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I've Introduced My Cat To A New Kitten!!

June 17th, 2008, 04:29 PM
:fingerscr Well, I did it! I answered an ad (the shelter only had 2 to choose from) and brought home a little orange kitten to accompany my 1-year-old Balinese cat. Apparently, the kitten was abandoned by the mother, who the owner said she'd also had since she was a baby. (Is that very common for a Momma cat with a home to abandon her home and kittens after she's given birth?? It certainly doesn't seem so!) She said the kitten is 8 wks. old....but he sure doesn't look a day over that.
Here is a summary of the interaction as of Day 2. When I first brought him home, my 1-year-old cat (Jackson) was scared to death of him. (He's not been in the company of any other cats since I adopted him from the HS.) He hid behind the dryer for hours. After a gradual introduction (perhaps not too gradual because it was still Day 1), Jackson hissed and growled at him. This went on during several supervised introductions. Jackson even swiped his paw in front of his face, but didn't make contact. This morning Jackson mellowed out and began watching and following the kitten around with avid curiousity. Now the kitten (who doesn't seem to be afraid of anything) is lying on the floor sleeping and Jackson is sleeping a few feet away. I guess this is a normal transition so far?? If things don't work out, I have a friend who will take the kitty -- so right now I'm still looking at this as temporary.
Questions: How long does bonding usually take? (I don't want to stress out Jackson, who is already a shy/easy to startle cat.) Also, the kitten has fleas!! I put flea stuff on him, but will my apt. be loaded with them now? (Jackson doesn't/didn't have any.) The kitten has not had shots, been fixed, or anything yet. I was going to wait about 5 days to see if they bond before I take him to a vet. Can any disease transpire to Jackson before that time? If I keep him, I think his name is going to be Ryder!
Thanks for all of your feedback! What a knowledgable group of (multiple) pet lovers with delightful senses of humor to boot!! :laughing: Sorry for the length of this post. And I will post pix as soon as I am able.

June 17th, 2008, 05:36 PM
Ideally introductions should take place over the course of a week or more, depending on cats. I say ideally because sometimes it just doesn't happen that way.
You took a chance in introducing a new kitty to your resident cat. It seems like so far things are going very well. Your kitty reacted about the way any cat would, hissing, growling, swatting, hiding. If he is now following the kitten around and even lying next/close to it I would say he is doing fantastic! Don't expect miracles, keep them separated when you aren't there to keep an eye on them and at night for at least a few nights. Seeing as the new kitty is so small Jackson may feel like he is the "daddy". Bonding could take a week, could take forever, may never happen. No set answer to that. That's like asking someone who has met a perspective mate how long before he/she proposes. :shrug:
Momma cat abandoning babies. Mmmmm, it happens. Momma cat abandoning babies and home? Not bloody likely unless something was not right. I would think something was not right.
What did you use for fleas? If it was powder, it won't work. Never has for me anyway. And it is not safe for a tiny baby. If it was Revolution or something like that it should not have been used on a tiny baby either without the vet's ok/administering. It is just too strong for a wee baby. If the kitten is only 8 weeks old it is not unusual for him not to be fixed. He is a baby. The vets that do mine don't fix kittens until the kittens are 5 to 6 months. Before that it is microscopic surgery. The kitty needs to be wormed in all probability. Please do not only give them five days to bond. It may not happen that fast.
As to can Jackson get anything the kitten has - yes. You should be getting kitty in asap for a clean bill of health.
Hope this has helped. I am sure there will be others along to add to what I have typed.

June 17th, 2008, 09:23 PM
Wow, you did indeed take a chance! May I suggest the proper way to do this. There is a time honoured and tried and true way of allowing cats to meet one another and it really works well - and I have had to introduce many cats over the yrs. However, I defer to research and thousands of experiences more than my own anecdotal stories!

Firstly, a new kitten needs to see a vet before she meets any member of your feline household. Even from a rescue or breeder, you should make sure your kitten is healthy. She should be 12 mos tho some shelters will sell kittens at 10 weeks (I don't care for that, two less mos with mom but I do understand in a way why they do it, so many kittens and I'd prefer to see a kitten with a good home than no home over 2 wks. )And of course, with some kittens who are orphans, they are special situations- and I have done my share of bottle babies as these orphans are often called.

Once the kitten is vetted, (tho with a reputable breeder, you are usually OK, with a credible rescue often) but with some SPCA's. pounds or any other place, NEVER allow a kitten near your resident cat!! For both their sakes actually.

Young kittens may not have had all their vaccinations and thus can catch something from the other cat if he goes outdoors tho cats should not go outside these days either, When I was younger and not well informed, our cats did wander outside but we lived in a safe area BUT there were still cars, poisonous plants and other dangers. But I digress.

When you bring a kitten home, s/he will be scared to death. Cats are creatures of habit and research by Cornell Univ and others but they have done the most shows cats can become ill with stress. So, create a small area for the new arrival. If youi have no extra room for her, maybe an extra bathroom - even a small place is good and in fact, cats like small places, esp kittens - but somewhere where she has access to food and water and her litterbix. Show her the box and she will know where her box is.

The room must be kitten proof , ie no means of and safe. Block any chimneys/fireplaces and no open windows and if one is nec, place a mesh panel and secure it. Make sure there are no cables or other wires in the way and use those same things we have for small children for electric outlets. I give them away in my pediatric practice so I always have enough for my cats as well.

Kittens are so tiny - they NEED a safe room even if there are no other pets! Tho in that case, it can be your bedroom , esp if there is a small bathg off the bedroom for the litterbox. That is what I did with my last Blue Pt Siamese.

If the kittemn is used to certain items, try and have them - the same food for example, a cat bed if s/he is used to that. Make sure she has a hiding place - but one you can get her ouyt of. I don't recommend the pipe system, lol Oh and make sure the litter box is as far away from the cat's sleeping place and the feeding place as possible. Like us, cats don't want to sleep and eat in the same place they do those two things in! Also, make sure yuo have lots of toys and a scratching post for your kitten - and I am sure you have many with the resident cat.

The best tricks are the towel trick and the vanilla trick. Take a towel or old tee shiort of yours and fist let the resident cat sniff it and sleep on it and then place it with the kitten. Move it back and forth,. that way, each gets used to those smells since for a cat, their one of their most major senses is smell. They even ID you by smell so if you are going to get a kitten, it is wise to give the breeder or rescue place a piece of your clothing so they adjust to you amnd are not too scared to be picked up by some stranger!

The vanilla trick is just one where vanilla will neutralize the smell so they do not notice a different smell on the other cat. Dab a little on each kitty.

NEVER introduce them until you have done all this and wait for a good week before starting the intros.

Make sure there is some noise for the kitten - if she does not sleep with you - but you can hardly do that with a resident cat. Remember , this is like bringing a new baby home. A bath off your bedroom is the ideal place!

The resident cat will know there is a new one in the home and will begin to sniff and maybe meow. Give him lots of attention so he does not feel left out 0 just as you would if were bringing home a new baby and you had a three year old who had been an only child up till now. Recall that cats are territorial so a resident cat will feel threatened initially and depending on personality and even breed (Obviously, most ragdolls will be laid back about it all, a Siamese may be a bit more unhappy about sharing her person).

Keep the resident cat AWAY from the newcomer whatever you do! That is RULE NUMBER ONE never to be broken! After a day or two, you could allow the door to be open and use a baby gate if the resident cat cannot get through but really, it is still best for them to discover each other SLOWLY!!! Allowing them to meet once another forcefully (ie imposing the kitten on the resident cat can cause many problems later!). It is also not good for the resident cat either, especially if the kitten has not been vetted. Say the kitten has not been vaccinated and for whatever reason has been exposed to some bacteria tho it is usually vice versa. It takes a few wks for the vaccines to actually really work so the other cat could inadvertently give some disease to the new kitten. This has been known to happen.

The first meeting -say thru a gate or a screen door- shd take place in about a week. Make sure both cats get treats for being good. If there are problems, grab the kitten and place her back in the safe room. Never scold either one- cats do not relate to negative words. They just fear you or loud voices. There may well be a few hisses at first and that is to be expected but do not allow it to go on much. Allow the cats to retreat to their safe places- the kitten will have figured hers out in the safe room.

A normal result is some hissing. A good result is when they ignore each other. A superb result is when they groom each other or settle down together. If this occurs,let the kitten spend more of her time out of the safe room, maybe just keeping him in there at night for the next several days until there is certainty the two will get along.

If you are like me, your cats will all sleep with you anyway!

Let the kitten explore the house but make sure you supervise this. Kittens like toddlers can get into so much trouble! Try to find something for the resident cat to do while this happens at first and once they are beginning to know each other, it shd be safe for the kitten to do it with the other cat or alone but still supervised. I took a week off when I brought kittens home. They really are too young too leave alone at first!

Make sure the getting to know you sessions occur at quiet, calm periods! And provide lots of positive reinforcement when things go well.

Good luck!! I would not do what you have already done - go back and start over to give your kitten a good chance at a stable relationship in her new home and the resident cat the sense of stability of this is still my place!

June 17th, 2008, 10:50 PM
Does the kitten have any signs of an upper respiratory infection? Given that he had fleas and that was overlooked he may also have that as it is very common. If so, please keep it seperate from ure other cat for now.

I would treat your other cat for fleas too even though he didnt have them before.

Lastly, I did the same thing u did with the too much too soon introduction but my resident kitty never hissed/swatted. He did the whole following him around everywhere thing tho but then turned into a dominance issue pretty darn quick and I had to seperate them and properly introduce. Be wary of that...

Good luck!

June 18th, 2008, 12:20 AM
I'm no expert (newbie kitten owner), but I agree with everything CyberKitten wrote. You have to remember that you are not just introducing your cat to a kitten, but a kitten to you, your cat and your place.

June 18th, 2008, 12:26 AM
:angel2: Thank you all for giving me such extensive and expert advice. I feel like a real novice at this after having read your helpful posts. I am definitely getting to the vet as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I've cleaned the kitten up and he's eaten quite a bit (it seems he hadn't been fed properly by the previous owner). Likewise, it appears he came from a very iffy home (not breeders or a rescue place -- but someone stuck with babies abandoned by their Mom.) The previous owner kept them outside in a fenced yard and when I went to view them -- she could only find 2 of the 3 to show me!! (He is strictly an indoor cat at my place.) I guess that should have alerted me to the type of place where I was getting the kitten from, but I felt so bad for him that I took him. I would have taken both of them out of there -- but I'm not in the position to do so right now. The kitten is amazingly well-adjusted, though -- considering his history. He is calm, sweet, loving and seems happy here. I will keep you all posted. Again THANKS!!

June 18th, 2008, 06:25 AM
I too agree with Cyberkitten. New cats should always be vetted before any introductions (especially if they haven't been vaccinated), you never know what they may be carriers of.

If they are sleeping peacefully within a few feet of each other, sounds like things may go well. You can never guarantee a bonding between cats, not even siblings. As these two are young, the chances of bonding are greater.

Have you kitten proofed your home, including keeping your toilet seats down, kittens are so curious and can get into trouble in a second :laughing:.

Glad to hear they are indoor only kitties, only way to keep them safe.:thumbs up

Good luck and keep us posted.

June 18th, 2008, 08:45 AM
I agree with the rest. My first two cats, it took me close to 2 weeks to introduce them, they were both kittens at the time. Even after that things went kind of iffy, because the older of the kittens hadn't been with another cat for about a month, so he was clueless about how to act, so he was bullying the new kitten. The next two I introduces a few months later also took a good couple of weeks, except for Maks, they sprung him.

A safe place is very important. I'm in the middle of another introduction myself, and it's really imperative to make the new cat feel safe.

You seem to have gotten lucky in that your resident cat is actually sleeping close to the kitten. I'd take things a little slower though from here on out. You don't want to rush things too much.

June 18th, 2008, 09:10 AM
This all sounds fine to me. Do not hesitate to separate them if one is wearing the other out, or if you see any sign of aggressive stalking. When intervening, don't freak out, just grab the kitten and put him in another room (which is already set up for such an eventuality). Keep them separate at night, if at all possible, to give Jackson some down time and always when you are not there.
The kitten definitely could share his fleas so you need to get on top of that immediately. Vaccuming obsessively will help, also getting into the bathtub and combing the fleas off the kitten, washing them down the drain as you go. What is the product you have used? Not all are suitable for kittens. Definitely get him to the vet asap.
Sounds like you rescued him from a pretty bad situation, lucky cat.

June 18th, 2008, 09:38 AM
Those are some great tips, its too bad I read this so late.
However my new kitty and my older kitty are getting along great and its only been 1 week together. In fact they both sleep together bigger one cuddles the smaller one at the end of my bed. When I wake up all i see is the two of them staring at me with the look of "Finally you got up, now feed us" its kinda

June 18th, 2008, 09:58 AM
In fact they both sleep together bigger one cuddles the smaller one at the end of my bed. When I wake up all i see is the two of them staring at me with the look of "Finally you got up, now feed us" its kinda


June 19th, 2008, 03:22 PM
I'm responding to those who asked what I used on the kitten for fleas. I hope I don't get clobbered for this.....but I used Seargant's flea drops that you put on the back of the neck (so that they cannot lick it). It is supposed to be safe for kittens 8 weeks old and up. However, I am still picking fleas off of him....:sad:....(though, not nearly as much as before). Any suggestions??

Regarding the is going well so far. I've definitely backed off on their together time and the safe room is getting more use!! Good idea!!

I do not have the equipment to post pix at the moment; however, I was taking pix of the two interacting together. Well, my camera happened to go off just as Jackson unexpectedly was making a head-butt into the kitten and things started to get a little rough. At that point, I immediately put the kitten in the safe area. When I came back & looked at the picture -- lo and behold -- it looked like Jackson was being a good Daddy and grooming the kitten in such a sweet way! (Not the case!!) Funny shot! :laughing:

June 19th, 2008, 03:55 PM
Good to hear the update.

Don't worry it will take time but Im sure theyll be good friends.
Re: the stuff ure using for fleas, Ive never heard of it (so i cant say if its good or bad) but Ive had great success with Advantage when one of my cats a long time ago had fleas (revolution is also good). It is also applied to the scruff area. Its not really expensive either but u have to get it from the vets.

Also both your cats will probably needed to be dewormed after the flea encounter. Even if Jackson does not have fleas, just eating fleas (that say fall off the kitten) could expose him to tapeworm. If the kitten has that many fleas he probably already has tapeworm as they are a big carrier of it.

June 19th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Ok I googled the sergeants stuff out of curiosity and what I found is not good :eek:. Please please please stop using it and get some flea treatment from the vet. a+drops

and many many many other websites

June 19th, 2008, 04:11 PM
I think a vet visit is a must and the vet will take care of the flea-problem,you probably will need Revolution or Advantage for your other kitty.
IMO,he probably has fleas by now too.
I never had any problems introducing a kitten to my cats,but if we left the house,or at night we kept him in a seperate room with his litter,water and food.
There always was some hissing and such,but nothing else..
Never buy any kind of flea-treatment from a department or grocery store,they can be killers.

June 19th, 2008, 04:12 PM
Yup chico it took as 3 weeks to finally trust leaving Bunduk and Onnie alone when we went out. We came back and they were curled up asleep together on the bed :cloud9:

June 19th, 2008, 05:16 PM
Finally got my internet work so i can catch up now i agree with what everyone else said a vet visit is a must. One thing you might want to have tested for is leukemia its a very contagious disease and many outdoor cats have it. From the way you got your kitten it doesn't sound like the mother has had a very good start and i doubt she got vetted. I had one kitten i got and she tested positive for it and we lost her at a year. I would keep the kitten separated from your other one till you have it vetted

June 19th, 2008, 06:28 PM
A trip to the vet sounds like is in order. If your kitty and cat have fleas they have something called Capstar, which is a pill that kills any fleas on them. Then you can start using a better quality treatment on them. Revolution is what I use, but Advantage is good as well. They just are safer and cover a wider range of parasites and things.

June 19th, 2008, 06:32 PM
:2cents: Thanks for your advice! I'm throwing out the bad flea drops and getting the kitten to the vet first thing tomorrow. I appreciate the warnings. Geeeez....who/what can you trust with all that junk out there these days!?!