New high energy cat is exhausting me

Anne2021

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Hi. I am new here. Please be kind. I am a lifelong cat lover and have almost always had one or more cats. Until recently I had three cats: 12-year-old female, 11-year-old male, and 2-year-old female. The older two were kittens when my now adult daughter was a young girl and are more bonded to her. She had moved out over a year ago but didn't feel like she could take the cats until she bought a house. She lived nearby and visited them a lot. The 2-year-old is my baby. I've had her since she was 10 weeks old and she is bonded to me and sleeps with me and so on. She didn't have a lot of interaction with the older cats, but she had their company when I was busy. My daughter recently bought a house and was ready to take the older cats and I was concerned about my baby not having any other cat company. I also didn't want her to get used to being the only cat. So, I adopted a cat from a shelter the day before my daughter took the other two. I had wanted a similar circumstance, maybe a senior who still had a little occasional playfulness left, but I read that for it to work the new cat needed to be the same age or younger. I did not want to start over with a kitten. I found a 2-year-old female described as playful. It took us about nine days to do the introductions before I could let them be together. Taking the course we did was successful and they accepted each other.

It has now been just over six weeks since I adopted new kitty. I am a nervous wreck and exhausted. I have never known a more high energy cat. She is absolutely exhausting. I have been playing with her 45-60 minutes three times a day and it's not enough. (If I shorten the sessions, then I just have to do more sessions). The two girls get along, but my first cat is more reserved. She is playful but measured, thoughtful, plans her attacks on toy prey. New kitty barrels into everything with the exuberance of a puppy. She stampedes down the stairs and practically flies into the wall. She does not seem anxious, quite the opposite - confident, self-assured. She is so intense. She plays until she is open-mouthed panting like a dog and as soon as she catches her breath, she wants more. She loves the mouse on a wand and wire toy. She goes after her toy prey as though the fate of the feline species depended on it. When she is bored, she chases first kitty until there is a melee. No claws, no biting, no fighting, no aggression. She is just trying to force my other kitty to play hard and though first kitty wants to play with her (like I do), it's never enough and new kitty is so boisterous, we are both overwhelmed. My first kitty has started scratching herself around her ears a lot, is doing that twitching they do when their ears itch and she is losing hair on her head. Some days she has to hide or stay on guard. She actually picked a neutral safe position she favors. Other times, they are together. My first kitty is often trying to tap second kitty on the head when she approaches as if to say - Down, girl. She tries to groom new kitty's head and establish some calm bonding habits. New kitty cooperates if she has recently woken up or just eaten a meal and is ready to nap. Days like Saturday, where I had to take a break and not do the first session of the day because I was so tired and overstimulated, first kitty got barreled into and chased so many times that she retreated and sought protection from me. She NEVER had to do this before. She even got pushed off a high level of the cat tower and got the wind knocked out of her because of the rough play. I could go on and on describing this. We are both trying so hard. First kitty never had to deal with anything like this with the seniors. She never had to defend herself or hide. She doesn't walk around the house the same way. It's like it's not her home anymore. She is most relaxed when I like down on the couch and drape a blanket over my legs and she goes under there and naps.

I keep picturing new kitty in an active household with high-energy people, maybe kids or a dog, who can each give her a little of what she needs and where no one will be overwhelmed. She is a wonderful, special girl that makes me laugh so much. So good-natured. So much personality. At a different stage or circumstance of life, I think I would have been thrilled to find her. At this stage and this circumstance, I feel like first kitty and I are not enough for her and we are both going to have nervous breakdowns. I am overwhelmed.
 

Cat McCannon

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Belle used to be like that. No matter how much I played with her, she always wanted more. But she’s settled down a lot since then and she’s not quite 2 years old and we’ve had a year and three months.

She’s an only cat (so far).

Take a look at the spot(s) New Cat has pushed First Cat from its place on the cat condo and figure out how to create escape routes so First Cat can escape New Cat without getting pushed out and falling.

Figure out ways to boost First Cat’s confidence so it can stand up to New Cat.

Things will get better when New Cat gets past this high energy stage.
 

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I'm a bit concerned that the shelter might have missed fleas or mites or something, and new kitty gave them to resident kitty.

Here is my reasoning: it really doesn't sound like your resident 2 y.o. dislikes the newcomer generally. If she did, she would have that feeling at all times and not just when the newcomer was in crazy mode. She wouldn't be willing to play sometimes, trying to groom the newcomer and the like. The "its just too much let me breath thing" is actually super common, older cats get that all the time when a kitten that is an 11 on the 1-10 activity scale comes in and won't take no for an answer, and it doesn't normally cause enough stress for a cat to be giving itself spots by pulling or licking out hair, and you mentioned it mostly manifests in scratching the ears. Hence my concern about mites or something.

Normally, the its just too much at times scenario is something that cats can work through on their own. As Cat McCannon Cat McCannon says, it normally gets better, if for no other reason than because all cats slow down eventually. Normally some slowing before age 2, but of course it varies and its not so weird that your new kitty hasn't slowed down yet. I'd be surprised if you don't get *some* slowing soonish though.

Anyway, the only thing giving me some pause is basically your belief that at times your resident cat is showing signs of severe stress. But overall, it doesn't seem too bad or unusual, and its likely that it should get better before too long.

P.S. In theory a cat of similar age and temperment is perhaps the best match, but since one can rarely be sure about the tempermeant, a kitten is usually safer and easier. Even if you got a crazy active kitten, at least it would have been smaller which might have made a difference.
 

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This reminds me of my last cat Dante. Dante was the hyperest cat I have ever known or heard about! I could not tire the punk out! I adopted my current cat becuase his hyperness reminded me of Dante & I didn’t want him to be returned/rehomed again! (Which may


Dante taught me that you have to tire out their minds to tire their bodies & that outside time is like Ritalin for cats with ADHD!

So if you can build a catio. If not a harness with a long lead leash should do the trick. Take your problem cat for a daily walk and let your cat hang out in your backyard (on leash) for an hour or two every day. I read during that time and my hyper cst gets 1-2 walks a day.

Next interactive toys that you rotate. I save them for when it rains or I’m sick. I use things like a ball that moves on it’s own, a couple of hexabugs on the ground, hexabugs remote controlled mouse, catnip bubbles and I’m looking at a new expensive toy for him for Christmas. My mom’s cats liked the automatic laser pointer and the tail thing that spun in circles under a tarp until they got sick of it (because she put it out every day.) You can also try puzzle feeders, treat mazes and even home made interactive toys.

I included some pictures of Jackie outside. He climbs trees, rolls around & hunkers down to hunt birds outside.
 

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Oh & my crazy hyper cat Dante didn’t start to slow down until he was 7.5 years old!!! Jackie started to mellow out when he turned 2.
 

danteshuman

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What helped with my victim cat was to lock out my bully (Dante) and give my victim cat 1 on 1 play. It built up his confidence and he started standing up to his brother. Just 15 minutes a day, made a difference.
 
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Anne2021

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Belle used to be like that. No matter how much I played with her, she always wanted more. But she’s settled down a lot since then and she’s not quite 2 years old and we’ve had a year and three months.

She’s an only cat (so far).

Take a look at the spot(s) New Cat has pushed First Cat from its place on the cat condo and figure out how to create escape routes so First Cat can escape New Cat without getting pushed out and falling.

Figure out ways to boost First Cat’s confidence so it can stand up to New Cat.

Things will get better when New Cat gets past this high energy stage.
Thank you for replying. First kitty tries to hold her own by nature. She really isn't a wallflower cat or anything like that. It's just that there is only so much she can do. She is about 8.75 lbs and new kitty is 9.5 lbs. It's not much of a difference, but when someone with unusual energy who is just a bit bigger than you keeps throwing herself at you and on you, and you are not willing to do them actual harm, what do you do?
 
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Anne2021

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Thank you for replying. First kitty tries to hold her own by nature. She really isn't a wallflower cat or anything like that. It's just that there is only so much she can do. She is about 8.75 lbs and new kitty is 9.5 lbs. It's not much of a difference, but when someone with unusual energy who is just a bit bigger than you keeps throwing herself at you and on you, and you are not willing to do them actual harm, what do you do?
Also, I'm concerned this may not just be a stage. I have heard of cats who remain high energy for a long time. New kitty spent time as a stray and I think this may have also boosted this side of her nature. She was brought into the shelter in late July and determined to be two at that time so I am concerned she is well past kitten stage characteristics.
 
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Anne2021

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I'm a bit concerned that the shelter might have missed fleas or mites or something, and new kitty gave them to resident kitty.

Here is my reasoning: it really doesn't sound like your resident 2 y.o. dislikes the newcomer generally. If she did, she would have that feeling at all times and not just when the newcomer was in crazy mode. She wouldn't be willing to play sometimes, trying to groom the newcomer and the like. The "its just too much let me breath thing" is actually super common, older cats get that all the time when a kitten that is an 11 on the 1-10 activity scale comes in and won't take no for an answer, and it doesn't normally cause enough stress for a cat to be giving itself spots by pulling or licking out hair, and you mentioned it mostly manifests in scratching the ears. Hence my concern about mites or something.

Normally, the its just too much at times scenario is something that cats can work through on their own. As Cat McCannon Cat McCannon says, it normally gets better, if for no other reason than because all cats slow down eventually. Normally some slowing before age 2, but of course it varies and its not so weird that your new kitty hasn't slowed down yet. I'd be surprised if you don't get *some* slowing soonish though.

Anyway, the only thing giving me some pause is basically your belief that at times your resident cat is showing signs of severe stress. But overall, it doesn't seem too bad or unusual, and its likely that it should get better before too long.

P.S. In theory a cat of similar age and temperment is perhaps the best match, but since one can rarely be sure about the tempermeant, a kitten is usually safer and easier. Even if you got a crazy active kitten, at least it would have been smaller which might have made a difference.
Thank you for your comments. Your mites idea makes good sense; however, I took new kitty in to the vet for a check-up when I had her four days. She got the all clear on her ears then. Also, first kitty came to me with ear mites when she was a kitten and it took us four months and multiple vet visits to completely eradicate them so I saw what that was like. It doesn't look like that now.

My first kitty really does seem like she could accept new kitty if it weren't for her overdone personality, but that's what concerns me. I know some cats don't slow down for a long time and I am very concerned about the effect on first kitty's confidence and personality. My property backs up to a commons with a lot of grass and trees. I frequently would put the harness and leash on first kitty and take her out on the patio or in the grass or sometimes I would carry her around the commons in a posture that she could look around. These were really sweet times. The last four times we have gone out - all since new kitty has arrived - she has been nervous and hyper-reactive to sounds and activity. A man was sweeping leaves off of his balcony quite a distance away, but we could see and hear him. She tensed up and started growling and I had to get her inside. She does not growl. She growled at a Fedex delivery man through the window as well. I had a dilute torti who used to do that and it was just part of her personality, but first kitty never, ever growled before new kitty came. She is jumpier as well. I have wondered if anyone has had success bringing in a senior with a decent temperament to join a younger cat. That is what she was used to. She was the one with more energy than them and always treated them with respect even when she tried to bring out their playful side.
 

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Does new kitty wear a collar with a bell? My crazy girl (would literally skid into walls because she was running too fast and forced me into TWO HOUR play sessions) had to wear a bell when she was younger so the resident cat would know where she was and when she was coming. It helped calm the jumpy-ness down a lot. Also, positive conditioning. After playing with crazy girl BOTH cats would get treats/canned food. Resident cat learned that my girl being a spaz could mean something delicious was coming. Also, getting new kitty harness trained for some outdoor time is not a bad idea. My crazy girl loves the mental stimulation. I’d say she’s only 2ish and she could be younger - shelters can only guess after all. So I’d be willing to bet she’ll calm down with time. My crazy girl is no longer crazy at 4 years but she didn’t really settle until she was 3.
 

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You could consider getting a kitten I suppose. Some people report that helped solve similar energy issues. As a problem solver, always seemed a bit iffy/risky to me, YMMV, but its clear that it can sometimes work.

For the most part my feeling on this is that you can't drain the ocean with a thimble. New play strategies or toys can't hurt, but I tend to think that with some cats they are a thimble.
 
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Anne2021

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This reminds me of my last cat Dante. Dante was the hyperest cat I have ever known or heard about! I could not tire the punk out! I adopted my current cat becuase his hyperness reminded me of Dante & I didn’t want him to be returned/rehomed again! (Which may


Dante taught me that you have to tire out their minds to tire their bodies & that outside time is like Ritalin for cats with ADHD!

So if you can build a catio. If not a harness with a long lead leash should do the trick. Take your problem cat for a daily walk and let your cat hang out in your backyard (on leash) for an hour or two every day. I read during that time and my hyper cst gets 1-2 walks a day.

Next interactive toys that you rotate. I save them for when it rains or I’m sick. I use things like a ball that moves on it’s own, a couple of hexabugs on the ground, hexabugs remote controlled mouse, catnip bubbles and I’m looking at a new expensive toy for him for Christmas. My mom’s cats liked the automatic laser pointer and the tail thing that spun in circles under a tarp until they got sick of it (because she put it out every day.) You can also try puzzle feeders, treat mazes and even home made interactive toys.

I included some pictures of Jackie outside. He climbs trees, rolls around & hunkers down to hunt birds outside.

danteshuman, thank you for replying and for sharing the pictures. Those are wonderful. What a beautiful kitty!

I have thought about a catio. I have been looking online. I live where the temperatures are dropping, however, and there will be many days where that would not be feasible due to weather. I could try the idea of hooking her to the harness and leash on the patio until I can arrange a catio. If I stay with her, however, that is all time that I no longer spend with first kitty. Right now the play sessions are taking well over two additional hours of my time a day - more if you count the times I stop for five or ten minutes and play with her because she follows me to see if I am doing anything interesting. I have one on one time with first kitty as well where I give her 15-30 minutes a day because we don't get our time together anymore. That has been very difficult, too. She would check on what I was doing throughout the day and our play together was natural here and there depending on what I was doing. Now new kitty is always there. If I interact with first kitty in a way that looks entertaining to new kitty, well, she takes over. It isn't even about me or jealousy or anything like that - it's just that she is always jonesing for entertainment and if she sees us doing anything at all - she is in the center of it. So, my relationship with first kitty is really taking a hit as well. I don't know how to keep up these time commitments long-term. I am a low energy person in general and I have never had a cat situation like this before where everything has to be centered around this cat. I am floored.
 
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Anne2021

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Oh & my crazy hyper cat Dante didn’t start to slow down until he was 7.5 years old!!! Jackie started to mellow out when he turned 2.
That's exactly what I'm concerned about! 7.5 years?? I think that is about the age the senior cats with my daughter changed. Eight is when our dilute torti changed from being as playful as she was to more of a lap cat and she was not a crazy hyper cat to begin with. It was kind of the same with our orange tabby as far as when he stopped playing certain ways and engaging in certain behaviors and shifted into a new norm.
 
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Anne2021

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You could consider getting a kitten I suppose. Some people report that helped solve similar energy issues. As a problem solver, always seemed a bit iffy/risky to me, YMMV, but its clear that it can sometimes work.

For the most part my feeling on this is that you can't drain the ocean with a thimble. New play strategies or toys can't hurt, but I tend to think that with some cats they are a thimble.

I thought about that actually. It is risky as you said, and I can't take the risk. Even more time taken from my first kitty and more responsibility that I may not have the energy to meet, as well as additional personality issues.

I do sense that with this cat, nothing will be enough. I have a young adult son living with me who interacts a little with the cats, but not much. I am the primary human for them. A couple of weeks ago, he sensed my discouragement and was trying to play with her more and encourage me that all would work out. He hasn't kept that up, though he will take her outside for a little while on the harness in good weather. I asked him today if he could take a bigger role in wearing her out, and he remarked that he didn't think it was possible (paraphrase, but that was his meaning). (His previous remarks were: she needs to fly around - because when she chases the mouse on the wand she bounces up, on, and off of the cat tower like she's doing parkour - and she needs a dog).
 
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Anne2021

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Does new kitty wear a collar with a bell? My crazy girl (would literally skid into walls because she was running too fast and forced me into TWO HOUR play sessions) had to wear a bell when she was younger so the resident cat would know where she was and when she was coming. It helped calm the jumpy-ness down a lot. Also, positive conditioning. After playing with crazy girl BOTH cats would get treats/canned food. Resident cat learned that my girl being a spaz could mean something delicious was coming. Also, getting new kitty harness trained for some outdoor time is not a bad idea. My crazy girl loves the mental stimulation. I’d say she’s only 2ish and she could be younger - shelters can only guess after all. So I’d be willing to bet she’ll calm down with time. My crazy girl is no longer crazy at 4 years but she didn’t really settle until she was 3.
Sajast, I like it! I have not had a collar with a bell on her, but I have one. I will try that on her this evening and see what happens. Your description of your crazy girl sounds just like new kitty. The stairs leading upstairs to the second floor end at the foyer near the front door. There is a small window next to the front door directly in front of the bottom of the stairs, maybe five feet from the bottom step. She stampedes down the stairs and skids into the wall or curves and skids into the door or, if she's planning, she tries to turn it into a leap onto the windowsill, which she is too big for so she can't actually land there anyway. That reminds me of another issue - which is that she is going to make me fall. She gets under my feet a few times most days and especially on the stairs, though not always the stairs. I have learned on the stairs to expect that she knows I am on them and to listen for the first sound of her - freeze - grab the railing and wait for her to barrel past me. I'm scared she is going to make me fall. My adult son who is not very involved has agreed to try to get her used to the harness and a little time outside so that I can get some time with first kitty when he does that.
 

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I have an 11 year old Abyssinian who still bounces off the wall non stop :doh: It's typical of the breed. Your adopted cat is likely just a domestic cat of no particular breed but it's not unheard of for some domestic cats to be super energetic. I think with time your cat will settle down a bit. Having another cat to play with helps.
 

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If you can I would highly suggest a catio with bird feeders outside. It would be the easiest solution. Hang the feeders so your hyper cat can see them from the catio. Maybe even get a squirrel feeder. Provided Jackie gets at least an hour a day outside to hang out and a short walk, he is a well behaved kitty.

7.5 years is highly unusual. I will say this though, I still miss Dante the great. He took a chunk of my heart when he died. Yes he was crazy hyper but he was my shadow & my best friend. So try to love on your problem child & marvel at how clever they are. (Like how clever my twerp Jackie is to have figured out how to open the screen & glass sliding doors if they are not locked.)

Routine helps, outside time is a godsend & like I said interactive toys. I like to give my twerp a giant gift bag or a box or a tub with toys and tissue paper in it, to play with.

Here was Dante’s favorite spot. He would go in the backyard and hunt every afternoon.
 

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Oh and you can try pet crickets...... though my cat would get bored if he couldn’t get his paws in the cage. Make sure the beta bowl has a lid. Goldfish require large tanks and a filter and air bubbles. Goldfish will grow huge if you put them in a giant tank of lake. Plus goldfish live decades. Basically goldfish in pet stores are just babies. Even a beta fish should get at least a gallon and beta fish are extremely clever. (I just stopped keeping fish because I got tired of cleaning the tanks.)
 
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Anne2021

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I have an 11 year old Abyssinian who still bounces off the wall non stop :doh: It's typical of the breed. Your adopted cat is likely just a domestic cat of no particular breed but it's not unheard of for some domestic cats to be super energetic. I think with time your cat will settle down a bit. Having another cat to play with helps.
LTS3, wow! 11 years! Both of my cats are brown/black tabbies. I'm really struggling with feeling like I betrayed my resident cat. She is a quiet kitty that could communicate whatever she needed to say by the way she looked at me. Her looks these days speak desperation and it's hard to put her well-being on the line hoping this changes. She had a nice, quiet life and didn't ask for this....
 
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