Adding a 3rd cat when one cat is terminal.

I have two wonderful tightly bonded cats. One of them has kidney disease and I suspect he has less than 6 months to live. I know my other cat will be devastated when he dies because I've seen her go through loss before. When her original companion died I got my other kitty to keep her company. Now that I know death is on the horizon I'm thinking of introducing a new third cat to our family before my old boy passes on. My thinking is that my girl will cope better by already having another companion in place when it's time to let my male go. Any thoughts or experiences with a similar situation are welcome.

Thank You

RESPONSE:

Your felines look very bonded indeed. I empathize totally with your situation. You have to remember that not only your cat is going to suffer grief and a great loss, but you will experience all the emotions as well. Yes, getting a third kitty integrated right now will soften the loss for both of you. It won’t eliminate it but it will help with the recovery time in getting over the loss.

When our Calico cat, Tartar, (who lived to be 21) reached 20 years old we knew that our Himalayan, Diablo, would be devastated when she passed. He was only 13 and he had suffered the loss of his younger sister a year prior due to kidney disease. He had gotten closer to Tartar. We intended to get a kitty for him to befriend, knowing it would lighten the loss when the inevitable happened. However, the kitty we fell in love with at the local animal shelter had a sister from the same litter and they hadn’t been separated…we took both of them. They were both Calicos and looked a lot like Tartar but they were only 4 months old. So, Revlon and L’Oreal Blaze were the first members of our current six cats.

A year later when Tartar had failed badly, was arthritic and in pain, we opted to humanely have her euthanized. The loss wasn’t nearly as severe for Diablo because he had his new pals. Although they were young and full of vim and vigor they respected his slower pace and were happy for his company when they were tuckered out and ready to nap. Unfortunately, Diablo passed a year later at age 15. Purebreds don’t have the same life expectancy as Calicos and other hardier breed mixes but the two kitties had each other…and still do…they are now 11 years old. They have other younger strays that are members of the family so I don’t anticipate this situation repeating itself for years to come.

However, we kid around that we now have a “No Vacancy” sign outside for strays because our house has enough felines.

I believe that you are on the right track and making a wise decision to obtain a kitty now, prior to your ailing cat passing. But you have to be watchful that the newcomer isn’t too aggressive in taking over a friendship with the cat that is well, because the ailing cat needs the sympathetic comfort of its buddy during the time it has left. You may find some useful information on my page Grieving Cat.

I wish you well. It is not an easy time for yourself either.

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