Hello. My name is Sookie and I live with Bre (she’s a veterinary technician at Crossroads). She adopted me from the NHSPCA when I was about 8 weeks old. The reason I am writing this blog is because May is Mental Health Awareness month, and even though I am a kitty, cats are still faced with some stressful situations. I want to tell you my experience when I moved in with my mom, and how she made it as stress free as possible.
I should probably mention that my mom lives with her dad and step-mother and they have a dog, Sam, and an older cat, Ash. When she adopted me, she knew I was a shy, timid girl because I was hiding when she came to the shelter. For about a month after she brought me home, she confined me to her bedroom so I could get to know just her and get comfortable in my new environment. If she brought me to work with her, she would let Sam and Ash sniff me through my carrier door. Sam loves cats and Ash didn’t care if I was there or not. After being in her room for a month, she slowly started to bring me into the rest of the house. She would sit on the couch with me and let Sam and Ash approach me. I felt comfortable in her arms, so this was a perfect introduction for me. It took me some time to get used to the other humans in the house, but they were patient with me and let me go to them when I was ready.
About 2 months after I came home, mom brought home Mazie, another kitten. Mom adopted her from a client of Crossroads who’s cat had kittens. Her sister, Kindle, went home with Laura, another vet tech at Crossroads, (she wrote a blog last October) and her mom, Poppy, went home with Dr. Grove! Anyway, Mazie is a very outgoing, confident cat and she intimidated me a little. We did not get along when she came home. For about a week, I tried to prevent her from coming into my room by sitting in the doorway and hissing at her. I realized she’s a pretty cool kitty, so I started to get used to her and I like her now. But having a new cat in my territory was NOT my idea of fun. Mom made sure to give me extra love during that time, though. Mazie did not need the slow introduction to the house that I needed. She met Sam and Ash and got along with them pretty much right away.
We have some friends, LJ and Lights, who are older cats and live with Lisa (another fabulous technician at Crossroads). She adopted them together because they have lived together their whole lives. Because they were the only cats in the house, Lisa let them roam free and get used to everything. Their previous owner gave Lisa their cat beds and that made them feel right at home. Then Lisa brought home another kitty, Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea had lived with her owner for her whole life but they could not care for her anymore. She tried living in a couple of houses before Lisa and her husband, Marc, took her into their home. Sweet Pea needed a slow introduction to LJ and Lights. Lisa confined her to one room with her food, litter box and bed and would spend time with her in that room. Just recently, she started feeding them near each other, with a baby gate separating them, so they can get used to each others scents. And now they are having supervised interactions. All is going well, so far!
I hope this has been helpful for anyone who wants to introduce new cats to existing pets. Should you need more information, Crossroads has handouts for introducing cats and also introducing dogs to new pets. They would be happy to help if you need any additional resources.