Got the second kitten... but now wondering when the guilt stops?

oleander86

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I recently posted in this forum about how my 4-month old kitten was alone all day while I was at work and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to adopt a second kitten. As the general consensus was yes, it would be better for my first kitten (Archer), I went and adopted a second kitten who is one month older (Gatsby).

Now I find I'm struggling a bit with how guilty I feel. Archer, who started off as a very cuddly and affectionate kitten, has become less so over the past couple of weeks and now is really distant from me. Gatsby is a snuggly boy and instantly wants to be close to me but I constantly feel guilty when Archer sees me with Gatsby. Gatsby is totally chill and relaxed, but Archer still isn't quite past the territorial issues and attacks him quite constantly (they don't hurt each other but it's obvious Archer is not impressed, although I caught them cuddling once ;))

Did anyone else ever experience guilty when adding a second cat to the family? How did you cope it with? Also did you find it took some time for the cats to accept each other and stop scrapping?
 

taxido

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Introducing a new cat into a household with existing cats generally creates a few issues. I have done it several times. In the main, these are territorial. Archer considers your home his territory and so it will take time to gradually adjust to the fact that he now has to share it with Gatsby. This is perfectly natural behaviour and Archer is just showing Gatsby who is boss. When I have socialised cats, I have watched them carefully, particularly in the very early stages, just to be sure there are no real intentional aggressive attacks by the resident cat. I would not make too much fuss of Gatsby however, when Archer is around. Apart from that, I would leave them to it. The fact that you saw them cuddling is a very good sign. Scrapping and any noise sounds to us, worse than it is, and real aggression is only used as a last resort. It might be a good idea to bring them together in one room with you, where you can encourage play, and perhaps give them some treat rewards. This way you are all playing together, and it is a happy time, and the cats will associate being in that particular room with good things and they are being treated equally. I don't think you can say exactly how long it will take for them to settle, but usually sooner rather than later. You will be able to see by their behaviour. At the end of the day, even of they are not overly keen on each other, they will tolerate each other, although I don't think this will be the case with Archer and Gatsby. Hope this helps.
 
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oleander86

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thanks for the detailed reply! I guess it's been so long since I had two pets that I forgot what it was like sharing attention. Gatsby is desperate for my affection and attention, and I feel guilty giving it to him as it feels disloyal to Archer. hopefully we will all be one big family soon!
 

taxido

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Glad to be of help. If you get altogether for regular playtime, you can fuss them all you want, then Archer will start to come round. He certainly won't want to miss out on any treats! Don't feel guilty, you have done the right thing, bearing in mind you are out all day. It is always worrying when you have to go out and leave them in the early stages, but they will work things out in the inimitable way that only cats can!
 

otto

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It just takes time. Some cats, even kittens, have trouble with change. After a few more weeks Archer will forget that Gatsby ever wasn't there and will go back to his usual self. Right now he's more interested in learning about the new comer than paying attention to you. You can try putting Gatsby in a different room to give Archer some one on one time, though usually what happens is the cat left out goes over and stands by the door where the other cat is shut in, waiting for you to let him back out again, rather than taking advantage of the one on one time. :lol3:

And yes, your guilt feelings are normal, however they too will pass and the two cats adjust to the changes and adapt.

Just before I rescued Queen Eva my Mazy cat, who was 6 at the time, had JUST started to knead on me. It was brand new behavior and I was thrilled with it, but then I had to rescue Queen Eva and that new behavior stopped. I was sad about that, but there wasn't any question about taking Queen Eva in. It took about 8 months, but eventually Mazy started up her tentative kneading again and now she is a real pro at it.

I'm not saying it will take Archer 8 months to adjust, just wanted to illustrate that your feelings are normal. I'm sure you will have a happy 'new normal' in a few weeks.
 
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belle8bete

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oleander,

first, I love the names!

Second, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.  Even though LW was soooo sad when the cat across the hall moved out (he wandered around, aimlessly meowing) I felt so guilty.  

Even though the kitty I got was 1.5 years old and was a rescue cat (they noted she was good with other cats, too), I just felt so bad

I had a total panic attack that night and ended up calling my mom at 4am so she could calm me down.  Here are the things that helped me feel better.  

-The kitty I brought in needed a home.

- Aforementioned kitty (aka LH) is clearly happy to be here.

- LW needed a friend, that was clear.

- LW will ultimately be happier.

- If you introduce two kids you can't say "Be best friends now!" and expect that to work, right?  It takes time.  

I try to set time aside to just be with LW.  LH is much more cuddly, and LW can get hyper and bitey, so it something I have to consciously do.  Also, LW doesn't play as much as LH.  He mostly just stares at me or watches LH play.  But, things continue to improve and the kitties are getting more and more content. 
 

meaganandalbert

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They will get over it :) Cats always do, your emotions aren't his. Think of it this way:

Archer- I owned her/she fed/hugged me now new kitty is taking my things.

Gatsby- Purposely doing it to annoy Archer

You- Freaking out that Archer hates you when really they will come to a mutual understanding of one another, especially because they are kittens and will ultimately love one another and play together AND love you aswell.

Give it time.. They have just met :) 

AND DON'T FEEL GUILTY! You did this for him and once they learn to love each other he will thank you...some how? dead bird on doorstep maybe?
 
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oleander86

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Thanks everyone! As of this morning the boys have moved into play fighting and Archer is seemingly loving the attention and wrestle partner. he's still a bit distant from me but that was happening before Gatsby - I hope it's just a bratty phase as he was previously very cuddly kitten :)

all of your kind words definitely made me feel better and like I'd done the right thing though. and I've never seen a cat settle in as quickly as gatsby!
 

belle8bete

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Well, what do you want with that name?  He'll find a way to fit in anywhere.  
 
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oleander86

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Haha thanks for the compliments on the names everyone :) Archer was named by the shelter volunteers but Gatsby was my choice.

I have a second question - anyone find kittens become less snuggly and less purely over time? Arch sure has and I find myself missing my little cuddler. Although Gatsby is more than happy to purr and give head butt's and accept belly rubs at any time of day :)
 
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oleander86

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Ahem. Less purr-y, not purely, stupid autocorrect.
 

belle8bete

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LW has gotten less snuggly as he has grown...luckily LH is a cuddle bug by nature.  I sometimes scoop up LW and give him snuggles and he tolerates it.  
 
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oleander86

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Haha well I still squish Archer against my face until he meows. "mom STAAAHP"
 

otto

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Haha thanks for the compliments on the names everyone :) Archer was named by the shelter volunteers but Gatsby was my choice.

I have a second question - anyone find kittens become less snuggly and less purely over time? Arch sure has and I find myself missing my little cuddler. Although Gatsby is more than happy to purr and give head butt's and accept belly rubs at any time of day :)
Kittens go through a lot of phases as the mature. Cuddly, not cuddly, purry, not purry, wild, suddenly quiet. It can be worrisome for those of us who pay a lot of attention to our cats.

Sounds like things are going well at your house. :)
 
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oleander86

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Thanks Otto. I think you're right. I've never had cats before (grew up with dogs), and on top of this these are my two first pets since I started living on my own 5 years ago. So I tend to overanalyze them a bit. ;)
 

MoochNNoodles

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Haha thanks for the compliments on the names everyone
Archer was named by the shelter volunteers but Gatsby was my choice.

I have a second question - anyone find kittens become less snuggly and less purely over time? Arch sure has and I find myself missing my little cuddler. Although Gatsby is more than happy to purr and give head butt's and accept belly rubs at any time of day
Both mine go through cuddly phases; but especially Noodles (generally our resident grumpy cat).  She was the first to cuddle in my lap after I brought them home; but its Mooch who has to be on me whenever possible.  Noodles' norm now is to have me pet her for a minute and then she settles by my feet on the couch.  Mooch sits on my stomach or my chest (and she is NOT a little thing). But even Mooch has periods where she prefers to spend our normal cuddle time somewhere else.  It might last a day or it might last a few weeks; but then she is back to purring in my face while I try to read. 
 

catspaw66

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Thanks Otto. I think you're right. I've never had cats before (grew up with dogs), and on top of this these are my two first pets since I started living on my own 5 years ago. So I tend to overanalyze them a bit. ;)
I suggest you check out the articles section. There are many articles there about behavior, care, health and so on.  Here is one to start you out.    www.thecatsite.com/a/cat-behavior-for-beginners

The articles section is the closest thing there is to having an owners manual for your cats. Another good site for info is  www.catinfo.org
 
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oleander86

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Elizabeth - So 5 months and 3 months? That's not too far off from my boys, 4 months and approx 6 months. I found they get on really well. The older is a bit calmer but still bouncy enough to handle the crazy younger one.
 
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