Introducing kitten to 1 yr old cat

mistyandares

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Hi! I just got a new kitten for my cat Misty who just turned 1 in April. I have always wanted to get a companion for her because she struggles with separation anxiety and came from a litter whose mother died when they were around 7 weeks old. We tried with a male bigger cat that I was guilt tripped into taking but unfortunately had to rehome him due to his behavioral problems. This time it was recommended I get a kitten and so I ended up adopting a sweet and playful female kitten around 10 weeks old that was the last of her litter. I have been following the Jackson Galaxy method of introductions. Keeping them seperated and allowing interaction through door cracks and pawing under the door. My older cat has been hissing at the new kitten and growling a bit when the kitten is being super noisy unexpectedly or when the kitten tries to squeeze out of the door crack. However, she also has been trilling and chatting at the door when I am in there with the kitten and been very interested in seeing her. When she sees her she has her ears up/forward and the pupils they get when they play. The kitten is more observant and waits until my older cat comes up to the crack or sticks her paw through to play. She comes from a home where she was well socialized with other cats, dogs, and children. They also have very similar personalities and energy levels. have been using a calming collar, pheromone diffuser, and calming treats for my older cat. I am wondering if these are good signs so far for both cats and what I should look out for?
 

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mistyandares

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Yes, those are good signs and because your older cat is actually still quite young the chances are very high that she will adjust quickly and be excited to have a playmate.
I’m so glad to hear that! I think we’re making some progress today! My older cat started rolling around and pawing towards the kitten during a treat and door peek session.
 

ArtNJ

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Kitten plus 1 year old is almost guarantied to end in friendship. You can't mess it up. It might take some time, and the older cat may be unsure for a while, but friendship is a fairly safe bet. Its probably still a good idea to follow a guide, but they aren't strictly speaking necessary at this age, or that is my opinion anyway.

The issue you may not be prepared for is that one year olds are, on average, the absolute most play crazy adult-sized cats, and for people that haven't seen it before, a one year old playing with a kitten can look scary. It just tends to be a whole different level from even a 3-4 year old adult playing with a kitten. The kitten might squeal and run, and you might be worried. But the thing is, if you give the kitten a few minutes, it almost always comes right back out and acts like nothing happened, even tries to initiate play. It just looks too rough. Anyway, the thing to do if you find yourself in this situation and still worried, which is not unlikely, is to take a video to show us.
 
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mistyandares

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Kitten plus 1 year old is almost guarantied to end in friendship. You can't mess it up. It might take some time, and the older cat may be unsure for a while, but friendship is a fairly safe bet. Its probably still a good idea to follow a guide, but they aren't strictly speaking necessary at this age, or that is my opinion anyway.

The issue you may not be prepared for is that one year olds are, on average, the absolute most play crazy adult-sized cats, and for people that haven't seen it before, a one year old playing with a kitten can look scary. It just tends to be a whole different level from even a 3-4 year old adult playing with a kitten. The kitten might squeal and run, and you might be worried. But the thing is, if you give the kitten a few minutes, it almost always comes right back out and acts like nothing happened, even tries to initiate play. It just looks too rough. Anyway, the thing to do if you find yourself in this situation and still worried, which is not unlikely, is to take a video to show us.
That is super helpful! I have noticed that they are becoming more comfortable with each other fast. My older cat is still pretty territorial over things like her bed and cat tower but has stopped hissing and growling as much. We tried a supervised play session this morning and Misty definitely wanted to play rough and tackled her and the kitten was pretty quick to hiss and try to set a boundary. She did follow the kitten around after that and even tried licking the kittens bottom a few times. They ended up playing nicely for a few minutes but then the older one got too rough and overstimulated so I had to separate them.
 
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mistyandares

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I’m a little worried that my older cat might be a bit of a bully. She isn’t hissing at the kitten but the kitten is hissing and growling a bit at her but then runs after her older sister anyways. She rolls on her tummy when playing with her older sister and tends to have her ears back. I have videos but I’m not quite sure how to post them.
 
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mistyandares

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Finally figured out how to do videos. Here is them together:
 

ArtNJ

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Those look totally fine. They are good to go, hissing should stop in a day or two except during rough play. That doesn't mean that the kitten won't hiss or squeal and run/hide for a bit in the moment when the older cat is being a bit excessive, but its nothing to worry about as long as the kitten doesn't act afraid at all times. That sort of dynamic can continue for a long time and is normal.
 
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mistyandares

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Those look totally fine. They are good to go, hissing should stop in a day or two except during rough play. That doesn't mean that the kitten won't hiss or squeal and run/hide for a bit in the moment when the older cat is being a bit excessive, but its nothing to worry about as long as the kitten doesn't act afraid at all times. That sort of dynamic can continue for a long time and is normal.
That’s great to hear! How long do you think they will need to be separated unsupervised? I was hoping it wouldn’t longer than 2 months to get to that stage so they don’t get lonely when I go back to work full time soon.
 

ArtNJ

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That’s great to hear! How long do you think they will need to be separated unsupervised? I was hoping it wouldn’t longer than 2 months to get to that stage so they don’t get lonely when I go back to work full time soon.
TBH I'd leave them alone now, or at the latest once non-rough play hissing stops. At this point, its like leaving a 6 year old alone with a 3 year old human boy. There might be some head noogies and drama involved, but no one will be hurt and they will sort it out and play together throughout the day. Ok, you wouldn't actually leave a 3 and 6 year old human alone, but cats can't turn on the stove or open the front door.
 
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