Kittens, Kittens, Kittens! & When Bonded Cats Split Up

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

We’re taking a break from our usual Wednesday adoption spotlight on adult cats to focus on kittens. Last week at the shelter they mewed from every corner. Tabby kittens, tuxie, tortie and ginger kittens. Smoke blue, gray, bi-colored, male, female, shy, blind or bold, tiny fluff balls to young teens. The only thing they share, besides being cute is their need for homes. The cold, hard reality is: more than half of kittens in shelters won’t be adopted. Some end up growing up in a shelter and some are euthanasia. Euthanasia rates have dropped but even no-kill shelters do their share of euthanasia. Orange cats seem to have to more luck, like Bob, of A Street Cat Named Bob fame,

Please share and give these ginger boys a chance. If you know anyone in the NYC area or would like to see more kitten photos visit NewRochelleHumaneSociety or the latest pics at the NRHS Facebook Page.

Kitten season-orange ginger  adoption

Might a kitten or two being your future? I always recommend adopting two siblings to make an easier transition and alleviate separation anxiety from their mother.

Remember our bonded pair Pa and Babe who were up for adoption last week?

New Rochelle Humane SocietyI was surprised to find out Babe would have nothing to do with Pa and were separated. Even the most bonded cats need to have their bonds reinforced with the scent of chemical messengers called pheromones. They emit a musky scent from scent glands located It’s why bonded cats routinely greet each other with a sniff and rub. It’s not only a hello, but a passport into the other’s territory which is marked invisibly by scent. For cats who share an indoor-only home, their territory is divided in micro regions, a corner of a room, a certain chair which may or may not be shared. The more scent-sharing the greater chance of harmony. One of the best ways is allo-grooming, when cats lick or groom each other.

Cats sharing a cage don’t have the luxury of scent-marking the same way and it adds to their stress. What I suspect happened to Pa and Babe is a case of non-recognition aggression. Pa was removed to have dental surgery, recovered in another cage and by the time he rejoined Babe, he must have smelled or acted different with the classic “vet smell” cats hate. It can happen after bathing or a trip to the groomers. If the scent bonds aren’t re-established aggression or disinterest can ensue. In those cases, it’s best to keep the cats separate and gradually reintroduce scent swapping until the “recognize” each other as being part of a group or family scent. Scent swapping is done by wiping the scents gland areas above the eyes, cheeks and base of the tail with a clean sock or cloth and leaving it by the other cat to smell. Then repeat the swap with the other cat.

I’ll be seeing Pa and Babe today and will report back. Apparently Babe wasn’t aggressive, she just had no interest in Pa anymore. For now both are available for adoption separately. Who knows what is at the core. These two cats were caged together at a hoarder’s and the shelter tried their best to keep all bonded pairs of cats together. Maybe the odd couple was thrown together by circumstance and now are adapting differently to shelter life. Have your cats experienced “vet smell” and what was the outcome?

 Thanks to everyone who has been diligently voting for us in the Pettie Awards. A win for us is a win the the New Rochelle Humane Society. VOTE here

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20 Comments

  • Sarah Bonacci

    Hi I have a question. I have a pair of siblings that lived together in harmony for about 1yr and a half. They were recently seperated for about 6 months or so. Living situations changed and the sister cat needed to come back to my home. I thought the brother my cat would be thrilled to have his sister back. Instead he is hissing (never hisses) and scared. What should I do to help ease them back to harmony?

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    To Bond or not to bond, that is the question. Just another mystery that is called Cat. We still purr and pray for protection and furever homes for all.
    Luvs
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig and Peanut and Romeo >^..^<

  • Bev Green

    I have seen this with our girls..and two in particular always groom each other..their tiffs are more play than real…but after a vet visit it can change..scents of things chemical throw the balance out…i tend to swap their bedding between them and their beds so the communal scent is everywhere..they still have their zones…i think dynamics change naturally much like in dogs..they take turns at being alpha..perhaps these poor darlings have just been so stressed they need like humans to reflect inwardly and lick their inner wounds…i hope that they both can find a loving home either together or apart they need t have their balance restored. Hugs to all Fozziemum

  • Andrea

    When I was a practicing vet tech (that doesn’t sound very professional does it?) I noticed pretty regularly that cats who knew each other and lived together quite closely suddenly seemed to hate each other when placed in cages together.

    Perhaps, even though these two were housed together originally, the change in housing (a new cage) combined with the “vet scent” problem tore them apart. I’ll bet that with time and in a house situation they would grow to love each other again.

    I wish them luck and a happy home!

  • Kitties Blue

    We always try to adopt in pairs and Astrid and Lisbeth were a bonded pair when we adopted them. They were not siblings, but both raised by Lisbeth’s Mom, Tuxie. They were inseparable, and then one day they decided they hated each other. If Astrid gets anywhere near Lisbeth, Lisbeth hisses at her. I have no idea what happened to cause this. I have always done that scent swapping thing with all the kitties but have never had much success. Any other suggestions? Hugs, Janet

  • Tamago

    It is sad Pa and Babe are no longer bonded like before. They go separate wats, but I sure hope both of them find forever homes. When Niko comes back from vet, Goro tends to attack Niko. (Not harsh attack, thankfully!)

  • easy rider

    That’s interesting that just a smell can separate a pair. I would like to hear more about Babe and Pa when you see them today. I vote every day, it’s my first morning ritual :o)

  • Sammy

    Perhaps at the hoarders they “needed” to be together and now that they’re not cooped up and in such deplorable conditions, they are “stretching” and wanting a bit more space? I just hope they get adopted…….

    Hugs, Pam

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