Boo Boo is a long-haired Manx mix. She is very independent and has been the queen of the chicken coop for the last 3 years. We had a dog in the house and they got along perfectly and were the best of friends. Yet it was a dog, not another cat.
Our beloved dog had been my best friend for the past 14 years. She developed a lymphoma (tumor in the brain) and had to be euthanized almost two years ago. Since then, our kitten Boo Boo was alone in the home receiving all the attention and without having to share her space with any other animal. She was the queen of the kingdom! However, she was lonely when I was out and started overeating and not getting the exercise she needed. The Manx breed became depressed when left alone or separated from its owner. They can tend to be clingy to their owners, which is great if you like devoted and affectionate cats. It is like having a dog at home. They are always waiting at the door every day when you get home from work and they want to be a part of your life unlike some breeds that are just hanging around because they have nowhere to be at the moment.
I decided to adopt a new friend to our tribe to keep her busy during my absence. He wasn’t sure of a mature kitten or cat. Since he’s no longer in the “kitty” stage of play, this may not be a good idea and could cause problems if the active kitty wants to play too much. So I decided to adopt a mature cat who would like to play but not too much and who knows when to say “okay stop!” Today, local no-kill shelters are stocked with wonderful pets for adoption that are released with a clean bill of health, spayed / neutered, microchipped, and up-to-date on all vaccinations. It’s hard to go wrong with a shelter adoption. Unlike what you get from places like Carigslist where people are only looking to dispose of animals with aggression issues, poor health, and who knows what else. That can cost a new owner a lot of money, as well as heartbreak if the pet has serious health problems and you are stuck with the hassle of euthanizing them. Not to mention bringing home unpleasant infections or illnesses to an existing family pet. Always be safe and learn all you can about your new pet. Whatever happens, no pets are free! It always costs you something now or later. My last “free” cat cost me over 1500.00 in progressive vet bills over a 1 year period with an upper tract infection when I received it, medications, spaying, injections and microchipping. Trust me, NOTHING is free! Shelters have already done this work for you. If the animals show signs of aggression or illness, they are not placed on the adoption lists.
I began my search by calling my vet and asking him the names of some shelters in our area that they had dealt with and would recommend. They gave me phone numbers and web addresses. I started my search and looked at the animals on the wedding site to get an idea of what I wanted, as well as the cost of adoption fees. I found that most mature cats were priced at a discount because they were more difficult to place in a new home. Most people prefer cute kittens when making selections. I had decided on a mature cat and had a few items that I wanted with my new cat. I would prefer a clawless cat if it is available, domesticated, microchipped and spayed / neutered. Of course my cats are only indoors and I didn’t want a cat to be a great escape artist every time I opened the door. Always look for a good shelter too. Not all of them are great and wonderful. Observe the conditions of the shelters and make sure they are clean and that the animals look clean and well cared for. There should be no unpleasant odors, cages or kennels for dogs and cats should be clean and they should have enough water for pets. If it is dirty or smells bad and the conditions of the animals look bad, stay away! Animals that are kept in poor condition are much more likely to have health problems that you will pay for in the long run and can transfer disease to your resident pets. My husband once had a dog that had a very bad case of kennel cough. It cost him a lot of money to cure that dog and, in the long run, it created other health problems for the poor dog. The shelter originally told him that the dog appeared to be in poor condition because she was stressed and depressed and was not eating. The ugly truth was that most of the dogs had kennel cough and the poor thing didn’t eat because she was so sick and dehydrated. She paid 25.00 to adopt her and it cost her 2000.00 in the first 4 months due to her time in the animal hospital to save her life, as well as injections, sterilization and medications. She also had heartworms and eventually lost her anyway. Be careful when adopting pets. If a shelter cannot produce a certificate of good health from an office of certified veterinarians, do not take the pet.
In my search, I found some possibilities and went to know them. Most shelters will have an area where you can meet the animals and get to know them. This shelter had a “cat” room where cats were allowed to roam freely and mingle with other cats of all ages. I liked this idea, I was able to get a better idea of which cat would get along better with other cats to make sure I have the right one for my current cat. The shelter had some cats that fit my preferences perfectly. Previous owners had delivered perfectly good pets for many reasons, such as allergies or relocation, and these pets were in need of a new home. I found two perfect candidates and went home to sleep. The next morning I had already made up my mind and went back downstairs to visit my first choice again. And, yes, he was a perfect fit! He was 3 years old, his claws had been removed, he was neutered, he was up to date with all his vaccinations and he had a microchip, he was just waiting for a house. He had been there a few months and the price was discounted. I paid a donation of 50.00 and got the healthy cat, all its vaccination documents, our microchip, a pet carrier, and a 5 pound bag of Science Diet cat food. Also the assurance that if something was wrong with my current cat or if he developed health problems, I could take him back to the shelter for medical attention or turn him in if he got too bad at home and they hated each other. Can’t beat that deal!
I bought our new house and took great advice. I put him in a spare bedroom to give him time to get used to the new place. It’s a shock to them! Once he got used to the new room, I took him to the family area and let him wonder for a bit and put him back in the “safe room” where his things were. While he was wondering about the family area, I placed our resident cat in his room to check his scent and begin the introduction process. My cat smelled of the stranger and the stranger smelled the place of the resident cats. Of course, they sniffed under the bedroom door and there was a lot of hissing, mostly from the resident cat. I chose a very laid back personality for our new cat as my resident cat was possessive which is a typical Manx personality trait. I belong to her, not to him!
I did this process several times during the day and night. After dinner, I decided to formally introduce them by opening the door to the cat’s new room and letting him out when ready. It went pretty well for me. The resident cat was very fussy about the new cat, but his personality towards her was great. He just let her hiss and spit and sat in the middle of the room watching her dance. We allowed them to have the big downward gaze for about 30 minutes as there was no seizure. Just the hssy-spitty dance and some grunting, again, mostly from the resident cat. I then placed him back in his room for the night with lots of praise for what a good kitty he was before leaving the room. Then I spent some time trying to calm our resident cat down before bed and she relaxed. Then she fell asleep in her usual place. It was a great day for all of us.
The next morning, I spent time with our resident cat. Then I spent time with the new cat in his room. So, I opened his door and let him out on his own. The resident cat just sat and watched it on its perch. Once he started spinning, she got defensive again with the hissing and spitting things. The door to his room is open for him to come in and out whenever he wants. They seem to get along a little better. Our resident shows no signs of aggression as bad on the second day as on the first. But, I’m still on cat patrol and monitoring with a spray bottle on hand. I will not leave them unattended in our house for a week or so until I feel they are more comfortable with each other.
If you have a resident cat that is clingy, be sure to try to find a personality that matches your cats and not just yours or other family members. It’s not just about “you” choosing the right pet. Make sure it is as seamless as possible for everyone involved. It will be better for everyone in the household if we all get along!
Good luck introducing your new pet to his new home!