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Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

Posted by michelle_phxaz (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 29, 11 at 20:44

About a month ago at work one of the parking lot stray cats who is extremely friendly (I think a dump job, she is too friendly) literally jumped into my car on my lap one night while I was sitting in the car petting her while she was next to my car. Being such a cat lover I brought her home, but while we were driving (she fell sound asleep on my lap on the ride home) I was petting her the whole time and could feel she was a little "rotund" for being a stray and when I put my hand on her stomach, sure enough, I could feel babies moving around.

We got home and I put her in the spare bedroom where she could be alone, got her groomed (she was filthy from the parking lot and had lots of extra fur from not wanting to clean the grease and oil off herself) and she settled in.

About two weeks later, 5 beautiful, healthy kittens were born (I watched the whole thing, what an amazing process) and she is a great mama. One day as I opened her door she caught site of one of my other cats and went "mama cat" on them and chased them down the hall. I called her name and she came running back to her babies. She is great with people, but doesn't want (for obvious reasons) to have my other cats near her.

Okay, back to the question. How long until I can try to introduce her to my other three? The plan is that our temporary roommate wants Amy (mama) and a baby, and I have people who have committed to the kittens. I don't know how long my roommate will live here though, so if he is still here in 8 weeks (when the kittens are weaned and ready to be adopted) I don't want to have to have Amy locked in a room by herself, and I want to raise the kittens outside the room as well as in it so they can have room to run around and be, well, kittens.

And how do I introduce Amy? I have tried the baby gate with another cat and the cats just jump it. I don't want to confine her to the room, but I want to do this gently and correctly. My other cats would love the kittens and have no problems with them, they are no threat but Amy already has that wariness.

Any help would be great!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

You could start out by placing her in her cat carrier and put the carrier in the livingroom. Let them sniff each other out that way for awhile first. They can gradually get to know each other this way and you'll be able to gauge what temperment Amy has by the amount of growling that goes on. Since you have so much time, start out in short increments so Amy isn't so overwhelmed.


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

Keep them separated as long as possible. The contain one and let the other explore the area the other cat's been living.

I personally would not place one in a carrier and expose to the other. That would be scary.

Get the whole gang spayed and neutered before they are adopted.


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

Baby gates are the best strategy I know, but a single baby gate isn't going to do it. You need to fill the entire doorway from bottom to top with baby gates so that there is no room to climb and escape. It's quite inconvenient if you only have one door access to the room, but it is doable. You just have to get used to removing the center gate and climbing in and out over the bottom gate each time you access the room. Or you can temporarily replace the door with a heavy duty screen door. This would make it easier to get in and out of the room and would still allow the same visual access as baby gates. Not so great for privacy, though, if mama and babies are in someone's bedroom.

I sure wouldn't push introductions until after the babies are weaned, though. Mama's likely to be aggressive until she no longer has babies to protect, and since one of the babies will apparently be staying with her permanently, she may never be willing to accept the presence of your other cats. But if she will adjust to having your other cats near her babies, she'll be most likely to reach that point after an extended period behind baby gates or a screen door.

I most certainly would NOT confine her to a crate and put her smack dab in the middle of your other cats' territory, separated from her babies. That would be almost certain death for any amicable relationship between her and your other cats. Respect her protective maternal instincts. If you try to fight them, you'll cause more problems than you'll solve.

Laurie


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

http://petpromise.org/caggression.shtml

http://www.fabcats.org/behaviour/introducing/info.html

http://www.fourpaws.org/pages/adopting_pages/introducing_cats.html

Here is a link that might be useful: cat carrier methods


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will wait a while to introduce them anyway, but to get a head start on info is good.

And the condition that goes with adopting a kitten is that it be neutered before leaving my home or within 2 weeks and I want proof, I work for an animal rescue group that is doing this for free but I will ask each new kitten owner to make a minimal donation to help cover those costs for the rescue. This will also ensure that the people really want the kittens as pets, not to abuse. I see too many "free kittens" that are used for horrible purposes, so if the new owners are willing to make a donation I know they probably have good intentions.

I actually took Amy to get spayed a week before her delivery, it was breaking my heart to do it knowing she was pregnant. After I dropped her off in her carrier, I sat in the parking lot and pondered my decision. Then two cars pull up to the MASH unit (a mobile surgical hospital that does spay/neutering as well as all necessary shots for those with low income) and out of the first one comes a pug that looked just like the dog my sister just had put to sleep a few months ago. The second car out jumps a white collie mix that looks like the dog my dad hit on their farm when she ran in front of his truck. I burst into tears, knowing Jade and Francie (the dogs) were telling me something. I ran out of the car, banged on the door and told them I didn't want to do it. They just tested her for FIV and other diseases, if she was infected I would have just put her down but she came up free and clear and healthy. I can't believe I almost did that now that the kittens are here.

I am a FIRM believer in spaying, I have three full-blooded Ragdolls but had them all spayed because, as cute as they are too, the line has to be drawn, and I like this MASH unit because it benefits low income areas like mine to prevent any more "accidents".

Thank you all. We have a screen door that might fit in the bedroom door frame, I will try that, but will wait. Laurief, the room is a spare, so it has a bed which she had her kittens under and room enough for them to explore and get their legs build strength, although the berber carpet is a challenge with those tiny claws! She can live there as long as she likes.

My second question is this; once the kittens are weaned, is it not a good idea to let them out of the room since Amy will be not be with them? I want to raise them "underfoot" where they have the run of the house until they are ready to go to new homes.

Last question: how old do the kittens need to be to get them neutered and how long for Amy?

I have great knowledge of cats, but I know nothing of raising kittens!!!


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

My experience with kittens is extremely limited, but here is what I would recommend. Once the kittens are very mobile, and mama has started wanting to spend more time away from them, I would try letting the kits into the rest of the house WITHOUT MAMA for short visits. As long as this doesn't stress mama, and as long as you keep a very close eye on your other cats so that they don't injure the babies, this would be a good way to introduce the babies to a larger "world" of experience and interaction. As long as they, AND MAMA, have a few weeks behind the screen door first so that they can become visually acquainted with your other animals and the household activities, the face-to-face introductions should go reasonably smoothly.

Amy should not be spayed until after she has completely weaned the kits. Although a queen who is spayed while nursing may continue to produce milk for about a month after spaying, she's just as likely to reject the kittens because of the pain involved in nursing at her surgical site. Even more dangerously, the kits could open her incision while nursing. After the kits are weaned, it'll take a couple more weeks for Amy's milk to dry up sufficiently to allow an uncomplicated spay surgery.

I, personally, prefer to wait until kits are 5-6 mos old before desexing. Regardless of what some may believe about early spay/neuter, I simply don't believe that there aren't long-term physical effects of the removal of hormonal influences on early growth and development.

Laurie


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RE: Introducing mama cat to my own three cats

Since Amy is actually a tame cat, it's best for her and her kits to spay after weaning. If she were a feral I'd trap her and get that spay done asap. Nursing kits won't open the wound although it does hurt mamacat when they nurse for the first several days after a spay. It's also more difficult for the doctor to spay a queen with active mammaries. My feral queens continued full production for their kits until the kits gave up nursing. The milk will naturally reduce as the babies learn to eat other foods. It adjusts to the needs of the kits, whether the queen is spayed while nursing or not. The only change is that these queens will never produce milk again because they'll never be pregnant again.

It is best for the kits to allow weaning to occur naturally. Contrary to popular belief, kits are NOT fully ready to be sent off until at least ten and preferably twelve weeks age. By this time weaning is complete and socialisation skills have developed sufficiently.

I tend to agree with spay/neuter after four months too, although veterinarians in my area have followed early spay/neuters (prior to four months age) for over a decade and haven't found anything that can be related to the early procedure. Unfortunately, it's the only way to ensure that the job is done. We choose a possibility of future problems with ONE cat or countless litters of hard-to-place cats. I'd have to side with the early sterilisation.

As for introductions, I never separate the babies and queen. Of course I am socialising adult feral cats! But having the queen and her kits all about at once proved the more effective method of getting her as well as the kittens accustomed to other cats (and people). Once those kits are about five weeks old Mama is good and ready to let another adult cat around the kits to distract them. Then she can get away for a bit or just rest.


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