Success stories of senior+kitten families?

PaperCat

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Hello! I have 14yr old male cat who's always been a solo cat since I adopted him when he was 3 months old from a shelter. The reason I had never adopted another cat was because I was underage at the time and could not afford nor was I allowed to have more than 1 cat. Now that I'm an adult and have my own home and money and because my cat is getting older I want to add a new addition, preferably a kitten.

I know I would not be the first person who has thought of doing something like this so I want to know what's it like raising a senior and kitten together. I know they will not get along perfectly and I had consider adopting 2 kittens so that they will play with each other hopefully and not bother the older cat as I do not want to over stress him but I also am using this as an opportunity to ease the pain I will eventually need to face as he has hyperthyroid and possible heart conditions.

This would also be my first time as a multi-cat home as again, I've only had the 1 cat and I know we will all be adjusting to the change. Please let me know your thoughts, any tips, maybe videos, forums you'd suggest so I can research more about the topic, thank you~!
 

StanAndAlf

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I introduced an 11 week old kitten to a 17 year old rescue I owned. The older cat had been on his own his whole life, and was actually notorious for fighting off feral cats in his former life. He was very aggressive towards the new kitten to begin with, and would lunge at him all the time. Eventually, though, he came to accept the new addition and would only swat at Stanley when he tried to annoy him, and even then only gently.

Besides the trouble of having to keep them separated for a while to begin with, it was also a headache trying to prevent my adult cat from eating the kitten food. It was manageable but difficult.

More cats mean more litter boxes, and more litter box cleaning. A minor thing, but make sure you're prepared for it.

Another thing you need to consider is if you are going to be able to financially support one or two new cats along with you current. I'm not talking about food or litter, I mean vet bills, vaccination etc.

I always think its a good idea to organise with the shelter, breeder or even someone you know a back up plan in case the new addition isn't the right fit or an unsolvable problem arises. This means you can easily find a new place for the kitten to go if things don't work out.

Having another cat to focus on can definitely ease the pain of your current one passing. But don't expect this new kitten to be the same as your boy, there is every chance he or she will be completely different.

There are lots of threads on here about introducing a new cat, so maybe check them out for some tips. Best of luck, if you do decide to get another cat/s please post a picture!
 
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PaperCat

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Thank you for your advice! I understand no one cat is the same as the other but I really cant stand the idea of a home without a cat, thus why I wanted to add a new family member. I'm also in the process of getting pet insurance for the senior and will have it for the kitten. I understand that another cat means more cost, litters, etc. and I am prepared to spend what's needed, thought thank you for the idea of making sure to feed separate and adoptions not working out def things to keep in mind.

I'm glad in the end your cats overall could get along, I don't expect whatever cat I may bring into the family to be buddy buddy with my senior but I would like them to co-exist lol.
 

sivyaleah

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S StanAndAlf gave really good advice and things to think about so I'll bypass that and give you my personal experience.

We lost our nearly 18 year old boy a few years back. We had another cat who was several years younger than Casper was. We adopted her when he was already about 10 years old and she was somewhere between 3-5 years old. After the usual introductions they eventually hit it off and were very close with each other.

Cocoa seemed a bit lost without Casper for a month or so but settled into being a singleton nicely. Yet, I kept thinking she'd benefit from another cat in the house since her and Casper had been so close. We happened to be on a wait list at that time for a purebred Maine Coon but we knew it would be at least another year before that happened.

Anyway, some months after we had gone through the worst of our grieving I saw the photo of a wee black Maine Coon on the site of a breeder I had knowledge of from a while ago. Long story short, we got her and she came home to us at 16 weeks.

I had great expectations that Cocoabean would welcome the kitten. Oh boy, I was so wrong. She was NOT happy. At all. It was pretty dicey for a few weeks. The good thing was we had to keep Luna separated longer than expected because she had to be treated for coccidia. So that helped Cocoa sort of get used to what was in the guest room.

Once Luna was incorporated, Bean really did her best to make her understand she was not going to be her best friend. I felt so bad for Luna because she was very well socialized and kept trying to approach our older girl but would get hissed at and swatted away (not overly aggressive, just putting her in her place).

Luna is 2 years old now, Bean about 13. They get along but are not really besties by a long shot. Luna is still somewhat weary and submissive to Cocoa. They do play, sometimes. Chasing around the house, and play fighting a little bit. Cocoa sometimes seems like she's trying to be more friendly but I really think Luna just doesn't even know how to approach her at this point. It's peaceful but I do wish they would at least groom each other. Probably will never happen. I feel bad for Luna because she really needs a cat more her age but right now my husband is not keen on a 3rd. Not right now anyway.

I think most of the time if cats are introduced well they do become friends but honestly, the best one can hope for is a peaceful co-existence and anything above and beyond is a gift. I do recommend getting 2 kittens at the same time if you have the finances to properly care for that many.
 

ArtNJ

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I think sivyaleah sivyaleah 's story is pretty typical when introducing a kitten to a senior cat. I've done it two or three times, once with two kittens being introduced to a senior at the same time. I'll note that two kittens is not a guaranty by any means. I ended up with one chill kitten that grew into a chill cat and one hyper kitten, that grew into an active and over-eager player. The over eager cat always had some issues with my older cat -- maybe his fellow kitten was too chill for him to get all of his energy out, and maybe some kittens are too hyper in any event. When the overager cat reached one year of age, the older cat started growling at him again, or maybe he had never stopped. But in any event, all of a sudden, this 1 year old that really only wanted to play decided that being growled at was an invitation to a deathmatch, and he never lost that attitude. I have seen other posts of this only a couple of times, its very rare. So maybe the only real takeaway is that 2 kittens is not a reliable solution to this issue and could even increase your chance of problems.

The way I see it is like this: when you have a senior cat, its not a favor to the senior cat to get a kitten. For the most part, if you could ask the cat to vote, they would vote "no" right way, and even after months. And the senior might be fairly stressed, sometimes for months. But in the normal course its not that bad, and things eventually get somewhat close to toleration. So if you want a kitten, its not an unreasonable thing to do per se -- but its for you, not for your senior cat.

The results are variable of course, and you could get lucky and they might be friends. But you could also get very unlucky, with the senior cat having severe stress such as hot spots, not eating, not using the litterbox, etc. But I feel like the situation sivyaleah sivyaleah described is how it normally goes, and that is certainly how it went for me the 2-3 times I've done this.
 

sivyaleah

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Adding, since Art brought it up - thankfully neither of our current cats developed any behavior issues due to their age difference and relationship. Perfect litterbox manners including no issues when they started to share the litterboxes. Nobody uses claws or teeth. And certainly neither of them is stressed nor competition for any resources - we made sure to have plenty of places to sleep/hide/go high so there's always an escape route if one of them needs some alone time.
 

maggie101

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Younger the better! When I rescued peaches she was tiny 2 pds 5 weeks old. First few days Josie,12, did not like her. Soon after Josie would clean her for a long time. I didn't do any special introduction.
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