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Adoption Of A 17 Years Old Cat Where Reigns A 5 Years Old Kitten?

golondrina

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An elderly lady close to my family died a couple of days ago and no member of her family can adopt her 17 years old female cat. I am considering the possibility of opening my home to her but not sure how my about 4 and a half/five years old cat Sombra would react. Any opinions and advice would be very much appreciated and needed.

Many of you know that Sombra is a sweet and very affectionate kitten but very mischievous with a strong personality.

PS. The 17 years old cat in question has always lived in an apartment as an interior cat so that would make things easier since she would be "an interior cat" with me.
 
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rubysmama

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Condolences on the loss of your family friend. :alright: You're very kind to consider adopting her cat. :hearthrob:

Do you know if the cat is in good health, for her age? I'm just concerned about you having to give her medications, or deal with vet visits, etc.

As for her and Sombra, do you have an area in your home where you could keep the 17 year old at first, so that you could slowly introduce her to Sombra? That's the way to ensure the best chance of them getting along.

You've probably seen these, but in case you haven't, here's the TCS articles on introducing cats:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide | TheCatSite
Introducing Cats To Cats | TheCatSite
The Multi-cat Household | TheCatSite

Let us know what you decide.
 

di and bob

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You would have to separate them for a while until they accept each other. It will be time consuming but can happen if you read up on cat introductions and follow the advise. Hissing, growling and swatting are all perfectly normal for two females, it may take a while but it CAN happen. I'm sorry for your loss, you are an angel to think of taking this poor scared, confused little girl in. To make her last few years happy would be a blessing for her and you!
 
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golondrina

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Many thanks rubysmama and diandbob from your prompt replies. Yes, I am familiar with the articles on introducing cats which I have read in the past when other members have asked for advice and have now carefully reread those provided by rubysmama.I would certainly keep them in mind if this new adoption takes place.

It is the difference in age between Sombra and the considered newcomer that worries me a little. In some ways Sombra still behaves like a young kitten running around at full speeed and jumping all over the place but she has never shown any signs of aggression. She always welcomes new human visitors, it doesn't matter their ages. She is really very gentle, just as my late Cucumella was.

I don't really know much about the considered newcomer who is over 17 years of age except that she is in good health. I have rushed to offer taking her on a trial basis because I knew the family of her deceased mom was considering euthanising her. I haven't wanted to bother them asking too many questions but I will of course when her adoption by me is decided. I will not let them euthanize her no matter what since she is in good health.
 
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ArtNJ

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Activity level is a huge factor in how well cats get along. If the five year old insists on playing with the 17 year old and ignoring all signals of disinterest and anxiety - which is something many active cats do - there could be quite a bit of tension for quite a long while. The guide-process does not guaranty that things go quickly or tension free. At a certain point, you need to put them together and oftentimes there is still quite a bit of stress, sometimes for months.

It could go well. Or not that badly. You never can tell. But its not really an ideal thing to subject a 17 year old too without a safety net of giving the cat back if the introduction is going poorly after a couple weeks. It certainly beats death, if there is no one and no no-kill shelter that can be found, but an only-cat is a better situation for a cat that old.

I'm not too worried about your five year old being unhappy, at least not for long. A 17 year old is not likely to be active enough to bother a younger cat. All the younger cat will need to do to coexist will be to give the older cat space. Beyond the first week or two, any misery will be of the younger cat's creation. Most likely anyway; you never know for sure, cats can be surprising.
 
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catsknowme

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:alright: Condolences on losing your family's friend. Bless you for taking in her cat :angel:

Over the years, I have taken in geriatric cats off the streets. They were in terkirible condition yet recovered well. I liked to use my retired fishing pole toys to keep the elders on my lap or next to me while giving the younger cats a rousing game of "hunt" that includes across the room sprints & spectacular leaps. I try to be vigilant about the younger ones respecting any warning growls. One of my elderly ladies was a beauty of a Himalayan and the other was a gorgeous tiger stripe - I was very blessed that they both liked tiny kittens.
We have sooo many members who can add great advice, too!
 
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Sarthur2

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golondrina golondrina

How nice of you to consider taking in this cat. Is she currently with family or in a shelter?

You might be surprised at how well this could go. I faced a similar situation about 2 1/2 years ago when a very good friend of mine died from cancer. No one in her family wanted her two cats (a mother cat and her son who were about 6 and 7 years old then). I took them and they stayed in a spare bedroom together for 6 months. They had windows, toys, and they ate and had their own litter box in the room. They began to want to come out on their own after 6 months, and now they go wherever they want. My 5 cats accepted them easily (my cats are easy-going and all from the same family), and there’s never really been a problem.

One of my large male cats did attempt to bully the mama cat, who is tiny, and she gave him the biggest hiss. Like the cowardly lion that he is, he never bothered her again. I would imagine that the 17-year-old would hiss or swat at your 5-year-old if need be to set her rules. But you never know - they could become best friends!

I think it’s worth a try in your case. You may end up pleasantly surprised, and the poor gal needs a place to feel safe and loved. :)
 

mani

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It sounds to me like you have another cat, Golondrina, since you are at the very least fostering her.
I haven't had experience of this situation, but there's excellent advice from others who have.

I do hope this works out. :lovecat:
 

catsknowme

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...... Temporarily (I promise) :hijack:....
Sarthur2 Sarthur2 : What a beautiful, inspiring story!! Just like Jcatbird, you have excellent insight in establishing and maintaining harmony in the clowder :heartshape::rbheart:

.....Back to the original topic: Hopefully the new kitty is allowed to keep her old bed, dishes, toys & scratching posts that are scent-soaked with the smells of "home"
 

jen

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I would do it, better than her being euthanized. Although the stress can be really hard so just be prepared to be extremely patient and see to her needs as well as keeping your resident cat happy. I would also get her to the vet asap for a senior bloodwork panel to see if there are any early kidney issues or anything else to know what you would be getting into. A cat who "looks" healthy really means nothing as they hide their discomfort and illnesses as long as they can.
 
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golondrina

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Many thanks catsknowme and jen for your comments which I will be keep in mind if the occasion arises. But now the situation is that the deceased lady's daughter has decided that she will have a go at adopting the cat herself. She lives in a two storeys house and the cat (who by the way is not a female but a boy) will have the run of the top storey while her big dog will remain in the first floor. This lady has a teenage son and a 9 years old daughter. The cat in question lived all his life in the interior of an apartment. My offer to adopt him remains and should things not work for them I will be notified and I will take over.

By the way I was warned that the cat has always been very unfriendly. I told them that I could cope with that unless he was aggressive. It seems that he isn't aggressive, he just isn't interested in people.

Thanks again everybody for accompanying me so far. Who knows, perhaps there will be a new "episode" to this story.
 

Kflowers

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It's possible the cat doesn't like children/is afraid of them, doesn't like people who smell of dog/is afraid of them. This can change but
it would explain why the family might think the cat unfriendly in he never came out to play with us the way the dog would have when we visited.
 

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You are a wonderful person for making such a kindhearted offer. Perhaps kitty will be fine with the daughter. They can console each other. Sometimes that helps everyone. If it doesn’t then a fostering with you may turn out well. We can never predict how a kitty will perceive things. He might adore you and need your Sombra. We will wait for you update with great hope. I am so sorry you lost your friend. You give a great tribute to her by offering to save a life in her name. Thank you for being such a caring human. :heartshape:
 

Sarthur2

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It sounds like “unfriendly” means not well socialized. He wouldn’t be if he spent the majority of his time with just his owner and no other persons or pets.
 
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golondrina

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I don't know exactly the circumstances Sarthur2, but the cat's mom had a son and a daughter and at least 4 grandchildren who supposedly visited her. I happen to know a man hairdresser, who lives alone, who recently lost his 24 years old female cat and he has told me that she always disappeared when he had ANY visitors and would not come out of her hiding place until the visitors had left.

I also live alone but Sombra is so friendly with everybody visiting that sometimes it is almost embarrassing. I have a couple of friends who claim to be allergic to cats fur.
 
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