Advice on how to introduce a second cat?

Sushi789

O.G.
Jul 30, 2006
4,857
20
Hello,

Any advice on the best way to add a new cat or kitten to a home that already has one cat?

I have a female we adopted from our local shelter about 2 months ago; she's now about 11 months old. She's very frisky and so sweet and friendly... and a very teeny little girl. (Our vet said she won't get much bigger, and she's only 5 pounds now.)

I don't have any experience with adding a new pet. I recently lost my 15 year old male cat(the handsome boy in my avatar)... and he hated other cats, so having another one was never an option while he was alive. After losing him is when we adopted our new little girl.

Any advice on how to proceed? Is it true that it's better to have one of each sex (a boy and a girl) rather than two girls? Should I exclude female cats from my search?

Is it better to get a kitten so they can grow up together? Our little girl is so boisterous that I want a playmate for her, and I think an older cat wouldn't be a good match. But would a 1 or 2 year old be best, or a little kitten?

I feel like the rules of animal instinct would dictate that my current kitty would want to be the "dominant" one since she's been with us for a while, and a kitten might be more adaptable to that. Is that right?

Any insight or experiences would be greatly appreciated! I think I am probably over thinking this, but our little family is so happy right now, I just don't want to do anything that would upset the apple cart for my little girl.:smile:
 

Juda

Member
O.G.
Apr 23, 2009
2,279
456
I usually keep the new cat in a separate room with a litter box, water and dry food for the 1st night

I choose to separate for 3 reasons:

1- I prefer to take the new cat to the vet before mixing with my other cats
2- To give the new cat some time to adjust (less stressful for her/him)
3- and to check the reaction of my resident cat(s)

Sometimes the sweetest and the most affectionate cats are the most territorial

I Have 4 cats and each addition was different
Please let me know if you need detailed experience of each cat addition :nuts:

i am really sorry for your loss
 

Kittie LaRoche

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
O.G.
Aug 24, 2006
8,518
0
37
Supernova Heights
Oh K, I'm so sorry to hear about your cat :sad:

----

I find that you cannot say whether it's better to have two girls, two boys or a mixed couple. I know male cats who don't like female cats, males who don't like other males and so on. It really depends on the cat and its character and I'm afraid there's nothing you do but try.

I got my two girls at the same time (they just to live together before as well) but my mom frequently picks up new cats :P

I think the one think you can say about introducing cats is that you cannot force it. I'd make sure that you do it in an open environment so both cats have the possibility to retreat if they want to. Please remember that you older kitty has an advantage here since she already knows the territory. My mom always makes sure that the newest kitty has the possibility to roam his new home for 1-2 hours while the other cats are kept in a separate room before making the first contact. That way he already knows his way around and might have found a hiding spot.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out for you and your girl :yes: I'm sure you'll find another kitty friend!

:hugs:

EDIT:
And I gotta agree with Juda regarding keeping New Kitty separate during the first night. Give him a chance to calm down and forget about the moving stress first. :yes:
 

Juda

Member
O.G.
Apr 23, 2009
2,279
456
You can also keep the new cat in the pet carrier and see how your cat reacts (little hissing is normal) but if there is a lot of hissing and aggression it is better to separate immediately

Then you can open the door of the carrier and wait for the new cat to go out
(that's what I did the last time because I took her to the vet before coming home)

It was a fun introduction, my other 3 cats (one by one) went inside the carrier and sat with her - it was the most smooth introduction

Whichever approach you choose I still advise you to separate during the night or when you are not around

If the cats are de-sexed it doesn't matter whether they are males or females
I noticed that personality is more important than the sex of the cat

Good luck and keep us posted
 

Sushi789

O.G.
Jul 30, 2006
4,857
20
Kittie and Juda... thanks for your advice, and for the sympathy about losing my boy. I miss him so much. he was the best cat and my best friend and I'd had him my entire adult life... but having a new kitty has helped me to heal so much! I can't even tell you how despondent I was before we adopted again.:cry:

Now that I have my new little girl, I just want to do right by her. Any input on whether or not it's true that it's best to get a boy cat instead of another girl?

Someone told me if I get a little kitten and "hide it" like in a closet or the bathroom and let me kitty discover the kitten on her own, she'll think its hers and be maternal toward it. Ever heard that theory?

My kitty really is still a baby herself, so if I am going to do this I want to do it soon, before she gets really set in her ways.
 

Black_Swarmer

Dior Dragon
O.G.
Dec 29, 2007
1,601
14
Copenhagen, Denmark
My 2 cents (with app. 25 years of cat experience :biggrin:)

My personal experience is that males and females generally play differently - the boys like to rumble (a lot of fighting, wrestling each other etc.) and the girls like to chase around or play by themselves with different toys. I generally advice people to get the same sex when they only have 2, but I am not saying that things would go completely wrong if you get a male.

It is definitely easiest to introduce a kitten! Adult cats generally have a built-in protection mode with youngsters since they pose no threath as such where as introducing an adult can be very difficult since that triggers the territorial feelings.

And since your cat is still a youngster there should be absolutely no problems introducing a younger kitten to her, provided that she (and the kitten) have the necessary socialization skills, ie. being around other cats/kittens/siblings when they grew up.

When I have introduced new kittens, or handed a kitten over to new owners, I usually let just let the kitten roam free with the adults - they will try to sniff the kitten, which causes a little stress from the kitten who will most like hiss and growl a bit, but since kittens are more curious than scared (after a little while at least) they can be easily distracted by toys, food or cuddling and forget about the scary new place and cat for a while, besides the kitten also really wants to make friends with the adult cat since they like to cuddle etc. so it usually takes no more than 2-3 days before all is forgotten and they sleep together.

The adult is most likely curious to see what the heck that little one is all about, sometimes they will hiss and give it a whack with a soft paw (no claws and no real aggression expressed) just to let the kitten know that it needs to take it's natural place in the hierarchy - all is fine as long as there is no aggression expressed, the adult should be allowed to tell the kitten who is in charge as long as it doesn't affect the kitten in a negative way.

So go for it! Try to let the cats figure things out for themselves, too much interference can make both very uneasy and make things go a lot slower than if they are allowed to do things their own way - of course if aggression is expressed by the adult, you have to change procedures and make a slow introduction by separating them to each their room and let them sniff through a crack in the door etc. to get the used to each other ... but that is unlikely to happen with a young adult cat and a kitten :biggrin:

Oh, and I'm sorry to hear about your loss - it is terrible to lose a family member, which they do become ...
 

Sushi789

O.G.
Jul 30, 2006
4,857
20
^^ thanks so much for the advice!

I am 98% sure we're going to visit the shelter this weekend and we'll see what happens! Just tying up a few loose ends...

My biggest fear is that I'll adopt and they won't get along. I live in NYC so I don't have a huge house (just an apartment) so keeping two cats apart for the rest of their lives if they end up hating each other would be tricky. BUT my cousin is seriously thinking about adopting too... if she decides she's definitely ready and her roommate is OK with it, then we will choose my new kitty together and if for some reason it ends up being a disaster, she will take the new kitty to live with her. I feel better having a worst case scenario backup plan. (Not that going to live with my cousin would be a bad scenario for the kitty; she's an awesome pet owner!)
 

Lady Stardust

Je m'en foutiste
O.G.
Nov 28, 2009
3,653
401
30
NYC
www.instagram.com
My boy is 11 years old and my girl is 2. When she came (she was a malnourished pregnant stray that we found and my mom and I took her in, she was just too lovable) she was just a year and Storm (my boy) had been king of the castle for 10 years. He wasn't too thrilled to have a sister but he didn't bother her, he was just a little bit confused by her. She loved him right away she'd always try and give him kisses and play but he wanted nothing to do with her lol. Then the night that Spots gave birth, Storm was a MESS like a nervous father! lol he was meowing and running around the house and trying to jump in the box with her and getting nervous that the babies weren't ok etc so we had to put him in my room but that made Spots upset and she tried to jump out of the box to help him in the middle of giving birth, she wanted her brother with her lol. Now Storm is still a bit cold but he loves his sister and they play fight a lot but it's just that, play. So it'll take time but in the end it should be ok with 2 kitties. Here's a pic of uncle Storm with 2 of his nieces, he helped bathe them lol:

 

Sushi789

O.G.
Jul 30, 2006
4,857
20
^^thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

Those kittens are adorable! And their Uncle is a very handsome boy!:smile:
 

ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
if your cat is only 11 months old you shouldn't have too many issues. at first it will probably hiss and growl at the kitten, and the kitten may do the same. but the younger they are, the easier they adjust.

i brought a kitten into a home of 2 five year old and a 3-4 year old. none of them were that thrilled. one of the 5 year olds lived in the basement for a couple of days...

generally i find that it takes a couple of weeks for everyone to get adjusted and used to eachother.

if your current cat starts to act out, like not using the litter box and stuff like that, then you may have a problem. that happened with one of our cats when i was growing up and we introduced a kitten.

i have never kept cats separated, just let them get used to each other and besides one cat banishing himself to the basement and another cat not using the litter box, i haven't had any issues of cats getting attacked when they're left alone. (and i think while growing up and now living on my own my family has had more than 10 cats)

but good luck, i bet your kitty will be very happy that she has a playmate :smile:
 

Lv-nowwhat

drive LV
O.G.
Jul 9, 2008
8,201
51
Detroit, Michigan
I kept my last cat in his own room for almost a week. The cats smelled him under the door and they pawed. My female hissed at his door too. Finally they all got along and are now cat friends.
 

oggers86

Member
Dec 7, 2008
3,572
7
33
Leicestershire
I have 2 cats one of which turned up one day and has never left. Before the second cat "moved in" the 2 used to get along ok to an extent but when the second cat started coming inside and being part of the family the first cat hated him. Its now been 6/7 years and she still hates him. Hes terrified of her (even though hes twice as big) and she tends to stay out the way although there have been occassions where they will be sitting next to each other or when they will touch noses. Theres also occassions when if he gets too close shel actually go for him, hiss and swipe with her paw..and they refuse to eat near each other!!

This could be because there was no proper introduction made but I would have thought after all these years they could get along but it doesnt appear so!!

Ive attached some pics :biggrin:
 

Attachments

Sushi789

O.G.
Jul 30, 2006
4,857
20
thank you again to everyone for the advice!

I went to the shelter this weekend and started my search. They are recommending that I look for a boy cat who's got a very mellow personality, who will be willing to be dominated just in case my Angie ends up being a diva.

I think I'm going to wait until I can take a week off of work (next month) so I can really spend all the time I need with them. My husband is home, but I'd like to "supervise" myself. :P
 

Juda

Member
O.G.
Apr 23, 2009
2,279
456
In my personal experience, it takes a maximum of three days (usually less) for both cats to adjust

I usually pamper my existing cat(s) - especially the bully- so he doesn't feel neglected or threatened by the new addition.
I even ignore the new cat the first few days when he comes to me wanting to be petted (it is not easy and I feel cruel) but I know I do it for the right reasons
I leave the task of welcoming the new cat to my DH

It is refreshing to see someone who cares :smile:
 
When I introduced my male and female (recently passed) to my husband's cat, my female wasn't to miffed but it took a long time for my male, and my husband's male to get along. My male lived on top of the cabinets in the kitchen for about 2-3 weeks and would not come down (except at night to potty and eat) but over time it's slowly been better. The boys don't sleep IN or that close to each other, but they are better playing and dueling buddies than they used to be.