Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ask Zen

HSSV's Zen answers some of your most pressing kitty questions in a new blog segment called:


Dear Zen,

I have an adult cat at home and have been thinking about adding another kitty to our family.  How will I know if they will get along?

Double Trouble

Dear Double Trouble,

Being more of a single cat myself, I can't speak from experience (other cats give me the heebie jeebies).  However I can give you some advice I've heard from my human friends here at HSSV.  First impressions are everything in the cat world -- hiss just once at the wrong feline and you may have found yourself a lifelong frenemy.  So a proper introduction is the best way to ensure your old cat will adjust to a new sibling tantrum-free.  Just follow these steps:

Step 1:  Let your new kitty adjust to the house in his own room for about a week before starting any introductions.

Step 2:  Switch scents!  Preferably, switching the towels near their food dishes.

Step 3:  Feed them near each other -- one cat on one side of the door, the other cat on the opposite side.

Step 4:  Play cat switch!  With your old cat safely tucked in another room, let your new cat out to explore for a few hours!

Step 5:  Encourage them to play through the safety of a crack in the door or a baby gate.

Step 6:  After two separate exercise sessions, open the door, feed the kitties near each other and then get the toys out!  Let this experience be FUN!

Read more about cat introductions here.  Good luck, Double Trouble!

Dear Zen,

I need help!  Ever since adopting my cat, I haven't slept a wink.  He insists on playing and causing a ruckus all through the night!  Do you have any advice for a sleep-deprived new cat owner like myself?

Feline Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

Don't fret, your cat is still adjusting to his new home!  We are a nocturnal animal, after all.  But we can easily transition to be daytime kitties with a little help from you.  Instill two good-sized playtimes into your day -- one right when you wake up in the morning, and the other right before bed at night.  Create new vocabulary during these playtimes: "Playtime!" and "All done!"  When gone during the day, hide little treats around the house or in a puzzle toy to keep him busy.  Before bed, use your new command "All done!" so he knows that you are not going to engage with him anymore.  Soon he will learn that nighttime is not the best time to get attention.  With this new daily routine, you and your new friend will be on the same sleeping schedule in no time!

Have a question for Zen?  Ask in the comments below!

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