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Discussion Starter #1
The plot:

I'm trying to introduce 4 kittens to my 4 cats. I've been following the standard advice found online (scent exchange, baby gates in doorways, etc) but I haven't read anything about introducing multiple cats to multiple cats.


The cast:

Vincent (male): 6 years-old
Holland (female): 6 years-old
Caesar (male): 2 1/2 years-old
Leo (male): 2 1/2 years-old (brother to Caesar)
4 Kittens (1 male, 3 females): 8 months-old


The questions:

When I get to the point when they're ready to be around each other, should I let all 4 kittens be around all 4 of my cats at the same time... or do I work with one kitten at a time... or should they meet each other individually? Is there any standard way for how something like this is done?


Thanks!!
 

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Well, that plot combined with that cast has the makings of a good action, drama and comedy all rolled into one! :)

I doubt there's a standard way to do this, since I don't imagine it's a standard problem. A more standard problem is introducing one new cat to multiple resident cats...and, in that case, it is recommended that you introduce the new cat to the resident cats one at a time, over a few days, following which (days later) you can start to let the cats mingle. So, starting with that premise, I suggest you don't just put all 8 cats together...and I shudder to think what might happen if you tried to do that.

If the kittens were babies, I would suggest you introduce your older cats one at a time to all four kittens. However, given that the kittens are 8 months old, I'd be tempted to also introduce the kittens one at a time to each resident cat, although I appreciate doing so will get tedious and will take time.

I'd start with whichever of your four resident cats is likely to be the easiest to introduce. You should be able to tell that from how your resident cats react to the presence of the new kittens. So, select whichever cat appears to be most receptive. I'd then slowly introduce said resident cat to the kittens, again one at a time. Once Resident cat "A" has been introduced to each of the kittens, then move to Resident cat "B". These introductions would not be done 10 minutes after each other. Rather, they would take place over the course of a few days or, potentially, weeks.

Another possibility (only feasible if one or more of your resident cats seems quite receptive to the newcomers) might be to put each of the kittens in a carrier (assuming you have four carriers) and then let the most receptive resident cat into the room with the four carriers. If the resident cat seems ok...goes around sniffing the carriers, as opposed to attacking the carriers...then try letting one of the kittens out and see how it goes. If it goes well, let another out and so forth...although take a step back at the first sign of trouble. I suggest you have someone else with you when you're doing this.

Good luck!
 

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Yes, that's a lot of kittens for your cats to assimilate. Chances are good that the kittens will prefer to play with each other and not bother the older cats too much.

I agree with the above, if there is one of your housecats that is a bit more friendly towards the newcomers, go with that introduction first. The rest of your cats might be more inclined to follow its lead.
 

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When I first started doing rescue I kept my kittens separate from my cats. But my vet told me to stop doing that. He shared with me that the older cats will teach the younger cats the rules of the cat kingdom. 8 months is getting up there.

Next time you do this present them ( if they are healthy) as young as you can with your own adult cats. Adult cats know that kittens are kittens and are very tolerant of them. expect a few hisses and bats from the adults. Ive never had any outright fights with adults mixed with incoming foster kittens.

One other way Ive done it is to let my adult cats from my house into the garage of the adult cats I was fostering--- with supervised visits. This was a bit unusual since the garage cats were blind and I was trying to integrate them into my home from my garage. It work well doing it with the supervised visits

Ususally if you have a big old Tom cat they are very loving and tolerant with the kittens. Kittens love to snuggle up with the Tom and feel succure being with him. My tuxedo is a great foster uncle. Please forgive me but this is one of my favorite pictures of my cat Mittens fostering Screaming Mimi, showing her the ropes. Ive shared it before.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought I'd give a quick update.

The kittens have been successfully introduced to all of my cats except Vincent. I'm worried about him because he's very skittish and territorial. He's interacted with the kittens some through the baby gates. I'm going to try and introduce him to them one at a time this week. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for all of the advice.
 

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It's great that all of the cats, bar Vincent, have now been successfully introduced. That was quite a feat! I wish you luck with the final stage...hopefully Vincent will co-operate.
 
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