If you’re thinking about adding to your cat family, you may be confused about whether that second kitty should be an adult or a kitten. Male? Female? How can you be sure you’ll bring home a cat who will be a good match for your resident cat? Well, there’s no way to guarantee that the choice you make will result in a harmonious household, but I do have a few tips to help you hopefully increase your chances of a successful match.
For an elderly resident cat, don’t try to match her up with a kitten. Kittens have very little respect for territory and boundaries. The revved-up kitten’s attempts at playful curiosity may end up being too stressful to the senior kitty. If your elderly cat is ill, has limited mobility or is impaired in any way then it’s not a good idea to add a second cat at all. The last thing your elderly cat needs is more stress.
If your adult resident cat is playful, healthy, sociable and energetic, then a kitten might be a good choice.
Think about your resident cat’s personality in general. Is she out-going? Assertive? Is she a take-no-prisoners type of cat? If so, then look for a second cat who won’t compete with that personality. If you choose another take-no-prisoners type of cat then you’ll probably end up with lots of nose-to-nose confrontations as each cat tries take charge. On the other hand, you also don’t want to choose a cat from the opposite end of the scale. A very timid, shy cat would not do well with a very assertive cat. Choose a cat with a complementary personality. One who is out-going and friendly but not on either extremes of the personality chart.
Male or Female?
As for whether to get a male or female, many people have believed for years that you should get a cat of the opposite sex. I have never followed that theory and in all my years of doing professional behavior consulting, making good personality and temperament matches have been far more important than whether the cat is male or female.
Take your time when choosing a second cat. You’ll be bringing in a companion who will hopefully become a lifelong buddy for your resident cat so don’t rush the decision.
Pleased to Meet You
Once you’ve made the decision on which cat you want to bring home as a companion for your kitty, you’re next big step will be preparing the cat-to-cat introduction. This is where many cat parents drop the ball and the result can be a disaster. Take your time and do a gradual introduction. Give the cats a reason to like each other. Don’t toss them in together and expect them to be friends. Provide the newcomer with a sanctuary room (usually a bedroom or some other room you can close off) and let him get his bearings. Then you can slowly begin to introduce him to your resident cat. A gradual, positive introduction is the only way to go.
Need More Help?
For more specific information on adding a second cat to the family and the step-by-step technique for the cat introduction, refer to the book Cat vs. Cat. This first-of-its-kind book covers the unique challenges that multicat households face. If you’re having cat behavior problems or cat training issues and you’d like a consultation with a cat behaviorist, contact our office for more information.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.