introducing new kitten to our cat

(10 Posts)
lurkingfromhome Wed 05-Mar-14 10:20:51

We have a 2-year-old boy cat who is just the light of our lives (crazy cat people with no children). Both work from home so we're around most of the time. Boy cat goes out although we only recently moved to house with garden so he has only been an outdoor cat for 4 months. Is absolutely loving it, though, but is not so keen on the two neighbour cats and is always hissing at them (they are so laid back that they just ignore him...).

So into this happy household we want to bring another kitten. Have found a teeny-tiny female, 6 weeks old (too young, really, but let's just say it's a bit of a rescue mission). I have never owned two cats at a time before and am terrified in case the new arrival makes our boy terribly unhappy, or he is horrible to the kitten and we have to get rid of her again (which would break my heart as I fall in love with cats in the first five minutes). or something else I haven't considered.

Any tips on introducing a kitten to an older (and v spoiled) cat? How best to do this? I have heard stories from loads of people that range from "they got on really well from the first minute" to "they never bonded and the whole household was deeply miserable for ever more". Help!

Ghirly Wed 05-Mar-14 14:52:30

When I got my second cat, my eldest cat didn't like him. She hissed at him if he went too close.
That only lasted about 3 days and now, a year later, they are best friends!

I got my second cat when he was 6 weeks old too, can't believe owners think that's an acceptable age to take them away from their mothers. sad

FreckledLeopard Wed 05-Mar-14 14:55:48

I think it's pot luck TBH. We've had our 'kittens' for around 18 months now and our existing cat still loathes them. She will tolerate the female, but still hisses and growls at the male.

We've tried Feliway etc but nothing's really worked. I suppose I'm just used to the background noise of hisses and yowls at home now sad

cozietoesie Wed 05-Mar-14 15:04:07

I also think it's pot luck. On the plus side, with your situation, it's a young female kitten who should pose absolutely no threat to him and just might bring out some friendly instinct. On the down side, he's only recently moved home and is having a bargy with some other cats outside (so might get annoyed at a 'stranger cat' actually inside his house) and the kitten might get on his nerves, being first off so very young and then growing into a ball of rushing-around-and-pouncing-on-everything.

I think, on balance, I'd hold back in view of your recent move particularly and the outside cats which he dislikes. It sounds a tad risky to me. But I don't think anyone can really predict the outcome.

If you didn't take the little one, would she find another home?

haggisaggis Wed 05-Mar-14 15:05:00

You have to do it really, really slowly - but there are no guarantees. Ideally you should keep kitten in his own room separated from cat - when cat goes out you could let kitten wander around so his smell starts being part of the house. You can rub the kitten with a blanket and introduce his scent to the cat etc etc. Slowly build it up (google - there's loads of help on introductions). My old cat though never like dthe kitten - and now we have a new cat who our "kitten" (he's now nearly 3) doesn't like either although we did the introductions by the book. Most of the time though it's fine - it's just if they encounter each other in the same space that it get's exciting..

cozietoesie Wed 05-Mar-14 15:08:49

Here's some guidance on the subject for you to read.

lurkingfromhome Wed 05-Mar-14 16:14:40

Interesting replies, thanks. I'm hoping it's an advantage that our boy is still very playful and always chasing toys and running up and downstairs yowling with delight, so at least new arrival won't be too much of a handful for him. He is pretty cocky too, so I'm hoping that's a good thing. And

On the other hand, I'm stressing out about this so much that I don't know how anyone ever manages to have more than one cat. I've kind of committed to taking the kitten and I feel she'd get on better with us than in her existing home, let's say. If it really didn't work out I have two people who run cat rescue places (from their homes) and they both vet potential owners very seriously, so that would be an option. Although an option that I absolutely wouldn't want to consider unless it was world war three around here and an absolute last resort.

That guidance was very helpful, thanks, cozie. I hadn't realised it had to be such a gradual process so this is useful reading.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Mar-14 16:34:10

I've read that the use of natural vanilla essence (a single drop on each cat - or perhaps a drop on a piece of cloth which is then rubbed gently on the cat's back) is useful, because of its very strong smell, for acclimatizing cats by making them seem to smell the same during the initial meeting period.

I should emphasize, though, that I've not tried this myself. Another poster might have tried it and be able to comment.

Nobody can say for sure how any cat will react to any other cat but when we temporarily housed DD2's adolescent males, my 2 adult females never warmed to them - there was no actual scrapping but a lot of standoffs & hissing & low-threatening-growls-in-the-throat & we had to keep them apart as much as poss.

One of the males was actually bigger than both of mine which probably didn't help.

Anyway while the boys were here there was cat tension in the house all the time. But not long after they left I added a female kitten, aged 8-9 weeks (pics on profile, she is adorable smile) to the household.

Kept her in a separate room as advised, for a week or more, they knew she was in there & often came to sniff under the door. When they were introduced there was a lot of curiosity & a tiny amount of hissing but that was over pretty quickly.

She is wildly energetic & loves to playfight, which they sometimes find wearing (they are nearly 2 now & dignified ladies) but both also have zoomie sessions with her, curl up to sleep with her & give her a good wash, which she reciprocates now.

So good luck with yours, lurking - hope she & your boy will be the best of friends!

Also, a friend who has my adult cats' brother got a female kitten at about the same time as I got mine.

Her boy doesn't go out (he hates & fears outside!) so she hadn't bothered having him neutered before, & had to have him done in a hurry just before the kitten came; but even with that potential stress there were no problems at all, even though she introduced them face to face almost immediately, & now they're inseparable smile

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