Considering getting a second cat - any MSE advice?

I have recently adopted a cat I was fostering. He is approximately 8, my first cat, and a total sweetheart - I'm in love. However, there are times when I worry he's lonely. It's just me in the house and he is such a cuddlebug that he just wants to be with me all evening. It's making it very difficult to have a social life or go to the gym in the evening because I feel so guilty leaving him alone! I think he'd be OK with a second cat if I was careful about introducing them - he'd certainly be jealous initially, but he has been OK with other cats in the past. I'd be tempted to go the same route of foster to adopt.

However he's already had some pretty substantial health issues and possibly/probably has feline asthma - we're still going through the final tests now. Which means that will be counted as a pre-existing condition in the event of future issues. While I make a good salary, I've moved house in the past year and with costs going up, I'm a little nervous about adding what would effectively be an extra £80 a month at least in cat care once insurance, healthcare plan food etc are factored in. The only way in which it might potentially be a bit cheaper would be pet sitting as I have a good local petsitter. I'd been considering using a cattery for longer periods so Tiggs wouldn't be lonely, but I'd be comfortable with the pet sitter coming in twice a day if there were two of them to keep each other company.

I'm not planning on doing anything any time soon as want to ensure that Tiggs' health issues are fully resolved first. But is it a terrible idea to even consider getting a second? Those of you who have more than one pet, is it really double the cost/is it worth it?
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  • Mnoee
    Mnoee Posts: 794
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    I have two, but I adopted them together. They made friends in the shelter and didn't want to leave without each other. 

    One is very very cuddly and the other prefers his own space. They cuddle up together only if he's very nervous, usually he's sighing and moving off whatever ledge/bed she's jumped on to join him. Basically a second cat may not solve the needing constant cuddles issues! They do play together though, which does make it easier when I'm busy. 

    Double the costs - ish? Stuff that you likely already have like toys, beds, scratching posts probably won't need a top-up (and there's the MSE thread about cheap/homemade toys if they do), you'll probably want an extra litter tray though. Food, litter and other consumables are obviously doubled, along with vets bills/insurance. You might save a little bulk buying, but it's perfectly possible to do that for a single cat too. 

    We've always used a pet sitter vs a cattery - round where I am it's about the same price for two cats. I know it can vary massively though, where I am land/housing is cheap so I guess the catterys have lower overheads. I've struggled to get both in a carrier to take them to the vets together enough to know that's not a great start to a holiday.

    I'm glad I have two. The original plan was just one, but the scaredy boy was perfect for me, and he had a reckless curtain climbing friend, so she's very welcome too. It's joyful watching them play together, and they do comfort each other in times of stress. 

    That said, have you tried sticking a YouTube bird video on when you go out? Get a camera to check in on him? Just a few suggestions that are cheaper than a second cat, as I know you'll probably get a lot of pet lovers here saying 'Yes, many cats are awesome!' (they are, but still not cheap!). 
  • Murphybear
    Murphybear Posts: 7,243
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    We had 2 cats who were brother and sister and when one suddenly died we got another one after a short time.  They weren’t best buddies but there was no aggression.  They cuddled up occasionally but spent most of the time apart.  Feeding them together/sharing a litter tray wasn’t a problem.  When the first one died the new one seemed very happy to be an only cat.  She thrived.  The problem is, of course, that cats are like people, every one is different.

    I agree with the others who have said a pet sitter is much better than a cattery.  A cat in a cattery doesn’t t usually get a lot of companionship from the other cats.  We had one years ago who used to climb the walls in the battery pen, she hated it so much.

    I found a brilliant cat sitter in London who used to look after my flat as well.  On one notable occasion I was on a short break in Jersey and on my last night there was the the notorious hurricane in 1987.  When I got home I found one of windows had smashed and my cat sitter had cleared it up and taped up the window.   :)
  • It very much depends on the individual cats involved really. I had 3 and then 4 unrelated cats for many years - they tolerated each other but were never close. The youngest one was also a bit of a bully to the oldest one at times. The older three all passed within a fairly short time period over the pandemic years and despite the youngest one (who was then 7ish) never particularly seeming to like the other three, she was absolutely bereft at finding herself an only cat. 

    I gave it a good 9 months with her as the only feline (I also have 2 dogs, who she gets on very well with) to see if she would adjust, but she seemed to sink further into cat depression to be honest - she stopped eating properly and seemed very down. Vet could find nothing wrong physically. 

    So, last summer I bit the bullet and adopted two juvenile kittens from my local rescue. They weren't related but had been in the same home previously before being surrendered, 6 and 7 month old neutered males that were best pals. I didn't want to adopt tiny 8-week old kittens as thought that might be too much for one of my dogs, so went for slightly older, but still smaller than my other cat. I got a pair because I thought that if my other cat ignored them, at least they'd have each other.

    It took about 2-3 weeks for introductions (bearing in mind I had to do dog-intros as well as kitten/cat ones) but once she was over the hissing and 'sulking in the garden' phase, the positive change in my older cat has been remarkable. She's put back on the (healthy) weight she'd lost, she actually interacts and plays with the newbies (she never played with the previous cats) and she just seems so much happier in general. She's the boss but she doesn't try to bully the boys like she did one of my previous cats. 

    In terms of cost... yes, it's a consideration. I used to budget for 4 cats of course, so 3 is less, but with inflation, cost of living etc it definitely costs more now than it did a couple of years ago for everything - food, litter, insurance, vet fees etc. But as others have mentioned, some other things you only have to buy once regardless. Just done my quick sums and currently works out at around £150 a month for all three (food, litter, insurance, routine vet stuff and flea prevention etc) but that doesn't include any unexpected vet things and there are thankfully no ongoing conditions at the moment. So approx £50 each a month - I only wish my dogs were that cheap too :D
     
    Can't really speak for cost of cat sitters/cattery as I don't go away for longer than 24 hours (and I leave the cats for that long on their own), but cattery would be infinitely more stressful for the cats) than having a cat sitter. 
  • kimwp
    kimwp Posts: 1,623
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    edited 17 October 2023 at 9:47PM
    I have two cats for precisely the reason of them not getting lonely when I'm away. They were already bonded when I got them, cuddle together and groom each other and are indoor/outdoor cats so plenty of entertainment outside. However, they still sit in the window or go out the catflap at the back, up and along the fence and down into the drive to see me leave or get back. One is scratching at the kitchen door right now to get cuddles. So another one may not solve your problem 😕
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  • Brambling
    Brambling Posts: 4,976
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    Have you thought of getting a nanny cam to see what he does when you are out, you may find he sleeps? 

    My current cat was 5 when I got him and I was advised he was surrendered because he fought with his litter mate and he had to be a only cat, he seems to be tolerating the young cat who has recently appeared outside and spends his day in my garden but at 10 he seems to find the continuous need it has to play too much and we both agree it needs to be discouraged from letting itself in the catflap!   

    As stated by others all cats act differently I previously brought a 2 year old cat into the house where I had a 13 year old and still feel guilty that although they didn't fight my older cat wasn't happy in what turned out to be the final 6 months of her life, she was a very cuddly/affectionate cat and she didn't like having to share me.  

    If you do decide on a new cat maybe a female rather than a male would be a good idea or as you say fostering first to get the lay of the land 

    I think a chattery would stress my nervous cat so I'm happy my nephew takes on cat duties if I'm away and my cat loves him.  I don't have insurance for mine but do have a separate savings account a  'kitty' kitty to self insurance. 
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  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,461
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    I had a kitten then a month later I had another one to keep each other company.
    They did not like each other at all.
    I then got a 3rd kitten 3 months after the first (last of the litter and was destined for death if I didn't take him (this was over 45 years ago).
    Same mother different father.
    The new kitten adored the first one, although he was bullied by him initially.
    They played together, slept together and occasionally would have massive fights to determine who was boss (it was always kitten no1).

    I'm not sure another cat would be the answer to your problem.

  • I grew up with my cat at my childhood home but as I moved in another country for college, I miss my cat like crazy. I decided to adopt a cat finally after I found a job but I am still afraid if I can afford it or not. What is the main costs that I have to keep in mind other than obvious ones like food, cat litter etc.? I will really appreciate it if you guys give me a quick intro as a cat owner:))
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,461
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    I think the time to consider if you can afford a cat (or any pet) is before you get one.
    The big cost for pet owners is insurance and ongoing vet costs.
    Like annual vaccinations etc.
  • Brambling
    Brambling Posts: 4,976
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    The last vet bill for my cat annual vaccinations was about £80 this included Feline leukaemia, a shot of metacam as he has previously reacted to his vaccinations, worm tablet and his nail clipped.  I self insure and have a fund set aside, but having cost very little all their lives the year I lost 2 cats the vet bills were just under £2000.  Even with insurance you will need to the cover excess, any pre-existing conditions tend not to be covered, some vets charge a fee to complete the insurance forms.  

    If you get a kitten you will need to factor in the cost of 
    neutering and micro chipping and maybe the cost of adding a catflap to a external door and a scratching post to try and save the cost to your furniture!  You will need flea and worm treatment you can shop around for that on line as the vet charge a lot more.  

    And remember cats can be fussy and usually wait until you stock up on food to decide they don't like it! 

    having said that I wouldn't be without mine especially as he is seems to be pass the age of bringing in live mice or birds and letting them go


    Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage   -          Anais Nin
  • kimwp
    kimwp Posts: 1,623
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    To chip in again, I have similar costs- my two 9 year old cats cost about £1000 a year, not including damage to the house, which is significant as they have ruined my downstairs flooring and some furniture as one as a urination issue.
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