Introducing Cats (4 months in)

avni

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Hello!

I got a kitten at 8wks old in August after having my 3yo cat since November of 2019. I've been doing a slow introduction with them but aside from no more hissing at each others scent, not too much progress. The volunteer i was working with from the shelter advised a consider rehoming the baby but i dont have the heart to do that, i love him so much. Today, I tried giving them supervised time together after some people advised i let them work it out and establish the pecking order. There was lots of hissing/growling/swatting and about 1.5 hours later, a fight. They are currently separated and I'm switching back to visual feedings with a barrier (which has been successful. no vocalizations. just eating and walking away). Looking for more advise by im so stress, i cried a lot over it today bc i love them so much
 

BellaGooch

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Hello! welcome to TCS! :hithere:
If you haven't already, feel free to make a post in New Cats on the Block and check out this article: New Here? I Have A Few Suggestions For You! – TheCatSite Articles
Please do not stress! It is perfectly normal for an introduction to not go right, and there are definitely ways to fix it. In fact, it's so common that somebody published an article on it (that I definitely recommend checking out): How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – TheCatSite Articles
I hope that this helps, and feel free to ask as many questions as you have. Also, please do post pictures of your kitties, we'd love to see them!
Have a wonderful rest of your day :)
 

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Sometimes it takes a lot longer that 3 months. I think you should take a look at the articles linked above and then go back and re-do the introductions. Some cats just need to take their own sweet time over any changes, but that's not a reason to give up. Just go slowly. Even if they don't end up as best friends they can learn to share their home without any fights.

How big is your home? Do you have plenty of cat trees, so the cats can climb up and away from each other when they need to?
 
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avni

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Sometimes it takes a lot longer that 3 months. I think you should take a look at the articles linked above and then go back and re-do the introductions. Some cats just need to take their own sweet time over any changes, but that's not a reason to give up. Just go slowly. Even if they don't end up as best friends they can learn to share their home without any fights.

How big is your home? Do you have plenty of cat trees, so the cats can climb up and away from each other when they need to?
I have one cat tree in my room (3yo- Nimbus' room) and im waiting on another smaller one to come in the mail to keep in the common room where they both hang out (at different times. not togehter). I live in a small apartment so the kitten - Norbert - stays in the bathroom when im at work or sleeping or if Nimbus is out. Im currently going back to the previous step of feeding on either side of a transparent barrier and that is still going well.
 

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Describe the fight please. It is highly unusual for an adult to attack a kitten with intent to injure. A "get away" swat is much more normal. Sometimes there is a charge-swat thing the adults do which optically looks scary. But if there was a fight with intent to injure, the kitten would have horrible wounds.

I don't believe there is ever a reason for a 4 month introduction process with a kitten. Indeed, its actually more dangerous, as you are wasting precious time when the kitten is perceived as a kitten and won't be attacked with intent to injure. That time is nearly up now. So it is crucial that they be allowed to work stuff out by spending minimum hours together whenever you have time to watch, and quite soon thereafter unlimited time together. (Assuming you haven't already waited too long, and the kitten is now being perceived as a non-kitten, allowing true fights.)
 

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how did the " fight" look like ? Were there any injuries? Kittens play-fight non stop ... and sometimes this sounds very scary ... hiss growl , bites to the neck ... kittens are all about pouncing on other cats and the adults in turn pin them down and establish boundaries ... even cat mothers will do this ... hissing and swatting is how they politely say " no ... that went too far " ... The problem with introductions is that they cannot learn each others boundaries and body language unless they interact in person ... it can be quite frustrating for two cats to share a territory but ... not be able to communicate and set boundaries ... Cats are more social that we give them credit for but they pick and choose their friends ... and yes ... sometimes two cats don't get along (even they might get along with there cats ) and in that case I agree with the rescue worker ... it is kinder to both cats to re-home one - nobody wants to live with a room mate that one hates ... I foster and I had many many kittens ... some fit in immediately with my adults, some take a while and some are merely tolerated ... but ... there isn't an introduction without growls or hisses ... or bonks over the head ... kittens can be little terrors especially teens ... when I introduce cats I get a bunch of large cardboard boxes. I cut in multiple exits and place them everywhere ... it helps to keep the peace. You will also need at least 3 liter boxes at different places and 2-3 feeding ( and more important ... water ) stations ..
 
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avni

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will do! I've already looked at the "How to Fix
Describe the fight please. It is highly unusual for an adult to attack a kitten with intent to injure. A "get away" swat is much more normal. Sometimes there is a charge-swat thing the adults do which optically looks scary. But if there was a fight with intent to injure, the kitten would have horrible wounds.

I don't believe there is ever a reason for a 4 month introduction process with a kitten. Indeed, its actually more dangerous, as you are wasting precious time when the kitten is perceived as a kitten and won't be attacked with intent to injure. That time is nearly up now. So it is crucial that they be allowed to work stuff out by spending minimum hours together whenever you have time to watch, and quite soon thereafter unlimited time together. (Assuming you haven't already waited too long, and the kitten is now being perceived as a non-kitten, allowing true fights.)
The adult cat, nimbus, was minding her business but hissing/growling when the other approached her. it had been going on and off for a while, sometimes the younger one leaving her alone. there were swatting fits here and there but then the kitten jumped on her which led to her screaming/yowling and trying to get away while the other kept chasing and jumping on her. I wish it didnt take this long, i was going off the instructions of the shelter volunteer that helps with cat behavior. The kitten is 6 months now, hopefully it isn't too late
 

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avni

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how did the " fight" look like ? Were there any injuries? Kittens play-fight non stop ... and sometimes this sounds very scary ... hiss growl , bites to the neck ... kittens are all about pouncing on other cats and the adults in turn pin them down and establish boundaries ... even cat mothers will do this ... hissing and swatting is how they politely say " no ... that went too far " ... The problem with introductions is that they cannot learn each others boundaries and body language unless they interact in person ... it can be quite frustrating for two cats to share a territory but ... not be able to communicate and set boundaries ... Cats are more social that we give them credit for but they pick and choose their friends ... and yes ... sometimes two cats don't get along (even they might get along with there cats ) and in that case I agree with the rescue worker ... it is kinder to both cats to re-home one - nobody wants to live with a room mate that one hates ... I foster and I had many many kittens ... some fit in immediately with my adults, some take a while and some are merely tolerated ... but ... there isn't an introduction without growls or hisses ... or bonks over the head ... kittens can be little terrors especially teens ... when I introduce cats I get a bunch of large cardboard boxes. I cut in multiple exits and place them everywhere ... it helps to keep the peace. You will also need at least 3 liter boxes at different places and 2-3 feeding ( and more important ... water ) stations ..
I described the fight above. basically the kitten jumped on the other and she was not happy. I've always gotten mixed advise on this. that letting them fight like that will worsen the relationship. There weren't any injuries but lots of hair flying. I don't know if i should let it happen again or not
 

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Thats not a fight! Thats the kitten being a kitten and trying to initiate play when the big cat doesn't want it. Thats what they do.

Let them be together and work it out. Right now the big cat only sees PITA kitten. When they are together 24/7, the kitten will get tired and the big cat will see chill kitten. I can't guarranty they will ever be friends but you'll see improvement over time. No number of months will change the dynamic -- kittens want to play, play, play and it annoys and even scares some big cats. They need time to work on it.
 
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Thats not a fight! Thats the kitten being a kitten and trying to initiate play when the big cat doesn't want it. Thats what they do.

Let them be together and work it out. Right now the big cat only sees PITA kitten. When they are together 24/7, the kitten will get tired and the big cat will see chill kitten. I can't guarranty they will ever be friends but you'll see improvement over time. No number of months will change the dynamic -- kittens want to play, play, play and it annoys and even scares some big cats. They need time to work on it.
got it. it's just really scary to watch. especially when im trying to get some work done
 

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got it. it's just really scary to watch. especially when im trying to get some work done
It would be a lot scarier to watch if the big cat was actually playing back. We get freaked out folks coming here quite a bit. But its actually a good thing if an annoyed adult will pin the kitten. Helps teach it manners and boundaries. Its harder on the big cat when they just make noise, swat and run away, because then things tend to continue for quite a while. Regardless, you don't have a lot of kittenhood left, so the biological hardwiring that prevents an adult cat from attacking a kitten with intent to injure is ticking away. You need to give them time to see what they can do while you are still in this protective period.
 
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avni

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It would be a lot scarier to watch if the big cat was actually playing back. We get freaked out folks coming here quite a bit. But its actually a good thing if an annoyed adult will pin the kitten. Helps teach it manners and boundaries. Its harder on the big cat when they just make noise, swat and run away. Regardless, you don't have a lot of kittenhood left, so the biological hardwiring that prevents an adult cat from attacking a kitten with intent to injure is ticking away. You need to give them time to see what they can do while you are still in this protective period.
got it! I'll let them be together when im around to supervise (i don't know if free roam while im sleeping or while im at work would be a good idea)
 

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kittens are punks ... cute and lovable little PITAs. It is easier on adult cats when the introduction to little kittens isn't overly careful ( meaning a week in another room with scent swaps and then ... letting them spend time together) ... little kittens are less intimidating and they learn quite fast what the adults will and will not tolerate .... Make sure there are a LOT of hiding spots and resources ( litter boxes and water dishes especially) and ... make sure your older cat knows you are on his side - he might seek re-assurance that e is still your " top cat" .... humans tend to side with the baby and try to protect them which is ... natural but in the cat world ... kittens can be terrors and need adults to teach them manners. Kittens are so focused on play that they ignore body language - they way kittens learn from each other is ... they bite until the other cat squeaks or gets majorly upset .. but in time ... kitten play will go almost silent because they will have learned their cues ... but even my adults have moments when one gets a bit " too much" for the other ...
 
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avni

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kittens are punks ... cute and lovable little PITAs. It is easier on adult cats when the introduction to little kittens isn't overly careful ( meaning a week in another room with scent swaps and then ... letting them spend time together) ... little kittens are less intimidating and they learn quite fast what the adults will and will not tolerate .... Make sure there are a LOT of hiding spots and resources ( litter boxes and water dishes especially) and ... make sure your older cat knows you are on his side - he might seek re-assurance that e is still your " top cat" .... humans tend to side with the baby and try to protect them which is ... natural but in the cat world ... kittens can be terrors and need adults to teach them manners. Kittens are so focused on play that they ignore body language - they way kittens learn from each other is ... they bite until the other cat squeaks or gets majorly upset .. but in time ... kitten play will go almost silent because they will have learned their cues ... but even my adults have moments when one gets a bit " too much" for the other ...
thanks! Yes, I have three litter boxes, and a few water bowls and fountain. Found two boxes i could spare to use for hiding places. Im gonna make a walmart run and get a tunnel and interactive toys to distract the little terror. He's been hyper and running towards Nimbus all morning!
 
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avni

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thanks! Yes, I have three litter boxes, and a few water bowls and fountain. Found two boxes i could spare to use for hiding places. Im gonna make a walmart run and get a tunnel and interactive toys to distract the little terror. He's been hyper and running towards Nimbus all morning!
older one backs away from me when i try to show her attention right now. probably just the stress of having a kitten running at her
 
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Hello!

So a lot of people here and on other cat forums recommended I let me 6mo old kitten and 3yo cat work it out so the older one can teach boundaries to the younger before he's seen as an adult in her mind. It got a little heated today but nothing major. Any tips on reducing stress for the older cat? I try redirecting the kitten when he gets too much for the other. They are given free reign when I'm home from work. Kitten is kept in the bathroom when I'm sleeping or at work.

Thanks!
 
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avni

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Hello! So it's been about a week since i began giving the two free roam when im around to supervise. still a lot of hissing/growling/swatting from the older one (the kitten just goes through phases of wanting to interact with her). Nimbus is a little constipated from the stress (I have her on 1/4 miralax. that's what the vet told her foster mom to do when she had stress constipation about a year ago). getting some small poops almost daily now.

Any tips to help them along? Or is this something that i should just let play out? there's not fighting so im not too concerned.

Also, tips on reducing stress? Feliway doesn't help. There are also plenty of food/water and high surfaces.


Thanks!
 

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give your older kitten your attention, feed him first , welcome him first when you get in a room and talk to him while mostly ( lovingly ) ignore the baby- I swear my jealous adults only accept new fosters when I ignore the babies for a while .. it sounds silly I know but cats keep track of attention. I also find it helpful to play ( separately ) with Dabird or another chase toy to get out some of that anxiety ... otherwise ... it is usually just time ...
 
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avni

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give your older kitten your attention, feed him first , welcome him first when you get in a room and talk to him while mostly ( lovingly ) ignore the baby- I swear my jealous adults only accept new fosters when I ignore the babies for a while .. it sounds silly I know but cats keep track of attention. I also find it helpful to play ( separately ) with Dabird or another chase toy to get out some of that anxiety ... otherwise ... it is usually just time ...
Thanks! That's what I've been trying to do! I feed her first and sit wither her instead of feeding them at the same time
 
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