When my first cat was four years old, I found a kitten in a gas station parking lot. My parents said we could keep him until we found him a good home…well, that ‘good home’ ended up being with us, because that was about 16 years ago. Both cats were male. Because the kitten was a stray and not vetted, we kept them separate, (the kitten was in its own room and the other cat had free roam of the house, but could smell/hear the new cat through the door). Funny that wanting to keep our cat away from an unvaccinated cat led us to do what is now the recommended way to introduce a new cat to the resident cat. After he was vetted, we slowly started introducing the cats. Resident cat wasn’t thrilled at first, but over time they came like brothers, (loved each other most of them time, with occasional fights thrown in).
My husband had two female cats. They were from a farm, and very close to the same age, though probably not from the same litter, (it was just a bunch of cats breeding wily nily, multiple females having litters around the same time….still drives me nuts that they didn’t FIX the cats, but that’s another story! lol!). They got along pretty much the same as my two cats.
Now the fun part….when Darling Husband and I had been dating about six months, he was basically unofficially living with me at my parents’ house. His sister was moving away for college, and his parents, (who are not particularly animal lovers), told him he needed to take the cats or the humane society would have to take them. I was appalled that they were considering dumping their 10 year old cats, and Darling Husband was actually upset with me, thinking I “didn’t like” his parents, (I asked him, “Are they going to be getting any more pets?” He said no, and I said, “Well then it won’t be an issue,” and that was that). We kept the two cats separted for several days. My younger cat was now around their age, and rather cranky. We tried everything we knew how to do at the time, (about ten years ago now), but though for the most part one of his females and my males pretty much ignored each other, my crabby male and his other female could not get along no matter what we tried. We ended up accidentally discovering what is referred to as site-swapping, (one cat, or in my case, two cats, are allowed free roam of the house while the other is confined, and then you swap them out so the confined cat(s) now have free roam for part of day as well).
About two years after we got them, one of DH’s cats passed away. A few years after that, my oldest cat, (now 17 or so), passed away. We were left with the two cats who hated each other. DH was convinced “my” cat was just an a-hole and would not believe “his” cat was the one starting all the fights. After another year of site-swapping, DH’s other cat passed away.
Now down to one cat, we decided to try fostering cats, (it turns out we suck at it, because we have foster failed twice now, three times if you count foster-failing with our dog before that). We got an adult female, around two years of age, (best guess, since she was a stray). We kept them separate until we were sure the new cat was healthy and had been vaccinated, then slowly started introducing them. They were always semi-cautious around each other, pretty much ignoring each other, and never really friends, but they never fought either, (and Darling Husband finally had to realize it HAD been his cat starting all the fights).
When Darling Husband and I moved out, we took our foster cat, but “my” cat stayed with my parents, (he was a family cat, now a senior who had lived in the home since kittenhood, and we decided we didn’t want to stress him with a move). After we moved out and he became an “only cat” again, he started seeming lonely. My parents were interested in adding another cat to the family, and thanks to Petfinder.com, they found a nice, senior female from a just-starting-out local rescue. We introduced them slowly. Cautious of each other at first, but no fighting, (HA, DH!). They are now the best of friends. They are almost always together, they sleep on my parents’ bed together at night, they clean each other’s faces….we could not have found a better match for “my” guy and the family, (and the daycare kids…they all adore her, too!).
Meanwhile, at our house, I found a young, female cat in a local impound that was nearing capacity, (and capacity usually means they need to schedule a euthanasia). We decided to foster again, (and because we suck at it, we ended up foster-failing with our second kitty-foster). We followed Jackson Galaxy’s recomendations for site-swapping and feeding on other sides of the door…our cat, (who is about five now), was terrified of this seven-month old kitten who was about a third her size). In order to feed them on opposite sides of the door, we first had to start feeding the resident cat at the bottom of the stairs and her bowl up a couple stairs each night, then move it about a foot down the hallway towards the door once we overcame the stairway. It took a lot longer than normal to be able to let them out together. The younger cat has a lot more energy, and the older cat often just watches her with a look of kitty-disdain. But they don’t really fight, they occasionally play together by taking turns chasing each other around the house, (by now we have learned the difference between play-chasing and fight-chasing)…they aren’t to the point of mutual grooming/snuggling each other. They may never be, but they get along, they watch birds out our patio door together, they with both sleep on our bed at the same time…so if they never get to the BFF-stage, that’s okay.
I also have an aquaintance who adopted two cats one day, brought them home and bascially threw them together with her resident cat. After a couple days of “fighting it out”, all three adult females get along, (but please, NEVER introduce cats this way…it’s stressful enough coming into a new home without increasing that stress with an immediate fight for dominance).
I know this has gotten SUPER long, and for that, I apologize. The point I am trying to make with my rambling is that there is no 100% right or wrong answer about which cat to add to your home. Generally it is considered “easier” to introduce cats of the opposite gender, especially if they are the same age or if the new cat is younger. Because you have a somewhat cranky cat like I did, I would NOT suggest a very young kitten…I would find a cat around six months or older, who is better able to defend itself if it comes down to it. You probably also want to adopt a cat that is already fixed. Petfinder.com allows you to search only for specific genders of cats, so if you want to look for only male cats, you can easily do so. More important than gender, though, is personality, so keep that in mind when reading kitty bios and doing meet-and-greets. You know YOUR cat…do you think the cat you are reading about or meeting is a cat she would come to accept?
Also, keep in mind that there is a SMALL chance that your cat will never accept a new cat. Are you prepared to either return to other cat to the rescue, or practice site-swapping for the rest of one of their lives? This almost never happens, but it is something to keep in mind before you bring a new cat into your family.
Good luck, and keep us updated!