Owing to the
wonderful summer we’ve had this year, work on Lyla-cat’s outside enclosure has been put on hold. She’s gotten quite used to her daily cul-de-sac walks, snoozes in the old dog cage and for days when it rains (which is pretty much every day) we moved the bird table nearer to the patio windows so she can spy on pigeons – and have sprinkled bird food on other windowsills. We’re always looking for new ways to occupy her time and keep her happy – but one thing we keep stumbling over is whether to get a second cat. Kitten? Cat? Rescue cat? Rescue kitten? Pregnant rescue cat and raise all her kittens?…
So the reasons behind getting a new cat are simple enough. I love cats (and their floofy cheeks) – and more importantly – we have the space and the time to give an animal a good home. Knowing just how many cats need a forever home constantly breaks my heart. We’re always getting calls asking if we can rescue strays or take on unwanted pets but we’ve not been in a position to do that until now.
Because of the nature of cat sitting, we’re in and out of the house all the time. Therefore Lyla is rarely left alone for more than a couple of hours and when we’re home she happily follows us around. She loves her people, cuddles and attention and is a friendly, well-adjusted little cat. However – we’re curious to see whether a playmate could add something to her life that she just can’t get from us – and of course, there’s no real test for this. As much as I ask Lyla for her opinion, I just don’t seem to be able to translate her meows so I’ve had to ask google to help me mull it over;
- You have to be rational rather than emotional which means getting the cat that will fit in best with your current family – not the one you fall in love with.
- Plan ahead – as exciting as it must be to rush to a cattery on Sunday afternoon and come home with a bundle of fluff – it’s better to contact local cat rescuers and arrange a home visit. This way, they can meet my Lyla-cat first – then help me to find the right cat for her (not me).
- Planning ahead with supplies is important to e.g. making any location changes (litter tray/ bedding) in advance so that your original cat has time to get used to them
- Try to get their personalities to match – but be prepared to return your new cat if them being in your home makes both cats unhappy – rescue centres offer help with swapping until you get the right cat – though the process seems emotionally difficult
- The formula seems to be that the old cat is more likely to accept a younger cat or… one that is neutered and of the opposite sex or… one that is smaller than your original cat = so for me – a tiny, male kitten?
- Remember that two cats will definitely be more work than one cat – especially at the beginning – and thereafter if they never get on and decide to live independently of each other. So! You need to be aware of the costs which could include neutering, injections, different diets (kittens/cats/seniors), extra bowls, extra litter – maybe an extra litter box, more worming & flea creams, more vet bills, insurance, extra cat care if you need to be away. Possibly a new carpet 😉
- Two cats will need more time and attention than one cat; you wouldn’t have a second child because you don’t have enough time to play with the first one
- Make sure you have lots of time to slowwwwly introduce them to each other
There is plenty of help out there for me to plan exactly how I would go about introducing another cat into our home – and if I sort out the whys and what ifs then I’ll certainly write about it! But for now, I’m going to get in touch with some local rescue teams (like Sunderland based Animal Krackers and Feline Friends) for some advice.
(The Cat Whiskerer)