Can you tell me about how you transitioned from one cat to two? How did you get them used to each other, deal with territory, etc.?
We have a 2 year old female cat. She's an outdoor only cat whose home is in the garage. We needed a mouser to deal with rodents in our backyard chicken flock's feed. She's an excellent mouser, and a very friendly and sweet cat. We've only had her for about five months, but I just love her. She's the first cat I've ever owned, though my husband's family had a few when he was growing up.
A kitten followed my husband and daughters home from the park a few days ago, and it looks like we're going to keep her. We put a found kitten notice up on Craig's List, but haven't heard anything. She was underfed and a bit scrawny. My four year old is in love with her.
The adult cat isn't very happy right now. We put the kitten in the garage, the adult cat's home, and now the adult doesn't want to go anywhere near the garage. She hisses and makes terrible noises. The kitten is loose in the garage for part of the day so she can access a litter box, and then she's in a large dog crate at other times, because the adult needed to be able to get in. She won't come in, however. We've brought her food out to her a few times, but that feels like the wrong choice to me. It feels like we're evicting her.
I suspect that this is a pretty normal transition. The cat hasn't hurt the kitten, in fact she tends to retreat at the sight of her. I just want the cat to feel comfortable in her space and to ultimately tolerate the kitten.
Any advice or reassurance? Thanks.
It seems like at least the older cat will have the upper hand in that the kitten will recognize her as 'boss'. My suggestion is to put the kitten in a bathroom so they can smell each other under the door, then gradually open the door so they can "meet." It will probably not be pretty for the first day or two, but then they are likely to figure out how to get along.
What type of cat is the older one?
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I have transitioned indoor-only cats to meet one another as well as helping our 2 cats get along with my in laws' outdoor can when we visit the in laws. I'm sure the process is a little different for outdoor cats as their territory is poorly defined and they can choose to stay away.
Of course as with anything cat related it totally depends on the personality of the cats.
I expect your older outdoor cat is annoyed that the kitten is now invading her space. Can you keep the kitten inside your house, or in an enclosed porch, for a few weeks as they transition? Being able to see and smell the kitten while still having her garage to herself may be easier on the adult. When we brought our kitten home to our 2 year old cat, we kept the kitten in the back bedroom with the door closed, so they could hear each other but not touch. with a very social kitten and very caring older cat, this only lasted a few hours - our older cat sat outside the door and cried because he was concerned about the kitten. We figured supervised play was better and let them meet one another sooner than we planned. For a longer transition, you can put towels out for each cat to lay on and swap them every day so they get used to one anothers' scent in a non-threatening way.
What is the personality of the kitten? To follow your DH and DDs home it must be fairly social with people at least. Being closer to people might help the kitten transition to life at your house, and you can have him transition outside when he is older and has a relationship established with the older cat.
If you can't keep the kitten indoors or on a porch, maybe a small box outside of the garage would help give them each personal space - something big enough for the kitten to enter, but not the adult cat. You can cut a little hole in a storage box or make one out of wood, and put it somewhere the adult cat can still get in and out of the garage without going too close.
Thanks for the advice. We're ending the third week of having the kitten on Sunday. She has adjusted to our place very well, and the adult cat is coming along. There were many days when we couldn't get her to go into the garage and eat, but she's slowly making her way back in. She will eat at her old spot now (up on a shelf). I eased her back by putting her food on the garage floor closer to the door, and then in farther, etc. She still hisses at the kitten, but much less frequently, and she will lay down and relax in the yard when the kitten is out as well. I think every time I've ever gotten a new pet (we've got dogs, and chickens and a bunny as well) I worried that this was a horrible mistake, and maybe I don't know what I'm doing. I think this will be fine. The weather's warm right now, so it doesn't really matter if the cat sleeps outside. I'm feeling confident that by the time it gets cold, the adult cat will be willing to sleep in her kitty condo again.