Boo Boo is a longhaired Manx mix. She is very independent and has been the queen of the roost for the last 3 years. We had a dog in the house and they got along perfectly and were the best of friends. However, he was a dog, not another cat.
Our beloved dog had been my best friend for the last 14 years. She developed lymphoma (brain tumor) 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 away and she began to overeat and not get the exercise she needed. The Manx breed came to suffer from depression when she was left alone or separated from her owner. They can tend to be clingy towards their owners, which is great if you like devoted and affectionate cats. It’s 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 who are just hanging around because they have nowhere to be at the time.
I decided to adopt a new friend into our tribe to keep her busy during my absence. I wasn’t sure about a kitten or a mature cat. Since she is no longer in the “kitten” stage of play, this may not be a good idea and could cause problems if the active kitten 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 filled with wonderful pets to adopt that are released clean, spayed/nurtured, microchipped, and up-to-date on shots. It’s hard to go wrong with a shelter adoption. Unlike what you get from places like Carigslist, where people are just looking to get rid of animals with problems with aggression, poor health, and who knows what else. That can cost a new owner a lot of money, as well as heartache if the pet has serious health issues and you’re stuck with the hassle of euthanizing them. Not to mention bringing home nasty infections or illnesses to an existing family pet. Always be safe and learn as much as you can about your new pet. No matter what, no pet is free! It always costs you something now or later. My last “free” cat cost me over 1500.00 in ongoing vet bills over a 1 year period with an upper tract infection when I received her, medication, spay/neuter, injections and microchipping. Trust me, NOTHING is free! The shelters have already done this work for you. If the animals show signs of aggression or illness, they are not included in the adoption lists.
I began my search by calling my vet and asking for the names of a few 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 of the mature cats were priced at a discount because they were more difficult to place in a new home. Most people prefer cute kitties when making selections. I had decided on a mature cat and had a few items I wanted with my new cat. I would prefer a declawed cat if available, housebroken, microchipped and spayed/neutered. Of course my cats are only indoors and I didn’t want a cat that was a big escape artist every time he opened the door. Always look for a good shelter too. They are not all great and wonderful. Look at the conditions of the shelters and make sure they are clean and that the animals look clean and well cared for. There must be no unpleasant odours, the cages or kennels of the dogs and cats must be clean and they must have enough water for the pets. If it’s dirty or smelly and conditions for 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. He cost a lot of money to cure that dog and, in the long run, he created other health problems for the poor dog. The shelter originally told her that the dog appeared to be in poor condition because she was stressed and depressed and not eating. The ugly truth was that most of the dogs had kennel cough and poor she wasn’t eating because she was so sick and dehydrated. He paid 25.00 to adopt her and it cost him 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 medication. She also had heartworms and eventually lost it anyway. Be careful when adopting pets. If a shelter cannot produce a clean bill of health from an office of certified veterinarians, do not take the pet.
In my search, I found some possibilities and went to see 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 they allowed the cats to roam free 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 best with other cats to make sure I got the right one for my current cat. The shelter had some cats that perfectly matched my preferences. Previous owners had given up perfectly good pets for many reasons, such as allergies or relocation, and these pets needed a new home. I found two perfect candidates and went home to sleep. The next morning I had made up my mind and went back downstairs to revisit my first choice. And, yes, he was a perfect fit! He was 3 years old, declawed, neutered, up to date on all his shots and microchipped, just waiting for a home. He had been there a few months and the price was reduced. I paid a donation of 50.00 and got the healthy cat, all of his shots, nurture and microchip, a pet carrier, and a 5 pound bag of Science Diet cat food. Also the reassurance that if something wasn’t working with my current cat or if he developed health problems, I could take him back to the shelter for medical attention or hand him over if he got so sick at home and they hated each other. Can’t beat that deal!
I bought our new house and followed very good 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 while and put him back in the “safe room” where his stuff was. As he wondered about the family area, I placed our resident cat in his room to check his scent and begin the introduction process. My cat smelled the stranger and the stranger smelled the resident cats place. Of course they sniffed at each other under the bedroom door and there was a lot of hissing, mainly 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 multiple times throughout 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 he was ready. I did pretty well. The resident cat was very picky with the new cat, but her personality towards her was great. He just let her hiss and spit and sat in the middle of her room watching her dance. We let them have the big look down for about 30 minutes as there was no attack. Just the hssy-spitty dance and some growling, again, mostly from the resident cat. Then I put him back in his room for the night with lots of compliments on what a good kitty he was before I left the room. I then spent some time trying to calm our resident cat before bed and she relaxed. She then 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 him on his perch. Once he started circling, she got defensive again with things hissing and spitting. Her bedroom door is open for him to come and go as he pleases. They seem to get along a little better. Our resident does not show signs of aggression as bad on the second day as she did on the first day. But, I’m still on cat patrol and monitoring with a spray bottle of water handy. I will not leave them unattended in our house for a week or so until I feel that 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” when choosing the right pet. Make sure it’s as seamless as possible for everyone involved. It will be better for everyone in the home if we all get along!
Good luck with introducing your new pet to its new home!