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British Blue / Shorthair adoption advice please

Discussion in 'Cat Rescue and Adoption' started by Louise Horsfall, May 5, 2019.

  1. Louise Horsfall

    Louise Horsfall PetForums Newbie

    May 4, 2019
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    Hi. We have a 5 year old female DSH and a 1 year old DSH female hopefully to be adopted soon. Both are highly affectionate and around 4kg. My husband is still hankering for a British Blue male. He wants a big Teddy bear. We have a 3 bed house and will be cat proofing the garden. Would it be wise to introduce a male British Blue to the family, once our new cat has settled? I am worried a much larger male will dominate the females but are they such a chilled breed that he would be less likely to bully? What age would you recommend for the Blue, if it's a good decision? Older and mellow or young enough not to threaten the females before they get used to each other? All advice welcome, particularly from British Shorthair owners. Thanks in advance. Louise
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Hello @Louise Horsfall and welcome :)

    A cat's size is actually no indication of their personality, and nor is their gender. The two most territorial of my cats are the smallest, one a male, one a female. And the female is the bossiest of the lot! My 2 big boys are very tolerant of my other cats.

    A BSH cat (e.g. a British Blue) is generally laid back, and gets on well with other cats. The breed has been selectively bred to be sociable and this tendency usually extends to other cats, not just to humans. Having had 2 BSH cats myself in the past (a male and a female) I can vouch for this. Both my BSH cats were very tolerant of the new moggies I introduced at different times over the years.

    My advice would be to get the new DSH you intend to adopt fully integrated with your existing cat before you consider adding a British Blue. If your current resident female is not used to sharing her home with other cats, this may take a little longer than you expect.

    The issue will be how your existing cat and the new cat, will accept the British Blue. Getting a BSH kitten may make it easier to introduce him to the other cats, as a new/strange kitten is often treated with more tolerance by adult cats than a strange/new adult cat would be.

    On the other hand a solo kitten (without a playmate) is going to need a lot of entertainment and one-to-one attention, and your adult cats are unlikely to be so interested in constant play with the kitten, so the responsibility for being the kitten's playmate will fall mostly to you.

    Whether you decide to get a kitten or a re-homed adult British Blue, I strongly recommend introducing any new cat or kitten slowly to the resident cats. Cats being solitary hunters are usually very protective of their territory and resources, and may not take kindly to a newcomer suddenly appearing and wanting a share in the resources.(i.e. food, water, litter trays, toys, beds, and human attention).

    The resident cats will need time to size up a newcomer, appraise him/her and decide if they are a threat or not, before they feel comfortable sharing territory and resources with them. This is best done with appropriate safety guards in place to prevent any physical attacks during the integration process.

    The best method I have found (after years of introducing new cats to resident cats) is to give the newcomer their own 'safe room' with all they need, and to use a hinged mesh screen door fitted temporarily in the doorway of the safe room, so it opens the opposite way to the solid door. This kind of thing is adequate:


    (the door needs to be hinged and rigid, not a curtain, and will need a hook and eye fastener on the opposite side from the hinges to keep it closed).

    Cats are very scent driven creatures, and they're also visually orientated. A screen door gives the opportunity for the cats to see each other and smell each other's scent. Both these are vital. (Btw, a pet gate is not adequate as a barrier during introductions, as cats can jump over it or a kitten can squeeze through the bars.)

    You can feed the cats treats either side of the mesh screen so they associate each other with good things.

    Once the cats are comfortable with the sight of each other through the mesh screen (i.e. no growling, spitting, yowling or signs of fear) it will be time to let them meet without the barrier in place. (Note that the first stage - with the barrier in place - can take anything from a few days to several weeks or more, it is all down to the individual cats and their temperaments).

    To maintain harmony in a multi-cat household it is important to give the cats space from each other at feeding times, and to provide a multiplicity of resources so as to reduce competition for resources.

    So, give each cat its own separate feeding spot, at least 10 feet apart from the others, and preferably out of sight of them. Feeding cats at different heights can work well, e.g. one on the floor, two on tables or worktops in different parts of the room. Individual microchip feeders are useful at giving the cats confidence their food will not be taken from them by one of the other cats (again this reduces feelings of competitiveness).

    Litter trays are also a valued resource. The minimum number of trays for 3 cats is 4 trays. But I would provide more than the minimum, 5 trays may be adequate.

    If your cats go outdoors to toilet you may be OK with providing only 2 or 3 indoor trays for night time or emergency use. Spread the trays around the home, do not group them all together.

    Water bowls - several around the home, is best.

    Cat scratch posts and pads should all be increased for 3 cats, as should cat beds (if used), and toys.

    Your original cat's special sleeping spots should be respected and protected for her. High up places, such as tall cat trees, will provide the cats with places to get away from each other when they want time on their own.
    #2 chillminx, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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