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Should be an only cat?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
When we adopted Chloe we were told by the foster mom that Chloe "doesn't do well with other cats". Apparently she spent the whole time hissing, crying, and was generally distraught around the other cats in the house. She only tolerated her mom and 2 brothers. (You can see in this video how she reacted to her own reflection in the mirror before she realized it was actually her. She wasn't playing - she was mad, and she did it a lot until she figured out the whole mirror thing. ) I've also seen cats at Petco and PetsMart that have been labelled as "should be only cat in house" or "does not like other cats". How is it determined that cats are better off alone or away from other cats? After reading all the posts about Feliway and introducing cats to each other I'm wondering if Chloe would be okay with a "friend" or if she really should be an only child, so to speak. I would hate to get another cat just to find that it would be torturing both the new cat and Chloe. On the other hand, I see her grooming a stuffed cat that we have in the house...but perhaps it's different because she knows it's not real.

Thanks in advance for any input.
post #2 of 23
Your video didn't download for me, but how you describe her carrying on with other cats is normal cat behavior, that usually takes place because people rush the introductions or put a solid door between the new cat and the resident cat. Most cats are sociable with each other, which is why when they are kicked outside by uncaring people, they meet up and colonize. People don't group them together, the cats meet and form their groups. If you have a lot of space, and a lot of patience it can work. Otherwise, don't even attempt it.
post #3 of 23
This is my personal experience.. Kandie my nearly 17 yr old has tried to go thru screens to get another cat ... she fist lived with another cat at about age 2 she hated him( I babied him ) and five yrs they were never freinds..... fast fwd to her being 16 and I got Zoey, did the intro right and few troubles , cept for the she is a baby and I am to old for this
post #4 of 23
i watched the video... she is still the cutest thing...

sara has no reaction at all when she looks at herself in the mirror

i dont have any advice cuz i am actually gunna introduce our new kitty here in a couple of weeks, so i need advice too

but i do agree with hissy, we always had lots of cats growing up, and we just gradually introduced them... and they hated every minute of each other, but after a week or two you would think they had been together all of their lives
post #5 of 23
How is it determined that cats are better off alone or away from other cats?

I've also noticed those comments when looking through the adoption section of Petsmart.

I think some of those cats are misunderstood or mismanaged alpha cats who have been kicked out of a home for "not playing well with others" when really they are only following their nature. There are hope for these cats in the hands of a somewhat skilled pet owner.

I've noticed a few that just seemed very clingy (reading between the lines) and almost commanded someone's undivided attention. No getting around it.

And there are also older cats that need a quiet home -- so young children or hyperactive kittens are less compatible with a cat that gets snippy if it doesn't get enough sleep. The cat can adjust but it is obviously a sub-optimal situation.


Based on how you described Chloe, and assuming that you are an above average pet owner, assuming you have enough patience to do proper introductions, and assuming you have sufficient space/resources to manage a multi-cat household...I think it is reasonable for you to consider adding another cat your home.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. Since the foster mom is a seasoned cat owner and is good at working with kitties - particularly ferals, as Chloe was - I took her word that Chloe was better off alone at this point. As a matter of fact, one of the only reasons they let us adopt her alone as a kitten rather than as part of a pair was because all efforts at successfully introducing her to the other cats in the house was failing. The agency was a bit worried they weren't going to be able to place Chloe for awhile because she was such a handful, but the foster mom did a great job - and now we have our sweetie girl!

However, I've learned so much since joining TCS... My husband and I are thinking about adopting another kitty sometime down the line to keep Chloe company. Is it better to do it when she is still young? (She's almost 6 mos. old now.) Would it be better to get a cat who is younger, the same age, or older - or does it not matter?

Thank you again. I really appreciate the guidance.
post #7 of 23
Personally I would get one close to her age... Not like I did, thinking i was bringing home and adult and finding out there is a 15 plus yr age difference
post #8 of 23
I wasn't able to open up your video...but..

IMO..and my opinion is based upon a lot of time with cats over 35 years...I find it absurd that anyone would label your 5 month old kitten just because she had a hard time.

If your cat was 15 and always an only cat, it would make sense...but cats take different times to adjust, yours may just take longer. I see no reason to not find Chloe, who is adorable I might add a friend...I would go with a young cat or even a a kitten 3 months old or so...

We have had cats adjust to each otehr immediately and others take months...I just would NOT go with an older cat.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne511
Thanks for the responses. Since the foster mom is a seasoned cat owner and is good at working with kitties - particularly ferals, as Chloe was - I took her word that Chloe was better off alone at this point. As a matter of fact, one of the only reasons they let us adopt her alone as a kitten rather than as part of a pair was because all efforts at successfully introducing her to the other cats in the house was failing. The agency was a bit worried they weren't going to be able to place Chloe for awhile because she was such a handful, but the foster mom did a great job - and now we have our sweetie girl!

However, I've learned so much since joining TCS... My husband and I are thinking about adopting another kitty sometime down the line to keep Chloe company. Is it better to do it when she is still young? (She's almost 6 mos. old now.) Would it be better to get a cat who is younger, the same age, or older - or does it not matter?

Thank you again. I really appreciate the guidance.
I would say it's best to go for a younger cat-a kitten. You said Chloe would take care of a toy kitten-l think a kitten would be much easier to introduce than an older cat. I have recently introduced a second kitty to my cat (uner a year old). The new kitten was 6 month old. For a day or two, they would hiss at each other, but then they got used to each other. Now, they really love each other and even groom each other.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizwithcat
I would say it's best to go for a younger cat-a kitten. You said Chloe would take care of a toy kitten-l think a kitten would be much easier to introduce than an older cat. I have recently introduced a second kitty to my cat (uner a year old). The new kitten was 6 month old. For a day or two, they would hiss at each other, but then they got used to each other. Now, they really love each other and even groom each other.
Pixel & Cable are finally getting along better, but i think it's because Cable's getting more grown-up - she was WAAAY too playful for my sedate duo (7 yrs old). also, Cable is evidently alpha, & was having difficulty with Mouse (also alpha). after Mouse passed, Cable was too pushy (& still is) with Pixel - but Pixel can handle herself - she just gets up higher & plays king of the hill! i think if Pixel & Mouse had been younger, they would've adapted better to Cable. this is part of what makes me want to get another, younger cat in the next year or so, so Cable will have an actual playmate... still haven't decided whether to do this, yet.
hope this helps!
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you SO much!
post #12 of 23
It looks like I'm going to be the lone dissenter. I would listen to the foster mom, who was able to observe Chloe over a period of time with other cats. We adopted Jamie at 10 weeks, which was 2 to 4 weeks earlier than originally planned, because he was exhibiting very aggressive behavior towards his siblings and other cats in the foster household, excluding his mother. We had a much older alpha male at the time, and despite careful introductions, Jamie never got along with Straycat, and the two had to be kept separated to protect Straycat. Attempts to introduce kittens of about Jamie's age failed miserably, as he went right in for the kill as soon as barriers were eventually removed. Our last attempt to take in a deceased neighbor's cat failed just a few months ago. We spent months and months introducing them, and had them to the point where Jamie would enter "her" room and remain peaceful. The problem was, once she tried to leave that room, he attacked and badly injured her. He has also injured neighborhood cats while he was on a leash, and becomes maniacal when he sees other cats at the vets', though he's fine with dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and so on.
Jamie is an extreme case, but I know from working with a rescue organization that there definitely are cats that won't tolerate other cats, and attempts to make them accept "competition" just makes both cats miserable.
Many cats just aren't "pack animals", and prefer human, canine, rodent, etc. to feline company.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you jcat, that is my concern. I don't want to make Chloe upset, nor a new kitty. Maybe I should contact the organization and see what their thoughts are. We love Chloe to pieces and would like to have a companion for her if it would make her happy, but if not than that's fine with us.
post #14 of 23
You might also look into a foster situation to see if she can be acclimated to another cat. If she does learn to get along, then perhaps you could have the option of adopting the foster kitty (kind of like kids in foster care being adopted by the foster parents).
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne511
Thank you jcat, that is my concern. I don't want to make Chloe upset, nor a new kitty. Maybe I should contact the organization and see what their thoughts are. We love Chloe to pieces and would like to have a companion for her if it would make her happy, but if not than that's fine with us.
I would definitely ask to speak to her foster mom. Some foster moms are very experienced, some have only had one or two fosters. The foster mom can tell you what she saw going on. I would definitely not suggest you try fostering another cat. I think it is hard on any cat to have fosters added to the family and then taken away. If Chloe has issues, I don't see how a string of strange cats would help.

Do you have a friend with a nice cat? Maybe they can visit and see how Chloe acts with a cat in a carrier, or in a separate room. Five months does seem young to be so inflexible, but she is a cat!

Some cats are totally love-bugs. My Gars was put in a cage with his Momma after they had been separated for about a month. She hissed at him. He just waited until she fell asleep, and then cuddled up to her. By the time she woke up, they were friends! Maybe you can find a Gar for her. Whether she likes the other cat or not, it WILL make friends!
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your suggestions and experience. I have some updates.

I've been emailing with the organization we got Chloe from. The lady seems to be leaning toward the "let her be" angle too. Mostly because Chloe is almost 6 months old. Actually, here is what she said. [Note: Kristi was Chloe's foster mom.]

Generally, it will be much more difficult to introduce a new cat to a cat which was removed from other cats when it was very young. The first 5 months or so are the most important for socializing a cat to others. The longer that Chloe is an "only cat", the harder it will be to introduce another. But if you don't socialize her while she is still a kitten, it's fairly likely that you will never be able to do so.

At this point, you know Chloe far better than any of us, and you are by far the best to determine whether introduction of another cat is worth trying. Kristi knew Chloe for a matter of weeks, months ago, when Chloe was just a little baby.

If you do decide to introduce another cat, please be prepared for a stressful month or so; and please be committed to slow, careful monitored introductions developing into a face-to-face meeting over a matter of weeks (not days). Also, be sure you adopt from an organization that will take the second kitty back if it does not work out.


Then I got a great email from Kristi, the foster mom:

I do remember Chloe well, she was the one that was on her own for a few days after we caught her two siblings and her mother, not knowing that there was in fact a third kitten.

Chloe did fine with her 2 siblings, and with her Mom, it was our adult cats that she didn't like. But at the same time, we had an aggressive adult cat in our house that added tension to all of the cats, so our adult cats were a little more hostile at the time.

I think Chloe might benefit from having another cat in the house. I think she might do better with a cat that is a little younger than her. That way she can always be the boss.

I have an adult formerly feral cat (named Rocky) who I thought would never accept another cat. He was 3 years old when I brought in a feral kitten (named Sally). He was a little tense at first but once he saw that he could boss her around in a playful kind of way, and she could entertain him during the day when I was at work, he has accepted her. She even gets to sleep on the bed now.

As Nancy said, I would introduce them slowly, and let Chloe dictate the situation. The new kitten will need time to adjust to a new environment anyway, so it should work out well.


I got another reply from the first woman, Nancy, who I believe is the founder of the rescue organization:

We would give you a two-week cancellation period. Hopefully, that would be enough time to know if it's going to work out or not.

If you do decide to try it, I would suggest a companion cat 6 months to 1-1/2 years old.


Personally, my husband and I think she might be better with a younger kitten, so she wouldn't feel so intimidated by a new, bigger cat. Are there any reasons you can think of why it would be better to get an older cat?

THANK YOU if you've managed to keep up thus far and are still willing to chime in with your thoughts.
post #17 of 23
Did you pass this back to the rescue:

Quote:
I think she might do better with a cat that is a little younger than her. That way she can always be the boss.
Even the foster believes she would due better with a slightly younger kitten. I would email them back and list this recommendation and see if they will offer you the same trial on a 3-5 month old kitten.

Katie
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
It looks like I'm going to be the lone dissenter. I would listen to the foster mom, who was able to observe Chloe over a period of time with other cats. We adopted Jamie at 10 weeks, which was 2 to 4 weeks earlier than originally planned, because he was exhibiting very aggressive behavior towards his siblings and other cats in the foster household, excluding his mother. We had a much older alpha male at the time, and despite careful introductions, Jamie never got along with Straycat, and the two had to be kept separated to protect Straycat. Attempts to introduce kittens of about Jamie's age failed miserably, as he went right in for the kill as soon as barriers were eventually removed. Our last attempt to take in a deceased neighbor's cat failed just a few months ago. We spent months and months introducing them, and had them to the point where Jamie would enter "her" room and remain peaceful. The problem was, once she tried to leave that room, he attacked and badly injured her. He has also injured neighborhood cats while he was on a leash, and becomes maniacal when he sees other cats at the vets', though he's fine with dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and so on.
Jamie is an extreme case, but I know from working with a rescue organization that there definitely are cats that won't tolerate other cats, and attempts to make them accept "competition" just makes both cats miserable.
Many cats just aren't "pack animals", and prefer human, canine, rodent, etc. to feline company.
I think, though, that you kitty is a very extreme case. I think it's unusual for a cat to hate other cats so much. My kitty loves having a companion, and Chloe hopefully will like a companion as well. Better do it while she is still young, because the younger the cat is, the easier it is to introduce another cat. Also, better get a younger kitty, not the older kitty. I would not get an older cat-it will be much more difficult to introduce Chloe to an older cat.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
Did you pass this back to the rescue:



Even the foster believes she would due better with a slightly younger kitten. I would email them back and list this recommendation and see if they will offer you the same trial on a 3-5 month old kitten.

Katie
Yes, I emailed Nancy back and asked why she felt an older kitty would be better. I'm hoping to hear back from her today. I just wonder if maybe there's some issues I haven't thought of. ???
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne511
Yes, I emailed Nancy back and asked why she felt an older kitty would be better. I'm hoping to hear back from her today. I just wonder if maybe there's some issues I haven't thought of. ???
It's more difficult to find homes for older kittens/cats, so that may play a role in her advice. The only "issue" I can think of is that she may believe a younger kitten might be far too rambunctious for Chloe.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks jcat, you're right. Here is her response:

I think that if Chloe has trouble getting along with others and is unaccustomed to others, the last thing she needs is a super-playful little kitten jumping on her all the time. I think that a better match would be a cat who would be happy to play with her, or happy not to. Also, if Chloe is mean to the little kitten, the little kitten will have no one to play with, and will also grow up unsocialized to other cats, while having a pretty miserable "childhood".

So, in my view, a cat that is not used to playing with other cats should not be subjected to a little kitten that is incessantly playful (and annoying).

I can readily picture her with a friendly adult cat. The adult cat will deal with it whether Chloe wants to be friends or not.


I don't know what to do! The thing is, the foster mom said she only had trouble with the other cats because the aggression level in the house was kind of high at the time due to another cat. I don't know that Chloe would necessarily have trouble with all cats. Chloe's still pretty playful herself since she's 6 months old. But Nancy has more experience than I do. It's tough when you get two different answers from people that know better than you do.

Oy!
post #22 of 23
It's almost impossible to predict what will happen. I've always suspected that Jamie was hurt or terribly frightened by one of the adult cats in the home where he was fostered as a kitten, which is why I thought he might be okay with another kitten. Sadly, that wasn't the case. He's really an "extreme case", however; the only other experience we've had with this type of behavior was with a Boxer that was severely injured by another dog at the age of 8. Prior to the attack, he was wonderful with other dogs, but afterwards we couldn't let him near any other dogs.
The big question is, should cats be "only fur kids"? The norm here is to insist that people take two litter mates. That can work out wonderfully, but there are also cases where the adopters report back later, when the cats are 1 to 3, that they've become absolute enemies. My sister has a 7 1/2-year-old castrated male who used to be the neighborhood terror, beating up on other cats, but getting along fine with her three dogs. Three years ago, one of my nephews brought home a 12-week-old kitten. Nobody thought it would work out, but Trey accepted her immediately, and is still "mothering" her, and now stays home.
I'm sorry I can't be helpful here. I can only say that there are cats who prefer to be "only children", and others who value a playmate/companion.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all the help that has been offered. We are going to meet a 1 year old male tomorrow, who we are told is very good with other cats. Ideally I'd like to find a cat closer to 6 months, but we'll see how it goes. Yesterday Chloe was being very playful with her stuffed kitten, which gave us some hope that she would be good with a younger kitten as well. (It's kind of hard to find a 5-7 month old right now...they all seem to be 2-3 months old or 1 year old.)

I'll update as needed, but if anyone else has a comment I'd love to hear it in the meantime.

TCS is such an awesome resource!
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