be in a constant state of stress and anxiety.

The absolute best thing I can think of is to bring the girl in to whereever you live now, introduce them properly (we have lots of threads on that) and then once you move keep them both there. That is already too much for some cats, but if you have to move and get your new cat, then that's the best way. Some cats take years to get used to a new place anyway, like my sister's cat. He gets UTIs from stress every time you move the furniture.

Cats love routine. People love change. So sometimes it's hard for us to see how freaked out and stressful that sort of thing could be for a cat. But, we can't explain to them what's going on, so they will constantly feel insecure and anxious, which can become aggressive and sick very easily. They would be way better off if you leave them alone in your apartment most of the week if someone can come once a day and feed them and play and clean up their box... since you travel so much, if your mom wouldn't do that could you hire a petsitter?

Is the traveling a temporary thing? If so... it could possibly be okay to have them all at your mother's until you settle down and bring them both home.

Whatever you do, moving them twice a week is not an option, especially not the new girl.
Sorry I wasn't clear. The new cat comes in a few days. After a month or two, assuming they're getting along ok then I'll be introducing them to my mothers place (by bringing them with me) and staying a few days at a time. If that works, then it will be on to my new place, and while I'm gone they'll be going to my moms. It will all be 1 step at a time, and if any step fails to work or appears to cause anything but brief stress and unhappiness then it's time to move on to Plan B.

Unfortunately it's not a temporary thing, it's the nature of my career. I've considered the pet sitter thing, but the cat I have now really enjoys being around people so I feel like a cat sitter an hour a day isn't enough interaction, and more than that simply isn't affordable.

The single cat had gone on a few week long vacations to the same place with me and seemed to cope with it really well. I've read that a few people on here travel frequently so my idea (perhaps unrealistic?) is they'll get used to both me and my place, and my mom and her place and be happy.
post #4 of 17
In the past 5 years my sis has moved 3 times. Her job has her gone off and on throughout the year (right now she left yesterday and will not be home until Sun aft). She now has a 17+ senior who has road tripped to my house twice and a two year old cat. They both seem ok with the situation. They didn't have any problems with my cats at all.
Has your older cat had a cat for a companion in the past?? Or you are at your moms and your cat is used to the other dogs and cats??
post #5 of 17
Some cats do ok with change, they are the exception, not the rule.

Your plan does not sound all that bad, but, I would first let them get accustomed to the sight and smell of the dogs on their own territory as they will feel much less threatened that way.

Even then, I think it may be better that if they must stay at your mother's part time, that they have their own room to feel safe in.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies everyone. Like some of you, I am apprehensive about this whole idea, but hopeful. If this works out it would be really great. Short of finding my soulmate who works a 9-5 within the next few months this is my best option.

My older cat (21 months old) hasn't been around another cat. Though, he's pretty good around new people and the breeder kept him with his siblings until he was almost 4 months so I'm hoping he'll be able to adjust. I have already talked to the breeder about it and she said he'd take the kitten back if they don't get along. Obviously if they don't get along, that means taking him to my moms would be out the window.

I read up on the introduction techniques on this forum and I plan to follow the recommendations, though I doubt I'll wait a month to introduce them like some suggest. I'll play it by ear, but if things seem ok I'll probably try the first introduction within 1 week.
post #7 of 17
I do know someone who shared cats (and two homes) with her boyfriend. The cats went back and forth every few days and seemed quite happy... I found it surprising, but I guess they got used to it.

The most worrisome part might be your mother's other pets, particularly the dogs.

Any chance you can get one of your original cat's siblings instead of an entirely new Russian Blue? They might remember each other and make for bonded companions.

Why do you need the second cat, if the first one will be with your mother and all these other animals during the week, and you on the weekend? The plan might not need the second cat element.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
...Why do you need the second cat, if the first one will be with your mother and all these other animals during the week, and you on the weekend? The plan might not need the second cat element.
I was thinking this, too. If it was a human in that situation, we'd like a companion, but I think it's another element to complicate things with another cat (and not necessarily appreciated by your cat). At any rate, good luck, and I hope you find a working answer.
post #9 of 17
I don't know this for certain, but I had always thought that russian blues were quiet and shy cats who don't adapt well to change Probably just a generalisation I know, but my cats are both exceptionally bold and fearless (cornish rex/siamese/dsh cross and an oriental shorthair) and I think that much change would upset even my two fearless wonders.

Don't forget that cats are territorial animals and feel best settled and happy when their territory doesn't change.
post #10 of 17
Letting your boy remain a bachelor sounds better to me, too. Aside from the potential stress of establishing new relationship for your kitty, just having one cat to move back and forth would greatly reduce the stress on both you and him, I think...

Because when you put the first cat into the carrier, the second cat panics and hides... so you have to chase the second cat down and try to get him into a carrier, too... and while you're scrambling under the bed trying to capture Kitty #2,, the first cat is thinking What, are you just going to leave me in here?... and by the time you're all in the car, everyone has gone into a tizzy, and most likely, somebody has pooped as well.

With just one kitty to move, you can make it a much smoother, less traumatic process... and it helps, by the way, to keep one hand inside the carrier as you drive, a reassuring touch that helps the kitty deal with the ride. With two carriers, somebody would get left out.

And lest you think I'm exaggerating, let me assure you that there's solid mathematical theory behind this:

Transporting 1 kitty = 1 pack of trouble

Transporting 2 kitties = 9 packs of trouble

Transporting 3 kitties = 1,297 packs of trouble

...and so on.

You're a great kitty parent for putting so much thought into how to make this work. Good luck... and please let us know how it all plays out!
post #11 of 17
It's great that you are aware of the possible effects all the moving and the introduction may have......I think it is asking a lot of your blue boy, but you are obviously going to be watching out......Good luck!
post #12 of 17
Way back in the dark ages when I was "mom of 1", I traveled every week for a year. I left Monday morning and came back Tuesday night. With only 2 days gone, I left my only boy alone. There were times when I was gone longer. If I was gone 3 days, he would knock off all the plants from the window ledge. At 4 days gone he would ignore me when I returned. At 5 days gone he would leap into my arms and cling to me for 2 days.

Cats can adjust to routine but do respond in somewhat predictable ways when that routine changes. I don't suggest another cat at this time until you get your boy settled into his new routine. Get him used to the new apartment and living in 2 locations each week. Once he has that, introduce a new cat if you feel that he is lonely. I know you are trying to do this adjustment over the next few months, but sometimes adjusting to a cat companion can be very stressful for them, particularly close to a move and change of habits.
post #13 of 17
Having had lots of cats and having had an RB male for 12 yrs, I'm more concerned about your getting a female, as any male cat is quite likely to act out domination every chance he gets, which can be dangerous for lighter females - and if you're not around for the first few weeks at home all day to see how things go, and just assume they'll be friends (the dominance issues can also come up later on of course though) you could be putting the female into a bad situation. You certainly can never assume any two cats will be friends, and then on top of it, carting them back and forth every few days to a home with dogs, etc., is Sooo asking for trouble. And of course RB's are so skittish to begin with, but that's the least of your worries I'd say.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Some cats do ok with change, they are the exception, not the rule.
Cats are territorial and don't generally take well to being moved around. They like routine and familiar places. Tbh, if your mum is prepared to take your cat(s) for 4 days a week, and they get on ok with your mum's pets would she not be prepared to take them full time? I know you want to have them with you when you're home and I can understand that, but can you honestly put hand on heart and say you are putting the cats needs first with that scenario? If they were with your mum all the time you'd still be able to see them when you weren't travelling with work and they would have a stable home.
post #15 of 17
Maia will travel with me and stay over other places happily, but this is with me...She would rather be with me then without or other. Since she is so trusting of my lead, I have an obligation to insure her comfort and security, mainly by being there with her, her with me. Does your boy know your mom already? Will there be comfort for him in a new place with another new kitty?
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies everyone. I already have the kitten, picked her up yesterday. Right now she's in her own room and is acclimating much quicker than my original Russian Blue boy did when I got him. I've been taking a blanket back and forth between her and my boy, so they can smell each other. I can tell the boy smells her, because a few times he's really smelled the blanket thoroughly. So far no signs of stress, behavior normal.

I was planning to wait longer to start an introduction... but at this point everything seems ok so I will probably try an introduction in the next day or two.

As far as moving them back and forth, I'm still optimistic... reading all these replies isn't helping though, haha... I guess the general consensus is it's unlikely to succeed. Time will tell, I'll keep you all updated.

Don't be concerned for the cats, I have their health and happiness ranked at the top of my priorities. If it comes down to it, I will give them up to my mother permanently. However, as you all can relate I'm sure, I'm extremely attached to the little guy and if there's anyway I can keep him I've got to at least give it a try.

Fortunately I've got the week off of work, and possibly the month for a medical reason... so I've got plenty of time to spend with them during this process.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I get some input on Plan B?

The integration has gone well, in fact it's gone great. They first met about one week ago today. Here's a quick summary.

Saturday: Picked her up. She was playful and pretty much fearless out of the box. Isolated to her own room. Exchanged a blanket between her (Sky) and the adult boy (Rai).

Sunday: She was ready to explore more, Rai showed no signs of stress or hostility to her smell. I opened the door after only having her just over 1 day. Rai saw her, hissed and ran away.

Monday: Let her into the rest of the house. Rai followed her everywhere and hissed some. He chased her, it looked like play but he was clearly stressed. She slept in her own room for the last time. Really a great kitten, tried to push to make friends with Rai but could sense the stress and didn't push too hard.

Tuesday-Today: Things slowly got better. I haven't heard a hiss in several days. They play often, they sleep together on me intertwined. They lick each other. I think they're genuinely becoming friends.

After seeing the stress caused by introducing Rai to one cat in his own territory I definitely understand the reluctance many of you showed to encourage taking the two of them to a brand new environment with 4 other animals.

Plan B: Fortunately I live near some generous family members. My mom has offered to come "kitty sit" while I'm gone on my 80-hour stretch per week. She offered to come a lot, but I thought one night a week was enough to keep the cats happy and not asking too much of her. My question is, do you guys think that's enough? So here would be the basic scenario. I leave Monday morning, cats alone until Tuesday evening. Mom stays at my place Tuesday evening-Wednesday morning to keep them company and fill the bowls, scoop the litter etc. Then they're alone Wednesday morning until Thursday evening. So basically they'd have 2 stretches a week of 35ish hours of solitude without a human. 2 nights a week (not in a row) they'd be alone. Do you think they could be happy with a setup like that or would that be asking too much of them? Should I have my mother stay over 2 nights a week instead?

Just trying to make this work, and keep everybody happy.
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