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View Full Version : Advice, please...adding a third cat to household?


Elise
January 9th 06, 12:27 AM
Hello all,

I haven't read this group before, but I need sage, timely advice!

I have two wonderful indoor-only cats: a 3-year old, 20 pound
sweet-and-not-very-bright purebred tabby Maine Coon fixed male, and my
fiance's cat, a 6-year-old female (fixed) 10 pound all-black DSH who is
very "ninja" (small, wiry, always seems on the lookout). The two of
them have formed a very nice rappoire (the Coon came into this equation
as a kitten). They wrestle and play a lot, and chase each other a lot,
but nobody gets hurt. Both are indoor cats only. We live in rural NH
with a lot of coyotes and fishercats around; outdoor cats go "missing"
here all the time. I'd been on the fence about in/out cats in the
past, but when I got the Coon, his breeder actually made me sign a
contract saying he'd be indoor only. My fiance's cat had always been
indoor-only, as well. We live in a wonderful open-concept post and
beam, with lots of fun walkways, balconies and beams for the kitties to
hang out on. The place is like a cat playground.

A few years ago, my ex-husband took our other cat, a DSH tortie/calico
fixed female who is now about 9 (we don't know for sure, as we adopted
her from a shelter), after the divorce. She had been an indoor/outdoor
cat, but had survived the local predators by being very sensible (she
was almost always indoors at night time). She has extra toes, is very
agile and small (7 pounds, maybe?), and was an excellent huntress.
When I got her from the shelter, they said she was "good with dogs and
people, but not good with other cats".In any case, he moved with her to
a more urban area, and she became an indoor-only cat in an apartment.
Over the past year or so, she's been clawing the furniture like crazy,
and he's had it with her (probably mixed into the equation is some
lingering anger re: our divorce, too). He is saying that if he keeps
her, he'd probably have to de-claw her...yikes...

My ex contacted me a few days ago, asking me to take the tortie/calico.
We have determined that we can definitely take her. BUT...under what
conditions?

Should she be introduced into the household? She has lived indoors for
over a year, but apparently not without causing damage to the
furniture, etc. (To be fair, I don't know if he's been clipping her
claws --- as we do fairly regularly with the DHS and the Coon --- or if
he's made a good faith effort at getting her scratching posts, etc.).
But the damage to the furniture has been substantial. She never
damaged furniture before, when she was an in/out cat. Also, the
shelter's assessment of her as not good with other cats scares me.
(Again, to be fair, this assessment was made 6 or 7 years ago --- she
was a far younger cat then). I would think that if she became a
housecat, she should be indoor only, as her potential housemates are as
well.

OR...

Should she become a barn cat, and be allowed to revert to her former
savvy huntress "lone cat" mode? We have a snug, dry, very modern barn
(less than 20 years old) with lots of mice. It's not heated, but I've
done research on building her a snug shelter inside the barn, having a
heated water bowl, etc., etc. We live on a seldom-travelled dirt road,
hundreds of yards from the nearest paved road, with hundreds of acres
of conservation land/forest behind us. I think most cats would be in a
lot of danger, but she was always savvy about not being out at night.


What to do, what to do? Time is of the essence --- I plan on picking
her up from my ex over the next few days.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Elise in NH

Spot
January 9th 06, 12:40 AM
Bring her home and isolate her from the other two. Introduce them slowly
and hopefully you will have one big happy family. Don't put her in the barn
until you try and if it doesn't work out then why not find her another home
where she's the only cat? Anything is better than being put back outside.
No matter how smart she's always been in the past it only take once and she
could be nabbed by a predator.

In all honesty I don't know many men who pay attention to their pets like
women do. Like you said he may not have made much effort to keep her claws
clipped or provide her with lots of scratching posts. And if he's still
harboring resentment about the divorce she may be picking up on it and that
could be causing the destructiveness. Cats and dogs alike pick up on our
emotions and stress in our lives and it effects them.

Good luck

Celeste

"Elise" > wrote in message
ups.com...
> Hello all,
>
> I haven't read this group before, but I need sage, timely advice!
>
> I have two wonderful indoor-only cats: a 3-year old, 20 pound
> sweet-and-not-very-bright purebred tabby Maine Coon fixed male, and my
> fiance's cat, a 6-year-old female (fixed) 10 pound all-black DSH who is
> very "ninja" (small, wiry, always seems on the lookout). The two of
> them have formed a very nice rappoire (the Coon came into this equation
> as a kitten). They wrestle and play a lot, and chase each other a lot,
> but nobody gets hurt. Both are indoor cats only. We live in rural NH
> with a lot of coyotes and fishercats around; outdoor cats go "missing"
> here all the time. I'd been on the fence about in/out cats in the
> past, but when I got the Coon, his breeder actually made me sign a
> contract saying he'd be indoor only. My fiance's cat had always been
> indoor-only, as well. We live in a wonderful open-concept post and
> beam, with lots of fun walkways, balconies and beams for the kitties to
> hang out on. The place is like a cat playground.
>
> A few years ago, my ex-husband took our other cat, a DSH tortie/calico
> fixed female who is now about 9 (we don't know for sure, as we adopted
> her from a shelter), after the divorce. She had been an indoor/outdoor
> cat, but had survived the local predators by being very sensible (she
> was almost always indoors at night time). She has extra toes, is very
> agile and small (7 pounds, maybe?), and was an excellent huntress.
> When I got her from the shelter, they said she was "good with dogs and
> people, but not good with other cats".In any case, he moved with her to
> a more urban area, and she became an indoor-only cat in an apartment.
> Over the past year or so, she's been clawing the furniture like crazy,
> and he's had it with her (probably mixed into the equation is some
> lingering anger re: our divorce, too). He is saying that if he keeps
> her, he'd probably have to de-claw her...yikes...
>
> My ex contacted me a few days ago, asking me to take the tortie/calico.
> We have determined that we can definitely take her. BUT...under what
> conditions?
>
> Should she be introduced into the household? She has lived indoors for
> over a year, but apparently not without causing damage to the
> furniture, etc. (To be fair, I don't know if he's been clipping her
> claws --- as we do fairly regularly with the DHS and the Coon --- or if
> he's made a good faith effort at getting her scratching posts, etc.).
> But the damage to the furniture has been substantial. She never
> damaged furniture before, when she was an in/out cat. Also, the
> shelter's assessment of her as not good with other cats scares me.
> (Again, to be fair, this assessment was made 6 or 7 years ago --- she
> was a far younger cat then). I would think that if she became a
> housecat, she should be indoor only, as her potential housemates are as
> well.
>
> OR...
>
> Should she become a barn cat, and be allowed to revert to her former
> savvy huntress "lone cat" mode? We have a snug, dry, very modern barn
> (less than 20 years old) with lots of mice. It's not heated, but I've
> done research on building her a snug shelter inside the barn, having a
> heated water bowl, etc., etc. We live on a seldom-travelled dirt road,
> hundreds of yards from the nearest paved road, with hundreds of acres
> of conservation land/forest behind us. I think most cats would be in a
> lot of danger, but she was always savvy about not being out at night.
>
>
> What to do, what to do? Time is of the essence --- I plan on picking
> her up from my ex over the next few days.
>
> Any advice greatly appreciated.
>
> Thank you
>
> Elise in NH
>

Gail
January 9th 06, 12:54 AM
Yes, isolate her in a room of her own with food, water, bed, and litter.
Very slowly (and gradually) expose her to the other two cats. If you can set
up a temporary screen door so they can see each other (and not touch), that
would be great. I would try to keep her indoors only. All indoor cats need
their claws trimmed regularly and to be given scratching posts or pads. I
doubt that your ex did this. Give this girl a chance. Also, try using
Feliway diffuser to reduce anxiety where the cats are.
Gail
"Spot" > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Bring her home and isolate her from the other two. Introduce them slowly
> and hopefully you will have one big happy family. Don't put her in the
> barn until you try and if it doesn't work out then why not find her
> another home where she's the only cat? Anything is better than being put
> back outside. No matter how smart she's always been in the past it only
> take once and she could be nabbed by a predator.
>
> In all honesty I don't know many men who pay attention to their pets like
> women do. Like you said he may not have made much effort to keep her
> claws clipped or provide her with lots of scratching posts. And if he's
> still harboring resentment about the divorce she may be picking up on it
> and that could be causing the destructiveness. Cats and dogs alike pick
> up on our emotions and stress in our lives and it effects them.
>
> Good luck
>
> Celeste
>
> "Elise" > wrote in message
> ups.com...
>> Hello all,
>>
>> I haven't read this group before, but I need sage, timely advice!
>>
>> I have two wonderful indoor-only cats: a 3-year old, 20 pound
>> sweet-and-not-very-bright purebred tabby Maine Coon fixed male, and my
>> fiance's cat, a 6-year-old female (fixed) 10 pound all-black DSH who is
>> very "ninja" (small, wiry, always seems on the lookout). The two of
>> them have formed a very nice rappoire (the Coon came into this equation
>> as a kitten). They wrestle and play a lot, and chase each other a lot,
>> but nobody gets hurt. Both are indoor cats only. We live in rural NH
>> with a lot of coyotes and fishercats around; outdoor cats go "missing"
>> here all the time. I'd been on the fence about in/out cats in the
>> past, but when I got the Coon, his breeder actually made me sign a
>> contract saying he'd be indoor only. My fiance's cat had always been
>> indoor-only, as well. We live in a wonderful open-concept post and
>> beam, with lots of fun walkways, balconies and beams for the kitties to
>> hang out on. The place is like a cat playground.
>>
>> A few years ago, my ex-husband took our other cat, a DSH tortie/calico
>> fixed female who is now about 9 (we don't know for sure, as we adopted
>> her from a shelter), after the divorce. She had been an indoor/outdoor
>> cat, but had survived the local predators by being very sensible (she
>> was almost always indoors at night time). She has extra toes, is very
>> agile and small (7 pounds, maybe?), and was an excellent huntress.
>> When I got her from the shelter, they said she was "good with dogs and
>> people, but not good with other cats".In any case, he moved with her to
>> a more urban area, and she became an indoor-only cat in an apartment.
>> Over the past year or so, she's been clawing the furniture like crazy,
>> and he's had it with her (probably mixed into the equation is some
>> lingering anger re: our divorce, too). He is saying that if he keeps
>> her, he'd probably have to de-claw her...yikes...
>>
>> My ex contacted me a few days ago, asking me to take the tortie/calico.
>> We have determined that we can definitely take her. BUT...under what
>> conditions?
>>
>> Should she be introduced into the household? She has lived indoors for
>> over a year, but apparently not without causing damage to the
>> furniture, etc. (To be fair, I don't know if he's been clipping her
>> claws --- as we do fairly regularly with the DHS and the Coon --- or if
>> he's made a good faith effort at getting her scratching posts, etc.).
>> But the damage to the furniture has been substantial. She never
>> damaged furniture before, when she was an in/out cat. Also, the
>> shelter's assessment of her as not good with other cats scares me.
>> (Again, to be fair, this assessment was made 6 or 7 years ago --- she
>> was a far younger cat then). I would think that if she became a
>> housecat, she should be indoor only, as her potential housemates are as
>> well.
>>
>> OR...
>>
>> Should she become a barn cat, and be allowed to revert to her former
>> savvy huntress "lone cat" mode? We have a snug, dry, very modern barn
>> (less than 20 years old) with lots of mice. It's not heated, but I've
>> done research on building her a snug shelter inside the barn, having a
>> heated water bowl, etc., etc. We live on a seldom-travelled dirt road,
>> hundreds of yards from the nearest paved road, with hundreds of acres
>> of conservation land/forest behind us. I think most cats would be in a
>> lot of danger, but she was always savvy about not being out at night.
>>
>>
>> What to do, what to do? Time is of the essence --- I plan on picking
>> her up from my ex over the next few days.
>>
>> Any advice greatly appreciated.
>>
>> Thank you
>>
>> Elise in NH
>>
>
>

Wendy
January 9th 06, 01:20 PM
"Elise" > wrote in message
ups.com...
> Hello all,
>
> I haven't read this group before, but I need sage, timely advice!
>
> I have two wonderful indoor-only cats: a 3-year old, 20 pound
> sweet-and-not-very-bright purebred tabby Maine Coon fixed male, and my
> fiance's cat, a 6-year-old female (fixed) 10 pound all-black DSH who is
> very "ninja" (small, wiry, always seems on the lookout). The two of
> them have formed a very nice rappoire (the Coon came into this equation
> as a kitten). They wrestle and play a lot, and chase each other a lot,
> but nobody gets hurt. Both are indoor cats only. We live in rural NH
> with a lot of coyotes and fishercats around; outdoor cats go "missing"
> here all the time. I'd been on the fence about in/out cats in the
> past, but when I got the Coon, his breeder actually made me sign a
> contract saying he'd be indoor only. My fiance's cat had always been
> indoor-only, as well. We live in a wonderful open-concept post and
> beam, with lots of fun walkways, balconies and beams for the kitties to
> hang out on. The place is like a cat playground.
>
> A few years ago, my ex-husband took our other cat, a DSH tortie/calico
> fixed female who is now about 9 (we don't know for sure, as we adopted
> her from a shelter), after the divorce. She had been an indoor/outdoor
> cat, but had survived the local predators by being very sensible (she
> was almost always indoors at night time). She has extra toes, is very
> agile and small (7 pounds, maybe?), and was an excellent huntress.
> When I got her from the shelter, they said she was "good with dogs and
> people, but not good with other cats".In any case, he moved with her to
> a more urban area, and she became an indoor-only cat in an apartment.
> Over the past year or so, she's been clawing the furniture like crazy,
> and he's had it with her (probably mixed into the equation is some
> lingering anger re: our divorce, too). He is saying that if he keeps
> her, he'd probably have to de-claw her...yikes...
>
> My ex contacted me a few days ago, asking me to take the tortie/calico.
> We have determined that we can definitely take her. BUT...under what
> conditions?
>
> Should she be introduced into the household? She has lived indoors for
> over a year, but apparently not without causing damage to the
> furniture, etc. (To be fair, I don't know if he's been clipping her
> claws --- as we do fairly regularly with the DHS and the Coon --- or if
> he's made a good faith effort at getting her scratching posts, etc.).
> But the damage to the furniture has been substantial. She never
> damaged furniture before, when she was an in/out cat. Also, the
> shelter's assessment of her as not good with other cats scares me.
> (Again, to be fair, this assessment was made 6 or 7 years ago --- she
> was a far younger cat then). I would think that if she became a
> housecat, she should be indoor only, as her potential housemates are as
> well.
>
> OR...
>
> Should she become a barn cat, and be allowed to revert to her former
> savvy huntress "lone cat" mode? We have a snug, dry, very modern barn
> (less than 20 years old) with lots of mice. It's not heated, but I've
> done research on building her a snug shelter inside the barn, having a
> heated water bowl, etc., etc. We live on a seldom-travelled dirt road,
> hundreds of yards from the nearest paved road, with hundreds of acres
> of conservation land/forest behind us. I think most cats would be in a
> lot of danger, but she was always savvy about not being out at night.
>
>
> What to do, what to do? Time is of the essence --- I plan on picking
> her up from my ex over the next few days.
>
> Any advice greatly appreciated.
>
> Thank you
>
> Elise in NH
>

I would definitely try integrating this cat with your household first. Most
cats will come to some kind of agreement even if they aren't fast friends if
they are given time to work it out.

MaryL posted a while ago about introducing a new cat to her household with a
resistant resident cat - here's a link that might be helpful. In the post
there is a link to a web page where there are pictures showing the
introduction that might be helpful. http://tinyurl.com/9h6tm

If the cat turns out to truly be an only cat then you could try to find her
another home.

I suspect the scratching furniture problem could be worked out with a good
cat tree or one of those horizontal cardboard things and regular claw
clipping. I think a lot of the scratching problems come from people not
wanting to spend the money on a good heavy cat tree/scratching post. If they
do purchase one they don't want to place it where the cat will use it (near
what they were scratching) because it doesn't match the decor etc. It
doesn't even have to be an expensive solution. Those cardboard things aren't
expensive at all and the cats frequently love them.

Good luck with your kitty.

W