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Introducing New Babies

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a 12 year old male cat named Shadow who has adjusted wonderfully over the last few months after losing his sister but yesterday his world was turned upside down again.

Last week when I was at the vet's office there was an ad being posted about two 12 week old kittens that were up for adoption. I've been thinking about getting a couple of buddies for Shadow but have been hesitant about introducing another cat or a couple of kittens. I went over to visit them last friday and after meeting them I decided to give it a try. I picked them up tuesday afternoon and Shadow didn't like that one bit. He ran into the bedroom and when to his "safe place" in the closet and hissed at me when I went to see him. The lady that I got the kittens from said that it was normal behavior. She also said that he felt threatened because his territory was now violated and that he was pouting. She's been handling animals for 20 years so I trust what she had to say but I'm looking for advice and would like to hear what other people's experiences have been with introducing new pets to the resident cat.

I did have to step out for a bit last evening. The kittens have the living room to themselves along with a bed, food & water, litter and toys. I used some baby gates to blok the "doorway" off and put a sheet in front of the gates on Shadow's side of the apartment. After I got home he did come out and then ran back to hide again as soon as he saw one of the kittens. I spent some time playing and holding and petting the new babies and after doing that and putting some things away I went back to the bedroom where Shadow was. He came out and walked over to me and allowed me to pet him. He has been out ever since but he won't walk towards the living room. He looks like he wants to, stares out there for a minute then turns around and comes back to the bedroom. I haven't forcing him to anything he doesn't want to do and have been petting and talking to him a lot. I was told to spend most of my kitty time with him so that he won't feel alienated and I have been doing so.

I know that with animals every case is different but what can I expect to see from Shadow over the next few days? Sooner or later he's going to have to meet the babies but I think that he should decide when he wants to do so. I'm going to give it a week or two and see what happens. If he doesn't accept/tolerate them then I was told that I can bring the kittens back to her.

Thanks for the help.

post #2 of 6
Hi and welcome to TCS, it great here !
Two new friends for Shadow - wow - well it will be a bit of a shock for him but the lady was right, this is normal. He´s had the place to himself for a long time and now there are 2 little bundles of high energy (and new smells ) invading his place.
It sounds like you are doing the right things - keep them seperate and introduce them slowly over the coming days. Spend lots of one-on-one time with Shadow just to keep him reassured and in time they will adjust to each other. These things cant be rushed and well it would be a shame to let your new kitties go ! So good luck !
Oh and would love to see photos of your furry-family, once you get settled into the site
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Mooficat.

I just started this yesterday and my stomach is still tied up in knots. At this point I don't know who is stressed out more- Shadow or myself.

How would I go about introducing them to each other? Should I just let Shadow go up to the baby gates seperating the living room from the dining room on his own? He keeps looking out towards the living the room and will occasionally walk out just past where the bathroom is, stares and then turns around and comes back in.

I also moved his food dish back to the bedroom but I can't wondering if that was a mistake. His food bowl normally sits halfway between the bedroom and living room and it would take him nearer to where the kittens are. Should I move it back to the usual place and hope that he'll go out there to eat when he's hungry? If he does go out there to eat would it also help him to get used to the new smells of the kittens? His litter box is still in the bathroom. I put a sheet up on his side of the baby gates so that the sight of the kittens wouldn't discourage him from going but I don't know if this is a good idea either.

I don't want to give up the kittens unless I have to but I'm quite worried about Shadow. He's adjusted quite well and we've become closer since the loss of his sister. He does come out and let me pet him and has been purring some last night and today.

post #4 of 6
I too got a couple kittens to add to my family recently and oh what little balls of energy they are.

It sounds to me like your Shadow is going to accept his new family members over time. It may help to put his dish back in it's original spot or if he seems uneasy about that start by easing the dish back towards the old spot and then ease it on down closer to the baby gates.

There are many threads on introductions that may help. You can do a search on what you want to know specifically or just search for introductions and start reading.

Some of the suggestions are...
Get a couple Feliway Diffusers and plug them in to help calm the cats. Feliway is an artificial cat pheremone that usually has a calming effect on cats.
Put a dab of vanilla extract under all the cats chins and at the base of their tales to neutralize their scents.
Rub all the cats with the same towel to mix scents.
Rub the new cats with a towel and lay it under Shadows food dish so he associates their scent with pleasant things and likewqise rub Shadow with a towel and put that under the kittens dishes.
Feed them each near the baby gates at the same time. Start with the sheet in between and then try removing the sheet over time.

Really, with the baby gates up, you have such an ideal situation for introductions.

I am betting that Shadow will get curious and go to investigate befpre upi expect and before you know he and the little ones will be one big happy family.

Good luck to you and your fur family. I just think it's great.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Tru.

I'm going to try some of the things that you suggested. I've only been home from work for about an hour and Shadow has been pacing around the bedroom and looking out towards the living room. He must have seen one of the kittens because he actually let out a good hiss. I take this as a good sign and I do feel that sooner or later his curiosity will get the best of him. It appears that he wants to go out there but always ends up turning around then looking back and turning around and so on...

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
I was speaking with the woman who I adopted the kittens from and she had the idea of letting me borrow the large cage that she kept them in when they were first brought in to her home. I think she also used the cage when she was out so that the kittens wouldn't bother her older geriatric cats. The thought behind this is that I'll leave the kittens out when I'm home but when I'm at work I'm going to put them into the cage and take the baby gates down. Hopefull, this will allow Shadow to approach them and get over his anxiety while also allowing him to reclaim the entire apartment has "his" again.

Good idea? Thoughts on this?

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