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Thread: introducing kitten to home with older cat

  1. #1
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    Unhappy introducing kitten to home with older cat

    hi i dont know if anyone can give me some advice i have a 10 year old female cat and have just got a new kitten male, my problem is my cat is not amused by the kitten and is hishing and growling at the kitten im scared she is going to harm him, im also scared that if i let her out she may leave home, normally she is very lovable and i didnt think she would act like this so i need some advice on how to overcome my cats behaviour towards the little kitten as i dont wanna have to find a new home for the kitten but in the same time i dont want to upset my cat any ideas????
    thanks maz

  2. #2
    Staff - Birds LindaD's Avatar
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    This is quite a common problem of introducing a kitten to an older cat.

    I work with a cat rescue and the usual solution that we give to this problem is to actually adopt 2 kittens. The kittens will play with each other and leave the older cat alone. She can join in if she wants to or can be left alone. It usually works!

    I know that may not be the news you wanted to hear, but putting a young kitten with an older cat is difficult.

    I brought young kittens into my home when my two older cats were about 10 years old. I protected them from kitten attacks by placing the kitten in a room different from the area my older cats had for much of the day and especially at night. As time went on and there were more kittens coming and going as I fostered them, my older cats seemed to understand. It took a couple of years, but now they understand that the kittens are here for a short period of time. Sometimes they will play, but usually they just observe the kittens playing. I always have at least 2 kittens together and they usually leave the older cats alone. But I say again, it took almost 2 years before they began playing with the kittens.

    Now my older cats will occasionally hiss or growl at a new kitten, but that usually lasts only a day or two.

    Linda

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    Senior Member calicokitty's Avatar
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    What you have is the situation between a senior citizen and a turbocharged set of paws and fur, presented to a cat who is probably not wanting any changes.

    If there were not hissing and growling, I would think something is amiss. It is mainly bluff, and your senior cat is telling the kitten that she is the alpha in the house.

    As LindaD noted, having two kittens is a solution that really works, as the kittens take out all the energy on each other, allowing the older cat time to adjust. But adding another kitten is not always possible.

    Your older cat will get over it, after she establishes that she is the alpha in the house, and realizes the kitten is not going anywhere.

    I wouldn't let her out, as you are dealing with a new situation and she may decide to vamoose which would be really terrible.

    There can be raised paws, and bluff swats, but actual damage is almost unheard of, as they know what their claws can do. Just give it time, and at this stage, I see no reason to isolate them and try for a more gradual introduction. They already know each other.

    A third litter pan is advised, and separated from the other two.

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    Senior Member GailS's Avatar
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    Hi and Welcome to the forum!

    In addition to the other good advice you have gotten, keep in mind that any type of change is very difficult for cats and it will take some time fo her to get used to the baby. Some cats adjust to a newbie in a week or two, some may take a few months, but don't give up, eventually they will learn to coexist, if not become the best of friends, sleeping in a pile!

    last time I brought in a baby kitten, the two older lady cats ended up taking him over and raising him.

    I suggest you start a routine where you get down on the floor in a main room every evening at the same time and invite them to play and have treats with you. Play with the kitten, wear him out, while he's resting, give your older lady some attention. offer treats. This hopefully will encourage them to both come to you, so they are near eachother but with you as a buffer between, while your resident kitty learns to adjust to the changes.

    Also, in addition to enough litter boxes (three, as mentioned, with at least one in a different place than the other two) be sure your older cat has a place or two she can get to, to get away from the kitten's excessive high energy.

    Just remember things like this can take a lot of time. You could also get a feliway plug in to help diffuse things. some people swear by feliway plug ins (I'm one of those) others say the plug in made no difference, but, in my opinion it's worth a try as they are for just such situations as this.

    what are your cats names?

    Please feel free to stick around and tell us stories of your cats (and pictures!) and chronicle how they learn to get along together.

    Oh, and I agree. don't let her out.

    Gail

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    hi all many thanks for the replies my lady cat is a tabby a tiny one at that she is called pebbles and the new bundle of joy is ginger he is called arthur, i have got extra litter trays and they sleep apart at night times, well i say sleep but arthur seems to have other plans!!! he doesnt bother pebbles at all as he looks terrified, but he remains in high spirits almost as if he is ignoring her and just plays with his toys whilst she sits and grumbles!!! ill keep her in but wont she feel like she is being punished? what about feeding at the moment i have seperated their food bowls on eats in kitchen one in the dinning room. is this the right or wrong thing to do
    maddy

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    Staff - Cats KarenA's Avatar
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    I have two kittens and one older (four going on five) cat. The kittens do play with each other but the cat was still not amused. Now, three months later, she seems to be much more accepting of them and has started sniffing bottoms and while not playing with them, she is no longer hissing and growling. They accept her as the alpha and it seems that life is good for everyone.

    I feed them on separate levels - the kittens eat on the kitchen floor and Stella eats on the table. That seems to cut down on food hostility. What you are doing is just fine. Where do you live? In the U.S. we generally feel that cats should remain indoors but when you say, "ginger," I think you are in Britain, where it is believed cats should be able to go outdoors. If she is normally an indoors-outdoors cat, you are right she will feel punished by being kept indoors. Perhaps after another few weeks you could open the door and see what she does. She loves you and her home so I suspect she will remain at home.
    Karen A/Publicist

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    Senior Member Teresa's Avatar
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    When we found our first kitten, we had an older female cat. She hissed and growled at him, though she surprised us once by wrestling with him. We worried she'd hurt him, but he loved it. Unfortunately, she rarely wanted to play and we finally got Brzee the kitten another kitten to play with (well, he found us), and that was a big help.

    As we found and adopted or fostered subsequent kittens, the original cat stayed away from all of them and continued to hiss and growl at them if they got too close. She did eat with them once they had moved to adult food (and she always tried to steal their kitten food), but we kept her separate at night.

    She was an indoor/outdoor cat and she occasionally stayed away a few days but she always came home until one day last year, four years after we got the first kitten. I don't think she ran away, but I never found any trace of her.

    I now have four male cats, ranging in age from 1 to 5 and have occasionally brought in other cats or kittens to foster. The oldest is always interested in new kittens, but the next one hisses at all new animals for six months before he accepts them. The next two tend to be afraid but come around in a few days or weeks.

    Teresa

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    Staff - Cats, Dogs & Holistic/Natural AmyShojai's Avatar
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    Hi Teresa,

    My routine advice in this situation is to separate the cats--keep the newbie (in this case the kitten) in one room with all kitty accoutrements (toys, food, litterbox etc). Allow the resident cat free run. That tells the older cat that only PART of the territory has been invaded, LOL! Let them meet initially with paw pats under the door. They'll get used to each other's smells and sounds before having to meet face-to-face.

    And it's NOT too late to go back to scratch (pun intended) and separate them at this point. I'd recommend that esp if the older cat still hisses and/or growls. Cats can develop a "hate" of each other that's hard to overcome, if not properly introduced. (And sometimes, even if properly intro'd!) I would at a minimum keep them separated when you cannot supervise directly. Try playing with both cats at the same time, a fishing pole toy in each hand to entice, but keep them separate. That teaches them that there are benefits for each to each other's presence.

    Lots more tips in the book PETiquette: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multipet Household (ask for it at your library *s*)

    best,
    amy
    AMY D. SHOJAI, CABC
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    Senior Member mduros's Avatar
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    Also, feliway spray and plug-ins do help calm the nerves of the older cat. It is an imitation of the cat's feel good pheromones. I originally joined this list back in 2003 when my boyfriend and I consolidated our households of 3 cats and then found a kitten under the dumpster on move in day. So, we were integrating 4 cats together for the first 6 months, and then took in one more stray that we found sick and on deaths door outside of our building.

    It took time. Patience. And as Amy suggested, going back to square one at times. You can't force it. They accept the situation in their own time and on their own schedule. And their level of acceptance may not be what you were hoping for, either. Most cats will come to some sort of a truce and learn to live with another cat.

    But like I said, try feliway spray or plugins. Some cats are more sensitive to it than others, but it did really help my situation.
    Take care,
    Mary.

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    hi yes am in england, my cats always have free run in and out, why do they have to remain indoors in the us? ive never been so excuse my ignorance.

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