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12 Things No One Tells You Before Becoming Pet Parents To Multiple Cats

Everything may not work out like you dreamed.

12 Things No One Tells You Before Becoming Pet Parents To Multiple Cats
Ashley Lytle

In March my boyfriend and I fell in love with a 5-month-old kitten we named Maple. We met her while volunteering at our local animal shelter. Together, we both decided we'd eventually want to get a friend for her as we're both full time students and work. Unlike the typical stereotype cats are given Maple loves company.

Well, fast forward to June and we felt like it was time so we began looking at kittens at our favorite shelter. I knew that the younger the cats typically the easier it is to introduce them. On our second visit, we met who we believed to be the one for our family. We named her Juniper and brought her home to begin the complicated process of introducing her to Maple.

1. You and your significant other will be sleeping separately for a bit

Maple when she was still a kitten taking a nap with me.

Ashley Lytle

When my boyfriend and I introduced a 10-week-old kitten to our household we couldn't bear to keep one of them alone all night. So, during the day we kept Maple free to roam the house and the kitten in our bedroom. Then, at night we switched them. It's recommended that you keep the cats separate for the first two weeks but in my experience, it depends on your cats. Luckily for us, we had two kitten age felines to introduce to each-other so it was a bit easier.

The first night I was in our bedroom with Maple while my boyfriend slept on the couch with the kitten. When I told my dad, he joked that the kittens already had us sleeping separately just like what can happen when you have kids. Luckily for us this didn't last for more than the one night but depending on your cats it could last up to two weeks.

2. The OG cat will be moody just like a teenager

Ashley Lytle

My cat Maple would bite me and scratch me and then feel bad and lick me (which she never does) in the days after bringing home the kitten. She wouldn't lie with us nor did she want a lot of attention from us. On the second day, the two got along enough that we let them mingle but I fell asleep and Juniper fell asleep on me. Well, Maple was one jealous kitten that day and I had to separate them as soon as I woke up. I would advise giving equal if not more attention to your OG cat to help prevent jealousy. In general, just be prepared for some moody outbursts.

3. You’ll always wonder if the cats are fighting or just playing


I truly couldn't figure out if my cats were fighting or playing. Once Juniper and Maple were able to be in the same room they started interacting. Maple would chase Juniper and Juniper would run. What I could never figure out was if Maple was bullying Juniper or not. The clarifying moment for me was when Maple rolled onto her tummy in from of Juniper and let out her tiny little meow. I was ecstatic! However, my fears once again arose a few days later when their play became a little more chase, tackle, and roll styled.

But I had nothing to fear as even when Juniper would let out a worrisome meow she would still chase Maple and continue their game. Not once did any claws come out during any of their play. I don't believe in declawing so both of them still have all their claws. This played a huge role in me deciding if it was play or not. Also, if you don't know anything about cat body language I highly recommend you look it up as it will truly help you to understand how your cat is feeling about its new feline friend.

4. You’ll constantly ask yourself if you’re giving them both enough attention


My boyfriend and I had and continue to deal with this huge fear of not giving them both enough attention. We were most concerned about Maple feeling left out and unloved. We'd go out of our way to give her attention and even gave her her favorite wet food which we usually give to her sparingly.

5. You’ll worry about one of them bullying the other

I cannot even give you a number for how many times I was worried that one of them was bullying the other. At first, I worried Maple was bullying Juniper but then a few days in I feared Juniper was the one bullying. As much as I worried there was never any real signs that one of them was being picked on. It was all in my head. But it didn't stop my concerns. Cats can be mysterious creatures and when you love your animals you want them to get along. They're both part of your family now and you can't imagine having to give either of them up.

6. There will be a nagging concern that the OG cat thinks they weren’t good enough or are being replaced

Maple and I out on a walk.

Ashley Lytle

Another huge fear my boyfriend and I had was that Maple would feel like we didn't love her anymore. It's been a constant worry leading us to go out of our way to show her she still has our hearts. One time my boyfriend found her sleeping in our roommate's room and he came into our bedroom freaking out that she didn't love us anymore. I convinced him our room was just too hot for her and to turn the fan on and sure enough Maple was soon back. You'll never feel confident that your OG cat won't be mad at you but know they still love you and just need some reassurance. Keep your calm and look for solutions to keeping them their usual self. And most of all love them like crazy!

7. Every time they get along you will feel immense pride and joy


This must be the pet parent in us but when they play or are engaging in any friendly interactions there's this feeling of immense pride and joy that accompanies it. You're happy with them for behaving and treating each other good. I wonder if this is the same feeling my mom felt whenever my brother and I would finally get along? If so, I wish we had done it more for her sake because it's an amazing feeling.

8. You’ll worry like crazy

You're a pet parent now and just like parents of kids you worry and worry and then worry some more. Just try to tell yourself it'll all be okay. Thank god for my boyfriend because he always convinces me that nothing is wrong and it's just in my head which is something I in turn do for him. If you own the cat by yourself then you won't have that person to keep you calm so I recommend taking a deep breath and then looking around for solutions or look for evidence. When looking for evidence go in with an open mind because if you don't you're just going to look for proof that there is something wrong just like you've been fearing.

9. Keeping them apart at first is harder than anyone warns you

Juniper snuggling with me.

Ashley Lytle

Juniper would constantly meow, unhappy to be alone. I couldn't handle it so she got to come out more then she probably should have. I also didn't want to spend too much time locked in the room with her because I feared Maple would feel abandoned. Just remind yourself that the kitten will be okay. After a little bit of meowing Juniper would explore the room and find a cozy spot to sleep until someone came in to check on her. Don't let ones crying force you to let them fully integrate too soon as it could ruin any chance you have at the two getting along or hopefully becoming friends.

10. Your home will feel like a racetrack


Now that my two kittens get along, they play together. And their favorite game is chase. I constantly feel like there's a race taking place in my home as they fly by. I love that they are getting along but now I constantly almost trip walking around during their play as they often run between my legs or right in front of me.

11. Everything may not work out like you dreamed

You may have dreamed that the two would be best of friends, cuddle, play, and eventually love each other just like you love them, but don't get your hopes up too much. I think half the reason mine got along so quick was that we paid a lot of attention to our OG cat, we kept them apart, and when we introduced them I used treats as a bribe. When Maple would approach Juniper and not hiss I would give her a treat and then when she would approach and hiss she wouldn't get one. I also kept their food close to the bedroom door so they could associate each others smells with something good. My cats are also young and therefore more willing to accept changes in the family structure. But the most you could hope for is the two to tolerate each other.

For example, my mom and her boyfriend moved in together and they each owned a cat. At first, they would hiss at each other and couldn't be in the same room. Now you can find them both sleeping on the same couch but on opposite ends. For them this is good enough. The two still don't like each other and will hiss from time to time if they feel one is too close but they tolerate each other which is better then them fighting all the time.

12. They’re you’re babies


You're a pet parent and these are your babies. I jokingly call them my children all the time because in many ways they act the same way. They wake me up looking for attention or food, we snuggle, they follow me around, and the other day they crowded the door because they didn't want me to leave. I had to very carefully maneuver myself out the door so they wouldn't get out with me. They're moody and they love to play, and I love them with all my heart. They're part of my family and will be for the rest of their life. As a pet parent you'll get all the love and annoyances that comes with that role, but it'll all be worth it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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