cat dangers
September 22, 2010 9:40 PM   Subscribe

My mom's new roommate has cat, I have a cat. Should the cats meet? If I were a cat I would like to spend time with my own kind, and I feel my cat has been deprived of this experience. (more below)

Both cats are "fixed" (I hate that word) one is a boy one is a girl. Should I fear feline leukemia? Feline aids? (any other concerns?)

I know enough to keep them in separate places for a while.

REAL QUESTION: Is it worth making an effort helping my cat find a new friend?

I want my cat to be as happy as possible and don't know if it is a good idea to introduce her to strange cats. (I like the cat I want her to know, and he is a good cat)

posted by santogold to Pets & Animals (18 answers total)
Cats can often learn to enjoy one another's company when they live together, but as a (frequently broken) rule, they're extremely uncomfortable with new environments (eg, a home they're not used to) and very uneasy around unfamiliar animals, especially other cats. Sometimes cats adapt to a stranger within minutes, but it's not unusual at all for cat introductions to take weeks or longer to get past the hissing-and-swiping phase.

In short, it's probably for the best if you don't try to introduce them. Cats are social creatures, but not in the way that humans are, or dogs.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:45 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

No. If this was dogs, the answer would be yes. If you were living with the other person and thus your cats were going to live together, yes. But casual friendships between cats? No.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:52 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, no. Taking your cat out of his comfort zone and putting him into a strange environment is just going to stress him out, why would you do that to him? Cats are not like dogs. They don't like traveling and see new places and they don't like meeting new cats. Please don't do this to your cat.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:06 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cats don't do playdates.

If you feel compelled to try it anyway, the most common risk is the kitty will give each other an upper respiratory infection that neither cat was showing any signs of harboring. That and the claws.
posted by jamaro at 10:07 PM on September 22, 2010

Think about most large wild cats. Other than lions they are mostly solitary creatures. Your house cat doesn't know she isn't a mountain lion. She's perfectly happy being the only one at the top of the food chain.

I think as long as you give her lots of attention and play time she's perfectly happy to have you all to herself.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:07 PM on September 22, 2010

Also, cats are not like people and do not have human thoughts and human needs. Your cat is not concerned with making new friends or being deprived of experiences.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:08 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

If I were a cat I would like to spend time with my own kind, and I feel my cat has been deprived of this experience.

As others have said this doesn't really work. If I were a cat I would probably prefer taking a bath instead of licking all of the dirt off of my body with my tongue, but I'm not a cat. If your cat spent a long time with another cat they might form a strong pair bond, but in my experience at least cats don't do one-time visits with other cats very well. You are probably projecting your own human feelings onto your cat, who is probably very happy that they are apparently the only cat on the planet and get to have all the food and space to themselves.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:46 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]

It is my strong belief that all cats prefer to believe that they are The Cat, having sprung fully-grown from the head of Zeus, alone and unique in a universe populated with inferior beings and consumable furniture.

My experience has been that they do not take kindly to having this illusion pierced, for instance by the sudden introduction of another cat.

While it might be good for some amusement value (for you) and/or cardiovascular exercise (for the cats; possibly also for you), I would not do this out of the misguided belief that your cats really desire socialization. Cats can be socialized and learn to live with each other. They can also swim. This doesn't mean that they typically want to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [22 favorites]

C-a-t? What is that thing? Cat is the same kind as santogold, isn't she? Who let this animal in here? Cat doesn't like to let animals on her furniture. Cat doesn't like animals, in fact. Cat would rather stick to intelligent conversation with cat's peers, not pretend to be amused by some dumb animal.
posted by tel3path at 12:01 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, God, I have a friend who is convinced her cat needs playdates. I let her twist my arm into bringing her cat over to meet my cat who has serious mental issues that make him want to befriend all other cats. Her cat spent the entire "playdate" hiding under the table hissing and being gigantic, while my cat tried to play with her cat and got hurt feelings that she didn't like him, while her cat got more and more freaked out that my cat wanted to be buddies. My friend got very scratched up trying to pull her cat out from under the table to go home, and the cat refused to come out from under the bed for two days once she got home. My friend kept going, "I don't know why she's misbehaving like this!" Uh, DUH, lady! She kept convincing cat-owning friends to let her do this by being OBNOXIOUSLY persistent and that was actually the best "playdate" she had because at least MY cat had fun; on every other cat playdate they both hissed and freaked out.

So unless you cat has serious mental issues like mine, no, it does NOT want to be friends with other cats. And if your cat DOES have serious mental issues like mine, the other cats do not want to be friends with him!

If your cat desperately needs a feline friend -- mine did, he needed basically 24/7 attention and companionship and there were only two of us and sometimes we had to work -- get him a permanent companion at the shelter so they can spend the several weeks getting used to each other and becoming companions.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:09 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Think about it -- you are putting your animal in an environment that is scent-marked as another animal's territory. This will put both of them extremely ill at ease, and if your cat isn't staying for a significant amount of time they will most likely never calm down around each other.
posted by hermitosis at 7:09 AM on September 23, 2010

Another vote for no, cats don't care about making friends. Mine get along fine but if one of them died tomorrow I don't think the other one would care. Expect one of them to mark their territory, even if they're both fixed.

second cat post in two days that doesn't include a picture grumble grumble
posted by desjardins at 7:28 AM on September 23, 2010

Yeah, I also have a mental cat who wants to be everybody's buddy. I take him over to my Mom's when we're out of town, to stay with his 'kitty-cousins'. He has a great time chasing them.But her cats? They get used to him after a few days, and stop hissing. (Luckily my Jack is kinda dumb, and doesn't seem to notice that his cousins hate him.) So, even if your kitty wants a playdate, it's going to be hard to find it a friend to reciprocate.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:58 AM on September 23, 2010

My mental cat is named Jack too!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:10 AM on September 23, 2010

Yeah, not so much. Kittens are usually more OK with each other, and I had another "mental" cat that wanted to play with/befriend random stray cats until he was about 3 years old. But when we recently got a new kitten, there was about a week of Whitman (mental cat) putting his ears flat back and making this eerie moaning sound that sounded like Chewbacca whining "Woe.... wooooooe...."

Bottom line: Unless the cats are going to end up living in the same house for at least a few months, it's not worth the minimum 1 week (usually more like 1 month) of hissing, puffing up, howling, yowling, and general stress that it takes for two adult cats to become friends.
posted by kataclysm at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2010

Dogs like play-dates and going out to meet others in parks and on walks. Cats like their own terrain where they feel safe and know where everything is.

When cats do become friends, it is almost always after an extended getting-to-know-you-and-how-you-relate-to-my-environment kind of thing.

I'd probably let your cat stay home.
posted by quin at 9:45 AM on September 23, 2010

Not to derail, but I come into this thread about cats AND NONE OF YOU ARE POSTING PICTURES!!!
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:10 AM on September 23, 2010

I was thinking "This is what we call a self-limiting problem." Until I read Eyebrows McGee's account of the serial cat playdate-ist. That level of delusion is staggering.

I have two cats, brothers, who have been together literally since birth. And I'm pretty sure each would be happy if the other were to suddenly vanish. Even when cats spend years together and accept each other's presence, many of them would prefer to be only cats.

TooFewShoes, I can't find any good pics right now, but I have some vids.
Cat #1 annoying me while I'm trying to work.
Cat #2 "accidentally" pushing things off "his" table.
posted by ErikaB at 10:40 AM on September 23, 2010

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