Keeping two British Shorthair stud boys together
Stud cats are funny creatures. Some grow up to live in the house without spraying and some hose down their run as it it was on fire on a daily basis. It is often hard to guess how your boy might be till he grows up and starts to show you how he will behave as an adult.
Some boys need to be kept alone where they can’t see or smell other males. Every now and again though there is a little miracle and two entire boys will live happily together. It has happened to me and I consider it magical.
Rickie was two years old and living with a girl to begin with. He hated being alone and would cry while she was out at shows or in the house. Henry was about eight months old. He had been imported from the UK and lived in quarantine with the female traveled over with.
I have another boy Jackie who is happy to have the other boys live next to him. I had tried him with Rickie when they were younger but Jackie would show he was dominant by “play mating” Rickie. Rickie didn’t object and there were no fights but it was clear they were not meant to be pals.
When Rickie’s lady friend needed to visit with Jackie I worried about leaving him alone. Stud boys can be noisy and in an Australian suburban backyard that can be very unpopular! So we decided to try Henry with Rickie.
At first we put Henry up to the run Rickie was in and watched for a reaction. All seemed good so Damien and I both went into the run. He patted and held Rickie while I did the same with Henry. We let them go up to one another while holding them loosely. The interaction went well so we let them go but we were prepared to step in and separate them if we needed to. We didn’t!
There was not a single hiss. Henry trotted around checking out his new zone while Rickie trotted after sniffing and watching. They ate side by side from day one and within two days they were sleeping on the same bed. Henry loves to use Rickie as a fur pillow. We had our very own stud buddies.
Now that Henry is a little older they live in a bigger run with more viewing areas and two wooden kennels. They sleep in one each at night but I have noticed them still squeezing into the same one from time to time. To this day neither has sprayed. Rickie has sprayed before in the house while wearing pants but not while he is happy with his Henry.
The benefits of boys sharing are that they have company and can share a run reducing the time it takes to maintain two stud pens.
Some of the secrets to having two entire boys share are
- Choose submissive boys. I think Rickie and Henry know Jackie is top male so don’t fight for dominance.
- Introduce them slowly and calmly
- If you can, put them side by side so they can meet “through the mesh”. That way you can gauge their reaction to each other.
- Be prepared for change. Hormones, girls calling etc can change a stud cat’s behavior so be ready to separate them at the first sign of trouble. You must have a back up pen or run that you can use at short notice
- Make sure they have space. You need more room than for a boy on his own. You also need two of the comfy beds, two feed bowls, two of the favorite scratching post etc etc just like kids. The less there is to fight over the better.
So here’s hoping that a little bit of stud buddy magic comes your way soon.
Update: Rickie and Henry now have an even bigger pen and share a cosy hammock bed. They still love each other very much. They do spray but in a very contained way in two areas of the pen. When girls visit one of the boys we did have some issues putting them back together due to "girl smells" and a bit too much testosterone. As they have gotten older even this is no longer an issue with each cat happily accepting the other back after a mating.
More Updates: Rickie and Henry are now both desexed older gentlemen. After several happy years together the boys started to be a bit funny with each other so they were separated. Henry was desexed and came to live inside and Rickie had his own pen. Henry made friends with our then kitten Ralphie. When Ralphie had to go out in a stud pen Henry went too and they have now lived together very happily for years. Rickie was also desexed and he now lives in the barn (our new cattery). He lives with two lady cats and they all get on really well. He was not able to be a house cat as he will spray in the house but he has a happy life. Rickie and Henry taught us how we could give our stud cats a friend and we have always managed to find the right combination to do so. Brothers, desexed mum and son, desexed dad and son, granddad and grandson. Making sure they are all happy is really important to us.