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New Kitty Questions

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello!

My wife and I are interested in getting another cat, and we've got some circumstances that I'd love to get some advice on...

Our current cat is gray long-haired tabby mix named Sophie, and she has a very distinct personality. She'll be 2 years old in June, and we got her when she was only 5 weeks old. She's a spoiled rotten cat, with a very finicky demeanor. She can be as sweet as you can imagine, and then she can also be pretty moody. She's the only pet we have, but we often have to be gone from the apartment for lengthy periods, and would love to get another cat to keep her company. Also, we would enjoy taking another one in.

I'm not experienced in multiple cats, so any advice would be swell, but i do have some specific questions.

-What age would be ideal for our situation? would a kitten be best to be raised under Sophie's rules? or would an older, or same age cat be best?

- What sex would be ideal for a female? she's Spayed, and we would adopt a neutered male... does it matter? is one combination best?

- Are certain breeds best for acclimation? We plan on adopting a rescue, but were wondering if there was a certain type that we should look for.

- What are the tricks of the trade to acclimate them? keep them separated for how long... sharing food, litter, water, etc...

- are we crazy for wanting another one?

I've heard some vet's say that adopting another cat will do absolutely nothing for Sophie, only make her pissed off that there's another cat in the house. I've heard that only litter mates, or cat's adopted young will share a nap, or groom eachother. I'm just trying not to get my hopes up about it. We have such a special relationship with our cat, and are concerned that adopting another might have a poor effect on Sophie's disposition...

any advice would be swell!!!

thanks so much!!!
post #2 of 15
Well, I hate to say this, but Sophie does sound like the epitome of a cat who wouldn't be happy with others there - certainly not another female, but even a younger male could well be a problem as they tend to try to dominate in pretty rough ways as time goes on. One thing to keep in mind is that cats generally look on even small
kittens as rivals, etc. which seems appalling, but it must be just another survival trait they've got (like they need any more :-), so if you were to get a kitten, you'd need to either be on the spot all the time until it was large enough (a few mos.) to defend itself if necessary, or have a room it could live in whenever you weren't around. I'm not saying it's not possible that who/whatever you tried wouldn't work out after the initial couple of wks of hissing, swatting, pouncing and who knows what, but I would be more surprised if they did than otherwise. But then I've been surprised by cats before!
post #3 of 15
Hello and welcome

Your girl is only 2, I think she would accept a younger male. An older female can be an issue but 2 yrs is young.

Just look for a friendly relaxed cat/kitten, people often say the cats pick them not the other way around.

You'll probably want to keep the new one in a separate room for at least a few days.

I got Farley (who was 6 months) and Ana (3 months) when Demetri was 9 months old and put them all in together with no issues at all, they touched noses and were friends from the start.
It all depends on the cats.
post #4 of 15
i would agree that sophie may find it difficult to accept another cat. in my (limited) experience, cats that have been alone since leaving the litter are happier that way. my rb cat daisy was an only girl but i added her to a family of 4 other cats. she tolerated, just, them being around but when i had the fleeting opportunity to have just her (housing issues, other cats were with friends) for a month, she blossomed. she became this bold, confident, in-your-face creature. when the others joined us she reverted to little miss loner again. the whole family enticed and interacted with her but she never that feisty little girl again. i always carried some guilt about this knowing that she would prefer to be alone.

equally my other cats who have always had company have reacted very badly to being alone or without their special buddy. rb cat sinbad actually lost some fur and became very depressed when his litter sister was killed by a car. that was the reason daisy joined us which helped him no end. althought they weren't close he had that feline company again.

milo too, got very sad when his buddy janet crossed the bridge last october. getting shinobi gave him back that companionship he needed. plus it took the pressure of tabitha who was not into kitten play!

i would think very carefully about introducing a new kitten into sophies life.

good luck whatever you do!
post #5 of 15
Ling was abut 18 months old when we got Charlie at 4 months old. She hated him for months - would not associate at all. Charlie and the dog were buddies at 2-3 days of being here.

Most females are more territorial then males and resent anyone coming in, especially another female. In time, most will accept but it could take months. If you want to adopt get a young male (neutered) about 4-5 months old with a laid back personality.

Charlie has a dominate personality which made it longer for acceptance.

Here's some tips:

1. Keep them separated for awhile. Put the new kitten in his own room with food, litter box, water. After a few days, switch rooms - put your cat in the kitten's room and let the kitten run around - this way they can learn each other's scent without face-to-face contact.

2. Expect hissing and growling for awhile.

3. When you feel they might be ready to meet in person (1) sprinkle them both with cornstarch baby powder and rub it it or (2) use a dab of vanilla extract on their chins and base of the tail.

4. Always supervise them till they get along. When you leave, separarte them

5. ALWAYS greet the older cat first and make a big deal of her before you play with the kitten.

6. Be sure that all nails are cut and kept trimmed so they don't hurt each other.

Good luck
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
WOW!

thanks for all the honest, good feedback...

I was afraid that this was gonna be a bigger deal than I had hoped.

My wife and I were gonna go to a 'Save our Stray's' event today and look at kitties, but now i'm not so sure it's a good idea. Sophie is a very dominant kitty methinks, because she is dominant about even us in the apartment, and is the kind of cat that will hold grudges if she thinks she's been scorned. So i gotta say that i'm a bit reluctant now to get another...

but, i think I have a strategy. My wife just got a new job that means that we are gonna be moving in August to a house (hopefully). Maybe it's a good idea to get the new kitty then? That way it's new territory, and Sophie will be exploring at the same time as finding a new cat? You think that could help? Because this apartment is thoroughly owned by Sophie, seeing how she's grown from a kitten here.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xameel View Post
-What age would be ideal for our situation? would a kitten be best to be raised under Sophie's rules? or would an older, or same age cat be best?

- What sex would be ideal for a female? she's Spayed, and we would adopt a neutered male... does it matter? is one combination best?

- Are certain breeds best for acclimation? We plan on adopting a rescue, but were wondering if there was a certain type that we should look for.

- What are the tricks of the trade to acclimate them? keep them separated for how long... sharing food, litter, water, etc...

- are we crazy for wanting another one?
Sounds like our situation last year! When we adopted our 2nd, our first (spayed female) was between 2-3 years. She was pretty spoiled and used to having us to herself which was a concern for us.

We actually adopted a semi-feral neutered male who at the time was 6-7 months. Young enough that he would adapt to our household, but a little less attention demanding than the 12 week old kittens.

I think importantly, you need to look at Sophie's personality. How does she react with strangers/new people/new environments? Our female has always been very confident, sociable, and acclimates fairly easily to new people and environments. This is what made me believe she'd probably accept another cat. However, she had a fairly dominant personality and the key was finding a cat/kitten that had a more submissive personality to allow our first cat to keep her "boss of the house" position.

I've heard that adopting a younger/smaller male is usually the best option for a female, but then again, that's just hearsay and other folks say to focus more on personality. It worked for us but that's just 1 anecdotal experience.

I don't think breeds matter as much as personality. For us, it worked out that we adopted a semi-feral boy who was incredibly people shy since he stayed away from us initially and our first cat didn't feel competition for our affection (she loves people). We also wanted someone who would be playful, but able to be fairly calm (another reason why we opted for an older kitten versus a young'un).

This page has excellent info on introductions:
http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/4...cing-Cats.html

Keeping them separated for a while is pretty important. It does vary and you'll have to just gauge how Sophie is feeling/reacting and how slow she wants to take the introduction.

When my mother-in-law introduced a neutered male kitten (12 weeks) to her resident spayed female (1 year), it took 2 days and there was not a single hiss. For our cats, it took about a week with a lot of hissing and getting used to each other.

I will say that the hissing is really scary when you first see your darling kitty doing it for the first few times but it's important to remember that initial hissing doesn't mean that they'll never get along.

Our cats naturally started using the same litterboxes and waterbowls. We have mealtimes, so they have separate food dishes, but they share/fight over everything else.

You're not crazy for wanting another. I completely understand how you feel when you leave home and leave Sophie home alone. I feel tons better knowing that even if we have to work late some nights, our kitties have each other. Plus, they do enjoy playing with each other.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xameel View Post
but, i think I have a strategy. My wife just got a new job that means that we are gonna be moving in August to a house (hopefully). Maybe it's a good idea to get the new kitty then? That way it's new territory, and Sophie will be exploring at the same time as finding a new cat? You think that could help? Because this apartment is thoroughly owned by Sophie, seeing how she's grown from a kitten here.
Hmmmm...personally I would say that it would be pretty stressful to move AND finding a new cat, but maybe others have a different opinion.
post #9 of 15
I think waiting till you move to a new place would be the best. She already has this house as "hers" and the new house would be neither cats, so they would have to stake out territory anyway. Just keep them in one or two rooms for awhile and let them get used to things slowly.

Hold off for the time being and look for a kitten about 4-6 months old and neutered.
post #10 of 15
If you can fiddle things so that both cats arrive there exactly the same time that would be the best of all, and in fact then I might even suggest another female above a male. That way they are likely to become friends (had it happen) and not be dominated and terrorized (happens too often) by males.
post #11 of 15
Not with any females I've owned. They all prefered a new cat to be a male. It was too much rivalry with 2 females. With her attitude its better to get a laid back young male kitten.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow!

you guys have been awesome!

I think you guys are right in waiting till we move, but it sure is hard to not listen to impulse and go out and take in a stray... Looking on the Save our Strays site for Cincinnati is almost like torture.

There's this 1 year-ish old all black male named Ozzie, that really got to me. I actually got to hold him at a Pet's Mart here in cincy... He's HUGE! and built like a panther, but he's so gentle, and seems to be real relaxed. But i'm just not sure that the timing's good. Plus, he's twice the size of sophie!!!

I also wanted to ask you folks, how can you tell if a cat has a laid back demeanor? besides the obvious signs... could there be any tricks / tests i could perform when lookin at kitties to be able to tell if he'll be submissive, and laid back?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
If you can fiddle things so that both cats arrive there exactly the same time that would be the best of all, and in fact then I might even suggest another female above a male. That way they are likely to become friends (had it happen) and not be dominated and terrorized (happens too often) by males.
I'm going to have to disagree on the female thing, definately go for a younfer male. Females are MUCH more territorial and males, once neutered are more aloof and laid back. I have had many many cats come and go here and with my own 6, the females are crazy about their own space, the males couldn't care less.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xameel View Post

There's this 1 year-ish old all black male named Ozzie, that really got to me. I actually got to hold him at a Pet's Mart here in cincy... He's HUGE! and built like a panther, but he's so gentle, and seems to be real relaxed. But i'm just not sure that the timing's good. Plus, he's twice the size of sophie!!!
awww... sounds like my Chip!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xameel View Post
I also wanted to ask you folks, how can you tell if a cat has a laid back demeanor? besides the obvious signs... could there be any tricks / tests i could perform when lookin at kitties to be able to tell if he'll be submissive, and laid back?
well, when i got Chip, [found him on Petfinder] it said he wasn't a dominant cat. he was being fostered, because he was so unhappy in a cage. they were right - most of the time, he's not dominant at all. occasionally he'll chase Pixel & try to bite her neck - i think mayb he was neutered after sexual maturity.
post #15 of 15
Good question on the how to tell. I guess you have to go by the ones adopting - they should be able to tell you the temperment and personality. But I would seriously consider 4-6 month old kitten that was neutered for your best results. She's gonna take awhile to adjust, so a kitten will be less threatening then an adult male.
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