Right time to get a new cat after the death of a beloved one

oyster

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How do you know? I am quite impulsive when it comes to my animals. It is a lifelong decision, after all.
Our beloved cat, Biscuit, died 5 weeks ago. There is never a day that I don't miss him. The pain is new and raw. Meanwhile, we have a 14 year old who was bonded to Biscuit and has had a hard time since his death. I spend a lot of time with him.
We also have a 1 1/2 year old who I took in from outside as his feral mother frequents our home and eats there everyday. I got the mama spayed but she has turned into a wonder-foster mom who brings us kittens every 4-6 months. I have no idea where she gets them from but we think she is running a rescue kitten center. She is an awesome foster mom. She still eats outside where I leave food for our resident ferals.
I managed to catch her last kitten and rehome it in July. Now, we have another one and I cannot make out her age. I think she is between 3-6 months old. Our shelter has told us that they won't take kittens beyond 8 weeks because these cats usually become feral and do not like being domesticated. So, I don't know what to do. I could take her into our home or I could drop her at the shelter and beg them to take her. I could try to rehome her but that was quite difficult last time and may not work. Or I could just leave her alone to be a wild, feral cat. Her foster mom-cat would appreciate that.
If I do take her in, I would have a lot of work on my hands trying to balance two different cats of my own with a possibly feral kitten. Also, would it be fair to the kitten since I haven't really stopped grieving for my lost one?
I know I have to make a decision but for those who have lost a cat--is it possible to share your heart and home with a new one so soon after?
 

ArtNJ

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Kittens are super adaptible up way past 8 weeks. I've adopted a pair rescued from the street there were around 12 weeks, and many here have rescued/adopted older kittens. They have at most a slightly harder time adapting, and are in no sense the equivalent of an older true feral cat. That said, if the kitten is really close to 6 months, it may have more feral characteristics and have a harder time adapting. If you have pictures we might be able to help age it.

As far as adopting a new cat, specifically you are talking a kitten, ordinarily, I'd say don't do it at all with a 14 y.o., since most 14 y.o.s do quite poorly with cats or kittens that are new to them. But you did this a year and half ago. That isnt a guarranty of course -- a then 12 1/2 y.o. that did ok with a chill kitten might now do very poorly with a very active and pushy kitten, for example. Cats generally get worse at adapting to new pets as they age, and past performance is never a guarranty. Still, this wasn't that long ago, so if she did pretty well with an average kitten, it could be worth a shot.

Just my opinion, but I think you don't have the luxury of waiting too long because of your 14 y.o. As your 14 y.o. continues to age and develops the natural difficulties and health issues of age, it becomes less and less likely she will accept a kitten. Even though you did this a year and a half ago, you may already have big problems, and waiting even another 6 months would make your odds worse. Its a real shitty thing when a senior cat has months of severe stress because a new kitten wont stop jumping on them, and that happens wit some regularity.

So if you are going to do it, I'd do it as soon as you feel you can handle it. As far as when you can handle that, no one else can answer that for you. The flexibility of your grieving heart is something only you might know. While the antics of an instantly playful kitten would likely warm you right up, its true that a rescued kitten might require some work.
 
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LTS3

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These recent threads may be helpful:

 

di and bob

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Biscuit's love is secure in your heart and soul. It is spiritual, so eternal, always as close as your thoughts and prayers. The wonderful thing about a love like this is that you ADD on to it, not replace it, nor share it. I really think Biscuit would like nothing better than to see you happy and distracted from your grief, just as you would want for him if you were the first to go. You will never stop grieving for a loved one, you learn to live with it and develop a new life's order.
As for the older ones, though they grumble and hiss at little ones, they are interested and enjoy watching their antics too. It provides some interest in their golden days. You also have the one and a half-year-old to maybe engage with the kitten and keep him busy.
I know I grieved much too hard for way too long. Life is really not meant to be that way. Life is not worth it if you can't enjoy it anymore, but you have to work at making it a place you want to be. When I realized how much my Chrissy loved life and would never want me to be so sad for so long, that was the turning point for me. My other cats became a distraction to my hating the world. Instead of me resenting their intrusion into my grief, I welcomed that distraction to give me time to adjust to the world of the living once more. My world had shrunk down to me. When I expanded my world and let love come once more to my broken heart it changed everything. Like a mother that has many children, you love them all. In different ways, each one unique, but love them nonetheless. You don't love one completely and shut the others out, you open your heart to them all. Adding on their love and having it sit side by side, feeding off each other, growing and blooming, and allowing even more to happen.
There is no set limit on how long to grieve. It is what it is and varies from one to another. All I know is you cannot let your little one's death grow to be more important than his life. That can never be. His life is one of the most important parts of your past, cherish it, hold it close, and know it will always be a part of you and a part of the years to come.......
 
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oyster

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UPDATE: I trapped the kitten today and he has had his deworming. The vet estimates him to be about 3-4 months old. He will vaccinate him in 2 weeks. We will keep him isolated till then. I have introduced his smell to both our cats. The older one ignored the new smell after one hiss. The one-year old is curious, growling, and terrified--all at the same time.
 

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Have you had a kitten and a very young adult together before? If not, once the one year old adjusts to the kitten, I can pretty much guarranty that the roughness of the play will scare the **** out of you. Many cats under two are stupid enthusiastic about playing with kittens and don't moderate their play that well. In addition to looking very scary, it can be legit uncomfortable for the kitten at times. Think head noogies and indan sunburns. The kitten may squeal, or even scream, and run away. Two keys to understand: (1) the adult won't actually hurt the kitten -- whatever it looks like, its no more dangerous than a head noogie; and (2) as long as the kitten doesn't act generally afraid, comes back in a few minutes after play and sometimes initiates contact with the adult, all is well (otherwise known as "let the kitten be your guide"). You can post a video if you are uncertain about it (and you may be).
 

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I got Boone and Gracie about 2 weeks after our 16 yr old female died. I thought it was too soon but my youngest was really struggling without a cat in the house and Boone and Gracie just kind of fell into our laps so to speak. It was the best decision. They filled the hole in our hearts and brought laughter back into our house.
 
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oyster

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Our vet did not vaccinate the kitten when he saw him yesterday. He told us to bring him back in 2 weeks. Meanwhile, I cannot introduce the kitten to my resident cats as one has a suppressed immune system (hypothyroid) and I am not sure if an introduction would be wise. I have no idea why he told us to wait for 2 weeks. The kitten is about 3-4 months old. My guess is more like 12 weeks old but no younger.
 

ArtNJ

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I can't speak to the medical issue, but the time won't be totally wasted. I mean, I guess you can't do scent swapping if you are supposed to have a medical isolation, but at least the 14 y.o. will smell the other cat being in the house.
 
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oyster

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I can't speak to the medical issue, but the time won't be totally wasted. I mean, I guess you can't do scent swapping if you are supposed to have a medical isolation, but at least the 14 y.o. will smell the other cat being in the house.
Thank you. I always look this article up as I brought in another kitten last year. I had 2 senior cats with multiple health issues. One has since died but the other one tolerates him. I have the kitten in the basement but I think that he is too isolated so will bring him to the bathroom so the resident cats can smell him. We called the vet to schedule a vaccination appointment. I see no reason not to vaccinate the kitten. Maybe the vet can explain it to me.
 

danteshuman

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I don’t know when the right time is. In my case I needed a companion cat, my beloved Bud Dante died unexpectedly & the kitten I had fostered was returned. I adopted Jackie so that the poor guy would never be returned again. I knew he was hyper, clingy & easily stressed so he needed a home that had experience with hyper cats & was patient. Dante trained me on dealing with hyper cats. So I adopted the kitten.


That said I’m not sure if I was ready. I needed a companion cat, he needed a steady home. Though I loved him it took me a year to stop looking at him & thinking he was still the new guy. What helped me a lot was talking out loud to Dante while I would prt Jackie. (Though it made me cry at first, it helped.) Having his painting helped to. I suggest you go to the crossing the Bridge forum and post there. Grief is a process that there is no timeline for. I still tell Jackie how much I miss his Uncle Dante. Now almost 2 years later I love Jackie to pieces and we fully bonded..... though Jackie thinks he was always meant to live with me; I just kept denying it at first.


If you have other cats, I would suggest holding off on adoption until the worst of your grief is over or 6-12 months.

Dante the greatest Bud’s painting:

Jackie sleeping on me again. As you can see we are fully bonded:
87106CA4-938D-4BFA-9B5B-8C63047428DD.jpeg

I’m so sorry for your loss!

DBEC391D-2D82-46DD-AC87-F4A3E70DC3CE.jpeg
 

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oyster

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That was really sweet. I took the kitten to the vet today and they vaccinated him.He is FeLV negative also so that was a relief to know.
He may have a problem as his testicles haven't descended yet but the vet insists he is 3-4 months old. It would be difficult to castrate him if his testicles do not descend. I will research more on that matter.
He is settling in well but his "mother" keeps yowling outside and he can hear her so he lets out these desperate cries that make me sad.
And yes, I agree that it is too soon to get another cat. I am still grieving a lot for Biscuit but this kitten would have been homeless if I had not taken him in. We have several ferals in our area and I know the tom cat would have driven him out.
Attaching a pic of Nutmeg
 

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i think the new kitten might help to heal and ease the pain in your heart you feel now
 

CL56

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That was really sweet. I took the kitten to the vet today and they vaccinated him.He is FeLV negative also so that was a relief to know.
He may have a problem as his testicles haven't descended yet but the vet insists he is 3-4 months old. It would be difficult to castrate him if his testicles do not descend. I will research more on that matter.
He is settling in well but his "mother" keeps yowling outside and he can hear her so he lets out these desperate cries that make me sad.
And yes, I agree that it is too soon to get another cat. I am still grieving a lot for Biscuit but this kitten would have been homeless if I had not taken him in. We have several ferals in our area and I know the tom cat would have driven him out.
Attaching a pic of Nutmeg


Ohhhh that face !
I am in love !
 
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oyster

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UPDATE: Just wanted to answer my own question LOL. Also, it may help someone in the same position.
I trapped Nutmeg last Tuesday. It has been a week and he has integrated into our home seamlessly. He started interacting with both resident cats 3 days after arrival. I kept him separated before that. The residents got to hear him and sniff at a lot of new smells.
The 14 year old tolerates him but mostly ignores him. Sometimes, he displays short bursts of affection when he allows the kitten to share his bed (no more than 10 min.) Sometimes, he hisses at him and the kitten seems to understand that warning very well. The one and half year old has already started playing with him. He seems afraid of the kitten sometimes (which is hilarious considering their sizes). He has begun playing rough since yesterday and whenever the kitten yelps, I step in. I never leave them unsupervised.
So we are off to a good start. Yes, they have all accepted each other despite being all boys.
I am glad we rescued the kitten when we did as we just got tons of snow today and life would have been rough in the cold. So in that sense, the time was right. However, a new addition has not stopped me from grieving at all. I miss Biscuit more than ever although I am careful not to make comparisons with the new one.
Thank you all for helping me with my decision.
 
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