60–63 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten
How to Introduce New Human Family Members
From your cat's point of view, the introduction of a new person --whether it's a housemate or a romantic partner-- is truly alarming. This new person is intruding on his territory and taking over his space. Furniture that was his may be off-limits now, and he may be getting less attention with the addition of your new housemate. Make this transition easier for your cat by taking the following steps:
If your cat seems uncomfortable with or aggressive toward your new partner, slow down and give him the chance to adjust. Cats don't make friends instantly.
Try not to banish your cat from his usual favorite spots such as the couch or the bed. He needs to feel included, not excluded, in your new living situation.
Cats may need time to adjust to your partner's body language. If your cat is used to living with women and your partner is a man, his heavier footsteps and deeper voice can be alarming. Ask your partner to try and step lightly and talk a bit softer for the first few weeks. The same is true for cats with male owners faced with female partners; a new female partner will need to try avoiding sounding too high-pitched or moving too fast.
The best way to help a cat bond with your new partner is by having him or her take over the feeding duties. If your partner's scent is on your cat's food bowls, your cat will come to see your partner as a friend. If treats are part of your cat's life, have your partner give them.
Have your partner play with your cat. Teach your partner how your cat likes to play, and make sure he or she handles the toy the way your cat is used to. Through play sessions, your cat and your partner will begin to relax around each other and form good associations.
Let your cat set the pace. Have your partner give the cat plenty of opportunities for developing the relationship on his terms. Be sure your partner doesn't pick up or hold your cat against his will.
And of course, if your cat never gets comfortable with your partner, consider that he may have some insight into your partner's personality that you may not. Cats can be excellent “jerk detectors,” so it doesn't hurt to honor your cat's intuition.
Advice from Other Cat Owners
Before You Adopt That Kitten
Before you bring that cute kitten home, please take a good look at your life and ask yourself some questions, particularly if you are young (the highest demographic for pet surrenderers is females, age 18-25).
Remember, cats live for 15-20 years and will need regular vet care for their whole life. Ask yourself, what will I do when I move? Am I willing to go the extra mile to find pet-friendly housing and take the cats along? (Even if your job sends you across the country or into another).
What will I do when I get married? What if my spouse is allergic to the cats, has big unfriendly dogs, or just doesn't like cats? How will I deal with that? What happens when I start having children? Will I be willing to help the cats make that transition during that busy and exciting time in my life? Will I be willing to keep them seperate if my baby is allergic? What happens if I get divorced? (Statistics say that you will). Will I fight to keep my pets during this personal crisis?
These questions may sound ridiculous, but I assure you they are not. The answers to these questions mean the difference between life and death every day- to the tune of 20 million 'No' answers a year (the number of animals surrendered to shelters across the U.S. in a year). It is a big commitment folks, think about it!
~Alex K., owner of Breed Unknown
Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Older Cat
Kittens will most likely get along great because they are so young, although it may take a day or two. 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. It was fascinating because when I presented my cats with the towel smelling like the new kittens, the cats hissed and swatted at it, then ran in fear. Eventually they started to investigate it. You may not need this step but I wanted to share it just in case.
~Cindy W., owner of Breed Unknown