Cat friendship help
September 1, 2004 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Does my cat need a friend? [MI-ow]

I used to have a roommate. My cat (Lolita) had a lot of life spinning around her. Now I live alone and my cat seems bored. I am gone most of the day and when I return she runs to the door and paws at me and meows with keen desperation. I realize most cats sit around and do nothing all day, but my cat seems particularly bored. So my question (after all that) is: should I get her a kitten friend?

Lolita is 5 yrs old, Himalayan and a bit of a diva. I'm not sure how she'd take to a kitten. Thoughts? Feelings? Ideas?
posted by adrober to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
Yes - unless you have a strong feeling that your cat will absolutely hate another cat. After turning my Cat into an indoor creature, he had the same kind of loneliness problems. He's a bit of a bruiser, and had been jealous of temporary visiting cats before, so we weren't sure how he'd take another cat. So we got a kitten of the opposite sex - not sure how scientifically valid this theory is, but we felt that this would be the least threatening to his sense of territory.

I'd read this book, which was very helpful - it explained how to introduce a new cat by slowly introducing them via scent. When the two met face to face, there were a few hours of hissing. Later that day, we went into the spare room and found bruiser Cat A grooming shy kitten Cat B in a very loving way - it brought tears to my eyes. They still groom each other constantly - something I understand can be rare in a pair of cats, and I'd like to attribute that to the care we took in introducing them.

So the moral is that even a big bruiser cat can appreciate a friend. Some people say they know their cats couldn't stand another animal in the house, but I'd say go for it.
posted by Gortuk at 3:06 PM on September 1, 2004

PS: Here's an article on introducing a new cat to the household.
posted by Gortuk at 3:08 PM on September 1, 2004

Go for it. And I agree with the part about getting a new cat that's both younger and of the opposite sex of your current cat. I did that (one year old male cat, alone at the apartment all day, felt bad for him, got him a little sister) and after a little freaking out the first week, the two get along fine and seem happy.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:07 PM on September 1, 2004

Opposite-sex is always advisable, whether it's cats or dogs you're talking about. Assuming your cat likes other cats, a kitten might be a good idea. But, to play Devil's Advocate: do keep in mind that cats are not pack animals, while some cats actively enjoy the company of other cats, many cats actively dislike or just barely tolerate them, and if your cat is like that, getting another cat isn't going to be providing her with a friend, but a source of stress. Just because Lolita misses your (one assumes) human roommate, doesn't mean that what she needs is a feline playmate. Still, most of the time cats can learn to get along with each other, especially if they are opposite sexes.
posted by biscotti at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2004

What everyone else said. My sister's kitten (female) was lonely, and wasn't doing well. My sister brought home a boy kitten, and at first the slightly larger and older female kitten played "kick the kitten" with the new one. Then he realized that it was ok to kick back. By that evening, they were curled up in a purring ball of fur on her scanner while she was doing some work.
posted by SpecialK at 4:48 PM on September 1, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, that was helpful. Perhaps Lolita will have a new friend...
posted by adrober at 8:46 PM on September 1, 2004

Caveat: Ask yourself if your cat is lonely, or reacting to your own mood. When my partner had a heart attack and died, my cat's behavior changed, and it was all about me. She really put effort into stopping my darker spells. (This was the cat previously described here as "Toots, the best cat ever").

Maybe what she is saying is "Hey! Welcome home! We're all alone, now love me!" Or perhaps "Don't feel sad, be glad, because I am Cat, and I am here".
posted by Goofyy at 1:03 AM on September 2, 2004

I don't know if it's possible, but you could always let your cat outside, where she'll have a richer, more vibrant and enjoyable life, full of constantly replenished interesting new stimuli.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:01 AM on September 2, 2004

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