Introducing kitten Binx to his new home and first time meeting with resident cat Casper (Video)
By the end of 2017 we had decided we were going to have a second ragdoll to join our family.
We had been thinking about this for a while back then. We wanted to get a little brother for Casper, to keep him company in the hours we are out to work, for playing and to get him a friend to hang out with on the cat balcony.
Our mind was made up really quickly. It was going to be a bicolour ragdoll, because we adore the combination of a lynx with a bicolour ragdoll very much. W have seen many amazing examples of such a combination amongst our internet cat friends. So we made a reservation end 2017 at the same cattery where Casper was born and on the 26th of march 2018, we were informed that our little Binx was born.
After 13 weeks, on Saturday 23th of June 2018, it was finally D-day, we were going to pick up Binx and bring him home.
The weeks and days before bringing Binx home, we have been thinking and doing researching about the best way to organise the introduction of a kitten with a resident older cat.
Our plan to introduce kitten Binx to our two year old Casper.
We had read about separating both cats in different rooms for days, even weeks, to exchange smells, to have them meet visually first and then gradually after weeks to introduce them to each other physically… but was this required for a kitten too?
After consulting internet friends who had recently made this kind of introduction between a kitten and an older resident cat, we learned that these longer separations in different rooms are probably the best for older cats but that for a kitten introduction these long separations are not really necessary and that another, faster introduction was also possible.
That is why we decided to make good plan and to get well prepared to execute it. Our plan was build around the following topics:
exchange of smell and scent swapping
visual contact with physical separation
don’t rush the introductions
Exchange of scent or scent swapping
We knew it was very important to allow both the new kitten Binx and our resident cat Casper to get used to each other’s scents.
We’ve payed a lot of attention to this because we knew this could speed up the process of acceptance very much. That is also why we had the intention to deliberatley help the exchange of scents in a couple of ways.
First, we went to pick up Binx in the cat carrier we always use to transport Casper. On the inside of this carrier, there is a towl that we didn’t replace for a long while and which is completely saturated with the scent of Casper. This way Binx had a first opportunity to discover this smell of Casper during the car drive back home and he will certainly have mixed some of this scent with his own coat scent.
Secondly, we wanted to organise the first introduction in a way that both cats could have the opportunity to smell each other and to get used to each other’s scent without having real physical contact. More about this below.
Next, we planned to allow Binx, being the new kitten in the house, to smell the entire room and the other rooms in the house, use the litter box, eat kitten food and more. After a while we planned to swap Binx with Casper so he can do the same and adapt to the mixed scents.
Finally, to further mix scents, we have planned to gather the scent of Casper, by stroking him with our hands or with a soft cloth on his face, under the chin, ear to ear, where some of the scent glands are located, and to do the same with Binx without washing hands, or with the soft cloth. The first days I have also used the same comb on Casper and Binx for that same purpose.
Visual contact with physical separation
We believe that problems could arise if initial meeting between Binx and Casper would be rushed or if the cats were allowed to fight or chase each other. This would be a negative experience for both and could delay the mutual acceptance process.
That is why we chose to avoid this by using some sort of a barrier. We have decided to have one cat in the cat carrier and to let the second wander free in our living room. This way both cats can see and smell each other while they are securely separated. This way we also allow Casper as the resident cat to approach the carrier in his own time, and we can safely watch his reaction, smelling, hissing, etc.
Then, after a while, we want to swap cats frequently in and outside the carrier until we see that they are less stressed, less angry or less anxious.
When things are going well and both Casper and Binx give the impression to be ready for the next step, we planned to remove the physical barrier and see how both Binx and Casper would react to that possible first physical contact and proximity…
Don’t rush the introduction
We were hoping that, with both cats separated by the cat carrier, Casper and Binx would eventually start sniffing each other through the grid of the carrier. When one of them would get very anxious or would start hissing extremely, we could easily separate them.
We could put a blanket over one side which would help the kitten to feel safe and allow the adult cat to approach. The hissing would be a clear indication that things should need to be taken slowly.
Finally, if all goes well, we have planned to make a face-to-face meeting without a physical barrier.
Video compilation of the first meeting between Binx and Casper
In the two-part video compilation of day one, you can see how things turned out.
Day 1 – Part 1
Day 1 – Part 2
Did you see Casper hissing? Why do cats hiss?
Casper hissed only once to Binx! We considered that a real succes.
Cats hiss at others to indicate fear and aggression. When you bring a new cat or kitten into your home, you might expect your resident cat to be thrilled with her new roommate. Instead, he will probably greet him with a hiss and a growl, because he views the newcomer as an invader coming into her territory.
The message was quickly understood. Casper and Binx did really well this first day!
The other video compilation parts of the first week of Binx and Casper together are getting edited at this very moment.