Cat Introductions, One Bedroom Apartment Edition
March 23, 2015 11:13 AM   Subscribe

We brought home a second cat yesterday in an effort to give our existing cat a playmate. They began interacting nearly right away, and I'm not sure what to do about overnight arrangements. Additional sleep-deprived ramblings inside.

Obligatory pic of said monsters.

Simon (8 months, the Siamese-ish fella) is a rescue who has been with us for 5 weeks now; Ginger (11 months, our lady of the house) is another rescue who just arrived yesterday from a very communal-style shelter. We felt that, with us away at work all day, Simon could use a play buddy (we have failed in our attempts to wear him out with people playtime).

We have a one bedroom apartment, so we set up the bathroom as Ginger's safe space (own dishes, box, set her carrier down in there with the door open); as soon as Simon came around to sniff and say hi she was out and about with him, which is when the pic above was snapped.

Ginger has now taken up hiding under our bed, but will come out to play with Simon from time to time. They seem to be roughhousing a tiny bit but no hissing or swatting or anything I would consider trying to dissuade or break up.

However: I'm sitting here at work on virtually zero sleep as I spent all night either being woken up
by their chatter-y overnight playing in the bedroom, or laying there sweating to death because our bedroom window - which is a sliding door on to a balcony - was only open a tiny crack all night and the stuffiness was beyond tolerable.

I did finally move Simon's litter box outside the bedroom and shut the door to put an end to playtime, but I'm scared to keep Ginger in there with us andleave the balcony door open-ish overnight (we have no screens, and it doesn't seem the door tracks will accommodate one). I can't see good things coming from Ginger being out there unsupervised, 14 storeys up, with one eye (birth defect) and the accompanying lack of depth perception. She also seems to be a very adept jumper and the divider between ours and the neighbouring balcony is not full height.

So, MeFi: seeing as they are now aware of each other's presence and haven't exhibited any acute signs of malice toward one another, would it be unreasonable to put them both out in the living room space and shut the bedroom door overnight? Or is it way too soon?
posted by to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd keep Ginger in the bathroom for a few days when you're unable to supervise while they're getting used to each other. I think it's a great sign that they're not hissing or growling, so you're probably going to be in luck getting them to get along.

Re: no screens. You can't let either cat in the bedroom if you're going to have the balcony door open with no screen on it on the 14th floor. Even the two-eyed cat could make a mistake and fall (especially if a bug or a bird flies by and they pursue it). Ask the apartment complex, first of all, and if they don't provide screening you should figure out some kind of semi-permanent solution.
posted by clone boulevard at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Can you have Ginger closed in the bathroom overnight, Simon in the living room, and your bedroom door closed? That might be an interim solution.
posted by jaguar at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes to what jaguar says. It does feel mean to keep a cat shut in the bathroom but they really don't care. Mine have accidentally spent entire days in a closet with no ill effects.

I also think, though, that you could probably safely risk keeping them together outside your room. It sounds like it's going very well so far, they're young, and Simon hasn't lived with you all that long. Females are more likely to be territorial about another cat invading their space, anyway.
posted by something something at 11:42 AM on March 23, 2015

How about getting ear plugs or a white noise machine to cut down on the play noise?
posted by brujita at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just a quick note on something you added...

We felt that, with us away at work all day, Simon could use a play buddy (we have failed in our attempts to wear him out with people playtime).

These two are still pretty darn young! In my experience few cats that age can be worn out just with people playtime. I wouldn't be disappointed by the fact that you aren't wearing them out... in fact, they may stay this energetic for another year or more if they're like cats I've had. I have one now that's about 18 months, and he's still energetic to the point that I can spend a good 20-30 minutes playing with him every evening playing fetch, and he's still up late at night sprinting around and jumping on stuff and bringing me toys and trying to wake me up.

They'll get more mellow as they age but these guys are still YOUNG by cat standards, and in my experience, you have at least several more months of hyper kitten behavior and night-time romping around coming up, if not longer than that.

So, given all that, I would nth the suggestion to close the bedroom off- one cat gets the bathroom, one gets the big room. Maybe trade them off some nights, and hopefully after a week or two, they can both be closed out of the bedroom for the night.

Also, seconding others that I would not let either cat out on that balcony, which means I wouldn't leave either in the bedroom if there's no screen. My space cadet regularly takes flying leaps to land on a ledge next to a staircase, and has overshot his jump or slipped off at least 2-3 times (thankfully with no injuries yet). If I had a 14 story drop there I wouldn't trust him to be out on that balcony at all, and he's very adept and agile.
posted by Old Man McKay at 12:48 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

IDK, if they were my cats I'd let them have nights together with the living room and bathroom to play in. If Ginger wants her space she has her carrier. It doesn't sound like they're likely to suddenly freak out on each other. Cats are pretty adaptable when they're young.
posted by irisclara at 2:17 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is the second time today I'm recommending a Calming Collar. Ours has been AMAZING when Feliway didn't do anything.

I would strongly recommend you pick up a pack. They are much cheaper at Petco or the like.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:28 PM on March 25, 2015

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