Double cat people

High Plains Drifter

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Looking for comments from anyone that might've dealt with having an older cat then later adopting a kitten.

My wife wants a kitten and I'm not at all sold on the idea. We have one cat that we absolutely love and at least for me, I'm pretty apprehensive to adopt another right now. Our current kitty was a rescue and is about four years old. We've had her for about three years and she's extremely gentle and very well-behaved. She is a spayed female and we know from records that she had a litter of two but that was before we adopted her so we've never really seen her interact with those kittens.

My wife's way of thinking is that our cat might possess some inherent motherly behavior that would make her a perfect match for a full-time kitten friend but I'm not convinced of that and I worry that introducing a kitten into the household may cause our cat to stress out. I mean... I don't want to create a situation for our cat where she's simply "putting up with" a new housemate. I know that we won't know that unless/ until we actually do this but again... in my mind, this needs to be a positive experience for everyone.. especially the cat that we already have and who likely feels that this is HER house.

Last thing I'll add is that our cat does have feline herpes and we know that there is the potential for the kitten to contract this disease. Also, stress is a factor that can drop her immunity and in turn cause her to have congestive episodes. Obviously we don't want that. We will be talking to her veterinarian about this but thought I'd at least mention it here. It's not outside of the realm of possibility that we could have the kitten's vaccinations started before even introducing the two, but there may be some difficulty in coordinating that as well as the potential to be out of pocket on the vaccination expenses ( if the two cats don't jive and we decide it's not a good idea to adopt the kitten).

Ultimately as I told my wife, our current cat MUST get along with the kitten... that's top priority as I refuse to do something that stresses her out or alters her behavior negatively, etc. So for those of you that have gone thru a situation like this... what are your thoughts.. what would be your concerns, etc? How long did it take your elder cat to warm up to the newcomer?

Thanks if anyone out there might be able to give me some words of wisdom or just share your story.
 

tedtan

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I currently have four cats, a 15 year old female, a 12 year old male, a 4 year old female, and a 10 week old female. We rescued all of them a kittens.

The 15yo accepted the 12yo after the first day and still get along really well (she grew up around cats and dogs that had passed away and welcomed a companion). The 12yo accepted the 4yo, but the 15yo never did. The 12yo has accepted the 10 week old, but the other two haven’t fully, but its only been three weeks so far and I see increasing signs of acceptance daily.

So whether or not the cats will welcome each other or merely tolerate each other is can only be know by introducing them and seeing first hand. And you’ll want to give it at least a few days to make a call.

Regardless, you need to keep in mind that a kitten has a ton of energy and is either fully “on” or fully “off”, especially in the 3 to 6 month age range; they don’t hang out and chill like older cats. This means that your older cat will get tired of the kitten wanting to play with it so much and need some means of getting a break from the kitten. This could be something high that the older cat can climb or jump to and the kitten can’t, a different room, whatever, just something to allow the older cat to have a break when needed.
 

mastapimp

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My parents went through a similar situation back when I was in college. They had a cat that was a few years old, was very sweet and well-mannered on her own. My sister adopted a cat right before she went off to college and my parents decided to take it in as a kitten hoping it would get along. Things were fine for a year or so, then when the kitten got bigger it turned into an asshole adult cat that didn't get along at all.

The cats could coexist, but they were very much living separate lives and would sometimes fight over territory inside the house. My parents eventually let both cats outside during the day and inside at night which resolved some of the territory issues, but was eventually their downfall. One cat was chased up a tree by a loose dog and blew out both back legs, had to be euthanized. The other cat somehow died outside and was already partially eaten by the time my parents went to check on it a few hours later. Ever since then it's been a single cat, indoor only household.
 

KnightBrolaire

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some cats mesh and some don't. I got my current cat about 10 years ago and the other cat was already 10 years old at that point. He'd grown up with another cat for the first few years of his life, but absolutely hated the kitten for the first two years. He begrudgingly came to tolerate him, but they were never super friendly tbh.
 

High Plains Drifter

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There's some fairly compelling replies here that only further to solidify my apprehension about this adoption. And unfortunately, my wife whom I always applaud for working with me as a team, is kinda rubbing me the wrong way atm.

She already became all teary-eyed during our most recent conversation about this... citing that this kitten ( yes we have a particular one in mind already that is seven weeks old... friend from work deal) is SO cute and that she feels like she already has a connection to it. Well, right off the bat the "cute" factor means absolutely nothing to me. I get it... kitties are cute but that's neither here nor there imo. And the whole "connection" thing?? We've interacted with this kitten one time... once! And at that time it's eyes were all gunked up and it was half asleep. I felt nothing.

I'm hoping to get some more replies here but @tedtan , @mastapimp , and @KnightBrolaire have already been a great help. I do realize that there are simply going to be a lot of unknown's and I accept those to a degree. But I'm also just as hesitant now as I was when I made this thread because what we already have with our cat is I believe, about as good as it gets. She's like the perfect cat and the thought of doing something that changes her wonderful personality or the dynamics of our little family unit, sincerely concerns me.

And there are other factors that have me shying away from this. One thing is that this kitten has Maine Coon in her so she's definitely going to be big... bigger than Miss Beast for sure. She's tiny for an adult cat. And while the kitten's mature size may not be too concerning, she also has the hair of a Maine Coon. Honestly, with my allergies already kicking my ass most of the year, I don't look fwd to that. Our girl has very short hair and is very clean and sheds very little. So yeah... that would suck imo.

Then there's all the other unknown factors, expenses, etc. And the fact that with my wife working anywhere from 48 to sometimes 60 hours a week... I'm going to ultimately be the one raising this kitten and dealing with all of that. Despite our "team effort" way of dealing with things, I feel like this situation might wind up testing our resolve to avoid a resentful situation. I just don't understand how my wife has such strong feelings about this kitten at this point. Maybe this could have all been avoided if we had just had kids instead.
 

budda

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Would the agency not do a meet and greet to make sure it would pan out?
 

Adieu

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Getting cats to get along....can be trying.

How much space do you have and do you plan on having areas of your home off limits to your cats? Sometimes you really need to separate 2 cats for a while, especially when introducing a new cat.
 

Baelzebeard

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With proper introductions over the course of a week or two, I've never had cats that were violent with each other, but they dont necessarily become best buddies. Four is still pretty young, and might still enjoy playing with a kitten.

I currently have 3 cats: ages 3, 8, and 13.
I have had cats all my life, and frequently had two or three at a time.
 

KnightBrolaire

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There's some fairly compelling replies here that only further to solidify my apprehension about this adoption. And unfortunately, my wife whom I always applaud for working with me as a team, is kinda rubbing me the wrong way atm.

She already became all teary-eyed during our most recent conversation about this... citing that this kitten ( yes we have a particular one in mind already that is seven weeks old... friend from work deal) is SO cute and that she feels like she already has a connection to it. Well, right off the bat the "cute" factor means absolutely nothing to me. I get it... kitties are cute but that's neither here nor there imo. And the whole "connection" thing?? We've interacted with this kitten one time... once! And at that time it's eyes were all gunked up and it was half asleep. I felt nothing.

I'm hoping to get some more replies here but @tedtan , @mastapimp , and @KnightBrolaire have already been a great help. I do realize that there are simply going to be a lot of unknown's and I accept those to a degree. But I'm also just as hesitant now as I was when I made this thread because what we already have with our cat is I believe, about as good as it gets. She's like the perfect cat and the thought of doing something that changes her wonderful personality or the dynamics of our little family unit, sincerely concerns me.

And there are other factors that have me shying away from this. One thing is that this kitten has Maine Coon in her so she's definitely going to be big... bigger than Miss Beast for sure. She's tiny for an adult cat. And while the kitten's mature size may not be too concerning, she also has the hair of a Maine Coon. Honestly, with my allergies already kicking my ass most of the year, I don't look fwd to that. Our girl has very short hair and is very clean and sheds very little. So yeah... that would suck imo.

Then there's all the other unknown factors, expenses, etc. And the fact that with my wife working anywhere from 48 to sometimes 60 hours a week... I'm going to ultimately be the one raising this kitten and dealing with all of that. Despite our "team effort" way of dealing with things, I feel like this situation might wind up testing our resolve to avoid a resentful situation. I just don't understand how my wife has such strong feelings about this kitten at this point. Maybe this could have all been avoided if we had just had kids instead.
fyi allergies are more to do with proteins in their saliva/dander/urine rather than their hair or coat type
 

High Plains Drifter

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Would the agency not do a meet and greet to make sure it would pan out?
This would def be a trial basis. And at least that would give us some idea of how they'll get along short term. Long term is more my concern and again... we ( or at least I) feel an obligation to start the kitten on it's feline herpes vaccinations so that whether we ultimately adopt the kitten or not, the little thing won't have to carry nor potentially spread the virus to other cats throughout it's life. Getting the kitten started on vaccinations will be a bit tough to coordinate due to several factors. But yeah... we do retain the right to relinquish the kitten after a week or so if it doesn't work out for any reason.
Getting cats to get along....can be trying.

How much space do you have and do you plan on having areas of your home off limits to your cats? Sometimes you really need to separate 2 cats for a while, especially when introducing a new cat.
Our home is 1834 sq ft so they would have some space to be apart. Yeah, I've heard that before... that they should be separated for a while during the gradual introduction.
With proper introductions over the course of a week or two, I've never had cats that were violent with each other, but they dont necessarily become best buddies. Four is still pretty young, and might still enjoy playing with a kitten.

I currently have 3 cats: ages 3, 8, and 13.
I have had cats all my life, and frequently had two or three at a time.
My wife says the same thing... that she thinks our cat would relish a playmate since she is only four yrs old and still fairly playful.
fyi allergies are more to do with proteins in their saliva/dander/urine rather than their hair or coat type
My allergies ( normally brought on by being outdoors a lot) increased when we adopted Jaida. I initially took Claritin or something and eventually I was able to adapt to the new cat with only minor irritations... watery eyes, congestion, sneezing. But again... she's a short hair. Whenever I'm around dogs or cats that are shedding or have long hair or double coats... my eyes go crazy and I get congested as hell. On top of that, just the shedding alone is a huge negative for me.
If you think adding a kitten will be a lot of work, a child is at least 1,000 times more work (and expense) than a kitten. Probably closer to 10,000.
I was absolutely joking lol.
 

Emperoff

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Cats in general are much happier living with other cats. Single cats usually don't learn properly how to "be a cat", so to speak. They also benefit from having company from other cats to not feel lonely, play, fight, etc.

That doesn't mean every cat will get along with another. Specially if your cat has never lived with another cat. Best practice is to keep them separated a few days (different part of the house) with no contact at all. So they get used to each other's smell, etc. After three days or so you can start "socializing" them, but you need to be patient. They may or may not get along, but it can take weeks.

It's also common to one of them become dominant. That doesn't mean the other one will be unhappy. Wether your cat will accept a kitten or not, that's hard to say. Your cat may have "mother instinct", or may hate it and refuse it.

I will ALWAYS recommend adopting an adult cat over a kitten. They have a much smaller chance of being adopted because... your wife's logic (no offense). But that's just how it is. Most people want kitten because they're "cute", and think of nothing else. Meanwhile adult cats can stay years in shelters waiting. My singer now says he wants a Maine Coon and I say go to the shelter and adopt a cat in need, instead of "shopping" for one of the race you like.

I fell into that trap too. My two cats were adopted as kitten. Raising them was hellish as they were balls of energy with claws, to the point my partner considered taking them back the first month as she was always full of scratches. And although we love them to bits, we both agree that if we had to adopt cats again, we would not get kitten. Adult cats are just more chill and affective from the get go.
 
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High Plains Drifter

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Cats in general are much happier living with other cats. Single cats usually don't learn properly how to "be a cat", so to speak. They also benefit from having company from other cats to not feel lonely, play, fight, etc.

That doesn't mean every cat will get along with another. Specially if your cat has never lived with another cat. Best practice is to keep them separated a few days (different part of the house) with no contact at all. So they get used to each other's smell, etc. After three days or so you can start "socializing" them, but you need to be patient. They may or may not get along, but it can take weeks.

It's also common to one of them become dominant. That doesn't mean the other one will be unhappy. Wether your cat will accept a kitten or not, that's hard to say. Your cat may have "mother instinct", or may hate it and refuse it.

I will ALWAYS recommend adopting an adult cat over a kitten. They have a much smaller chance of being adopted because... your wife's logic (no offense). But that's just how it is. Most people want kitten because they're "cute", and think of nothing else. Meanwhile adult cats can stay years in shelters waiting. My singer now says he wants a Maine Coon and I say go to the shelter and adopt a cat in need, instead of "shopping" for one of the race you like.

I fell into that trap too. My two cats were adopted as kitten. Raising them was hellish as they were balls of energy with claws, to the point my partner considered taking them back the first month as she was always full of scratches. And although we love them to bits, we both agree that if we had to adopt cats again, we would not get kitten. Adult cats are just more chill and affective from the get go.
I greatly appreciate your candidness here. Thank you.

We haven't been actively searching for a feline to adopt. But then out of the blue a few weeks ago, my wife's coworker mentioned that her cat was going to have a litter. That sparked something in my wife although I've not really been on-board for multiple reasons, most that I've touched on in this thread.

I certainly agree and understand that adopting an older, more chill, less maintenance cat in need of a good home is a more humane mindset due to the overwhelming number of them in shelters. It honestly breaks my heart. But in the past whenever entertaining the idea of adopting another cat, we've felt that we'd have better luck with a female kitten as opposed to anything else. I guess that we've just assumed that a kitten might bring out our cat's motherly instincts and that if it was a female, they may develop a stronger bond or something like that. This may not be an accurate assessment but that's been our way of thinking anyway.

At this point unfortunately, my wife seems set on this particular kitten. And while I respect and appreciate that desire, it's starting to stress me out since I'll be the one taking care of it and dealing with two cats that may or may not get along. Unfortunately I feel like there is already some animosity brewing and although that makes me feel like shit, I'm only looking out for all of us. I hate that when we talked more about this this morning, that she became visibly upset, then withdrawn, and exited the discussion with a "Well we'll just forget about it then". I told her that I'm willing to at least try and see what happens but it's like all or nothing with her regarding this kitten. She's not typically like this on things that we don't agree on but I really feel like the bad guy now.
 

Choop

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My girlfriend and I literally just went through a similar thing, and ultimately decided to not adopt a second cat at this time. It was all initially an idea to adopt another cat, probably a kitten, to keep my 2 year old cat company while we were both away since my girlfriend and I had become very busy. I guess we are just too afraid that Iggy would not like it...he seems happy and is such a good cat. He's also pretty spoiled lol. I think once my girlfriend has a more solid career in place and we're both working longer hours we will revisit the idea.

We did go to a local shelter though to interview cats, and it truly breaks my heart to see the adult cats there. There was one in particular that just looked sad in the photos of him online, and in person he was so sweet. He was a surrendered pet. I really hope he goes to a good home. :C

Sorry you're at odds with your wife on the issue -- I don't think you're wrong to be apprehensive about it, because my girlfriend and I definitely were regarding our situation. I wish I had better advice to offer on it.
 

Demiurge

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I have an old cat/kitten scenario and it's fine. Of course, old cats are all about having their own space and kittens have nothing but disregard for boundaries, but things eventually evened-out. We made sure that the old guy had his own place to hang and that the kitten got enough stimulation & rest on her own- a lot of that is thanks to being at home due to the pandemic so that's a YMMV situation.
 

Baelzebeard

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Also, L-Lysine supplements have really helped a cat I have with feline herpes. We get some treats at the vet, and he loves them.
 

CanserDYI

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I have 3 boys and my god feeding them and litter is like 50 bucks a week not going to lie. It gets expensive quick.
 

High Plains Drifter

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My girlfriend and I literally just went through a similar thing, and ultimately decided to not adopt a second cat at this time. It was all initially an idea to adopt another cat, probably a kitten, to keep my 2 year old cat company while we were both away since my girlfriend and I had become very busy. I guess we are just too afraid that Iggy would not like it...he seems happy and is such a good cat. He's also pretty spoiled lol. I think once my girlfriend has a more solid career in place and we're both working longer hours we will revisit the idea.

We did go to a local shelter though to interview cats, and it truly breaks my heart to see the adult cats there. There was one in particular that just looked sad in the photos of him online, and in person he was so sweet. He was a surrendered pet. I really hope he goes to a good home. :C

Sorry you're at odds with your wife on the issue -- I don't think you're wrong to be apprehensive about it, because my girlfriend and I definitely were regarding our situation. I wish I had better advice to offer on it.
Dude, thanks so much for sharing your story here. tbh it does help quite a bit for whatever reason. At least makes me feel better in regards to my apprehension. And I don't necessarily think that my wife looks at me as the bad guy here, but because we generally work through most all issues with a united resolve, this one hits a bit differently. Plus, I obviously love my wife and greatly respect her wishes, so I always want to be able to provide everything that I can to make her life better/ more complete.

I'm here most of the day and at least for any true benefit for our cat, I just don't see it. I would certainly feel more inclined to want her to have a kitty companion if both my wife and I were gone for long hours... and I have tried to convince myself that even despite that I'm home a lot, that another cat would be good for her. But honestly... I feel like she's gotta be pretty content with me here as much as I am. Even when she plays it's very briefly, then it's off to the kitchen for a couple bites of food and a long drink of water.. then a nice long nap. She really seems quite happy the way things are.

Funny- Our cat almost never cuddles with me but this morning after my wife was in the shower, our girl jumped up on the bed and nestled in between my legs as I was half-asleep. I could feel her purring and it was just so cool and unexpected. I thought for a second that maybe our cat doesn't want another kitty right now either and this was her way of saying "Way to go, Dad... I'm with ya" lol.
I have an old cat/kitten scenario and it's fine. Of course, old cats are all about having their own space and kittens have nothing but disregard for boundaries, but things eventually evened-out. We made sure that the old guy had his own place to hang and that the kitten got enough stimulation & rest on her own- a lot of that is thanks to being at home due to the pandemic so that's a YMMV situation.
I just don't know how 'up to it' I am to take responsibility for this kitten. And I hate going into a situation that I know will require a lot of time, effort, supervision, training, etc when I'm already not very enthusiastic about it. I feel like it's not fair to the new kitten, and I can't just make believe that I'm going to all of a sudden be all about it. I have a great deal of responsibilities most days and I'm just not sure that I'm up to taking on something like this... at least not right now.
Also, L-Lysine supplements have really helped a cat I have with feline herpes. We get some treats at the vet, and he loves them.
I recently started adding L-lysine to her diet. I've seen some improvement but her congestive episodes seem to be fairly sporadic. Lots of sneezing recently as well so I dunno. I'm doing everything that I can for her health. Thank you, man. I appreciate the reply.
 


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