Full disclosure: I have the best cat in the world.
His name is Gizmo, he’s two years old and is technically a fluffy grey Tabby but I’m convinced he’s part Maine Coon. I adopted him from the Tacoma Humane Society when he was just a tiny kitten and he’s been my best friend ever since.
He’s snuggly, chatty and even plays fetch with me. He knows his own name and recognizes the sounds of my car when I come home – my favorite thing in the world is seeing his cute little face pop out from behind my living room curtains after I hit the security beep on my car.
He’s an only ‘child’ and it’s just him and me at home. When I went away for vacation recently, I was very worried about how he would do. I was gone two weeks and left him with my friend Carly, who lives in an apartment with her cat, Benny and her guinea pig, Penelope.
Benny is a giant Persian and hissed at Gizmo immediately when we introduced them. I had to tearfully say goodbye to my sweet Gizzy on my hands and knees, as he cowered in fear under Carly's bed.
While I was gone, I emailed her for status updates on how my BFF was doing. The first couple days were tough, she said, and he rarely came out from under her bed.
But then, something changed.
Gizmo and Benny started laying on the ground together – sprawled out the way only cats can, just inches away from each other but not touching. Then, they started sharing a food bowl. Soon, they were best friends.
It’s common knowledge that cats, especially males, are extremely territorial and usually don’t welcome newcomers easily. But Gizmo and Benny developed a sweet bond and when I brought Gizmo home, I could tell he missed his buddy.
The experience got me thinking about getting a second cat. Especially when I noticed more how much Gizmo sleeps during the day and what little interaction he gets, being an indoor cat. What if he is lonely and needs a friend?
Cats are so unpredictable; it’s hard to tell if their personalities will mesh when they meet, or if they'll hate each other for life. Much like humans. It's also possible that their personalities will change when another pet is added to the family.
I’m still on the fence about adopting another cat, but there is a way to try it out without committing.
in Puyallup offers a pet foster-family program where you can take care of a shelter pet at home until they are adopted out (or you decide to keep them). The most common foster pet you’ll get is a baby kitten that is too young and fragile to be adopted out and benefits greatly from a home environment, rather than the shelter. Sometimes you get to foster the mother as she recovers after giving birth to a litter. (Dogs are available for fostering, too!)
Fostering a pet is a good way to find out if your cat would like a pal or not and, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not a permanent situation that would be hard on the other kitty.
At Metro, they like pet foster families to be shelter volunteers first, but that’s not required. If you’re interested in learning more about being a foster parent to an animal, stop by the shelter and learn more from the volunteers, or call 253-299-PETS (ext. 3).
Do you think bringing a second cat into the mix is a good idea when you have an already-perfect cat? Do you think cats benefit from more interaction with their species, or is a solitary kitty a content one?