Two cat or not two cat

I’m a Cat Person. When Jenny & I first met, I had Katie & Gracie (Katharine Hepburn & Grace Jones, from whom I stole my pseudonym), she had Cody & Smokey; and we threw them together rather suddenly under one roof. Gracie liked Cody & Smokey just fine and they became the 3 Amigos. Whereas Katie was fussy about the other cats and laid claim to Jenny instead. But then Katie was always a “people cat,” the kind who answered the doorbell in hopes the new person would sit down and make a lap.

IMG_0182Years passed and so did those four cats. After our move to California four years ago, we went to the shelter and picked out another one, the fabulous Rosalind Russell, aka Roz. I wanted a lap cat. The first time we visited her, I held her, petted her, cooed sweet nothings in her very large ears. She purred and nearly fell asleep. I was so, so smitten. But we couldn’t take her that day because the shelter was under quarantine with a viral respiratory infection epidemic. I came back a few days later and visited, held her while she purred. The third time, Little Miss Roz wasn’t sick anymore. Nor did she want to sit in my lap, thank you very much. Too late, though. I was already in love.

So home we went. Four years later, Rozzie continues her independent ways. She’s very affectionate, following me from room to room, flopping over on the floor when she wants to be scratched and sweet-talked, hanging around on my desk while I work. But the only time she sits in my lap is when we’re on a road trip, because that’s the only place she feels secure in the car.

I couldn’t possibly love her more. Still, I’m considering adding another cat to our family. I’ve done a good bit of research on the proper way to bring a new cat into the home; e.g., isolating them at first and introducing them gradually, setting up two clear territories, dividing my time and attention. Pick a cat around the same age (5 years) with the same general temperament. So what’s stopping me?

It’s quite possible Rozzie doesn’t want another cat. She’s demonstrated that she’s willing to be PURRFECT on her own, notwithstanding her cat-titude about laps. This is a cat who sleeps in her own bed every night. She’s perfectly content with dry food only, tolerates the car, and licks her medicine off my finger twice a day. She never, ever makes a mistake regarding her litter box. In fact — I swear this is true — she sometimes goes to her box to throw up.

So bringing in another cat … I’m asking all of you Cat People out there for help with this momentous decision. What if it changes Rozzie’s personality and feelings of security? What if she develops bad habits? What if she retreats under the bed and decides she wants nothing to do with her new sibling? What if they fight? What if it breaks her heart?

But maybe she wants a cat!

18 Responses to “Two cat or not two cat”

  1. Bit late here to the party, but I’ve heard that two female cats who are not ‘related’ will not get along, introducing a male to an established female in a household, may get along better.mis this true, or is it an urban myth?

  2. Dear KG, my name is Liesel and I‘m a First Cat.
    My Mom loves your post and asked me to send you a few words.
    My First-Cat-experiences are not about who might be the perfect partner for your Rozzie, but more about how you could make it easier for her to deal with what would be a second major change in her life. IF you decided to get another cat, that is. Oh my, this is difficult. May I drop the conditional tense from here on? Thank you.
    I was eight months old when Mom introduced me to a second cat, in our case an ecstatic little kitten. Did anyone say this makes it easier? To be fair it could have been any cat at any age with any personality (here we go conditional again). What it basically meant was the end of my peaceful days and a serious threat to my sense of security. Yes, even kittens can do that to you.
    Mom – a cat person through and through, but only human – made quite a few mistakes in the beginning, but somehow managed to do some important things right. She encouraged the little one to explore her new home while at the same time she made it clear that my favorite retreating spot and my favorite toys were.. what’s the word? Untouchable, yes. More than that I was never locked into a room or blocked in my beloved perimeter walks. After all, this was my territory and my home and I needed to feel as safe and normal in it as possible. She also kept our little traditions like putting me up on the counter when she was doing the dishes so I could play with the foam. Small things really, but they meant the world to me and eventually helped me to get over my insecurities and start a beautiful friendship with Luti the Kitten, who is now sixteen and a half years old.
    I’m sure my experiences don’t surprise you much, as thoughtful and sweet as you are with your Rozzie. I guess my point was only to stress one thing: Lap cats have it easy. Whatever happens they jump up on you and life is good again. We independent ones retreat and try to solve everything by ourselves. It may take days, sometimes weeks. But as long as you love and understand us and do your very best to make us feel safe, we can deal with almost everything, even with a new sibling 😉

    • Thanks for your perspective, Liesel. It isn’t only that I’m worried about hurting Rozzie’s feelings, but that I’m worried I’ll be disappointed if they don’t absolutely adore each other. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen.

  3. We just introduced a middle aged cat to our place which we got from rescue. He has settled in well, despite me not really being a cat person, and has run of the place except the bedrooms. He sleeps in the laundry at night and does all of his business where he is meant to. In fact he sounds a lot like your Rozzie sounds just the same as our Buddy. I can’t see us getting another cat as I think Buddy is content to be loved unconditionally without competition. I would hate to get another cat and upset the current balance in our lives. We have two dogs and they get along just fine but they grew up together and are happy living outside in our back yard.

  4. Only get another cat if you and Jenny want one. Roz will ultimately get along with it or not, and I’m sure is a very happy kitty living as a single top cat now. Having the choice to test drive is always good.

  5. I’ve heard often that a kitten introduced to an older cat usually works out. In fact, my mother had an older male then brought home a male kitten and they didn’t take too long at all to adapt. Good luck if you get Rozie a sibling. We have a mom and her daughter that we rescued. They will cuddle together and sleep, clean on each other, and then for no reason they’ll look at each other like they are strangers, growling and spitting. The youngin will sit in either of our laps, but mom cat will only sit with the wife.

    • I don’t think we want a kitten. Even when we got Rozzie, we wanted to rescue an adult, knowing the kittens will always be easier to place. It’s possible we’d go for one that was 8-10 years old, one with an established personality who’d been turned in because its owner’s circumstances changed.

  6. We always have at least two cats at any given time. Usually three and for several months we had four. (This was when we lived and traveled full time in a 38 foot motor home.) We always tried to keep a newcomer separated from the established cats, but it never worked. After a day or two either the new one escaped or someone managed to get into the isolation room. It always worked out.
    We lost the last of the old guard four years ago and after about six months without a cat, decided to go to the local shelter for another one. We came home with a pair calicos, sisters who had been caged together for 9 of their 10 months. One, Reilly, is pretty friendly, sits in a lap when we settle down at night to read, watch TV or whatever. The other, Trixie, is very skittish, won’t let me come near her at all.
    Last June we were watching the 6 o’clock news when a story came on about a small town shelter that had over 30 cats and kittens rescued from a “crazy cat hoarder” that would be put to sleep in 4 days unless adopted to make room for another 40 cats and kittens from the same hoarder. Well….we got our little buns up early the next am and drove 120 miles to get another cat.
    We ended up with a very sick 7 week old Siamese male. We didn’t even try to keep Jasper from the girls. He was so sick all he did was sleep, eat and poop for two weeks. By the time he felt good enough to explore and play, both girls were used to him and let him rule the roost. He is a healthy, happy, rambunctious, spoiled rotten kitten now and everyone gets along fine.
    I say get another kitty and try to introduce them slowly. After new girl has a few days to become acquainted with her new humans, put new girl in a cat carrier and let her and Roz have a little face time. If that works, put Roz in the bathroom and let the new girl wander and explore the house by herself for a little while. New girl will be more comfortable when Roz is sprung from jail and they are put together for the first time.

    Good Luck!

  7. my thought (not being the cat whisperer in the family) would be keep Roz solo – our Bolo becomes a lap cat at night when Lee settles down for the day to read. I can’t see any good coming from adding a 2nd kitty. And when it is time for Roz to follow Gracie and Katie and their siblings – get two foundlings at the same time 😉 xoxo Lainie

  8. I’ve had both responses, I got my first cat and felt she needed a friend so in came the second. They are both great cats, but i had to add a second letterbox because the first cat wouldn’t let the second cat use “her” box. Then came the third cat. My future wife moved in and her cat hated my first cat but loved the second cat. The fights between the first and third still continue to this day. Sometimes a week or more will go by without an altercation then one day the fights will start and continue repeatedly for days. I’ve tried separating them but it didn’t work since the segregated cat was lonesome and didn’t get the needed attention. I even found a new home for one but that didn’t work out either. So now we have all three. They all love to sit on laps, sometimes at the same time. They often can be found sleeping on the same piece of furniture, which really amazes me. It’s the luck of the draw if they will get along. You could go to a rescue and ask to foster and see if they get along. If they do you could adopt. You could try a kitten, sometimes an adult cat will accept a kitten and not accept another adult. Whatever you decide I with you well. One more thing. My first cat never blamed me for bring in the second and third cat. She still loves me just the same.

    • Our local shelter has a “foster with intent” program that allows us to test-drive an adoption. If we decide to grow, that’s definitely how we’ll go. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. I’m afraid I have no advice. A few months after my seventeen-year-old fur-baby passed away, I adopted a five-year-old rescue cat. She turned out to be less affectionate than I had hoped, but, of course, I fell in love with her. After six months, I went looking for another cat. I adopted a beautiful calico who spent hours upon hours on my lap, purring nonstop. I took all the advice there was regarding keeping them apart, then when and how to bring them together. Nothing seemed to work. After six weeks of fighting and general insanity, I gave up. I returned the calico and it broke both our hearts.

    However… I wish you success and happiness!

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