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 guarantee that two cats will get along, there are things you can consider when adding a new cat to the family.


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.


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 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.



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.

201 Comments on Choosing a Companion for Your Cat

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    A few months ago, your article had guided me into getting a companion for my 10 month old female kitten Pixel. Well, after religiously following your guidelines, we managed to integrate the kittens successfully. KitKat now 6 months old has settled down comfortably. The little boy is affectionate, warm and a real lap kitten but I’m having trouble with one particular habit of his. He has terrible toilet manners, He refuses to cover up his poop after he’s done.I have tried showing him how to a couple of times, added extra kitty litter etc. but nothing seems to have worked. It annoys me no end. The other day, he even went and took a dump when we took the box away for a few minutes to rinse and clean. Can you please advise on what I can do to just help him clean up after himself? Thank You!

  2. Help…PLEASE! We have a two month old female Tortie and a senoir male Tabby. The Tortie is driving the Tabby crazy! Every time she sees him, all she wants to do is play. He wants no parts of it. My wife and I are actually surprised that he hasn’t ran off when given the chance. We’ve tried separating them, but whenever they meet…there’s always loud screaming from the Tabby (yeah, he’s a bit of a wuss) because the Tortie want to play.

    Any suggestions? Thanks…

    • Did you slowly and gradually introduce the tortie to your resident Tabby? If not, you may need to separate them and start over. Here’s how to do slow and gradual introductions:

      Since it sounds like the tortie is a high energy cat, you’ll need to play with her to help her burn off some of that excess energy. Try structured play session, at least twice a day, 10-15 minutes each. Use interactive toys. Really get her tired out.

      • Thank you for your reply. Yes, we did attempt a slow and gradual introduction. In retrospect…maybe not slow and gradual enough. After two days, Tigre (senior) was very curious as to what was going on in the other room, so we let him in. Don’t think he’d ever seen a kitten before. Lilly (FIVE month old) rescue kitten, probably had never seen another cat before.

        Will try the play sessions. Don’t believe we play with her long enough consistently. BUT…how in the world do you tire out a kitten? LOL!

        Thanks again,

        Malcolm Robinson

        • “How in the world do you tire a kitten out?” I’m not sure it’s possible 🙂 – but the more you can play with her, the better. Find something that will entice her to race through the house. Use interactive wand type toys to tease her up and down cat trees.

          • Well, the play sessions have been a success so far! Another question though…the link you sent was about essential oils not about introducing two cats. Interesting article though.

          • I’m so sorry! I updated the link to the correct one. Apparently, I wasn’t caffeinated (catffeinated?) enough this morning….

  3. We currently have two animals in the household. One is a 1.5 year old female Pembroke welsh corgi and the other is 1.5 year old female cat. We were thinking of getting another cat because while the both resident animals get alone we thought it the resident cat could use a friend. Should we get a female or male kitten? Both resident animals are very friendly.

    • Your best bet is to match the new cat to your resident cat and dog in terms of personality. I don’t think gender matters as much.

  4. Thank you for your article. I’ve never had a cat but my boyfriend always has. About a week ago, we took in a 4-5 month old flame point Siamese kitten that was thrown out the window of a car at our house. Apparently I am a “cat person”. lol Olly is VERY playful but pretty rough at play with some hard biting. He’s doing wonderfully in our home and loves attention. He will be spayed in a couple of weeks but I’m thinking he needs a companion once he’s recovered. Do you think it would be beneficial to do that sooner or later? He’s still exploring the house and each day getting more and more comfortable. He’s alone during the day while we’re at work. But he won’t let us sleep at night so we’ve had to shut him out of the bedrooms while we’re sleeping because he “hunts” us and thinks it’s play time. Do you think we need let him get fully settled in the home and then introduce another cat? Thanks in advance!

    • I would wait until after he has recovered from his surgery before introducing a companion, Melanie. Once you do, make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

    • hi thanks for all the info i really want a kitten but we got another older cat it was really good for me to hear that info :3

  5. Hello,

    I currently have a male cat who is just shy of two years old. He was found outside at the age of 8 weeks and I decided to keep him. He is very loving, playful, and gentle. I recently saw a facebook post about kittens for adoption. These kittens are 8- 10 weeks old. I am curious which gender I should lean towards… I have read a lot about this and have gotten mixed signals. What do you think?

    Thank you,

    • I don’t think gender is as important as personality, although that can be hard to gauge with very young kittens. Once you choose a kitten, make sure you do very slow and gradual introductions.

  6. Our cat Lizzy (9.5 yr old) died unexpectedly on March 15, it was a tragedy. she passed away during post opt from a polyp surgery, we found out a few days later from tests that she has lymphoma and it was advanced. Her littermate/sister Bell is definitely confused bc Lizzy kind of just disappeared from the house. We are hoping to adopt another cat in the near future. I hate leaving her alone all day. I am nervous about how Bell will react to a new cat coming into the house. Bell is a laid back girl, Lizzy was the alpha of the two. Do you have any suggestions on age of cat to adopt and what type personality we should look for? Do cats generally get along with new companions?

    • I’m so sorry about Lizzy, Lauren. There are no guarantees that two cats will get along. Your best bet is to find a cat of similar temperament, and do very slow and gradual introductions.

  7. I have an 11 month old male who was neutered about 3 weeks ago and he’s a very affectionate kitty and very playful with anyone who walks in the door. We are actually adopting a 2-3 yr old spayed female soon who’s been great with the other cat and people in her current home, but does not like the big dog who’s trying to be her best friend. Our kitty hasn’t really been around other kitties, but he’s smelled other cats and have reacted badly and is accepting of a small dog visiting his home. They are very similar in size and from what the current owner has said about her, they are very similar in temperament. They even have very similar coloring, but I know that doesn’t make a difference. The current owner of the female said that she shares the litter box and food dishes with her other cat who is also a male and has since day one and has never had any problems. We do plan on getting separate food and water dishes and a 2nd litter box just in case. From everything we’ve learned about the female kitty, she sounds like she will fit in perfectly with our male kitty and family. The only reason that the new owner is trying to find a new home for her is because the female kitty doesn’t like the big dog and is being stressed out by the dog (who’s really just trying to be friendly). Any tips on maintaining the peace when the female comes into our home?

  8. Hi,
    16 Years ago ,we acquired 2 Kittens of similar age, A Domestic Female Tabby Cat and a Male Pedigree Tonkinese . They lived together happily ( both neutered ) until the Summer of 2014 when the Tonkinese had to be put to sleep. After much deliberation ,we bought a replacement Burmese Male Kitten in May 2015 . Whilst the Female Tabby tolerated him ,they didn’ t really bond ,and sadly he has recently been the victim of a Road accident . The Female Tabby is now 16 and not in 100% health . Should we try and find her another ‘Companion ‘ and if so what might work ?……or leave her as our only Cat until she eventually passes away ? Many thanks

    • I’m sorry about your loss, Robin. Getting a senior kitty used to a new companion can be challenging. Since you said your female tabby didn’t tolerate the newcomer a year ago, I would probably let him be an only cat.

  9. Hello! Two weeks ago I had to put down my 12.5 year old male Burmese do to a prolonged illness. He leaves behind his 8 year old male Burmese companion. As you may know, this breed is very social and I am debating on whether or not bring him a new friend. What are your thoughts on this? He has always lived with another cat. If you do recommend I get him a new companion, what age/sex is optimal? Thanks for your help.

    • Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether a cat will accept a new companion. I don’t thing gender is as important as personality. If you decide to move forward, I’d look for a cat about the same age or younger than your 8-year-old with a similar temperament, and do slow and gradual introductions.

  10. I have a 2yr old desexed male and we have been looking after a non-desexed female for the last few weeks before deciding if she can stay (a friend found her in the street). After about 2 weeks our boy has started mounting her and biting her neck. We have introduced slowly so they have only started having long periods together the last few days. Is this something that we could expect to settle down when the little girl is desexed or do we really need to bite the bullet and take her to the shelter so she can find a new family?

  11. Hi Ingrid,

    Thank you for this informative and helpful post. I have a female kitten called Pixel who is a little over 5 months. We’ve had her since she was about a month old when she fell off the roof of my husband’s office. Since then she has been surrounded by the company of my family and had never been introduced to another cat until we had no choice but to leave her behind at a friend’s place recently when we were out of town. This was her first tryst with other cats; not to mention 5 of them but she was a brave girl who managed quite well. I have been wanting to get Pixel a companion for a while because we don’t like leaving her alone at home and sometimes she looks a bit lonely. She is a gentle, playful and naughty girl who has never hissed or growled at us. The other day we set up a playdate for her with a 2 month old kitten and she hissed and growled at her incessantly. That was the first time we have seen her do that! Although after reading your post, I’m going to follow some of your tips when we get a new kitten. However, could you advise me on whether getting a 2 month old female kitten would be a match age wise? Also, should I get Pixel spayed before or after we get the kitten home?

    Thank you so much in advance for your time and advise!

  12. Hi Ingrid, we have an 11year old Persian cat, who is really laid back and seems mostly indifferent to other cats in the neighborhood, we are treating him like a king, but he is alone most of the day. I was wondering if adopting another cat can be beneficial to him, and if so, we found a 6 year old Persian cat in a shelter, she seems to be easy going as well, do you think she will be a good match? Or the age difference is too big?
    Thanks 🙂

    • There’s no way to ever predict for sure whether two cats will get along, Adi. The age difference shouldn’t be an issue as long as they’re a good match in temperament, but if your 11-year-old has been an only cat all his life, he may not be receptive to having a companion.

  13. I have a 4 month old male kitten he is quite a shy kitten, comes out every now and then for a cuddle and sometimes play….me and my partner are thinking about getting another kitten (11weeks old) to keep him company and to try bring him out of his shell..(.as when we got him he was with about 6-7 other cats and kittens his age and didn’t have much human contact)….just wondering wither this is a good idea or not? Any advice would be appricated

  14. My cat Daisy is almost 12 years old. I want to get a little male kitten, but
    I am not sure if that will upset her. My best friend’s female kitten was with us for a while, and Daisy was not ok with that at all. If I get a male kitten will she be more open?

  15. My cat is 6months old he’s very energetic and likes to play all day and all night. My boyfriend and I want to get him a friend so he’s not lonely when we are not home. What should he was around other kittens from when he was born til he was about 3 months old do you think he will still be okay with a male cat his age?

    • Kittens generally do well with a companion of about the same age and temperament. Just make sure you introduce a newcomer slow and gradually.

      • Hey i have a question. I have two cats. We have an elder boy and a 3 year old girl. When we got her as a kitten we were surprised how well he accepted her. He is now 16 and he is in alright health but i know hes not going to live forever. The female dosent really like other cats but i feel like when he goes she needs a pal. Should i get a kitten or do you think she would hurt it? She is playful but also a beotch lol

        • I would probably wait until your old boy is no longer with you to see how she does, and then decide whether a kitten or an adult cat may be a better companion for her. He may accept a kitten, but kitten energy can create a lot of stress for an elderly cat.

  16. I have 2 3 year old male cats. was wondering what people thought about the wisdom of bringing in another male 8 years old. I have integrated adult cats into my home in the past but, never one that much older than the rest.
    My cats are very friendly and the cat I am thinking about adopting seems very friendly and calm. He is a huge cat who has been in the shelter for quite sometime.
    I had originally been intending to get a younger cat but this guy is so wonderful and while kittens are great fun I love an older cat.

    • It sounds like the personalities of the three cats are a good match, Maureen, and I don’t think the age difference is as significant. Of course, there’s never a guarantee that cats will get along. Introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually if you decide to move forward.

      • Thank you Ingrid. He has been moved to a rescue group. I am going to go to their pet fair this weekend and watch how he gets along with all the other cats . That will help me make a decision.

  17. I’ve had my cat for about 4-5 months now and we’ve grown very close. He does enjoy playing with a friend’s cat periodically, and I’ve been considering taking home another cat that is actually his sister so he could (maybe, if it works out) have a playmate. Though this may sound a bit selfish, I’m worried that this would cause him and I to lose our bond. Would he grow away from me? And can cats be alright in groups of three (depending on the cats, of course)?

    • There’s no way to predict whether cats will get along with another cat, or how adding another cat to your family will change your cat’s relationship with you, but there’s a good chance you’ll have even more love in your life. 🙂 If you decide to move forward, make sure you introduce the new cat slowly and gradually. Even though they’re litter mates, they most likely won’t recognize each other and your resident cat will consider the new cat an intruder until they’ve been properly introduced.

  18. Hi, my male cat is about 7 months old and plays pretty aggressively. I was thinking of getting another cat, maybe a 3 month old girl kitten to be his companion because I think he needs to realize he’s being a little rough and I think another cat would assert that for him. Do you think that dynamic, generally, sounds good? Or should I opt for a male kitten? Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict whether two kittens are going to be a good match, but I do agree that your kitten could benefit from a companion. I don’t think it makes a difference whether you adopt a male or female kitten, I’d look for a kitten with a similar temperament and energy level. Make sure you introduce the newcomer slowly and gradually.

  19. Do you think cats need time to mourn a lost companion? My two cats were both adopted as kittens. They adored each other. One just passed away a month ago. They had been together for 3 years. I cried enough and I need another cat, but am worried it might be too soon for my cat.

  20. someone dumped a pregnant cat last year and the cat took to day it brought out 6 kittens and when old enough took all and momma cat to shelter..i felt bad so I adopted momma cat and one kitten back. the kitten did not make it so I adopted another cat that was not a kitten of hers. she a spayed yesterday and my older cat may hurt her if I let her out to go potty..they are outdoor cats. I don’t know what to do..please help

  21. Hi Ingrid,
    I’m planning on getting two kittens early next year and I was wondering Do Siamese Cats and Russian Blue Cats make good companions? And if they don’t what breeds do you think would make a great companion for a Siamese Cat.

    • Unfortunately, there’s never a sure way to predict whether two cats will get along, Aaron, regardless of breed. If you absolutely want a purebred cat, rather than adopting from a shelter or breed specific rescue group, I’d ask a reputable breeder

      • Thank you for replying. I’m starting to look for a breeder in my area right now so hopefully I’ll find a good one.

  22. I think my fixed male Siamese cat is 11 or 12 years old, he has 1 eye that has developed a cataract but seems to have learned to see around it, he gets around very well. He is a indoor kitty still plays when he feels like it and its only loyal and friendly to his 2 owners, meaning if anyone visits they would never now we have a cat. there is a 4 year old fixed female siamese mix that needs a new home, she has lived indoors her whole life, our little man is also indoors. would this be okay to bring a companion into the house or stress him out

    • I wish I could answer this with a definitive yes or now, Terri, but as I’ve said before, there’s just no way to guarantee that two cats will get along. Your best bet, if you try it, is to do very slow and gradual introductions.

  23. Hi Ingrid

    We have a cat who is 11 years old, very easy going boy who loves company. He was diagnosed with CKD and has reoccurring dental problems. We treat him with antibiotics from time to time and it goes away. We were told that’s way he would be for the rest of his life. So he is not 100% healthy, I know that, but I am considering getting another cat – a friend for him as he gets really lonely (he is an indoor cat). I know he will get on well with another laid back cat, but it is still stressful for a resident cat when a new cat arrives. So I have a dilemma, do I leave him alone, and don’t risk getting him all stressed and more ill or do I adopt and hope the having a friend will make his last few years better?


    • The added stress of a new cat may be to much for your senior boy, Anna, but you’ll have to weigh the benefits of him having a companion against the risk of the impact, even if short term, on his health. Unfortunately, there’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along.

  24. Hello Ingrid! I’m having some tough thinking, and thought you might be able to help after seeing your wonderful site.
    I have an old cat, Fluffy, who we got off the streets when I was about seven (I believe it was for my birthday?); and due to her being off the streets, we don’t really know her age.
    She is old, but not “won’t play” old, you know? She was declawed by her previous owners (who was selling her on the street), has had a litter that was taken away from her, and a broken tail from- what we presume- was a computer falling on it and breaking it.
    She is a loving and curious, siamese mixed cat to people- and has really only hissed at my father when he pet her for FAR too long (he’s never got along well with cats)- and generally clings on to me for cuddles and lovings.
    We’ve attempted to hold cats in the past with her, but of course it was a kitten and they never really got along well. We also had a dog- she didn’t seem to mind her too much, but it wasn’t an “I like you” vibe for sure.
    I feel as of late that she is getting lonely because she cries out in the living room when I’m not out there with her and she just seems really bored.
    Should I get a cat for her? Do you think she’d take to it well? I just want the best for my baby girl, and give her some company.

    • Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict whether two cats will get along, Laura. Senior cats especially may not accept a newcomer easily, and from what you’re describing about her past, I’d be hesitant. If your kitty hasn’t had a checkup recently, I’d take her to your vet. The crying out could be an indicator of a health problem.

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • I wanted to provide an update! We ended up getting the kitten and he’s perfect! Such an outgoing and happy kitty. We slowly introduced them and the first time Pickles saw him he became so depressed it was so stressful. He wouldn’t move, eat or drink. I felt so guilty. But Beans (the new addition) is so outgoing that he has forced his way into Pickles’ heart and they’re good pals now that hangout and play!

  27. 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.…….

    • 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:

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

  28. 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

    • 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 ..

      • 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:

  29. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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?!?!

    • 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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 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?

    • 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

    • 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.

  42. 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??

    • 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.

      • 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.

  43. 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.

    • 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!

        • 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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 🙂

  46. 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 ; )

  47. 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!

  48. 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)

  49. 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.

    • 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.

        • 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!

      • I hand-raised an orphan kitten from 10 days old and he has now, 2 months. I had done his first vaccines and check up at the veterinary. Since, he grew up without mum and siblings, I think he will be happier with a little friend (preference for a female but a male will be fine too). I don’t know which age will be more appropriate: around same age (2-3 months) to be in the same phase of playing, education… or little older (4-7 months maybe?) to have an exemple of how to behave but still in age to like to play with the little one of 2 months. Have you an advice? Many thanks in advance.

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