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Needy cat/lonely cat?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Our 7 year old cat, Snoop, has recently become very needy and am wondering if anyone has thoughts on what to do about it. Some background is necessary. We have had Snoop (male, neutered) and his brother Django (neutered) since they were about 16 weeks old. We have lived in the same neighborhood their entire lives, they are indoor/outdoor cats who come and go as they please thru a perpetually open window in our bedroom. Snoop, in particular, used to spend about 50% of his time outside and was relatively aloof with us. The two brothers actually didn't like each other very much for the past 3-4 years, fighting pretty viciously quite often. Two months ago, Django disappeared. We searched the whole area and posted flyers door to door for weeks but we ultimately surmised that he must have been killed by a bobcat or mtn lion (we had sightings of both in our neighborhood in January). Right when Django went missing, Snoop became very distressed and would sit at the door or window meowing and looking outside. When we would go looking for Django around the neighborhood, Snoop would follow and meow. And since then, Snoop has become extremely needy and very affectionate with us. He doesn't leave the house nearly as much and when he does he's always right near the house. One of us is home at least half the day most days so he gets plenty of time with us. At night, he sleeps right on top of us and is very needy and vocal in the morning. Not for anything in particular, just attention and petting in bed.
We have been giving him a lot of attention but we're now wondering if we're spoiling him and reinforcing bad behavior (and losing a good chunk of sleep in the process). Any thoughts on how we should best handle this? Is he lonely (didn't think cats got lonely for other cats)? Getting another kitten doesn't seem like a real solution b/c we suspect he wouldn't like sharing his house or his 'parents'.
Thanks for any advice.
post #2 of 9
My take: He's grieving the loss of his brother/pal and confused about the change in the household. Which for a cat means he's feeling bad but may not know exactly why -- that's why he seeks you out. I would give him all the extra attention he needs right now.
post #3 of 9
Originally Posted by tmborden
we're now wondering if we're spoiling him and reinforcing bad behavior
I do not think you are spoiling him or reinforcing bad behavior. I agree with Brokenheart about giving him extra attention. Snoop will probably return to his old, independent self in time but right now he is feeling lost and he needs you.
post #4 of 9
Well, he's used to having a lot of attention from the other cat, and he now needs someone else (the people) to make up for what's missing.

Kittens can be irritating to older cats. But could would be a great opportunity to adopt another senior cat, who would be calmer and lower energy and thus a good match for (and hopefully companion for) your cat.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your advice. Snoop's getting a lot of love. We'll consider getting another cat or kitten sometime in the future, but we've heard from different sources that we should wait at least 6 months before thinking about introducing another cat into the house.
post #6 of 9
i have been in this situation and in my experience even if they weren't a cuddly, lovey dovey pair, just the simple fact they no longer have feline company around can make them quite depressed.

it may be that another cat would make all the difference to this. i however, would not wait 6 months. i think it is just prolonging the lonliness. 6 months is a heck of a long time in a cats life.
post #7 of 9
I would recommend another cat almost immediately, while Snoop still is lonely and needy.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks so much for the advice. my wife and i are not at all averse to getting another cat or kitten - my wife is actually pretty excited about the idea - but we're worried that a new feline in the house would freak out Snoop even more than he already is. without having us all to himself, he might get jealous. and he really doesn't like other cats at all, at least the cats in the neighborhood. and like i said in the previous post, he and his brother fought pretty viciously.
i'd love to get any more input from people about how and when and if to introduce a new cat into the house after losing one. thanks in advance.
post #9 of 9
My little girl Mary is super territorial.
I introduced her to her first companion by keeping him separate while she got used to the idea that there was another entity in the house. I let the new cat relax a bit and then 2 days later I switched their beds. A lot of sniffing went on and then 2 days after that I switched back the beds. Then I let the new cat out and put Mary in his room. Then I switched them back.
I got feliway plugs.
Then I started feeding them in the same room. Then I started playing with them in the same room. I gave them treats every time I had then together.
I did not leave them alone together until after 3 weeks. There was some posturing and fighting but Mary ultimately proved her supremacy and they were fine.
When he passed on she cried and laid on his bed. She cried for a long time and missed him terribly. When we brought his collar home she played with it and then laid on it and cried again. I cried with her.
So after 2 months of loving her up I got the boys for her. They were only 12 weeks old but she took to them immediately. She mothered them, taught them how to cover their litter or she would do it for them, disciplined them and cleaned them everyday. She loves her boys and I really think when she went after the ferals she was protecting not only her territory but her boys too.
When Cleo ended up needing to be put in my daughter's room she started going in everyday and I would find the three of them in a cat pile.

Just take your time. Do not rush it.
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