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Tips for adding a second cat to the family?

megan_in_pink
March 6th, 2010, 06:45 PM
We are looking to get a second cat sometime after the month of may. I was hoping you could give me some tips on how to make this be an easy thing on both the old cat and the new one.

Thanks for helping

sugarcatmom
March 6th, 2010, 08:21 PM
How old is your current kitty? Has s/he ever lived with other cats before? And what about the new kitty - do you already have one in mind or is that still to be decided?

These are some good articles on how to go about the introduction process (slowly is the key):

http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/getting_a_cat/good_introduction.html
http://www.squidoo.com/multi-cat-management
http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/getting_a_cat/index.html

megan_in_pink
March 6th, 2010, 08:42 PM
My current cat just turn 3 in Dec,

We do ot have cat in mind now we will probly get one from my vet here is Montreal or at the spca.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 7th, 2010, 07:54 PM
It would be easiest to introduce a kitten. Adult cats seem to take to kittens easier and kittens have no issues bonding with other cats.
Since your cat is 3 and has always been an only cat, they may not want another adult cat in their home. Have you ever introduced your cat to the smell of another cat (like on your clothes or toys)? What is their reaction? Some cats will hiss and become agitated just at the smell of another cat, and if this is the case with yours another cat may not even be a good option.

It is possible to introduce adult cats, but there tend to be more issues. You will probably have to take much longer introducing them.
If you do choose an adult make sure to choose one that doesn't tend to exhibit issues with other cats. Some cats just WANT to be the boss and if your cat doesn't like that they may never get along. If you can find an adult cat that has been introduced to other cats before with no issues that would be a good option.
Some cats are very laid back and don't mind new cats, and other cats don't tend to mind them. Whoever you adopt from should be able to give you advice on which of the cats your considering seem to have the least issues with other cats around them.

You are definitely better off adopting from a foster home in this regard. Cats in cages at shelters don't tend to exhibit their true personality and might have issues that the shelter doesn't know about.

sugarcatmom
March 7th, 2010, 08:25 PM
It would be easiest to introduce a kitten.

I actually disagree. I think cats around the same age and activity level are easier to introduce. Unless an adult has been around kittens before, or has a very tolerant and playful personality, kittens can be too much for most. Here is a good article on the subject, along with tips on how to do the introductions with an adult and kitten if that's what you decide to do, megan_in_pink:
http://www.wvcats.com/integrating_kittens_with_cats.htm

MyBirdIsEvil
March 7th, 2010, 09:51 PM
I actually disagree. I think cats around the same age and activity level are easier to introduce. Unless an adult has been around kittens before, or has a very tolerant and playful personality, kittens can be too much for most. Here is a good article on the subject, along with tips on how to do the introductions with an adult and kitten if that's what you decide to do, megan_in_pink:
http://www.wvcats.com/integrating_kittens_with_cats.htm

We'll just have to agree to disagree then.

I've rescued lots of cats, adults and kittens, and the kittens and adults have always had an easier time getting along than an adult introduced to another adult.

A 3 year old cat should easily handle the activity level of a kitten unless they have some kind of health issue or they're just a very low energy level cat. I have 7 kittens here right now and the 4 adult cats don't have any issues with them. If they don't wanna play they make it well known to the kittens and they tend to go do something else instead. Part of socializing kittens is them being corrected by the adult cats, and the adult cats usually do pretty well and the kittens will learn easily.
There is sometimes some bickering when the kitten comes into maturity but it's almost always solved more easily and peacefully than 2 adult cats that don't know each other.
On the other hand, when introducing adult cats you tend to have a lot of hierarchy posturing and possible fights, even if they're introduced slowly.

I have to say I disagree with the article that introducing 2 cats that are the same age level is easier. Energy level wise that may be the case, if you are introducing a senior to a young exuberant cat or something. As far as bickering due to lack of familiarity though, I haven't seen similar age cats be introduced any easier.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 7th, 2010, 09:57 PM
On another note though, a kitten does take a lot of time and needs a lot of interaction. If that's not possible I'd say an adult would definitely be better. If you can't give the kitten lots of play yourself they ARE going to seek attention mostly from the adult cat instead, and that can cause problems.
On the other hand you can have these issues with adult cats too. My 2 1/2 year old cats still try to pounce on everyone and play, and they even annoy the kittens sometimes. That's why I'd suggest getting a foster home cat instead of from a shelter, because you can find out what kind of needs it has.

14+kitties
March 7th, 2010, 10:13 PM
When I introduce a new cat to the rest I let them see each other(s) for quite some time before actually being in the same room/area. But I have a large area where I can do that. If it is possible to have the new cat/kitten in a room of it's own and do the introductions slowly, as stated in the websites given, that would be ideal.
You can also use a large dog crate to introduce them. The new kitty goes in the dog crate with litter box, food, water, etc. The cats can see each other but can't get to each other to cause issues. I always found with mine the first day was the worse for hissing and posturing. After that the issues abated. But I would still start off in a separate room for a few days before moving to the crate part. If things look like they may be going well the crate period should not have to last more than a day or so.
As to getting a kitten or a cat, a lot depends on temperment - of both cats. Ideally it would be nice to know if your new kitty is used to other cats. Also, is your cat used to other cats?
Every situation is different. With patience and time most issues work themselves out.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 7th, 2010, 11:59 PM
^I agree.

I'm not saying discount any age group, btw, I was just speaking from general experience.
You need to assess your own cat. Like I said though it's gonna be really hard to assess a cats personality if you're picking it out of a cage from a shelter like the spca or something. Some cats can change attitude drastically after being removed form that type of situation. One that seemed laid back might be really hyper and like to play. One that seemed fearful might be pretty bold and outgoing. One that seemed to crave attention might actually be a loner, etc..

marko
March 8th, 2010, 09:40 AM
We also have a short article of how to do this here. http://www.pets.ca/pettips/pet-tip-107.htm

Good luck!

megan_in_pink
March 8th, 2010, 05:25 PM
thanks for al the help everyone, some great info has been given out.

He tends to not really react at all if smell other cats and dogs on us, alot of our family has dogs or cats and still loves up on these people. in the past two months we have had dog in the few at least two times, both times he would look at the dog and walk away.

The age we are looking it about 4 month old (according to our vet). The current cat (Smudge) cal he lazy due it is due to deperstion. this is one of the major reason we we have started to look at getting a second cat. He needs someone at home with him, he use to have my mom (how loved smudge to bits) but she passed away in Aug. My father and me have not gotten to the point in our healing that we want to help the cat get healther now.

MyBirdIsEvil
March 8th, 2010, 06:14 PM
Sounds like a good deal.

btw, once you introduce them you could always try putting a magnetic kitty door to a room that just your old cat has the key on his collar to. That way if the new cat annoys her she can go in that room and the other cat can't get in. That is if your cat will walk through cat doors. Mine are terrified of them, so we just have a hole cut in the door to their room lol.