November 11, 2009

Adding (a Pet) to the Family

I am ready to get a new cat. As you may remember, we had three cats, and three was Too Many. Then two of them died in the last few months, and now we have one, and one is Too Few. So I have an estimate of what the perfect number of cats may be for our household.


The dilemma is this: our remaining cat, Mouse, is 14. We're not sure how she'd react to an, um, new friend. Perhaps we should let her live out her remaining time in peace, and then adopt two cats together. Or perhaps we should overlap, so our cats aren't all the same age like they were this time. Or perhaps she WOULD like another kitty in the house.


Another issue is that I think it should be Paul's turn to choose. The first two cats were mine before Paul and I were together, and although we took Mouse in together, it was really because I wanted her and Paul gave in. So my idea is that this time Paul should make most of the cat decision, which means I don't want to go out Cat Browsing and get all attached to somebody. I am very interested to see what kind of cat he would choose.

Another issue is that I would rather adopt an adult cat. They're harder to find homes for, so I'd feel good about that, but my real reason is that getting a kitten is like playing the Cat Lottery, whereas when you adopt an adult you have a pretty good idea of the cat's personality. When Rob and William and I went on a tour of the local animal shelter, we saw a whole bunch of adult cats and they varied so much! There was the enormous male who was bumping against our legs and was sooo friendly, and there was the little wiry male who bit me. There was the standoffish fluffy female and there was the bossy tiny female. I definitely preferred some over others. But Paul and the kids all want a kitten.

Another thing is that it might be nice to put the decision off and see if a cat comes our way. There have been several times when we've been unwilling to adopt an additional cat and someone has been looking for a home for a really nice one. Or once, we had a super-sweet stray starving outside our door, and we found a new home for her but I wished at the time that we had an empty cat slot available for her.

How did you get your pets? Of the three we had, two I adopted as kittens from a shelter, and one was a stray left behind by people who moved out of our apartment complex.

61 comments:

Little-Bit said...

As a girl in this situation now, I would suggest waiting and get kitties together when Mouse is out of the house. My older cat is tortured on a daily basis, and while she is pretty good with they young ones, it is apparent she is not as happy as if she were a solitary pet.

Jewels said...

The term Cat Lottery is the perfect term for getting a kitten-- I had cats throughout my childhood but their personalities were all fine and it didn't matter too much because they were OUTSIDE cats. The first cat I got on my own was Bowie. Adopted as a kitten, he is freakin awesome. He turned out to be huge- 25 pounds. He likes to drink water directly from a running tap. He will come sit on your lap or sleep in your bed but he hates to be picked up and/or cuddled. He is gentle with kids and can get along with other animals. I adore his personality.

Then I thought I should get him a buddy about a year and a half ago so I took in a kitten that a friend was giving away. Perhaps I should have listened more carefully to the descriptive words used about the mama cat: "insane" and "ADD" come to mind. This kitten was cute but then she did things like pee on my bed 8 times (BEFORE I NOTICED, so I was sleeping in a cat pee bed) and suckle Bowie's nipples even though he's a boy and yowl into the night and scratch at you when you picked her up.... I ended up giving her to a friend who had a yard because we thought she'd make a better outside cat. Apparently now she's an excellent mouser but hisses and swipes at the everyone, including children.
So yes! CAT LOTTERY!

Amanda said...

YES. Cat Lottery indeed.

I see validity and a good argument to all your points.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Had cats and dogs as pet. Always had two cats at a time, and replaced one friend for another kitten always brought life into a greiving sad old kitty who missed thier friend. YES, non pet people, PETS grieve too!
Anywho, a kitten will add new spunk into your 14 year old. Or not. Gamble. Pets are a gamble.

I now have a 4 year old black shepherd mix that "found" my husband at work. He came to us at 5 months old, all loving and trusting and TRAINED. He has learned tons of new tricks and is the smartest dog ever. I always say, HE found US. Love adopting a pet like that.

St said...

I'm in a similar situation with my dog. I keep thinking that she's pretty old and I don't want to bring in a new dog and have her end up miserable in her final years. But she's always got along fine with other animals so ???
I wish I could have kitties too but we are very allergic. One showed up on our porch recently and he was sooo sweet and friendly and I went straight to Kroger for some kitty food and treats and he never came back. So now I've got a stash of kitty food in another shows up! But they still have to be outside.
My pets have all come to me. My kittens in college were a gift from work friends. My last dog was a trade for the kitties (long story, allergies) and the one I have now is from a family that just couldn't keep her but couldn't bear to give her to just anyone. I think next time we will go through the local shelter and, if need be, a breed specific rescue.

Jenny said...

I must side with you on the adult cat vs. kitten argument. Just like with dogs, adult cats are always the last to be adopted - so you get double "feel good about adopting" points if you go the adoption route.

And I totally think you should let Mouse live out her life being the only kitty - unless she/he(?) seems lonely.

Fran said...

We are fans of adopting pets. Our dog Luke is a pound puppy. We had had him for three days when we found out he had Parvo and $800 later our $15 pound dog turned out to be the most awesome dog EVER. It's like he is trying to pay us back or something.
I have never had a cat as an indoor pet but I was raised on a farm with barn cats and have seen the varying personalties first hand. I think in this instance I am going to go with the folks who say wait and let Mouse be the only cat. That will give you plenty of time to extoll the virtues of adopting a grown up instead of a kitten. In my house I start with the youngest and convince them first, then they help me work on the next higher up the chain. You may be able to resist my logic, but who can resist a cute face?

Jaime said...

If Mouse is used to have a couple of other cats around to cuddle with, she's probably a little lonely now. An older cat might be a better bet, because they won't be as wild (you hope!). Either way, there will be an adjustment period.

My first cat as an adult was given to me by my cousin, who couldn't keep her anymore. A few years later, I got a kitten. It took a while for "Old Cat" to adjust to "New Cat", but they get along fine now, even if "New Cat" wants a little more affection than "Old Cat" is willing to give.

megan said...

I say get a kitten. We got a kitten when my 16 year old cat was (obviously) old, but still in decent shape. I really think that the kitten extended the older cat's life and gave him a better quality of life for his remaining time.

Catherine said...

When I first started dating my now-husband, his family had one, old, persnickety cat (who HATED me, by the way). They were all very attached to the cat and were devastated when he died.

Then, about 6 months later, my MIL decided she was ready for a new cat. She ended up convincing my FIL to get two sibling kittens and, though they're a little neurotic, it's so cute to see the two of them together. They're still lovable with the humans, but they're content on their own, too, because they have each other.

I'm not sure I would've ever been willing to get two kittens at once until I saw how wonderfully it has worked out for my in-laws.

Alice said...

If you go for the "wait and get two at once", I would highly recommend trying to find siblings. We have 3 sibs, and they get along great and never had to go through the awkward dominance phase with them.

Adopting an adult, though, or a stray, is where my heart is. Kittens are easy to adopt out, but adults aren't so much.

When I adopted Bella, there was this fluffy happy cat right below her. He was rubbing on the cage, was all sweet. Bella was terrified, and had an "I bite!" sticker on her cage. I stuck my hand in anyway, and she bit me a tiny bit, but was purring at the back. I knew, anyone would adopt the fluffy one, but my girl was just scared. She was a wonderful pet for 11 years and I still miss her.

Hotch Potchery said...

Our dog is a shelter find, and our cat we bought for $5 at a local pet store. She wasn't worth it.

I kid, but she is meowing at me right now and it is kind of annoying.

CAQuincy said...

As a kid, any cats I got were outdoor barn cats. And my mother never let them stay in the house very long. Probably a good thing as we started to realize that my non-stop sneezing, watery eyes correlated DIRECTLY to any contact I had with my cats. The cats eventually either "disappeared" or were given to a farm where they frolicked and played I'm sure to the end of their days.

As an adult, my husband and I decided to "ignore" the allergies and get a cat, anyway. We got our first one from a shelter. He was about 7 months old and a pure gem. 10 years later, my mother-in-law died, and so we brought her 14-year old cat into our home. We LOVED our cats. LOVED them. But--my seasonal allergies were through the roof. And then we bought a house. And--Tarquin--the shelter cat--was peeing ALL OVER THE APARTMENT. Non stop. I mean to the point where I had to dump vinegar and shampoo the rugs EVERY day, so that we always, always had stinky, sopping wet carpet (with 2 small-ish kids and a toddler! Yuck!). And Winston, the beautiful, sweet kitty we got from MIL, well, HE puked and scooted his butt everywhere. So...good thing I was already shampooing the other cat's urine everyday, huh?

My husband had had it. We couldn't possibly keep our apartment clean/sanitary enough for the kids. And when we bought our own house, we couldn't face the thought of the cats destroying our new home before we'd even moved in. So...my husband decided to take the cats to the shelter.

I'm still bummed. I hated the constant cleaning. I hated the horrendous allergy attacks. But I LOVED my kitties. And I was willing to even keep the more elderly of the two simply because I could handle cleaning the puke/scoot marks better than all that stinky urine. DH didn't listen to me, though.

And...he still regrets giving those cats up.

We talk about getting a new kitty every now and then. But now that I'm practically allergy free, neither one of us want to go down that road again. And...where would we put the litter box?

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

We had a similar quandary when the first of our "Supreme Court Cats" (had been together forever..) died. Our male cats were older - one was blind. We decided to try out a young adult female cat. The agreement was that if the old blind cat and the new cat didn't get along, then the new one had to go back to the shelter.... so, we got "The Queen".

The Queen was VERY nice to the older cat -- she was about a year or so old when we brought her home. She recognized that the blind kitty wasn't fair game, so she just snuggled up to him. Eventually she was the only one in the household who could make him stop panicking..

I've noticed that having more than one female cat isn't a good idea -- but, it's quite possible that Mouse would get along with a nice, submissive adult male kitty.

Do some research to figure out good ways to introduce the two -- and make sure Mouse gets plenty of attention -- it should be fine.

Type (little) a said...

When JD and I got married, he had a 15 year old tabby named Tia. She was awesome, the perfect combination of cuddly and aloof. She wasn't all over you, but she did come lay on you once in a while. Plus she meowed at us in annoyance quite often if she wanted us to come to bed already, GOD. It was adorable.

In 2006 she got cancer and we had to put her down. JD wasn't interested in another cat, ever, but finally broke down when he saw just how much Sabrina wanted her very own kitty.

Because we're both gone all day, we decided to get 2 kittens (they're sisters, Sasha is all black and Kara is a tortie)so they wouldn't be lonely. As it turns out, it was good in the beginning, but now, I think they both have some jealousy issues and either one would rather be an only cat. Oh well they're cute. I wouldn't consider a third though. 2 cats is plenty for us.

Alice said...

ooh, difficult. my cat was only 1 when he went from a multi-pet household to only pet, so it was obvious he was lonely and sad because he was still so young. if you do end up getting a new cat while you still have mouse, i'd think a kitten would probably be better in terms of integration on both ends. kittens seem to automatically defer to adult cats, and adult cats seem like adult humans: unable to resist being nice to kittens, even if they are annoying as crap :-)

d e v a n said...

I think a big part is depending on how your remaining cat would feel about a new one. Our old cat HATED other cats so it would have been a no-go for sure. We didn't get our new cat till he passed away.
I'm a huge fan of kittens too, I have to admit. Then they grow up around the kids and get used the noise and occassional tail pulling. An older cat may or may not be the same.
I love adopting cats from the shelter too, they so rarely get a chance there. When we adopted our kitten this summer, the people who worked there actually seemed SHOCKED and then did a little cheer. So sad. :( Of course, the older cats probably have a far less chance than the kittens so maybe that is a consideration too.

beyond said...

growing up, we always got barn kittens given to us by friends. one of then turned out to be a little monster, who would stalk me and pounce, which was pretty frightening for the 5 year old i was at the time. the others were great pets. so yes, cat lottery indeed.
tricky situation. i guess i kind of like the idea of your mouse getting a companion. we always had one cat at a time, and sometimes i thought that was not a good thing.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Our first 2 cats came to us as kittens courtesy of a co-worker. A couple years later we added a shelter cat. They were inside cats for years & then after we moved to the country they went out when they wanted to. Then a stray adopted us for awhile. Then he brought his pregnant girlfriend to visit & was never seen again. The mama cat remained & one of her kittens survived. They are outside only cats. One of our original cats died. a year later the mama cat had another litter. All the kittens survived. We kept two & the rest found homes. They are inside cats that go out sometimes. THEN Mam cat surprised us with another litter before we could get her fixed. Only one kitten survived & it became an inside cat too.
Currently we are in possession of 3 cats under the age of 8 months (in and out). A 2 year old tom cat & mama cat (outside). A 13 year old cat and a 16 year old cat (in and out) There will be neutering and spaying in December. The 16 year old loves the kittens. The 13 year old cannot stand the sight of them

Bell said...

It's kind of funny, as your kitten/adult cat dilemma seems the opposite of our puppy/adult dog dilemma; we had adopted an older dog from a shelter but he ended up being way over-protective and a biter, so we had to send him to a no-kill shelter. We then started over with a puppy, who we could train not to bite or bum rush people at the door.

d e v a n said...

Oh, and I've had 2 cats and 2 dogs from the animal shelter and they've all been great pets.

Brooke said...

We adopted our Min Pin-Chihuahua mix and bought our Doxie from a breeder, because we were unable to rescue a Doxie on account of having stairs and a toddler.

Jen said...

Our cat we got from a shelter. There were these two lovely male kittens and then her, all skinny and standoffish. My husband wanted to get both of the males but it was my birthday and I chose her. She hid from us the first night and even still if a stranger is in the house, she'll hide. She's a great cat but we found out she has FIV and likely contracted in her pre-shelter days. But she is five and seems fine.

Our dog, I am ashamed to admit, we bought from a breeder. However, it was someone who simply bred dogs on their farm for extra money (definitely not a puppy mill). She's great with our son and surprisingly her and the cat get along really well and always have. They wrestle each other until the cat gets tired of having the dog's head around her mouth and storms off. Of course ten minutes later she'll be back, laying on the floor, slapping her tail to entice the dog to come play. Then they'll sit on the couch with us and the cat will lick the dogs ears. If we ever get another dog, I'll be insistent on going to the shelter. We won't ever get another cat because my allergies are getting crazy.

Meg said...

We have 5. But I have to go back to the one previous. I got Mathilda as an adult cat when when I was 13. When I was 20 I got Emma-Louise as a kitten. Then when my husband and I got together we decided to get another cat so E-L wouldn't be lonely when Mathilda passed. So we adopted an adult Persian named Charlotte from a kill shelter. All three got along in harmony.

Then Mathilda got sick when she was about 17 and was gone within two weeks.

Although we had the two cats still, there was something missing without my sweet Mathilda and I begged and pleaded and got my siamese kitten Isabelle from the same kill shelter that I got Charlotte from.

OMG, I can't believe I can talk so much about my freaking cats.

Isabelle ended up being sick, but I was attached so it was too late. Although sick, Izzy spent all of her time torturing and tormenting the older cats. She just wanted to play and they wanted to eat her.

Anyway, so, I was driving cross country with her to a friends wedding (she had to have meds ever 2 hours, night and day) and along the way stopped at a truck stop in BFE NC for gas. And found a sweet little kitten trying to run under truck tires. Told myself that he was going to my friends vet clinic and instead got named by my husband that night. Oliver.

Oliver fixed the dynamic in our house of one younger kitten and two older cats, Isobelle and Oliver played really well together and left the older ones alone.

Then there was an adult cat at work that kept trying to get into our building every day. One day my boss put the cat in a box and started to head out the door to the kill shelter. She was such a sweet cat that I told her to give it to me, that I would take her home. I kept her outside (she was used to being outside) until my husband came home, and he fell in love with her. He picked her up, tossed her in the house and told me to give her a name.

So we've always had at least 2 and have gone up to 5 which makes us look insane but I justify it by the fact that we live on more then 100 acres.

So now we have Emma-Louise (11) nn Emma, Charlotte (5) nn Charlie, Isobelle (2) nn Izzie, Oliver (2) nn Ollie, and Prudence (4) nn Prue. And no more cats will come live with us.

My vote? Go ahead and get 2 kittens. You'll need the disctraction from Mouse and it'll be a ton of fun. I've decided that kittens should always ALWAYS come in 2s.

Oh, side note since you have a name thing too... Mathilda's nn was Molly which I just love. Something old fashioned with an adorable nn. :)

Meg said...

That should have read that I'm the crazy freaking cat lady.

notliketexas said...

Just thought I'd throw in my two cents here since this is a topic I actually know a bit about (sort of!). Hope you find it helpful :)

Adding a younger dog to your home when your dog is older most often brings out the older dog's inner puppy. Unless, of course, your dog doesn't get along well with other dogs, in which case it's probably not a good idea to get another dog. Dogs are pack animals, so adding another dog to the household is often a good thing regardless of the first dog's age.

Cats are a different story, though. They are much more independent and adding a new cat to the mix can be stressful. If you really want a new cat I'd perhaps first try introducing Mouse to a friend's cat and see how he (she?) reacts. Then you can sort of decide based on her reaction whether a new cat would be a good idea for Mouse. I've had cats who freak out over a new addition and others who've acted like it was no big deal, so it really could go either way.

In terms of the kitten vs. older cat debate I side with you. Adult cats are much harder to find homes for and you have a much better idea of what you are getting.

Good luck!!

Nervous said...

As you know, I love the cat talk! But I am torn on what I would recommend, other than agreeing with you on getting an adult cat or cats instead of kittens. I can see how now might be a good time for Paul to pick one out, esp. as he's grieving. Or if you get two, you could each pick one out. But it's hard to say if Mouse would feel like she's being replaced, or happy to have some company around. I don't know, but I'll be interested to see what happens!

Nowheymama said...

I wish we could have a cat. Stupid allergies. Plus, Kevin the parakeet would probably not be thrilled.

Stacey said...

You are absolutely right about the cat lottery. I found my cat as a stray/wild kitten (complete with hissing and spitting), but by some stroke of luck she turned out to be the friendliest, gentlest cat. I am reluctant to play the cat lottery again because I'm sure I have used up all my luck, but I always have an "emergency kitty space" available.

I would also lean towards an adult cat. I think if you were careful about selecting the right cat, an adult would fit in fine.

suddensilence said...

Aw Swistle, I hope you do get a new kitty. :) I can totally relate to all the points you made!

We have a dog (cockapoo, adopted from our local pound 10 years ago), two guinea pigs (both adopted from a local guinea pig rescue organization) and FIVE CATS. We did not plan to have 5 cats!

Sugar, our oldest (boy) was adopted from a local humane society. Sabrina, our oldest girl, was adopted from PetSmart (the area where a local shelter has cats available for adoption). We adopted her because we just had our 20 year old kitty, Bear, put to sleep a month before. I thought I wanted a kitten and my kids both really wanted a kitten. Then I saw Beanie and she was purring and trying to squish herself through the bars to get into my arms. She was 3 years old. I picked her, my little sweetie pie kitty. :)

But ahhh, my kids so wanted a kitten! They loved Sabrina but a kitten would be a new experience for them, more playful, etc. So we told them if a kitten came along that needed us, we would be open to taking it in. No active LOOKING for a cat, it just had to be Kitten Karma.

That was in September. A few months later, in April, a stray cat kept appearing on our deck. We started feeding her. She was feral, as in never domesticated and totally terrified of people, but she was hungry. Then we found out she had kittens and was living in the enclosed part of our deck.

So...we trapped the two kittens (girls) and the mom. Figured we would keep the kittens and if the mom horribly objected to being indoors, let her go back out after we had her (and her babies, once they were old enough) fixed. HA. She loves being inside. It took about a year of patience to get them to all be comfortable around us, and we still don't pick them up (3 years later) but they are as domestic as they'll ever be. So instead of being open for one more kitten, we ended up with two kittens and a mama.

Best thing we ever did. Keeping a space open for a kitty that needs you is so very rewarding!

~ Wendi

Sarah said...

My dearly departed cat was a stray from Duluth, MN that I picked up in my post-college/ pre-marriage days. She was a great cat. Until she started peeing on things.

I think getting an adult cat can be a great idea and the shelter would know whether it would be a good candidate for a home with kids.

HOWEVER, I think that it would be in EVERYONE'S best interest if you waited for Mouse to pass. Older cats have a hard time adjusting to new animals and there will be some alpha-cat struggles to deal with. These often involve weird urination habits.

Also, I would give yourself some more time to adapt to your loss. Not in an emotional sense, but in a new-routine sense. It's like how 5 kids is so normal that when one goes away you feel like Wow! 4 kids is SO EASY! Our house is practically EMPTY! But for others 4 would feel like a houseful. After a while you might feel like 1 cat is a good fit after all--less work, less money, less PET HAIR. It just might take time to adjust to the new normal after so many years of having three cats. Just a thought to think on.

Clarabella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clarabella said...

I'm sorry, I didn't read all the comments, so please forgive me if this is a repeat. Why not compromise your points. Find an agreeable, (maybe youngish) adult cat that can keep Mouse company but not torture her in her remaining time. Then, once Mouse is gone, you can let the kids and your husband pick out a kitten to partner with the other, older cat. That way, you don't have cats all the same age, either. You could repeat this pattern forever, too. Also, you still always have 2 cats. Just a thought.

cat said...

Adopting another pet now would be a perfect way to push your preference for an adult cat since it will probably be less stressful for mouse to deal with an adult cat over a rambunctious kitten. Maybe you could compromise by getting a cat that is a just about a year old. They still have a lot of kitten like qualities but have a pretty developed personality by then. Both of the cats I have now found me or rather found someone in my family and were passed along to me as I have always been the only family member NOT meeting the preferred cat quota of too many. My parents have seven and my sister has two like I do but only because she lives with me and I won't let her get any more. Two is a good number in my opinion. They have a companion while I'm away but I have my sanity while I am home.

Good luck!

Christina said...

Growing up and now, every single one of our pets has been a stray, with the exception of my dog. I paid $100 for his cage and supplies from a family that couldn't care for him properly. I agree, it's very likely a stray might show up!

We always seemed to adopt pets at staggered ages and in our cases it always benefitted the older pets to have a younger one around. The old dog got off his butt and wrestled with the new one, or the old grouchy cat got a kick out of showing the new cat her tricks.

Unless a kitten shows up at your door, I agree to get an adult cat. They're only tiny kittens for a few weeks at best. Not only do you have the lottery factor, but litter box training them, and the chore and cost of all the kitten spots for shot, fixing, etc.

Melissa said...

I don't know anything about having cats, but I will always choose to adopt an adult dog over a puppy. They come already house-trained (for the most part) and don't chew on your shoes or electrical cords (for the most part) and I can get my puppy fix at friends' houses. And, as you said with kittens, puppies go fast. I don't have to worry about them not finding a home.

Our first dog was from a Labrador retriever rescue group. Our second lab came from my uncle. He knew someone that was getting a divorce and had to 'get rid of the dog' and we said we'd take her.

Lab#1 is in his twilight years and I'm worried about how Lab#2 is going to take it when he's not here anymore. I don't know that she's ever been an only dog. Of course, we won't want to run out and replace him the same day just so she's not alone. And, I'm sorry, but I can't handle 3 Labrador retrievers in one house to get her a new companion early. I already have about 170 pounds of dog and that appears to be roughly my limit!

parkingathome said...

I had to post on this one, my comment would be too long. here

pickles and dimes said...

Cat #1 I adopted from a family who gave her up. I got her when she was a year and a half; she's now 14.

We adopted Cat #2 from a shelter. She was 9 months old at the time, and we were REALLY nervous at how Cat #1 would react. But it was the best thing we could've done. It stopped some behavioral issues with Cat #1 (peeing in the sink when we left the house at night) and Cat #2 doesn't care if Cat #1 is the alpha, so it works out.

When we adopted the dog from a rescue organization, it took awhile for everyone to get used to each other. Cat #1 is too old to make friends with him, so she ignores him. Cat #2 is finally at the place where she'll snuggle up next to him.

We're just extra careful to give everyone individual attention and sometimes we'll put the dog in his crate so the cats can hang out with us on the couch without fear of a big slobbery nose in their face.

Marie Green said...

I'm a big fan of getting a kitten, even though I know that they are not the ones most in need of homes. But I've found that kittens adjust to the kids better and feel more like "pets" to the kids- they've been held and toted around since infancy, so they are used to it.

Also, they have not had a chance to develop bad habits like adult cats have. A cat that pees outside of a litter box is NOT a cat we can keep. That probably makes me sound like a horrible person, but there you have it. They MUST use litter box. MUST. (I've found that kittens that have been taught by their mothers to use the box and then move right into their forever homes tend to have great habits.)

Also: I just love kittens. Specifically RAGDOLL kittens/cats. But you know this. Their personalities! Are so awesome! We've recently found a local "surprise" litter of a ragdoll mix, and we are probably adopting one next week...

Jess said...

I so so so agree with you about adopting adult pets. They have a harder time finding homes, they're less work in a lot of ways, AND you know what you're getting into from the start. Babies are cute but that doesn't last. Though I would KILL for a photo of Montana as a puppy.

Anonymous said...

One of our cats is a shelter cat. He was about 6 months old, which was perfect. He was still a kitten, but past the wild-kitten stage and was definitely showing his personality. He's a wonderful cat. We also talked to the person in charge of the cat room and I asked her, "If you could take one cat in this room home, which one would it be?" She pointed to the one we eventually adopted. We also have a 7-month old kitten who just "came to us" and we lucked out with her too. Good luck!

Mary said...

Siblings are great if you want more than one cat. I work in a shelter and also work fostering cats for a cat rescue, so I have a ton of cat experience. I'm uncomfortable with adopting adult cats to homes that already have adult cats, unless the current cats are really laid-back. Kittens are a bit of a lottery, but they are generally much easier to introduce into a home with adult cats. Plus kittens are a lot of fun and not really any more work than adult cats. But then again, if you're one of those awesome people willing to give an adult cat a new home, you should be awesome and go that route.

Di said...

We have 3 cats. (And live in a NYC apartment, too..) Cats one and two were adoped through a rescue organization. A friend had fostered them but had too many of her own cats. Cat #3 was a stray we took in off the streets.

alexis said...

our two girls were kittens from a shelter. and we love them, LOTS. but our favorite kitty was an adult of probably 6 or so when he showed up on our doorstep one day while i was pregnant. he's my 3-year-old son's best friend.

all three of our kitties are about the same age, and we think we'll probably adopt adult cats because we have had such a good experience with our adult stray.

Linda said...

I got my 11 yo cats as kittens. I went to animal control and their tags were turned around because they were set to be euthanized that day.

When they are gone, I think I'll adopt 2 adult cats. I seem to see adult cat pairs up for adoption frequently. My vet runs a no-kill cat shelter, so I'll ask her to help us out.

Did you ask for advice? I don't remember, but I would wait for Mouse to pass before adding new cats to the mix. UNLESS a new cat falls into your lap. Then I would assume a sort of "meant to be!" mentality.

cassie said...

When we adopted Gus, he was 6 weeks old, the runt of a litter that the rescuer didn't know that the mom was pregnant with. The captured, fixed and released feral cats. We took the little whiner and I coddled, loved and generally spoiled him all his 7 and half years.
Sam came to us. He was found by a neighbor in the engine compartment of his car. Tiny, filthy, covered in fleas and severely malnourished. We took him, fed him, cleaned him and kept him. The guy actually came to the door and asked, "Is this yours?" I honestly think he's a little brain damaged, and he won't get anywhere near me. I can only figure it's because I gave him his first, VERY thourough, bath. Want a slightly neurotic, pure black cat?

Kelly said...

I am curious to read all the comments. but here's my 2 cents. or 4. you know me.
anyway, my mom has like 5 or 6 cats. she is the crazy cat lady (and my dad is the crazy cat man. and he is worse because he spoils them so much that when he is gone my mom has to do all this silly crap to make the stupid cats happy because my dad does all this nonsense. When we die, we should all reincarnate as cats in my parents house). she never intended to own any of them. they adopted her. some were mistreated by neighbors and must have seen the little coded sign that says "underground railroad for cats, this way". some just heard through the grapevine that life at that house was really good for cats. and some just kept getting fed (by my dad!) and stayed. duh.
I am ALL for an adult cat. Even by 2 years old you can see their personalities. And I'm all for the shelter too. But honestly, I sometimes thing stray cats are healthier than shelter cats.

I think perhaps you should let Mouse have some time to have the house to his/herself. This will sound crazy but I think Mouse will tell you if she wants a friend. You'll know. you're swistle, the fabulous cat owner. you'll know.

I vote for getting 2 approximately the same age (give or take a couple years) from whatever source the spirit moves you toward. let Paul pick one and you pick one. voila. if a cat shows up that one of you wants to keep, then the other one should be able to go to the shelter to pick out the buddy.

I'm stunned that your husband would even care about a cat or having any say in it. how cute is that?

my kitty came to me cuz a friend found him at the pool where she lifeguarded. he was 6 weeks old and solid black and she told me that it was a girl cat (bonus cuz of the male cat spraying thing, which some do even if you neuter them at the earliest time). I said "I can't have a cat, its against the rules at the apartment and my landlord is a dick. I'll be right over".

then i stopped at petsmart to get supplies for the cat that I wasn't allowed to have. who was I kidding?

he was so cute. and he's now 15. ish. I forget. I have to do backwards math based on which boyfriend i was with at the time that I got him to remember how old he is. and he weights 16 lbs. and I trained him to open a cupboard to get to his catbox when he was teeny. so smart!

I say chew on this new cat idea for awhile and see what develops. =)

Stacia said...

My experience has been that older cats don't like younger ones unless there's a moderate sized cat community for them to exist in. We got our youngest cat who turned out to be a bully. None of the other older cats liked him. We're down to 2 cats now, the bully being one, and I know we'll never be able to get another cat until the bully is gone. It IS a Cat Lottery, as you noted, but I really think that getting a younger cat with 2 established older cats already here was a mistake. We should have gotten an adult, and maybe we'd have had better chances in the Cat Lottery.

CARRIE said...

We adopted 2 brothers as kittens. They drive me fucking bonkers. Anywoo, if I ever get another cat (when the kids are much, much older), I will adopt an adult one. I don't have the energy for kittens anymore.

heather said...

I would let Mouse enjoy her final years in peace. I got another cat because I thought my first cat would like a playmate and boy was I wrong. It was one of those things that even years later you look back and regret. Get two kitties together that will love each other. And could you compromise and get a very young adult, like 8 months to a year? That's what mine were when I got them. I agree with you about bypassing the kittens.

Bunnyslippers said...

We have two cats that we adopted together as kittens. I originally went to the shelter to adopt the tabby only, but as I waited for a 'meeting' room he kept playing with the little tuxie girl in the cage next to his. I felt so bad leaving his friend behind that I took both of them home. Best impulse decision ever. They keep each other company, chase around the house together, take care of each other, and even teach each other things.

I wholeheartedly agree that cats should always be adopted in pairs.

Having done the (double) kitten thing, I see the merits of adopting an adult. However, I think that a lot of personality (especially sweetness) is nurture not nature, so it is less of a cat lottery than you may think.

One of our local rescue societies has an in-house fostering program--the foster families can give you a good idea of the kitten or cat's personality. They may even allow or even encourage a bit of a test run to see if the newbie gets along with Mouse and the kids.

If you decide to wait until Mouse passes, and really want older cats, you might try to adopt two adults or young adults at once. Our local shelter has bonded pairs of adults up for adoption (ofern at a reduced rate), maybe yours does too?

Lovely topic! Please keep us posted.

Sam said...

I would not get an adult cat while your remaining cat is alive. I don't have the energy to explain. The thirteen year old is making me nuts today.

Lippy said...

My cat Garfield was born in my bed (with me in it) when I was fifteen. I had him for 16 years, when he died, I was devestated. My house felt so empty, I started looking for a kitten after just a few day. But when I called around there were no kittens to be had, they were out of season, like strawberries. So I made an announcement during my classes that I needed a kitty. One of my students had one 12 weeks old. I drove over after school to pick up Chloe, sight unseen.

She is a great cat, but I found out later that the human parents didn't let anyone pet the kittens til the were 5 weeks old. So she isn't super affectionate. Garfield use to sleep in my hair so I missed having an affectionate cat. So a few years ago we discussed getting a new kitten, then at Petland they had an adoption thing going and we found Rigby. She is super lovey, and a good fit for us.

I think somehow you just get the cat you were meant to have. I can't wait to hear how this goes.

Cookie said...

We just adopted two kittens from a shelter - sisters named Ginger and Pumpkin, 3 months. They're beautiful orange tabbies. We visited with them twice before we made the decision to adopt and even then their personalities really showed. We've had them home for almost a week and while they aren't integrated into the family yet, they seem to be doing great. They also seem to be really good with my boys, even the toddler when he's not running at them, which is very important.

bubbles said...

If you get kittens, get two, once Mouse passes on. Her last few years will not be fun if she has to deal with tiny ones.

Amy said...

Rebekah was adopted from the shelter. I had just bought a house and was lonely at night so she was my 29th birthday present. My best friend catnapped Casper (cat 2) and my home was just supposed to be " a temporary home" until my friend could find a permanent place for him. To clarify, my friend took him from her place of employment as weekend co-workers were abusing him, etc. It's been 4 years and 4 months and he's still with me. I guess I am now the "permanent home".

Farrell said...

I adopted my Beagle from the shelter I was working next door to, and she is the best.

I adopted my cat when he was a kitten from a lady who advertised in the paper because her cat had kittens and she couldn't keep all of them and I went over there and played with all of them, but this one kept jumping into my lap and snuggling and so I took him home:)

Personally, I would never EVER get a pet from a pet shop, and I would only ever purchase a pure bred from a reputable breeder if I planned on breeding or showing (which I don't, so my next pet will definitely also come from a shelter).

I have a family of stray kitties living in my yard and my neighbors' yards; you're welcome to come to St. Louis and snatch one up:)

Val said...

My current 3 cats came to me as follows:

(1) a co-worker's sister was a cat magnet and had a stray mom give birth in her barn. Had little kids and guaranteed that cat would be friendly. I had two scaredy cats at the time.

(2) BFF got a very sweet, sedate kitten with whom I fell in love. Warned my BFF she'd better not get rid of the cat without calling me 1st - she had the habit of having too many animals and getting rid of the cats. I got the call when he was about 9 months old.

(3) Same BFF had a sick cat show up at her employer's store in the freezing cold rain. She took it home, but could not afford to take it to the vet. 2 months later, I took it home to get it well. Fell totally heads over heels for cat. He's so goofy and lovable, but has runny nose and eyes from being sick for too long before I rescued him. He was about 9 months old when I got him too. My BFF knew once I got him home, I'd fall for him. He was a sweety, but naughty (which was fixed quickly when he was un-nutted).

I also have a "boyfriend" cat. That would, of course, be BFFs cat. He hides when most people are around except when he hears my voice. He starts running and calling to me when he realizes I'm visiting.

My mom recently informed my BFF that she's not to give me any more cats. Won't happen. This way I get to know the cat for awhile first.

TinaNZ said...

When I adopted my last (adult) cat from the shelter, the people there said that there would be fewer 'settling in' issues if I got one the opposite sex from the cat I already had. It's true that adult cats are much more likely to be left on the shelter-shelf, and are also less likely to play Mouse to the end of her tether, but it's also worth considering that a kitten will probably handle the transition to a five-child household better than an adult cat who may have come from a quieter background. So - advantages to either choice, so not much help sorry! However I do come down on the side of getting another cat of whatever age; Mouse is used to having company and must be missing someone to lick behind her ears.

carrie said...

Swistle -
I am in the exact same position. We lost our oldest kitty earlier this year (she was 15), we have her companion kitty (almost their entire lives) still here, she is 14 and I just feel like we need two. She needs a friend! We adopted our first kitten from a farm, had a bunch they needed to get rid of. Our second kitty (our current one) we adopted as an adult from a shelter. Kids definitely want a kittne, I definitely want to "save" a nice adult kitty. I'm so torn...I'm watching to see what you do! :-)

Hobo Mama said...

All right, I have the benefit of 2 years of cat sitting experience behind me. (Impressed? You should be!) (Not really.) I have seen almost always getting a new kitty when you have an old kitty working out really badly for the old kitty. Even when cats are the same age and come in at the same time, it's a chancy thing. Every once in awhile, you find a house full of cats where all the cats are happy, but it's rare. I just would feel bad for Mouse if Mouse ended up as depressed as some of the kitten-pecked older cats we sat for. We seriously saw so many of them go into a decline as soon as there was a new adoption, and they would just hide out and be really fearful or snappy.

That said, I get sooooo yearny when I see a fuzzy kitten at the adoption fairs at the local pet store. But I know my cat (9 years now, I think?) would never forgive me.

We adopted her as an adult from the shelter. But, like you, we've turned down some requests to adopt others from friends (for the same reason as above). So, I don't know... If it's for a good cause, like a friend found out her baby's allergic to her beloved cat or something, I would probably go for it. But if you can let Mouse live in peace, I would. Just give lots of love.

P.S. Kittens are annoying. And destructive. But cuter than you can imagine. Wait, you can imagine a kitten. No, but seriously, cute but annoying. Like human babies. There, I said it.