Help - has anyone successfully overcome a resident cat attacking a new kitten?

Laylac

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Hi everyone, I'm losing hope and wondered if there are any success stories out there? Our resident 4 year old spaed female siamese is still attacking our new male kitten. It's been almost 7 weeks now.

We've done the careful introductions and been keeping them separate after each bad episode. She is used to love our other older male cat who sadly died earlier this year...we thought she'd like a companion.

At one point we thought things were slightly improving, but then she launched an attack when the kitten was on my husband's lap, leaving husband with lots of scratches. We separated them for a week and then we've tried reintroducing via a large dog cage (kitten inside for safety). Try to feed them both while he is in there, which works when the food is out but afterwards she attacks the cage.

Today the kitten ran out of his room when my daughter opened the door. Completely unprovoked Roxy chased him under the bed and there were a lot of fighting sounds. Really hard to break it up as we couldn't reach them. He seemed unhurt but very shaken up. He's only about 4 1/2 months and the sweetest little thing.

Every opportunity she gets she seems to want to attack him, it's so stressful.

I've read lots of advice on here, I guess I'm really curious if anyone else has experienced this and eventually things settled?

Thank you 😊
 

danteshuman

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It is best to avoid bad episodes if you can. Every attack = at least 10 of 100 times the cat will need a good experience. If someone almost beat you up, how many good interactions would it take you to trust them? For me it would be a few hundred!

Get a large extra thick poster board or a 4 foot by 4 foot piece of cardboard. Use the blocker when you open the door or to break up a stare down before a attack happens.

I hope the kitten is getting to run around half the day why your resident queen bee is locked in a room.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi.
Reading your post through a couple times, can you talk to the shelter you got the kitten from? I believe that your resident cat was grieving the older cat that died, not wishing for a new buddy.

Even though it hasn't been all that long for these two to be together, your meezer's behavior is not the more typical protective attitude that adults will have towards kittens.
 

lisahe

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We had a different version of this: after one cat had two teeth extracted, her sister (who's a more aggressive cat to begin with) didn't recognize her smell when she came home. It took us two-plus weeks to get them reintroduced. We made a lot of mistakes! The worst part of a fight is that then you pretty much have to start over. At least we did.

Probably the two things that worked best for us were scent swapping and keeping one cat in a room and feeding both cats "together," one on each side of the door. For scent swapping, we'd rub both cats with the same towel or bedding or other piece of fabric, then leave the towels with the cats. We did this over and over. Feeding or giving treats to both, with one on either side of the door, worked really well for us because the cats couldn't really see much of each other but they could smell each other. And sometimes I'd switch their dishes.

We had to do this a second time during the summer after the same cat who had teeth extracted had major surgery. We were much better prepared the second time so there was lots of scent swapping from the very start and we didn't let the cats see much of each other. Ireland (the cat that stayed home) sometimes hissed at Edwina (who had the operation) under the door but it seemed a little halfhearted. We fed them through the door and then through a screen that we put in the doorway. And then one day we just let them be in the same space together without a barrier between them. They did really well, though I still kept a laser toy with me to distract the cats if need be; I'd highly recommend keeping one in a pocket just in case. In any case, I'm convinced that all the scent swapping from the beginning made everything go much better the second time.

One other thing. Lots of people report that Feliway works well during introductions. Feliway Optimum really blisses Edwina out but we think it makes asthmatic Ireland cough so can't use it.

Good luck, I know this is incredibly stressful.
 

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Make sure the kitten has somewhere she can jump high,even furniture. For the first few weeks or more my cat Maggie would attack Coco. Then growling. Now doesn't bother her. they were introduced 6 yrs ago. Coco is still afraid of her
 
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Laylac

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Hi.
Reading your post through a couple times, can you talk to the shelter you got the kitten from? I believe that your resident cat was grieving the older cat that died, not wishing for a new buddy.

Even though it hasn't been all that long for these two to be together, your meezer's behavior is not the more typical protective attitude that adults will have towards kittens.
 
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Laylac

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Hello, thanks for the reply. I have spoken to the lady we got him from, she had lots of suggestions none of which have worked. I'm starting to think we'll need to rehome him but my daughter adores him so it would be absolute last resort.
 
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Laylac

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We had a different version of this: after one cat had two teeth extracted, her sister (who's a more aggressive cat to begin with) didn't recognize her smell when she came home. It took us two-plus weeks to get them reintroduced. We made a lot of mistakes! The worst part of a fight is that then you pretty much have to start over. At least we did.

Probably the two things that worked best for us were scent swapping and keeping one cat in a room and feeding both cats "together," one on each side of the door. For scent swapping, we'd rub both cats with the same towel or bedding or other piece of fabric, then leave the towels with the cats. We did this over and over. Feeding or giving treats to both, with one on either side of the door, worked really well for us because the cats couldn't really see much of each other but they could smell each other. And sometimes I'd switch their dishes.

We had to do this a second time during the summer after the same cat who had teeth extracted had major surgery. We were much better prepared the second time so there was lots of scent swapping from the very start and we didn't let the cats see much of each other. Ireland (the cat that stayed home) sometimes hissed at Edwina (who had the operation) under the door but it seemed a little halfhearted. We fed them through the door and then through a screen that we put in the doorway. And then one day we just let them be in the same space together without a barrier between them. They did really well, though I still kept a laser toy with me to distract the cats if need be; I'd highly recommend keeping one in a pocket just in case. In any case, I'm convinced that all the scent swapping from the beginning made everything go much better the second time.

One other thing. Lots of people report that Feliway works well during introductions. Feliway Optimum really blisses Edwina out but we think it makes asthmatic Ireland cough so can't use it.

Good luck, I know this is incredibly stressful.
Interestingly our last cat did this after her brother went missing for couple of weeks. It wasn't nearly as aggressive though, more hissing and a few swots.

I'll revert back to scent swapping and hope it starts to make a difference. High posts are a good idea.

we've got the feliway, it doesn't seem to make any difference x
 
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Laylac

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It is best to avoid bad episodes if you can. Every attack = at least 10 of 100 times the cat will need a good experience. If someone almost beat you up, how many good interactions would it take you to trust them? For me it would be a few hundred!

Get a large extra thick poster board or a 4 foot by 4 foot piece of cardboard. Use the blocker when you open the door or to break up a stare down before a attack happens.

I hope the kitten is getting to run around half the day why your resident queen bee is locked in a room.
Hi there,

Excellent idea re the cardboard, thank you.

Yes they both get around. We take it turns to shut one away and let the other have free run of the house, which I'd hope is also helping with the scent swapping...
 

di and bob

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Keeping the kitten in a large cage is a good idea, it lets the female see his movements. Just make sure the kitten has a box to hide in so he doesn't get scared. It is not unusual at all for a female to act this way. They are more territorial than tom cats. She is scared too, she feels he is there to take what is hers. Keep up on the scent swapping, try to get some kind of screen door barrier or something that will let her see him without getting to him. Get some calming treats for them both. It may take the edge off. Another good idea is to start her on leash training. It would help all for a while. It wouldn't have to be forever just during this introduction. She may be stressed and resist it pretty good, laying down and not moving, but that is alright, it takes a while. Then you have a LOT more control if she is on a leash. Make sure she has a harness, not a collar, the jerk on the end of a leash can be pretty strong when they are attacking. You can stop any attacks this way. . let her walk up to the kitten, but if she lunges you can pull her away. I trained a cat killing dog (hunting dog) this way, and it was successful, she ended up loving cats!
They have not been together that long. 7-8 weeks is NOTHING in a cats world. They thrive on routine and you have interrupted hers big trime. It WILL work out. Is the kitten neutered? If not, that would help too. I have had two clowders of cats take a YEAR to finally accept each other, but they finally did. Yours will take approx. 6 months I am thinking. You have a highly strung girl, I had one too. Her bed was on top the fridge for many months. but in the end it all worked out, and so will yours, the trick is to stop the attacks first! Each attack takes them back to step one. Don't give up, we will help!
 
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Laylac

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Keeping the kitten in a large cage is a good idea, it lets the female see his movements. Just make sure the kitten has a box to hide in so he doesn't get scared. It is not unusual at all for a female to act this way. They are more territorial than tom cats. She is scared too, she feels he is there to take what is hers. Keep up on the scent swapping, try to get some kind of screen door barrier or something that will let her see him without getting to him. Get some calming treats for them both. It may take the edge off. Another good idea is to start her on leash training. It would help all for a while. It wouldn't have to be forever just during this introduction. She may be stressed and resist it pretty good, laying down and not moving, but that is alright, it takes a while. Then you have a LOT more control if she is on a leash. Make sure she has a harness, not a collar, the jerk on the end of a leash can be pretty strong when they are attacking. You can stop any attacks this way. . let her walk up to the kitten, but if she lunges you can pull her away. I trained a cat killing dog (hunting dog) this way, and it was successful, she ended up loving cats!
They have not been together that long. 7-8 weeks is NOTHING in a cats world. They thrive on routine and you have interrupted hers big trime. It WILL work out. Is the kitten neutered? If not, that would help too. I have had two clowders of cats take a YEAR to finally accept each other, but they finally did. Yours will take approx. 6 months I am thinking. You have a highly strung girl, I had one too. Her bed was on top the fridge for many months. but in the end it all worked out, and so will yours, the trick is to stop the attacks first! Each attack takes them back to step one. Don't give up, we will help!
Thank so much, that gives me some hope. I don't mind taking the time and being patience, but was hoping to hear that others have experienced the same and eventually had a good outcome...
 
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Laylac

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Keeping the kitten in a large cage is a good idea, it lets the female see his movements. Just make sure the kitten has a box to hide in so he doesn't get scared. It is not unusual at all for a female to act this way. They are more territorial than tom cats. She is scared too, she feels he is there to take what is hers. Keep up on the scent swapping, try to get some kind of screen door barrier or something that will let her see him without getting to him. Get some calming treats for them both. It may take the edge off. Another good idea is to start her on leash training. It would help all for a while. It wouldn't have to be forever just during this introduction. She may be stressed and resist it pretty good, laying down and not moving, but that is alright, it takes a while. Then you have a LOT more control if she is on a leash. Make sure she has a harness, not a collar, the jerk on the end of a leash can be pretty strong when they are attacking. You can stop any attacks this way. . let her walk up to the kitten, but if she lunges you can pull her away. I trained a cat killing dog (hunting dog) this way, and it was successful, she ended up loving cats!
They have not been together that long. 7-8 weeks is NOTHING in a cats world. They thrive on routine and you have interrupted hers big trime. It WILL work out. Is the kitten neutered? If not, that would help too. I have had two clowders of cats take a YEAR to finally accept each other, but they finally did. Yours will take approx. 6 months I am thinking. You have a highly strung girl, I had one too. Her bed was on top the fridge for many months. but in the end it all worked out, and so will yours, the trick is to stop the attacks first! Each attack takes them back to step one. Don't give up, we will help!
ps. Your ginger kitty looks like our kitten - or how I imagine he'll look when he's older :)
 

di and bob

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Cats are REALLY family oriented. If they are not born into the family it takes time for them to accept each other. Even cats that are separated for a while have to start over. I have introduced cats for a ling time and though they start out hating each other, it DOES workout, it just takes patience and time. Sometimes a lot longer than we would like.
Siamese are especially tempermental, that and being female is conttibuting to the trouble. Almost all my cats have had Siamese somewhere in them, they are very protective of their humans, stubborn, talkative, and very special! The flame point in my avatar was the most talkative and stubborn of them all!
 
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Furballsmom

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I don't mean to be a downer, I just am super concerned that Meezer Kitty isn't open minded at all here, to the point of attacking the cage, any person who happens to be holding the kitten etc etc.

She isn't restrained at all. This is unfair to the kitten, in my mind, and the stress on Ms. Meezer is pretty incredible. I'm pretty sure your daughter is a compassionate young lady.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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We had a fairly similar situation where our resident female attacked the safe room door often, for months on end, where we had two 4 and 1/2 month old male kittens (when we started the intros). Finally, after 5 months, when the kittens were bigger than she was and after going through all the integration stages I don't know how many times and failing and restarting, we just opened up the door to the safe room and let the fur fly. Nothing happened!!!!! Little Miss PrIss apparently was basically upset with them because she couldn't get into that room whenever she wanted.

Now I will tell you that the boys always gave her a wide berth, right up until the day she died. She tolerated them, but nothing else. Our resident male at the time could have cared less about what was going on, but she absolutely ruled the house with an iron paw...all 5 pounds of her!
 
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Laylac

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I don't mean to be a downer, I just am super concerned that Meezer Kitty isn't open minded at all here, to the point of attacking the cage, any person who happens to be holding the kitten etc etc.

She isn't restrained at all. This is unfair to the kitten, in my mind, and the stress on Ms. Meezer is pretty incredible. I'm pretty sure your daughter is a compassionate young lady.
You're not being a downer, I think this is what I'm trying to get a gage of from people. Is it a situation that others have had and managed to rectify, or is there no real hope of things improvement.

We are able to give both of them attention and lots of time to explore, it's just stressful constantly having to think where they are and prevent run ins (especially when the children are around... it's easier when they are at school)
 
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Laylac

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Cats are REALLY family oriented. If they are not born into the family it takes time for them to accept each other. Even cats that are separated for a while have to start over. I have introduced cats for a ling time and though they start out hating each other, it DOES workout, it just takes patience and time. Sometimes a lot longer than we would like.
Siamese are especially tempermental, that and being female is conttibuting to the trouble. Almost all my cats have had Siamese somewhere in them, they are very protective of their humans, stubborn, talkative, and very special! The flame point in my avatar was the most talkative and stubborn of them all!
They are very strong minded aren't they. He's such a friendly little thing. The little lady has always been quite aloof, except with our old cat who she adored
 

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Laylac

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We had a fairly similar situation where our resident female attacked the safe room door often, for months on end, where we had two 4 and 1/2 month old male kittens (when we started the intros). Finally, after 5 months, when the kittens were bigger than she was and after going through all the integration stages I don't know how many times and failing and restarting, we just opened up the door to the safe room and let the fur fly. Nothing happened!!!!! Little Miss PrIss apparently was basically upset with them because she couldn't get into that room whenever she wanted.

Now I will tell you that the boys always gave her a wide berth, right up until the day she died. She tolerated them, but nothing else. Our resident male at the time could have cared less about what was going on, but she absolutely ruled the house with an iron paw...all 5 pounds of her!
I'm OK with a wide berth... it's the apparent murderous intent I can't deal with :(

I have been holding out hope that she'll back off when he grows a bit. She doesn't seem at all scared of him, just very cross.
 
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