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Feisty Tortie may hurt new pal! Need help!

Ker13
April 13th, 2005, 04:35 PM
Hi there, this is my first time posting here!

My fiance and I have an 8-month old tortie, Nibbler (her Petsite is at http://www.pets.ca/petsites/viewpet.php?petid=2787), and we'd like to get her a friend, since a) she's playful and seems lonely when we go to work, and b) my fiance has always wanted a grey DSH tabby. My only fear is that Nibbley is VERY playful and gets over-excited very fast, chewing our fingers, jumping around like gravity doesn't affect her, and grabbing our hands, her stuffed toys, her hoard of plastic forks, whatever, in her front paws and trying to kick everything to death with her back legs. I have a horrible vision of her decapitating her new playmate like this! She has never hissed or showed any signs of aggression, but it's possible she might just get carried away.

We wanted to get a young kitten, in order to tame it more easily, but I'm wary of introducing a 2-month old kitten to Nibbley, simply because it may not be able to defend itself. We have made arrangements to keep the new kitten at a friend's for a month in order to let it grow big enough, and gradually introduce their scents to each other. We would be getting the kitten when we move, in a few months' time.

My question is, should I even bother? Do older cats ever kill younger cats, accidentally or deliberately? Should I wait until Nibbley is older? Is it too risky? The odds are good that my fiance would be home during the day to supervise, but this is not guaranteed yet. Thanks for any suggestions anyone has!

Eleni
April 13th, 2005, 04:40 PM
ive never had an older cat kill a kitten.

when my oldest cat was introduced to each kitten she did quickly assert her authority, usually if the kitten did something mischevious that Sugar deemed inappropriate she would pin the kitten down, not hurt it but put it in its place so to speak.

if you introduce them real slowly i wouldnt figure there would be a problem, cats do play a bit rough with each other at times, at least my 3 do and they ahve all survived to be big healthy adult cats, so either im doing somethign right, or they are :)


Eleni

Ker13
April 13th, 2005, 04:47 PM
Thanks Eleni!

I wondered if maybe she'd just sort of "adopt" the new kitten (she was spayed 2 months ago), and my concern is that she's not mature enough - she seems like a very young, immature kitten some days. How old were your cats when you introduced them?
Thanks!

Eleni
April 13th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Sugar was 6 when we got perle
and perle was 3 when we got angel


Eleni

Lucky Rescue
April 13th, 2005, 05:56 PM
I would not get an 8 week old kitten as a playmate for your cat. She sounds very boisterous and playful, which is normal for an 8 month old, but a tiny kitten could be easily hurt, even if only by accident.

I would get a 5 or 6 month old easygoing male kitten as a companion for yours.

We wanted to get a young kitten, in order to tame it more easily,

"Tame it"? Are you planning to get a feral kitten?

Ker13
April 13th, 2005, 06:31 PM
No ferals, more like build the kitten's trust and comfort level, rather than tame it. Is a male kitten a safe idea? Are males and females antagonistic? We were thinking a female for safety's sake, but I haven't read anything specific about the differences.

CyberKitten
April 13th, 2005, 06:52 PM
There are many excellent resources online that explain how to introduce cats. Here are just a couple. They enumerate the steps one might follow better than I can:

http://www.cuhumane.org/topics/catcat.html
http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_Behavior/Introducing_Cats.html
http://www.mspca.org/site/pp.asp?c=gtIUK4OSG&b=126974

While the scientist in me eschews anecdotal observations regarding information, the idea of some friends of mine was quite instructive. They let their then only resident cat "find" the newbie to the household and "adopt" him. They never encountered any problems between the two ever!

There are different schools of thought re whether a male-male, male-female or female-female works best. Here is an article that provides a succint overview:

http://www.heartlandhumane.org/relationships.php

Good luck!

I peeked at your "pet site" and was curious why you wrote "Nibbley's getting spayed on February 28th, and let me tell you, we're feeling VERY guilty about it!" Surely you jest, lol I would feel VERY guilty if I did not spay my kitty - and she is a show quality Siamese whose breeders and others are urging me to enroll in that circuit. (The rule requires cats shown (except household ones) not be spayed - presumably because a Champion would enhance the breed. Was that your way of worrying about the surgery itself? I know I am an overprotective "meomy" and the surgery is really minor. I gather by now she has already underwent her snip snip. <g>

Ker13
April 13th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Wow CyberKitten, thanks for all those great links!

I think you're all right, maybe even 3 months is too young. Has anyone had BAD experiences introducing their cats?




I peeked at your "pet site" and was curious why you wrote "Nibbley's getting spayed on February 28th, and let me tell you, we're feeling VERY guilty about it!" Surely you jest, lol I would feel VERY guilty if I did not spay my kitty - and she is a show quality Siamese whose breeders and others are urging me to enroll in that circuit. (The rule requires cats shown (except household ones) not be spayed - presumably because a Champion would enhance the breed. Was that your way of worrying about the surgery itself? I know I am an overprotective "meomy" and the surgery is really minor. I gather by now she has already underwent her snip snip. <g>


We were just feeling bad because we didn't want to change her personality, nor did we like the idea of taking parenthood away from her forever. Turns out that she didn't change TOO much, and only calmed down in terms of not attacking inanimate objects like the couch for fun.

Lucky Rescue
April 13th, 2005, 07:34 PM
nor did we like the idea of taking parenthood away from her forever
Believe me, cats don't sit around dreaming about parenthood. They do what nature drives them to do, and will do it even if they are starving, or if the temperature is minus 30. Take a look at your local shelter, or at Petfinder to find out what happens to most of the kittens coming from people who let their cats breed either through irresponsibility, carelessness or just apathy/uncaring. Seeing entire litters of kittens being gassed is not a pretty picture.

Getting your cat spayed is the kindest thing you could do for her! Thank you for being responsible and not contributing to the terrible overpopulation of cats.:)

I have never had a problem introducing adult cats to kittens,as most adults will not harm a kitten. There are exceptions, and sometimes adult males will kill kittens under 6 weeks old.

The other exception is adult cats who have been raised isolated from all other cats, and they often don't know how to "be a cat" and may not relate to the new addition properly. However, since your cat is only 8 months old, this should not be too much of a problem.

Males and females are the best combination, since they do not compete on the same level as two females might. I find females more territorial than males - not to mention more snippy and snarly - , but a male cat generally will not fight with a female, so opposite sex pairs usually work out best.

The youngest kitten I would get if I were you is minimum 4 months old, although 5 or 6 might be better. It must be old enough to defend itself if necessary. In the best situation, they will become real buddies and playmates!

Prin
April 13th, 2005, 07:42 PM
Has anyone had BAD experiences introducing their cats?
I don't know if it's too negative to point out that there is a thread posted by britishvixen about the trouble she's been having with her cats...
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=13976

But on the up side there is tons of advice on there too! :)

Lucky Rescue
April 13th, 2005, 11:26 PM
don't know if it's too negative to point out that there is a thread posted by britishvixen about the trouble she's been having with her cats...

Yes, but her cat is...unusual, you might say. In fact, I think the word she used was "psycho".:p

AND the cat she brought in is a fully adult 4 year old AND another female AND she let them interact after only 3 days - not enough time to introduce any but the most laid back and sociable cats.

Ker13, don't let that one example stop you. I've been introducing cats of both sexes and all ages all my life and have never had any that could not get along, especially very young ones.

CyberKitten
April 13th, 2005, 11:47 PM
LR is right. It is most unusual for there to be problems in introducing cats. And not to worry - and re: "We were just feeling bad because we didn't want to change her personality, nor did we like the idea of taking parenthood away from her forever."

We sometimes, alas, tend to project anthropomorphic descriptions on our kitties. You can be assured that she is not at all unhappy with not becoming a parent - it is absolutely the best thing you can do for her! It does not change her personality and will make her a happier and much healthier cat. If you have ever heard the yowling of a Queen in heat, you never forget it - these poor cats really do suffer! I am sure she is quite thankful!!!! Spayed cats will not develop certain kinds of cancer and they never have to worry about those awful heat cycles.

I wish you luck in bringing two cats together. It can be done easily and safely.

Prin
April 13th, 2005, 11:49 PM
I only put that thread up because I know you all gave advice and reasoning on it as to why things were so bad. I know this is a different situation, but she asked..

Ker13
April 15th, 2005, 10:53 AM
Actually, thank you for that link - now I have a "worst case scenario." I don't expect Nibbley to be that confrontational, but she hasn't seen another cat since she was 7 weeks old, so I don't know how she'll take it.
And you guys are right about anthropomorphizing - but I can't help it, she seems so human! ;) She even has this thing where she makes the same sound my fiance's roommate uses to greet her - a sort of "meow-meow?" She imitates that!


In all the links and posts I've been reading, I can't find a standard time to keep the two cats separated until they get used to each other. Apparently 3 days is too short. What have you guys been using?

Thanks!


(You can probably tell, Nibbley is my first cat. I've been a bird person for 14 years.) :o

Lucky Rescue
April 15th, 2005, 12:42 PM
No one can tell you exactly how long it will take, since that depends entirely on the cats. Some cats may be fine after a day, others after 2 months. There is no standard.

It's better to err on the side of caution. Speaking in general, an 8 month old and a 4 or 5 month old shouldn't take long, but it could! Personally, I would not let them see each other for at least a week.

No matter how long you take, there will still probably be some hissing and spitting and maybe even swatting when they do meet. As long as no one is being hurt or terrified, try not to interfere.

Here is a great site on introducing cats. You can skip or repeat steps, depending on your cat's reactions.
Introducing cats (http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_Behavior/Introducing_Cats.html)