Resident kitten cur...
 

Resident kitten curious, but low-tone growls at new kitten  

Angus Wong
Originally Answered: Resident kitten curious, but low-tone growls at new kitten

Hi all, I hope y'all can provide some guidance and tips for my two kittens to introduce to be one another.

 

Resident Kitten's backstory:

He could be consider as a rescue, and his name is Somnus. I named him Somnus because he sleeps so much. Here's a bit of a background on him. His foster was what I would like to call incompetent fosters, because he came to me dehydrated, cold, lethargic, ANEMIC due to fleas at an age 5-6 weeks old. When I got him, he was only 350 grams. He was also BULLIED at his foster by their own older cats. Those first couple of nights were difficult as I didn't know if he'd make it through. Fast forward 2 weeks, he is now perfectly healthy, active, extremely playful and tons of energy when he's awake. He was a singleton, so I also knew I needed to socialize him with another kitten so he learns how to be a cat and etc. I waited until he's back to a normal weight because I feared the 2nd kitten would be bigger than him, and he'd be traumatized by the sight of a larger cat since he was bullied before. I also work from him, so he had all of my attention since I've got him.

 

2nd Kitten's backstory:

I adopted her from a litter in which she seemed excluded from. The foster was extremely responsible and upon inquiring, she told me among the litter, there was one kitten that appeared to be excluded from the other kittens. She was also the smallest of the litter. So it appeared to be the perfect playmate for my Somnus. Someone smaller and can be removed from a situation where she was being excluded from her littermates. When I visited the kittens, she was definitely more isolated and excluded from the other 3 kittens. 

 

Problem:

Somnus, the resident kitten (~8 weeks) is curious about the new kitten (7 weeks). He'd follow her around but would growl quite a bit. Upon face to face contact, he would hiss. The new kitten is curious about her new home, perfectly happy to explore and would also follow the resident kitten around. But I think the resident kitten is making things difficult for the new kitten to feel like home. Under my supervision, there has been no fights or swats. Just growling from the resident kitten. I wonder if it's because he was a singleton, bullied and traumuatized by a rough upbringing, and possibly spoiled by me because I gave him so much attention while nursing him back to health.

 

Recommendations?

1) Should I extend the isolation time between the two kittens?

2) I'd like to try calming pheromone to help calm the kittens (particularly the resident kitten, Somnus)

... anything else you'd recommend? 

 

Thanks!


Quote
Aisling O'Keeffe MVB CertSAM ISFMAdvCertFB
Originally Answered: Resident kitten curious, but low-tone growls at new kitten

Hi Angus,

Thank you for contacting us about your kittens.

First of all, well done on the work you’ve done with Somnus. It sounds like you’ve done a great job looking after him and dedicated a lot to his care.

From what you’re describing, this behavior between your two kittens sounds pretty normal for this stage in their introduction. It’s normal for a resident cat to feel a bit threatened when a new cat enters the home. Luckily you have two young kittens; they are generally quite adaptable and have a much better chance of getting along than two adults. 

I’ve a few tips that might help the transition go smoothly;

  • Isolate the new kitten in a separate room with their own individual food and water bowls, beds and litter trays.
  • Once the kitten has settled in, start scent swapping (bedding, rubbing a cloth from one cat’s cheek and then letting the other cat examine it etc.)
  • You can start visual contact, ideally with a barrier initially e.g. glass door, leaving the door open a crack so they can see each other but not harm one another. Build this up slowly until the kittens are tolerating it well and not showing any negative body language (e.g. hissing, lashing out). Then start slowly removing the barrier.
  • Plugging in a synthetic pheromone will definitely help your kittens to feel more relaxed and secure.
  • Ensure there’s plenty of hiding areas and beds in the house
  • Equal human attention to both kittens
  • Separate feeding and drinking areas so they don’t feel like they have to compete for these resources
  • Most importantly, don’t rush the introductions, take your time. It’s better to have a slow positive introduction than a negative, fast introduction.

There’s more detail in this article; https://allaboutcats.com/how-to-help-cats-get-along

If you’ve any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask,

Aisling


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