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Multi-cat Dynamics

JasconiusJasconius sword criminalmad onlineRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
About a year ago I got a cat, and when I did that I was working from home, and therefore could spend a lot of time with her.

Unfortunately about six months ago I got a new job that keeps me in the office most of the time, so my cat is left to roost at home by herself 40 hours a week

While I get her plenty of toys and she has her own private screened in balcony to watch birds and chase bugs on, sometimes she is very clearly unhappy with her situation and expresses this by fucking up my carpets with her claws and teeth

So I am thinking about getting another cat

Currently my cat is two years old.. was separated from a sibling at six months, and has razor sharp claws. The local shelter does not let you bring in your cat to interact with others before you adopt one

1) Is my cat likely to get along with other cats
2) What age of cat should I target that is most likely to not annoy the crap out of her
3) What happens if they absolutely hate each other for like... six months
4) Are there any new things I'll have to deal with other than buying twice as much food, getting twice as many shots, and changing the cat litter twice as often?
5) Would this actually help her or could it somehow make her more miserable

Jasconius on

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    dnnsdnns ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Well, for starters, you can buy a $5 claw trimmer and trim el gato's claws, which will make her unhappy for a short while, but save your furnishings and any potential new cat.

    Also, how much do you play with your cat when you are home? I work from home and my cat still gets unhappy if he doesn't get at least a daily play session. He's got plenty of toys, but he rarely plays with them by himself. He needs me to make-believe they're alive for him. Which is annoying because he's got the attention span of a hyperactive 10 year old.

    If you do get a second cat, you'll need a second litterbox for that cat. Most cat sites and vets will say you need (number of cats) + 1 litterboxes, but I don't know anyone who actually does that.

    This is purely anecdotal, but since you have a female cat, you should be fine getting either a second cat of either sex. Two males never seem to get along well.

    Again, this is anecdotal, but I lived with roommates who had a four year old male cat, and got a ~2mo old female kitten, and they got along famously after a few days of hissing. I got my own male cat when he was about 2 months and he came into a household with a 10 year old male Maine Coon. They took a couple of weeks to get used to each other, and even after they did, my cat would jump on the Maine Coon's back, bite its neck scruff and try to hump it (dominance play). Maine Coon was clearly annoyed, but he mostly endured it. A younger, less laid-back cat might not take it so well.

    dnns on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Yeah, and if your cat doesn't let you trim them, take her into your vet and have them do it. This is probably part of the reason she's clawing at the carpet too. Does she not have a scratching post? My cats LOVE the cardboard ones that lay flat that you sprinkle catnip into.

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    dnnsdnns ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Re: claw trimming

    Even the most bitchy cat will eventually begin to submit to claw trimming if you are persistent and avoid overstressing the cat. My cat hated having his claws trimmed. He would start struggling the moment I took hold of his paw and I could only get one or two toes done before I had to let him go.

    EDIT: here's a link that describes the process better than I do: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/cat_claws.aspx

    Tips:

    1. You only need to trim the front claws. That's what they use to scratch furniture. The rear claws are typically dull compared to the front, and they use them for climbing and disemboweling small animals.

    2. If cat struggles a lot, try wrapping him in a towel or blanket, like a kitty-burrito. I also find it helps to straddle the cat and put its front shoulders between your knees. Don't crush or suffocate, but be firm. Try tiring him out with a play session beforehand, or trim when he's sleepy.

    3. I've heard placing a large binder clip on the cat's neck scruff will make a cat docile and malleable, but YMMV.

    4. Don't trim too much. If your cat has light colored claws, it's easy to see where the quick is, but on dark clawed cats, just cut enough to give the claw a flat point, maybe 1-2mm.

    5. Getting the claw out is pretty easy. Hold the paw like you're going to squirt something out of the toes and gently push on the top of the toe at the knuckle. The claw will slide out. Don't forget the fifth claw a little ways up the foot.

    6. The claws will get sharp again in a couple of weeks, depending on how much scratching and claw grooming your cat does.

    dnns on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    you don't even need a fancy claw trimmer, just use a pair of human toe clippers.

    as for introducing, its a bit of a gamut really. our friends had a cat that hated every othr cat but slow introductions to a new guy helped bridge th egap and now they are buds. where as our first cat, we had kitty play dates since he loves other cats.

    if going for a second cat, i would say go for a male that is younger then her, though a younger female is probably ok. then bring him home in a carrier and introduce with the the carrier closed. if that goes well you start introducing more freedom.

    here is where i differ in opinion from most people here

    if the initial meeting goes well i say give them total access to each other. keep a couple towels and spray bottles handy for this. if they don't try and kill each other immediately you should be fine. if initial meeting goes badly, then keep them seperated with gradually increasing he time together

    camo_sig.png
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    TayaTaya Registered User regular
    I think most of the time introducing two cats works out for the best. I had a good experience introducing a male kitten to a 2-year-old female cat. She hissed and swatted at him for the first couple days but literally one week later they were cuddling together.

    It's possible that the cats will merely tolerate each other or downright hate each other, but I don't think that's the norm.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    dnns wrote: »
    Re: claw trimming

    Even the most bitchy cat will eventually begin to submit to claw trimming if you are persistent and avoid overstressing the cat. My cat hated having his claws trimmed. He would start struggling the moment I took hold of his paw and I could only get one or two toes done before I had to let him go.

    This is really not necessarily true. My Siamese won't let me anywhere near him with a claw trimmer and he loses his shit if I even think about trying it.

    If your cat doesn't want you to do it, save yourself the stress and puncture wounds and have your vet do it. It's cheap.

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    dnnsdnns ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    This is really not necessarily true. My Siamese won't let me anywhere near him with a claw trimmer and he loses his shit if I even think about trying it.

    If your cat doesn't want you to do it, save yourself the stress and puncture wounds and have your vet do it. It's cheap.

    It's not cheap for me since I have to spend $20 for two hours of car rental and take two hours out of my day to take my cat to the vet. Plus going outside terrifies my cat.

    Besides, the vet doesn't have some kind of magic cat calming box. They have to hold Fluffy down and trim her claws just like you would. Having a friend help you restrain the cat helps.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    dnns wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    This is really not necessarily true. My Siamese won't let me anywhere near him with a claw trimmer and he loses his shit if I even think about trying it.

    If your cat doesn't want you to do it, save yourself the stress and puncture wounds and have your vet do it. It's cheap.

    It's not cheap for me since I have to spend $20 for two hours of car rental and take two hours out of my day to take my cat to the vet. Plus going outside terrifies my cat.

    Besides, the vet doesn't have some kind of magic cat calming box. They have to hold Fluffy down and trim her claws just like you would. Having a friend help you restrain the cat helps.

    The vet has years of experience doing it to multiple cats every day. And this isn't you were talking about, it's the OP. And, lastly, not all cats are the same. So no, not all of them will eventually submit and let you do it without a lot of bloodshed.

    For the majority of people, it's WAY less of a hassle to just shuttle the cat to a groomer or vet.

    Esh on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i play with my cat almost every day when I get home

    she plays fetch and especially in the past few months has really warmed up to me during the evening hours

    so she's not lonely... as long as I'm around

    if I just trim her claws will that mitigate her carpet-ruining prowess? What she does it she rips up carpet on the edges and corners, so she'll pull it up inch by inch and chew on it

    I have two scratching posts for her and she tries to eat those too

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    dnns wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    This is really not necessarily true. My Siamese won't let me anywhere near him with a claw trimmer and he loses his shit if I even think about trying it.

    If your cat doesn't want you to do it, save yourself the stress and puncture wounds and have your vet do it. It's cheap.

    It's not cheap for me since I have to spend $20 for two hours of car rental and take two hours out of my day to take my cat to the vet. Plus going outside terrifies my cat.

    Besides, the vet doesn't have some kind of magic cat calming box. They have to hold Fluffy down and trim her claws just like you would. Having a friend help you restrain the cat helps.

    The vet has years of experience doing it to multiple cats every day. And this isn't you were talking about, it's the OP. And, lastly, not all cats are the same. So no, not all of them will eventually submit and let you do it without a lot of bloodshed.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    if I just trim her claws will that mitigate her carpet-ruining prowess? What she does it she rips up carpet on the edges and corners, so she'll pull it up inch by inch and chew on it

    I have no idea. Cats are pretty wildly varied animals. What sort of posts are you using? Mine won't even look at the "traditional" types.

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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i have one largish multiplatform one that's sort of a shag carpet

    and one small one which is pretty much regular old carpet

    she didn't start trying to eat the carpet on my floor until I got the shag one

    she uses the posts a lot, but rarely for clawing. mostly for eating and playing with her toys around them

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    i have one largish multiplatform one that's sort of a shag carpet

    and one small one which is pretty much regular old carpet

    she didn't start trying to eat the carpet on my floor until I got the shag one

    she uses the posts a lot, but rarely for clawing. mostly for eating and playing with her toys around them

    Something like this scratching post.

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    dnnsdnns ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    The vet has years of experience doing it to multiple cats every day. And this isn't you were talking about, it's the OP. And, lastly, not all cats are the same. So no, not all of them will eventually submit and let you do it without a lot of bloodshed.

    For the majority of people, it's WAY less of a hassle to just shuttle the cat to a groomer or vet.

    I'm just saying to not let an initially resistant cat discourage you from doing it yourself. Yes, we're trying to help the OP, but this is all hypothetical anyway. I figured I could provide a counterpoint to the personal story you shared yourself. I mean, OP could have just asked his vet about what's up with his cat, but he asked us.

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    EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    I trim my cat's claws by holding her on her back between my legs, so she can't wriggle away. She can't quite make her mind up about it: it's a bit scary to get held like that, but you also get tummy scratches at the same time. 8->

    Does your cat have claws where you can see the quick? That makes it a whole lot easier.

    Never trim all the way back to the quick, and for the love of grod don't cut into it. It's very painful and it bleeds a lot.

    If the quickgoes really far out, just trim a little bit of the claw. The quick will shrink after time if you keep trimming the claws regularly, and eventually you can trim the claws down properly.

    A random GIS:

    Claw-trim-quick-1.jpg

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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    shit, my guys i pick them up and they start purring when i go to trim their nails.

    but yea, start off with small cuts, just to take the edge off and like echo says the quick will shrink. though we don't cut all that much off and just do it slightly more often.

    another thing that helps is when cuddling/petting play with her feet and toes and extend the claw out this gets them used to it and they start associating it with pets.

    camo_sig.png
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    EntriechEntriech ? ? ? ? ? Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    I bribe my cat into letting me trim his nails. I break up a few of his treats into tiny pieces and feed them slowly to him in between each claw removal. He's usually so excited about treats he doesn't even think to struggle with me.

    That being said, I'd definitely try more options for controlling your cat's scratching over getting a second cat. Make sure that her scratching posts are securely positioned, because a cat won't want to scratch on something that feels unstable. Praise her when she uses the scratching post, and scold her if you catch her scratching anything else. You can use a catnip oil spray on the cat tree to make it seem more interesting to her as well.

    I've personally seen an instance of someone getting two cats so they could 'keep each other company', and the net result was that neither of them were particularly fond of the other one, they never played together, and occasionally would get into fights. So it's very much unique to each household, I'd wager. Don't forget, it isn't just double the cost, logistics come into play too. You may need to add a second litter box, and the feeding situation can get complicated if for whatever reason you need to control what one cat is eating. Two cats also means twice the attention necessary from you.

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    SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    If you do introduce a second cat, try a younger female. Cats of the same gender play together better. Make sure to read up on good introduction techniques so it's a positive experience for both kitties. It may take a while for them to befriend each other, so be prepared for that... and just like people, not all cats will end up becoming good friends.

    Want to find me on a gaming service? I'm SwashbucklerXX everywhere.
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