Getting to Know You

Integrating Boots with the other kittens is proving to be quite a challenge! He’s so darn cute, though that once the kittens are all getting along we will enjoy our home so much more!

“It’s a very ancient saying
But a true and honest thought
That if you become a teacher
By your pupils you’ll be taught” (Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)

I began with kittens that had never been handled brought back from the clinic and put in large dog crates that were kept in our living room. It was quite a crowded and hectic place then. I would only put two kittens in the same crate when I caught them within a two-day window. I felt that if a kitten had been in a crate by themselves for more than that, then the kitten “owned” that space and putting another kitten with them seemed like too much of an intrusion.

The living room full of kittens in crates.

The living room full of kittens in crates.

During this time all the kittens could see, smell and hear each other. It was during this time that Tippy and Tyler were adopted and that emptied the largest crate. That’s when I made my first big move to introduce the two largest kittens.  Prior to introductions, I began playing a bit of “musical crates” with them. I would move the kittens into different crates for a couple of hours each night. When I was ready to move two kittens into the same crate, they were already used to each other’s scent.

“As a teacher I’ve been learning
You’ll forgive me if I boast
And I’ve now become an expert
On the subject I like most” (Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)

The day when Tippy and Tyler were both out of my home completely, I moved the two largest kittens into a crate that neither of them had lived in prior to that day so the territory was new to both of them. I added a box for them to sleep or jump on and some toys. They hit it off immediately.

“Getting to know you
Putting it my way
But nicely
You are precisely
My cup of tea” (Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)

Peekaboo was never put into the crate with them, but he needed to be introduced to the others very soon. We have one room in our house that isn’t used much and doesn’t seem like an insurmountable challenge to make a kitten-proof playroom. It seemed like we would soon be able to free the kittens from the crates!

I brought the kittens into that room one at a time beginning with the kitten with the most self-confidence – Coal. As soon as Coal was walking around without crouching in this comparatively vast open space, I brought in Peekaboo. I gave Peekaboo a little time, then I brought in Spookie Tooth.

Kittens at play

Kittens at play

Currently all three are a happy group in their playroom. Especially, when I spend the entire night sleeping with them as I did this past weekend!

“Getting to know you
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you
Getting to know what to say” (Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)

Now that Boots has been to the clinic and had a week to recover, he’s beginning to get a bit lonesome and bored in his crate. I don’t blame him! So, my plan is to bring him into the playroom – in a small crate – each evening and let him just be around the other kittens. Simultaneously, I will be acclimating Coal to the open area of the house. Next, I will get Peekaboo and Spooky Tooth, one at a time, used to the rest of the house. “The rest of the house,” but inside a crate, is where Boots stays when I am not with him. (It is impossible for me to let him out of the crate anywhere except the play room – with the others removed from the play room, or one tiny bathroom that is off my own bedroom.) I am sure his scent lingers in that part of the house and the others will become used to smelling him as they explore.

“Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me”(Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)

Finally, once I have everyone used to being loose outside of the playroom. I will let them meet Boots outside his crate in the rest of the house. I will let them meet him one at a time with Coal going first because he is the friendliest and most confident of the kitty crew.

I’m hoping the entire crew can then be successfully introduced to my dog and we can finally all enjoy life together

“Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day

Getting to know you”(Rodgers and Hammerstein – Getting to Know You, The King and I)