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Thread: New cat anxiety

  1. #1
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    New cat anxiety

    I can't post anything about this on the forum where I hang out more regularly, 'cause my husband is on it too. I'm getting yet another cat as a surprise for his birthday, and I'm kind of freaking out about whether I'm doing the right thing (it's too late to back out now).

    The backstory:
    Last week, my husband and the cast of his play found a lost kitten outside after a rehearsal. None of the others could take her, so he called me, and of course (sucker for the little critters that I am) I immediately said "bring her home."

    He brought her home, she ran away from him as he was getting out of the car, he was nearly in tears thinking he'd done more harm than good, we set out some food, and around midnight she came back around and I brought her inside. She spent the night in our bathroom while our other three cats freaked out about this stranger in their house.

    The next day he took her to a shelter, and has been heartbroken ever since about having to give the kitty up. He feels guilty about giving her a warm place to stay and then dumping her at a big scary shelter with cages and dogs barking. She officially went up for adoption yesterday, and first thing in the morning I went and adopted her. She has to get spayed now, so I'm picking her up tomorrow afternoon.

    I'm terrible at keeping secrets, and it's driving me nuts not being able to say anything about this to him. I think that's where most of my anxiety is coming from. That, and the idea that having FOUR CATS has now put me over the line into Crazy Cat Person territory.

    But as I said, it's a done deal, so now what I need to do is make sure the adjustment is as easy as possible on all the kitties. We didn't do a very good job of that last year when we got the third cat (we'd had the first two for many years already). She's huge and bullies the other cats, and we don't want her getting murderous on the new kitty too. This time I'm going to follow the instructions better on "introducing a new cat", but any other suggestions or advice would be helpful.

    Oh yeah, and here's a picture of her from when she stayed overnight in our bathroom. She's blurry because she wouldn't stop moving. Who could resist that face?

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  3. #2
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    That kitty is so cute! It sounds like he really cares about this cat, so it should be a good thing.

    I don't think that 4 cats is too many. It's only too many when you are embarassed to admit how many you have or if you tread into double digits territory.

    I don't have any introduction advice, but would love some too because we are getting another cat too.

  4. #3
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    Katrin,

    You are the best wife ever, seriously! This is such an awesome story, I can't wait to hear about your husband's response - he will be so surprised!!! You are so thoughtful.

    I only have 2 cats, but when I introduced the 2nd one I had plenty of problems. My first kitty (a girl named Chutney) hated my new kitty (a boy named Niles) and she was significantly larger than him at the time. I think she was literally trying to kill him because she would bite on his neck until he shrieked. But now they are both very happy cats and love each other very much.

    First off, separation is key. Keep the little one in the bathroom for a couple days or in a small room until she gets used to you and the new smells. Let the other cats have their normal run of the house. Make sure that their routines are affected as little as possible.

    Pay attention to the new kitty, but also, pay lots of attention to the other 3 cats. They will feel a little jealous and rejected at first. Maybe buy them some special treats or catnip, or new toys. You are lucky that you have two humans to handle the situation, this way both you and your husband can be entertaining both parties simultaneously.

    It will probably take about a week and a half for all the cats to become acclimated to each other, but it will happen. Donít worry, just be patient.

    Best of Luck, and let us know how your husband reacts!

  5. #4
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    A week or so later...

    My husband was so surprised, and he absolutely loves the kitty (so do I). Our other cats, even the big bully girl, are doing remarkably well adjusting to her. We named her Lenore (after the poem), 'cause the show my husband is doing now is readings from Poe. We weren't crazy about the name but figured it fit, and we couldn't think of anything better. I've taken to calling her Lenny, and that'll probably stick.

    She seems to have picked up a little upper-respiratory infection in the shelter - she's been sneezing a lot the last few days. I took her to the vet this afternoon, and they said it's a common occurrence. We're relieved to know she'll get over it and be fine.

    This morning I woke up with her wedged in between my husband and me, all soft and purry. She is such a little sweetheart.

  6. #5
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    What a great story!

    I always want to bring home cats that need help, but I have a cat that actually WILL kill a newcomer. I love him and he loves me, but anyone else is fair game. When kids come over, he has to be locked up or he stalks and attacks. What a charmer, eh?

    Good thing there are people like you who have normal cats and don't mind having more!

  7. #6
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    What a wonderful, wonderful story. It really makes me so happy to hear it.

    And that kitty is just too precious. Those eyes!!

    And BTW, you are not in Crazy Cat Person territory with four cats! What matters is the ratio of cats to people in your household, which in your case is only two to one, so you're fine :)

  8. #7
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    Update: One of our other cats died today.

    Floyd was about 11 years old, and my husband had had him since he was a kitten. We'd kind of suspected he wasn't in good health lately, because he'd lost quite a bit of weight over the last year or so. Other than the occasional barfing (what cat doesn't barf) and diarrhea (we figured it was from something he ate), he seemed to be feeling fine, but I took him for a checkup about a month ago to make sure. They did a full round of bloodwork on him and said everything looked okay.

    First thing when I got up today, I stepped in cat barf. I could tell it was Floyd's from the color of the hairball in it (ewww). I saw him throwing up a little after that too, but I just cleaned it up and left for work. My husband called me at work a few hours later, saying he'd found Floyd lying unconscious in vomit and diarrhea, and had rushed him to the vet. I was leaving work soon anyway, so I headed over there (dressed in my stupid outfit that nobody knew was supposed to be a Halloween costume).

    When I got there, Floyd was still unconscious, eyes open but not seeing anything, lying on a heating pad and hooked up to an IV. His temperature was very low and they couldn't get him to warm up. Bloodwork today showed abnormal levels of some chemicals, but no definite answer of what was wrong - they only ruled out all the big contagious diseases, which is good news for our other cats. The most likely diagnosis was a certain type of cancer.

    We discussed taking him to an internal medicine specialist to get a proper diagnosis, but his condition ended up deteriorating too quickly. His heart and breathing stopped a couple of times, and my husband arrived just in time to give permission to put him down when it was obvious he wouldn't get any better.

    We feel fortunate that at least his passing was relatively quick - even late last night he was jumping up on the table, begging for food and seemingly feeling fine. We're also grateful that someone was still home to find him this morning and bring him in. I don't think either of us would ever have gotten over coming home to find a dead cat.

    The house is quiet tonight. I like to think the other cats understand what's going on. So we're back to three. The new kitty had a trip to the vet herself later today when she showed signs of ear mites or something similar - after all that went on earlier, we wanted to take care of any problem as quickly as possible. And now I'm gladder than ever that I decided to adopt her.

  9. #8
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    Big sad missing kitty hugs to you, but isn't it nice how your new munchkin came into your life right when you need a bundle of energy to divert your grief?

    The other kitties definitely know and understand what's going on, they've probably known he was sick for a while, I really think they're so smart and in tune with things.

    And now I'm gonna stop before you guys get convinced I'm high or something, really, it's just insomnia...

  10. #9
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    man, sucks bout your cat, but the kitten came at a good time huh.

  11. #10
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    (((HUGS))) about dear Floyd. :,(

    Lenore is absolutely adorable...I hope she and your other two kitties are dealing okay with the loss of their big brother. (And you and your hubby, too, of course! ;))


 

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