Adding a Second Cat: Is Your Cat Ready For A Friend?

Last year, a client asked whether I thought their cat Oliver would welcome a second cat into the family.  Oliver is a mellow kitty, 8 years old, that they adopted two years ago.  He lived with dogs in his previous home, but there was no mention of other cats. Before adding a second cat, consider the factors discussed below:

two cats happy together for blog post adding a second cat

Factors To Consider Before Adding Another Cat To Your Family

Time

What is your schedule?  Do you struggle to find time to spend with your  cat now?  If so, consider that the time you have would be split between two cats.  Not spending enough time with cats can lead to behavior problems.  Cats are good at letting us know when they aren’t happy.

Money

Once you add a second cat, keep in mind all expenses will double.  This includes food, litter, vet costs to name a few.  Will your budget be able to support an additional pet?

Reason You Want Another Cat

Be honest with yourself.  Do you want to add another cat because you believe your kitty will be happier, or do you want the cat?  Make sure you’re doing this for the right reason before moving forward..

Once you’ve pondered the factors above, and decided to go ahead

, it’s time to decide what would make a good companion for your cat.

Factors to Consider When Looking For Second Cat

A few weeks ago, Oliver’s people adopted another cat, a female, aged 2 1/2, they named Lola:

new cat
Oliver and Lola still getting to know each other

Keep these factors in mind when looking for the “right cat” for you and your resident cat:

Age

If your resident feline is young, he would most likely welcome another youngster as a playmate.  When older, no longer in the mode of playing 24-7, a youngster can be very frustrating to him. This can lead to problems between them down the road.

Many people believe a kitten will make their older cat feel “young” again.  They are then confused when the two don’t get along. For older cats, look for a companion that’s past the kitten stage and is calmer.  Your feline friend will thank you!

In Oliver and Lola’s case, there’s been a mismatch of wants and needs.  Lola, at her age, is very active and wants to play continuously.  Oliver, on the other hand, wants to play occasionally, but when he’s ready to stop, Lola isn’t getting the message.

I talked to Oliver’s mom the other night about the situation. At the time they adopted Lola, they liked her demeanor, and at her age (2 1/2 years) thought she was past the kitten stage.  I advised she’s past a kitten, but as a young adult (would be around 25 in human years) her energy level is much higher than Oliver’s (8 years old, would be around 50 in human years).

Oliver is becoming frustrated, as is Lola.  Their people are hoping the situation will work out, but now realize rehoming Lola may be the best answer. They have a niece very willing to take Lola and offer her a loving home if it doesn’t work out with Oliver.

Your Cat’s Personality

Consider your kitty’s personality, keeping in mind this is a case where opposites can complement each other.  In my client’s case, Oliver is a mellow boy, but can be a bit fearful initially.

If your resident feline is shy (as my Marty is), it’s best not to look for another that’s also shy.  They may end up bonding with each other, but not with you.  For shy cats, a good match can be one that’s age-appropriate, and a little more confident.  Cats often mimic each other.  Having a more confident cat around the house can help bring your shy cat out of his shell.

Are you living with an extremely confident kitty? Bringing in another like him can lead to in-fighting between them.  Try one that’s more low-key to offset the extreme confidence of your cat.

Conclusion

Once you decide on the “right cat”, it’s important to introduce him/her gradually to your resident cat.  As I’ve said before, felines don’t operate on a timetable, so do not become discouraged if it seems to be taking a long time for your cat to accept the newcomer.

I’m hoping for the best with Oliver and Lola, and will update this post as they happen.

There are many great cats available for adoption.  Check petfinder.com or adoptapet.com for adoptable cats in your area.

Have you recently added a second cat to your family?  Please leave a comment and let us know about your experience.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Written by Karen

Karen

Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

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