Second Chance: Social (or Not) Life Of A Cats, Part 2

A short while ago my friend Savannah wrote about the social needs (or non-needs) of cats. She hogged the whole Pet Column talking about how some adult cats thrive more with other cats in the house and some do not, blah blah blah.

Flower

But Savannah didn’t let me share my opinion at all, so I have hijacked the Second Chance office and am submitting this Pet Column so you can learn about the social needs of kittens – which are different from the adult cat.

Bottom line: kittens need other kittens.

Cat’s territorial nature doesn’t typically kick in until adulthood and kittens crave playmates. It is the way we learn social skills, by interacting and playing with each other. We especially bond with our litter-mates but, unlike adult cats, even if you adopt kittens from separate litters, we will likely become instant besties. However there are always exceptions.

Although kittens tend to be more socially flexible, as with any species, some individuals are born not being comfortable around strangers and, particularly kittens separated from litter-mates at an early age, often will prefer to not to socialize with other cats.

So what about matching an adult cat with a kitten?

That also depends upon whether you have a cat-hating cat who must be solo or a lonely cat who wants a buddy? It may be difficult to tell, as your cat might be clingy and needy with her human, but not necessarily do well with another cat around.

I recommend that, when choosing a feline companion for your cat, look for one of a similar age, who will havea similar energy level. If you have an older cat, a kitten like me will torment him with my high energy and antics. My job is to be playful and explore the world for things that move and need to be attacked. The older cat’s job is to take a nap. Not a good match (especially if your cat twitches it tail while napping).

I suggest that if you have an older nap-loving cat and want to adopt a kitten, get two kittens (and save two lives!) so that they can play with each other. Let the older aunt or uncle relax in peace. Otherwise, look for an older best friend for your adult cat.

In summary, cats do form very close bonds with each other and even adult cats can become close companions if introduced correctly. The best approach is to keep cats separated at first so they can adjust to each other’s sounds and smells and give their brains time to decrease the neuroendocrine stress response. Also make sure each cat has its own food dish and litter area. Positive experiences should come with introductions, like treats.

With all my advice, if you think your household is ready for some fun, furry, purry energy please come visit me, Flower, and all the other little kittens scampering around the Kitten Room here at Second Chance. I am a beautiful three- month-young Calico with a gentle, sweet personality, who really enjoys playing with other kitties.

Bella is a beautiful black Belgian Malinois mix about seven months old. She gets along great with other dogs and loves human interactions. Bella enjoys long walks and plenty of yard time with her friends. She still needs work on her obedience training, but is getting better each day. Bella is extremely sweet and has a gentle nature.

Roxy

Or if you are looking for a dog that loves being around other dogs – come meet Roxy. She is a 1 ½ year old beautiful border collie/heeler mix. Although Roxy is a little shy and timid at first, she loves human interaction and affection and would make a wonderfully loyal new family member.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff with Cabella & Wilbur

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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Kelly Goodin

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