We have two adult cats in the household. As littermates, Buffy and Willow were rescue kitties we adopted four years ago. They are now eight years old, and both are affectionate but nervous girls who have a tendency to pee on furniture and walls when they feel threatened and need to reestablish safe territory. Physically small, most people who meet them are amazed to learn they are fully grown adults rather than year-old kittens.
Ten days ago, we adopted Dawn, a nine week old rescue kitten. On the advice of the adoption shelter, Dawn is currently sequestered on her own in the spare room with food, water, litter tray and toys. She is full of energy and affection and seems to be settling in well. She received the first of her vaccination shots whilst at the shelter, and is due to receive the second from the vet on 11th November.
Although Dawn is in isolation, Buffy and Willow both know full well of her presence. They can smell her, and can hear her through the door. When we go in to see her, brief visual contact has also been made when Dawn either tries to make a break for it out the door, or when the other two see inside from their vantage point on the landing. We are making efforts to make a fuss of them as much as possible, with cuddles and attention, particularly just before and after we spend time with Dawn.
Predictably, Buffy and Willow have been intensely interested in the goings on in Dawn's room, especially when the kitten is hungry or wants attention, when she screams and cries like someone is strangling her... and can make herself heard two rooms away. There doesnt seem to be any animosity or aggression from either of them, but its becoming apparent that our adult girls are very concerned and worried about the presence of a new kitten. Both have taken to following us about and being more than usually cuddly and clinging. They're off their food, and are ignoring their dinner when it's presented, although both bowls get licked clean later on when no-one is watching. Past behaviour from them is to gorge themselves the second they see a dinner bowl. They're still playing with their own toys and don't seem actively unhappy, but they're both showing signs of feeling insecure and apprehensive.
By now cats and kitten should know each others' scents, and we are wondering if it would ease Buffy's and Willow's concerns to make introductions with Dawn, in case its the fact that they're unable to get at the new arrival which is worrying them so much. Being able to have all three in the same room would make logistics much easier as well, as whichever side of the door we're on, someone feels left out and neglected.
From a kitty social perspective, how soon can we introduce the new arrival to our resident kitties?
From a health perspective, how soon is it safe for Dawn to come into contact with our resident kitties? Both Buffy and Willow have up to date vaccinations, but Dawn won't have her second shot for another two weeks. The last thing we want is a sick kitten.
And to meet the expectations of metafilter, we wouldn't dream of asking a kitty question without payment in pictures. This is Dawn,
and here are Buffy and Willow