Eenie, meenie, minie, kitteh.
November 7, 2012 12:13 PM   Subscribe

[Cat filter] Should I adopt a cat, or take one from my parents?

I have 2 childhood cats that live at my parent's house (indoor/outdoor). I want to have a cat where I live now (in the city, indoor-only cat), and I'm debating whether I should take one of my childhood cats or adopt a new one (as a note: I have approval from my landlord for ONE cat only).

Here's why I don't think it's a good idea to bring one of the cats from my parents:
*They are both indoor/outdoor cats. I live in a studio and don't think either would adjust well.
*I to bring the male cat to my last apartment, and it was brutal. I took him back. Complicating factor was my roommate's 3 cats.
*The cats don't love each other, and fight a bit, but they co-exist. I worry that if I try to bring the female and it doesn't work out, the dynamic could change too much for her if she had to go back.
*She is 11. He is 4. They get along ok. They have both spent the majority of their lives at my parent's house, and it is their home. My parents will not be moving probably ever, so I know the cats have a good home there. I am spending at least the next 3 years in my current apartment, but after I graduate I have no idea where I'll end up.

Reasons why it could be good to take the female:
*If she adapted, she might find it more peaceful to be alone, and the male might be happier by himself at my parent's. She is getting older, so might be okay with not being outside.
*My mom has mentioned me taking her, because she is not very friendly -- she's a bit scared. Personally, I just think she's a cat, and it's stupid for people to assume every cat in the world is going to let people pet them.

Ultimately, I feel like I'm too concerned about her not being happy to risk it, but I'd like to hear some arguments for or against it that I'm not thinking of.

Reasons it would be cool to get a new cat:
*I'd be saving another cat's life. My childhood cats already have a safe and caring home.
*I'd be able to either get a young cat who wouldn't have a history of being let outdoors, and would be easier to keep indoors.
*Getting a new cat, I feel like I could bond with the kitteh and we'd have a better relationship than I might with one of my childhood cats getting ripped from their home. I firmly believe that cats know you are saving them, and I want to form a relationship on that.
posted by DoubleLune to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
Do your parents not want to keep the cats for any reason? If they are happy to have the current cats at their house, I would definitely adopt a new one based on what you've said.
posted by mlle valentine at 12:20 PM on November 7, 2012

Best answer: If the cats have a caring home right now and the one you're thinking of enjoys being an outdoor cat, I would not change that. Cats can get really sad if the outdoors is taken away from them. I have two indoor only cats and they are happy but I don't think they would have been happy if they had ever been outdoor cats.

Get a new cat!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:22 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I get two new cats, perhaps siblings or a bonded pair.

Your childhood kitties can hang with your folks, they're already used to that situation and they've both made their peace with it.

When you have two kitties, they can play and entertain each other, and groom each other and it's the Bestest Thing EVAH!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:24 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: I get two new cats
Please note, I have approval from my landlord for ONE cat only. I am well aware of the advantages to getting a sibling/bonded pair.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, then get an older cat. Harder to adopt out the wee kitties, and some shelters will know which cat is cool with being an only kitty.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:28 PM on November 7, 2012 [6 favorites]

Definitely adopt. Save a life -- it's great for your karma. : ) Bonus karma points if you pick an older cat or one with some sort of issue that means it'll have a tough time finding a home. We adopted the Friendliest Cat Evar!!!! from the pound - nobody would take her because she overgrooms and gives herself bald spots. But who cares about a little flaw like that??? Go for it!
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:44 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

You sound like you want a new-to-you cat. Get one. I think it would probably work fine to turn an 11 year old indoor/outdoor cat to an indoor cat and that your problems are at worst minor hurdles, but it sort of looks like you're looking for reasons to adopt. That's cool. Adopt.

Older cats and black cats are hardest to get adopted if you want to use that as a metric. (Surprisingly, three-or-fewer-legged and one-or-fewer-eyed cats are easy to get adopted.)
posted by jeather at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Adopt! And, consider adopting a black cat. Black and dark-colored animals are disproportionately euthanized in shelters because people don't adopt them as much. It makes no sense to me, but there you are.
posted by quince at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2012

I have a black cat and he is the loviest thing on the planet. Loud purr, soft fur, warm tummy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2012

I was in this exact situation and like most of the advice, I opted to get my own rather than take the family cat with me.

Family cat was technically "mine", but she loved my parents and her home. She was also indoor/outdoor and loved being outside. I couldn't offer her that in my apartment. I second guessed myself for a couple of years, feeling guilty about my sister having to go feed the cat while my parents went on extended vacation. It has proven to be the right decision though, and I couldn't imagine life without my guys.

Interesting follow up... so I adopted two cats while I was single. Years later, moved in with gf who also had two cats. Great, now we have four. (I don't recommend this in an apartment) Family cat passed on last year and within a couple of months my parents said that they actually really missed having a cat around and were thinking of adopting. It just so happened that we had acquired a dog that got along great with 3 of the 4 kitties. 4th kitty never liked the others much anyways, so we happily sent her to my parents. Seems like all cats and humans involved are extremely happy with the situation :)
posted by utsutsu at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2012

Adopt Adopt Adopt. A lot of shelters around here are waving adoptions fees on older cats as they have a much harder time finding a new home and I imagine shelters are crowded everywhere. Best part of an older cat is you can ask the people that look after them for one best suited to your current set up and personality preferences.

The other cats have a good home with your parents, unless your parents are wanting to get rid of a cat but it didn't sound like that in your question, so anyway rack up the good karma and help out an older cat.
posted by wwax at 1:59 PM on November 7, 2012

Definitely adopt!

Some shelters also have free/reduced adoption programs for 'less desirable' cats, such as older ones, black cats, cats with FIV+, etc.

Shelter cats are the best cats.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:48 PM on November 7, 2012

Adopt a cat! Make the choice that limits premature cat death.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2012

Best answer: Sounds like the cats at your parents' house are reasonably happy, even if not the best of friends. I think visiting the shelter and spending some time getting to know the adult cats (particularly the black ones, as people mention) would be an excellent thing.
posted by Lexica at 6:18 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: Okay! I will go with my instinct to adopt a new kitty! I am definitely planning to adopt an adult cat, and I don't have any pre-conceived notions about color (except I don't want to get a calico or brown tabby, because it'll remind me too much of my family cats) -- if I'd gotten approval a few weeks ago, there was a tortoiseshell that I fell in love with who has since been adopted :( I'll be sure to post pics!
posted by DoubleLune at 6:32 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Adopt, and for heavens sake, spay or neuter! =D
posted by Jayed at 6:33 AM on November 8, 2012

Response by poster: I adopted a 4 year old black cat, female, sweetest thing. She was so terrified in the shelter (not used to other cats) that they ended up putting her in the bathroom (she was much more relaxed there). Even though she was acting timid, I could see how much of a sweetie she was. She's chilling out in the bathroom here now, and I've discovered she'll be a wonderful lap cat!
posted by DoubleLune at 8:05 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Photo and photo, as promised. She has gotten as far to walking up to the doorway and looking around, before heading back to her blanket! So cute.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2012

So elegant, yet so engaging! Felicitations to you both.
posted by feral_goldfish at 10:44 AM on November 11, 2012

Best answer: And in a mere three days, you can ask what to name her.

She's adorable.
posted by jeather at 3:16 PM on November 11, 2012

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