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Unread 05-03-2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Our cats behavior/needs a friend?

My wife and I have a 10 year old cat named Patches and she is the absolute love of our life. About 6 months ago, her 11 year old sister, Chloe, passed away from heart failure over the course of two months. Ever since then, we are not sure what to do with Patches newly found behaviors.

To give you a quick bit of background - We got Chloe first as a kitten and after a few months, adopted Patches so she could have a playmate. The two were friends most of their lives. Chloe was definitely the more dominant one of the two and would put Patches in her place sometimes with a hiss or swat and Patches would always back down. Patches sometimes would not come in a room if Chloe was there. Both are the sweetest cats you'd ever meet and each their own unique personality. Chloe was more energetic in her youth and had tons of personality. Loved to lay with you. Patches was more reserved. She loves to be loved and gives you a lot of love, but she would sleep a lot and usually upstairs when Chloe may be downstairs with us. Patches is also a nervous cat, but, The cats did enjoy each others company however and could often be seen sleeping together.

When Chloe passed away 6 months ago, we were torn up inside. We worried about how Patches would handle it and her behavior has been quite different. Patches is definitely out and about more and she is much more active, especially with toys. She also seeks out our attention more as well. HOWEVER, we are beginning to worry about several things. She often looks very bored....almost unsure of what to do with herself. I see her eat a lot more and I believe it is more of just boredom/emotional eating as its just a few bites over numerous times a day. She also will sit in the middle of the room and just stare at things (the wall, looking around etc). Its very peculiar. Patches will go upstairs for 5 minutes, then come right back downstairs and come in the room we are in or an area nearby and just sit. Also sensitive to noises and she looks around (possible due to her sister before). She is also more talkative and aside from her morning wet food (which she goes crazy for), I don't know what she wants. I try to give her as much love and attention as possible, because I love her to death and she is like a daughter to me.

I am beginning to wonder if she needs a friend or if she is having any phycological issues. Regarding the former, she has always been the submissive cat and I just don't know if she would be ok with giving up the house to another now that its been hers for a while. We would definitely want to adopt a kitten, if any at all, but another fear is with Patches being 10 years old, I don't want her to get older and get picked on by the much younger cat. That said, Patches loves to play and I could possibly see her having fun with another cat. Additionally, my wife and I are going to start a family and that was another concern. We don't want Patches to get left out when we have a baby around.

I am just so unsure of what to do. This is one of those times I wish our pets could talk to us. I'd love to get your thoughts and opinions on what I should do here. Thank you very much!!


Brad



PS- We have just about every toy imaginable for Patches, including several cat trees and several window perches. She uses the majority of them.
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Unread 05-03-2016   #2 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your loss of Chloe. It is hard on the kitty left behind if they were close.

It's difficult to know of Patches would accept another cat. Cats are very territorial, and you would have to be prepared that it might take a long time for her to adjust.

Since she's been in the less dominant role, you might run into that problem again, with a cat who would bully her. On the other hand she might welcome a friend, there is no way to know for sure except to do it.

As for her behavior changes, I have some thoughts. How often do you play with her? A 10 year old cat is not old. My 12 year old cat runs around as much as the 6 year old. She loves to play.

I think you should change her diet. It sounds as though you are free feeding dry food.

Not only is dry food very bad for cats, you are risking her getting obese if she is eating out of boredom, not to mention all the diseases that come from dry feeding: obesity, diabetes, urinary tract disorders, kidney disease, to name just a few.

I recommend you first transition her to scheduled meal times, and a wet (canned) diet only.

Play with her every day, at the same time. Cats are creatures of habit and she will soon come to look forward to these interactive Game times. I can give you plenty of ideas if you need them.

What kind of scratching posts and towers and forts and things do you have for her?

Even if she doesn't seem to want to play much at first, if you keep at it, especially after getting her on a better diet, you will be amazed at how active she will become.

When you feel ready to give another kitty (or two, if adopting kittens) a home, plan to feed them a wet only diet also.
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Unread 05-04-2016   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the reply! Before Chloe's passing, we did an auto feeder for the cats with dry food as it was recommended to us. However, shortly after her passing, we took Patches to the vet and she had a slightly high kidney values, so the vet recommended the KD diet. Now, we are giving her wet food (some days KD, some others) in the early afternoon and then a little dry food, mixed with the KD dry in the early evening. She recently went back to the vet and got a clean bill of health, so all is good with her eating.

As for her activity level, she loves to play. After she eats her wet food around noon, she becomes hyper and I either use a laser pointer with her or we have a string toy she likes. We definitely spoiled our cats and have 3 of the cat trees, 3 window perches and dozens of toys ranging from string toys, to balls, to catnip scented toys. Patches occasionally goes in one of the trees, but does like 1 window perch and her favorite toys are the laser pointed and a string.

I work from home and keep my door open all day, so I see Patches quite a bit. Before her wet food feeding at noon (around 10-1030), she starts meowing A LOT and wants to be fed. Sometimes she has a little dry food left and just wants her wet food or sometimes she is out of the 1/4 cup dry food the vet recommended we give her. She will sit in the doorway and just stare in the room or she will be out in the hallway just looking around in a seated position. I feel bad because I don't know if she's lonely or if theres a problem. This occurs sometimes after her feeding as well.

Thank you again for your reply. I appreciate any advice as we want whats best for our kitty.
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