Free Range Kitten

So, I was getting a little concerned with how things were going yesterday morning. For two days I had the kitten locked up in the spare bedroom with me going back and forth between the two cats trying to calm Hannah and trying to entice the kitten out to eat and play. It was not going well.

The kitten, his nose kind of running, was holed up under the loveseat and refusing to come out until late in the evening.

Hannah kept calling to me the whole time I was in the kitten room and it was hard to reassure her through the door. I was worried about the kitten getting too warm packed under the loveseat. Hannah kept growling whenever she caught a whiff of kitten scent. Not good. I was a little worried that maybe I had made a mistake: Hannah was too bonded to me to allow a kitten into the house.

I woke up yesterday morning thinking about getting a screen door cheap to use in the doorway: the room was too hot and Hannah needed to see the kitten. Then I decided to remove a window screen and to use that across the bottom of the door into the kitten room while blocking the upper half of the doorway with an old poster left over from my teaching days. Hey, it just had to hold together for a day or two.

Ta-daa! Hannah can watch the kitten while I interact with it and the open door will make the room cooler.
Hannah watching me feed and play with the kitten inside the room early in the evening.

Okay, I had to actually lift one side of the loveseat to get the kitten to come out, but once I did that he was hungry, friendly, and used his cat box like a good boy. Hannah watch all of that through the screen.

Eventually, after playing with everything in the room, the kitten finally discovered Hannah. Oh. Do you want to be my friend?

Hannah wasn’t snarling and carrying on, the kitten wanted to get out of the room, and I was tired of the whole operation, so around the time that the fireworks outside were getting really loud and my nerves were fraying around the edges, I removed the screen.

Wow. The kitten explored the whole house with Hannah following along and emitting the occasional hiss/growl. Eventually the kitten became interested in Hannah and the great play event erupted downstairs as Hannah and the kitten chased each other for over an hour. The kitten ate another dinner and… Hannah had a cow when the kitten ate some of her food. Major eruption of growling. She doesn’t care for me petting the kitten all that much, either, but even though she voiced her objections, she didn’t attack the kitten. Whew. The fireworks were slowly ending outside and we didn’t have any significant ones inside. It’s a win!

Hannah and her kitten on the cat tree this morning.
The kitten this evening snoozing at the end of the bed while I type this.

I feel like we are over the hump, people, and I have successfully integrated the kitten into the house. Today Hannah is more like her old self and I am being really careful to maintain all of her routines. The kitten has eaten several more times from Hannah’s food bowl and she is handling it better. Have I offered the kitten any cookies yet? No, I have not! Maybe in another week or so Hannah will be able to handle the idea of the kitten eating some of her cookies. Maybe…

Hannah: Sigh.

I have to mention that the reason that I decided to get the kitten was that Hannah seemed desperate for a playmate. She cried all day long for me to come play with her laser light or to throw toys for her. She hid in her papers to ambush me as I walked past and just plain seemed a little desperate for companionship.

It has been an exhaustingly long 4 days, but this afternoon I heard Hannah calling for me to come play with her downstairs…

and the kitten went instead…

and I heard them playing together.

Good job, Kitten Mom. Good job!!

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and an exceptionally spoiled kitten. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

21 thoughts on “Free Range Kitten”

    1. I was given “the talk” by the shelter volunteers and a book about how to introduce the kitten was pressed into my hands. Over my objections they cut his claws before I could have him. I did follow their recommendations and then followed my own instincts based on the behavior of the cats and that’s when things really took a turn for the better. Today I threw the adoption book away…

      I’m still kitten proofing like crazy as new things occur to me. πŸ™‚

      1. I sewed strips of window screen into the gap below the stair rails on the landing because I was afraid that the kitten would slip under while the cats are rough housing and I have rolled towels stuffed into the gaps on the side of the refrigerator. This is a little nerve wracking but so totally worth it. At least this one doesn’t try to climb into the refrigerator…

      2. Hello hello. I thought I had left a comment here, but WordPress says otherwise. πŸ˜‰ I hope the kitties continue to enjoy their time together. We’re currently feeding a nursing mother and *five* kittens on the back patio where I volunteer. It’s sad to see that they are already feral. We’re going to work with a rescue group who does TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) but since the building we’re in is soon to be demolished for development, it’s hard to know what’s best. Sigh. I’m so glad you have two kitties to keep you company.

      3. You know, sometimes comments just vanish while I’m trying to answer them. I don’t understand why and I can’t track them down after they pull the vanishing act. WordPress has been hanging out with the spellcheck on my phone, obviously…
        Oh, no. The kittens are already feral and you can’t be sure that they will be safe in the neighborhood where they are right now because of coming construction! Yikes. That is really hard, isn’t it. I guess the best thing would be to trap them and then release in another location, but that sounds less then optional too.
        The kitten (Mateo) is growing like a weed and doing really well. He was the product of a rescued litter of kittens himself and is well socialized, but there were some kittens in the shelter that were just not at all happy. I feel like I really lucked out as he is the perfect little guy for Hannah.

      4. I’m so pleased you could bring another cat into your home, both for you and for Hannah. It takes a bit of work, but you’ve managed it beautifully. When we rescued Tessa (from Mike’s car!) she was only about seven weeks old. She just assumed from the start that she was part of the team, and the other cats adjusted accordingly. I feel lucky.

        As for the cat family, I’m so worried about all of them. It’s hard to know the best plan of action. The cat rescue groups say it’s been a terrible year, even worse than 2020. We’re all doing what we can.

        xo

      5. I’m so happy that they are such a good fit for each other. I looked at a lot of kittens before bringing Mateo home as I knew I needed a sweet personality to go along with Hannah’s. I wonder if people are not adopting (or if there are more kittens) because last year everyone adopted or perhaps more animals were abandoned. I hope things turn out well for the little family of kittens that you are supporting.

      6. Getting matched personalities is key. I’m impressed with how quickly they became fast friends. The challenges with the feral population were many during the worst moths of Covid: the key to their success is TNR (trap, neuter and release). Vets were unable to provide spay/neuter surgeries, and colonies exploded in numbers. Here in California where it’s warm year round, cats have two kitten seasons, as opposed to one in colder climates. Further, irresponsible people adopted cats and dogs during the stay at home period, and now they’re returning them to shelters or worse, turning them out.

        I’m spotting up to three kittens at a time downtown, but I haven’s seen the mother cat in awhile and worry she’s off getting pregnant again. On a happier note, we have three pampered kitties under our roof and you have two. We’re doing our part.

      7. I really was mindful of finding the kitten with the right personality, but I still think that I got lucky. I made several trips to look at kittens but kept waiting for one that met the bill. Mateo was not particularity playful, but ate well when they brought in the food. He stayed out in the open and came to me to get petted and made direct eye contact. He was social with other kittens and flopped over to get his chest petted when I talked to him which is a common behavior with Hannah. They are now pretty much a bonded pair.
        California kittens! I remember that gardens were almost year round so of course the kittens are too. Yikes. That is a lot of work to catch feral cats and kittens. I salute you for your work. Both of my kittens were rescues and raised in foster homes. Best kittens ever!

  1. What a great idea and it really paid off. I am so impressed with how Hannah has taken to the kitten. Seeing them curled up together is precious.

      1. It is hard to find the right kitten when you can’t take your cat to the shelter to pick one out! I ignored the kittens that wanted to play with toys and chose the one that wanted me to pet it, that made direct eye contact, and wanted to be with other kittens. He even flopped over to have his chest scratched just like Hannah does. It is such a wild guess, but I was looking for a kitten that was people oriented and wanted to be with another cat. It worked! On the other hand, he is really giving Hannah a workout at the moment…

        My son got a kitten for a cat that was over 5 years old and it worked out great. Okay, she hissed so much that she got hoarse, but she established her boundaries and the two cats are now constant companions.

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