Just got new kittens and my male cat is very afraid/territorial???... help!!

Kitalya

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TL;DR at the end. This is a long one.
We just got 2 new kittens (not sure the age but too young to know gender still) and we haven't yet introduced them to our other 2 cats (1 male of about 9 yrs, 1 younger female). The male is named Bandit, for reference. I wash my hands before and after handling the kittens and we keep them in their own small-ish room to stay separated untill they have their clean bills of health and can be properly introduced. However, Bandit caught a glimpse of one of the kittens earlier today. My dad was holding a kitten and petting Bandit at the same time. Bandit had already seen the kitten for certain and was loving the pets, no problem. Then, all of a sudden, with seemingly no trigger, he hissed and ran off. A few minutes later I went to him with treats. He was hiding in a corner of the house, the same corner that he hid in when construction workers came and he was afraid. He hissed at me when I offered the treat so I set it down for him. Still wouldn't eat it. I remembered that I hadn't washed my hands, so I left him with the treat to do so. When I came back he still hissed and refused to eat the treat, cowering farther away from me. I decided he needed his space and left him alone for a while. When I went upstairs a few minutes later for bed he was already in my room, trying to find a way under the bed (there is no way). I picked him up and placed him on my bed. He went to his favorite spot in front of the window and seemed fine. He let me pet him and kiss him without a problem. I opened my door to talk to my mom and when I went back to my room, door still open, Bandit hissed. I couldn't tell what he was hissing at, then I saw our other resident cat (Vixen) sitting across the hall. My mom went to hold Vixen and carry her to Bandit so he would know that she is not one of the kittens. He still hissed, so we set her down and let her walk away. (She has been interested yet 100% unbothered by the new arrivals, but she hasn't met or seen them yet). He is currently sleeping in the corner of my room with the most cover rather than his window spot which he sleeps in every night, except for the nights when he sleeps next to me. He had a similar reaction when we introduced Vixen, but when he hissed at her and even me I got really scared.
TL;DR
I just got 2 very young new kittens. I have 2 resident cats (Older male Bandit and Younger female Vixen). Vixen is aware, interested, and unbothered. Bandit is aware and afraid. He seemed to be aware and unbothered, in the presence of a kitten yet loving the pets he was getting. Suddenly He hissed and ran off and ever since he has been acting off. He will hide and reject treats. He hissed at me and Vixen even when I had washed my hands to get the kitten smell off. He always sleeps on my bed with me, but tonight he sleeps on the floor of my room.
TL;DR For Those Who Really Don't Like to Read
I got 2 kittens. I have 2 cats. Alpha male is hissy at everyone on and off.
CONCLUSION/QUESTION
I'm really worried for Bandit. I think it is a territorial problem. Since we don't yet know the genders of the kittens, I think it could be a huge problem if both are male. I need tips for introduction and to help reassure Bandit. (Out of Eat/Play/Love, his priority is Love or Eat.) I need anything that can help keep him calm and everyone safe and happy.
 

ArtNJ

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Its absolutely normal for an older cat to be afraid. I know, afraid of a tiny kitten makes no sense to us humans. However, for cats, a kitten is somehow classified as "new cat" for fear purposes, so this happens again and again. This is why an introduction process is helpful.

The good news is that even though kittens are "new cats" for fear purposes, they are "kittens" for being attacked purposes. An older cat will NOT actually attack with intent to injure. A "get away" swat is as far as it goes. It is certainly weird that kittens are "new cats" for fear purposes and "kittens" for being attacked purposes, but that is certainly the way it is.

TL;DR continue your introduction, don't worry if there is a little hissing, even a swat and some fear when you finally put them together and all will be well

Hope this helps.

P.S. I once introduced a 9 year old Bandit to two younger kittens, and had similar issues. How can I not be sympathetic to someone in the same situation and just as naming-challenged as I? Bandit was one of our first cats and will always have a place in our hearts.
 

Jcatbird

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It seems like the fear first triggered when he caught the scent. After that, any cat movement or kitten scent made him worry. It’s going to take time but you can start with taking something that smells like kittens and putting it where he can investigate the smell. Scent swapping is sometimes helpful. You can even use a soft brush to brush him and then the kittens and back again. Intermingling his scent onto them can make things easier since cats rely on smell. I would let him investigate the kitten scent on a blanket or towel they sleep on first though. If the kittens are very young, I doubt he recognizes gender yet. Once the kittens develop hormones, get them spayed or neutered and that should make a huge difference for Bandit.
To calm Bandit now you can also use a Feliway diffuser, or two! Reassurance from you along with favorite treats should help. He may not even realize these are kittens yet. He just saw movement and caught the smell of new creatures on you and your Dad. Give him time. He just got kind of spooked since it was all very sudden and unexpected. Introducing kittens is generally something other cats will accept once they understand what’s going on. Older cats often act as foster parents too. I know you don’t want to see Bandit upset but it should all be fine as things move along. Please do keep us updated though.
Welcome to TCS! I’m sure others will be along with some great tips and advice. :welcomesign:Congratulations on the new family members too!
 
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Kitalya

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Its absolutely normal for an older cat to be afraid. I know, afraid of a tiny kitten makes no sense to us humans. However, for cats, a kitten is somehow classified as "new cat" for fear purposes, so this happens again and again. This is why an introduction process is helpful.

The good news is that even though kittens are "new cats" for fear purposes, they are "kittens" for being attacked purposes. An older cat will NOT actually attack with intent to injure. A "get away" swat is as far as it goes. It is certainly weird that kittens are "new cats" for fear purposes and "kittens" for being attacked purposes, but that is certainly the way it is.

TL;DR continue your introduction, don't worry if there is a little hissing, even a swat and some fear when you finally put them together and all will be well

Hope this helps.

P.S. I once introduced a 9 year old Bandit to two younger kittens, and had similar issues. How can I not be sympathetic to someone in the same situation and just as naming-challenged as I? Bandit was one of our first cats and will always have a place in our hearts.
Thank you so much! this is incredibly helpful as well as reassuring. So sweet that you also have a Bandit😍 Thank you again!!!
 

ArtNJ

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Good luck!

If you are unlucky, even after a formal introduction process Bandit will act afraid and hissy for quite a while, only improving slowly. That happens sometimes with older cats. But friendship is still on the table as well, so you'll just have to see how it goes. Feel free to check back in.
 
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Kitalya

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It seems like the fear first triggered when he caught the scent. After that, any cat movement or kitten scent made him worry. It’s going to take time but you can start with taking something that smells like kittens and putting it where he can investigate the smell. Scent swapping is sometimes helpful. You can even use a soft brush to brush him and then the kittens and back again. Intermingling his scent onto them can make things easier since cats rely on smell. I would let him investigate the kitten scent on a blanket or towel they sleep on first though. If the kittens are very young, I doubt he recognizes gender yet. Once the kittens develop hormones, get them spayed or neutered and that should make a huge difference for Bandit.
To calm Bandit now you can also use a Feliway diffuser, or two! Reassurance from you along with favorite treats should help. He may not even realize these are kittens yet. He just saw movement and caught the smell of new creatures on you and your Dad. Give him time. He just got kind of spooked since it was all very sudden and unexpected. Introducing kittens is generally something other cats will accept once they understand what’s going on. Older cats often act as foster parents too. I know you don’t want to see Bandit upset but it should all be fine as things move along. Please do keep us updated though.
Welcome to TCS! I’m sure others will be along with some great tips and advice. :welcomesign:Congratulations on the new family members too!
Thanks so much! Scent swapping sounds like an excellent idea as well as using the same brush for both😁
 

cataholic07

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You need to do slow introductions and site swapping, for sure the kittens cant be around the other cats until a few weeks after first vaccines. Some cats can be territorial and hissy, while others can be more scared. I have two boys Fynn who will hiss nonstop at fosters for at least a month lol. Jethro after a week wants to be with them but then gets all scared and hissy lol. With cats it will just take time. And ensure you have lot of resources like cat trees and litter boxes. You can also try feliway as well :)
 
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Kitalya

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Good luck!

If you are unlucky, even after a formal introduction process Bandit will act afraid and hissy for quite a while, only improving slowly. That happens sometimes with older cats. But friendship is still on the table as well, so you'll just have to see how it goes. Feel free to check back in.
Thank you! I really hope he warms up to them okay. I'll be sure to post an update once we really start the introduction.
 
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Kitalya

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You need to do slow introductions and site swapping, for sure the kittens cant be around the other cats until a few weeks after first vaccines. Some cats can be territorial and hissy, while others can be more scared. I have two boys Fynn who will hiss nonstop at fosters for at least a month lol. Jethro after a week wants to be with them but then gets all scared and hissy lol. With cats it will just take time. And ensure you have lot of resources like cat trees and litter boxes. You can also try feliway as well :)
Thank you! Site swapping is certainly something I will need to do. I'll also be sure to take care right after their vaccinations. Fynn and Jethro give me hope!😁
 
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