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Choosing a New Kitten

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello!

We currently have Tak, a 3 year old female. We are hoping that we will be able to get a new kitten soon (the rules regarding cats in my apartment building are changing), so I've started looking at new babies to add to our home!

I'm wondering if anyone out there with multiple kitties can tell me what genders get along best? Tak is spayed, and I will be fixing the little one ASAP. Would getting another female be the best choice, or should I get a male?

Tak has lived with other cats before (because of cat issues in our building, she had to stay with some friends for a few months). The cats she lived with were female, and adults. They fought a lot at first, but eventually just sort of ignored each other. I'd like my cats to be friends if possible!

Any hints on bringing a new kitty in, what the suggested gender will be, and any other tips will be graciously received.
post #2 of 20
Though choosing a new kitty also depends on the new kitty and your current kitty's personalities as well, I would recommend bringing in a male kitty that's a bit younger than your current friend. I would recommend a fixed 1.5 yr old male.

Of course, you'll have to be able to spend lots of time with him first to see what he's like, and decide if they'll get along.

It's difficult to tell with females if they'll get along, but chances are, if you have a really friendly, out-going, fun-loving female (not the aloof, mostly-ignoring, sleeps-more-than-anything type), they'll get along just fine.

As far as introducing them, I would give your lovely female the run of the house, and set up a room for your new male friend, and allow them to sniff each other under the door and get used to each other's presence. When you see them playing "paws" under the door for a couple days, I would let him out, and stay close-by, observing their reactions to one another.

Now, a fair warning about introducing two kitties. Things may go swimmingly at first, and then about a week later, go a little rough for a couple weeks. This is not a permanent thing...it's just your current kitty realizing this new "friend" isn't going anywhere, and protesting that she doesn't have the run of the house anymore. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that one of the two of them might want to establish dominance in the household (most likely your girl). This is just fine, as long as they don't end up in an all-out fight. If there's a little batting and hissing and growling, they'll be just fine.

Now, granted, it could wind up that neither of these things occur. I just wanted to put that warning out there. Ya never know with kitties.

Bottom line...if your sweet girl is friendly with you, and curious to know others, things should be just fine, and I wouldn't worry about it. Just be sure to do the introducing in their time, and things will turn out just fine.

Aside from all that (and I hope I didn't scare you...just wanted to give a couple warnings), have fun finding your baby a new friend!!

P.S. The reason I suggest getting a male instead of another female, is because the two genders mix very nicely. I have found that introducing a new female with another more often the naught causes quite a disruption. Females tend to most of the time be focused on a social structure in the house, one that males aren't too much concerned with. Introducing a male to your current female may avoid that alltogether, as she will see that he doesn't care what his "place" is, and will most likely willingly hand over the title of "Queen of the Household" to her. As I said, this could be completely null and void, because every kitty is different. It's just a general thing I've found in kitties.
post #3 of 20
Such a good question, but unfortunately not one with an easy answer.

I have 6 cats, 2 males and 4 females. One female is 5 years old, 1 female is the mother of the 4 kittens (2 boys, 2 girls). If you only count the cats who have been raised together, the momma and her babies...I tend to see the girls friendlier with the other girls and the boys more friendly with each other.

The 5 yo female we had before taking in the momma cat and her babies does not socialize with any of them. She gets along fine with them, but does not seek their company or sleep with them or cuddle. The 1 1/2 yomale we recently lost loved the new additions to the family.

I think it is just a roll of the dice when you bring in a new cat...totally dependent on both personalities. I don't really think there is any way to ensure a close relationship. I do think most of the time the cats will adjust to the others presence but anything beyond that is really going to be up to the cats.

One thing I wold like to mention though, even if the cats do not form a noticeable friendship that humans can observe and appreciate, I think that many cats really do benefit from the company of living with other cats. (I am sure there are exceptions, though)

a few things that I think make the transition more likely to be smooth:

That they are both altered.

That they both have a safe place of their own, somewhere they do not feel threatened or intruded upon by the other cat. This is especially important when the new one moves in, maybe not so much after they are used to each other.

That you are prepared that it can take months (even years for some cats) to totally adjust and feel comfortable with the other cat. Again, it just depends on how they take to each other. I am not talking about fighting, but really being comfortable.

I wish you luck, I think I would go with a male based on my own experiences. But then again, I am sure others have totally different situations, LOL.


JMHO
post #4 of 20


The only thing I will say, though, is that it tends to be quite different as far as which genders get along when they're in the same litter. Kitties are much more forgiving of each other when they come from the same litter. When they're different ages, they are in different stages. Also, not being from the same litter, they don't have any similiarity in smell (which kitties in same litters do), and when they are from the same litter they've been around each other from day one...both of which make a huge difference.

I'm not trying to invalidate your advice, poohandwendy, only add to it. I hope I didn't offend you by posting this, I just wanted to put an explanation to what you said about your experiences being from kitties from the same litter.
post #5 of 20
Oh, I totally agree...that is why I recommended getting a male at the end of my post because the gender issue within the litter is totally opposite of the way it worked out with our cats who were not raised together. (I know I wasn't all that clear about it because I wrote 'another male' I edited it to say 'a male', LOL) I probably should have eliminated my experiences within the litter because it really does not apply when you bring in an unfamiliar animal.

If anything, my experience is that male cats seem to adjust to newcomers more readily. So, given the fact that the OP has an adult female, I would go with a young, neutered male...but probably not a super young kitten because the female may not appreciate the rowdy nature of a young kitten.

No, I am totally not offended by your post, I agree iwth it totally.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohandwendy
Oh, I totally agree...that is why I recommended getting a male at the end of my post because the gender issue within the litter is totally opposite of the way it worked out with our cats who were not raised together. (I know I wasn't all that clear about it, LOL) I probably should have eliminated that totally because it really does not apply when you bring in an unfamiliar animal.

If anything, my experience is that male cats seem to adjust to newcomers more readily. So, given the fact that the OP has an adult female, I would go with a young, neutered male...but probably not a super young kitten because the female may not appreciate the rowdy nature of a young kitten.

No, I am totally not offended by your post, I agree iwth it totally.
Ok, cool. Ya never know...lol...some people welcome things like that, others get mad.

Anyway, yeah I agree, a very young kitten would be too rowdy, and they don't understand hardly ANY social graces...so a kitten younger than a year or year and a half would just serve to offend the older female and probably just add stress instead of fun.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for the wonderful advice!

It seems as though you both suggest bringing a little boy into the house would be best. I think it makes sense that two girls will both think they own the place and that might lead to some headaches for all involved!

The last thing I want to do is upset Tak. I really hope that she can have someone to play with, or at least they can keep each other company when we're out during the day.

As far as Tak's personality, she's still young, so she's very active! She's taken to sleeping at the foot of our bed at night, and is usually pretty alert during the day and evening. She isn't a big cuddler, and hates being held on a lap and petted. She'll sit by you and let you stroke her ocassionally, but definitely not a lap cat. She's super curious (no surprise there!) and she thinks she owns the place! She is also very protective over Simon (my boyfriend) and I, which might be a bit of an issue if a new baby shows up!

Maherwoman, you suggested getting a young male. Do you think it would be a problem if we get a little kitten? I thought she might take to mothering it if it is very young, and it might submit to her.

I'm considering adopting a baby from the shelter, which works good to see how socialized the kittens are and how they react to other cats.

Thanks for the advice so far!
post #8 of 20
To answer your question, I wouldn't suggest getting a kitty younger than a year old. When they're that young, they haven't learned when to leave the older kitty alone, when it's best to stop playing, when they're irritating the other kitty, etc. Combining a kitten that young with your Tak would only serve to offend and irritate her and give her stress instead of fun. Believe me, kitties are still well active and playful right up until about four years. My two, both almost 2yrs, still play as much as when they were babies! So, don't worry, you'll still have a playful guy on your hands. (To be sure, bring along a toy, like one that's on a string attached to a wand, when you visit any kitties you're thinking of bringing home.)

You're right, you may have problems with Tak getting jealous of the attention you'll be giving your new guy, but don't worry...just be sure to give her lots and lots of attention, and give her treats and such. I'm sure they'll be able to work out any differences they come to. Tak is young enough that she hasn't gotten into the phase that most adult female cats get into...that aloofness. So it sounds like she'll do just fine.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Do you think it would be a problem if we get a little kitten? I thought she might take to mothering it if it is very young, and it might submit to her.
I am going to answer too (if you do not mind), just because I did do this exact thing...before we had the momma who had the litter.

We had a 3 yo female and brought home a 6 week old male. She was such a creature of habit that I think he just upset the applecart for her. He was a wild man and she was just not thrilled with him until he became an adult.

They eventually got along, but they never were super close. Then again, when we brought in the stray pregnant female, our male cat loved her and her kittens. The momma cat tolerated him, but wasn't especially close to him. (he just died a month ago) Our adult female basically ignored the momma and her litter. They now all get along, but the ones who are not related do not go out of their way to socialize.

As far as maternal instinct, not all females are going to automatically go that way with a kitten. Sometimes they are threatened by a kitten because they know it has a momma somewhere, I think. There are no guarantees, that is why I would ''suggest'' a young adult male. But, even my suggestion is nothing but that. Because at the end of the day, whatever you choose your cats will most likely adjust just fine to each other.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ah yes, both of your advice against a little kitten makes so much sense! Seeing as how we don't want to "upset the applecart" (great wording!), I think an young (but not baby) male would be the best friend for Tak.

An additional bonus to getting an older cat is that I will have a better feeling for what their personality will be like. It can be very hard to guess with kittens sometimes!

Ideally, and this is my own personal bonus, I'd like to get a cuddly kitty, as Tak would rather sleep on my school work than on my lap.

Yay! I feel like I can start looking at shelter kitties now and hope that the right little gentleman comes along! Thank you both!

If there are more suggestions from anyone, I would love to hear them!
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohandwendy
As far as maternal instinct, not all females are going to automatically go that way with a kitten. Sometimes they are threatened by a kitten because they know it has a momma somewhere, I think. There are no guarantees, that is why I would ''suggest'' a young adult male. But, even my suggestion is nothing but that. Because at the end of the day, whatever you choose your cats will most likely adjust just fine to each other.
VERY true, about females not always going into mommy mode with kittens. Heck, Sunny and Hobbes' mother, Soupie, didn't do it AT ALL, and she HAD them! Luckily their mother's owner had another female, Sarah, that had recently had kittens, and she loved them enough to step in and give them her milk, but we still had to hold Soupie down sometimes to get her to allow them to nurse from her!

So, there's really not even a guarantee of a birth mother being a mama to a kitten...and much less guarantee if they're not related. We were lucky that Sarah was such a natural mama type, or our babies would have most likely starved! Please don't count on her just naturally taking on the mama role. There's literally only about a 1% chance she'll do that.

Poohandwendy is right, these are just suggestions...in the end, whatever you choose to do, as long as you introduce them right and in their time, and keep a close eye on them, and be sure to be sensitive to their needs, things will turn out just fine.
post #12 of 20
I just wanted to add that even if she starts off being "motherly" to the kitten, it may not last. When we got Princess, she was just 6 weeks old, and Patches was over a year. Patches actually mothered her for a while. Once Princess was adjusted to the house and didn't need mothering any more, Patches decided that it was time to put the little girl in her place. They've never been close, but they tolerate each other with infrequent spats.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik
I just wanted to add that even if she starts off being "motherly" to the kitten, it may not last. When we got Princess, she was just 6 weeks old, and Patches was over a year. Patches actually mothered her for a while. Once Princess was adjusted to the house and didn't need mothering any more, Patches decided that it was time to put the little girl in her place. They've never been close, but they tolerate each other with infrequent spats.
That's very true, too. Thanks for adding that!
post #14 of 20
I am in a similar situation - I have a 3 year old female who LOVES to sleep on my homework or on my laptop, but gets irritated if she's pet too much (or at all). 3 weeks ago we adopted a 6 month old male kitten, neutered. We wanted a kitten smaller in size and young enough that she could "mother," just as you were thinking. We didn't want her to be intimidated by a new cat. She's kinda set in her ways... which is also why we wanted to add a kitten now. As has been mentioned, I felt that now, at 3 years, she would be more open to a new family member. I also hoped that it would "loosen her up" and help her lighten up a bit.

So, 3 weeks in to it, here's what happened... little boy kitty loved her from the start but she wouldn't let him close to her for several days. Now she will go so far as to tolerate him sleeping in the same chair with her, but only if he's the one to jump. She won't join him in a chair. She's also jealous if I'm holding him and not her, but she doesn't want to be held if he's sitting next to me.

But they do play (at least we think and pray that it's only play) - they chase each other (mostly her chasing him) and wrestle. Neither one makes a sound or cries, so we think it's play. Plus she's telling him who's boss. I just need to make sure she doesn't squish him cause he's a third of her size.

I would agree with the others that a kitten about a year old would be a good idea. Sometimes this 6 month old is a bit rambuncious for her. On the other hand, it might also be good for her cause it kinda forces her to be involved, whereas with a one year old maybe she would sit on the sidelines more.

I don't know if any of that's helpful to you. I guess I was just rambling. Good luck with your kitty!
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks RBlaude for giving me the tale of your kitty family! It certainly applies to where I am now, so it is very helpful!

Sounds like your older girl is even a bit more aloof than mine, so I guess it makes sense that a loving and bouncy new boy sort of turned her off at first. Sounds like they are warming up to each other already, though! Hopefully they continue to get along even better.

I think the consensus is for me to get a bit of an older boy that won't be too rambunctious and freak Tak out.

She's sleeping so calmly on my desk right now and doesn't even know what I have in store for her!
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii
She's sleeping so calmly on my desk right now and doesn't even know what I have in store for her!
LOL!! Poor dear...she'll be fine, though...in fact, she'll thank you for it, once she's used to her new friend.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ah! I thought of something else.

Should I expect a problem with them using the same litterbox (after the initial under-the-door introdution period)? Ideally, they'd use the same box. Anyone had an issue with this?
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii
Ah! I thought of something else.

Should I expect a problem with them using the same litterbox (after the initial under-the-door introdution period)? Ideally, they'd use the same box. Anyone had an issue with this?
Good question...and sorry I didn't think of it before...lol!

What you'll want to do is this:

After you've introduced the two kitties, continue to have your new guy's necessities (litterbox, food, water, bed, etc.) in the room he was in during the introduction period for about a week (or two, depending on how things go). This gives him somewhere to go if he gets freaked out, and also gives your Tak the opportunity to sniff his things, and get used to his scent. Once you see that things are going really smoothly between the two of them, combine some of his litter with hers in the one box. You might want to continue having two boxes, now having two cats, but they might be fine with the one. (In other words, keep the second box just in case.)

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ah yes! Your answers always make such logical sense. It's great to know what has worked for people in the past, and apply it to keep my family and my cat from going crazy!

I ran the info from this discussion by Simon when he got home this evening, and he's just as excited as I am to go find our new little boy! It will also balance out the male/female ratio around here.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii
I ran the info from this discussion by Simon when he got home this evening, and he's just as excited as I am to go find our new little boy! It will also balance out the male/female ratio around here.
I'm amused by the small things in life, but it's so nice to hear about a happy family. And we were the same way with 3 year old Ashley -- the day I was bringing Spirit home, my husband and I kept saying she had no clue what was in store. Hit her like a ton of bricks when this little black and white fluffball came bounding out of the cat carrier!

We now use two litter boxes. It's funny cause we're in an apartment, so the litterboxes are technically only about 6 feet apart, one under the kitchen island and one tucked in the corner of the living room. For the new one, I chose the Booda Clean Step Dome. It's circular, white, and looks like an igloo so it's kinda cool. It also has a step-area that leads into the litter area (all covered), so we don't really need a litter mat outside of it.

I like having one per cat because it allows us to change out litters only once a week (with daily scooping). Otherwise, I think one box would get so smelly in less than one week, and with our garbage dumpster across the parking lot, we'd rather change it less often. Well here I am rambling again! But it's been fun to share stories.
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