I have never had to socialise two animals of different ages when one has already had six rather idyllic years of adoration in this house.
I read up as much as I could and took advice from my vet on how to do it. Much of the online advice seemed contradictory or tremendously long-winded involving the new animal being locked in a room alone and introduced to the house and other animal over days/weeks. This seemed to be an extraordinarily cruel fate for a beautifully socialised and loving natured little kitten being taken from his feline and human families and dumped in a room in a flat with minimal contact.
My vet, and the colleague who gave me him, were both much more pragmatic from their more experienced stances and reckoned we let them meet and just take it as it comes. This seemed like the best option and so far, fingers crossed, it seems to be working. Hissing, the odd slap and death stares aside things seem to be getting on ok and we humans can relax ever so slightly from one to one vigilance. We probably were a little overboard and by comparison ITU patients probably look neglected compared to how over protective we were with both cats.
Today, Sunday 15th Nov, has probably been the day I've spent most time with Red while he is awake. I have been hands on with him every day since he came but I've been very disciplined in ensuring each word or contact with Red has resulted in an equal one for Magic. Red has slept on me a couple of time and I play with him every morning and evening but I am always conscious of not putting Magic's nose out of joint.
I don't want her to become jealous of the new kitten as she could do him very serious harm in the blink of an eye if she chose to given her size. I dont really think that is likely to become an issue as she is very laid back and tends to look at him as an irritating bug rather than a contender for the title.
At the back of my mind is one poor cat an aunt of mine had that was never the same after an utterly gorgeous Felix-lookalike new kitten came into their lives. Their house was already a multi-cat home but the kitten was a bit of a thug and I seem to recall the older cat ended up sedated at one point and was ever after a nervous twitchy critter. Perhaps I am miss-remembering this but anything that jeopardises Magic's equilibrium is to be avoided.
What I feared most of all was losing her love and her closeness with me. She is, as I have said, very much my cat. When I am at home she is delightful, easy going and comfortable company. I know her ways and she knows mine. I never have to call her at night because as soon as I brush my teeth she comes out from whichever hidey-hole she is in to go to bed and get her tablet which adores. She is on palatable tablets for her dodgy luxating knee-caps. In the morning when I get up she immidiately claims where I was lying in bed to soak up the heat. When I go out she sits on the end of the bed for a treat which allows me to keep her in one room while I am out and when I come back we spend time reaquainting. In short, many of our little routines are interwoven which is lovely and comforting especially after a hard day at work. To lose this through her becoming, jealous, resentful or depressed would be very hard. It would also be cruel to her especially as we, and mostly me, have made her into number one and to pull the rug with a shiny new cat taking the glory would be a great unkindness.
Anyway today I was at home and although the cats tolerated each other quite well, including a joint pigeon patrol on the table at the window, there was a small stramash in the kitchen and Magic decided to stalk off for a sleep somewhere quiet that Red either doesnt know about or can't reach. This left Red to explore/sleep/explore again/sleep again for most of the afternoon and early evening. As he likes a hot body to sleep on he decided to join me as I was sitting using the laptop. For this reason I have probably spent the most time together with him since he has arrived and it has been lovely. He plays so delicately and seems conscious of not hurting you even when he he is play biting. He loves mirrors and all sorts of things including watching pages load one the computer.
While this was lovely what was even nicer was that when Magic rose from her lair she didnt seem bothered at all that his scent must have been all over all the places that have traditionally been hers. She is just as loving and I am so relieved.
I also spoke on the phone with a friend who has had a number of cats and reckoned the occasional wallop or hiss is likely as her two cats still fought occasionally up until the older one died aged 20yrs. So at least there is hope that our longterm future as a two cat household is looking like it has potential.