- Pets and Animals
Baby Kittens - Bringing A New Kitten Home Is An Adjustment For All
We recently brought home a new baby kitten. Unfortunately it wasn’t something we had planned. We knew we would get a kitten in a few years, but we didn't want to make that move while we still had our elder cat.
We wanted to devote time to her in her elder years. After all I’ve had her for over nineteen years and she’s my little buddy. Besides that she hasn’t always been so good about past attempts to introduce a new cat so in the past we had thought why rock the boat and get a new kitten while our elder kitty was happy and doing well. But sometimes things happen in life to make you adjust your plans. This was one of those times.
But the baby kitten was abandoned and too young to be on her own. She looked like she was about 5 weeks old (which the vet seemed to think as well). I couldn’t just leave her where we found her; there was no way she would make it on her own. It was time for a kitten rescue; I decided to take her with the plan of bringing her to our local humane society.
We found her while out of town, visiting my mom, so taking her to our local humane society meant keeping her with us at mom’s house for two days then driving nine hours home. We would get home too late to take her right away so she would have to spend a night with us, in our two bedroom condo with our two adult cats. It was going to be an interesting journey but that's to be expected with a kitten rescue.
Before we even left my mom’s house we had already become charmed by her and her endearing kitten behavior. I know all baby kittens are cute, but the way she looked up at you with those little blue eyes that almost appeared to be saying “are you my mommy now”. It would be hard to part with her.
Keeping The Baby Kitten
We decided to try keeping her. We’d give it time and see how she blends with the other two cats. I was feeling excited and nervous all at the same time. I had wanted a baby kitten for a long time, but we weren’t really prepared for it yet. I also didn’t want my elder cat to feel slighted or become jealous; I didn't want to trigger any cat behavior problems. In the past she has peed outside of the litter box or my laundry when she wasn’t happy about something, but she has been so good for the last several years. I didn’t want to spoil her good record, or our carpets.
So we did some research on new kitten care and bought some kitten supplies including a small kitten litter box and some kitten-safe litter (clay litter isn't good for kittens because of the silica dust it creates when they scratch in it). Since she was so young and shouldn't have been weened yet we bought some KMR kitten milk too. We also took her to the vet right away to have her examined and wormed before we brought her home to our other cats.
Introducing A New Kitten To The Household
We braced ourselves and began the process -- introducing a new kitten to a home with other cats is almost never a fun process. We introduced the baby kitten to the older cats and let them spend time together about an hour at a time at first with a little more exposure each day.
For the initial introduction we put the new kitten in an upside down laundry basket with her familiar little bed. This way all the cats would be able to see and smell each other while keeping the little one safe. There was a lot of hissing, meowing and growling, but it didn’t seem like the older cats would do anything to hurt her. The kitten was scared in the basket so the next time we let her free by the other cats, but we stayed right by her the whole time. We would also let the adult cats in what had become the kitten’s room so they could get familiar with her smell.
Temporary Cat Behavior Problems
With a little more exposure each day, and patience, things seemed to be going pretty well so far, but there were a couple of incidents. The elder cat peed in my laundry basket, which is right next to her litter box. She also tried to pee in the kitten litter box but because she is too big for it she ended up peeing on the paper and tile outside of the box. But luckily we had our favorite enzyme cleaner that we use to clean pet stains. That stuff works wonders to help remove pet odors and stains (including hairball stains on the carpet). Cleaning cat urine is never fun, but the enzyme cleaner sure does make removing cat urine odor and stains easier and more effective than than using any other regular cleaner.
It’s still pretty early, it’s only been a couple of weeks, but we’re feeling hopeful about the three cats getting along. Although the elder cat still gets grumpy with the new kitten sometimes and she occasionally shoots jealous looks if we’re playing with her. Hopefully with a little extra love and affection the older cat will adjust ok.
Plenty Of Attention & Reassurance For All The Cats
It’s always important to give the existing kitties plenty of attention when bringing a new cat into the home. Cats can get pretty jealous if they see another getting more attention or worse yet taking their normal attention and disturbing the regular routine. Be prepared because it can take a bit of energy, especially when the new cats are baby kittens, but they all need a lot of reassurance through the transition. It’s a big change for everyone.