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Intro & question about other pets

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Wow...where to start?

We took in a stray, since named Mooch, about a month ago. I took her to the vet for either a spay or a prenatal checkup. As you've probably guessed by my presence here, it was just a checkup. We have a Great Dane & a 9yo cat so Mooch has been living in the garage and we're parking outside. (We have small children and our pets go in the garage periodically so there's no coolant or other hazardous materials she could get into.)

She gave birth to three kittens a week ago Saturday. Lots of pictures (and a growth chart) here. She has done a fabulous job with them. I read everything my library system could dig up in the weeks before she gave birth and had worked myself into a tizzy since AFAWK this was her first heat cycle so she was going to be a YOUNG mom. She gave birth entirely on her own, eschewing the box I lovingly prepared for an old covered litterbox in a back corner of the garage. We'd forgotten it was even there! We discovered them after they were all clean and dry. I'm glad I did all the reading I did about helping with labor & resuscitating kittens but it's a good thing I didn't have to use it since it would have been far too late!

I moved her to the box I made and then discovered an hour or two later that she'd moved the kittens back to the same corner. Being a one-trial learner I put the box over there which made her happy and they stayed put. A few days later she relocated to the seat of the race car in the garage where she had spent the final weeks of her pregnancy. A PITA for me to get to since it means climbing in through the window (the car has a roll cage so opening the door doesn't really get you anywhere) but she's happy, so I'm happy.

About every other evening I've closed our other pets out of the room and brought the new family up to the living room for a while. Mooch is completely comfortable with me touching and handling the kittens which, given her status as a stray, is quite flattering! The last two times she's been inside she's had her sights set on relocating the family to a corner of the living room, under an end table and behind the sub-woofer, but I've successfully thwarted her attempts. Again, very flattering that she wants to be with us! We have a space heater in the garage so it's the same temperature as the house, so it's not an attempt to stay warmer.

We decided before the kittens were born that we'd keep two, and now that there are three, well, we'll have to see how attached we get in the next couple of months. Of course we'll be keeping Mooch too. And yes, I realize this brings me dangerously close to Crazy Cat Lady status.

To forestall any PSAs, we'll get Mooch spayed as soon as the kittens wean, and all of the kittens will be fixed. If we do adopt the third one out it will be a condition of adoption.

Now, for the question: thoughts on when to introduce the kittens to the other pets?

The dog is good with cats (obviously, since we have one!) but will be much more excited by little zippy kittens than our sedate overweight house cat. She won't be unattended around them for a loooong time, if ever, since she's just so big and could easily hurt them accidentally, I'm just wondering when to start the introductions.

Also, our other cat. As a general rule she's not a big fan of other cats, but warms to them (like when we visit my parents who have three cats (also littermates) she's pissy for the first day, but by the second they're all lounging in the same room) eventually. She's already comfortable with Mooch since Mooch spent so much time hanging out on our deck pre-pregnancy they eased into their relationship. When we brought Mooch inside while pregnant we closed the dog out of the room but the cat was out and about and they were fine together.

I'm not itching to introduce them, I'm just trying to get a feel for when we should think about it. Thanks for your thoughts!

I'm glad to have found this community and look forward to picking your brains over the months to come!
post #2 of 2
Welcome Robin from a fellow Virginian. Glad to read that everything is going well. I would highly recommend holding off the "introductions" to your other pets until kittens are older and mom has been spayed. No need to freak out mom or the kittens or overly excite your dog or cat with the new additions...and since you plan to keep at least mom and 2 of the kittens..you have plenty of time for the introductions. For now....I would continue to work with her and spend a lot of time with her kittens.

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