Friday, January 27, 2006
It might take 7 years.Many people come to the shelter to get a second cat. They have one, but think he or she is loney or bored or needs a friend. We try to tell them that 9 times out of 10, their cat is actually pretty happy to be the only cat. Cats aren't like dogs and don't need buddies. (The exception is kittens or cats that are siblings or brought up together. They truly are buddies. This is why we always recommend getting two kittens together if the client is considering having two in the future.)
Some cats do like others and if properly introduced, slowly, over a long period of time, it could be nice for all. But most cats, especially older females really don't want another cat in their life. These "queens" are just that and they don't want to share the palace.
I tell clients this, but they rarely hear me. I explain it, but they don't understand. I use my cats as examples. Before I worked at an animal shelter, I was just like them and thought my 7 year old female need a pal. I brought home what I thought was a good match...an already neutered, young male. (I did a lot of research to see what was most likely to work.) But....it didn't work. My cats hate each other. The male stalks the female and the female hisses and swats at the male. All the time. Day and night.
So, I tell clients "your cats will work it out...even if that means they might ignore each other for the rest of their lives. The image of two cute felines, snuggling together in bed, may never be a reality." That seems to hit home. And I feel good that I saved an owner from a lifetime of cat management.
And then today, when I got home, there were my two cats. Both on bed, less than a foot away from eachother, dreaming the day away. Darn cats. Just when I thought I knew everything, they go and mess it all up.
I guess I just need to tell clients, "they will work out one day, but it might take 7 years."