By Vanessa Vandersande, DVM
We recently added a charming kitten to our household and he has the biggest purr in the universe. Finn was adopted from a wonderful local cat rescue called Forgotten Angels. Many of my clients have questions about adding a new pet to their home so I thought I would describe adding Finn to our menagerie. We also have two resident cats, two young children and a sweet senior dog, so adding a cat is no small endeavor.
Our first goal was to quarantine Finn to insure he didn’t have a cold he might pass on to our other kitties. I generally recommend a strict two week quarantine period which is always hard. Finn did end up with a cold after eight days so I was thankful he did not pass it to my other cats. He spent his quarantine in our guest bathroom so he could get used to the sounds of my house and grow confident. My other cats and dog spent a lot of time listening to him on the other side of the door so they got used to him too. The quarantine was an opportunity to discuss him with my young children, advising them that he was a baby and must be handled gently. They learned to read him for signs that he wants to be put down and that any child found being too rough with the kitten would have a serious time out.
As Finn’s quarantine ended we slowly started letting him explore the house for 15-20 minutes at a time. Any time he met with the other cats we would praise them and if there was any hissing we would separate them for some quiet time. Finn jumped a mile when he met our dog but she is used to cats and he quickly found she was not dangerous. The children were monitored closely until they proved themselves gentle with the kitten although there were some tearful time outs for being too rough. One month later, Finn has found his spot in the family with a minimum of stress.