Introducing Kitten to resident cat

HHorst1446

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Hi!
I recently got a new kitten (Marceline) who is approx. 4 months old! My resident cat Soybean is 2 years old and the love of my life. I have a few concerns that I already ruined everything.
I wasn’t sure about going through the introduction and so I separated them for a day but then let Marceline out into our living room (as we live in a one bedroom apartment). Soybean hisses and growls if Marceline gets to close, but if they are far apart Soybean kind of forgets she’s there. But I want to try re-introducing them properly now that I understand what I need to do, is it too late to fix this? I want Soybean to be able to feel comfortable again in her own home as she’s been acting a bit off (and I am worried she hates me now :( ) any advice?
 

ArtNJ

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You can certainly back up and do a real process. There is never any harm done if there is no fighting. More importanlty, a little light hissing is nothing -- a young cat like Soybean would likely get over that on his own even if you did nothing. My last introduction, I sensed that my 4 year old wasn't too stressed by the kitten, so I let them together after 2 days to see how it was going. Since there was just some light hissing by the 4 year old, I let them work it out, and within two days they were fast friends.

Probably still a good idea to do a short introduction process even though it seems to be going well. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 
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HHorst1446

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Do you know how you can tell for sure if their personalities don’t mesh? I am just worried that I will be stressing Soybean out for so long if they never get along :(
 

ArtNJ

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Chances are really good a 2 year old will eventually end up friends with a kitten. With your 2 year old having a very mild initial reaction, there is just no need to worry. (We never worry about the kitten. They can befriend any cat willing to befriend them!) That said, it might still be a good idea to do some introduction process unless its too much of a PITA in a one bedroom.

Its when the resident cat is a lot older that you have to think about whether its really worth it and fair to the resident cat. For example, people that get a kitten so a 10+ year old will have a playmate are just underinformed, as even with a full introduction process, at that age the odds of friendship are poor and the stress can last a while.
 
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HHorst1446

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Okay!! Sorry for all the questions, but is “agressive” reactions mean swatting and attacking? So far Soybean has only growled and hissed when Marceline has gotten too close (when they were not separated) and now that they are separated Soybean is growling mostly, and the occasional hiss. Hoping this means progress? Lol
 

ArtNJ

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The older cat won't attack with intent to kill, but yes, some swatting is possible. Sometimes they charge at the kitten and chain swat. And sometimes other signs of extreme stress, like not eating, using the litter box, attacking you, or howling up a storm. Growling and hissing is pretty much totally normal for a few days if one skips the introduction process, and sometimes you get that even if you do an introduction process. Think of it like the older cat saying "I'm watching you!" Well, how long can they watch with nothing bad happening before they get over it?

On the kitten side, the main problem is that if the kitten is brave, they might start jumping all over the adult to play before the adult is ready, ignoring the growling and hissing. That can slow down the adult chilling out for sure.
 

Alldara

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HHorst1446 HHorst1446 I would say it's the same at this point. It's normal for a cat to become stressed during introductions and by no means does that indicate your cat hates you or will dislike the kitten long-term.

Building their friendship will take time. Right now they don't even know each other's languages! You haven't ruined anything. But it will take time and patience. I recommend doing maybe a 5 or 10 minute meditation even from YouTube per day to help calm your own nerves. That will support your cats feeling calm.

It took us 6 months to integrate Magnus and Nobel and I would say that Magnus is Nobel's favourite being in the whole world despite their 14 years age difference. Later we introduced Calcifer and that only took 2 months.

Here are some tips that helped us:
1. Cat calming music (from YouTube, feat purring)
2. Feliway spray and hormones
3. Lots of catnip
4. Using a different dry food as a treat for distraction and good behaviour - mostly for Nobel
6. Playing with both through a closed door and then a gate so they can watch one another.
7. Lots of playtime for both

Body language is a bit more tricky as with humans it's specific to the individual cat. I would suggest watching a few videos on the subject to help you get a baseline: and then posting your own video if you still aren't sure!

Hissing is generally a "hey back off!" But doesn't mean a cat doesn't like another cat. Nobel and Cal were laying near one another, Cal wanted to cuddle and leaned backwards towards Nobel. Nobel hissed and moved away. Literally a minute later he and Cal were playing through a box. And this was all just on my lunch break!
 
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HHorst1446

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Thank you both for the advice!!! I’m doing the separation method again and slowly going through the steps to hopefully stop hissing and growling through the door! If that can be done then onto short visual time!!
 

ArtNJ

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Sounds like a good plan, if you mean putting up a gate or something like that for the visual time. Methods of visual time that are super short, like putting one in a carrier, are less effective. Not to mention that being in the carrier in that situation could be stressful.
 
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