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How can I make my new kittens become friends?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by alexr37, May 24, 2019.


  1. alexr37

    alexr37 PetForums Newbie

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    I bought my first kitten a month ago, and recently bought him a friend to grow up with so that he won't get lonely. The friend is one week younger and is noticably a bit smaller.

    After the new kitten was settled in, we brought in the older one to meet him. They seemed cautious at first, smelling each other and tapping each other's head's. As we left them to explore one another, the playing seemed to turn into fighting (although we are not too sure). Do cats take eachother in headlocks and bite while playing? Surprisingly, the new kitten seemed much more at ease after we broke up their tussel, and was happy to be stroked, whereas the older one would not sit still and had a fast heartrate.

    This was yesterday. Today, we have had similar experiences. They are slow and playful at first, but it soon escalates into fighting. I am not sure whether they had their claws out - the new one certainly didn't. The new kitten also seems to be much more chilled, and seems to want to be friends with the other whereas the old one turns it into a fight.

    However I fear I am maybe being overly cautious due to the fact that they have not meowed, growled or hissed while tussling.

    Does anyone know whether these are normal signs of kittens meeting after one day? Also, how can I continue to introduce them to ensure they become friends and not rivals?

    All help is highly appreciated :)
     
  2. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    It does take time to introduce young cats to each other so endless patience is the main requirement !

    I'm tagging @chillminx as she always gives valuable advice on the best way to ensure introductions are a pleasurable and productive event for all parties involved :)
     
    alexr37 and chillminx like this.
  3. alexr37

    alexr37 PetForums Newbie

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    @Bertie’sMum
    Thanks for this. I have now noticed that the fights are quite one way, with the older kitten jumping on and biting the younger one, but what surprises me is that the younger one makes no squeal or meow.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @alexr37 and welcome. :)

    Kittens often do play fight very roughly with their litter mates. It can be quite scary to watch! But unless there is fur flying or injuries being caused I don't usually intervene.

    However this situation is slightly different inasmuch as these 2 kittens are not litter mates, and one is the resident kitten, and a week older than the newcomer. So the fighting instigated by the older kitten may not be just play, it could be partly play, but could also be him wanting to defend his territory and resources from the new "intruder".

    You introduced the two kittens after new kitten was "settled in". But how long did you give new kitten to settle in? I would have given him a few days at least, in his own safe room with his food, water, litter trays, toys, scratch posts, beds etc, With you spending lots of time with him building his trust.

    Ideally I would have also fixed a hinged mesh screen door to his safe room after a few days so the kittens could see each other and smell each other's scent without having direct contact. This gives both kits time to size each other up safely without any risk of attacks.

    But as both kittens are so young, you may not need a mesh screen door (I just use one anyway for all introductions, even kittens, because having a screen in place for a while reduces stress levels significantly for the cats and for me too!).

    I would intervene if you think the older kitten is bullying the younger one. It is never good for any kitten to grow up being bullied. You can use distractions e.g. a wand toy, or give both treats, or if necessary lift up the younger kit and place him on a higher level than the other kitten, e.g. a cat tree or table. This move breaks the tension.

    Make sure you have plenty of feline resources for the kits. e.g. at least 3 litter trays, several water bowls around the house, plenty of scratch posts and scratch pads in every roonm, cosy cat beds and high up places to sit and snooze.

    Also feed them in separate feeding spots, not side by side or near each other. They should be at least 10 ft apart and out of sight of each other. One on the floor and one on a worktop or table can work well. Do not let them share bowls or pinch each other's food.
     
  5. alexr37

    alexr37 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi @chillminx

    Sorry for the late reply, I wanted to act on your advice before replying.

    Yes, I realise at first that we introduced them too soon, and this may have unsettled the new one.

    However we were much more cautious from then on, and were careful to ensure their fights did not last long. Notably, the only way of breaking up fights was by physically separating them. Distractions such as toys did very little.

    We did not have a mesh door but we used a large see through container to let them see each other - this seemed to have limited success.

    We always had a number of resources for them. Three litter trays were available and a number of feeding bowls.

    But, in a week of seeing each other, they never seemed to get along and were not comfortable with each other.

    This was until yesterday. We had almost conceded that the best thing to do was to sell the new one, but as a last resort we left them to tussle for over an hour (obviously we would have broken it up if one was crying out hurt).

    Within a few hours of being left with one another, they now seem to be best friends!
    Unbelievably, they even slept in the same bed lWe did buy a plug in feliway two days ago, so this may have helped.

    Thanks for the help, I’ve added a photo of them :)
     

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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Aww that's such good news! I am so pleased! Hopefully now they will be pals. :)
     
  7. sandy-cat

    sandy-cat PetForums Senior

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    That's lovely!
     
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