I would like to reintroduce a second cat to the house.
April 21, 2009 4:43 AM   Subscribe

How long can I wait before getting another cat?

My wife and I had two cats, both about a year old. Due to FIP, we had to put one of them to sleep this past weekend. We had these cats since August. They weren't from the same litter, but they were from the same shelter and seemed to enjoy each other. Also, my wife and I enjoyed having two cats in the house. So, I think we'll likely be getting another cat some time soon, but I don't know if I can do it now. If I wait too long, will my other cat not get along with the new cat? Or is it not really an issue of time.

I know there are tricks to acclimating cats together. I am just curious if there's a window of opportunity I should be worrying about. Like if I don't get a new cat within a month, the current cat will definitely hate the new cat? Is that even a concern? Or is it going to just depend on the cat?
posted by bDiddy to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
To a certain degree, it's going to depend on the cats involved. I'd say, get the new cat right away, though. In my experience, cats generally become less tolerant of newcomers the older they get. A one-year-old is still pretty open. And your remaining kitty may even be a little lonely for other feline companionship. Why wait?
posted by rhartong at 4:55 AM on April 21, 2009

Response by poster: Well, waiting right now is more a personal thing. I think it would be sad for me to have to pick out a new cat now. We're still pretty broken up about losing the one. But yeah, probably we'll get a new one sooner than later.
posted by bDiddy at 5:11 AM on April 21, 2009

I lost one of my two cats to FIP, and while your experiences may vary, the surviving cat was extremely distressed for a significant amount of time afterwards. It probably took him 6 months to get over the loss of his partner, and even then it was with the help of the vet - we had to install plug-ins around the house which emitted some sort of mood relaxant.

You will know in time how the cat has taken the loss, and yes it depends on the cat. I wouldn't rush into it, I don't think waiting will have any significant effect on the reintroduction of a new cat, and since the cat only died at the weekend any potential effects on the surviving cat may not yet be apparent. Take it slowly.
posted by fire&wings at 5:26 AM on April 21, 2009

Actually its more about how you acclimate the cats together as opposed to when (though the suggestions above are good.) Make sure when you get the new cat that you put it in a seperate room so the two cats can get to know each other through smell, let the new cat stay in that room for a few days, then introduce them with supervision for a couple more days. By the end of the week they will be comfortable with each other and won't fight.

What you want to avoid is one of the cats becoming very dominant over the other.
posted by RajahKing at 6:22 AM on April 21, 2009

It really does depend on the cats' personalities, too...when we got our second, the first one didn't want to fight, he just wanted to meet him! and cuddle! and be friends! because that's how he rolls (oh sure, NOW they tussle...). Meanwhile new cat, who is about the most FREAKED OUT fraidy cat ever chose to hide under my bed, and then in the basement, for about a month. He had no interest in making friends, he was too busy freaking out. Which he still does...on a daily basis...about everything. That's his personality.

Putting the new one in a separate room is a very good idea...if you get the new cat on a Tuesday or Wednesday, they will likely be ready for supervised interaction by the weekend. Also, give current cat lots of treats and pets and kisses...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:14 AM on April 21, 2009

You know, I've heard that "put the cats in different rooms" theory, but that never actually worked for us so YMMV. It really depends on the cats personalities--we have four and two of them get along great, the other two get along ok, but the two pairs merely tolerate each other.

What was a noticeable difference in terms of cat introduction for us was getting a kitten (I had two cats when I met moved in with my husband and he had one so we didn't have a choice then). With the fourth cat, we got her as a baby and the other cats just knew she was a baby and took it easy on her. We've also noticed that it's easier to have multiple boy cats than girl cats...surprisingly our female kitty does not deal with other females very well, but handles males just fine.

In answer to your question--I agree that if you wait a long time (like years) it will be harder to introduce a new cat, but you don't have to run right out and get one now. I can tell you though that even though my first cat isn't a huge fan of other cats, his quality of life dramatically improved when I got him a friend to help keep him occupied while I was working.
posted by Kimberly at 11:45 AM on April 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I think we'll likely get a new cat soon. I think the current cat does need company, and I just like having two balls of crazy waking me up 2 minutes before my alarm goes off. I think he'll be fine with a new cat in the house, but we'll take precautions. Thanks again!
posted by bDiddy at 12:14 PM on April 21, 2009

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