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I want to adopt a cat but I already have 2 cats. Help please!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new here and I'm looking for advice.

I have 2 cats, they are siblings, not declawed and I've had them since they were 7 weeks old. They are 11 years old. Kitty is the boss, Thomas is more timid. They sleep most of the day, Kitty on my bed and Thomas under the bed.



The thing is, I took them to the clinic for their shots and there is also a shelter and I fell in love with a cat there. Her name is Mimi,she is 10 years old, declawed and she was there because her owners had a baby.



My husband is very worried that if we adopt this cat, it will stress out our cats at home. Thomas had an issue a year ago, he was pooping out of the box for 2 years until finally I took him to the groomer to have his butt hair shaved off and he's been fine since then. Hubby thought Thomas (or Kitty, or both) will stop using the litter box if we adopt another cat.

I feel very sad because I feel strongly for Mimi and I really want to give her a home.

What should I do? Is it really going to traumatized my cats because they've been our cats for 11 years and suddenly I want to adopt another cat?

post #2 of 13

I see you have a theme in the look of the cats you are drawn to.  :)  All very lovely.  My big question when I read your post was "Has the declawed cat needing a home ever lived with other cats?"  I'm wondering if 10 yrs old is a little late to learn to live with other cats, I guess.


That question came to mind, actually, because we've considered adding a 4th cat for a while and I felt very drawn to a 10 year old black and white (but short haired) cat living at a local vet hospital and needing a home.  However, she had never lived with other cats and I just wanted someone with a track record that included living with other cats.  (Now we are considering a 6-8 yr old who does live with other cats at a no kill shelter and loves the other cats.)  I noticed, by the way, that the 10 yr old black and white cat dropped off petfinder shortly after I met her so I'm guessing she found a home just right for her.


Here's a link to my favorite cat blog and she gives great advice on how to choose and add a new cat.  I'm linking her plan for intros, but check out the section titled, "Cat types."  Great info on cat personality types and choosing compatible cats.


Oh, and to answer your question....yes, it would stress out your cats.  Now whether it would be a temporary stress or permanent is the question.  That's the big question I'm struggling with in deciding whether to add a 4th. 

post #3 of 13

How sweet of you to want to take this older furbaby in... Most people want kittens or younger cats. 


It can work.  But, it can also take time to work.  It really depends on how social the cats are with other animals.  Being in a shelter even at the vet, I imagine Mimi is getting used to other animals.  Your cats... Do they have other animals they see and accept into their space on a regular basis?  Maybe a friend has a dog they bring over? 


Well, the thing about older cats is that it can often take them longer to accept a newcomer.  And they do exhibit more signs of stress.  Or maybe not.  So there is no way to know for sure how the cats will react with one another.  My suggestion is to take them to visit Mimi and see how they react in a neutral situation.  Expect a little hissing and growling.  This is normal but if they exhibit no aggression, I would say they see her as OK and non threatening. 


If you do do this, separate them for at least a week.  More if you can.  Just let them get used to eachothers scents.  Bring her out only for short supervised interactions with them.  Praise your cats for no out right aggression toward her.  Keep it short.  Lots of praise.  Put her back in seclusion.  Then praise your cats more.  You want them to view her as a positive thing... Nice to new kitty= treats and praise for them. 


It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months for them to be comfortable with eachother.  But it can be done.  It just depends really on how much you are willing to take on.  Once she is adopted, she is yours for the rest of her life... That is the way I see it and the way it should be. 

post #4 of 13
If you truly believe that Mimi should join your family - go for it. It will take time & patience but it can be done. My best advice would be to keep Mimi in a separate room if possible. The cats will sniff under the door to sus each other out. You could even put a length of rope or similar under the door so they can "play"with each other. Let Mimi into Kitty & Thomas' territory when they are not present (shut in another room) & vice versa. This way they will all get to know each other by scent without the risk of confrontation. An excellent product you could try is Feliway, a pheromone based product that calms cats in stressful situations. It is available as a spray or better still as a diffuser. This would ideally be set up several days before Mimi's arrival.

You should allow everone as much time as they need. This is a lifelong thing so it's best to get it right from the start. Slowly introduce everone & make certain each cat has a "safe" place they can retreat to if it gets a bit much at times.

Three years ago Eddie (then 10 yrs) and I welcomed Jack, a 6 month old terror into our home. There were a few teething problems at first, not helped by my adopting a second cat (Gracie 6yrs) only 3 months later, but everone sorted themselves out in only a few months. Gracie had been at the shelter for over four months and only one other person had shown interest in her. It quickly became clear that she had never lived with other cats and has taken a long time to feel completely at home but we are all living together happily now.

And just to prove it CAN be done I have recently adopted my friends cat after her passing although in this case Ben, who must be at least 14 grew up as a farm cat, so he has the laundry & out doors while my other guys live only indoors. But all that separates them is a door made of a couple of lengths of timber and some heavy mesh.

My final piece of advice - although I have never deadlt with a de-clawed cat, keep Kitty & Thomas' claws trimmed regularly!

GOOD LUCK! Good on you. It will be worth your effort!
post #5 of 13

I have adopted many cats, some with behavioral problems. a twisted way of looking a things. But I never had a down right cat battle over bringing in a new being in the house. Sure there are adjustments. I was told don't give the new one too much sympathy or attention. That makes the others feel envious and want to defend their home. Make sure they know things will not change just because the new one came home with you.

I hope it works out.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your replies, I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Everyday that passes bring me grief because she is still at the shelter.

The eye infection cleared up so she's ready to go home. And I finally told the shelter no to hold her for me, so now she is listed as available to anybody who wants to adopt her. I wish I could.


I'm not interested in a young cat because I think they are more popular and many people prefers younger cats. Even when my husband adopted our 2 cats at 7 weeks old as a surprise birthday present for me, I would have prefered an older cat. But having no experience with owning a cat we just kept the 2 kittens and now they are 11 years old. We've been very happy with our cats and I've never felt the urge to adopt another cat until I saw Mimi, that's why it is a big deal for me right now. 


The problem is my husband. He is not into adopting another cat because he still think it's not fair to our 2 existing cats and will lead to behavior problems (and his co-workers told him bad stories about adding a cat to our family). And my father in law is staying with us and he objects too (even though... really, it's my house and I should be able to take in another cat if I want to).

I'm not giving up yet and I'm going to talk to my husband again and see if he can change his mind somehow.


I'm giving this very serious thought because if I adopt, that will be forever, I'm not returning the cat to the shelter unless it's very necessary (like, if the new cat is constantly attacked by my cats and cannot defend herself).

post #7 of 13
Well, it's not worth the rift between you and your husband. heartpump.gif

She's a beautiful girl, and I can understand why you're agonizing about this. I don't know how important it is that she's lived with other cats. We had six cats when we rescued our seventh. He was a very, very cat-friendly cat. And our other cats were a little older (he was almost two: our youngest at the time was 3, we had one that was 4, and the rest were 5). Billy came inside, happy as a lark, and tried to be friendly to all our kitties. Our gang was nice enough to each other, but no one slept cuddled up to another, they didn't groom each other, etc. So when Bill tried to be groomed, groom them, get close to them, they all reacted to him like he was some kind of alien.

Cats are all about territory. So when you bring a new cat into your home, especially when they're older and more set in their ways, the introductions are best done very slowly.

I don't know if your husband will change his mind about the adoption if he understands that if you do this slowly, sensitive to your kitties' needs, there most likely won't be a problem. But there is a right way to do it, and you take it at their pace. smile.gif ...and IMO, "introductions" is a bit of a misnomer. When bringing a new kitty into one's home, the focus really (usually) isn't so much on - or shouldn't be so much on - the kitties "meeting" each other and "getting to know" each other. It's about them establishing a new kitty hierarchy, and learning how to share the space. agree.gif

If you have a spare room with a door, she can most likely be adopted without a lot of stress. The room should be set up for her, and going into it assume she'll need to be separated for some time. A week? A few weeks? A month? Six weeks? dontknow.gif However long it takes them. And no need to feel guilty about her being confined to one room (so long as you're prepared and able to spend time in there with her - even sleep in there sometimes if you can smile.gif ). It's much better than a shelter cage, and won't be long term. rub.gif

But this gives your two the time they need to get used to the idea of another cat being in their territory. It gives everyone time to get used to each other scents (and you can help with that). It gives you the time to get them associating each other's scents with "good" things they love - which helps ease the transition of the new kitty into your home. hearthrob.gif

One thing you can do is take a clean rag - preferable it if hasn't been washed with scented soap or fabric softener or dryer sheets or anything. Take it with you to the shelter, and give her a real good pet with the rag, ensuring you rub her all over with it. Take it home, and let your kitties sniff it. See how they react to it. Some cats will hiss, some will just sniff and sniff and sniff, but express no negative or positive reaction. This doesn't mean everything will go swimmingly. But if you get a hiss out of it, it's probably not a good idea to adopt her, given your husband's fears.

As to introduction tips, I have quite a few, as do many on the site. biggrin.gif But it's probably not the time or place to bore you with those now.

Just FYI, we rescued our last kitty in the summer of 2010. He was an older feral cat, so aggressive outside all the colony cats disappeared - and didn't come back until he was no longer outside for three days. agree.gif That's why we took him out of the colony, he was just too disruptive. We live in an RV (yep, with seven cats at the time!), so we have no way to separate new introductions. He was so food aggressive, we figured he'd calm down with all-the-time access to food. He was in poor health, and pretty beat-up, so we also figured he wouldn't freak out being inside. Thankfully, we were right on all counts. We rented a trailer, put it next to us, and put him over there. He adjusted to inside-living while we worked on socializing him. He's a smart boy, and figured out pretty quickly we meant no harm to him. hearthrob.gif Most of our cats were 8 years old then, and it was already pretty crowded in here, so we were kind of anxious as to how things would go. We did a LOT of scent swapping before we ever brought him over here. It was about a month, I think, before we brought him over here. We turned on the engine of the RV (which sends everyone fleeing to the bedroom) and closed off the back of the RV. We put Chumley in a crate and brought him over. We let him out to investigate for 15 minutes. That was it, Then we took him back to his trailer. Our cats came out, and could have cared less that he was here - but they were used to his scent in their space at this point (we'd brought over beds and blankets that smelled like him and replaced beds and blankets they used, and we'd brought over poop and pee of his and put it in their boxes, so they were used to his scent in their boxes). We brought him over the next day without closing anyone off, but at a time when they were all sacked out. He cautiously sniffed around when out of the crate. One by one the kitties noticed him but ignored him, which was exactly what we wanted.

We just continued to do that. Bring him over for a little longer, and a little longer each time. While he was here, we would play or pet or brush the other cats. We essentially ignored him. While he was here, the attention was always on the other cats. We basically ignored him - unless he joined in the play. Then he was here long enough for a meal, and we just included him - putting his food down last. It only took three weeks, and then he just never went "home" to his trailer. It happened so gradually, he just.... fit in. And we'd desensitized our cats to his scent both in their beds, on their brushes, and in their boxes before he ever even came over here. That is the same process you'd use (or that I would recommend) with her in her own room. smile.gif

So you see, this is why I say it's not about the cats "meeting" each other or "getting to know" each other, it's about them learning to share the space. It's about the existing kitties associating the scent of the new kitty with play, treats, or extra pets (whatever motivates them the most), so they think the new kitty is a GOOD thing (you GOT the kitty just for them! laughing02.gif ), and when new kitty is in the same space with your existing kitties, you focus all your attention on your existing kitties, so they have no "extra" reason to associate new kitty with unpleasant things, and they have no reason to be jealous.

It's our natural instinct to be protective of the new cat, and to lavish attention on the new kitty, but this is where things go wrong for people. If you fight that instinct, the space-sharing usually goes much more smoothly. rub.gif

post #8 of 13
BTW, why not talk to the shelter about "fostering" her. dontknow.gif This way it isn't a permanent commitment up front. Just a thought. smile.gif
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

LDG, thank you for that long reply, I love all those emoticons. I have thought about it long and hard. At first I thought I had no way to separate them and I have even contacted a lady that can keep her for me for a week to make sure she's healthy before bringing her home.

But, after thinking it over, my house is actually perfect because there is a door that separates the family room completely from the rest of the house.

My husband uses it as his domain. But he can tolerate the cat, and he's only there at night anyway.


My Father in law's room is also at the back part of the house and that can be a problem because he uses the connecting door the most, but he has been living with us for 2 years now, so I think it's almost time for him to stay with my brother in law for a bit. So I'm hoping, if this can be arranged, then I will have time and space to bring Mimi home.


I'll let you guys know what happens........


I don't want to foster her because it will break my heart to let her go. Especially after all the effort to integrate her with the other cats, I don't see a point of it all being temporary.


Mimi only happens to look like my 2 other cats, if I have to choose, I like ginger-haired cats better :) That's my dream cat. My hubby adopted my 2 other cats for me as a surprise and I fell in love with them. I think it really is the cat that chooses you and not the other way around.

post #10 of 13
hugs.gif Yes, please do let us know when (or if) something happens. hearthrob.gif
post #11 of 13
That's sweet anyhow because the 2 cats u have ,have been together for so long they might not accept mimi but maybe after a month or so they will accept her So I think it would be great to foster mimi don't worry and don't forse the 2 cats to accept her at first it will take some time but after awhile she will be accepted,Hope I helped xx:clap:
post #12 of 13

i appreciate your wisdom about introducing new kitties to the other 2. what if i choose a kitten as apposed to my 2 adults?  will that be easier? what if i introduce another female, will that be easier with the dominant Mr Boy? i can find a separate room for the new kitty - i can put that aside. i just thought it would introduce a little more variety into life here and maybe the other 2 would be livelier, maybe not. although i wouldn't want any 'bad behaviours' to start. hmmm......

post #13 of 13

First of all let me say that if you are so in love with this kitty that you worry about her being in the kennel......she is already yours.


Two years ago I had two beautiful 5 year old long haired cat, a male Biffy, and female, Abby.  Abby suddenly stopped eating and after 3 weeks at the best animal intensive care I lost her.  I was despondent.  


While she was in the hospital a stray kitty started coming by every day to eat the left over kibble that I threw out in the yard for the birds.  


But I wanted another long haired female.  So I got a short haired male from a local rescue league. (they really do pick you!). I named him Sam and despite having cats since childhood I never had one as wild as him!  He was a white streak around the house, more flying lemur than cat. He had Biffy jumping out of his skin with his antics.


This whole time the homely little stray kept coming around for food.  I started putting out dishes for him, and he began crying at the window for his meal. Sam and Biff would check out Kitty every time he came to the window.  He started sleeping in the bushes in front of my house.  I began to worry about him.


So there I am with one 5 year old, one wild kitten (both males) and a very sad looking, hungry cat who started to try and come in doors.  


Well, it started getting cold and the rest is history. A trip to the vets for testing and shots, 10 days in the garage and Kitty Kitty was a new member of the house.  


Kitty Kitty has a torn ear, a big scar across his nose, and after two years still growls at his two sweet brothers.  But I  wouldn't have it any other way. They all sleep on the guest bed together and Kitty even plays with his brothers from time to time.


I would have said that I would never have 3 male cats.....but God had other ideas.


The moral of this story...ADOPT THAT CAT.  It might not be all sweetness and light but you will be giving this little girl a forever home with lots of love.  Everything else will work out.  Patience and love.  Sounds to me like she has already picked you.  Go for it.  


Also, who dumps a cat they have declawed, after 10 years because they have a baby..............really???

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