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Advice on introducing 2 month old kitten to 4 month old kitten

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Terri Lowe, Jul 9, 2020.


  1. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there!

    On Monday (it's now Thursday) I bought home a new 8 week old kitten called Ziggy. Our original kitty, Koop, is 4 months old and we felt it would be better if he had one of his own kind to play, communicate and grow up with. Koop had been very vocal up to this point and meows loudly for our attention a lot and while we always respond to him, it breaks my heart. So we thought a new kitten would be a good introduction to our house. We left Ziggy in the main bedroom and gave Koop the rest of the house, and me and my partner have been alternating sleeping in the main bedroom and spare room so neither kitten sleep by themselves. We did a first introduction last night as the little one Ziggy is really confident and was already trying to get out the bedroom. We'd scent swapped and also let Ziggy roam the house for an hour while Koop was shut away and asleep in the living room. Koop would sit outside the main bedroom meowing loudly so we thought we'd put Ziggy in his carrier and put him with Koop so Koop could see him. Koop seemed scared and hissed but generally backed off. So we opened the crate. Ziggy wanted to play with Koop but Koop just had no idea what to do so he hissed at him and bopped him on the head a few times. He then growled so we removed ziggy and put him back in the bedroom. But ziggy keeps trying to escape and ran out the bedroom this morning straight into Koop. And Koop is just having none of it! More head bopping hissing growling and ziggy hid under the table and hissed back - so now ziggy is scared of him. Have I messed up :(? How can I salvage this situation? They're both the best kitties ever and I really want them to get along. I know it's only been a few days and only 12 hours since their first meeting but I'm worried x
     
  2. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Photo of Ziggy (ginger) and Koop (Tabby) because they're the most handsome boys x
     

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  3. AshwinR

    AshwinR PetForums Junior

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    I think this is a matter of time. I don't think it is feasible for them to like each other in a few hours. Give it a few days. If you keep parting them you basically reset thing. You however have to bee there in case things do go wrong. You need to correct Koop if he does something wrong.
     
  4. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there, thank you for your advice. Do you think I should just leave them together then? Not separate them when Koop growls or ziggy gets scared?
     
  5. AshwinR

    AshwinR PetForums Junior

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    I personally think they need to get through it. It won't happen overnight. It might take a few days. But you do need to keep an eye out if the older one lashes out. I read that it helps to give Koop a blanket with ziggy's scent. or something with his scent. This should have been an earlier step before introduction. You can still try it however.

    Maybe if you go to bed, you can separate them as you can't watch over them and see how it goes during the day. If they start to get used to each other during the day and start playing, you can trust then to sleep in the same room.

    This is good reading:
    https://www.jacksongalaxy.com/blog/the-dos-and-donts-of-introducing-cats/
     
  6. poppygreen

    poppygreen PetForums Junior

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    Hi and welcome.

    i have introduced my two 4 months old boys to each other 1 month and half ago. I first had Hector which i was told was 8 weeks but he was barely 5 weeks. that was beginning of may. he was amazing but we could tell he needed one of his kind. He didn't stay with his mum and siblings at all we reckon so he didn't really know how to play nicely with us and he used to wake me up with his toys in his mouth for me to play with me, heart-breaking so we had to get a new kitten and so Achilles came along.

    They were both 8 weeks old when we got Achilles and i have to say that i have tried following the rules of first introduction but it was all done and dusted within an hour. Their choice.
    I didn't think it was going to be dramatic because they were so young i doubted there were going to be fight or hissing or growling but...
    i put Achilles in a safe room (which previously would have been Hector's) and let them interact through the closed door. Instantly they both started crying and Hector started to scratch the door so i thought ok then, lets move the action to the lounge. i put achilles in his carrier and placed him in the middle of the lounge and let Hector roam around him. i could tell straight away they were desperate to meet and play but i let it go on for 10/15 mins waiting for some hissing or growling but they were trying to play through the carrier with their paws and sniffing each other and crying.

    So then i took the risk but only because i had all the good signs from both and i opened the carrier. oh my god it was hilarious.
    Hector was over the moon to see another kitten and couldn't stop jumping around and jumping on him. Achilles on the other hand was very happy as i believe he was missing his mum and siblings and seeing another kitten made him settle quite quickly. That was it, they played all day that day and i could tell Achilles wasn't ready for all of this, new people, new house and new crazy kitten. Hector was very rough in his playing but i think Achilles coped very well and was very patience with him and taught him when enough is enough. we went from constant mewoing from Achilles when Hector was too rough (never ever escalated in a fight) to now where the only noise we hear when they play is heads banging on the wooden floor :rolleyes:.


    they have their own little quirks (Hector's is very food possessive and Achilles is too good, and never reacts to Hector's trying to steal his food) but generally they are not shy at all, they never hid anywhere not even the first day they arrived. I remember Achilles when his owners left him out of the carrier started running around the whole house jumping on the stairs, and he even didn't care his previous owner left, poor guys, they tried to say goodbye but he was too busy exploring hahaha.
    That's to say my cats never gave me a reason to think they needed extra time to be introduced.
    Maybe the only thing i can see looking back now is that as at today, 1 month and half after getting Achilles, he still hasn't shown his own personality in its fullness. everyday i can see new things and new behaviours where Hector pretty much has always stayed the same. This makes me think that he must have had a harder time that i thought or realised in settling and didn't have time to show off his personality because he was busy adjusting and although we spend all day and night with them and i am very very physically bonded with them, Hector overtakes it all, he is full on. cant get away from him when he wants to play and whereas Achilles is very playful too i believe is more of chilled cat and would rather chill and cuddles than playing 24/7.

    I generally believe that a longer and more careful introduction is always the best option. i had originally gave myself a week before letting them see each other. it just didn't go to plan:D
     
    #6 poppygreen, Jul 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  7. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    So I went with the advice above and just let them go for it and it's okay I think? These are my first cats and I'm just so unsure when it's playing or fighting. The big one (Koop) is so rough with the little one (Ziggy) but I did notice the little one yelps even when he's not being bitten... But it could be Koop's claws. I break it up when Koop doesn't stop if Ziggy yelps, and ziggy then goes back for more so assume it's okay but sometimes Ziggy hisses and growls and I break them up then Ziggy jumps on Koop. They also both chirp but I don't know if that's excitement/happy or a overactive hunting mode. The thing that's upsetting me is they go off separately to sleep and they haven't groomed each other yet. They do eat nicely next to each other and Koop originally gave Ziggy space when using the litter tray or drinking but then Ziggy kept pouncing on Koop in the litter tray and now they both do it. Ziggy hasn't learned no or his name yet so it's hard to let him know he's being naughty. Aaaah ultimately I want them both to be happy together, play and run around, then groom and sleep together so I know they're friends. Is it a bad sign they're sleeping apart or is 3 days just too soon and I need to give them more time. Do some cat pairs just play fight and never groom or cuddle up and is that normal? Sorry for all the questions. I feel like Koop is hating me as I'm constantly having to tell him off when he won't let go of Ziggy when he yelps and I'm feeling very down this morning Koop is my baby and I feel so sad that we're having cross words so much.
     
    #7 Terri Lowe, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  8. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry I mean they sleep separately and they HAVEN'T groomed each other yet!
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Terri Lowe - what you describe sounds like normal kitten behaviour. I don't think you should tell Koop off, he won't understand what he's doing wrong and you could make him feel anxious and insecure.

    The main thing that concerns me in your post is that the kittens are pestering each other in the litter tray. This is not a good habit as it could lead to one or the other kitty avoiding the trays. Which you certainly don't want as it could become a hard-to-break habit.

    I think you'd be best to increase all the feline resources so there is less competition between the two boys. Three litter trays is the minimum for 2 cats but I provide 4 for my 2 girls and have done from the start when I adopted them both aged 4 mths old.

    Spread the trays around the areas of the house used by the kittens, making sure all trays are accessible at all times (i,e, not behind closed doors :)).

    I'd also increase the number of water bowls and spread those around the areas of the home the kitties use.

    Personally I wouldn't feed kittens (or cats) who have not been together all their lives, next to each other but would give them each their own feeding spots about 10 ft apart from each other. This again will reduce feelings of competition.

    if you feel Koop is being too rough with Ziggy then intervene with distraction techniques e.g wand toys or fishing rod toys, or by offering treats. Or hold a cushion between the boys and shepherd one kitten out of the room for a short while to give them a break from each other.

    Not all kittens groom each other, or cuddle together. Your two kitties may decide to, in time, or they may not. If they don't, I wouldn't take it they don't get on, just that they both like their personal space. :)
     
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  10. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for this reply, it's made me feel a lot better. I will stop telling Koop off and start trying to distract him. At first I thought he was hurting Ziggy but I've never found a scratch on him so I think I'm just worrying as I'm not used to kitty play. And I hate telling him off it's horrible. We've still been having cuddle time together though so he still comes to me for comfort which is good. I'll never tell him off again and give him all the love to make up for my mistake.

    The litter tray concerns me too and I have stopped this when I've seen it, but will also buy a third tray. And I'll stop feeding them next to each other. I'll feed one in the bedroom, one in the spare room. I already have lots of drinking vessels around the house as Koop is not a big drinker so it's best to just have lots of different ones around to remind him. He mostly likes to drink out of my glass of water while I'm drinking out of it .

    Honestly, thank you so much for your message I really needed some direction and reassurance of how to do things right for both of them. I don't need them to be cuddly with each other, I just want them to be happy.
     
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  11. AshwinR

    AshwinR PetForums Junior

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    Don't forget to let us know how it is going. There is a lot more stuff out there on the internet about introducing cats to each other.
     
  12. poppygreen

    poppygreen PetForums Junior

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    Hi,

    try to think of your two boys as two children. They will want to play and the more one moans and calls for help the more the other one will go for it.
    At the beginning Hector was very rough with Achilles. As i previously mentioned Hector didn't grow up with siblings so he didn't' have any manner at all.
    I spend loads of time with them and that enabled me to intervene when necessary. With Hector distractions don't work. Once he has an aim that's it. not even treats can work.
    I had to intervene fairly often or whenever i felt Achilles was having enough of it but couldn't get out of Hector's radar. Achilles kept on going back for it every single time as im sure he was having fun but he knew when enough was enough and Hector didn't . My way of intervening was just getting close and gently separate them and say to Hector "piano" which in Italian means "gently".. Sometimes i did that several times a day. The play fight never escalated so there has never ever been hissing or growling but i didn't feel to leave it to the all the time.
    Other times i could tell Achilles was just moaning. The play fight wasn't too rough and that's when i left it to them.
    Achilles never hid away, never curved his back...he is just delicate, well it was. Now i dont have 2 kittens anymore. i have two earthquakes hahah.
    They learned from each other and i now when i watched them i can see Hector being so much more gentle, no claws and no biting.
    As far as concerns grooming each other, it took a while before mine started to groom each other. From day one Achilles wanted to sleep alone but hector kept on following him, he established Achilles was his property and for the first couple of weeks he was obsessed with him. It wasn't love at first sight specially for Achilles but i can see their relationship improving every day, they need their own time to settle, know each other, getting used to each other. you will have to be a fair referee :)

    Mine don't purr at each other and their grooming is purely for cleaning purposes nothing to do with cuddles, not just yet. Chirping wise i see it as a way of talking to each other. i notice mine do it when the other one is not around and wants to call him. so if Hector is in the lounge and Achilles is chilling upstairs they will chirp quite loudly and the other one will show up straight away
     
  13. Terri Lowe

    Terri Lowe PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone, just an update on what is going on.

    Firstly I want to say the advice I found here was invaluable and thank you so much. I went to many places looking for advice but this was the place that really reassured me and made me feel more confident about the situation.

    So Koop and Ziggy are good! Yay. Ziggy has only been with us just under 2 weeks so there's still a lot of progress to be made, but I feel it getting better every day. He went for his first vaccine on Thursday and the vet said he was about 8 weeks old which means he was only about 7 weeks when we got him :( but also means he likely has the same birthday as me :Cat! I'm so thankful he's a healthy, confident, well behaved little kitten as it could have been very different.

    I think Koop is a little anxious and a bit poorly. His third eye lid was showing so I took him to the vet but the vet said he's a really healthy cat and to bring him back if he has other symptoms like vomiting, runny poo, sneezing etc. I think the change of having Ziggy here has made him feel insecure and I think my feelings of anxiety when Ziggy first got here made it worse. So I'm giving him all the attention and trying to relax (I work from home and my job is so so stressful at the moment - but I'm trying to relax more for Koop). I think adjusting to sharing his things will be a thing he slowly gets used to and everyday he seems calmer.

    So, Koop and Ziggy together. They seem way better. They aren't on each other every second now, and do things in other rooms then will chirp and call each other to play. Ziggy still yells out but much less and I've figured out it's when Koop holds him down and not because he's hurting him. Ziggy doesn't like being in one position and would prefer to pounce and wriggle around. But as Ziggy was so little when we got him I think he maybe wasn't as socialised as he should be so calls out when he's not getting his own way. Then as soon as Koop let's go he pounces on him and chases him. Me telling Koop off at the beginning with "no Koop" when Ziggy cried out probably confused Koop as he wasn't being rough so has added to his anxiety around ziggy. But Koop has been trying to groom ziggy :) ziggy is mostly having none of it right now as he just wants to play but he did groom Koop back for about 10 mins the other day and went over to Koop and slept on top of him once. They sleep on separate podiums on the cat tree next to each other and play is a lot more casual. I think as ziggy mellows out around Koop and Koop feels less anxious about the change they will become more affectionate around each other with time. They chirp and call each other from other rooms quite a lot which makes me think they enjoy each others company. So I'm feeling very positive :Cat:Cat I've uploaded a couple of photos of them together IMG_20200715_151221.jpg IMG_20200712_144136.jpg IMG_20200711_195345.jpg
     
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  14. AshwinR

    AshwinR PetForums Junior

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    Awwwww. They look absolutely cute together! Well done, your patience has paid off. Looking at the pictures, I think all will be ok.
     
  15. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Terri Lowe - awww great photos, they look very happy together. x :)

    Thank you for the update. It sounds as though things are progressing well. Well done :)
     
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