Awhile ago I talked about the pet playpen (i.e. Kitton Prison) that I bought for taking my girls to work with me. I thought it would be good to use for integrating Malik into the herd, but I really had no idea then exactly HOW perfect it would be. (https://themerryrosette.weebly.com/blog/a-day-in-the-office-travel-tips )
For the first several days we kept Malik in total quarantine in the back of the house. We had his vet check during that time and made sure that he was settled in ok in his new home (which, thankfully, took no time at all with a fearless little Savannah). After that, we set up the Kitton Prison in the living room. This allowed us to spend time with the big cats after work, while also letting him see that we were there and allowing the older cats to inspect him in a very safe fashion. (And allows us to maintain separate litter boxes for a few more days.)
He spent the first couple of nights alternating between playing with his toys and trying to catch the tails of the cats as they circled the playpen sniffing (or occasionally growling) at him. By the end of the second night, Layla and he were hopping at the screens trying to pounce each other (she is so very laid back, and so playful, that this was exactly how we thought that would play out).
This weekend was the real test. We took all three Savannah's to the Cabin in WV.
When we were integrating Siada and Layla, we did not have a prison, so we set up a baby gate in the back of the house. The big cats could come and go over it, but Layla was stuck in the back (this let the older girls investigate, run away, then investigate again as they so desired). When we took both girls to WV for the first time together (Siada had been there many times before, of course), we set up the gate again, and had Layla in the bedroom. In a mere two minutes though, Layla was over the gate and confronting a growling Siada (which is exactly what would happen at home). Then the magic of the Cabin kicked in and Siada stopped growling and darted to the side. Layla hopped after her. The chase ensued and they ran back and forth for an hour until they both passed out and have been fast friends ever since.
This time my BF set up the playpen before I got there with the girls and Malik was in it with his litterbox and toys. I let the girls out of their crates, and they sniffed around the Kitton Prison. Cabin Magic happened and there were no growls. We opened the gate and out he came. A few minutes later, Layla and Malik were playing chase and play attacking each other in the cat tree.
We would leave the prison open while they were playing. This allowed Malik to use his own bathroom, and allowed Layla to go in and eat his food (which is, of course, exactly the same food she had, but apparently prison food tastes better). When Malik got too amped up (FeralKittonMode), we could put him in there and cover it with a sheet and he would take a good nap. I think the three of them had a glorious time playing chase all over the Cabin. The playpen allowed me to get some sleep with my girls (who missed me) without him feeling all alone at night, because he knew we were all near by. We put it in the bedroom at home last night, and this allowed him to sleep near us (and he was so tired out from exploring the house that he slept almost the entire night). We are planning to go camping this weekend and I might take the Prison with us so that little Malik can get some outside time as well.
The Kitton Prison that I bought can be found, in two sizes, below. I have the larger one as I originally got it for two cats plus bed, litterbox and all else they need for a day in the office. The smaller one might actually be better for camping or other travel. This was a sort of silly purchase that I made that actually really paid off. I see us getting much use out of the Kitton Prison in the future!
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.