Getting another cat

Now we're no cat experts, we just like cats. And if I had my way, our house would be full of them (yep, think hundreds!), but Little B drew a line, because he knows that if we had a hundred cats then he'd pretty much end up moving elsewhere. There just wouldn't be room, and well, if someone had to go.....

However, after months of pestering and leaving cute kitten pictures around the house, he caved. And three weeks ago, our Sunday afternoon was spent driving to Nottingham, to bring home another little ball of fur, who goes by the name of Ralph. Little Ralph. It was love at first sight as we sat cuddling in the petrol station whilst Little B filled up the car for the journey home.

You see, this is no normal story, where we let Little Ralph run wild around the house, exploring in cupboards he never knew existed, and peeing in places we thought impossible - no, this story involves an already much loved member of the house, Little Runkle. If you've followed us for some time, you'll know that Runkle is the apple of my eye (like literally) and we have more love for him than our love for food (seriously, we really like food!), so bringing home Ralph was almost a new experience, not only for us, but them too.

Let me fill you in on the basics... We got Runkle at 12 weeks old (untrained in every way possible), and he was a fairly shy kitten, spending weeks pottering around the house and finding his feet. Within the first few months, his character began to show and he became a fairly fussy (sometimes needy) kitten. He liked your affection but he also liked to do things his way (we're talking about his pooping on the leather beanbag situation!) and was incredibly playful and embraced being around other people. Runkle was also a housecat, and would only get a glimpse of outside life when he was either perched on the windowsill talking to the pigeons, or attempting to be walked with a cat collar (true story!). But he was happy with the way things were.

After almost a year, we moved back in with my parents.. They had a cat, Bear. Bear was male, four years old and a VERY relaxed cat. He always wanted to be around other people and surprisingly welcomed Runkle into his home pretty well. Runkle and Bear would play fight, they'd share treats together and they'd watch each other poop in the litter tray. But they never became best pals. They tolerated each other - but Bear knew when to walk away. Runkle didn't. He always wanted to be where Bear was, doing what Bear did. And then we moved out three months later, and I'm fairly sure that a small part of Runkle longed to play with Bear again (my dad would definitely disagree!!).

Anyway, since getting Ralph, we've had a few people ask us how they're getting on.. So we've compiled a few questions and our tips and tricks on how we've found it. Please bear in mind that this is just how OUR cats have been towards each other, and may not be the same as others..

How are they getting on?

So far it's been OK. We don't leave them together whilst we're out of the house, and only let them both have free reign when we're at home and can see what they're up too. They play fight a lot and a few times there have been some louder squeaks than normal (Ralph!) but with a tap on both their noses, this sorts them out... For five minutes or so. There are the occasional moments when we find them cuddled up next to each other - this tends to happen on a Sunday evening when they've been together all day, but it doesn't last long because Ralph soon begins nibbling Runkle's nose! They constantly want to know where each other is and what they're doing, but Runkle will sometimes walk away for peace which Ralph hasn't quite understood yet. But for three weeks, I'd say they're doing OK.

What did you do to prepare for bringing home another cat?

Not a lot actually! Instead of buying a new blanket for Ralph (we don't use cat beds - Runkle used to poop in it, so we sacked these off!), we used an old one that Runkle liked, which I think helped with smells and made Ralph adapt quickly. We turned our dressing room into a 'safe place' for Ralph where he would feel secure and would spend time in there whilst we're out. He has his own water bowl and food bowl and we did buy a toy for him as a comforter from when he left his mother.

Did they get along in the first few days?

As soon as we got home with Ralph, we made Runkle aware of him. For the first two days, Runkle wasn't interested at all and we'd each take it in turns to sit with one whilst the other sat with the other cat. Everyday we'd let Runkle see Ralph in the dressing room, and would bring Ralph into the living room to get them used to each others spaces. If they went for each other we personally didn't interfere and left them to sort it out and walk away. It took a few days, and we'd only do short bursts of them - and kitten milk was a winner to get them closer together!

How did Runkle find it with another cat in the house?

At first he wasn't interested, and then when he started to hear squeaking he was all ears. I wouldn't say he was jealous, but his affection levels went up and since we've had Ralph, Runkle hardly ever goes outside (which is nice, as I wouldn't want him to feel like we'd pushed him out). If anything, it's made Runkle more fussy. Runkle will be around him and is quite relaxed about sharing his things with Ralph. Although we have noticed that Runkle will get very playful when Ralph is in the dressing room (he almost turns into a kitten!). I think Runkle felt intimidated by Ralph, and although Ralph thought he was a mother figure, Runkle didn't like his belly being touched. At the moment, Ralph still sleeps in the dressing room at night, so that Runkle knows he's still the boss of the house. Which is kind of how we personally want it at the moment.

Does this mean that it'll cost you a lot more now that there's two?

Urm, of course this will go up - there's two mouths to feed. Runkle has dry food down all day, and is fed one wet pouch in the evening (some may disagree with this, but this is what he's used to and is fine with it). A bag of dry food costs us £26 - 3kg worth maybe (we use Pro Plan) and we buy this once every 6 weeks. At the moment we are buying Ralph kitten dry food which is cheaper, but since Ralph won't really eat his and prefers Runkles (?!) we mix the bags together so he's still getting the kitten goodness. Ralph is also having a wet pouch a day. We haven't noticed a huge difference in cost however. But y'know, we've made cutbacks elsewhere - yes, chocolate has been replaced by kitten milk!

Is it better to go for same sex cats?

This, I can't really tell you what's best. I researched on the internet and found very mixed reviews. We personally wanted another male as we know that Runkle and our girl neighbour cat don't get along. We find it works for us, but doesn't mean to say it will for others..

Do they eat together? And poop in the same tray?

We try to feed them at the same time, and are trying to keep them from eating each others, but cats are cats. They do what they like! And the same applies for litter trays. Ralph has his own in the dressing room, and Runkle has his in the bath (yes, weird!). But Ralph much prefers pooping in Runkles...!

Honestly, is it like having children?

I've never had a child, so I can't really answer this. But do they constantly want my attention and need checking on every five minutes? Yes. And if children sit on your lap whilst you're straightening your hair, on the toilet or trying to chop your vegetables (this is true), then yes. They maybe are like children. But fluffier.

I hope this has helped any of you who are debating another cat, and were interested in how we're finding it. It's a completely new ball game for us as my parents have only ever had one cat at a time. But you know what, those moments when they're curled up together and licking each others ears really do make me happy. Even if cats are stubborn, they're my favourite kinda stubborn animal!

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