Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The New Kitten Arrives! How To prepare your cats for the new arrival.

One of the best parts of Pawbly is helping people looking to find a way to provide better care to their pets.

I started Pawbly for this reason. When I think about all of the questions that I am asked I realized that I often get asked the same question multiple times..SO wouldn't it be a great idea to put all of those questions and answers in a place where everyone could access, utilize and add to them?

Hence, Pawbly!

Here's one of the more common questions:
"Bringing Home The New Kitty"

Question Number 1;

Hi Dr. Magnifico,

Recently a new kitten found me. I took her to JVC last week. She was given a distemper shot. She had fleas. Per her fecal, she was parasite free.

When may I introduce her to my other kitties?

Thanks for your help!

My Answer;

Congratulations on your new kitten! And how wonderful to hear that you are going to keep and care for her.

One of the wonderful things about cats (and kittens) is that they all have their own personality, likes, and dislikes. I love and respect a cat for their independent unapologetic spirit. But it is hard to give concrete advice on this question because every kitten and every cat household is different.

Let your new kitten acclimate to her new home before asking her to be buddies with your other kitties. I usually suggest leaving the new cat in a large carrier with a litter box, and a hidey box so that she can retreat into a safe place. At some point she will be unafraid to come out of the box and meet the other cats (or vice versa). Kittens can be a frenzied fury of activity and sometimes the older/other cats are playful and curious and receptive to a new play partner. Sometimes they aren't. Your kitten will quickly figure out which cat is which.

Be a quiet, calm, patient parent and see how the kids get along...although I do think that a very gradual calm introduction is the best way to achieve long term success..

Best of luck, and enjoy your new kitten!

I hope this helps.

Question Number 2;

We just brought a male kitten into our home that already had a spayed female kitten both are approx. the same age (6 mos). The male kitten is apparently terrified of the female. The female exhibits a playful posture (no hissing or bristling, laying on her back). Is there something we can do to promote interaction and make the male less fearful?

My Answer;

Let your new kitten settle in and get comfortable in your home before asking him to become friends with the other residents. Leaving the new cat in a large carrier with a litter box, a bed, food, and a hidey box so that he can retreat into a safe place, and avoid the other cat(s) intially. This is easiest done by putting the cat and their carrier in a room by themselves. After a few days he should be feeling more comfortable with the smells of your new house. Open the door to the cage and let him explore at his own pace. The resident cat(s) will be at the door and they can exchange smells and sounds without being face to face or being able to hurt each other. After a few days of this you can start to gradually allow the cats to socialize. If there is hissing and growling he can retreat to his house and let him be alone in his safe carrier.

At some point he will be unafraid to come out of the box and try to start to play with your cat.

Imagine if someone scooped you up and dropped you in a foreign land with some pesky female? Most of us would probably be a little afraid, and a little reluctant to jump in and play with the natives.

With cats the secret is to be calm, patient, and accepting..They steer their own course and determine their own destiny.

It doesn't always work out in to a happy loving couple, but in most cases they do learn to just accept each other.

I hope this helps.

Be patient and gentle and your kitten will come around.

Question Number 3;
How do I get my older cats to accept (and love) the two new kittens we adopted five months ago?

My Answer;

The beauty of cats is their independent nature.  Nothing can ever be forced. They have to learn gradually and over time.

And even with gentle patience sometimes a cat will never fully embrace a change, or another pet. Sometimes the best that we can hope for is that they don't yell and scream at each other at every moment of every day. Sometimes a peaceful passive acceptance of the fact that the other person/pet will not go away willingly is the best we can ask..(Oh, goodness sounds like a bad marriage). 

In general, a kitten very quickly learns to avoid  the old cranky resident cat.They go on playing by themselves or with the other cats who will play with them. If that is happening at your house then I would suggest that you just accept this as the best you are going to do for now.

If you have fighting, anxiety, or aggression then it is time to step in and start to figure out ways to diffuse the situation.

I hope that this helps..let me know if you have any other questions.

So, you see..there are many people out there looking for advice, help, and assistance..And I would bet that many of you have been through these situations yourself. What did you learn? What great advice did you get? Please join us in helping other pet people. You can find these questions, and many others at Pawbly is free to use and open to everyone who cares about pets.

I can also be found at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville Maryland, or on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

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