Debra – Cats…shall I or shouldn’t I?


I am Jones-ing for a new cat.  Or I should say another cat.  We lost our old guy a little more than a year ago, and it’s about time.  A friend had a young adult foundling cat.  Sweet as pie with her two cats.  Not afraid of dogs.  (I have one large dog.)  And she loved sleeping in the bed with her foster mom.  Great!  Sounded like a good fit for our one cat, one dog household.

Not so much.  After a month, neither cat were any closer to finding their way to a living arrangement.  Some of the charming qualities of the new cat were now missing.  She didn’t cuddle or sleep with me.  (Neither does my current cat, but the old one did and that’s the reason for getting another cat.  I like a buddy.)  The problem is that my current cat was found when she was less than five weeks old.  This means she has no idea how to play with other cats.  She can stalk and stare at another cat but she hasn’t quite got the “Hey, whatcha doin’? Can I play?” behavior down.  She turns it into a fight because the other cat feels so much pressure.  We’ve only tried one cat with her, so it’s possible another adult cat might fit in, but we doubt it.  She came in when my old fifteen year-old cat stood on her head and said “Don’t bother me.”  That has been the sum total of her cat interaction.

This means we probably need a kitten.  We’re thinking Maine Coon or Rag Doll.  Does anyone have either of those breeds?  Do you have tips for integrating cats?  (We do the seperation/sniff under the door for quite a while before integrating them slowly for short periods of supervised time.) We’ve had cats all my life and I’ve never had a situation where we couldn’t bring in a new cat!  But we’ve also never had a cat we found in the wild that young either!

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27 Responses to Debra – Cats…shall I or shouldn’t I?

  1. Cindy Gerard says:

    You absolutely need to try it Deb. You just never know what will happen. We were not ‘cat’ people until 7 years ago. We had stray cats in our barn that my hubby fed but none in the house … until one day 1 of the barn cats found it’s way inside through our doggie door. I kept putting him out. He kept coming back … and one day he brought a buddy with him. They’ve been house cats ever since and we can’t imagine our home without them. They are as different as night and day. one loves to cuddle. The other will tolerate it for very short periods. They occasionally have a little spat but all is soon forgiven. so I’m thinking you might just need adjustment time.
    Go for it :o)

    • debradixon says:

      I may just need to bit the bullet and give it more than a month of adjustment. But a month was a long time in a war zone! Well, it was only a war zone for two weeks. The first two weeks were sniffing under the doors, but it was a constant fire drill of “Which cat is out?” (g)

  2. Teresa Hill says:

    Hi, I always feel like I’ve gotten a special treat when one of our cats sleeps with us and cuddles. It happens, but not all the time. And I always thank Inkie for giving me cuddle time in the bed. Sometimes I beg him at night to come sleep with me. Cats are in charge, after all. 🙂
    If you want a cuddly cat, I’d tell the humane association you want a kitten who’s been bottle fed. The ones handled the most when they’re little are the cuddliest. So get one whose mom couldn’t feed it. The humane association will find volunteers to take the kittens in and bottle feed them, and when they’re ready, put them up for adoption. Best bet for a snuggly cat.

    • debradixon says:

      Hey, I didn’t even think about a bottle fed kitty from the humane society! What a great idea. For me, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had three cats in a row who slept like my teddy bear in bed. My arms around them and them suggled up across my neck. One did sleep on my head but curled around it. Hubby puts up with it. And they’ve all been lap cats except this one who is now three. I thought she’d get better when the old man died and there was room in bed and my lap but after a year, there is only a tiny tiny change.

      • Teresa Hill says:

        My Inkie will snuggle like that sometimes. Khleo will sleep in the bed, but down by my feet. And, of course, we have the dogs. At least one in the bed, sometimes two. I think Inkie wants to be clear that his affection will be bestowed when he pleases and should always be greatly appreciated. He might like hearing me beg, too.

    • debradixon says:

      I hate it when the cat makes me beg!!

      • Teresa Hill says:

        Are you sure you’ve had cats before? 🙂

      • debradixon says:

        See the old guy would yell at me until I sat down or came to bed so he could snuggle. None of my cats have ever been stand-offish to me. That’s why this one is killing me. She is a little better. She’s always followed me from room to room. She hangs in the quilt studio. But if she does decide to sleep “beside” me, I can’t move a muscle or she rockets out of the room. She’s just to conditioned to the “fight or flight” response to ever settle in. My other cats would let you shoot a cannon off beside them and then yawn.

      • Teresa Hill says:

        Mine yell at me if they want to be fed or go outside or want me to pet them. They yell a lot. We call one our little loudmouth kitty. He’s hilarious. Debault setting is to yell. And if they want attention, they will climb into my lap and shove a book away or step on my computer keyboard. But it’s almost all on their terms. That’s how they make you appreciate their attention so much.

  3. tresa says:

    I have 4, no one likes anyone and they still co-habitat fairly well. Never intended for there to be 4 but … first one is around 13 but when my hubby traveled I sent her with him and the ferret. they played so well together , she was bottle fed. I found I couldnt’ live without one underfoot so I searched for Jocko the male (hubby calls him Demon cat) he cause the rat terrier to develop an ulcer so he went to live with hubby and Sissy (ferret died ). Next Son brought in a stray (after being told NO in no uncertain terms) so here was the sweetest cat you could ever dream of . bed buddy and didn’t irrate or stress out the dog. The last one i brought in from outside,
    had watched them and fed them then the mom got killed and this one would sit at the door and look in so brought her in and no one likes anyone but they all live in questionble harmony .

    • debradixon says:

      Tresa– Isn’t that the way? They find you. They worm their way in. I haven’t gone looking for a cat in a long time, so this is new. And I’m sensing that maybe I just need to be a little more relaxed in my definition of “happily co-habiting.”

    • debradixon says:

      And I don’t know how you can avoid bringing in a kitty whose momma was killed. You were doomed. You HAD to take that cat. (g)

  4. Brynna Curry says:

    You should try. I think your current kitty feels her place is being taken over by the new cat. A new kitten will seem less threatening to her because of its stature and usually kittens want to love on everyone, people, cats, dogs, the furniture. (lol) They want attention and will demand it. Whether or not the other cat wants to give it and a kitten will be more forgiving of displays of feline attitude. Since your current cat is female, she might also treat the kitten in a motherly way instead of fighting with it like she would a bigger cat. Or she may ignore it completely until she is accustomed to the new kitten’s prescence in the house.

    (Many years of experience taking in stray cats and dogs of varying ages.)

    • debradixon says:

      Oh, great point. A kitten won’t be put off at all by older female putting her in her place. I think “forgiving” is the key. Because I think the two adult cats could have been friends if they could have gotten over their bad start.

  5. donnas1 says:

    I had a maine coon and it was the sweetest cat ever, He slept at my feet and when I would get up would move to the pillow. He snuggled and thought he was a lap cat. When he died we got a rescue from animal control because the other cat was going though separation anxiety. We did the sniff under door thing too for a little over a week. the older cat still think the new one is a stupid little idiot (even though he is now bigger) but the younger loves him. They playfight sometimes but mostly get along. But it did take about 2 months before the older one stopped yelling at the kitten.

    • debradixon says:

      Two months? Okay, I’m listening. I’m thinking I must have always led a charmed life in terms of integrating cats. I’m used to them deciding pretty quickly whether they would ignore each other or be friends.

  6. Quilt Lady says:

    We can’t have any cats my son is very allergic to them. He can’t even be around people that have cats.

    Also wanted to say I got the Thanksgiving basket and I couldn’t believe what all was in it. Christmas came early for me this year and I am doing the happy dance right. Thank you all sooo much! I am set with books for a while now.

  7. leannebanks says:

    Debra, I want a kitty cat, but my husband is allergic and he’s such a good guy I can’t subject him….So enjoy all your kitties for me. I’m glad I have my doggy!:)

  8. Linda says:

    I tell owners when trying to integrate new cats to give it at least 3 months. I know it is not easy but it can be done. I have the owners reward the older cat for good behavior by giving treats and extra attention. Also if you are feeding them in the same room feed the older cat first and make sure she has the prime space. If it does not work out then yes a young kitten or one that is hand raised will be very cuddly. I have two right now that are attached to me and sleep with me all the time. Good luck.

    • debradixon says:

      Three (3) months? Yikes! Maybe we didn’t give the first older cat long enough then, but it was so different to any other time we’d tried to integrate cats. I guess we’ve been spoiled!

  9. Kylie Brant says:

    Not a cat person but love those cats that look like cheetahs. Cool!

  10. Roxanne Rustand says:

    I have always wanted a Maine Coon or a Ragdoll. But now we have a son-in-law who is terribly allergic to cats, so I guess my house cat days are over. 😦 I’ve had house cats all my life, but now our five barn cats (all fat and fluffy and friendly) will have to suffice. Good luck with your cat population!

    • debradixon says:

      Boo hoo! But how lovely you are to make sure your son-in-law is comfortable at your house. Go, you, greatest mother-in-law!

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