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Getting a second cat

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  • Sep 25th, 2018 4:50 pm
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[OP]
Deal Addict
May 22, 2003
2881 posts
1249 upvotes
Vancouver

Getting a second cat

So our adopted cat has settled in very nicely in our home now, but we think she is lonely when we're at work (she is very vocal and angry/sad when we get home from work and will ignore us for a few minutes - but will become affectionate again after a few minutes), so we are adopting a second adult cat. The new cat is known to get along with other cats (owner passed away - had multiple cats in home), but it is unknown if our current cat get along with other cats (we think she has been a solo cat her whole life). We've done extensive research on the slow integration method and will be following that model. The shelter is aware of our situation and is willing to take the new cat back if it doesn't work out. Our worst fear is if it doesn't work out and we return the new cat, will our current cat return back to normal, or will she consider this a betrayal of trust and hate us forever?
15 replies
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
996 posts
333 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
Our young cat still hasn't quite forgiven us for getting a kitten, and this was over half a year ago.
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 22, 2003
2881 posts
1249 upvotes
Vancouver
^Did you use the slow integration method? Do they at least get along?
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
996 posts
333 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
They get along fine now, 95% of the time. They're young males so occasionally fight (no blood or fur, more like grappling) like boys. The 3-4 day integration method. I still say cats are solitary animals for the most part. I've also seen (cats of friends) where a daughter suddenly has taken a dislike to the mother (never been separated) and start spraying everywhere. Also a young kitten grow up with an older cat (who was there first) and then developing an aggressive dislike for the older cat. A long time ago, a friend thought her cat was lonely and got a kitten. She is pretty sure her cat led the kitten outside for it to be eaten by a dog.

At least you have a return policy.
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
Deal Addict
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Aug 2, 2003
1917 posts
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Beautiful B.C.
In my experience, you have a good chance of success right off the bat if your new cat is a neutered male. It doesn't mean it won't work out anyway. But two female cats in particular can get really annoyed at each other. I don't know about this "slow integration method," but for sure keep their food in entirely different places. And don't scold one for getting annoyed at the other. Good on you for adopting adult cats.

Something also to consider that many people swear by is Feliway. I personally have little experience with it, but you might find it helpful for your situation: https://www.feliway.com/ca_en

Also, I would recommend the forums at holisticat.com. The people there know SO much about behavioural issues, although it does cost $25 per year USD to join. Much less if it's just for a month and I think you can look at the posts for free, but not post yourself. It's an amazing resource and many people there have integrated new cats into their homes.
"So let it be e-mailed - so let it be done!"
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
850 posts
383 upvotes
British Columbia
In general getting the cats to associate positive things with one another is a good goal to work towards. Moving the food dishes slowly closer together on opposite sides of a door/baby gate can help cats achieve this. Also playtime with a wand toy, treats, scent exchange etc. done at the cats own pace helps.

I've had a multi-cat household (Currently 3 cats. I've more than once had 4 cats...) not by choice but due to taking in various strays... I've seen all sorts of results. Gender stereotypes aside, cats are solitary creatures by nature and it's a very mixed bag how they will take to an interloper.

Once they are weaned cats don't roam in packs. They are also quite territorial. Often cats view their own species as more of a threat than having another species invade their territory. Most cats in my family have got along at least amicably with dogs as long as the dog is respectful (which usually boils down to a dog without a high prey drive). The same cannot be said for other cats...

A lot of adult cats would be happier alone. They may coexist peacefully in the same space but often don't work up to playing and grooming and cuddling with one another. Ever. When your cat is greeting you at the door that means it wants human attention. Not another cat.

Also just because a cat has lived in a multi-cat household does not mean that they particularly enjoyed it nor does it mean they will do well with a different combination of cats. In fact even cats that get along great can one day decide they are the worst of enemies in some instances.

Some cat personalities clash more than others, especially the curiously rambunctious meets the perpetually sleeping. Usually the only surefire way to get cats to get along is if they've been raised from birth together. The only really good matches I've seen are when they are siblings or young cats introduced (around a year old). Otherwise they're more set in their ways and may not accept any new additions to the household.

I know this all sounds negative... But you need to be prepared for it not working out and/or for a long intro process.

Whenever I've introduced another cat it's changed the dynamic of the household, so that one thing you can count on. The relationship you have with your current cat will change. At first your cat will likely be very put out. If it all goes well this could morph into the two cats spending all their time together and now ignoring you. Or the other direction where the cats may live in separate rooms and interact at a minimal with occasional hissing and scrapping. Either is possible but somewhere in the middle is more likely.

Anyway, best of luck! Having two cats when they get along is lovely and worth the effort. If it does not work out your cat should bounce back to herself unless there's residual behaviour issues at work like overgrooming or spraying. But don't dwell on those more unlikely scenarios and give it a shot. Maybe they'll get along great right away! One of my cats is quite lovely; never hisses or fights and is very accepting of new animals in the home. He's more of the exception than the rule but they do exist!
Newbie
Aug 11, 2018
10 posts
9 upvotes
oh, if I take a new cat, my current one would hate me!
I was once in a situation when I had to keep a cat in my home and the one that I have was really angry..he thinks that it is his area and noone can entry.. you have to be very careful but consider that he can never accept his new friend!
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 22, 2003
2881 posts
1249 upvotes
Vancouver
Karala - thanks for the post, it was very insightful. I'm almost having second thoughts of picking up the cat now, our current cat is so precious, don't want her to be unhappy. Have to mull this over a bit more.
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Jul 19, 2012
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Canada
notenoughsleep wrote:
Aug 29th, 2018 5:57 pm
Karala - thanks for the post, it was very insightful. I'm almost having second thoughts of picking up the cat now, our current cat is so precious, don't want her to be unhappy. Have to mull this over a bit more.
Just try it out worse case scenario bring the cat back but Give it a significant time for them to get used to each other it will be worth the effort you will be making your current cat happy for company and a second cat you will be saving a life and they will have each other while you are away at work you don’t know if you don’t try
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
850 posts
383 upvotes
British Columbia
I think the main considerations are how old your cat is (the older the cat the less likely they'll appreciate a buddy) and their own personality. Like I said some cats do adjust to new additions in the home quickly. It is important to try and get a similar matched cat personality though. Keep in mind if one cat doesn't work doesn't mean no other cat will work.

Also how long you're willing to try and make it work if they aren't the best of friends right away is important. Sometimes the adjustment period is several months (...or years hah) but giving it at least a few weeks for the dust to settle would be worthwhile. It's a big commitment but I wouldn't say it's not worth a shot; so many kitties are in need of homes.
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Aug 2, 2003
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notenoughsleep wrote:
Aug 29th, 2018 5:57 pm
Karala - thanks for the post, it was very insightful. I'm almost having second thoughts of picking up the cat now, our current cat is so precious, don't want her to be unhappy. Have to mull this over a bit more.
I really, really hope all of these posts don't deter you! It's impossible for any of us here to do more than generalize based on personal experience and anecdotes. All that can be said with some certainty is that you'll have a unique experience. The more cats the better I say. :-)
"So let it be e-mailed - so let it be done!"
Deal Fanatic
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Nov 19, 2004
7911 posts
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Cambridge, ON
We got a second cat about 2 years after the first under the same thinking. I don't think it made much difference in terms of the perceived loneliness. They played together a bit each morning, one was definitely the boss at feeding time, but generally just went about their own way.

After the one died, the other took awhile to adjust, but mostly just realizing it didn't have to constantly look over its shoulder.
Newbie
Sep 9, 2018
4 posts
It should be fine. If you don't try it you'll never know.
Jr. Member
Mar 30, 2010
196 posts
81 upvotes
Calgary
I’d like the OP to update! We got a second cat as a companion for our first and they got along wonderfully.

Right now we have 2 adult cats and introduced some foster kittens and the adults are tolerant but not happy.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 22, 2003
2881 posts
1249 upvotes
Vancouver
Hi guys, thanks for the all the information. Unfortunately we did not end up adopting the second cat. A few days before we were supposed to pick him up, my wife brought our existing cat in for a checkup as she was excessively grooming her genitals. Turns out she has metastatic cancer and likely only a few months to live. We wanted her last few months to be happy/peaceful so didn't think introducing a new cat would be a good idea. When we're ready to adopt again we will likely adopt a bonded pair of cats.

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