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taking in a new cat

11 replies

drizzledream · 15/03/2013 15:35


I know someone who has a cat who they're really horrible to (lock it out the house most the time, occasional kick etc) and they don't want it anymore as they were never really keen on cats and this particular cat is apparently a bit bitey with the children (though I don't know how the children handle the cat so I don't know what precedes the biting instances) They have said I can have it if I want it and I do feel a huge obligation to take it as I hate hate hate the idea of this poor little cat being locked out in the rain, and all the rest! However I have a 15 year old mardy pants cat already and I just know this will really piss her off and I feel guilty as I have a responsibility to her not to make her life miserable.

If I don't take the cat she will probably go to an animal shelter but once they find out she is bitey I can't see anyone wanting her and I'm worried she might get put down, does this happen?

Do you think its possible for an old mardy cat to accept a new one in the house or will it all be flying fur from now on?

Any advice really gratefully received!

OP posts:
thecatneuterer · 15/03/2013 15:49

Firstly it's very nice of you to want to help this poor cat.

Some cat shelters have a non-destruction policy. Others (particularly RSPCA) don't. Whichever the cat were to go to being bitey will mean that she would probably have to wait a very long time for a home, as there is nothing that puts off potential adopters as much as that. Although I imagine that the bitiness will subside quite soon if the cat is no longer being mistreated/manhandled by children.

Obviously the best thing for the cat would be for you to take her in. (Incidentally do you know if she's neutered? If she's not she needs to be done straight away as she'll be pregnant in a month or so).

You can't really know how your cat would react until you try. There is likely to be some hositility at first but normally things calm down after a few weeks and there a quite a lot of things you can do to minimise the stress. It's got to be worth a try hasn't it?

drizzledream · 15/03/2013 16:06

You're probably right, I just spoke to the cats protection league and they seemed quite optimistic about her being re-homed but I too think the bitey thing will put people off, she's not been spayed but I would only take her on the basis that she gets done. Why will she fall in the next month or so? Is it the season for cats getting knocked up?

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 15/03/2013 16:12

Anyone's guess drizzledream. It might be fine (after a couple of weeks adjustment) and it might be flying fur and sulking. I wouldn't take another cat on permanently with Seniorboy because he's not fond of anyone else on his territory and he's too old now to adapt. If The Lodger was the only one in residence, however, I would have no qualms at all because he actually likes other animals.

I have to say that I always regard my responsibility as to the resident cat(s) but it's a real hard one for you. Also, I wouldn't take anyone's word for an animal being 'bitey' unless I knew the circumstances they were living in and how they were being treated. There are some people I could be sore tempted to bite myself.

There are indeed things you can do to help on the stress - but it's your call.

cozietoesie · 15/03/2013 16:14

She'll be mated by some tom as soon as she matures enough to come into heat because she's going outside. (And if they try to keep her in, she'll likely manage to get outside the house somehow - they're pure hussies when on heat.) So - 5 or 6 months old, say, and you're in danger territory/

drizzledream · 15/03/2013 16:26

Thank you very much for all the advice. My current cat is not at all keen on other cats, she despises the chickens, and only now tolerates my daughter (who is 5), maybe I could try my hardest to make it work for a month and then if it's all still awful look into getting her rehomed via the cats protection league, do you think a month would be enough?

OP posts:
thecatneuterer · 15/03/2013 16:36

Drizzledream, whatever you decide to do, for the sake of the cat can you get her spayed yourself - right now? Yes this is the season for cats to get pregnant and you've only got a couple of weeks to sort this out. If the owners won't pay you can get vouchers from Cats Protection. If you are in London you can take her to Celia Hammond's for free if you explain the situation. You obviously care about the cat's welfare and the most important thing she needs right now is to be spayed. If her owners are too irresponsible to do it themselves (which is sounds as if they are) then it's up to you - because you obviously are a responsible person and you care.

QueenStromba · 15/03/2013 17:34

As a cat lover I'd struggle to sit back and watch. Did Cats Protection say if they had a waiting list or could they take her straight away? If they had a waiting list I'd be inclined to get her on it then take her in for the mean time. If she bonds with your cat before they're ready for her then you can always keep her, but if she doesn't then you know you have somewhere for her to go.

As for the biting, it may not be actual aggression. My lovely new rescue cat who doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body has nipped at us a few times in an affectionate way. I took the advice of the lovely knowledgeable ladies on this thread and stopped interacting with her when she did it the next time and she hasn't done it since (there might have also been a loud "ow" involved since even a playful bite from a cat hurts due to their needle sharp teeth).

drizzledream · 15/03/2013 18:29

thecatneuterer - I will def try and get this sorted as soon as possible, I was only approached about taking her today but I'll make a decision over the weekend and then it all should move pretty quickly one way or another.

QueenStromba - Cats Protection didn't say anything about a waiting list so I'm assuming there isn't one but if I try and take her for a month to see how it goes then I'll probably call them and tell them what my plan is. Thats really interesting about the biting, I'm sure we could nip it in the bud whatever it's about, she def won't be yanked about here and I have the time to be very consistent if there's a way of dealing with it like you suggested.

If I take her I was thinking of putting her in my daughters room with food, litter etc for a while and then letting the two cats get used to the smell of each other and also letting her get used to living here rather than there. I was advised to let them socialise slowly, like an hour a day at first but does that mean the rest of the time she's on lockdown in my daughters room?

OP posts:
thecatneuterer · 15/03/2013 18:35

That seems like a sensible plan. And less your plan to socialise them both is what we would recommend, and it would mean she'd be on lockdown, probably for a couple of weeks. However it all really depends how it goes and if they are fine with each other it you could let her mix freely with your cat sooner than that.

QueenStromba · 15/03/2013 18:48

Like thecatneuterer said, every cat is different. Battersea told us that she probably wouldn't eat anything the first day but she demanded food. They also said not to stroke her too much even if she came to us but she headbutted us for attention if we stopped stroking her. We'd also read that you should keep a new cat in one room for the first few days but she wasn't happy until she'd seen the whole flat.

It might be worth getting some Feliway to try and keep both of them calm to begin with. What do you think thecatneuterer?

thecatneuterer · 15/03/2013 19:18

Yes I was thinking of mentioning Feliway. It certainly can't hurt

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