When Oli arrived on the scene at the end of May, I knew making introductions to the existing cat family would be tricky. Not because of Zack or Minino; they’re both great, and they made Pepsi’s transition into the household much easier last year by being so friendly and accepting of the new arrival. Zack has always been like that, even when he was a complete tom cat. When he first arrived at my house in 2013, with baby Harry tagging along, I thought Zack might be Harry’s father, and that was why he was so tolerant of the young kitten. It’s possible he could still be Harry’s father, but it’s just as possible that he tolerated Harry because he’s one of the most easy going cats I’ve ever come across, and he doesn’t mind kittens jumping all over him. Minino is the same, as I discovered last summer when he met Pepsi.
Unfortunately, Harry doesn’t handle new arrivals nearly as well. Pepsi arrived in August last year, and I had to keep them apart until I moved house at the end of September because Harry saw her as a threat, and tried to chase her off any time he saw her. I put Harry in the cattery for 2 weeks while I moved, and then put him in the spare room by himself when he arrived at the new house. It isn’t the normal way of introducing a new kitten to the family, but it worked. After a couple more weeks of short, supervised play sessions, Harry accepted Pepsi, and they’re now good friends.
Fast forward to 2015, and I’m now in the same situation again … except that I have no intention of moving house!
For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to mix things up a bit. Oli had the spare room as his personal space, and any time Harry was asleep in the bedroom, I’d shut the door and let Oli out to play with the other cats for a bit. I hoped Harry would slowly get used to Oli’s scent mixing with the scents of the other cats, and he would gradually come to accept him.
My plan backfired, and Harry started spraying to warn the intruder off.
On Saturday, I decided to swap Harry and Oli around. Oli is now friends with all the other cats (except Luna, who isn’t friends with anyone!) and I hoped having the spare room as his personal space would make Harry more confident and comfortable. It didn’t work terribly well because Harry just carried on spraying all over the spare room, so on Monday, I booked Harry in for a 2 week stay at Posh Pets, to arrive there this morning.
It all seemed great until yesterday, when Minino and Pepsi both started sneezing again. I’d thought we were done with the cat flu, but it seems like it may still be hanging around, so putting Harry into the cattery isn’t going to happen because:
- If he’s going to start sneezing and spreading germs around, I don’t want them passed on to all the other cats staying there.
- His vaccinations are now out of date because they were all due when they were ill, and I don’t want to risk getting them done when he might still be unwell.
So I’m now working on Plan B. At the moment, it consists of putting a Feliway diffuser in the spare room (Feliway is supposed to make cats calm and relaxed, but it works better for some than others), and starting Harry on Zylkene, which is a natural supplement that mimics the calming effects of the mother cat’s milk.
I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it works. At over 6kg, Harry’s a big cat, and I don’t want to risk Oli getting hurt.