Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Queries and discussions about cat rescue & rehoming
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Blue Wind
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Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Blue Wind » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:19 pm

Our beautiful tortoiseshell Ruby died suddenly recently, she was 13 and her mother is 14, we would like to have another cat or kitten. I have read the advice on the web page, which is very good, but do we get a kitten? Whitby the cat we still have has seemed fairly laid back when neighbours kittens have been into to our garden and been into our house, she has just given a miaow and hasn't hissed or attack any of them. However rescue centres locally seem reluctant to allow us to take a kitten as we have an adult cat and Cats Protection will only take pairs of kittens. I was thinking it would be easier for a mature cat to take to a kitten than an adult cat? Is the sex of the cat important? Is there a good time scale for doing this, do we need to get a new cat/kitten before the existing cat has forgotten the other cat? I have had a number of cats over the years but I have never introduced a new one myself.
We will give an experienced and caring home, I am retired and will be around for introductions, but the sanctuaries I contacted never phoned or email back, so I am imagining they don't want me to rehome from them.

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Kay
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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Kay » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:40 pm

Is a pair of kittens out of the question? I do think an older cat can cope better with kittens than an older new companion, if only because any agression towards the kitten is usually ignored, whereas an older one will be more reactive

but a kitten's boisterous play can often be too much for an elderly lady - hence a pair so they can race around together and she can enjoy watching from a safe distance - and you might find it's easier for you to let them exhaust themselves without mithering you for play

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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Sniper1 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:09 pm

Hi I think your older cat would probably adjust more easily to a kitten than another adult as long as you give kitten plenty to occupy it so it doesn't pester her too much if this would bother her and its worth bearing in mind that kittens need good homes wherever they come from be it a rescue a private home , breeder or pet shop so maybe you give a home to one from elsewhere if you don't have any luck with the rescues you try personally I think its their loss and cp,s idea of kittens in pairs its not always practical but they loose out on good loving homes

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Ruth B
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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Ruth B » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:01 am

While many advocate getting a kitten when you have an older cat, my advise is to really think it through and talk to your local rescues, an adult cat with a submissive, laid back attitude could work just as well.

I say this having learnt from experience and made a similar mistake.

About 3 and a half years ago we lost our elderly Ragdoll cat, he was 16 and had had a good life, but we were left with a 13 year old female and wanted to get her some company as we both worked full time at that time. We chose a couple of cats from a local rescue both about 5 to 6 months old, so not true kittens but we didn't feel it safe to leave two kittens shut in a room while we were at work that couldn't be adequately kitten proofed. Freyja was a very scared young girl that had had a rough start in life, Saturn was a young lad who she had started to follow around and gain confidence from. We thought they would be a good pair, my heart had gone out the Freyja and her story and the idea was they would play together and give Tiggy a bit of piece and quiet.

It did not go to plan. Freyja soon adopted Tiggy as her inspiration and would (and still does) follow her about, and if Tiggy said it was safe then Freyja would risk coming close. Saturn on the other hand turned into the typical neighbourhood troublemaker. Very rarely doing anything really wrong, but the type that antagonises little old ladies just to wind them up, which is what he did with Tiggy. He was constantly trying it on to see what he could get away with. Fortunately Tiggy has a good right hook and wasn't afraid to use it.

Four years on he is still very boisterous when playing, rather too much so for either of the girls. He still misbehaves, and doesn't give a damn if he is caught doing something he shouldn't, he just gives me that look to say, 'yeah, and...' and then jumps down and walks off or goes for the really affectionate, 'you aren't mad with me are you Mummy' play so I can't be angry with him.

Things have settled down a little now that they are about 4 years old, but Saturn still tries it on regularly. it was never bad enough for me to consider sending him back, particularly knowing that a black and white adult cat would be hard to home, but I admit that at times I did wonder if it would come to it.

Maybe those two to three months made all the difference and if i had got them earlier things would have been different. In future I have decided that nothing under about 3 years old to be introduced. At that age they have got their personalities developed but are still young enough to not be used to being a dominant member of the group.

I don't want to put you off getting a kitten, but just want to let you know that even with the best of intentions things don't always go according to plan, particularly where cats are concerned.

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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by booktigger » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:37 pm

I think Ruth's advice is good - with an older cat, I wouldn't home a single kitten - especially one that is used to playing rough, they would just irritate the older one, but a younger cat where you know the personality could work, as that is the other downside of kittens, you never know what will happen when they mature.

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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Blue Wind » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:05 am

I am getting cold feet about this, but Whitby is making a lot of noise in the small hours, looking into the chimney where Ruby used to hide and she is very clingy. I am concerned that she will find an older cat more of a threat than a kitten. Whitby was ill when she had dental work in the summer but since this she has made a good recover, put on weight and is extremely lively and playful again, whether she would play with a kitten I don't know.....We have several rooms where cats can have their own spaces and a garden.
I am very disappointed with the local rescue centres though.

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Re: Getting a new cat/kitten with old cat

Post by Miabrevera » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:36 pm

Take care not to overwhelm either the kitten or your existing cat and take regular breaks. If either cat or kitten appears frightened or displays aggression, go back a few steps and keep them separate for a while longer. Continue scent swapping regularly and try again the next day

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