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new kitty: when to move to introduction phase?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all! Sorry for my lame username. I'm not the most creative, I'm afraid.

I've been reading posts and searching for an answer to my problem, but haven't found anything yet. Hopefully you nice folks can help.

Here's the deal: I brought Abigail home from the shelter 7 months ago. She is about 1 1/2 now. I brought Oliver home last Saturday. He is three months old.

I knew that introducing them would be tricky, so I read every article I could get my hands on. Oliver has been in the bathroom since Saturday. I put Abigail in there briefly the other day so that Oliver could explore my place a little and Abigail could be around his scent, and brought Oliver out in the carrier so Abigail could sniff him and see him, but besides that he's been in the bathroom this whole time.

And he's clearly miserable. As I would be, too.

He's crying his little heart out all the time unless I'm in there sitting with him. He wants to fall asleep in my lap. He wants to play. In short, he's a darling and he wants cuddles.

The first time I brought him out in the carrier, Abigail hissed and growled at him. However, I've slipped Rescue Remedy into her water yesterday and today and she's been a lot more calm. I brought him out in the carrier again tonight. She sniffed at him a little (while he purred his little heart out, just happy to have someone paying attention to him I'd imagine), but for the most part seemed pretty uninterested in him.

I'm tempted to try letting Oliver out of the bathroom and introducing the two of them for real when I get home tomorrow night.

Do you think it's too soon?

Oh, I forgot to mention - I moved Abigail's food and water bowls to right outside the bathroom door. Oliver's bowls are directly on the opposite side. Both of them are eating and drinking just fine. I also swapped their beds last night. Oliver had no problem sleeping on Abigail's bed, but Abigail didn't sleep in her bed last night and chose to sleep elsewhere. That could have been for other reasons, though - I moved her perch thingy up into the bedroom because I bought a kitty condo thing for the living room, and she loves lying on that!

Eesh, this is getting long. So sorry about that! I've never had a pet in my life before getting Abigail last January, so I'm completely out of my element and want to make sure I handle things in the best way possible. Which might mean giving way more detail than I really need to. Oops.

Just for the heck of it, here are pics of both my babies:





post #2 of 18
You're more than ready. Just separate them when you're not there to supervise until you see how they're getting along. Be sure to have some treats and/or cat toys handy so you can distract one or both if they get in each other's face. They've already seen each other, so I don't think you really need to do the crack-in-the-door step any more. Good luck!!
post #3 of 18
Welcome! And gorgeous kitties btw.

When we got Milo 2 months ago (he's 8-9 months now) and were introducing him to Cat (our resident cat who is now about 3 years old), we had a similar situation. Instead of the cat carrier, we used the "open the door a crack" and see how they interact.

We had some hissing/growling/swatting from both parties and once that died down, the door opened a little more and treats were given for good behavior. And lots of toys/playing happened at this time. We'd let Milo out of the bathroom for longer each time as they got used to each other and voila!

I would start with the door crack and let Abigail come over and check out what's going on and if all looks pretty calm, open the door a little more. A lot is sort of feeling the mood of your cats and how they're feeling.

Of course, about 2 weeks ago, we took another approach when helping my mother-in-law (she just adopted a 10 week old kitten and had a 1.5 year old cat already). I picked up the kitten, we opened the door to the kitten's room (letting the 1.5 year old in) to see the reaction and since there was no hissing, I plonked the kitten down and uhh...nothing happened. I was so jealous, and that is DEFINITELY not the norm, but it's all about checking the cats reactions to each other and to go slow and limit their time together if it looks like either of them isn't comfortable.

You're definitely at the tough stage (because kitten is crying in the bathroom), but be strong! If Abigail needs to go slower, make sure to give her as much time to accept the newcomer as she needs!

Good luck!!!
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 


Much thanks to you both!

I brought Oliver out in the carrier again this morning, and I think Abigail was trying to play with him! She kept running up to him and running away like she wanted to be chased. When that didn't work, she batted at the carrier a little bit each time she ran up to it. That's "play" behavior, right? There was definitely no hissing or anything, and when Abigail batted at the carrier her claws were retracted. YAY!

(Side note: one of the times that she batted at the carrier she accidentally rolled it over onto its top. Poor Oliver! I set it right-side-up right away and he didn't seem too bothered, but I felt awful.)
post #5 of 18
Yes, you're definitely ready. What you're doing with the carrier serves essentially the same purpose as the cracked door.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetkitty View Post
I brought Oliver out in the carrier again this morning, and I think Abigail was trying to play with him! She kept running up to him and running away like she wanted to be chased. When that didn't work, she batted at the carrier a little bit each time she ran up to it. That's "play" behavior, right? There was definitely no hissing or anything, and when Abigail batted at the carrier her claws were retracted. YAY!
Oh, just as a side note, I would make sure everybody has a nail trimming (in case of accidental scratches).

Bring Oliver out and engage Abigail in a fun play session while Oliver watches from the carrier. Do some normal daily activities while he is nearby in the carrier. It's important that she knows that you still love her just as much and just because there's a new addition, there's not going to be change to your playtime/cuddle time etc. Has Oliver been reacting to her just as well?

When I let the 2 cats out in the open with each other it was a mealtime. I think that's a good way to go so they're both a little preoccupied by food, but they can associate being near each other as a grand ol' (meal)time. And they can start getting to know that there's plenty of food for everyone!
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Yes, you're definitely ready. What you're doing with the carrier serves essentially the same purpose as the cracked door.
Yay! K, tonight's the night.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tempteq View Post
Oh, just as a side note, I would make sure everybody has a nail trimming (in case of accidental scratches).

Bring Oliver out and engage Abigail in a fun play session while Oliver watches from the carrier. Do some normal daily activities while he is nearby in the carrier. It's important that she knows that you still love her just as much and just because there's a new addition, there's not going to be change to your playtime/cuddle time etc. Has Oliver been reacting to her just as well?
That's what I've been doing, for the most part. Petting and playing with Abigail while Oliver goes nuts in the carrier trying to get out so he can join. This morning when Abigail was trying to play with Oliver, I was just getting ready for work, which she is completely used to. In between her attempts to get Oliver to chase her, she sniffed around the bathroom and kept me company like she usually does while I brushed my teeth and threw on some makeup.

Yes, Oliver has been responding to Abigail beautifully. He purrs like mad when she's around and wants to touch noses and sniff her, and he keeps trying to dart past me out of the bathroom (successfully, a couple times) to get to her. He's dying for a playmate. He was a riot to watch when he was playing with the other kittens at the shelter. He's definitely a social one!
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetkitty View Post
Yes, Oliver has been responding to Abigail beautifully. He purrs like mad when she's around and wants to touch noses and sniff her, and he keeps trying to dart past me out of the bathroom (successfully, a couple times) to get to her. He's dying for a playmate. He was a riot to watch when he was playing with the other kittens at the shelter. He's definitely a social one!
Looks like you should be a-ok!

Let us know how everything goes tonight!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tempteq View Post
Looks like you should be a-ok!

Let us know how everything goes tonight!
I definitely will! Thanks again for your help!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hmm... a coworker suggested playing with Oliver and trying to get him way tuckered out before letting him out of the bathroom. Any thoughts on that? I don't see it making much of a difference; he seems to perk up when a new distraction is presented regardless of how tired he might have seemed a second earlier.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetkitty View Post
Hmm... a coworker suggested playing with Oliver and trying to get him way tuckered out before letting him out of the bathroom. Any thoughts on that? I don't see it making much of a difference; he seems to perk up when a new distraction is presented regardless of how tired he might have seemed a second earlier.
Hmmm...I would say this depends on Abigail's energy level. From what you've mentioned, she sounds like a pretty high energy youngster herself so she might be able to hold her own with Oliver no problem.

When my mother-in-law's kitten was presented to the 1.5 year old, the kitten was pretty preoccupied with a toy...then the cat's tail...then a toy...then the cat's tail...you get the picture.

Personally, I agree with you in that I wouldn't think it would do much of a difference. Kittens always seem to find energy somehow if there's something of interest to them! If Abigail starts looking flustered and agitated, I'd take Oliver back to the bathroom at that point.

Good luck!
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tempteq View Post
Hmmm...I would say this depends on Abigail's energy level. From what you've mentioned, she sounds like a pretty high energy youngster herself so she might be able to hold her own with Oliver no problem.

When my mother-in-law's kitten was presented to the 1.5 year old, the kitten was pretty preoccupied with a toy...then the cat's tail...then a toy...then the cat's tail...you get the picture.

Personally, I agree with you in that I wouldn't think it would do much of a difference. Kittens always seem to find energy somehow if there's something of interest to them! If Abigail starts looking flustered and agitated, I'd take Oliver back to the bathroom at that point.

Good luck!
Okee doke, that's what I'll do. Thanks!

EEEEEK! I CAN'T WAIT TO LEAVE WORK!!
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Update:

Well, at first things weren't going so well...



But by the end of the night they were both curled up by my feet while I read my book.







To be honest, there was a little while there when I felt like the third wheel! Neither of them wanted to come upstairs to go to sleep and I was very lonely. Oliver eventually came up and joined me, though. I tried to show him that it was okay to get on my bed, but he was happier sleeping on the floor next to it.
post #14 of 18
That's great!

Are you already leaving them together when you aren't around?

It took a while for me to get comfortable with leaving them together unsupervised. I usually put Milo back in the bathroom at night and when we went out.

If it seems like they're always 100% ok with each other when you're there (no hissing, growling, etc.), it's probably not a problem to leave them together when you're not present but I felt a lot better supervising our cats' time together initially (probably about 5 days of this).

Congrats on Oliver's smooth integration!
post #15 of 18
Sweet!! Nice pics!!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tempteq View Post
That's great!

Are you already leaving them together when you aren't around?

It took a while for me to get comfortable with leaving them together unsupervised. I usually put Milo back in the bathroom at night and when we went out.

If it seems like they're always 100% ok with each other when you're there (no hissing, growling, etc.), it's probably not a problem to leave them together when you're not present but I felt a lot better supervising our cats' time together initially (probably about 5 days of this).

Congrats on Oliver's smooth integration!
I am definitely not ready to leave them alone together. I get squeamish when they aren't in the same room with me! I put Oliver back in the bathroom before I left for work this morning. Abigail is still hissing a little - once last night, three times this morning - and until that stops entirely I don't think I'll be comfortable leaving Oliver on his own with her.
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Sweet!! Nice pics!!
Thank you! I had my cell phone next to me on the coffee table while I was reading and I couldn't resist!
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello all! Just wanted to give an update, since I realized I never did. Bottom line is that all of your advice was dead on target, and I couldn't be happier! My two babies love each other to pieces, and I love watching them cuddle and play.

They completely act like siblings. Abigail is the older sister and Oliver is the annoying baby brother, but they clearly love each other despite getting on each other's nerves here and there.







post #18 of 18
Awwww.....kitty pals snuggling.....makes me smile.
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