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Seeking advice on getting a third cat

Posted by sue36 (My Page) on
Thu, May 7, 09 at 0:22

As many of you know, I have two Ragdolls. My boy is 20 months and my girl is almost 1 year. I have been thinking about a third, but they are very expensive and I frankly can't afford it right now. Someone I know who also has Ragdolls contacted me today about a "rescue" (sort of) she knows of. The kitten was placed with his brother with a man who never had cats before and then decided he wasn't a cat person. He returned them to the breeder. They were placed separately. The "rescue" was placed with a couple and the woman has developed health problems and the husband doesn't want the burden of the cat any more. He is less than a year old, 8 or 9 months I think. We would be his third home in one year. So sad! I am interested, but am wondering what I need to be concerned about. If he is an "alpha" (bossy) personality I may have to say no. My boy cat is the well established boss and my girl is relatively shy (well, shy compared to Mr. Bossy). My two kitties love each other and accepted each other instantly. But they were younger (he was under a year and she was 12 weeks). I would probably introduce this kitty slowly (keep him in the den when we aren't home so Mr. Bossy doesn't beat the crap out of him, and keep them separated at night with DH with the kitten and me with the current two or vice versa).

What do you think? I know many of you have 3 or more, what do I need to watch out for?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

The biggest red flag your post threw up for me was in your second sentence where you stated that you can't afford a third cat right now. Even if you acquire this kitten for free, what happens if one, two, or all three of your felines then require emergency veterinary care? Will you be able to provide it? If not, whose health will you have to sacrifice?

There's a lot more potential financial investment to consider here than just the price of purchase (or lack thereof). If you don't have a substantial vet account set aside for medical emergencies - enough to safeguard three cats in medical crisis - then you should seriously reconsider adopting a third cat right now.

Laurie


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

I think she meant she can't afford to purchase a Ragdoll from a breeder.

I think cats are relatively cheap to own (compared to dogs) -- if they are kept inside and fed good food, veterinary care is pretty minimal.

If you don't mind all that litter box maintenance and can afford decent food, I say give it a try!


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

I know what she meant, but I am also extremely aware of the cost of veterinary care when it goes beyond the routine. If she adopts this kitten, she will have two male felines, either or both of whom have the potential to develop urinary blockages at some time in their lives, regardless of the diet they are fed. Blockages can cost anywhere from $400-1500, depending on the vet care involved. Then there are abscessed wounds if the cats don't get along, and diabetes if they become obese, and hyperthyroidism if they are fed canned food throughout their lifetimes, and CRF if their kidneys get old enough to fail. UTI's, herpes flare-ups, regular dentals, cancers, IBD, allergies, etc., etc., etc.

It is unreaslistic to count on perfect health in one's animals 100% of the time. A responsible owner prepares for the unexpected, and that includes making sure that sufficient finances are available to provide emergiency vet care if and when it becomes necessary. If the OP can't afford the purchase price of a third cat, it's not much of a stretch to assume that she also doesn't have a lot of extra cash sitting around for emergency vet visits. Her first obligation is to her current cats and their routine AND potential emergency care.

Laurie


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

We recently added a third cat (a stray kitten that was abandoned here) and it has taken a full 8 weeks for the other two cats to accept her. They do now and are starting to teach her the ropes of being outdoors. I'm especially interested in her getting used to relieving herself outside because I really dislike the litter box duty!

I realize there are dangers to being outdoors most of the time, but we love them and know they would be miserable being inside all the time.


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

If you do decide to bring home this kitten, I can tell you from LOTS of personal experience that it's generally easier to integrate a new female than a new male, esp. if the resident male is a dominant personality. Males do, however, often get along better if both males were neutered before reaching sexual maturity (before 6 mos). Once that testosterone kicks in and a male lives with it for a while, the behavioral affects don't tend to disappear after neutering. If your resident male and this adoptable kitten were both neutered before 6 mos of age, you have a better chance of them learning to live peacefully together.

Another consideration that you already mentioned is personality types. Your resident male is apparently a dominant type. If the kitten is submissive, you'll be setting him up to be the victim to your male bully. If the kitten is dominant, you may end up with two combatants waging war in your household. If the kitten is self-assured and passive without being submissive, things might work out just fine. If you contact the kitten's breeder, (s)he should be able to tell you his personality type.

Laurie


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

I can afford to take care of them. I make 6 figures, but I took a big pay cut due to a job change so I can't justify spending another $700 on a cat right now when I could wait a year or so when things will be better. If one got sick that takes priority over everything. My cats are treated very, very well.

I really want another male rather than a female. Even if I got one from a breeder I would get a male. They are just friendlier. I've had both, and the males have always been the friendlier cats.

I expect a longer integration than I had with the first two (which took 2 hours total). I actually expect my girl to have more of a problem with it than my boy. To clarify, he is bossy but not a bully. Even though she was tiny and he was almost 17 pounds he never abused her at all. But he does bump her off her food if he finishes first. So I watch them and make sure she always gets her share.

My male was fixed at 10 weeks and I believe this kitten was also. That is one of the questions I have for the person who has he kitten.

I am waiting to hear from the person with the kitten to learn more. I'll update here as I do.


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

Good luck sue36.

I would like to know what is so special about Ragdolls -- other than they are soft and beautiful? Are their personalities that different?

I think it would be scary if the local Humane Society started demand you have $1,000 in the bank and only feed Wellness before they adopt out a cat. When I look at Petfinder in my local area there are soooo many pages of cats my heart breaks.

I think the number one criteria out to be -- do you agree that this cat will be an indoor-only pet??? That right there cuts down on the likelihood of high vet costs.


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

It's good to know that you have the financial means to take care of three cats. It's also very good that the two males were neutered early. Since you asked what to watch out for, I'll tell you that males often respond entirely differently to females than to other males. If your boy is bossy with your girl, there's a strong possibility that he may be physically aggressive with another male. I live with a houseful of cats, males and females, early neuters and late neuters, bullies and victims. None of my males - not even the late neutered ones - are aggressive toward the females, but several of them are highly aggressive toward each other. This is something for you to watch out for, given your boy's bossy behavior even with his female housemate.

Laurie


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

Thanks for the tip Laurie. I've never had two males (only male and female). One thing in my favor is that my boy aims to please. He is generally obedient (unlike the girl who just looks at you when you say "no"), so I expect he could learn to play nice.

What is special about Ragdolls? Well, I think a lot of cats are special. But I had a Persian who was a floppy, lovey cat and Ragdolls are known for having that personality that is why I got my first one. It's no guarantee, but a more common personality with them it seems. They are "people-cats", they like their people, their people's friends, cable installers, police officers (long story). They also tend to stay grounded, no climbing the drapes. The fur is supposed to be non-matting which I will say is NOT true. It doesn't mat like Persian/Himmy fur does, but it will mat a little. The biggest drawback is their fur seems to have a quality that makes it stick to many materials. It's almost like shredded cotton balls. I go through a lot of lint rollers.

My cats are indoor only. I would never let them out. They are big, white fluffy targets for the owls, eagles, hawks and coyotes here (not to mentions dogs, cars, etc.).


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

Hi Sue, I bet those are handsome fellas! Several years ago we adopted a third cat from an elderly friend who was no longer able to care for him. Everyone warned us about him being the odd guy out.....but we did it anyway, never had a problem.

Then 18 months ago we were again looking for a kitten, ours are Maine Coons, and instead of one ended up with 2. We were told that our resident cat might feel left out and develop all sorts of personality issues. Never happened, except the resident (2 y.o. when we adopted the boys) became a heck of a lot more active! They are all buddies, and are all boys. Talk about rocking and rolling....when the cats are on a tear the whole house rocks!! LOL!


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

We have had always 2 or 3 cats in various combination. Right now we have 2 males and 1 female. Until last fall we had a male and a female. The girl was the dominant one and they got along great. We added a young, stray boy to the mix. He immediately decided that he wants to be the boss. Our first male is still on the low end of the totem pole, but now he has 2 bosses. The female is not giving up her top position and there are frequent spats. Nothing serious, sometimes they sleep pretty close together and all three will lounge on the bed together.


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RE: Seeking advice on getting a third cat

Well, it looks like I likely won't be getting the the kitten. The breeder (who took the kitten back) learned that a person who has this kitten's brother wants another one, and she learned about that before she learned about me (a friend of mine, who has numerous Rags, has a kitten from this breeder, that is how I learned about it). Oh well. I feel so rejected!

But I realize now I really want a third. I may approach the breeder of my cats about getting one. DH said three is the limit! He knows I'd end up with 5 or so if allowed...


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