Choosing a companion for your cat

cat_to_cat_introductions

I frequently get questions from readers who are looking to add a new cat to their family. How do I find a cat that will be a good match for my cat? Should I get a cat who’s the same age as my resident cat, or should I get a kitten? Male or female? Will the resident cat accept the newcomer?

Whether it’s a companion for a single cat, or whether another cat in the household has passed away and left a void, adding a new family member is a big decision.

I wish I could give you definitive answers to all of these questions, but the reality is that while you can do some homework, ultimately, each cat’s unique history and personality will determine the outcome.

Ideally, we’d all like our cats to be best buddies who play together, groom each other, and snuggle together. Some cats will bond like that, others will get along but may not ever become close friends, and some cats are confirmed only cats who will never accept a companion. While there is no guaranteed outcome, there are things you can consider when adding a new cat to the family.

Age

A cat close in age to your resident cat may be a better match than one that’s much younger or much older. Young cats do better with a playmate close to their own age. They will get frustrated with a senior cat who prefers napping to playing.  Conversely, a senior cat may not appreciate a young cat or kitten disrupting her golden years.

A word of caution if you have an elderly cat who is ill: I do not recommend bringing another cat into the home until your resident cat has passed. The stress of a new addition to the family may aggravate your older cat’s condition, and could actually shorten his life.

Kitten or Adult

Kittens do better with other kittens or young cats in the household. They need to have an outlet for all that energy, and if they’re paired with an older cat, both cats may be very unhappy. This is the reason why many rescue groups adopt kittens only in pairs. Adult cats may do better with another adult close to them in age, or slightly younger.

Temperament

Consider your resident cat’s temperament. If you have a timid cat, she would probably do better with a laid back, calm, mellow cat. A dominant cat will most likely do better with a self-assured, calmer cat. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of those happy-go-lucky cats who love everyone, she will probably get along with a cat from either end of the personality spectrum.

Temperament and personality can be hard to detect if you meet a cat in a shelter. Most cats are stressed in that setting and won’t show their true personality until they’ve been in a new home for several weeks and sometimes even years.

Size

Size can make a difference, especially if you have a slightly dominant cat. The theory is that cats of similar size and build will accept each other more quickly. Try to choose a new cat who is the same size or slightly smaller than your resident cat.

Gender

Male (neutered) cats are generally believed to be more accepting of other cats, both male and female. Even though this has not been my experience, female cats may not get along as well with each other. I personally believe that gender, other than as a personal preference of the guardian, is the least important consideration when it comes to choosing a good match for your resident cat.

Of course, for many of us, a new cat just seems to find us. Or we fall in love with one on Petfinder, or at our local shelter. And even though on paper, the new cat may be a bad match, some of the best feline friendships arise out of these seemingly random meetings.

Regardless of how you choose your new feline companion, introduce the newcomer slowly. Proper cat to cat introductions will go a long way toward ensuring harmony in your home.

67 Comments on Choosing a companion for your cat

  1. Elena
    June 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm (4 weeks ago)

    Hi Ingrid,

    I was hoping you could offer your thoughts on my situation. I apologize for the length, but wanted to give you as much background as possible.

    About 3.5 years ago, I went into a shelter to adopt a kitten I found on Petfinder. When I arrived, I discovered that my chosen kitty, Elwood, still had a brother, Ramone, waiting for a home along with their mom, Margo. They had been there long enough that their days were numbered so I adopted all
    3. Margo had been picked up as a stray and had given birth to a litter of 5 the very next day. She was sweet, affectionate and nuzzled into my neck and began purring the second I picked her up and has always been great with people. The boys were never socialized beyond their littermates and momma and tend to flee to hidden places when I have visitors. After I had the boys spayed, Margo didn’t want anything to do with them and hissed and spit and stopped nursing, grooming and all interaction. As they grew older, Elwood (a definite momma’s boy) would manage to groom her head and ears for about 15 seconds but would be rewarded with a hiss and a swat. That behavior still continues to this day. Ramone, on the other hand, will stalk and attack Margo (screaming and fur flying) on what seems to be an every other day basis. However, they can be in the same room for extended periods with no issues, so I’ve tolerated the short battles (no one has ever been hurt). I don’t know what it is that sets Ramone off, but he doesn’t do this to his brother. The boys are very loving and still groom, sleep and play with each other, although that has diminished slightly as they’ve gotten older.

    Fast forward to 4 months ago when a 7 month old female, Zoey, stole my heart at a local Petco. I did the proper introductions and it seemed okay for the first week. Then one night, Margo violently attacked Zoey. She was alright but terrified of her. I kept Zoey separate after that and attempted a couple more free roams after feeding under doors and with doors cracked but Margo continued her violent attacks. She will attack the door of Zoey’s safe room and went into psycho kitty mood when I put Zoey in a cat carrier in the middle of the room. She repeatedly attacked the carrier and even attacked Ramone when he came to investigate the commotion. Tensions between Margo and the boys has escalated as well. The boys are okay with Zoey for the most part with Ramone more accepting than Elwood. Zoey can be an aggressive play seeking kitty and usually chases Ramone while Elwood chases her to put her in her place with some hissing. I’ve tried flower essences, phermones and finally resorted to Prozac for Margo with no effect. I’ve resorted to swapping Margo and Zoey out for free roam of the house with the exception of their individual safe rooms (Margo will not use the same litterbox as Zoey and took to peeing in my potted floor plant). I am in the process of rehoming Margo as she appears to be the type of cat that would be happiest as an only cat.

    I would like to adopt a playmate for Zoey, however, I am faced with a couple of questions.

    Should I adopt a male or female? I’ve heard adopt a male, since females tend to want to be alpha which creates an issue with 2 females and males are generally laid back with younger spayed males introduced to the household. Conversely, I’ve heard adopt another female, since males are aggressive to other males.

    Zoey is about 10 months. What age should I target for a new playmate?

    Does size matter? My boys are 12 & 13 lbs of solid muscle, while Zoey is a petite 8 lbs who probably won’t get much bigger. She truly looks half their size. I think that may play a part in her aggressive play towards them. A “I may be small, but I’m no pushover” type of mentality. Would she be intimidated by another large cat?

    Ideally, I know I should wait until Margo is rehomed, but I have a 10 day vacation planned in September. I worry that if I cannot rehome Margo in the next 3 months that waiting until after vacation that Zoey will have lost her “kittenness” and openness to accept a new playmate. I also wonder if Margo’s attitude would soften if there was another kitten. I doubt it, but still wonder. What is the more important factor?

    I understand nothing can be predicted with any cat, but I would be very grateful for your thoughts based on experiences.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 7, 2015 at 6:14 am (4 weeks ago)

      These are all great questions, Elena. Unfortunately, it would take quite a bit of time on my part to answer and it’s really more than I can address in a comment. I would be happy to schedule a consultation with you http://consciouscat.net/consultations/

      Reply
  2. emma
    June 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm (1 month ago)

    Hello! Let me first try to put my kitty into words. When I first got him as a little kitten he was very shy and didn’t like to interact with me, but since he has gotten much better (he’s just over a year old). He’s still very jumpy at times but he likes everyone in my family. When I first got him I lived with a roommate who had a 4 year old female cat (spayed) who was a couch potato. She slept most of the day and didn’t want to play. Pickles (my kitty) would jump on her (I think in a playful way) and she’d wrestle a little then hiss and walk away. About 2 months ago I moved back in with my parents who have a 13 year old yorkshire terrier. Pickles does the same thing to him (jumps on him to play) but Benji thinks he’s being attacked and freaks out. We have a family friend who just had a litter of kittens and they are offering us a male. Should we take it? do you think this would be good for pickles. Also I should note that I plan to move out of my parents house eventually (I’m 24) and would take Pickles with me and this other cat would stay with my parents.

    Reply
    • emma
      June 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm (1 month ago)

      also to note – pickles is neutered and NEVER mean. I’d describe him more as aloof. If you’re petting him and he doesn’t want you to he’ll get up and move 3 inches rather than swat or bite.

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm (1 month ago)

      It’s impossible to predict whether Pickles would enjoy having a friend, or whether he would be happier as a one and only. Since you’re planning on eventually moving out of your parents’ home without taking the new cat, I would probably hold off until you have your own place and give Pickles a chance to settle in first before considering adding another cat.

      Reply
  3. ashlie
    May 4, 2015 at 8:03 pm (2 months ago)

    We just adopted a stray a few weeks ago so we pretty much know nothing about who he “truely” is. Problem is, some friends of ours just found a litter of kittens under their shed and we (of course) are going to adopt one of these as well. The vet estimated the cat we just saved to be about a year while we were having him neutered. After reading all these reviews and suggestions, I am far from informed and now on to confused, lol. We are getting a seven week old kitten tomorrow. With his age and him being neutered, I need help on knowing weather to get a girl or boy. They say two males will always fight and try to show their dominance (but I really want him to have a brother he can wrestle around with, hehe) Then they a male and female will fight because she will get on his nerves when in heat (her wanting it, him not) If I get either or, and get them spayed/neutered, shouldn’t everything work out? P.s. I am incredibly sorry for writing a book, lol.…….

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 5, 2015 at 6:09 am (2 months ago)

      There is no way to ever predict for sure whether two cats will get along, Ashlie. I don’t think gender matters as much as personality, but since you don’t have a sense of your new cat’s personality yet, I would go with your heart when choosing your kitten from your friend’s litter. I do think that cats as young as your new male do better with a companion. The most important thing is that you do slow and gradual introductions when the new kitten comes home. Here’s how: http://consciouscat.net/2011/08/15/cat-to-cat-introductions/

      Reply
      • ashlie
        May 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm (2 months ago)

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this for me! Again, thanks for your time and help!!

        Reply
  4. Jeanne
    April 21, 2015 at 11:17 am (2 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid
    I love this forum.
    I have a healthy 12 year old rescue cat, we lost her long term pal (who in all honesty hated her and it was mutual most of the time) about a year ago. She didn’t morn his loss much and seems fairly content. She is incredibay timid and only surfaces at 10 at night when it’s just me about (my four year old daughter has never seen her). She does sun herself on the back porch when she thinks no one is about. Otherwise she hides under the house. She has always been very shy no matter how much love we shower on her.
    I worry she may be lonely and I worry that the short time she spends with me at night isn’t quality.
    I would happily accept an older. At to keep her company but would hate it to back Fire and for her to retreat further under the house.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks Jeanne

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm (2 months ago)

      That’s a tough call, Jeanne. Based on how you describe your cat, it doesn’t sound like she would easily take to another cat, and it’s quite possible that she would retreat further. At the same time, I can also understand how at times it must feel to you that you don’t really have a cat! If you were to try, I would look for a very mellow, laid back, older cat.

      Reply
      • Diana
        April 29, 2015 at 11:05 am (2 months ago)

        Morning, Ingrid, need your help… So I have 9 months kitten who is on heat already, almost every month now. I made an appointment to spay her, but honestly I do not want to… I have no idea where I can find a male cat to go with her for her heat period… I feel really bad to spay her, and it is my first experience. She is indoor , pretty healthy . Any suggestions I appreciate…
        Thank you

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm (2 months ago)

          You should spay your kitten, Diana. It’s better for her health, plus, with so many homeless cats in the world already, why would you want to add to that? If you feel that you want more cats, adopt. Kitten season is right around the corner, and there will be thousands of homeless kittens looking for homes.

          Reply
    • Jeanne
      April 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm (2 months ago)

      Thanks Ingrid I really appreciate your feedback tough call. I’d love her to have a buddy (for her not necessarily me) but would hate to upset her! Thanks again.

      Reply
    • Sarah
      May 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm (2 months ago)

      Hey Ingrid .
      I have a question.
      So I have almost a year old male cat , he is pretty mean sometimes, he doesn’t like to be held unless he comes to you first , if you pick him up and put your face close to his he smacks and bites , he’s done this the whole time I’ve had him , he goes outside and comes back in sometimes and he’s very happy , he isn’t a bad cat , he’s just mean on some days , I’m getting a girl kitten in 2 weeks she’ll be around 8 weeks old , and I’m wondering how do you think he will react around her and if he will hurt her at any point ..
      I in my eyes think he needs a friend maybe that would calm him down a bit .. But I would like some insight on how to introduce them ..

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        May 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm (2 months ago)

        Not all cats like to be held, Sarah, but that doesn’t make them mean. It’s a personality preference. I suspect that on the days when he’s being what you call “mean,” he probably has excess energy and doesn’t know what to do with it, and that’s his way of reacting. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how he is going to react to the new kitten. He’s young enough that he will probably benefit from having a buddy, but your best bet is to do slow and gradual introductions. Here’s how: http://consciouscat.net/2011/08/15/cat-to-cat-introductions/

        Reply
  5. Phoebe
    April 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm (3 months ago)

    Hello, Ingrid!

    I wanted to ask for some advice… Recently my family has decided to add another cat to the household and we’ve been doing our research on how to introduce another into the equation. Now, we’ve been browsing shelters and cats for a while and we recently stumbled across a beautiful tortoiseshell 7 month old kitten (with the added bonus of being a chimera!) and instantly knew she was the one. We contacted the shelter and there’s a problem – they need her to be adopted with her littermate seeing as they’ve formed a close bond.

    We’re in no way against adding more sweet kitties to the family (I’m all for it, haha!), we’re just worried how this might affect our resident cat and if it’s even a good idea at all. Will the two newcomers leave her out since they’re already friends?
    Also, does the introduction process still work the same way? Will the two new kids share a “sanctuary room” while we introduce them together to our resident cat, or should it be done one-on-one?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 7, 2015 at 6:40 am (3 months ago)

      Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict whether two cats will get along, Phoebe. You don’t mention the age of your resident cat. If she’s an older cat, adopting two kittens may work in your favor as older cats generally don’t appreciate rambunctious youngsters, and the two kittens will have each other to play with. So much depends on the temperament of your resident cat, regardless of her age. If you decide to move forward, I would keep the new kids in the “safe room,” and gradually introduce them to your resident cat together. I wouldn’t do it one on one.

      Reply
      • Phoebe
        April 7, 2015 at 7:41 pm (3 months ago)

        Thank you for the quick reply!

        My resident cat is two years old, and, as I mentioned, the two kittens are 7 months.
        She (the resident cat) is extremely playful and loves to explore and hunt her toys. She can be a little bit feisty at times but her disposition is usually sweet. When it comes to meeting new humans she takes a really short time to warm up to them before she’s begging for attention and purring!
        I wish I could say more about the kittens, but the people at the shelter say they’re friendly and playful but that’s all we’ve heard about them – hopefully we can meet them in person soon!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 8, 2015 at 6:25 am (3 months ago)

          Based on that description, it sounds like she would probably accept two kittens. All my best to you – keep me posted!

          Reply
  6. Allie
    March 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm (4 months ago)

    HI again Ingrid!

    I saw this forum and wanted to ask for your feedback on this subject. My family and I rescued a flame-point siamese from outside who is 6-7 months old now (Luna). I have never met a cat that LOVES people so much!!! She is the sweetest girl and can’t get enough of people and follows us around everywhere! She is not shy at all with anyone! She is our constant shadow, even has to come to the bathroom with us. I feel that she could benefit from a companion because I am worried she has separation anxiety or gets depressed when we leave because she thrives off attention from people, clearly. Of course I am not there so I don’t know how she acts, but I think she just sleeps.

    I feel so bad when we leave her and don’t want her not having a companion to affect her health in a negative way. She loves to play and is high energy so I would probably look for a cat similar in age to her or a little bit younger.

    Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.
    Allie

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 10, 2015 at 2:53 pm (4 months ago)

      Luna sounds like a wonderful cat, Allie! Generally, kittens do better with a companion. Even though there’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along, you can ensure peace and harmony by doing slow and gradual introductions: http://consciouscat.net/2011/08/15/cat-to-cat-introductions/ And I agree, look for a cat about her age with a similar temperament.

      Reply
  7. Morgan
    February 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm (5 months ago)

    We adopted our black cat Blacky, he was in a cage with other cats. He is fixed but not declawed almost 2 yr old. He loves to go outside and since we moved to our new house I have recently seen these strays hanging out. I think he would do good us getting a 2nd cat. .. thoughts? My 2 yr old gets sad every time he gets out even tho he knows he comes back. … I really think our laid back blacky would enjoy another cat or maybe secretly me?!?!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 7, 2015 at 7:17 am (5 months ago)

      I would encourage you to consider making Blacky an indoor cat, Morgan. They live longer and healthier lives than outdoor cats. As for whether he would enjoy a companion, young cats tend to enjoy the company of another cat, but there’s never any guarantee whether two cats will get along. If you decide to adopt another cat, make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

      Reply
  8. Susana
    August 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I had Sesame, a 12 year old tuxedo that has chronic hepatitis. Frodo, a 4 month old yellow tabby male was offered through Twitter and I adopted him without hesitation. While Frodo was young everything went well, but shortly after turning 18 months he started defying Sesame for the alpha male position. After some rough fights, I decided to adopt another young cat to stop the fighting. In came Freya, a 2 month old tortie, and she was just what the doctor ordered. Frodo and Freya hit it off almost inmediately, playing together and leaving Sesame to do what he wished. The two males still fight, but it’s nothing more than hissing. And the tortie material was exactly what Frodo needed, she’s not your usual gentle female (like some calicos I’ve had), but a strong, stubborn, incredibly zippy kitten. Now they all live happily, Sesame 14, Frodo 2 1/2, and Freya 8 months, sharing also their dog, Elvis, a 14 year old Airedale Terrier.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 9, 2013 at 6:32 am (2 years ago)

      Sounds like things worked out well for your household, Susana – I love it.

      Reply
  9. Alice Jones
    May 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm (2 years ago)

    17 years ago we lost a wonderful cat to CRF and decided to adopt another cat as a companion to our 15 year old Generic (Genny to her friends) Okay, I’ll be honest, I wanted another cat and really didn’t take Generic’s wishes into account. We found a beautiful little black 6 month old and decided to adopt her. We brought the carrier into the room and were in the process of filling out the paperwork before taking our new baby home. When we went to add the kitten to the carrier her sister (littermate) had already settled into the carrier and seemed ready to go. So both Lillith and Ebony came home with us. Generic wasn’t thrilled but adjusted quickly. She basically ignored “the girls” and Ebony was terrified of the “big kitty”. Lillith and Ebony played together and pretty much left Genny alone. Worked out well. Now, 17 years later we have just lost Ebony and Lillith is an only cat. Actually I think she is really enjoying being the only cat and having all the attention to herself so I will probably not adopt anytime soon. Time will tell. If the right cat showed up at my door (and they usually do) I would probably attempt it, but I hate to think of Lillith being anything but happy for the last years of her life.

    Reply
  10. Christine
    May 22, 2013 at 5:19 am (2 years ago)

    I think this is why it’s really nice for shelters and rescue groups to allow people to foster to adopt, and to adopt “on approval”, and to make sure people are willing to follow good advice about setting up “base camp” and doing proper cat-to-cat introductions.

    When I check out cat videos online, I can find many examples of mature cats who end up thoroughly enjoying playing with kittens. I agree that introductions need to be gradual and always supervised.

    I think it helps if the older cat is feeling well. Many people who no longer feed kibble notice an improvement where their older cats start behaving more actively, like they did when they were younger. They often lose excess weight so they are able to run and play.

    The most interesting “adoption” I’ve seen is when a scared stray cat, Blackie, started hanging around our older spayed female kitty, Lily, while she was on her halter outside. I eventually was able to pet him and brought him inside. We got him neutered. He was always super shy, but he loved Lily and he bonded to me as well. We think he was under two years old while Lily was several years older. They would play and sleep together.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2013 at 7:00 am (2 years ago)

      I love the story of Blackie’s adoption, Christine.

      Reply
  11. Manda
    May 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Domino was less than a year old when we got our second (and older) cat, Mordecai. Domino had temperament issues that weren’t resolving themselves, even with age, patience and training from us.
    Once we adopted Mordecai, who is two, Domino became much happier and has adjusted well. I think had we gotten another kitten, things wouldn’t have worked out at well since Domino can be aggressive at times! Cai is so laid back that Domino’s aggressive behaviour ceased after only a week and now they’re the two happiest little brothers I’ve seen.

    I only chose to get a cat older than my kitten after much deliberation and a few talks with my boss/veterinarian on whether I was making the right choice.

    Reply
  12. Suzie
    May 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm (2 years ago)

    We recently adopted an older cat that found us from the neighborhood. She is about 6 years old now. Then a couple months later, we added two kittens. There was heck to pay for the first little bit, but we had to quarantine the kittens anyway, as they came from the shelter a bit under the weather. So they did end up getting introduced quite slowly, over a couple weeks. They are all great buddies now. Seemed to work well!

    Reply
  13. Kimberly
    May 14, 2013 at 9:52 am (2 years ago)

    We got lucky…Our Dusty lost his mother and siblings when his mother was killed by a car. He was bottle fed but he really seemed to want a “friend”. We adopted Clubs (who is about 3 months younger) and they bonded right away. Occassionally they’ll have a little minor scuffle but nothing serious. Our older cat is not pleased with them but she tolerates the boys. There’s no way to know whether they’ll get along or not but…watch them and “listen” to what they’re telling you with their body language. Dusty wanted to play with our older Girl so badly…and she did NOT want to “play” (she’s about 10-11 years old). It was a godsend to adopt a second kitten. Everything in the house got much much more peaceful. Girl even comes down and visits us downstairs, takes her spot in her sunbeam, she’s stopped stress grooming, she no longer lunges at Dusty. Clubs just balanced everything out nicely. The boys (3 months apart) are “brothers”. They play, chase, wrestle, bathe and often even cuddle…Poor Dusty just needed someone.

    If you can…maybe you can consider getting 2 kittens…and introduce them slowly to the older cat.

    Reply
  14. gloria
    September 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm (3 years ago)

    We recently had to put our dog buddy (11yrs) to sleep..My question is we have a russian blue male max he’s fixed and about 4yrs old.he did not really get along with buddy more him than the buddy..buddy love max..id love to get a kitten but im not sure how he would do..My sister has a new litter of calios ive fallen in love with one of them . help! what should i do?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Buddy, Gloria. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure whether two cats will get along, but following the guidelines in this article will help. Additionally, introducing the newcomer to your Russian Blue very slowly will also go a long way toward a happy outcome.

      Reply
  15. Bernadette
    May 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Goodness, just today I had one person ask me if I could take a cat from her sister-in-law who took her father’s cat home after he died and just put a 12-year-old only cat with her eight cats and the situation erupted. She just thought they’d get along. Then a friend e-mailed the age and specifics of a friend’s cat who just lost his buddy to cancer and he seems lonely, so they want to match him up with a similar cat. I think the second one is going to be more successful!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm (3 years ago)

      That poor cat, Bernadette! It sounds like the second scenario will work out much better.

      Reply
  16. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    May 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Just like people, cats are incredibly unique and the circumstances (and results) when introducing a new cat into the household will always be different. You have given some great advice and guidelines and patience was always the number one factor in my house for success.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm (3 years ago)

      Patience is definitely key, Deb.

      Reply
  17. Bernadette
    May 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm (3 years ago)

    It’s so much better to plan than just bring them in! All the years I was rescuing I was careful to keep everyone segregated and introduce gradually, but anyone who thinks two cats will like each other because they’re both cats hasn’t tried that experiment. I like the current idea of two kittens or even two adult cats adopted together if they are already friends, it just works so well for them.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm (3 years ago)

      I agree, Bernadette, that makes a lot of sense.

      Reply
    • Susana
      August 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm (2 years ago)

      On the other hand, I had 10 cats at a time not long ago, that I got abandoned here and there. They had their own circles, and although not everybody got along with everybody, it was a well functioning society. Each had their place and their favorite humans and got along with their dog.

      Reply
  18. Savannah NanaMo
    May 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Well I think this is a purrfect topic…so many peeps go get another cat ‘cuz they want one, but they forget to include their current cat in the decision and then they are “shocked” when their current cat rejects the new comer…deciding on having a multiple pet household is no light decision and I think peeps take it too lightly…the shelter where I came from has had several cats returned, some for the very reason just mentioned, their current cat did not want a “buddy”…ofter though, it is for ridiculous reasons like the cat was “too affectionate” or “played too much”!!!??? huh??

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm (3 years ago)

      The first time I heard of a cat being returned because she was “too affectionate” or “played to much,” I thought the person was joking. But you’re right, Savannah – it happens all the time, and it is absolutely ridiculous to me, too.

      Reply
      • Ashley
        September 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm (2 years ago)

        That’s how I got Molly! She’s only 1.5 years old, but her first owner passed away and her second owner said she was “too cuddly.” She does like a lot of interaction, which is why we’re considering a second cat.

        Reply
  19. Ronnie
    May 22, 2012 at 10:47 am (3 years ago)

    WOW! No coincidences here. I have been looking at a cat on Pet Finder for over 2 months. Wondering, should I adopt a 2nd cat? My Kitty, (Russian Blue mix) of 23 yrs. passed Aug. 2011. I adopted Mandy, mid-Dec. 2011. She is a 7 yr. old Calico, in the shelter 2 mo. She had to be in a room by herself as so scared in a cage, hissisg, scratching. But she came right up to me on my lap, purring. So I adopted her. At first, yes, a “Cat from Hell.” She bit me bad twice. Hid. But so loved to be brushed…so I did. And Patience. After 5 weeks she was out * about the house, sleeping everywhere. I now know she was so very frightened. She now lets me pick her up a bit but is not a cuddly kitty that I so miss. But she now feels safe, always purring, winding around my legs. And I made a point to adopt a kitty, Mandy, that did NOT look like my deceased Kitty, although I love the Russian Blue’s disposition. OK…I am seriously thinking of adopting the Russian Blue mix kitty, age 2, I have been watching on Pet Finder. Called yesterday and I am to go see HER:) She is supposedly very sociable to humans and cats, lovable, all-over-you type, named “Lovey.” And TALKS, that I so miss. So, there would be a 2 yr. old and my 7 yr. old, both females. Mandy appears larger and she is heavy, @ 8 lbs. Mandy lived with other cats, a dog, children, with no problems, I was told by the shelter. She is healthy and loves to play…with me and toys. I may be “selfish” wanting another cat, one that is more interactive and cuddly, but I so miss this. However, my instinct tells me that, with time, Mandy would be just fine with Lovey. Oh, what to do? OK…one step at a time. Visit Lovey first to check out. I take this very seriously, for my cats have Forever Homes with me, no matter what. And Mandy was 1st and stays 1st regarding another kitty.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

      Mandy is fortunate that you were willing to love her for the cat she is, and that you gave her the patience and space to relax and come to you, Ronnie. I can totally understand wanting a cuddly affectionate cat, though. On paper, she and Lovey sound like a good mix.

      I think you owe it to yourself to meet Lovey. Trust your instinct. And let us know what you decide!

      Reply
      • Bopeeps
        May 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm (3 years ago)

        Would also love to know how it works out. Good luck:)

        Reply
        • Ronnie
          May 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm (3 years ago)

          Thank you Ingrid and Bopeeps. The shelter was to call me this morning. Did not. So I just called and left a message. I need to find out more about this shelter. Once I had one give me the run-a-round. Wanted me to adopt but I got all the wrong info: lies. Hope this one is bona fide, up & up.

          Reply
  20. Bopeeps
    May 22, 2012 at 8:04 am (3 years ago)

    I know when I was trying to get a playmate for Lucy, they tried to convince me to get a male. They said a female/female would not get along. But I didn’t want any problem with spraying so I stuck to it and got a female.

    Lucy was about a year or so and Rikki joined her as a brand new kitten. After two days of hissing and growling from Lucy, she finally broke down and gaveRikki a “bath” and they have been “sisters” ever since.

    I wish I could have gotten Rikki’s other 2 sisters since she is a “happy go lucky” cat but I’m sure they got good homes.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:05 am (3 years ago)

      Sounds like Lucy and Rikki are meant to be together!

      Reply
      • Bopeeps
        May 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm (3 years ago)

        Rikki does think Lucy is nuts with her weird behavior 😀

        Reply
    • JHH
      January 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm (6 months ago)

      Hi I have a lovely one cat Lucy that will be 2 yrs old in april. i was thinking of getting her/us this sweet kitten 9 weeks to play and spend time with. We love Lucy and want her to be happier and pals with the new kitten and not upset her. i s it a good idea to get the second. They are both females..all black.

      tkanks!

      Reply
  21. Caren Gittleman
    May 22, 2012 at 8:03 am (3 years ago)

    hmmm…great piece…it is no surprise to me that FEMALE cats are less accepting of other cats than males…case in point…human females in LIFE :)

    A great companion for a cat? A DOG! My cat and dog are the BEST of friends! They are also the same age and both males :)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:05 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Caren. I’m chuckling about your comment about human females!

      Reply
  22. toni / rctees
    May 22, 2012 at 8:01 am (3 years ago)

    PURRR-fect Ingrid….did I tell you Mark and I are “considering” an addition? Okay, Mark’s “considering” it…me?? I’m all in ; )

    Abby is such a shy kitty…and small (6 years old and a hair over 7 lbs). I’m thinking maybe TWO kittens…then they could play with each other?? I have agreed to wait until July…after vacation, so I’ll be home with them…..Oh and we also have a 12 year old lab mix (she’s just always gone with the whatever we bring into the house).

    Thanks for the info Ingrid….I’ll share it with Mark ; )
    ♥toni

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:04 am (3 years ago)

      How exciting, Toni! Two kittens could be a good solution as companions for Abby – or, alternately, a very laid back, gentle adult. I can’t wait to hear what you decide.

      Reply
      • Bopeeps
        May 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm (3 years ago)

        2 kittens I’m jealous :)

        Reply
  23. Harry
    May 22, 2012 at 7:57 am (3 years ago)

    Great article, Ingrid! I’m glad when people ask me the question of “how do I know which cat will get along with mine” – because more often than not, someone wants a single kitten as a companion for their 10 year old cat, and I have to take a deep breath, a step back, and try to discuss why that likely won’t work well. I’m going to refer people to this article!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:03 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Harry!

      Reply
  24. Sammy, One Spoiled Cat
    May 22, 2012 at 7:24 am (3 years ago)

    Great article…..Sam was an “only kitten” in a small cage by himself at the shelter when we adopted him twelve years ago and has never developed a rapport with another animal…..the few encounters he’s had with other cats were confrontational (they sensed his vulnerability and shyness and took advantage!) and at this point in his life, he will remain an only cat in our house. We keep him busy, active, and entertained though to the best of our “human ability”….it would be a stressful situation to introduce a companion (although I’d love to have a multi-cat household!). Now is just not the time.

    Thanks Ingrid!

    Pam (and Sam)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:03 am (3 years ago)

      It definitely sounds like Sam is one of those confirmed only cats, Pam!

      Reply
  25. Anne from TheCatSite.com
    May 22, 2012 at 7:09 am (3 years ago)

    Absolutely excellent advice! It’s a topic we’ve covered in more than one article.
    I agree that one shouldn’t bring in a new cat where the resident cat is not well. I think the samer holds true for a senior cat. A senior cat who is known not to get along well with cats, or that has had no contact with other cats in many years, should probably be left to grow
    old as a solitary cat and not go through the often stressful introduction with a
    another cat.

    Reply
    • Michelle Stewart
      May 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm (2 months ago)

      I am going through this difficult decision right now. I adopted 2 cats who got along but weren’t cuddle buddies in 2006. One passed a few years ago and we have one female cat left. She is age 13 and quite the attention hog.
      I have fallen in love with a 4 year old calico female that I would like to adopt. They seem to have similar personalities and bodies but I am unsure if I would traumatize my current cat. I have to decide if I can do the nice slow intro or if my old girl would be better off leading a solitary life.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        May 21, 2015 at 6:37 am (1 month ago)

        Introducing a younger cat to a senior cat can be challenging, and unfortunately, there’s no way to predict whether the two cats will get along, and whether the senior will accept the newcomer. I’m concerned that your female may not be happy to share you with another cat. There’s just no way to know for sure! If you decide to move forward, this article may help: http://consciouscat.net/2012/07/10/introducing-a-kitten-to-your-older-cat/

        Reply
        • Michelle Stewart
          June 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm (1 month ago)

          Hello, thanks so much for your thoughts. After talking with a few cat loving friends and analyzing it to death, I decided to withdraw my application for that sweet cat. Thankfully she’s with a no-kill organization.

          My cat has to come first and I feel I would rock her world in a negative way by bringing another cat into the picture. Keep up the good words!

          Reply
  26. Max the Quilt Cat
    May 22, 2012 at 6:57 am (3 years ago)

    Nice post….. Sometimes emotion just takes over when you see a cute kitty, but it’s good to move slowly when adding a kitty .

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 22, 2012 at 11:01 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Max!

      Reply

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