Adopting a second cat

Twins, a pair, a couple, a partner – in a word – two. It works for humans and it works for our friend the cat. As humans we have the choice who we are going to spend our life with. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The same is true for cats. Since our cats can’t exactly go to a shelter and select their new life partner, they rely on us to make the choice for them. Lest you think otherwise, know that a very big choice it is. This is the animal that is going to share their potty, their feeding bowl, their special place in the sun and most importantly, their loved ones.

Going armed with a little information and a sense of your pet’s personality can make the choice much easier. Typically, older cats seem to tolerate a kitten more readily than they will a mature cat. Females seem to tolerate other females better than they will a male and in only rare instances will a spayed female tolerate a non neutered adult male.

With so many cats in shelters needing to be adopted, the best advice is to choose an easy going, friendly cat and then make the introduction very slowly and very methodically. The relationship that these two cats will share is going to greatly effect the relationship that either of them will share with you. So while the temptation will be to create your own bond with the new cat, your energy should really be spent on the new feline bond.

Begin by introducing their smells. Give each of them something that the other has been sleeping on – whether it be a blanket, a crate, a pillow etc. Ideally, you will do this before the new pet is brought into your home. But if you have bring the new kitty home first, KEEP THEM SEPARATED. Keep the new cat in a room with the door shut and let your other cat sniff around the door and listen. This might not seem fair to your new pet, but in the long run it will pay off. The next step will be to switch places and let the new pet roam while the other pet is contained. If your pet has a favorite room, try to keep her in there with food, water, litter and a toy or two. Follow this pattern for a day or two and then open the doors and let the cats meet on their own. There might be hissing and scratching and you will need to fight the urge to rush in to try to stop the fighting. However, cats like humans, sometimes just need to work things out. Give them time, share your love, keep your fingers crossed, and most importantly, be patient. This is after all, their pair, their twin, their two, their new life companion!

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