Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indroducing a Kitten

Oh how I underestimated how much of a hassle it would be to introduce a new kitten into our home! I must say that adopting Hendrix was very unplanned. Looking back I know now that this was not the way to go. We should have been much more prepared by researching ways to make things easier on Joplin, as well as a step by step explanation of how to properly introduce the two of them. In reality we stopped by our favorite pet store Pet Circus for some treats, and we found 3 adorable kittens. Hendrix was the oldest of them, the women working told us that they had not been able to find him a home and that it might be because he was poly dactyl. We stood there for a while and pet him through the cage, we were enamored with him. Then Steph made the first move, he asked if we could pick him up. They opened the cage and I picked him up and instantly fell asleep in my arms, and that was it. We payed for him and brought him home.

What we did:
  1. Got Hendrix in the door and instantly let him run around everywhere.
  2. Made separate litter and food areas but did not separate living areas
  3. Allowed Hendrix to start taking over the entire house, Joplin's only area was the bathroom basket
Joplin was miserable at this point, she wouldn't come near us and she hissed and batted at Hendrix whenever he was in the same room.

Hendrix on the other hand chased Joplin all the time and was quickly realizing how easy it was to be the alpha-cat

Of course this had to change and so I turned to MC for help. She explained that putting in the effort at first will really pay off in the end. At this point it had only been 3 days since we brought Hendrix home.

How we fixed it:
  1. We separated the cats. Wow was this a hassle! I should mention that the only door in the apartment is the bathroom door. So we had to fashion one out of a mirror and miscellaneous musical instruments
  2. Kept them separate for a full 2 days
  3. On day 3 let Hendrix out for a run for 30 min in the apartment, did this twice a day for 3 days
  4. On day 6 let him out for the whole day while we were home so that we could watch but kept him in the bedroom at night, did this for 2 days
  5. On day 8 let him out the whole day alone with Joplin, stayed out that night as well
After this Joplin started to really warm up to him and now they're inseparable. The best part is that Hendrix has adopted alot of Joplins good mannerisms.


  1. How old is the cat you already had and the cat you adopted? Because my Tygana is 11 and has only lived with a dog, now it's just him and we were considering adopting another cat, but I wasn't sure about if it would be ok with Tygana so I'm always on the fence and never do it. I'm assuming a kitten would be best because they would be less threatning right? Or does it matter?

  2. Joplin is 5 and Hendrix was 4 months when we got him. I'm guessing that because Tygana has shared the house with another pet before that the adjustment would be easier. However, depending on the amount of time it has been since she's had the house to herself it might be a little difficult at first since "her" territory would be infringed upon by a new addition. I would suggest doing it the same way as I did, by separating them by a door and going step by step from there.

    I'd probably say that a kitten would be easier, just due to the fact that they are like a clean slate, no kitty baggage. Tygana may not adjust as well to a new older cat who's also trying to maintain some sort of dominance, that being said I should mention that I know of more than a few cases where a new adult cat was introduced and there were no problems what-so-ever. It depends from cat to cat. I thought Joplin would adjust no problem but it took alot of time to do so.

    I hope this helps. I honestly believe that if it doesn't work out well at the beginning that things can get better if you introduce them right.

    The best thing we did was give huge amounts of attention to both cats, especially to Joplin, so that they knew they were loved.

    Good luck with the kitty quest!

  3. I don't think any of my pets were planned. The huge amount of attention is the most important. The existing animals need to know they aren't being replaced or bullyed out

  4. We have had 4 different kitten introductions (obviously with 5 cats the first was alone for a while). The first was the way you did it but Floyd was only 1 so he was ok with it. We did keep them separate while we were at work. With Lola we did the same and had no problems. By the time we got Virgil the cats were much older, and he was younger than the others had beeen when he came home so he was separated a lot more. Plus we had to put up barriers because of the stairs at our house (we had an apartment with the first 3). He slept with me in the bedroom at night with the others in the rest of the place. With Barney he was introduced sooner then planned because of a power outage and high outside temps - so he had to come to the coolest part of the house with the rest of us. I tried to keep him as separate as possible but that was very hard and he was very quick (he was about 5 weeks at that point). After the power was back (it was off for a full weekend) we kept him separate for sleeping and while we were at work until he got a bit bigger. The young cats get along well and the older ones do but they don't interact much - sometimes one will sleep near the others but that is about it. It is just going to be an issue of the cats temperment vs. the kittens temperment.


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