Should I get a kitten with or for an older cat? It depends whether they get on and you often won’t know. When you use Google to search for ‘should i get a kitten with an older cat’ (the exact search term) you get a lot of Google suggestions which strongly indicate that people have a problem with their older cat getting on with a new kitten. Take a look:
This does not mean that getting a kitten for an older cat is automatically a bad idea. It might work. And there is a guilt element here. A lot of people who work hard are also cat guardians. They don’t like leaving their cat alone all day. They want to adopt another cat to keep their existing cat company.
I think it is a difficult decision as you can make things worse. And there is no easy answer. I also think that shelters should allow people to try out new cats for a week or more with the option to return if it goes wrong. Perhaps some of them do this. I believe that some cats can get on with others when you might think they are anti-social. It is a question of finding out, I feel.
Jackson Galaxy, the respected TV cat behaviourist celebrity is quite clear on this in his book Total Cat Mojo. I’ll quote:
…if you’ve got a double-digit cat at home, please don’t bring a kitten home…
That’s pretty conclusive. He says that it is usually a bad match. He’s actually referring to a double-digit female cat (10+) and whether she’d like to mother a kitten (not her kitten). He says that the older cat has different energy levels to the kitten. And when young kittens reach 6-months-of-age they ‘push buttons’ to ‘see what kind of response they get’. From the perspective of an older cat this is not the right button to push. She or he normally won’t be amused. Although it must depend on the individual cat’s character.
Also I have seen many dogs adore tiny kittens who’ve made dogs’ lives much more enjoyable. However, kittens want to play and lark around but when cats reach a certain age they want to take it easier and a kitten will interfere with this objective.
Humans sometimes project their own human attitudes and thoughts onto their cat. Senior female cats probably don’t want to mother a kitten. If a person wants to get a kitten for their older cat it is probably because the older cat is alone a lot and the person wants to liven up their lives and they can’t do it because they are out all day. The reason for getting a kitten may be partly to assuage the guilt of the adopter to be. Perhaps it is not a good idea to make a decision on this basis.
There is still the early morning and evening when a cat owner can play with their cat. Also Galaxy does advise that if possible adopt two cats or kittens from a shelter at the same time if they are known to be together and get along. This does take some of the burden of entertaining their cats from the owner.
Please share your experiences in a comment. The opinions and experience of others is important to me.
SOME MORE ON ADOPTION: