View Full Version : How do choose an adult cat?

19th December 2008, 08:25 PM
We have decided to adopt an adult cat from the humane society. I don't have much experience with cats, although my hubby LOVES them!

We have a cat now, who is about 5 YO, and was a feral that we rescued, had spayed, etc. She was about 6 wks when we found her in the woods, just after a major hurricane! Anyway, she is very anti-social since she was never socialized with people. Although we know she must love us, she does not let us pet her regularly and has NEVER let us "hold her" or sit on our lap. However, she does like the dogs!

This time I want to make sure we adopt the right personality, which is why I would like an adult. What's the best way to get to know their personality and how should I introduce the new cat to our household?

Although Pebbles is anti-social to people, she is quite resilient and adaptable when new things are introduced. She has never even seen another cat, though, since she was a tiny kitten (except from her crate in the vets office) so I'm not sure how she will react.

I'm excited, but also nervous about choosing the wrong cat. I love Pebs, but I want a cat that will actually be involved in our family life and enjoy being pet, etc. In other words, I want a cat that acts like a dog! ;)

Cat people...please give me some advice!

Brian M
19th December 2008, 10:06 PM
Hi Chloe

Prior to obtaining our first Cav about 2 1/2 yrs ago and now two more for many years it was cats only ,up to getting Poppy we had a ginger Tom and two white females and they were all adult rescue cats .Ben the ubiquitous ginger was top pussy and had a character all of his own and he was my third ginger and they have all been unique cats with a very huge personality ,the two white girls are great little ladies who like to eat ,sleep and laze around but f it was me it would have to be another ginger tom cat ,boys and girls had all been done.

Ben died :(summer 2006 and that was when we got our first cav Poppy then six months later Daisy the Blenheim then six months later Rosie our little ruby ,so we have 3 Cavs and 2 white cats all of them girls .Unfortunately Tammi our youngest white cat (about 12 yrs) has not long before she goes to Rainbow Bridge three months ago she had a big op and was diagnosed with terminal cancer :(but in the 11 yrs or so shes graced us I hope shes had a nice contented time .

So i hope i have helped but then again all cats like our Cavaliers are beautiful animals ,oh and i also have 8 semi feral cats at work who i feed every day xmas day included.:)

20th December 2008, 12:50 AM
Just want to point out that it's not true that all feral kittens/cats will be antisocial and aloof. In the spring of 2005, I trapped four feral kittens that were estimated to be about 8 weeks old. They were completely wild and terrified. Every one of the four turned out to be affectionate and loving adult cats - two are velcro lap cats and the two others prefer to be on the sofa or bed next to a human but not in laps. They all seek human attention and petting. The one that I kept (Bo Bice) is very dog-like in his behavior as he was raised with a house full of dogs - he comes when called, rolls over for belly rubs, and he is best buddies with the dogs. He sleeps in bed with us and loves to snuggle. He has never hissed or clawed and is tolerant of all handling. One littermate (Simon Cowell) loves to be held on his back in your arms like a baby.

As far as adopting an adult cat, I'd bypass the county and city shelters and work with one of the many private rescue groups. The volunteers in these groups either foster cats in their homes or they have private facilities where there are cat rooms (more like a home) where the volunteers do a lot of interacting with the cats. (Versus a sterile cage where there isn't any stimulation or much human interaction.) The volunteers can give you really good info about the personalities and likes/dislikes of the various cats, and they should be able to guide you to the right cat. Also, as a safeguard, if the adoption does not work out, they will take the cat back gladly and you don't have to worry that the cat will be put down as you would worry with a municipal shelter.

Introduction can be very tricky - it's nothing like introducing a new adult dog to a household with dogs which is almost always successful. Cats are far more territorial than dogs and they are not "pack" animals. Often you will have problems with spraying and other undesired behaviors when bringing in a new cat. There is a process that rescue groups recommend - starting out by keeping them in separate rooms and gradually introducing them, the right number and location of litter boxes, etc., etc. I'm sure you can google and find lengthy recommendations. You'll also have to figure out if a new cat is tolerant and friendly with dogs.

Good luck in your search!


20th December 2008, 06:37 AM
I adopted my cat from the local animal shelter. We had lost our cat of 17 years, and wanted another one that was as loving as he was. We went to the shelter, which had several big cat rooms, no cages, they all interacted together. We (my 11 yr old son and I) just sat down in the middle of the room to see which ones one come up to us and let up hold them and let them lay in our laps. One particular kitty came to my son and rubbed up against him, licked his arm, and crawled into his lap and fell fast asleep. My son decided right then that she was the one for us. I convinced him to take more time and let others get comfortable with us, he reluctantly agreed and put the cat down. He played and loved on several others, but the little gray cat kept coming back and she would fall asleep in his lap every time. So needless to say, she has been with us for 3 yrs now! Her name is Lilly. She is the sweetest thing! We also had a 15 yr old male cat (neutered) at home to introduce her to. I did lots of research, and found it best to bring the new cat home in a crate, and put it into a room alone, let the house cat get used to the smell of the new one, after a few hours, I brought the crate closer to the door of the room she was in, and let my cat smell through the door. Once she relaxed in front of the door, I opened the door, leaving Lilly in the crate, let Lucas sniff all around as long as he wanted, supervised. Then once he walked out of the room, I brought Lilly out into the den. It took a few days for them to get acquainted enough to let Lilly out on her own. Lucas was declawed, so I didn't have any worries about him hurting her. He hissed and did his territorial thing for a few days, then they just learned to coexist. Sadly, Lucas died earlier this year. But we still have Lilly to love on. She and Bella get along wonderfully! They play like old pals! Good luck with your search. Thanks for saving a kitty's life! Let us know how it goes!:thmbsup:

murphy's mum
20th December 2008, 08:25 AM
We got our cats from the Cats Protection, we had decided straight away we wanted two of them, as we didn't have any other pets then.

But I guess they chose us:). We went to meet them they were in an outside shelter/run, I went in first and both of them were straight up onto the shelf, and within about 5 seconds both were purring like crazy:luv: We didn't even go and see any other ones. They were 15 months old, and brothers, who had been in the CP twice, the first time because of over crowding, and the second because one of them had attcked their owners son:eek: They are black and white, and were overlooked because of this, but I love black and white cats. Needless to say, neither of them have ever shown aggression to us:rolleyes: Although Tom is the local thug, and rules with an iron paw over his territory:cool: He has even barrelled straight through a locked cat flap to start a fight with a caticon_whistling.

Both of them are really affectionate, Jerry to the point of being annoying with his demands sometimes (Yes they are called Tom & Jerry, it was better than 'Slim' & 'Jim' as they were originally called :lol:) Tom is more of a Mummys boy, but with a little more independance. They both come for walks with us when we take the dogs out which is really funny. They trot along beside us better than the dogs:rotfl:, then take off into a bush before jumping out on one of the dogs.

20th December 2008, 04:11 PM
Thanks for all your replies! Our Humane Society has a fabulous, HUGE cat room where the cats are free to run around and play. They let 15 out at a time, and the others are in cages but are let out daily to play (except the ones that outwardly cause fights w/ the others). There are tons of windows and toys in the room and high places to explore. I always had this idea in my head of what I thought a shelter would be like and this one is the polar opposite. My dad's girlfriend is on the Board of Directors, but I had never been there.

Anyway, this all started when Owen and I simply took a bunch of supplies to donate to the center on Tuesday. Well, of course, we had to look at the animals. I was really shocked at how many cats there were...so we visited everyday since Tues just spending time in the cat room and trying to get to know their personalities.

Last night, we brought home a 7 YO neutered male, Benson. He seemed to be the most cuddly and social of them all. He stayed under the bed in "his room" for an hour, and then started exploring. He lets us pick him up, and he lays in our lap on his back and lets me hold him like a baby!

We have not introduced him to Ollie or Pebbles yet, but he did just fine with Casey. They sat next to each other on the sofa (she is so calm, she would be a perfect therapy dog, so I knew she would be the best one to start with). No hissing or objection from Benson. His background info said he had been raised with kids and dogs, so I felt that was a good thing.

I'll keep you updated. It felt great to rescue an older cat whose chances of being adopted were lessened by his age. The nice thing about this shelter is, IF they determine the dog or cat is adoptable, they will not euthanize it. However, they do euth many animals within the two weeks of arrival if it has a serious health condition that cannot be treated, or shows any aggression or major temperament problems. Those with minor ailments (kennel cough, etc) are sent to foster homes to be medicated and once they are healthy, go to the shelter to be adopted.

They adopted over 10 pets yesterday! I have become a rescue volunteer for one of the Cav Rescue groups here, but I may become a volunteer at this shelter...I was very impressed!

20th December 2008, 04:15 PM
Pat- You are lucky your feral cats became such good feline citizens. We have had bad luck w/ ferals (our current cat and our last cat were, and both never warmed up to people).

22nd December 2008, 03:46 PM
I have a feral cat too who has become very much a cuddly people's cat! When i introduced my 2nd cat to first cat they hated each other for about 1 month. THen introducing the dog to them was pretty much the same. Now its one big happy family! So even if they don't like each other, chances are they'll tolerate each other after a while, so don't give up too soon!

23rd December 2008, 02:12 AM
Benson (aka "Benny") has now been introduced to all the furkids and all has gone much better than expected. Pebbles has been hissing and growling but seems more interested than upset about his arrival. It will take a few weeks I'm sure for her to completely accept him. Benny is so laid-back he just looks at her like "what is your problem?" He's an amazing cat! I'll post pics soon.