Introducing Our Newest Addition: Ritter the Ocicat

by Melissa R. on February 24, 2010

Ritter the OcicatFour months ago we picked up our Ocicat kitten Cirrhi, and life has been full of kitten entertainment ever since! We fell head over heals in love with Cirrhi’s sweet personality and antics, and decided we needed another. Our excuse was that Cirrhi needed somebody closer to her own size to play with, but I think the unspoken reason was so we each have a kitten to hold! (Our seven-year-old Domestic Shorthair Kai, isn’t much for lap sitting or holding). We decided we wanted a Chocolate Spotted Chocolate Ocicat this time – a different color from Cirrhi, who is a Chocolate Spotted Silver Ocicat. We found a reputable breeder with kittens available, and picked him up. He is currently 17 weeks old, and although three months younger than Cirrhi, he is just as big as she is! Here’s how the introduction went:

Day 1: Ritter arrived with us from the airport and was quickly transported into his safe room. He had food, water, toys, a bed and a litter box, and was separated from the other two cats. Cats are very territorial. You think they are all sweet and wonderful, but bring in another cat and you see another side of them! We took turns sitting in the room with Ritter, playing with him and making him feel welcome and at ease. Once he settled in a bit, he sought out a safe spot for himself (under the bookcase) and proceeded to sit there for about 4 hours. We kept checking on him and seeing if he wanted to play but he was settled in his spot, getting his bearings.

Later in the evening he finally did come out, and he ate a bit of food, drank, and used his litter box which we were very happy to see! Our other two cats seemed to know there was SOMETHING in the other room they couldn’t get to, but were mostly curious and sitting by the door sniffing. We brought him out once and introduced everyone carefully: Kai was ambivilant, and Cirrhi proceeded to hiss at him. So we got out some treats to make it a positive experience, and then put Ritter back in his room for the night.

Ritter & Cirrhi PlayDay 2: We have been bringing Ritter out with us (carrying him) and showing him around. When we get close to Cirrhi, she hisses at him, and bats at his head, but her posture is friendly. Lots of treats have been handed out to keep Cirrhi distracted and happy! We left the door open to the safe room several times while we carried Ritter around, so the other cats could sniff around and get used to his scent.

In the evening, we put the other cats away for awhile, and let Ritter explore the house. He is very timid, but seemed to be coming out of his shell a bit. He even did a few “Kitten Zoomies” around the living room! Now that he seemed to be feeling comfortable, we brought Cirrhi & Kai out and let them mingle with each other – but stayed close. Cirrhi still did a LOT of hissing, and at one point was doing a growl – so we removed Ritter from that situation. Cirrhi seemed angry he was using HER cat tree. Ritter doesn’t seem to care at all!

Day 3: In the morning, we let Ritter out into the household with the other cats again, keeping an eye on things. Kai has expressed a few cranky meows if Ritter gets too close, but no hissing. Cirrhi, on the other hand, continued to be annoyed. She followed Ritter around everywhere he went – making sure he didn’t touch any of HER STUFF. She hissed and swatted (nicely) at him quite a bit, but again…Ritter just doesn’t pay any attention. What a good boy! I think soon Cirrhi will settle down. We are trying very hard to make sure she still gets LOTS of attention, but she seems quite disinterested in us right now.

Tired OcicatsIn the evening, we let them all out together the whole night. Early on Cirrhi focused entirely on chasing Ritter around. I think she was partially showing him who the boss is, but also having a bit of fun. Ritter didn’t seem to mind and had Cirrhi going for many sprints down the hall & back under the bed. After awhile, I picked Ritter up for some quiet time so he wouldn’t get too overwhelmed. Later, more play ensued and Ritter was seen chasing Cirrhi! They both seemed to be having a great time now, although Cirrhi would still hiss now & then. We even left them out all night. We had no idea where they were – I think Ritter was under the bed, and for all we know Cirrhi spent the night watching him. But at least nobody got hurt and we all slept well!

Day 4: Everybody has been left home together, instead of separated into rooms while we are at work. The morning went pretty well, although we will have to pay attention to eating & drinking because Cirrhi has been guarding the food and water from Ritter. We gave all three some “special” (soft) food in bowls right next to each other to encourage sharing, and will continue this type of effort. We’ll also try to redirect Cirrhi’s attention when Ritter is at the water bowl. We’ve left out several bowls of food as well – Cirrhi can only guard so many food bowls!

The evening was a like a whole new world. Ritter was out exploring and playing, and Cirrhi was paying very little attention to him except to try to entice him to play. They had MANY bouts of terrorizing the house with their play antics, which was great to see! Cirrhi also was letting Ritter eat and drink without any hissing or swatting. It’s like she just decided all of a sudden it was OK. Kai, on the other hand, has changed his mind entirely, and doesn’t want Ritter anywhere near him. He hisses, meows (complains), and swats at him at any chance.

One Week Later: Ritter and Cirrhi are now best of friends. They tire each other out with their endless playing,Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter and have even been seen snuggled up, sleeping with each other! Kai is getting better, slowly. There is much less hissing, and he tolerates Ritter a tiny bit, though Ritter knows enough to stay away pretty much now. I hope that after a few more weeks Kai will realize he has another playmate, and will not be so upset. We have started calling him The Godfather. He keeps everybody in line!

Stay tuned for more tales from Ritter, Cirrhi & Kai…

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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Eileen H March 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Congrats on your introduction with your new addition. I myself lost my last abby 1-4-10 due to complications of kidney failure from diabetes and her cardiomyopathy meds. It was a yr of health ups and downs. After 2 weeks of silence, I located another aby girl kitten, Nutmeg, now 4 months old. I paired her up after some searching with a black and white domestic shorthair rescue male named Cowboy, now about 7 months old. I had him set up in a separate room. The first meeting-Nutmeg stayed right by me, facing Cowboy the whole time, as if to say “what is that black and white thing doing here?” That lasted 3 days. They sleep together a lot, play pretty well together even though he is bigger than her, and sometimes I just have to get out of the way of the galloping stampede coming at me.

Melissa March 23, 2010 at 10:23 am

LOL! I love the comment about the “galloping stampede”! That is so true – we’re forever shouting “Get out of the way here they come” to one another. Woe be to they who is stuck in the hallway when they come sprinting through!

Eileen May 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Wow- that’s a really swift introduction & acceptance. Kudos to y’all! We follow the same plan but go a lot slower. After a few days we put a screen door on the safe room so the kitties can visit without risk of injury or intimidation. As the newbies get more relaxed and better at being handled we bring them out for short “field trips” with & without the other cats, but through trial and error I’ve learned not to leave the gang unsupervised until that’s gone well for for 2-3 weeks. Right now we have many cats and our newest kittens were previously feral, so there’s a lot of socializing & teaching needed to get them up to speed. So, it’s taking even longer than usual but we have progress every day.

Melissa R. May 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Eileen – Yes, we have been lucky in our introductions. I think easier since Cirrhi is just a kitten yet so more inclined to accept newcomers, and Kai, although older, had recently learned to accept Cirrhi! So I think we were lucky. It did take Kai about up til now (3 months after introduction) to really warm up to Ritter completely. They’ve been spotted sleeping together, and very occasionally playing together. I think Kai was a bit put out of place for awhile but seems to be coming back around. Good luck with your new kittens!

Leslie S March 15, 2012 at 10:04 am

How enjoyable it is to find and read this day by day account about introducing a new kitty to the household. We will soon be introducing my Mom’s older male siamese cat, Chach, to our 1 1/2 year old girl kitties, Gretchen & Miranda. We just hope that after a few expected days of stress and hissing that we’ll all be able to #CELEBRATE the arrival of our new addition!

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