For those of you who have never read my bio, I am the happy owner of three adorable cats: Phoebe, Jay Jay, and Calvin. However, this wasn’t always the case. For a long time, I was the happy owner of two cats, and no one thought we were going to get a third. So, this is the story of how we found Calvin and how we made sure he was the perfect fit for our home for those of you looking to bring a new kitten into a home with older, territorial (read: set in their ways and stubborn) cats.
The decision to get a third cat came by accident. Phoebe and Jay Jay were happy little four-year-olds living life to the laziest extent. The pair was already comfortable when we adopted them, since they came from the same shelter and had been living in isolation together for the first few weeks of their lives. We brought Phoebe home on New Years Eve, and Jay Jay joined a few days later after he got caught up on his shots (since he is a few weeks younger than Phoebe). The two explored and bounded around our house, and soon, had their own designated routines.
After about four years, my brother’s friend’s cat had kittens. Upon one glance, my mom was sold and started planning financially to bring a third cat into our home. For one reason or another though, fate didn’t want us to have the kitten we selected from the litter, and we ended up ready for a cat that was never going to come home with us (I’m sure he is happily living in another home, with another loving family). All the same, we were so devastated since we had wanted a new kitten so badly after seeing them.
So we started looking. We looked and looked and looked. I scoured through petfinder.com day after day, looking for a little kitten who would fit into our home. Finally, we came across a little white kitten with different colored eyes, and we thought, this cat is the one. My mom got in the car and drove an hour and a half to bring home the kitten from a little place called “It’s All About The Animals.” This shelter is a cageless shelter, which isn’t like your typical way to adopt. Roaming around one large room are tens upon tens of cats. All ages represented from newborn kittens to geriatric, gentle giants. When she got there though, the kitten had already been adopted, and again, our hearts were shattered. However, when at a cageless shelter, the only proper thing to do is play with all the cats anyway.
The woman who was working at the time went over and moved the refrigerator in the corner, and out came twenty or so kittens pouring out from their hiding space. One little tan bean walked himself right over to my mom, jumped into her arms, and the rest is history. My mom put down the deposit on Calvin, then Smoochie Face, and we drove back a week later to pick him up and bring him home.
Calvin cheered the whole way home, meowing bursts of happiness as loud as he could every 5-10 seconds. We told him all about his brother and sister and how much they were going to love him, just like we did.
But we were very wrong.
First of all, there is no greater disruption to a cat’s routine than adding another cat into it, that had not ever been a part of the routine. While we thought the pair would be excited to have a new little brother to play with, we quickly learned that this was not the case.
Through a barrage of hisses and cries, we pulled Calvin to our home office to keep him safe. Calvin, a confused little bean, didn’t know why his new siblings hated him, and he really didn’t care. Jay Jay and Phoebe on the other hand, cared greatly that there was an intruder in their home. As we learned after, placing Calvin into the living room for them to meet was not the best method. If you are planning on integrating your new cat with existing animals, you should always set up a designated space for the new animal to stay confined while the existing pets get used to your new furry friend’s scent. Then, you gradually ease into letting them meet face to face.
It’s a good thing Calvin was a good sport about being hated by his siblings; if he hadn’t been, there might have been a large scale bloodbath with poor Calvin in the middle. What I can say though is that every cat needs their own time to adjust to their new companion. After a few days, Phoebe (a cat who is very loving, but only from a distance) had decided that she was going to tolerate him, and even stepped in to protect him from his bully older brother Jay Jay.
Jay Jay, my sweetheart, took a lot longer to adjust to Calvin, and there were many instances where Phoebe (who took to following Calvin everywhere he went for days) had to step in to defend their little kitten brother. After about two weeks though, Jay Jay realized that Calvin was here for the long term, and decided to tolerate him as well.
Four years later, and I am happy to report that the three lovebugs are all very happy to have each other. Phoebe loves that no one bothers her to play anymore (she is incredibly lazy and only cares about eating), and the brothers love that they have someone to play with all the time. The brothers are best friends, despite Jay Jay’s original hesitancy to like Calvin, and they are often caught snuggling all around the house.
If you are looking to integrate another furry friend into your home, make sure to do your research because integrating the wrong way doesn’t always work out for the best. If you are looking on tips to integrate your furry friends, you can check out cat expert Jackson Galaxy’s page for a comprehensive to-do list. Also, make sure that the cat you are planning to bring into your home will be good for your other cats. Some animals don’t integrate well with other cats because of their personalities, so make sure to check the listings and filter them to cats who will be good with your current living situation. You can usually filter your home situations to “with other cats,” “With young kids,” and “with dogs.” Filtering this will make sure the pet you are bringing home will be the best possible match to the furry friends who already live with you!
Wishing you the best of luck bringing another animal into their forever home!