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Best way to introduce kittens?

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions - big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.

  
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Marzipan

The sweetest- little brat :)
 
 
Purred: Tue Apr 21, '09 12:16pm PST 
Though this is still several weeks off and though I am still looking for a kitten friend for Marzipan, I am still wanting to research ahead of time and be well prepared.
What is the best way to introduce kittens? Should I get the new kitten at the same time Marzipan moves in or should I wait a week or two?
I know to keep a new kitten in a separate room for a while until they adjust, but how does that work for two kittens? Would I put them both in the same room? Even though they don't know each other?
Or should I find a way (maybe kennels/carriers) to keep the kittens separate while unsupervised until they get used to each other?
Marzipan is almost 4 months old. I plan to get a kitten close to her age.

As for my service dog Pebbles, what would be the best way to introduce her to the kittens? I know to always supervise them and keep Pebbles on a leash (and tie her leash to a table when I can't hold the leash --like if I'm cooking or cleaning litter boxes). What other advice do you guys have?

Also, what should I buy to prepare for the arrival of the kittens? I know to get two litter boxes (would I need two for kittens?), toys, food, cat tree, bowls, baby gate to create a "Pebbles-free" zone --am I forgetting anything?

I am so excited about the kittens --I want to make sure everything is ready and that we are prepared.

Edited by author Tue Apr 21, '09 12:59pm PST

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Marzipan

The sweetest- little brat :)
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 22, '09 7:44am PST 
Anyone?
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QUINCY

I've never met a- kitten I didn't- like
 
 
Purred: Thu Apr 23, '09 11:23am PST 
Four month old kittens shouldn't require much time at all to socialize. I would bring them in the new house at the same time, so your existing kitten doesn't claim the territory first. I don't think anyone should have to be kept locked up for any length of time. Since I foster and have access to cages, the way I would do it would be to put them in the same room together but with one in a cage and see how they react. Depending on how that goes, I may actually let them start playing together within a day or the next. If you don't have a cage, you can give them each a short time in the carrier while the other is loose. There may be some hissing, and lots of sniffing and curiosity is good. My friends did this introducing their new 4 mo. old to their 7 mo. old. They were playing together within a day. Unfortunately they returned her to me cause of peeing, and I just sucessfully introduced her to a year old foster after 2 days in the room together, her in a cage.
I have also mixed unrelated litters by just putting the newcommers in the room loose, throwing toys on the floor, and watching what happens. Most kittens work through their issues within hours to maybe (rarely) a couple days and become fast friends. I had about 8 kittens at a time in my spare bedroom this summer because of ringworm, only 3 related, and everyone got along fine. One little guy hissed at the others for about 2 days, but then he would follow them and try to play with them when their backs were turned.
Let us know what happens!!


Hugs and Purrs,
Quincy and his Mama
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Marzipan

The sweetest- little brat :)
 
 
Purred: Thu Apr 23, '09 3:57pm PST 
Thank you so much for your advice! I will give that a try! big grin
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Baby Wilson

981263
 
 
Purred: Sat Apr 25, '09 7:30am PST 
Quincy's advice is spot on! In our situation our babies are REALLY young (each about 6 weeks old) so it might be a little different for you.
There was little to no adjustment time for them. Within minutes they were playing. Wilson was sooo excited to see another kitten he kinda hovered over Chloe a bit. Since she had a very long day we separated them with a cage in the same room so she could get some rest. She has learned to find a hiding spot if she needs a break..and we keep an eye on them to make sure baby Wilson isn't smothering her..mol. But..overall..it's been a GREAT thing!
kittykitty
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Boris

I'm cute and I- know how to use- that :)
 
 
Purred: Sat Apr 25, '09 1:23pm PST 
Uh... Baby Wilson, the cat's out of the bag already in your case (so to speak), but I generally wouldn't recommend letting two pets of any age meet immediately unless you stop by the vet on the way home from bringing the second one in. Even with two seemingly healthy pets stuff can happen, and I learned that the hard way.

When Boris and Gracie were first introduced, with Gracie still being a tiny kitten, it was because she escaped her confinement the first evening home. Boris didn't even get too close to her (he was very territorial back then), and still he picked up her URI, and I ended up with both pets at the vet the next day, with the resident kitty being very sick, because he wasn't used to the germs the little one had been fighting (the same vet also did routine care for her rescue group, and told me she'd seen at least half a dozen kitties with URIs from the same group earlier in the day).

The vet said that accidents happen, and once the two cats were exposed to each other that was that, but they do recommend quarantine for a new cat of at least 72 hours, preferably followed by a vet visit (which was my plan, just didn't happen) before introductions occur.

So yes, the two kitties won't be territorial with each other, but you still want to quarantine the second one before letting her meet your other kitten.
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Marzipan

The sweetest- little brat :)
 
 
Purred: Sat Apr 25, '09 7:07pm PST 
How do I quarantine a new kitten? I will only have two rooms with doors at my new place --the bathroom and my bedroom. I can't keep a kitten in my bedroom because that is where Pebbles sleeps.

I would say wait until Marzi has run of the house, but I am uncomfortable leaving a kitten out unsupervised even after they are used to the house --kittens will get into things, chew things, etc. So how do I know when she would be ready to be out all the time?

I'm afraid if I wait too long to get the other kitten, then Marzipan will be too settled into a routine or "her" territory. How long do you think would be best? I was thinking of getting the new kitten within a week or so of Marzipan moving in. If I get the kitten from Petsmart at an adoption event, won't it be healthy and have recently seen a vet?

I am so new to this. How does this work?
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Gracie

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Purred: Sun Apr 26, '09 9:44am PST 
When we got Gracie, we were living in an open plan loft. The only room with a door was the bathroom. So we kitten proofed the place, and set her up in there (even after she met Boris, they had to be separated, since Boris was hissing at her whenever she came out of the bathroom). There were two of us humans though, and we would take turns spending time playing with her. I won't mince words: it was rough on us, and on her too.

If that doesn't work for you, perhaps you can take the second kitten to the vet on your way home? With most kitten illnesses (URIs, i.e., the kitty cold), vets can tell right away if there's something wrong. There might be other stuff like worms and whatnot that the vet might not be able to catch immediately (it requires a poo sample), so even so, you might want to wait on introducing the two until the vet calls you back and tells you everything is a-ok.

It sounds daunting, but it actually isn't that bad.
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dino

938564
 
 
Purred: Sun Apr 26, '09 12:31pm PST 
Hello. As everyone has said, they will most likely get along great because they are so young, although it may take a day. My two cats were about 10 months when I brought home two kittens and it didn't go smoothly at all. The young kittens were excited to meet the older cats but the older cats were petrified of them. What I learned is that cats react to smell and it's best to introduce them that way first. The advice from a cat expert was: keep them separate and give them each something that smells of the other one (towel/blanket etc). Once that goes well, then introduce them physically. The idea of using their carriers as suggested is great. I would go ahead and do that with the dog too. I always hear to bring your dog something that smells like your newborn baby before you get home. It was fascinating because when I presented my cats with the towel smelling like the new kittens, the cats hissed and swated at it. Then ran in fear. Eventually they started to investigate it.. etc etc.. You may not need this step but wanted to share it just in case. Oh, the Petsmart cats most likely will have had a vet visit prior to adoption but I guess they could always catch something from a new cat brought into Petsmart.
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Adonis

wooly bully
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 27, '09 12:43am PST 
I brought home Adonis when he was almost 4 months old and Calypso was 7 months old. Since Calypso was so much bigger, she quickly established dominance and then the two of them got along great.

Luckily, I didn't have to worry about keeping them separated (they refused to stay apart at first anyway) since I had Calypso checked out and had my sister do the same for Adonis before I brought him in. If you can arrange for them to go to the vet for a checkup before bringing the both of them home you can avoid having to keep them apart.

Overall, they should get along fine as long as neither one has an overly aggressive nor timid personality.
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