Kitty questions...


Smarter than the average Care Bear
So I know there's a bunch of people here who own cats, and/or have plenty of experience dealing with them. I was hoping someone could give me some advice.
There are two issues I wanted to address, which are somewhat related.

So the situation is this:

We have a year-old cat called Mitzy, and were (well, at least my mom and I were. My dad is still not totally behind the idea) thinking of getting another kitty to keep her company, since I've read everywhere that it's best to have two cats as opposed to just one. We do live in an apartment, but I don't think that would be much of a problem.

Issue #1:
I've read that it's best to choose a kitten with a compatible personality to your existing cat, i.e. if you cat is active, choose an active kitten, if your cat is calm, choose a calm kitten, etc, etc.
In Mitzy's case, she's pretty crazy and loves playing (especially roughhousing) and snooping around. She's also one of the most social cats I've ever seen, not even minding visits. She just comes up to people, sniffs them (sometimes even licks them) and then goes about her merry way, not minding the new person at all.

I wanted to know just how important this is, since we do already have two adoptees in mind.
One is a white, pretty active male with orange tabby spots who could very well be Mitzy's mirror image, and the other is a sweet, calm long-haired striped female (they're Norwegian Forest Cat half-breeds). There's a third, a white female with gray spots that was pretty funny, but we weren't able to look at her up close, sadly.
We're in a bit of a pickle trying to choose one (they're all so ADORABLE. DARNIT), but if this is that much of an important factor, it just might help us in our decision, even if just thinking in terms of pros and cons.

Issue #2:
I have been a bad kitty mommy. Namely, because I LOVED roughhousing with Mitzy as a kitten. Against all the warnings I had seen, I was never able to tell her "no" when she chewed at my hands with those innocent kitty teeth. And now my arms are covered in scars, and I'm entirely the one to blame.
I wanted her to stop biting me while playing, while still being able to play with her, but I don't know how. All the advice I've seen regards either young kittens or older, violent adopted cats, and neither is the case here. Mitzy bites me because that's the only way she knows how to play, not because she's being aggressive.
I've tried playing with toys to gradually discourage her from biting my hands and arms, but can see that to her it's just not the same, and she loses interest much faster.
I'm also worried since, besides my arms' well-being, if we do get a new kitten (and if the adaptation process goes well), they'll eventually start playing with each other, and I don't know if her bites will be too much, since usually it's the older cat who teaches kittens how strongly they can bite, not the other way around.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Snowy Cat
  • 1,000 Messages
I'm not an expert, but I do have three cats and I'll share some tidbits I've picked up.

Issue#1: I think that getting a kitty with a similar personality is a good idea. I've heard that it's also important to get the opposite sex of your cat when getting another--as long as they're spayed/neutered! I love kittens dearly but there are already too many homeless kitties out there.

Issue#2: It truly is best to use toys instead of your hands. Have you ever seen a toy called a kitten mitten? It's a glove that fits over you hand with little toys on the end that can be pulled out on a string. They aren't cheap ($14 last time I saw one) but it may still keep Mitzy's attention without using yourself as the toy.

When they were younger and one of my cats started to bite me during play or petting I said 'No bites' in a clear, firm voice (no yelling!) and stopped paying any kind of attention to them immediately. Sometimes that meant getting up and leaving the room. After a few minutes (usually 5), if they still wanted to play or I wanted to play with them I would try again. For this to work you have to do it the second they start playing too rough and every time they play too rough.


Smarter than the average Care Bear
Thanks for the advice, Star_Flare!

Unfortunately, it seems my Dad is dead-set on not letting any new whiskers in the house. :sadpony: I don't even know why, because he flat-out refuses to answer or changes the subject whenever I ask him. I can't even bargain with him, try to convince him - he looks at me like I'm crazy and just says an outright "forget it".
Truth be told, he didn't even want Mitzy. I think it has something to do with him still not being completely over the loss of our previous cat, but I can't say for sure. Just a guess. I would understand, even sympathize, if that was the case (even if it wouldn't change my opinion), but as it stands it just seems like he's being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn.
I'm really sad about this, not only because I was looking forward to it (I've always wanted to have two cats), but also being back in college means I'm away during the week, and since I'm Mitzy's major playmate I'm afraid she'll get lonely. But what're ya gonna do... *sigh*

But that kitten mitten does look perfect! I'll have to see if I can find one in a specialized pet shop somewhere around here. I don't mind paying a slightly higher price if it means my arms will become relatively scratch-free. :satisfied: I am going to try disciplining her when it comes to biting when I get back home, give her the hint that something has changed. As hard as it is to refuse that "I wanna pway" kitty face...

Thank you so much!
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