Introducing a new kitten to an existing one – success story

MEET HARRY AND FLASH

by Catnips – Exclusive cat sitting, cat grooming and feline behaviour advice

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Flash was a Siberian kitten, about 1 and half years old, when her mummy came to me concerned that Flash may be lonely during the day, whilst she was at work, and I was asked whether Flash needed a companion in the form of another kitten. Seeing as Flash was very needy for human attention and lived in a small flat with no outside access, apart from a tiny balcony, I was a little concerned that Flash may not appreciate another kitten in her space. There are many cases where people rush to get a second cat thinking that it will be company for the resident cat and many times this backfires and the cat carer is left with two very unhappy cats which hate one another!

A cat carer must consider many things and not rush into getting another cat. The things to consider are:

1. Space. Will 2 or more cats have plenty of space to claim their own individual territories and space to get away from one another – especially high up places to call their own

2. Outside access. Do you have a garden where one cat can escape to should it want to be away from the others?

3. The personality of the resident cat. Is your cat very clingy to you or very territorial within the home? Is it a frightened or nervous cat?

4. Plan B: Do you have a back up plan should things not go as you planned? A back up plan could be a friend of member of family willing to take the new cat should the resident cat not bond well with the newcomer or a rescue centre that is willing to take the new cat back.

5. Time and Patience: Do you have the time and patience to do things in the correct way? There is a very delicate procedure with introducing a new cat to your resident cat. These steps must be taken to ensure a happy household and the wellbeing of both cats.

So.. getting back to Flash 

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and Harry

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After my clients moved to a much larger flat, which had a nice patio area, they came back to me asking again about getting another kitten and we all decided to give it a go. The back up plan was my clients mother who said she would take Harry if Flash did not respond well to the newcomer.

The steps advised and followed were:

SCENT IS VERY IMPORTANT AND IS THE FIRST STEP WITH ANY FELINE INTRODUCTION TO ANOTHER FELINE.

1. Keep both cats in a separate room for at least 2 days. Your cat will know a new cat is in the house by its scent but will not be able to confront it directly. Swap beds between the cats daily and rub the cats all over the face and flanks with the same cloth to swap scents. Scent is very important to cats and is the best way to start a bond.

2. after 2/3 days of separation place the kitten in a carrier, open the door and allow your cat to meet the new cat in her own time. Don’t open the carrier. Let them sniff and investigate through the bars for 5 mins or so. Both may show some aggression or fear but hopefully both will simply sniff each other at this stage.

3. let them keep meeting like this for a few mins at a time at least 6 times a day for a couple of days. Then begin by letting both cats interact outside of the carrier. Make sure you oversee the meeting and use caution. don’t shut the cats in one room when they meet as they both will need areas to run and retreat if they need too.

4. A little bit of hissing and wrestling is normal the first few weeks as both work out their place in the feline hierarchy of your home.

5. Give plenty of attention to both. Use separate food bowls and food stations. 2 litter trays. They will soon work out their territory between them.

And to my joy, and everyone involved, it worked.

Flash and Harry are now the best of friends, play and sleep together and all thanks to the patience of my clients who didn’t rush things, were slow and correct with the introduction, and had put everything in place to ensure a successful transition!

For more advice or info visit: http://www.catnips.co.uk

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About Anita Kelsey - Cat Behaviour Consultant

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza. Anita's debut book, Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer is published by John Blake Publishers and is out on 7th September 2017 (available for pre-orders on Amazon UK)
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5 Responses to Introducing a new kitten to an existing one – success story

  1. marketaz says:

    I have a friend who takes her three NFCs everywhere on a leash. I wish I had persevered with mine.

    Like

    • catnipslondoncatsitter says:

      Hi Marketa, Thanks for your comment. That’s great. Perhaps your friend could send me some photo’s of her out on a walk with them so I can post up!

      Like

  2. marketaz says:

    Although even kittens who grew up together (i.e. brother and sister) may at some point in their young adult life stop being friends…

    Like

    • catnipslondoncatsitter says:

      Hi Marketa. Thanks for your comment. Very true. It doesn’t usually result in severe aggression towards one another though. It’s usually indifference. If both cats, in adulthood, start to fight, in a severe way (not just a rough and tumble every so often) their is usually another underlying cause, which as you know, can sometimes be extremely difficult to pinpoint the cause and rectify.

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  3. Thanks for the tips! I have a kitten at home that I’ve recently adopted. Recently I had to take a second job, so I’ve been home a lot less to play with my kitten. It seems like a good idea to adopt another kitten so that she can have a playmate while I’m away. I want to make sure that they get along, so it seems like a good idea to learn about how to introduce them properly. It seems like a good idea to allow them to have space from each other at first and slowly introduce them to each other. This seems like a good way to allow them to get used to each other considering how territorial cats can be.

    Like

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