Best Age (Of Child and Cat) to Get Another Kitty?

Updated on November 13, 2011
M.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI
7 answers

Hi mamas! I was wondering, what would be the best age to introduce my preschool-age daughter to a new kitty, and what would be the best age of kitty to adopt. I have mixed emotions about this because even though I am a total cal lover, we already have a 6-year-old cat that I fear may become aggressive, because sometimes she hisses. A little background, we adopted our current cat as a young kitten to hopefully be a companion to our other older kitty at the time. Both kitties were spayed females from the Humane Society. Their relationship got off to a bumpy start with lots of hissing but by the time the kitten was full grown, both kittygirls had learned to mostly avoid each other, but sometimes they would still fight. About one year ago our older kitty died (was found after an apparent stroke at the bottom of the stairs, and we had to put her to sleep, which was horrible.) I miss our older kitty, she was a good companion to my daughter. Older kitty would let my daughter pet her and would come up to her with head-bumps and big purrs. Younger kitty has wanted nothing to do with my daughter even though my daughter doesn't chase or harass kitty at all.
Anyway today my hubby announced during errands that we would be going to the "Pet Store" (Humane Society) to look at kitties. I am not so sure that it's a good idea because of the personality of our current kitty. Our kitty can come to me for lots of love but mostly stays hidden in the house. Also our kitty can hiss for no apparent reason. My young-adult son visits periodically and was with us when we adopted this kitty and he named her, but after a couple of years whenever he would visit kittygirl would always hiss at him and run away which breaks his heart. My hubby and I and my daughter and son have always been gentle with our current kitty but she can be unpredictable, and to tell the truth I'm not sure that current kitty didn't do something to hurt old kitty the day she died.
I think hubby wants to get a kitten to be a friend to our daughter because current kitty wants nothing to do with her. But I don't know what current kitty might do hurt a new kitten. Also, even though the food and litterbox are upstairs by hubby's office where he is every day, hubby never sifts the box and half the time the water bowl has sludgy water, meaning I have make a special trip upstairs to make sure current kitty has fresh water, food and litter. So hubby likely thinks I will be providing all the care for a new kitty even though we both work full-time. I am feeling ambivalent about this. I LOVE cats but given all I just shared with you mamas I'm not sure it's the best time. Do any of you have advice for us? I am afraid that we could never leave our current kitty with a new kitty for fear of them fighting (so we can't go for a week on summer vacation and just have the neighbors feed the kitties.) My daughter of course wants a kitten because hubby put the idea in her head, but I know I will be doing all the work. Argh! Maybe things won't be as bad as the worst-case scenario but I just don't know. Any feedback or advice would be helpful. Thanks mamas! *Peace*!

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answers from Houston on

I would say it's a you never know what kind of pet the new kitty would be. I say just have one.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Just a thought ~~ Its better for your preschooler to be older so she can appreciate the tenderness it takes to handle the kitten. Five or Six is a good age or even four. It sounds like a lot of work to watch all the time with the little one and the cat. I believe all children should have at least one pet and help care for it. We have a cat and dog.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Some cats are one cat per house kind of cats. No age will change that. There is no way we can bring another cat in our house until our cat dies. He loves us, hates other cats.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Based on all the info you gave, I would wait till your daughter is between 4 and a half and 6 years old. It sounds like it would without a doubt be an extreme amount of work and stress - not just your average bringing-a-new-animal-into-the-house type situation. Just to offer my 2 cents, we have 3 cats -14 years, 7, and 6 years. The oldest used to be a one-cat only cat. So whenever we got a new kitten, we secluded the kitten to one bedroom (a computer room at the time). The kittens toys, food and water, and litter box were all in that one room. That is where they stayed for a week. The older cat knew that "something" was in the room and he would sit outside the door and sniff and just listen to the kitten. Sometimes the kitten would put it's paw under the door, and eventually the older cat would too. After a few days I brought out a blanket that the kitten had slept on for the older cat to sniff and lay on (thereby putting his scent on it too). Then I'd put the blanket back in with the kitten for him to smell the older cat on, and kept doing this twice a day. After about 4 days, I brought the kitten out, but wouldn't let him go. Nor would I let the 2 cats near each other. I'd just sit on a chair and hold the kitten so all the cats could see each other, but couldn't interact. At day 6 was when my husband and I would each sit on the floor holding a cat. I turned the kitten's head away and we let the older cat get right up to the kitten and sniff him, but WITHOUT facial or eye to eye interaction. That is the most important part. The older cat needs to maintain it's dominant feeling without being threatened by the newcomer. And the kitten needs to learn who's boss, without feeling threatened, and without hissing or fighting. After 20 minutes or so we'd put the kitten back in it's room and give the older cat lots of love and attention so he knew he wasn't being replaced. We did this over a weekend and brought the kitten out every hour or so. Eventually they learned to love each other and play nice. There's still hissing and fighting when one get annoyed with the other, but no where NEAR violent or even threatening.

It's a long process, but a means to an incredibly peacefully, happy animal home! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lafayette on

chances are good you will be in charge of I would wait until dd can care for them herself, cuz it will still be you reminding her. We have cats and they don't get along at all, so one pair has the run of the house at night, then they are locked in bedroom all day while other one gets the run of the house, he is locked in basement all night. sigh. but we love them all. it is possible existing cat will never accept another, so be prepared for that eventuality.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Go to a shelter and adopt a calm large male cat about 2-4 yrs old. I only say male, because in my experience they are less "catty" than the females LOL! He'll be big enough to defend himself against current kitty and he'll be old enough that the super kittie playfulness has died down a bit so maybe he won't "attach" current kitty.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

When she is old enough and can care for the cat and it's needs like food and water and be gentle with the cat and be a friend to it as it is to her, AND when your current cat is no longer with you.

Wanting one doesn't mean she's ready for one and you shouldn't have to be in the position to have to care for her cat.


1 mom found this helpful

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