Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear Butterbean: Does Fidel Need a Buddy?


Dear Butterbean,

I am a ten year old tabby. I'm friendly with other cats in the neighbourhood, and often invite them home, but I've always been an only cat. My human is thinking about getting a kitten from a shelter to keep me company. What do you think? Will it work out for us? I'm worried a new kitten will disrupt my strict schedule of yelling, eating, dashing unexpectedly about the house for a few minutes and then sleeping, which I repeat several times a day. What do you think?

Thank you for your advice,
Best wishes,


Dear Fidel,

I believe that if introductions are made gradually, thoughtfully, and with great sensitivity to all parties involved, bringing a kitten into a home with an active ten-year-old cat like yourself,  can work.  We've placed many of our foster kittens in homes with adult cats, and have seen many successful mergers.    

It will be big change for you, and yes, it could be a little disruptive at first. There may be a few tense days (or weeks), but your human will help you through the adjustment. Just keep an open mind and trust that your human is expanding the family with your best interest in mind. You might find that you'll become an even happier cat.  Maybe you won't feel the need to yell or dash outside if you have a little buddy to keep you entertained indoors.

If your human decides to adopt a kitty, make sure they take time with this process. It's good for your human to visit many shelters and rescues,  talk with the "cat matchmakers" on staff, tell them about you and your personality,  and let the staff guide your human towards a good choice.   Generally, a younger cat of the opposite sex is the best match.  Has your human considered adopting a young adult cat?

With all of that said, I'm not suggesting that your human should or should not adopt a kitten or cat, I'm just saying we've seen success in similar situations.  Only you and your human know what's best for all of you.  Just give it some deep thought, consider all the factors,  and take your time when making this life-changing decision.

Good luck to you both!

All my best, Butterbean


  1. Please ask Fidel's humans to also talk to their vet about personalities that might work best for him.Having adopted kittens and adults as companions, the personality is key. And a slloooww

  2. Dear Fidel: ask your human to name the kitten Raul.

  3. Excellent advice, the excellence of which does not surprise me one bit.

  4. If your human takes in an adult kitty find out if he or she has been with other kitties before. We tried taking in an adult who spent all her life being an only kitty. She wasn't happy and never fit in. Fortunately we found the perfect home for her where she can rule solo and has a Mom who adores her.

  5. Fidel's human here. Thank you so much, Butterbean, for your helpful advice. We're still thinking about it. I'll let you know how we go!

  6. I have wondered if an older cat would do better with 2 kittens instead of 1 so that the kittens could wrestle each other when the older cat wanted a nap.... or is adding 2 kittens double trouble?

    1. My mom added two kittens while she still had an 18-year-old cat (and I was living there with my 7-year-old cat). The older cats barely batted an eyelash, because the kittens were so busy wrestling and running up and down the stairs together. It worked really, really well. Kittens in pairs really are a fantastic solution!

  7. My parents got 2 kittens to keep our older adult company but it didn't really work. The kittens ganged up on the adult and she never really liked them. If Fidel is as active as you say, one kitten should be enough. However when Fidel is older the younger cat won't have anyone to play with.

  8. I adopted a crazy little dude named Harley when my Millie was nine years old. She had been my only cat all those years, but we had lived with my parents and their various cats at times, so she knew how to get along with older cats and even tiny kittens.

    As Charlene said, the key is a slow introduction. The newbie should be confined to its own small room for a while, and only come out on supervised visits, allowing Fidel to maintain his "King of the House" status as everyone gets to know each other.

  9. I had a 15-year old kitty and I adopted a kitten. I kept them apart and tried to slowly introduce them, but the kitten was too playful and my older/timid cat felt bullied. Then I got another kitten for the first one, and that was better [for the kittens], but then they BOTH ganged up on the older kitty. Now the youngsters are full-grown, and one of them definitely picks on the oldster. Sigh. I love them all, and most of the time the young ones leave him alone, so that's where we stand. Be very careful about the personality of the new cat or kitten. At least if you adopt an older cat, its personality will be more fully formed (thus making the choice of cat easier).

  10. Bean is so thoughtfull! I hope everything turns out for the best for Fidel and his human.

  11. What a wise kitty Charlene Butterbean is!!!



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