A Tale of Two Strays

Sara J.

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I never intended to take in two strays nearly back to back. While there are many stray kitties in my area, unfortunately, my plan had always been to take them in one at a time, so that they had time to adjust to their new indoor environment before dealing with each other. That way I would be able to get them healthy individually, if need be, and eating normally, etc.

What ended up happening instead is one came in and made his home, then I discovered the other one was not fixed. With so many strays around here, I knew unless I was prepared to deal with a kitten explosion in my yard I needed to bring the unfixed young male in as well.

Most of the strays and ferals in this area have been TNR'd by a very sweet cat lady, but there are always new ones coming given the colony food supply tends to attract strays who are looking for reliable food sources.

I've been down the path of raising and rehoming kittens but if I could avoid that scenario, I am going to do so. So in he came. With his young energy, and sweetness but also his apparent lack of fear of other cats or need for personal space. I wouldn't call him a bully but he really wants to play and romp and I think even snuggle with the other new cat in the house.

I got lucky with the older cat I brought in, as he is a very calm kitty. While he may hiss on occasion at the lack of personal space allowed him, he has never once done more than that. (Even when the younger jumps on his head when he is napping.)

However, I did observe the other day, when I had the kitten in a seperate room, that the older cat was somewhat more leery than I realized. I was giving him a bit of a break from the kitten for the day, and despite being free to roam and snuggle me he was very watchful for kitten paws and attacks. Checking under every hiding spot before approaching me, not certain of snuggling for long periods. Almost fearful perhaps, but at the very least extremely cautious. It has me somewhat concerned he is not adjusting with this kitten as well as I might have thought.

He is a good 7 lbs heavier at least so if anything in the beginning I was more concerned *he* would be too much for a kitten if aggression was shown. On the other hand, from what I have observed this kitten doesn't show aggression so much. He never hisses back, never growls or makes any noise to indicate anger. He does jump on him and hide and pounce but the kitten seems almost hurt when he doesn't get a playful response and moves away instead.

Suggestions? I am just reading the body language wrong?

I'd love for this cat to be less fearful, if fear is in fact what I am sensing, of the kitten so am now wondering if there is anything I can do to help the situation along. I even observed what seemed to me to be the kitten wanting to groom him, and all he got was a hiss in response. The older cat is so incredibly tolerant and as I said never does more than hiss when annoyed and move away but he does tolerate him being close by on many occasions. They even slept on the same table last night. Though one was on one side of the table and the other at the other end, all on the kittens' initiative. You could tell the baby wanted snuggles but he was happy just being nearby if that was all he could get. Or maybe it's more territorial than I am allowing myself to believe....

Help!😁🤣
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. How long have each been in your home? How much time did older cat have in your home before you took kitten in? Did you try any sort of introduction process at all? If not, it could be why you are seeing some 'leeriness' in the older cat. I take it neither of them have been in your home long, and the older cat probably wasn't able to become accustomed to your house before the kitten appeared on the scene.

At this stage of the game, I guess you just need to give older cat reassurance that he is safe and loved in your home, and continue to give him breaks from the kitten. You might also try to offer treats and pettings when he seems to be a bit skittish around the kitten, just to let him know it is OK. And, maybe try to distract the kitten with play if he is 'bugging' the older cat a bit too much/too long.
 
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Sara J.

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Let's see, the older cat was outside my house for about 2 weeks before he came indoors and that was the end of January. So I'd say he had a couple weeks after that before the kitten came in. At first I seperated them completely with the kitten on my enclosed porch and the older cat in the house and did introduce them. (Starting with merely swapping rooms so they'd grow accustomed to each others scent, and then very short visits.)

I also tried playing with them together as I do so already seperately but frankly I don't have the coordination to hold toys in each hand as I'd hoped I would. 😉
 
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Sara J.

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Hi. How long have each been in your home? How much time did older cat have in your home before you took kitten in? Did you try any sort of introduction process at all? If not, it could be why you are seeing some 'leeriness' in the older cat. I take it neither of them have been in your home long, and the older cat probably wasn't able to become accustomed to your house before the kitten appeared on the scene.

At this stage of the game, I guess you just need to give older cat reassurance that he is safe and loved in your home, and continue to give him breaks from the kitten. You might also try to offer treats and pettings when he seems to be a bit skittish around the kitten, just to let him know it is OK. And, maybe try to distract the kitten with play if he is 'bugging' the older cat a bit too much/too long.
Let's see, the older cat was outside my house for about 2 weeks before he came indoors and that was the end of January. So I'd say he had a couple weeks after that before the kitten came in. At first I seperated them completely with the kitten on my enclosed porch and the older cat in the house and did introduce them. (Starting with merely swapping rooms so they'd grow accustomed to each others scent, and then very short visits.)

I also tried playing with them together as I do so already seperately but frankly I don't have the coordination to hold toys in each hand as I'd hoped I would. 😉
 
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