Adopted soon after loss, new kitten not a good fit for me and her mama?

ScratchScratchScratch

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Hi all. Unfortunately, I lost my "soul cat" a month ago. It was devastating. My "plan" once I felt ready was to adopt an older (probably 5+ y.o.) cat.

Ten days ago, when asking about fostering adult cats, a shelter offered to let me foster a beautiful 2-year-old for a couple weeks. My stated goal was to use a foster to feel out what it was like having another cat in my home. However, after a couple days, the cat's foster mom reached out to say that her kittens would be put up for adoption in 12 hours. My foster cat had always been surrounded by her cat-family and was very close to her sister (who was adopted out separately), so I snatched up one of her 2-month-old kittens as a formal adoption, so mama cat could have the company.

Now...I'm filled with anxiety. Initially, I thought this would be a foster to get the mama cat out of the cages for a couple weeks, but it's evident now that the shelter views this as more of a foster-to-adopt trial run. The mama cat and kitten are both sweethearts, but the kitten definitely needs more attention than I expected, and she's playing with/nursing the mama cat (who is dry by now, so mama just gets emotionally/physically irritated) so much that the mama cat mostly just wants to be left alone to rest. I've tried playing with the kitten more to wear her down, and to be fair she's a snugglebug so it isn't ALL bad! =) But it's tough when the kitten monopolizes everyone's time, and the mama cat and I have trouble bonding. I've tried sending aside dedicated me-and-mama time, but it's always incrediblt short-lived.

I'm just not sure what to do. The shelter needs an answer within a day or two regarding the foster-to-adopt mama cat, and regardless, I'm not sure the kitten is a good fit for my home. It feels like there are so many variables and not enough time. I feel like I'd be letting down the cats, the shelter, and the foster mom by giving up the kitten or both of them - cats thrive on stability and I don't want to be responsible for throwing them back into the system. I also wish I'd given myself more time with just the mama cat, because on her own she might be a great companion. I adopted the kitten because my mentality was that as long as I was fostering a cat, it was my obligation to do what was best for her, and I thought (and the shelter and foster mom agreed) that bringing in one of her kittens would be best for the mama cat.

This is all happening less than a month after losing my best friend. They're such wonderful cats (kitten is snuggling on my stomach right now, and I'm growing attached to the mama cat), but I feel like the urgency of the impending decision plus the formality of having officially adopted the kitten is making it difficult to know how to proceed.

I tried to keep the unnecessary details to a minimum, but...any thoughts or advice? I just want to do right by these cats, but I don't know whether to keep the mama, both, or abandon ship and give myself more time to grieve.
 

IzzysfureverMom

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First I think you need to ask yourself if you want a kitten with kitten energy. Secondly, 10 days is not a very long time to try to get the two cats acclimated to their surroundings and each other. Just because they are related does not mean they are bonded. I would ask for more time from the shelter. Start mom and kitten off slowly. Give the kitten a safe space a spare bedroom or bathroom to be in while mama can get peace and you can slowly start the reintroduction process.Mama cat is still getting used to being in your home and sounds overwhelmed,. Slowing things down is key in their introduction process.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi! I know it is hard with all the kittens being born and too few fosters, but I hate hearing so many cases of kittens being separated from their moms way too soon, which is the case for the kitten you have. That is adding to your anxiety because this kitten should have still been with the mom to begin with. The nursing issue, which is probably the primary problem would not have been an issue in another 4 or so weeks, and the mama might have more readily accepted the kitten. Nonetheless, that didn’t happen. So, you have a mama cat trying to get used to her new home, and a kitten wanting to be given the kind of nurturing it needs at this age.

I think it sounds like you would have been OK with just the mama cat by herself. So, on jut that issue alone, I would propose you keep mama for your own cat. I think time will sort things out for the two of you to be a family. I am not sure what to advise regarding the kitten as she will take additional time to mature enough to be more independent and acceptable to mama as a companion. It all depends on whether you think that you can manage to work through this time to get to ‘the other side’. It sounds like if mama had accepted the kitten, you might not feel as much hesitancy over keeping them both.

Whatever you do decide, don’t fret over the shelter’s viewpoint. They can be a bit pushy as their goal is to get as many cats/kittens adopted and out of their care as soon as they can. As suggested above, you could tell them you want more time – that might help you make a less anxious decision.

If you do keep them, either temporarily or permanently, I would get the kitten a suckling toy to see if you can get her to use that instead of wanting to do so with mama. That might go a long way in getting mama to accept the kitten.
 
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ScratchScratchScratch

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Hi! I know it is hard with all the kittens being born and too few fosters...
Thank you so much, this was very helpful and gave me the courage to be honest with the shelter.

After some additional thought (and a productive trip to the therapist :)) I decided that I definitely want to adopt the adult cat. She seems like a good girl and a great fit. I reached out to the shelter regarding everything else. This kitten is so sweet (and SO cute) - it'll sting to say farewell but in my gut I think finding her another home might be best for everyone.

I'm still nervous, but the email's been sent so it's out of my hands for now. Thanks everyone!
 

IzzysfureverMom

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I wish you all the best with your mama cat. Kittens are great fun, but younger/older cats often are great companions. If you don't feel a kitten is a good fit for you, it is probably better to know now so the kitten can be adopted by someone else.
 

iPappy

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"The Blues" are very common after adopting, especially so soon after losing your soul cat. I am sorry for your loss. :(
I understand the feelings, and have been there. But they don't last forever. It's very normal and a lot of people experience those same anxieties and feelings, so, you're definitely not alone on that.
Kittens are fun, but, they have so much energy and a lot of needs at that age. I'm sure someone will be thrilled to bring a kitten into their lives, while your new adult cat would probably be much more overlooked. It sounds like a great solution. :)
 
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