Introduction - two kittens

remus07

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Hello everyone, my story starts classically with :I have two kittens, I want to put them together and not sure if I am doing the right things or if I am interpreting correctly their signs.

First about the cats(photos attached):
I have an 8 months old male kitten (black and white) and his name is Loki. He is an orphan stray saved at 1 month old. He is friendly, purring and cuddling with family, but he will never back down from a starring contest, even with us. Not really scared by hissing or loud voice. He is a devil at the vet. Thus I kind of think he has a more dominant personality, very curios and loves only a few he trusts. (I assume this is important for my introduction challenge).

And I also have a now 4 months old stray, his name is Thor... again found alone outside at ~1,5 months, after 24h of waiting and crying for help (some eye problems and some mild-flu .. but all gone now). He is the more shy one, runs and hides away .. love-able but not really fond of touching and loud noises(as it scares him and runs away).

Both are not neutered, waiting for as close to one year as possible.

Secondly what I've been doing so far:
They live in separate rooms ( living room Loki and bedroom Thor). I've firstly covered all vaccines and made sure they are as healthy as two stray-kittens with little to none prior-medical-history can be.
- Then started scent swapping by exchanging their bed blankets. A lot of sniffing both side, but in the end they slept in their little beds over the others scent.
- After this sniffing each other at the door(little one doesn't care, but Loki sniffs more and looks under door, kind of a stare... but he isn't seing the other, just sensing him)
- And continued with feeding; if hungry they will both eat .. 15cm away from each other, just door in-between(again the little one does not care at all, the 8 month one ... is more alert and when hearing a noise looks at door direction for 2-5 seconds and then continues eating);
- Last big step was yesterday. I've put Thor into his carrier and let them sniff each-other in a mid-ground (a.k.a. kitchen). Loki came at 10 cm from the carrier, both sniffed each other. At fist Loki was very alert/scared and didn't let me approach him(if i did he tried to swap away at me) and even make a very low growl ... but I've moved the little one a bit further way and he stopped. Kind of fixating, ears tilted forward, but looked at toys and even ate 2-3 mouths of his favourite dry food treat. The little one did not stare that much, even turned around in the carrier, backside facing Loki. In the end they even bumped noses once trough the carrier "fence" like material.

I am planning on putting also the big one in a carrier and repeating this process a few times until they ignore each other more.
I am afraid of the following: Loki (8months) is dominant while Thor is more submissive from what I see. But if Thor runs and triggers predator behaviour in Loki? I think I am also more worried than I should be... but don't know.


p.s. didn't want to put this in an existing thread in order not to hijack it; but if needed I can just adhere to an existing introduction discussion;

Loki:
Loki.jpeg

Thor:
Thor.jpg
 

Maria Bayote

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You are doing a good job.

Young cats are more accepting and easier to introduce to each other than much older cats, as they have already claimed territories and are usually more difficult to integrate together. There will be somebody here who can advice you more, but as far as I can see you are doing it great.

Btw, such cuties you got there!
 

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Why are you waiting to neuter until around 1 year? This isn't my area of expertise, but as I understand it, intact male cats can start to spray to mark territory at essentially a random age. Some never do it, some do it early, some do it later. And once they start, they don't always stop. So to me, that is like the Robot screaming "Danger! Danger Will Robinson!" Intact males are also more aggressive, which could become an issue at some point. Six months used to be the standard, but my understanding is that as vets got more sophisticated about how to do the procedure, the standard age has been getting younger and younger. I'll be taking my girl kitten at 4 1/2 months shortly.

Anyway, Maria Bayote Maria Bayote mentioned the key point. Below 1 year, two cats will almost always become friends, and usually it isn't even that hard. Importantly, one of your two is still young enough to be considered a true kitten, and as such enjoys the protection of biological hard wiring. Cats don't attack true kittens with intent to injure. So that makes it even more low risk. So what I would do is see how they are doing after a few days of the process and reevaluate, rather than planning on the full multi-step process. Heck, I've done enough intros that I was comfortable letting my 4 year old interact with my new kitten after 2-3 days. He was hissing, but seemed pretty chill about it to me so I let them work it out and they became good buddies pretty quickly. Thats a hard judgment to make if you don't have a lot of experience, but you have a much lower risk introduction. Anyway, so I'd get them settled in and feeling comfy over a few days to a week, and then just see what happens with a supervised interaction on a weekend where you can watch them for a few hours. If its just some light hissing -- and with one being a kitten it can hardly be much worse than that -- you can let them work it out.

Honestly, the hardest thing to deal with for you will likely be unequal play. One of yours is a lot older and bigger, and the smaller one you mentioned is a little scaredy fella. So its quite possible the older kitten will be very enthused about play, and the younger one will be scared of it. The older one may play too roughly and make the younger one squeal. That can really freak first time cat owners (or folks that haven't had cats of unequal size) out. Its generally not really a big deal -- you can let them work that out on their own. Its not ideal for the younger one of course, but usually they still get a net benefit out of having the other cat there. Its kind of like two human brothers, one 8 one 5. The 8 year old gives indian sunburns and head noogies, and the 5 year old calls for mom. But he comes right back to play with big bro. Its when the little cat doesn't come right back and wants no part of the older kitten ever that you know you have a problem, and thats rare.

Of course, I don't want to minimize things, especially with your two being rescues. Watch and stop back in if something unusual crops up. Still, its a very high probability this is going to be fine however you do it.
 
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FeebysOwner

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Hi. It sounds like you are on the right path to getting them used to one another. The only issue you might find is two male cats that are not neutered might start fighting each other as they go through 'puberty'. The older one probably has already begun that process with the younger one not too far behind. If that starts to occur, you will likely have to separate them until they are neutered and start introductions all over again afterward. Since both are of age to be neutered, it might be a good idea to have it done at the same time, thereby avoiding other issues that can crop up, such as non-recognition aggression, when one of them goes to the vets and comes home smelling differently.
 
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remus07

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The vet said they usually wait until 9 months old to neuter. Something about letting them to fully develop.

My scare is after seeing Loki(the older one) at the vet. The hissing spitting and devilish behaviour and the what-if it repeats on the little fellow. Also never had two cats. But I guess I am the scardy-cat in the house overall.

Thank you for your replies and will keep everyone posted in the upcoming days!
 

She's a witch

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The vet said they usually wait until 9 months old to neuter. Something about letting them to fully develop.

My scare is after seeing Loki(the older one) at the vet. The hissing spitting and devilish behaviour and the what-if it repeats on the little fellow. Also never had two cats. But I guess I am the scardy-cat in the house overall.

Thank you for your replies and will keep everyone posted in the upcoming days!
With two male cats, you don’t have a luxury of waiting till they are 9months. I’d be surprised and somewhat worried if your vet didn’t agree with me on that one :)
 
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remus07

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And I am back with news. Not sure if good, bad or neutral so maybe someone here can advise.

I've let them meet face 2 face after a few meetings trough the carrier. It was weird. No growling at first, just smelling. Then the older one started swatting the little one. And the little one responded. Very little hissing... And I think the swating/punching wasn't serious. No one ran, little one did not back down...was like a stalemate of slaps over the head , under the kitchen table with chair-legs in between them.

Tried redirecting with wands and toys but they were still into eachother. Took them apart after a few minutes, was honestly afraid that it will escalate.

Any advice? Did I do something wrong?
 
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remus07

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Any ideas? Should I try and record a short vid?
 

ArtNJ

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No, a 4 month old kitten won't get actually attacked. Hissing and "get away" from me swatting is fine. They will get over it.

9 months is really out there for neutering. The trend is younger, not older, for various reasons.
 

She's a witch

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And I am back with news. Not sure if good, bad or neutral so maybe someone here can advise.

I've let them meet face 2 face after a few meetings trough the carrier. It was weird. No growling at first, just smelling. Then the older one started swatting the little one. And the little one responded. Very little hissing... And I think the swating/punching wasn't serious. No one ran, little one did not back down...was like a stalemate of slaps over the head , under the kitchen table with chair-legs in between them.

Tried redirecting with wands and toys but they were still into eachother. Took them apart after a few minutes, was honestly afraid that it will escalate.

Any advice? Did I do something wrong?
It seems to me that they try to play. I’d continue with face to face meetings and even make them longer. They just need to get used to each other and re-learn how to play with other kitten.
But they really need to be neutered ASAP before hormones will start directing their behavior.
 

ILuvMy2MeNews

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Hello everyone, my story starts classically with :I have two kittens, I want to put them together and not sure if I am doing the right things or if I am interpreting correctly their signs.

First about the cats(photos attached):
I have an 8 months old male kitten (black and white) and his name is Loki. He is an orphan stray saved at 1 month old. He is friendly, purring and cuddling with family, but he will never back down from a starring contest, even with us. Not really scared by hissing or loud voice. He is a devil at the vet. Thus I kind of think he has a more dominant personality, very curios and loves only a few he trusts. (I assume this is important for my introduction challenge).

And I also have a now 4 months old stray, his name is Thor... again found alone outside at ~1,5 months, after 24h of waiting and crying for help (some eye problems and some mild-flu .. but all gone now). He is the more shy one, runs and hides away .. love-able but not really fond of touching and loud noises(as it scares him and runs away).

Both are not neutered, waiting for as close to one year as possible.

Secondly what I've been doing so far:
They live in separate rooms ( living room Loki and bedroom Thor). I've firstly covered all vaccines and made sure they are as healthy as two stray-kittens with little to none prior-medical-history can be.
- Then started scent swapping by exchanging their bed blankets. A lot of sniffing both side, but in the end they slept in their little beds over the others scent.
- After this sniffing each other at the door(little one doesn't care, but Loki sniffs more and looks under door, kind of a stare... but he isn't seing the other, just sensing him)
- And continued with feeding; if hungry they will both eat .. 15cm away from each other, just door in-between(again the little one does not care at all, the 8 month one ... is more alert and when hearing a noise looks at door direction for 2-5 seconds and then continues eating);
- Last big step was yesterday. I've put Thor into his carrier and let them sniff each-other in a mid-ground (a.k.a. kitchen). Loki came at 10 cm from the carrier, both sniffed each other. At fist Loki was very alert/scared and didn't let me approach him(if i did he tried to swap away at me) and even make a very low growl ... but I've moved the little one a bit further way and he stopped. Kind of fixating, ears tilted forward, but looked at toys and even ate 2-3 mouths of his favourite dry food treat. The little one did not stare that much, even turned around in the carrier, backside facing Loki. In the end they even bumped noses once trough the carrier "fence" like material.

I am planning on putting also the big one in a carrier and repeating this process a few times until they ignore each other more.
I am afraid of the following: Loki (8months) is dominant while Thor is more submissive from what I see. But if Thor runs and triggers predator behaviour in Loki? I think I am also more worried than I should be... but don't know.


p.s. didn't want to put this in an existing thread in order not to hijack it; but if needed I can just adhere to an existing introduction discussion;

Loki:
View attachment 311271

Thor:
View attachment 311272
They are so beautiful/handsome!
 

Dario the GreyCat

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What beautiful kittens! I am curious about the nine months, but I was told from some sources that waiting until 6 months was the best thing to do but my vet is pretty set at 4 months.
I had no idea it was hard wired into adult cats to not severely hurt kittens.
My friend and I want to introduce our kittens so I’m interested in following this thread to see how it goes.
At least in their first meeting it doesn’t sound like there was any bloodshed.
 
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remus07

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I assume it is just a dance of dominance and deciding who is the boss.

When Loki (9 month-ish) sees Thor (4 month-ish) approaching, he swats. When he didn't swat, Thor smacked him and Loki backed away. No blood, no growling, only one time hiss. They are doing the same in Thor's room, neutral ground and Loki's room. They even ate side by side, but it was a quick 3-4 mouthfulls and back to this.

I will make an appointment at the vet after the new year, to see about "getting rid of those hormones". :)

And here is a 1 min video as some of you asked:
 

She's a witch

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I assume it is just a dance of dominance and deciding who is the boss.

When Loki (9 month-ish) sees Thor (4 month-ish) approaching, he swats. When he didn't swat, Thor smacked him and Loki backed away. No blood, no growling, only one time hiss. They are doing the same in Thor's room, neutral ground and Loki's room. They even ate side by side, but it was a quick 3-4 mouthfulls and back to this.

I will make an appointment at the vet after the new year, to see about "getting rid of those hormones". :)

And here is a 1 min video as some of you asked:
They are totally playing. I’d end the separation and let them be together now. But they do need to be neutered, the sooner the better
 

cat nap

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I assume it is just a dance of dominance and deciding who is the boss.

When Loki (9 month-ish) sees Thor (4 month-ish) approaching, he swats. When he didn't swat, Thor smacked him and Loki backed away. No blood, no growling, only one time hiss. They are doing the same in Thor's room, neutral ground and Loki's room. They even ate side by side, but it was a quick 3-4 mouthfulls and back to this.

I will make an appointment at the vet after the new year, to see about "getting rid of those hormones". :)

And here is a 1 min video as some of you asked:
Thank you so much remus07 remus07 ...for the video.
Both cats are so adorable.:blush:

I watched the video at normal speed, and then slowed it down to 0.5 speed (in settings).
It's even better watching it at slow speed. :biggrin:
Yes, it is like a 'dance of dominance', and 'deciding who is boss'....but also like watching an excellent sporting match, where each kitten displays fantastic moves....from the right and left.

If you watch at 0.26 mark....Loki actually seems to use both paws to confuse little Thor, and lands a few good swats. :greenpaw::bluepaw:
They are really awesome to watch, .....how kittens play.

I find it hard to believe that Loki is like 'the devil' at the vet. :lol:
He looks too cute, to be anything like that.
Loki also seems to listen to you, and turns his head when you make that noise, ...which shows that he cannot be any 'trouble-maker.'

When Thor gets bigger, then I think Loki will have to watch out.
Thor seems to be able to balance quite well underneath those chairs.
Thor's balance, and strength will give him a closer advantage, in the play sessions. :thumbsup:

thank you again for the cute kitten video. It's fantastic watching kittens play. :cloud9:
 
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remus07

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Thank you for the replies! I have little experience in cats..besides what I google. Maybe this is why my silly questions. *(And seeing cats licking each other and sleeping together...) :))

I will keep you posted on their behaviour. Will post new pics/vids soon.
 
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remus07

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And here I am with a couple more vids(see below). I've let them more and more, they seem to be improving but I have some specific questions:
- on the sucker punch like incidents; should I intervene?
- is the staring of loki something I should interrupt?

I am trying to let them sort it out, but all they do is swat at eachother and chase (mostly Loki chasing the little one, jumping on his back and then jumping scared from him). Sometimes the little one chasing loki with wiggly but motion and everything and then charging at loki just to get swatted. Little to no laying around, just a couple of bites to eat and absolutely no pooping while the other is around.

Sucker punch: Swat swat swat: Can't touch this (ta na nana):
 

She's a witch

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Kittens play to learn how to hunt and kill the prey, it’s very functional and that’s why it looks sort of scary for their humans. Swatting, even sucker punching, chasing, that is all part of playing. When you stop separating them (which I recommend), they will have a chance to know each other better and be more comfortable around each other, they may even start cuddling. I wouldn’t intervene in any of the situations you posted in the video, with time they will learn to understand each other messages better.
 

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