The arrival of a new cat is not always appreciated by those who have been the longstanding and undisputed kings of the sofa. One always hopes that the two will get along and be pals, but it doesn’t always work that way. We asked Ivo and Isabella how to handle the arrival of a wonderful new ball of fur into our homes.
Ivo, tell us about your love of cats, especially the exotic Persian cats!
I have always had a deep-seated passion for cats, they are so very elegant, independent and, dare I say, aristocratic, so a few years ago I adopted Nero. When Isabella and I moved to the new house, Nero obviously came along with us. A year ago, when she was going through a tough time, I decided to give Isabella a cat of her own. She really wanted one, and so Simba joined the family. We figured the two cats would be delighted with one another and become fast friends, that they would keep one another company. But that did not happen!
Cats see the territory they live in with their owners as their own. How did Nero show his antagonism towards the new arrival, Isabella?
There is nothing overt against Simba. He is incredibly indifferent, completely ignores him. But when he first arrived, the situation was quite different, even critical. He was so angry with us that he gradually quit eating, he couldn’t cope with Simba being around. I also noticed that Simba would go out of his way to annoy Nero when meal time came around. So I took the situation in hand.
How did you get them over this critical period?
First of all I separated the food bowls. I fed the two cats at different times and then spent a lot of time paying plenty of attention to Nero. It’s a bit like when a new baby is born into a family, you try to devote some really special time to the one that was already there and suddenly feels he’s no longer the centre of attention. So, as the big brother, Nero got lots of special loving care and attention to help him get over this difficult time. Their relationship now is based on ignoring one another, they don’t play together, but they live together peacefully
Ivo, can you offer some advice to people who are thinking of adopting a second cat?
I think it’s important to keep an eye on your cats’ behaviour, they can be upset by the arrival of what you see as a new friend in the house. So look out for changes in behaviour or habits. Living together is not an impossible goal, on the contrary, it’s actually easy to re-establish harmony in the household by doing the right things. What’s important is to find the right compromises and maybe even a bed for each one to call his own. Simba and Nero do not sleep together. Each has their own bed, and each gets their own hefty ration of daily cuddling and love.