8 year old cat lashing out after new kitten in home.

bpenniman

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Buck, my 8 yr old adopted replacement for my orange cat that passed away in spring, is lashing out behaviorally. I brought home pumpernickel sunday afternoon. Shes a 9 week old tortoiseshell kitten. Buck last evening layed on the couch and pouted a good deal and wouldnt even look at me. Its in the picture below. Hes being a big baby. Then last night he was up meowing and pacing around. This morning he bit at my dog for no apparent reason besides she walked near his spot on the top of the couch. I want to give him extra attention but hes acting like he doesnt want it. Boots, my 12 year old, is quite content and doesnt mind the new kitten. I introduced them last night under supervision and he doesnt love her or hate her. He just could care less. His personality hasnt changed at all. Hes usually very stoic anyways. Im worried about Buck because he has a tendency to pout and hes doing it more since i got Pumpernickel.
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ArtNJ

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Normal. Older cats take some time with kittens. Growling, hissing and acting stressed is really, really common. It IS a surprising thing, so I totally understand you being like what the heck, stop being a baby your an adult cat, but for whatever reason, its a super common thing so you can't blame your older cat too much. Just a cat thing.

Also, with a 9 week old kitten you really shouldn't rush the introduction like you've done. Keep the kitten in a safe room for at least a week and do a formal introduction process. Here is a guide for that:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide

This is important for several reasons:

(1) kittens that don't have a safe room can sometimes be really scared for the first week and hide in terrible places, like behind appliances. If they have a safe room, at least they run there when they are scared and you don't have to get freaked out looking for them;

(2) sometimes older cats never befriend a kitten and its not that unusual for there to still be some grumbling and at least mild distaste for the young cat 6 months or even a year later. While its not entirely clear how much an introduction actually helps the older cat, you don't want to have distaste in a year and wonder if you could have done something differently;

(3) a formal process gives you a chance to see if your older cat is reacting worse than normal. I can't tell since its only been a couple of days, but lashing out at other animals is a warning sign that your older cat may have a tough time. When you get warning signs it is important to not rush. While you older cat will not actually attack the kitten (biological hard wiring normally prevents an adult from attacking a kitten for real. The most you'll normally see is a defensive swat or fake charge to get the kitten to back off) he might show other signs of severe stress if the problem is worse than normal. Sometimes, if rarely, this stuff can reach problem levels. Its not unheard of for kitten related stress to lead to other pets fighting and change their relationship, for example. So if you have a lot of warning signs, you might well continue the introduction process several weeks or longer before they actually meet.

(4) It may be unlikely for you, but especially young adult cats can sometimes play with a kitten so roughly it scares the heck out of people. Generally, we tell them its normal and relax, but when the kitten is so young, there may be a genuine risk of rough play huring the kitten. Extending the introduction process at least a week or two will help a lot since kittens grow so fast during this period.

Notwithstanding the above, many people do simply throw a kitten in with adult cats, and it usually goes ok-ish. The fact that adults don't hurt kittens on purpose helps a lot, and makes this possible. They can get over a lot of stuff on their own. However, with your adult cat possibly reacting a bit worse than average (not clear to me) and with your kitten being so young, I would back up and do a formal introduction process before letting them interact again.
 
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bpenniman

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Normal. Older cats take some time with kittens. Growling, hissing and acting stressed is really, really common. It IS a surprising thing, so I totally understand you being like what the heck, stop being a baby your an adult cat, but for whatever reason, its a super common thing so you can't blame your older cat too much. Just a cat thing.

Also, with a 9 week old kitten you really shouldn't rush the introduction like you've done. Keep the kitten in a safe room for at least a week and do a formal introduction process. Here is a guide for that:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide

This is important for several reasons:

(1) kittens that don't have a safe room can sometimes be really scared for the first week and hide in terrible places, like behind appliances. If they have a safe room, at least they run there when they are scared and you don't have to get freaked out looking for them;

(2) sometimes older cats never befriend a kitten and its not that unusual for there to still be some grumbling and at least mild distaste for the young cat 6 months or even a year later. While its not entirely clear how much an introduction actually helps the older cat, you don't want to have distaste in a year and wonder if you could have done something differently;

(3) a formal process gives you a chance to see if your older cat is reacting worse than normal. I can't tell since its only been a couple of days, but lashing out at other animals is a warning sign that your older cat may have a tough time. When you get warning signs it is important to not rush. While you older cat will not actually attack the kitten (biological hard wiring normally prevents an adult from attacking a kitten for real. The most you'll normally see is a defensive swat or fake charge to get the kitten to back off) he might show other signs of severe stress if the problem is worse than normal. Sometimes, if rarely, this stuff can reach problem levels. Its not unheard of for kitten related stress to lead to other pets fighting and change their relationship, for example. So if you have a lot of warning signs, you might well continue the introduction process several weeks or longer before they actually meet.

(4) It may be unlikely for you, but especially young adult cats can sometimes play with a kitten so roughly it scares the heck out of people. Generally, we tell them its normal and relax, but when the kitten is so young, there may be a genuine risk of rough play huring the kitten. Extending the introduction process at least a week or two will help a lot since kittens grow so fast during this period.

Notwithstanding the above, many people do simply throw a kitten in with adult cats, and it usually goes ok-ish. The fact that adults don't hurt kittens on purpose helps a lot, and makes this possible. They can get over a lot of stuff on their own. However, with your adult cat possibly reacting a bit worse than average (not clear to me) and with your kitten being so young, I would back up and do a formal introduction process before letting them interact again.
So buck only came in contact with her when i took her outside so my mom and sister could hold her in their car. Shes in a safe room. I tried the intro with boots just because hes so gentle and indifferent generally. And he did really good with her. Buck is just super crabby and pouty to the point it scares me. Hissed at me a half hour ago when i was petting my dog. Im going to read the articles now.
 

ArtNJ

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Add this one to your reading list:

Re-directed Aggression In Cats

Buck will calm down if you continue an orderly introduction process, but if he is worked up enough to hiss at you, keep your distance and don't try to touch him.
 
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