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New Kitten at home...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey folks... just signed up, looking for some help.

Just brought home a 2 month old kitten, and already have an 8 month old at home. Whats the best way to introduce them ?

What I did was bring Urraco (the new kid) home, and let him meet Jarama (the resident kitten) for a few minutes. Broke up a few possible altercations... and after about 20 minutes they were both just avoiding each other, but Urraco was getting used to my room and Jarama was getting used to him. Now Urraco is in my bathroom, converted to his own little apartment for now, and Jarama has full run of the house again... I found out AFTER I brought Urraco home, and was told by the shelter that letting them just meet and get it over with is best, that there are better, safer ways.

Please help me here. Any thoughts, experience, or tips/hints, would be awesome.

I promise I'll post pics of both of them on this site when I have time and they're all settled and comfortable with each other and I'm not running around playing ref
post #2 of 20
Hi and welcome to the boards!

Has the new kitty been vet checked? I am hoping if you got Urraco from a shelter they did a vet check before release? If not, do not put them together.

Urraco should have a room to himself for a few days just to get used to things, new smells, new sounds, vibrations in the floor, all of this is new to a kitty who has lived in a cage.

You can take a towel and rub the new kitty, then rub resident and rub new kitty, then resident to swap and blend the smells. Take the towel after it has been used in this way and throw it in a corner for resident kitty to discover. Place some tasty treats directly on the towel, not in a bowl so Jarama can associate this new smell with pleasant things.

Another trick is to take vanilla extract and place some on the chins and the base of the tails of each cat. As cats are scent driven, you are striving to make them both smell the same and neutralizing any scent.

Make sure you have more than one litter pan as well, so ambushes don't occur.

I introduce cats to my home all the time, but I deal with the strays and ferals, so I always separate them at first. Here is an article I wrote, but again, I deal with ferals and they are a far cry from house cats, or even shelter cats.

Good luck!

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips. I gave Urraco a towel to sleep on, and when he's done sleeping for a bit, i'll swap it with another and put that one in my room for Jarama to sniff and such. he can smell Urraco through the bathroom door though. I'll move that towel back and forth for a few days... I just feel bad keeping Urraco in the bathroom

They are reaching for each other through the door gap as I type this... Is that okay ? I clipped both of them when I brought Urraco home, so they cant actually snag each other ...

Urraco is a shelter kitten, just like Jarama was. Both from the Moreno Valley Animal Shelter. They both went through vet checks when I brought them home. Both are just fine.

I'm gonna head over to your article now and do some reading Thanks for the info !!

About how many days am I looking at to keep Urraco in solitary ?
post #4 of 20
i would say just play it by ear, if you can let urraco out of the room and put resident kitty in another room and let urraco run around and deposit his scent everywhere he can. that helps as well.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I figured as much. I let Jarama hang in the living room as he does most of the day anyway, and closed the bedroom door and let Urraco run around the room and play for a bit.

Now, both have their own litter boxes, but in your article you mentioned getting 2 for each cat ?! I've never heard of that, but admittedly I'm still a novice to all this I'd say...

They both also have their own food and water dishes, ceramic ones at that to keep things healthy, and I wash Jarama's (and Urraco's now too), every week or so.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Okay... So I've been giving them supervised visits with each other in my bedroom, for about 10 minutes at a time.

When they first met face to face, was the 2nd time in his life with me I've seen Jarama pin his ears back and hiss with fangs glaring...

The last time they were face to face, a few moments ago... I noticed (and have over the last few "visits"), he keeps his ears up and forward... and just follows close behind keeping Urraco in site as Urraco plays (disregarding Jarama). But if Jarama actually catchs up with Urraco, he wrestles him to the ground, front arms around him, back legs doing that kicking thing... I broke it up after about 2 seconds... and they wont get anymore visits like that until I figure out how to make progress with them some more.

The trick with the towel doesnt seem to be working, as Jarama knows where Urraco is, and isnt interested in his smell apparently, but more so just the big furry thing running around the house that isn't him...

I'm starting to think maybe this wasn't such a good idea ? But I would hate to have to take Urraco back
post #7 of 20
As long as there is no screaming and fur flying they are just playing! I think they sound like everything is OK.

Wrestling is a common kitten tactic seen as soon as the eyes are open and they can manover toward their siblings. I would only break it up if there is growling or a cry of pain from one of the kittens.
post #8 of 20
Just don't put them together so quickly. It takes time for cats to adjust to all the changes going on around them. The flattened ears is a warning sign that a battle is in the future. Pay a lot of attention to your resident cat, more than you have, so he doesn't feel slighted. Feed him first, pet him first, keep him secure in that he knows his position is not threatened.

Also if you don't have a cat condo, investing in one can help a lot.

The two litter pans is from my field research (I am writing a book on feral cats) In the wild, a cat's instinct is to pee in one place and poop in another. Two litter pans is really ideal for one cat as it goes back to an instinctive nature within. Now that you have two cats, you should have 3 pans. But it isn't mandatory, just a suggestion for them to feel more comfortable in their space.

You might also consider getting a fairly new product called Comfort Zone, it is a room mister that release phermones in the room and keeps cats calmer. It works great! You can find them at any good pet retail outlet.
post #9 of 20
I was also worried about my resident cat holding the new cat around the neck and kicking. I broke them up the first time I saw them do it. However, I was told here that this is what they do to play, and let them be. Now they do it all the time, and the new cat grabs and kicks as much as the resident cat.

However, if you have such a young new kitten, I would think you need to be more vigilant. Mine are both adults and know how to look after themselves.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Awesome... I'm gonna go look at PetSmart for that plug in thing !

I'm making sure to arm wrestle with Jarama just as often as ever, and more... My arm, his whole body, both have fun!

I will give them a visit with each other later today again and see what happens. I'm worried though because Urraco is about 1/3 Jarama's size and J has gotten PRETTY strong through our workouts and playtime...

I first of all don't want him trying to inflict harm, and secondarily don't want him inflicting harm by accident so.. it'll be a while before I trust them together. Just seems that keeping them seperated just puts of the inevitable wrestling and such... Neither kitten pays attention to a towel with the other one's smell cause they both know exactly where the other kitten is, and thats more interesting.

No ears pinned back anymore from jarama though, so thats a good sign. And he's playing with the house humans again so he's not offended that we brough Urraco home anymore either I don't think. he realizes he's still the spoiled brat of the house.
post #11 of 20
I was also worried about my resident cat holding the new cat around the neck and kicking. I broke them up the first time I saw them do it.
My little boy Jack (5months) - beats on my female Cooper (11months)

They are just playing...... but when it gets too rough for Cooper she reaches around a nips him on the ear....

*** ALWAYS SUPERVISE THEIR PLAY, until they get used to each other ***
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I let them run around and play for about 20 minutes tonight, and they wrestled. Seems Urraco wants to taunt Jarama just as much as he can and get away with it I guess trying to say he's not going to lay down and take it... Jarama seems to be gentle with him, just establishing that he's the man of the house... puts his teeth on Urraco but wont bite down... I have yet to hear anyone scream or even hiss tonight... I think they're finally at that point where they're going to start acting like family... but, younger and older brother picking on each other :P

I'll leave Urraco in his apartment tonight and tomorrow evening find out if they can live in the same room finally. Maybe I'll try that this evening. keeping the litters and foods in the seperate rooms for another night though...
post #13 of 20
Just a suggestion, but instead of arm wrestling these two- (this will promote two things in the future- biting you and also sometimes attacking you from behind. They will not mean any harm they will be carrying on this playing behavior you taught them.

Do you have an old fishing pole stuck in your closet? Pull it out and attach a light cat toy to the line and reel it out and pull it back, run it up on chairs and use that as an extension of your arm wrestling sessions and make it your new playtime activity.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, Jarama knows not to bite. We've had that "discussion" in the past already and he never gets out of hand anymore. If I say "ow", or "stop", he freezes, licks me, and lets go.

He has also never attacked anyone from behind at all, with hug your arm to let you know he'd like to play, but doesnt get into it, unless you are moving back to play with him. He's a very well mannered kitten.

Urraco apparently though is bringing on the confrontations right now. I don't think he understands that Jarama is curious, and not out to hunt him anymore. I'm going to give them through the weekend, but if they don't settle down, I think Urraco might have to find a more suitable home I can't stand to have him in the bathroom this much, and not out with us in the rest of the house... keeping them seperated isn't helping the bonding process anymore, but when I can't have my eyes on them, I have to keep them apart...

I just don't know what to do next.
post #15 of 20
You are truly expecting to much, all in a limited amount of time. You keep putting them together rushing it and expecting it to all work out. It will work out, but they have their own hierarchy to follow, their own time schedule you need to reset your clock to their time and not expect to put them together and have everything rosy. It sometimes doesn't work that way.

Any new cat or kitten I get here is automatically quarantined from the others for two weeks. Our entire upstairs is nothing but a cat room (basically) and a HAM radio shack. But the cat is put up there away from the others. I go up with this cat depending on the circumstances anywhere from 3-5 times a day. They have everything they need upstairs, and we have built a door at the foot of our stairs, so they can go up and down and run but they can't get into general population. I know they might be lonely, but I also know because I have done this for so long, that this is the way to do it. The door is basically framed chicken-wire and it allows the newcomer and the resident cats to sniff noses, but no one can get at each other. I also know that two weeks fly by and the newcomer will be out of kitty jail in that period, so I know the lonliness is short lived. Plus there is a lot of space upstairs and toys and tubes and cupboards so there is no boredom.

After two weeks, I bring the new one downstairs and put him in a cage we have in our living room. This cage is big enough for two full- grown shepherds to lay down in and turn around in. The newcomer goes here for 24 hours. By this time, all the cats have bumped noses with each other, growled and hissed and warned the newcomer giving the cat a read about who to watch out for, and who not. While in the cage, they get to see more of the new one- though he is covered with a dark cloth, but they go inside the cloth nose to nose but the darkness of the covered cage works to soothe them, and the only one who ever really gives a newcomer problems is my group leader Ripster.

24 hours later, the cat is in general population, running around with the others, racing about the house and playing with no conflicts. About a week of this house arrest and then the new one is allowed outside and joins the gang full-force. It is a tried and true method that over a period of 10 years has only failed me one time. And some cat owners scoff at me when I share this system and say they just always put their cats together and let them work it out, but because I work with the strays and ferals, this method is the best one for my circumstances.

You are putting these cats together to quickly and expecting them to respond in a human way as far as being able to figure it out and work it out among them. The locking together that they do, the rabbit kicking all tells me they need time to adjust- but they are adjusting. I hope you do not throw in the towel for this other kitty to soon, and just give it more time. I would clip Jarama's nails though, especially his back ones. Just take a deep breath, and slow it down a bit and they will find their way with each other. Again, it just takes time.

If you follow the link below, you will see the door I am talking about- some of it anyway. One of my cats is in kitty jail and clearly not happy, and her buddy the german shepherd on the other side is trying to console her, but she was injured and not a happy camper.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well i guess my problem is that I don't have that much space. I'm one half of a 2 room apartment right now so Urraco lives in my bathroom... which is a small area for him to occupy. I don't have a huge cage, or I'd put him in one and leave him in the bedroom to get Jarama used to him at a distance, all I have is a small kitten carrier.

I'm not tossing them both in the room and letting them brawl it out of their system keep in mind I am letting them play and get to know each other, no more than 3 feet from me and under a close watch. I do this for about 10 minutes, a few times a day depending on my schedule, and I've started to do it in the late evening and early mornings too when they're both a lil more tired as well.

What I've noticed is that Jarama really isn't trying to do anything bad, but is just hugging Urraco to kinda tell him who's bigger... Urraco seems to be ignoring Jarama until he's in that hug. The hugs only last a few seconds, and they they split up...

I wish I had that much room and those resources to leave Urraco on his own in a part of the house without large issues... but the bathroom is so small there's no much running room (although a few balls in the bathtub are good for a few hours)...

I've also let Urraco come out and run around my room, putting Jarama in the living room. Gives him some play time un-distracted by J.

I was probably overreacting and just getting taken over by the other stresses in my life, and not really being able to deal with slowly putting them together. They'll both remain part of the family Don't worry... and It's going to take more time, I'm sure... Everytime they have a few minutes together, they get more and more relaxed.

Infact just a few moments ago in the last supervised playtime, Jarama just came up behind Urraco, licked his back, and walked off calmly. Urraco never even seemed to notice, so I'm sure somethings working.
post #17 of 20
Now that you have explained further, you are doing everything exactly right for your situation. I am fortunate in that I have a two story home, several barns and 4 acres, so I have plenty of room.

The fact that you have not had to haul one of these cats limp and bleeding to the vet works in your favor that they will adjust.

They are lucky kitties to have you- and I bet you will have many fun road trips with them.

I will just say one more thing, and it is not a lecture, simply a sad fact learned from life's experience. My one cat Smudge that loved cars and trucks so much- she died because of that love, she was cat-napped one evening quite late and taken 12 miles down the road where she managed to get away and jump out of a crack in the window (we had a witness to the incident) she was killed instantly. Had she been not afraid, but leery of cars and trucks, I am certain she would of never gotten into that car with that horrible elderly woman and gotten taken from us. So just be careful, familiarity around cars and cats can be a dangerous thing.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
My kittens remain indoor kittens when they are at home, and the road trips are taken under extreme security as well with no window being opened (other than the sun roof cracked, that they can not get to, nor fit a paw through), at any time without Jarama (and now Urraco as well), secured into a carrier.

They never leave my site, unless it's within the confines of the apartment or a locked hotel room. If I leave them in the car while I fuel up or something, it is always for as short a time possible, with a cool cabin and fresh water and food (never let either drop below half, even at home).

Also, strange people are rarely allowed to be near Jarama, first for the fear of them treating him poorly, and second for the fear of him treating them with anger.

The president doesn't get this much security.

Also for some reason, Jarama loves the bug, but doesn't like other cars. The New Beetle is laid out perfect for a kitten. Large dash board to sun on, nice spacious areas between the seats to travel from front to back. Large front passenger foot well for shade naps. Large package shelf in rear window for sunning and seeing where we've been. Other cars just dont offer as much space and kitten friendly accomodations, and he's aware of that I think.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Last night all 3 of us, me and the two kittens spent the night in the same room, mingling and sleeping on each other. Urraco spent most of the night up in bed with me where it was a bit warmer, and Jarama took the foot of the bed. Occasionally through the night I heard a few scuffles, looked over and they both realized they woke me up and calmly walked away from each other... I think it's just the end of the "I'm bigger than you." talks...

I actually caught them both laying together at the foot of the bed once, asleep So they're facade of not liking each other is rapidly falling apart. I think Jarama is just a lil annoyed that his tail is Urraco's favorite toy, thats all...

YEY now the family is starting to settle in...

Infact I just took a little kitten nap with Urraco on my chest and Jarama hugging my arm... 30 minute power nap and we were all purring along nicely, and now are ready to face the day and have fun (or work in my case!)...

I now have the bathroom door open, and Urraco knows his box and food are in there. Jarama's box is under the sink, and food up on the counter, and over the next few days I'll move things around a bit til they are both under the sink and on the counter (making a carpetted ramp for Urraco to use to get up there).

As for them not using another kitten's box ? Either you have some info wrong (which I doubt) or my kitten's are odd (much more likely). Urraco used Jarama's at least box once, and Jarama has used Urraco's once... I caught them in each other's boxes too late to stop anything, and they definitely did use them...

Is this like a slap in the face with a white glove in kitty language ? or perhaps just some odd weird type of decision to share things ? Any clues ?
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Both of them are using either box at free will and they are sharing food as well. Is this normal ? I'm keeping the 2 boxes cause it gives me alot more surface area (so I'm not re-littering every 20 minutes)... and probably going to just have a really large one made at some point for them. They seem to be fine doing whatever in the same box as each other... Hell, they sat down together the other day... Next I'll open the sink and see them in there reading news papers and talking about the stock market...
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