Calling cat/animal lovers. I want to hear your experiences and opinions (LONG)

It’s way to soon for either one of us (Rico or me) to consider adding another member to our family, but at the same time, our son Duffy is miserable. Getting him a playmate this soon seems like it would be wrong too. He needs time to grieve the death of his sister.

Although it’s painful, it seems like one of the things I can do for our son is to begin the research phase of finding his next sibling. I’ve never adopted before based on specific personalities or traits so this is foreign to me. I’ve always adopted because the kitten/cat (other species) felt “right” and needed a home.

We have no intention whatsoever to go to a breeder or cattery for our next “child” (*we ****are not ***looking for a purebred but as we comb through the shelters we want to know what types of breed mixes we should be looking for. I can’t imagine allowing someone to be put down that we could have given a good home.

Duffy is part brown tabby and part ocicat. His personality is totally ocicat so we need to find someone for him that will meet his needs. From the day I brought him home, he tried to get Shae to play with him. Here is the “official” description of an ocicat’s temperament

Not lap cats, but are still friendly and affectionate.
Active, and they love to play. Require much exercise.
Intelligent and easy to train.
Good with children, other cats, and some dogs

Things that we are thinking:

  1. I need a cat that can be a lap cat too. Or more specifically, I need someone who will at least sleep with me.
  2. Need a cat who is active and playful who will keep up with Duffy and be happy to play with him.
  3. We think we need to get a female so it won’t be a cat that will challenge Duffy in his role of alpha. If that is an incorrect assumption on our part, please tell me.
  4. We are also thinking that if we get an intelligent cat, that cat will be more likely to challenge Duffy for alpha.
  5. Duffy will be 2 yrs. old in July so we are thinking we need a kitten that is between 2-4 months old so they will not have started developing the concept of being alpha.

If any of our assumptions are incorrect, please straighten us out.

I’d like to hear all of your ideas and thoughts about what we are thinking.

And everyone’s experiences in adding another cat to the family, especially following the death of a “sibling” that the cat was very attached to.

Duffy is acting depressed, isolating himself, is uncharacteristically jumpy, doesn’t come running when Daddy gets home like he always has before. He will snuggle for a little while when he’ll let one of us pick him up and even give us some purrs, but the rest of his normal daily behavior is altered. He spends most of his time in the condo by himself. When we try to get him to play with his fishing pole, he walks away. He’s turned up his nose at catnip, he’s not interested in treats, doesn’t want to go in the bedroom where Shae spent the last part of her life, etc.

Oh, another question, when will we know it’s time to get him a companion? I totally messed it up when I got Duffy for Shae so I want to be better educated this time.

I looked at a list of breeds and their temperaments and here are the ones I picked out as possibilities:
[li]Abyssinian []American Shorthair []Balinese []Burmese. []California Spangled Cat []Egyptian Mau []Maine Coon Cat[/li][li]Ocicat []Scottish Fold []Siamese []Somali []Tonkinese[/li][/ul]

I can’t help too much with this I’m afraid as I’ve never chosen a cat so much as had them present themselves. But my last presentee was a female kitten about six weeks old. I’d only had males up to then, as many as three at a time, and a couple of them had some territoriality/aggression issues. I thought that adding a female would be much easier-none of that competitive instinct to deal with.
She took complete command of the household before she was six months old. Fortunately the males fell right in line with little objection. Cats. Go figure.

Whenever I’ve added a cat to an already existing social structure I’ve gone slowly to let them get used to each other and they’ve always seemed to work it out amongst themselves.

Good luck.

I wish I knew the name of the breed, but I’ve never been quite able to figure it out. But my oldest, Kit, is one of the most loving, well-tempered, sweetest kitties ever. And I’ve known some other cats that looked like they were the same breed, and they’ve been the same. I got Kit when he was about a year old, and I always thought that he would have been the most adorable kitten ever.

But here’s what he looks like:

Dark Grey all over
Fairly large (not fat, just sort of big for a cat)
Very… ohh… darn it, I don’t know how to describe it and I don’t have any pictures I can link to. He has a very “regal” look about him, I’m not sure how to describe it. You know those egyptian cat statues? He sort of looks like one of them.

He is the most loving, considerate kitty ever. You know how lots of cats just love to wake you up at the crack of dawn to get you to feed them? Kit would lie down patiently on my bed, and never try to wake me up unless my alarm went off or the phone rang - and then all he did was nudge me a little with his nose. He LOVES to be held, petted, scratched, etc.

As far as male/female goes, I think if you get a kitten, as opposed to a full-grown cat, this might not be as much of an issue.

When I adopted Kit’s younger brother, he was pissy about it for the first day or two, and then he acted like Zippy was his own son. They still like to beat up on each other (all in good fun, it’s what brothers do, after all), but I’m pretty sure Zippy knows Kit is the king of the hill around here.

But, like you mentioned, I’ve never actually gone out looking for a particular type of cat. When I went to adopt both Kit and Zippy, I simply walked into the room at the ASPCA, and just “knew” they were right.

Russian Blue, perhaps?

cadolphin, I’m sort of confused by your OP. You say you don’t want a pure bred, but you’re researching pure breds. Most of the cats you’re going to find at a shelter won’t have any identifiable breed characteristics; they’re “just cats”. You might “luck out”, and find one that is pure bred (or almost pure), but most of them will be at least 1/4 American Shorthair, just because that’s the most common breed. And, American Shorthairs are great cats, so that isn’t a bad thing. They tend to be very friendly and people oriented.

I think you’re probably overanalyzing this. You should probably just look for a cat the shelter operators can verify gets along well with other cats, is NOT alpha, and is friendly. Spend some time with the cat, and learn what his/her personality is like.

In my experience, male/female is not really an issue. I’ve had dominant females and submissive males. It’s a personality issue, more than a gender issue. I don’t think age or intelligence is a reliable guide, either. I would actually recommend a yearling or two year old, so that, if Duffy gets territorial, the newcomer is big enough to defend him/her self. And, the Siamese cats I’ve had have shown no more interest in being alpha than any other cats, though they were fiendishly intelligent.

I am not a vet, and I am only going on experience here. I’ve owned a total of eight cats in my life–all but two have been introduced to others (those two are brothers), and all have got along just fine.

First of all, I have to wonder–why a breed? Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting a particular breed, but if you’re looking for a pet, and simply a companion for Duffy, I wonder if you’re inadvertently neglecting some great cats who might fit the bill, but who are nevertheless, Just Plain Cats.

Our current four are Just Plain Cats, from a farmer friend’s barn. Nothing special, and they will never win any prizes unless “Barn Cat” ever becomes a classification in the cat show world. But they are healthy and happy, and (as my wife says), all the genetic-inbreeding-weirdness has been bred out of them, leaving some pleasant but unique personalities behind. And I can see where any of ours would fulfil your requirements–they like to play, to sleep up on the bed with us, and so on.

But if I can also ask–why are you worried about cats being “alpha”? With Duffy being only two, it shouldn’t really be a worry, if my experience is anything to go by.

Any time I’ve introduced a kitten to an older cat, even an older cat who has lost a longtime feline friend, the pattern is the same: as soon as the new kitten comes in, the older cat hisses and spits and makes it known that he/she hates the kitten. This lasts about a week. A grudging cooperation develops after that–sort of, “Well, you’re not going away, so I guess you can share the food bowls and the litter box.” About a week after that, they’re friends, sharing toys and play-wrestling on the carpet, and thinking up new ways to prove that they own you instead of the other way around.

As dwyr says, they’ll sort themselves out. If my experience is anything to go by (and you’re free to discount it if you like), at his age, Duffy may not welcome a kitten of any breed immediately, but he will eventually grow to at least get along with it. They will figure out between themselves who the “alpha” is, and how they will deal with the situation.

At any rate, good luck!

Well, a suggestion. The last time I adopted a cat from a shelter I already had one other cat. When I went to the shelter I asked the woman to point out cats that got along well with other cats. She did and I picked out a beautiful white long hair that I named Moose.

Anyway, once my two kittens met there was the usual hissing, meowing and steely glares between them. That lasted about 3 days and then they became best buds.


Maine Coons are wonderful pets, and pass all of your requirements with flying colors. Males are your best bet, females tend to be unpredictable from my experience. Also, if you really want good qualities in a cat, consider adopting one that is over 8 months old - the reason I say this is because a cat’s personality seems to be pretty much determined by then. Kittens are cute, but you never now if they’ll turn into a monster 6 months down the road (no matter how you treat them, I think a lot of it has to do with genetics).

  1. I have so far found that most cats will do this if you encourage them into it early enough. :slight_smile:
  2. When you choose your cat, take a good look at it. If it’s fat, rather than stocky, or thin but has a pot belly, then it’s probably not as active as you’re looking for.
  3. My experience is that female cats automatically want to rule the household. This isn’t a huge problem if they’re fixed or if you only have one female cat, as I’ve noticed most male cats don’t get into the same sort of one-upmanship with females. That being said, we have three male cats, just introduced one of them a month and a half ago, and the only problems are being caused by the unfixed one of the trio (one of our original pair).
  4. But if you don’t get an intelligent cat, you’ll be forever pulling him off counters, out of the toilet, down from trees, etc. Clever cats are hard to train, but dumb cats are impossible (one of our cats is totally untrainable, because he’s really just not that bright. The other two are about as you’d expect from cats: difficult, but persistence pays).
  5. YMMV on this one, but: We introduced a two-year-old male fixed cat to a household already containing one two-year-old fixed male and one slightly-less-than-a-year-old unfixed male kitten. The two older cats get along perfectly, and double-team me in the mornings by pinning me in bed. :slight_smile: The kitten constantly attacks the newcomer and has started spraying. The thing is (which is why YMMV), I’m not sure if this is the age factor or the unfixed factor. At any rate, I’m sure you know to get your cats fixed as soon as possible, which will ease the process all round once the testoterone stops racing. :smiley:

I own a Burmese, and I can reliably say that my burmese, and every burmese i have ever met, fits all your criteria.

So any part-Burmese cat would probably be a pretty good bet.

As for when to get a new cat: Cats grieve, but not in the same way as humans. IMHO, as soon as you feel ready to love and cherish a new cat, get one. Your resident cat will adapt, as long as there is enough attention for both him and the newcomer. However, if you’re not emotionally ready for the new cat, it will pick up on this and it could be destructive.

Another vote for a male Maine Coon. Every Maine Coon I’ve met had a wonderful personality.

First, experiences: I’ve had to get companion cats for my Siamese twice. First, her littermate died at a very early age (3), and then our Abyssian replacement cat died at an early age (6), both from congenital diseases. My Siamese (now 17 years old), is a very needy cat (my husband and I call her “the love sponge”) and was miserably depressed when she was alone. She wouldn’t leave us alone for a minute and cried all the time. The Aby was a wonderful cat, but if you get one, be prepared–they are little lunatics. They get into everything and love to play (especially at 3 in the morning). My Siamese loved him. They slept curled up together. She played with him all the time.

When he died, we got a shelter cat, a male domestic shorthair tuxedo cat. They told us that he loved to be involved in everything, was very playful and affectionate (he walked up to my husband and threw himself onto his back for tummy rubs first thing). My Siamese hated him–she wouldn’t let him on our bed or anything else for that matter. After a while, he got tired of that and started dominating her and that was pretty bad too. Then suddenly, she went back to being top cat. Oddly enough, I think it’s old age–she just decided she was too old for his nonsense. Now they love each other like mad, play together, sleep together, and playfight sometimes.

My advice would be to get a cat (not necessarily a purebreed) who’s affectionate and playful, one that you really like, and carefully introduce them. If you want a purebreed, I vote for Abys and Siamese. I think Maine Coons are the prettiest cats ever, but I’ve never had one so I can’t vouch for personality.

I’m sorry I didn’t word myself correctly. We’re not looking for a purebred. We will be adopting from a shelter, but when looking through shelters, they do identify their cats by what breed and breed mixes they are.

I listed the breeds we were researching because we want to get a sibling for Duffy that will have the genetic background to be playful and energetic enough to keep up with Duffy.

Duffy came from a shelter and is part tabby (which is a common breed) and part ocicat (which is a new breed … developed in the mid 1960, therefore a rare breed).

Thank you for your input about the breeds you are familiar with and your experiences in adopting. And for straightening me out on age, gender, etc.

We will go to the shelters asking the workers the questions you have suggested and not be so concerned about age or gender.

Of course, we will look for healthy. I’m familiar with looking for that. We’ll ask the questions you’ve suggested about their personalities.

We wanted to make sure that Duffy would remain alpha since that’s the role he likes, but you’ve opened my mind. There’s no way to guarantee that. They will work that out. I have this picture in my mind where the two will forever be vying for alpha of the week.


Thank you tons,


10.5 years ago, six months after Mercedes died, my cat Little Guy was getting very lonely and sad, so I decided to get another cat to keep him company.

I went to the local Animal Humane Society. Walked through the rooms a bit, checking out some cats, deciding on some candidates.

In the fourth big cat room, as I walked around the room looking at all the different cats in there, a cat who was standing about shoulder height on the central “spiral staircase” pole jumped onto my shoulders, wrapped her body and tail around my head and howled at me.

I took her home. Bert - as in one half of ‘Bert and Ernie’ (both of which were female - family with young kids had them) became Bertie. The most affectionate female cat I have ever met.

When I got home, I set her box in the middle of the room, leaving her in it for a good half hour. Little Guy walked around and sniffed a lot. She hissed at him. I was worried that it wouldn’t work out. I let her out. They went nose to nose. They hissed at each other and backed off.

That was late afternoon. By 8pm, they were curled up on the chair, sleeping together. They’ve been best buds ever since, even with the addition of four other cats (my wifes) to our family.

My advice would be to have Duffy’s smell all over you when you go to check out new cats. If they don’t like you, it may be because of Duffy. If they like you, smelling Duffy, then you may have a better shot.

My boyfriend’s family own three Siamese cats and they are the most loving, friendly cats you’ll ever meet. However, two of them were bought from pet stores and now have asthma and eyes that occasionally get gunk in them. The one that was bought from a breeder is still beautiful, healthy and glossy.

They’re always quick to jump on your lap, but when they’re in the mood can also be quite active and playful. My boyfriend’s favourite cat always comes to greet him at the door, and will always come for cuddles and chin-strokes. They’re all very intelligent cats, and sometimes this results in what I call civil disobedience - sitting on the table or peeing on the curtain when they haven’t had enough attention. But this could be because they are completely and utterly spoilt. :slight_smile: If you don’t want a loud cat, then definitely definitely definitely don’t get a Siamese. When they’re hungry or bored they will let you know.

Have you tried the Devon Rex? They seem to fit your criteria and are considered low-allergy cats, which is a bonus if any of your guests get irritated by cat fur.