My cat, Mildred, is 10 and has always been my only cat, but I’d like to get another cat to keep her company. Should I get another cat the same age or a kitten? Margaret Dawson.
A) CELIA SAYS: Mildred is now passing from middle age into her senior years, according to the four feline lifestages set out by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. She may be developing the first signs of ageing, becoming less energetic, and possibly even a little arthritic.
Senior cats are less likely to cope well with change. By now, she has a settled routine and any new cat will inevitably disrupt this. Cats are not social animals like dogs and they do not need or enjoy companionship in the same way as dogs do. Most of them do not like sharing beds, food, or attention. A new cat inevitably also disrupts the family scent which is so crucial for a feline's sense of security.
If Mildred has lived alone for the past ten years, she is unlikely to welcome any other feline, whether it is a cat or a kitten. Let her continue to be the sole much-loved feline in the family so that she can enjoy all your attention in her old age, as she deserves.