Monday, June 4, 2012

Introducing My New Kitten To My Cat- A Guest Blog By Lisa Illman of Kritter Kondo

Finn


Several months ago, I decided to adopt a kitten for the very first time.  Having only had adult cats in the past, I did quite a bit of research on introducing kittens to cats in advance as my current cat Abigail is nine years old and had recently lost her adult brother to stomach cancer.   I knew no matter how old the new cat, a transitional, step-by-step introduction with my current feline would be the way to go.  Thankfully I am very plugged into the Pet Blogosphere and have quite a few experienced cat focused contacts to call upon.  With the help of the social petworking community, I began the journey of adopting and introducing another feline into my home.  Below are the steps I took, in a not so rigid fashion, to provide the most harmonious transition for me, my cat Abigail and my new kitten Finnegan. 

Research and Set-Up

Researching the experience and advise from others in the petworking community was so extremely helpful to prepare me for what was to come.   By reading the articles others had written, I was able to plan in advance for the arrival of my new kitten and set the stage for the new feline landscape.  Articles that I found especially helpful include:

Introducing a New Cat into your Home – Vicki Stringfellow Cook

Both articles were helpful in that Ingrid expresses her own personal journey and her instincts that guided her through each introduction, while Vicki uses a step-by-step procedure that is helpful in planning and preparing. 

Creating a separate cat playpen area for my kitten (as Vicki encourages) was key in the first few weeks of the feline introduction.  This separate play area for kitten continues to be a wonderful way to give my adult cat a break from the energy of a spunky little kitten.  Using my intuition and following my gut, as pointed out in Ingrid’s article, has been the perfect way to know how much alone time the new feline friends should have, when to separate them, and when to allow them to ‘work’ things out amongst themselves.   By creating a separate space for the new kitten to enjoy and supervising the initial interactions with the cats, I have been able to leave them alone together with no negative consequences.

Abigail and Finn


Another resource I found very helpful in my research and set-up stage was through the new television show “My Cat From Hell”.   Jackson Galaxy stars as the professional Cat Behaviorlist who assists people and their problem cats.  Frequently he is met with the introduction of two cats that is not going well.  In a few episodes, I had seen Jackson teach play therapy to kitty cats that were not the best of friends.  This notion leads me to one of the best tactics I use to create a peaceful co-existence since I brought my kitten home. 

Scheduled Play Sessions

A wonderful way to create a friendly and harmonious existence between pets that I have found is through scheduled play sessions.  Please note that this step comes after a slow transitional introduction between the felines.  This step is not only good during the early stages of co existing together, it is a wonderful way to maintain and strengthen the bond between pets, as well as the bond you have with them too.

Scheduled and timed play sessions are so beneficial while helping felines become friendly; it is a weekly, even daily routine in my home.   An article I recently wrote about play sessions outlines the benefits for both you and your kitties.  Scheduling keeps cats on a routine so that they can begin to look forward to the sessions and time spent together. Timing the sessions keeps you on track with the amount of time you spend with the kitties during these sessions.  Playing during the session provides the good karma the cats will start to associate with each other and provide as the normal environment overtime.  Playing will also help your kitten exhaust some of his energy while re introducing your mature cat to new, fun toys. 

Staying Connected in a Petworking Community

Probably the last and most important part of my transitional kitty cat journey has been the support of a strong, solid petworking community.  This is the same community that helped me when my cats have been sick, when I am looking for advise on new toys or pet health related topics.  This petworking community helped me dry my tears when Madison crossed over the rainbow bridge.  It is the Pet Bloggers, the Facebook Furry Friends, the Twitter Pet Gang and the pet purrs and wags forums on the Internet.  The best wisdom I can offer about any pet related topic always comes back to the community that will help you raise them.  As I have leaned on so many over the years, I can now share some of my experiences, challenges and tips with the Blogosphere.   Continuing to stay connected offers me a wonderful pool of support, advise, and help, tips, and much, much more.  It takes a village.
Lisa & Abigail


Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity and runs the Blog, Kritters that Twitter.  Her fur babies, Abigail and Madison, inspired her to design an outdoor pet product line called the Kritter Kondo.  When Madison, her 15-year-old Tuxedo passed away from stomach cancer, Lisa adopted a kitten named Finnegan.  You can follow them on Twitter (@KritterKondo, @LisaIllman).

25 comments:

  1. I agree! I find that while there are books and materials, nothing beats hands on experience. The CB rocks! And Jackson Galaxy too!

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  2. Totally agree! I went through this a year ago and my cats only had to be separate a couple days. My friends took 3 weeks!

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  3. I've been following Lisa's progress with introducting Finnegan to Abigail. Judging by the photo, it looks like things are going well - I love the almost smug look on Abigail's face! It's like she's saying "MY kitten!"

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  4. I've been following Lisa's progress with introducting Finnegan to Abigail. Judging by the photo, it looks like things are going well - I love the almost smug look on Abigail's face! It's like she's saying "MY kitten!"

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  5. Welcome to Abigail and so happy she has a furever home with you. The blogging is a geat place to meet friends and get help when needed. Looking forward to getting to know Abigail better. I am so happy she is fitting in!!

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  6. Good post! And should I ever decide to introduce Austin to a kitten some very good advice too!!

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  7. Those are all such good ideas for introducing cats. It really should be done very slowly and kind of let them get used to each other. The Cat blogosphere is a wonderful place for support and help in all ways.

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  8. I can't imagine not having two cats. They keep each other whisker deep in fun. And of course the fur flies!

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  9. Great guest blog! That finnegan is a real cutie with his handsome white moustache!!

    Pam and Sam

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  10. I did a lot of research when we adopted Niko. Goro was not happy to have new kitty in his house. These are very good information for introducing new kitty successfully. I learn a lot from blog friends.

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  11. That really was a great post and lots of humans can sure learn from it!

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  12. There's always much to learn but as holistic cat behaviorist, I've found every cat and every situation is different. Ultimately it's best to observe the behavioral cues of each cat and monitor closely. We introduced a kitten to a 16-year-old by presenting a scent laden blanket of the kitten to the older cat first and used both a plugin and Feliway spray. They were friends within a couple days. I believe in verbal and non verbal communication stressing to the older cat, that are loved and will retain their position i.e # 1 cat.

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  13. Excellent advise and those articles and books do sound like very informative.

    purrs
    >^,,^<
    ♥Abby♥Boo♥Ping♥Jinx♥Grace♥

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  14. YAY for Abigail!!! Really great to read about the introduction process...just in case I ever decide to take the plunge and bring home a "friend" to Katie.
    : ) Glogirly

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  15. We are glad the two kitties have adjusted so well to each other. They will be best friends.

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  16. That's really great advice about introducing two cats! We used some of those techniques with our guys, and they work. :)

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  17. Hmm, my Human actually said out loud today, I wonder if Spitty'd like a friend?

    Uh, that would be NO, I'm verreh happy with things just the way they are, thankyouverymuch.

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  18. this is so great! Mom is gonna copy it 'cuz we may decide later this year to get me a young adult cat to have for my very own...right now I am to scared but maybe.....

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  19. This is a great way to start out a new friendship.

    I would add one more health-related consideration. When I bring new kittens/cats into my household I isolate them for an appropriate period to be sure they are free of not only the retroviruses but also any parasites. You can check the AAFP site for their time recommendations.

    This isolation time is also a good time for cats in both situations to get used to the smells and sounds from each other. By the time the isolation is over the new cats are usually easily introduced.

    Great post, wonderful topic.

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  20. In a way mom wishes I had a companion, but I am Queen and it will probably remain that way. MOL

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  21. I popped over to see how things were going with Abi and Finn, and I was so surprised to see my post listed as one of your resources! I'm glad it helped with the transition. It's funny, because I used your post about scheduled playtime to help my older cats interact better. That's the benefit of reading each other's blogs!

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  22. Multicat families are bigger, better, more fun, more loving, and more EVERYTHING. And you couldn't do better than to learn from The Cat Daddy :)

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  23. Thats a great post!! Thank you so much for posting it! hugs

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  24. We adore you guys, and we're so happy to see you two getting along so well.

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