|Telstar's New Friend?
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
There's no getting around it. Our Telstar is a lonely fluff. He tears around the house, howling mournfully, trying to get into all the rooms and the cupboards and searching futilely under the beds. (Usually at 4 AM.) We're fairly certain he's looking for his brother. Our neighbour has found him several times, sitting on the pavement in front of the house, where he never used to go, looking expectantly over the road.
We try to play with him. He loves his springy fishy toy and wiggled fingers in stairwell bannisters. He loves toes under duvets and bubbles in the bath. But it's not the same and he knows it. He wants the rough-and-tumble followed by napping that he had with Sputnik. He wants tail-swipes from chair perches and tussles for the last scrap of gooshy food.
So we've decided that after we move - which was supposed to be at the start of this month but is looking more like it will be June - we'll get him a new friend. Fortuitously (for us, anyway), one of my workmates has a brother living near our new place. Two weeks ago, he adopted a cat for his five-year-old daughter. The cat was looking a little green when they got her, so they took her to the vet. Three days later, they had five cats. The kittens are still too small to be adopted, but by the time we move they should be nearly big enough. We've asked for a male.
Telstar will probably never be as close to the new cat as he was to Sputnik, but we're hoping that he'll bond with the little one and this will help curb his newly developed eccentric tendencies. (Particularly, looking for his brother in cupboards at 4 AM.) If anyone has tips for introducing cats to one another with a minimum of mutual fur loss, please do post here.
You probably know all the basics anyway, but the main thing is letting them smell each other before you have face to face contact, and taking your time.
Even though both of mine moved in within a day or two of each other, I didn't let them see the other cat for several days, and tried to intermingle smells. I let them each into the others room, to let them get a good smell of the other cat (at the time I had to keep them both in their own single room because they hadn't been vaccinated or neutered/spayed), and brushed them both with the same brush.
Some cats will take to other cats rapidly, some will take longer. They may become best buds immediately, or they may not every really learn to do more than tolerate each other. It's a bit random from that perspective, not unlike people!
Kai and Zev mostly get on with each other, they'll fight in a sort of half-assed playfulish manner (no blood, and not too much fur lost), but won't curl up to sleep closer than a couple of feet apart, and normally with me between them. :)
Yes, I think letting them smell one another under the door will be the way to go. I think it will also be wise to keep the kitten(s) in the spare room and let Telstar have the run of the rest of the house for the first few weeks. After all, he'll still be establishing the new place as his own territory so I don't want him to be pushed out of his domain.
I think once they've been introduced, and the fur is no longer flying, you can let them socialise. I did this with Kai and Zev, and it seemed to work. So long as I was in the house, I generally let Zev wander about as well. The down side was that I had to block the cat flap so that there was no risk of Zev escaping, but consequently I had to manually let Kai in and out. I also sometimes plonked her back in her room, when she was getting a bit much for Kai, and he was unable to escape her, because the cat flap had been blocked up by someone!
I'm so glad you're getting another kitty! Pets are always better off if they have a friend to play with. Are you going to stick with a space name? My vote is for TIROS - the first weather satellite or Soyuz if we're sticking with Russian names...
I think he might be getting two friends - they've asked if we'd be willing to take a pair. Yes, I'm pretty sure we'll stick with space-related names. Maybe launch vehicles - Ariane & Soyuz?
According to Clive its hit or miss. According to websites Cats like to be solitary and only tolerate littermates. However, our friends have had a brother and sister since kittenhood and they cannot stand each other and never could.
It must be heartbreaking to watch him pine. I assume he never saw his brother's body. My neighbour always let her other cats see the body before burying it.
This doesn't always work out though...A lady across the road called at H's to saw there was a cat passed away in her garden. H went to look and identified the fat ginger as her Marmaduke. She carried him home and laid him in a cardboard box in the living room for an hour as the other cats came in and 'noticed'. It was a little disconcerting when Marmaduke walked in and had a nose... H went and put a 'found' notice on some lampposts. Heaven knows what Marmaduke thought.!
Anyway introducing cats, that Feliway stuff is meant to help but just expect several games of 'cat chess' as they sort their rules and territory out.
No, he never saw Sputnik's body. I carried it through the house after I pulled him out of the hedge, but Telstar was at the top of the stairs and didn't see what I was doing. I do wonder if that was a mistake. :/
Telstar is quite a social cat, so I think he'll do better if he has someone (or two) to boss around (at least until the kitten(s) get bigger...). I don't think he likes being alone much. I'm thinking the kitten(s) will be in the spare room until they get all their shots/reproductive bits removed, so Telstar can sniff them under the door but the rest of the house will belong to him. I don't want him to feel pushed out of his own new territory so soon after moving.