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Can my older cat deal with a kitten?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I am new to the forums here and am looking for some advice! My cat Coco is a 13 y/o Maine Coon, and she has been an only cat since I got her when she was 2 months old. She's very attached to me and takes a long time (months) to show affection to new people, until then she just ignores them.

My boyfriend recently moved in with me and he really wants a kitten because his cat escaped about 4 months ago and hasn't come back. I have been thinking about getting a kitten and reading up on cat introductions, etc and have a pretty good idea now of how to introduce them if we do get a second cat. My boyfriend works from home and we would be able to keep a kitten in his office initially, so he would be able to spend a lot of time with it.

I am wondering if Coco is just too old and too used to being the only cat to ever get used to a kitten? Would she even know how to interact with one? When I moved last year she took about 4 days to get used to my new apartment after living in my parent's house for her whole life, so maybe I'm not giving her enough credit?

We wouldn't be getting a kitten until after Christmas, but I'd love to hear some opinions or stories about older cats getting along w/ a new cat, and any tips on how to ease the transition. Thanks all!

post #2 of 9
Her being the own cat makes it harder.
My Coco is 16.8 and we got Oreo Cookie at 3 months old last Nov.
Next month I am getting a 4 month old kitten.
Coco is very good with kittens but she has never been the only cat.
A kitten might be tio hyper for your cat.
When Sasha and Oreo came at 3 months they would jump all over her and she would hold them down and sometimes yell at them.
I also had to pry the kittens off Coco because she let them nurse on her even had her age.
Of course she had no milk.
Oreo acts like Coco is her mom.
Ask the vet what they think.
It has worked out well with my cats.
Sasha came 2 years ago at 3 months also.
post #3 of 9
One concern is being a Maine Coon. i heard that some of them like to be only cats. Being that it has been 13 yrs could make it even harder to bring in a new cat. Having said that, it can be easier to bring in a kitten than a grown cat. Cats can be less territorial with something they don't consider a threat.

You will have to take intros REALLY slowly. Like MONTHS probably. So make sure you have the space for the kitten to have his own room during this time.

Do you have the patience to see this through for the long haul? It can take a year or so for some cats to become amiable to one anothers prescence.

Having said that, as long as you realize what you are getting into it is worth giving it a go I think. Get some books on behavoir and introductions. Also specifically Maine Coon temperment. Good luck! It is so much fun watching cats interact with each other. I have 3 and everyday is no less than interesting!
post #4 of 9
I think that being an only cat would make the transition somewhat more difficult. She is used to undivided attention and might - at least initally - resent the little "intruder". But I think it depends on the cat's personality, too. I don't think that "skittish" cats are as easy to transition as more laid-back kitties. I am not saying it is impossible, I just think it would take more time. It might work if you continued to give her your attention and let your BF take over the majority of care/play, etc. of the kitten until your kitty got used to him/her. That way she would not feel that you are favoring the new kitty over her. Also, some older cats are very maternal/paternal with young kittens. Good luck with your decision.
post #5 of 9
I wouldn't get a kitten. She's lived as an only cat her entire life - it'll be hard for her to adjust to a new kitten. A kitten would be very active & might be too much for her.
post #6 of 9
I wouldn't get a tiny kitten either. You might be better off adopting an older kitten or young adult cat that won't get on her nerves with the kitten craziness. My oldest, Katie was 11+ when I adopted Peter, who was 6-7 months old at the time. She wasn't an only cat because I'd adopted Gracie 5 years before, so that helped some. What was key though with Pete is that he was a very shy, mild-mannered boy who didn't force himself on Katie. Between that and introducing him the the girls gradually, over a period of about a month, it worked out great. Despite an 11 year age difference, he and Katie are good buddies.
post #7 of 9
This is my 16.8 month old cat with my young cats.
Sasha is 2.3 now and Oreo Cookie is 1.3 now.
At one time Coco was a only cat but it was when my sister had her for about 2 years.
I would go for a kitten at least 8 months old if you decide to get one.
As you can see they are get along great and Oreo has became so close to Coco.
She is my only cat Oreo will go up to and hug.
Can you talk to the vet about getting another cat or kitten and say what they say.
The next pic is Coco and Oreo when they first met.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for the replies!

I agree that a young kitten would probably annoy her (and me), ideally we would like to find a neutered male that is 6-10 months, laid back and friendly. And regardless of age, he would always be smaller than Coco thanks to her huge Maine Coon-ness

It also would not a problem to keep the new cat in its own room for as long as it takes; we have plenty of space and Coco doesn't hang out in the room that we would use for the new cat. I really appreciate all of your responses! I think I'll keep watch on Petfinder now
post #9 of 9
Well, July 10th of this year my dad found a very young kitten burnt in a engine that seemed to have traveled a far distance during a typical dealer trade. The Human Society was going put him to sleep that day being feral so I took him in.
Back at home I had a 13 year old female that was the only cat nearly all her life and had only me as human contact.
The kitten spent one month recovering in the bathroom with only door sniffing between them. Then another month moved to bedroom with a screen door for them visibly to see each other while being feed between the door for positive association.
My 13 year old never relented from pacing and becoming very violent if he was free. I bought cages, felliway, t-shirt rubbing, vanilla extract and followed the slowest introduction in history. The last month of her life she dropped 3lbs, the last two weeks vomited white foamy stuff and dragged her head before dying on Oct 6h. Perhaps she was ill for awhile now but $650 in testing could not find such evidence for sure. At the very least I have to live with the guilt that introducing a kitten to a senior animal species known for following and liking same day habits and being territorial ended her life earlier then if it didnt happen.
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