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New kittens! How do we introduce them to our existing cat?

(20 Posts)
CurrerBell Sat 24-Sep-16 22:51:17

We have suddenly acquired two 11-week-old kittens! They are so playful and adorable (pics attached!).

I feel guilty about our older cat (we've had him a couple of years), and hope we've done the right thing in getting the kittens.... He was a stray before we got him - he is very independent and spends most of his time out of the house. I don't want to push him away even more....

We haven't introduced him to the kittens yet (we are keeping them shut in a separate room), but he has been sniffing them through the crack under the door and stood guard outside for ages! The kittens also knew he was there and started purring and trying to get out to meet him...

Has anyone successfully introduced their older cat to kittens, and how should we go about it?

Toomanykittens Sun 25-Sep-16 09:20:57

When I brought my new kitten home I introduced her to my older cat straight away. He spent about a day hissing at her and generally avoiding her and then settled on mostly ignoring her. This is them two weeks after we got her.

littlemissneela Sun 25-Sep-16 09:27:41

I was going to say the opposite to toomanykittens advice. Slowly,slowly slowly is the way. But then again, it is kittens and an older cat so it might work that way hmm
We got a cat from an unwanted home after one of ours died from stomach cancer. We had her in our bedroom for about 2 weeks and the cats would sniff at the door knowing the other was on the other side. It was a nerve wracking time introducing them, and it still took a long time for them to be in the same room. They still fight even now, about 5 years on, which is a shame. I know Id never get another cat until both these have passed.
Another way you can try is have the kittens in a crate in the room, and let you older cat come and sniff them. That way, all are safe and you can remove them from the room if it gets too stressful.
Beautiful kittens though, enjoy them smile

Toomanykittens Sun 25-Sep-16 11:17:41

The rescue we got ours from said our older cat wouldn't see a kitten as a threat in the same way they might see another adult cat... We actually got another kitten for the 1st one to play with and it was the same process with that one. The two kittens play with each other and don't bother the older cat very much. I was more worried that the two kittens weren't getting on, but the rescue said they weren't properly fighting, they were playing. It seems they were right, as they're now good friends. I think it probably depends on the temperament of your older cat.

CurrerBell Sun 25-Sep-16 13:32:08

Thanks all - our older cat hasn't been home today yet so we haven't had chance to introduce them. However I liked the tip about putting the kittens in their crate first and letting him see them, whilst knowing they are safe. I don't think he'd attack them, but I just don't know! They would probably see him as a playmate and annoy him...

The kittens playfight a lot, and sometimes it looks like they are really fighting and biting each other, to the extent we separate them... but I guess that is normal? They also cuddle up together and entertain each other, so I am glad we took both of them!

EwanWhosearmy Sun 25-Sep-16 16:47:26

One of our cats died suddenly and the other was pining so we decided to get another cat. I was going to try to get a young adult of the same breed but the vet said he'd more readily take to a kitten.

Went to get a kittten and came home with 2 blush. They were only 8 weeks and so tiny that we kept them separate for perhaps longer than we should have done. Every time big cat saw them he would hiss and spit and swipe.

This week we bought 2 feliway friends plug-ins, and put one in big cat's room and the other in the living room, and let them all out together. So far so good. We've had growling and hissing but also enforced licking, which I think is a good sign. Big cat is ignoring kittens unless they approach him, then reminding them who is boss. Kittens can't resist him and keep going over for a sniff. No blood shed yet.

WeirdAndPissedOff Mon 26-Sep-16 00:22:30

The advice already given seems pretty good.
The only other thing I'd suggest is having somewhere that only your older cat can access so he can retreat if they get a bit too much for him.

CurrerBell Sat 01-Oct-16 18:13:04

Thanks for the replies (sorry, been busy with the kittens!).

The introduction hasn't gone too well so far. Our cat has only been back very briefly (he tends to eat and then leave again). I managed to get the kittens in their carrier and bring them out to meet him, but he was not happy and just tried to leave.

Our older cat seems to spend more time at the neighbours' houses than ours... We had building work done a few months back and he has been hardly home since then. There is one neighbour in particular we suspect is feeding him (and he's getting huge). That is a whole other thread...

Until they are old enough to let out, I doubt that the kittens will meet our cat much. We have a microchip cat flap in the kitchen but I don't think it can be programmed to keep them in and still let our cat come and go. So we'll have to keep the kitchen door shut and keep them all separate... I don't know if that's a good thing or whether he should be getting used to them whilst they are small. I've invested in some Feliway Friends but there hasn't seemed much point in using it yet seeing as our big cat is hardly ever home... sad

Toomanykittens Sat 01-Oct-16 19:10:27

That's a shame. Could you ask your neighbours to discourage him whist you're trying to get them to bond?

TartanHare Sat 01-Oct-16 21:50:51

I got this kitten today. Old girl cat is brilliant with her. She's been here before and knows no pet will wcer knock her off of the number 1 spot!
Young girl cat hissed a bit and kept out of her way, currently chilling on my bed.
Boy cat is a hissing, spitting mess. We have been here before though. He will sulk and go on hunger strike for a day or two then get over it.
Keep perservering it will get better.
(And tell the neighbours to stop feeding him)

CurrerBell Sat 01-Oct-16 22:01:17

We have been round to the neighbours' house today (she lives a few doors down) and asked if she'd seen our cat - he was in her house!

I had assumed he was just letting himself in through the cat flap (as he has done with other neighbours) but she said she doesn't have one... I can't understand why someone would encourage a cat to come into their house that isn't theirs... she does know he has an owner.

She said he sleeps outside and must be catching things outside to eat... hmm

Anyway we had a friendly word and said we are trying to encourage him to come home more, and that we need to know we're the only ones who are feeding him... Not sure if it will change anything though, as it feels like we've already lost him... when he comes back for food, he howls to be let out as soon as he's finished eating. sad

CurrerBell Sat 01-Oct-16 22:04:16

Cross post - what a beautiful kitten, Tartan - gorgeous green eyes!

CurrerBell Sat 01-Oct-16 22:08:58

Sorry, I meant to say, your older girl has gorgeous green eyes! Lovely picture - looks like they've really hit it off already! smile

Toomanykittens Sat 01-Oct-16 22:27:22

I've no idea if this is the right thing to do or not, but what I'd do is put them all in the same room for a set period of say 30 mins. You're kittens have each other so I wouldn't worry about them being intimidated by him. I think your older cat is probably more threatened by knowing there is something through the door from him, but he's not quite sure what.

I adopted a new kitten today, and the advise of the rescue centre (2nd one to say the same) is to introduce them and let them get on with it. Obviously if your older cat is attacking them then you would have to intervene.

Could you maybe entice him back with lots of his favourite treats?

MrsLettuce Sun 02-Oct-16 19:40:23

Scent swapping whilst the new cat(s) are confined is really important, IME. So, swapping and re-swapping the kittens blanket/bedding with older cat's bedding. Making sure you rub your hands on the places in the house older cat rubs after stroking the kittens. Bringing cat toys in and out of the kitten room. You get the idea. Slowly, slowly being the order of the day. Kittens should, theoretically be more easily accepted than an adult cat, but cats do so love to be contradictory so there;s never really any telling how things will go.

Can you maybe help tempt big cat back with total bribery? Little tidbits of his favourite food every single time you see him. Heated sleeping pad. Feliway bloody expensive, but is very good with some cats. Appears to have no effect on others, mind. I assume he has been neutered?

CurrerBell Sun 02-Oct-16 23:26:18

Yes, big cat is neutered, but he was a stray before he ended up at the RSPCA. We've used Feliway on and off since all the building stress and it didn't seem to make a difference. He rarely sleeps at home any more, and is changed and agitated when he does come back (which is usually once or twice a day for five minutes - some days not at all!).

Every time he comes back I give him his favourite food straightaway - he finishes it (or sometimes doesn't), then yowls to go out again. sad

I keep playing over the scene with the neighbour and I just can't understand why she wasn't embarrassed to have our cat in her house! We suspect he must be spending most of his time there. We should have taken him back there and then but I don't know how we'd have got him home (he hates being picked up). We've tried keeping him in for a while but he gets stressed. Part of me thinks we've already lost him, and at least he has somewhere to go. But will this neighbour actually take care of him? It is us picking up the vet bills and worrying about him.

MrsLettuce Mon 03-Oct-16 09:06:22

I wonder if you need to let him go sad. There would have to be a formal agreement with the neighbour though.

OliviaStabler Mon 03-Oct-16 10:41:10

I'm sorry but I think your cat has moved out and into your neighbours.

CurrerBell Mon 03-Oct-16 20:08:19

Yes, it does feel like he's already gone. sad I think it's been happening gradually over the past year, even before the building work began. We're still trying to work out what's happening and where he's going.

I bumped into a different neighbour today who said he is letting himself into her house through the cat flap, and she finds him asleep on the spare bed. This has been happening for a while although she isn't feeding him. She reckons he does a circuit of all the neighbours! She agreed to lock her cat flap so he can no longer get in.

OliviaStabler Tue 04-Oct-16 18:00:49

Sometimes cats do move on. At one time, I was living next door to two cats and they tried to move in. I think they preferred to be in my house. They had two, um, lively children next door and I think they liked the peace and quiet with us. It was summer so they came in through windows etc.

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