Should I adopt this kitty? Not sure this is the right one...
October 18, 2013 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Sorry for a kitty adoption question, but I need the power of the hivemind. I'm trying to decide if I should adopt this particular cat, or look for another one! Need to make a choice quick - snowflake issues beneath the fold.

I already have one cat: Frances, who I adopted 4 years ago as a companion for my lovely elderkitty, Tibby. Tibby sadly departed this life at the end of August, after 17 wonderful years.

Frances is a rambunctious girl, but a little one; she's got plenty of sass and cattitude, but she's small and has never lived with another cat besides Tibs, who was already old and pretty mellow when she was adopted as a tiny kitten. However, she's lonely, and I'd like to get her a friend. And I want another boy.

Enter Ash.

Ash (sorry, no photo) is a year-old boycat; he's muscular and beautiful and incredibly active, 10 pounds of panther in a lovely Russian-Blue grey coat. He was found as a stray by the Humane society and has only just been neutered, despite his age. He's been adopted by a couple with an elderly female kitty, but the two don't get along, and so they are looking to re-home him. He's a little clueless, so he pushed their older female a bit too much and she walloped him: now she hides from him and he's scared of her.

He is a Tigger, INCREDIBLY active, playing constantly and aggressively, all teeth and claws. I'm concerned he's going to overwhelm Frances. I'm also concerned because he's utterly uninterested in me, at least based on one visit. I'm used to cats coming over, at least out of curiosity, and registering my presence in the room. He was actively uninterested in me, even running away when I put my hand down and chirped. This worries me. I've been a cat owner for 20 years, and I've chosen my cats by 'being chosen by them' -- ie, they came over to say hi, settled down next to me, made eye contact, were interested in me. I'm leery of taking a cat that is so completely indifferent.

Then again, Ash needs a home and I need a kitty. So am I being too picky, or should I let them find another person and find a mellower, friendlier cat?
posted by jrochest to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
I think go with your gut here, and keep looking. Our Cosette (5 years old now) sounds very similar to your Frances, and it took her a long time to get used to Herbie (a year and a half now, he's been living here a year), and Herbie is the sweetest most cuddly little guy ever. They are a lot better now: see here, but it took a long time for him to finally wear her down and agree to be his friend.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2013

Will they let you foster Ash for a little while to see if he and Frances get along? Boo made it absolutely clear from day 1 that he was going to dominate Atticus, even though I promised her that if we got a baby, she would still be alpha. It really didn't take more than a few minutes to see what their relationship would be like.
posted by janey47 at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I can take him and re-home him or return him, yes. That's the plan at the moment.

But I don't want to stress out either cat: Frances will have to put up with someone, sooner or later, and I don't want too many missteps. And moving multiple times will be stressful for Ash, too.

Sorry to threadsit! I'll stop now!
posted by jrochest at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2013

So many cats need homes and it doesn't sound like this one is going to end up on the street. Why not keep looking until you find one that will fit both you and Frances better?
posted by Glinn at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2013

I honestly think there's nothing wrong with testing out a cat. You could also try to visit him again and see if he's more interested in you. Any two cats will have different dynamics, so it's hard to predict exactly how your two will get along -- Frances hasn't dealt with a young, active cat ever; Ash has history with one specific elderly cat who may or may not have had experience with younger cats.

There's also nothing wrong with deciding Ash is the wrong cat for you. He sounds like an adoptable cat, so it's not you or nothing.
posted by jeather at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2013

If you break down and decide to keep the Tigger cat, you might put a bell on him and purchase lots of Feliaway. That's helped me in my daily cat soap opera
posted by angrycat at 4:15 PM on October 18, 2013

As long as you're getting a rescue cat, the sad reality is that you adopting Ash means another cat isn't going to get adopted. But the net gain in terms of kitty rescue is the same (and thank you for rescuing!), so I think you need to adopt the cat that's right for you and your situation, and you'll know that cat when you find it. Everyone wins (cats and humans) when they're paired up with the right buddy, and Ash's time is just as likely to come as the next cat who might be a better fit. No need to force the situation; there are plenty of other deserving other kitties out there as well.
posted by cgg at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Go with your gut. Seriously. The right kitty will find you. (Having said that - I will say that meek little kitties can often be the biggest ass kickers.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:52 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Does he pay attention to the people he currently lives with? That would be the best demonstration of his potential for connecting with you, I'd think.

If you do take him home, you might want to budget some time for training (see the little book, "Clicker Training for Cats" - this really works and cats adore it, and it teaches them that they can connect with you in a meaningful way).

Also, avoid free-feeding him for a while. If he connects you to food, he may notice you more.
posted by amtho at 6:46 PM on October 18, 2013

As a data point, our smallest cat (Pixie, 6lbs), has absolutely no problem explaining how the world works to our largest cats (Foo, 20lbs, and Snow, 14lbs). They play together fine, but if one tries to play with her and she's not in the mood, she's more than capable of telling him to go find something else to do in no uncertain terms.

I'm with you, though, in that I choose cats who choose me, so I'd be concerned as well. Some people own beautiful cats because they enjoy the cat's beauty, but I like to bond with my pets, so beauty alone wouldn't work for me.
posted by RogueTech at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2013

I say take the cat home with you for a week and see how it works. You're just not going to know how your cat will react to either you or your existing cat unless you do. My Trilby wasn't friendly with me at the shelter, but when I took him home he settled in and bonded to me with no problems at all.
posted by orange swan at 8:21 PM on October 18, 2013

Response by poster: Ash is currently in the office downstairs: Frances and I are upstairs in the living room. Frances is fascinated, but I'm going to keep her away from the door.

I'm going to leave him in the office for a week (he'll go a little bonkers) so that I'll be able to spend time with him but most of my time with Frances, who I'm worried about. They can see and smell each other under the door. After complete isolation with a bit of transfer of objets du sniff I'll see what happens when I open the door (Hiss! Hiss! freak!!).
posted by jrochest at 8:26 PM on October 18, 2013

There are SO MANY cats that need adopted. If you are used to one "adopting you," I'd wait for the magic. I repeat, there are so. Many. Cats.

If anyone in the Bay Area wants to foster or adopt a cat, message me. I know of five adoptable (socialized) cats living on the streets right now.

Much as I want to encourage you to adopt a harder-to-home cat, I'm concerned about the fact that this "stray" is so anti-social. Is this cat a stray or feral? There is a big difference. He's only a year old. Did he ever have a human family? If he grew up on the streets, it will take a lot of effort and skill (if it is possible at all) to get him used to having human friends, and he may be happier neutered and placed back in whatever shed or colony he was living in before. The strays I've known have been incredibly friendly, because they want a new human family, whereas the feral cats just want to be left alone.
posted by slidell at 9:47 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

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