New Kitten Help! Resident Cat Issues...

NewtScoot

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So I have 2 adult female cats, 11 (Newt) and 15 (Kitty) years old. I got a neutered male 3.5 month old kitten last week. I kept him in a bathroom for a few days, then moved him to his own bedroom and kept him in the room, I let my cats see him to see how they would react and there was hissing and growling. Newt is who needs convincing. I put a piece of glass up to separate an open area and Newt would watch him run and play around and seem interested in him. She would never play with him under the door though. So it's been a week and last night and again today I let him roam the house under supervision. Well Newt watches him from afar and when he starts playing or runs off she will quickly run after him like she is stalking him and then hiss, growl, and swat. One time she ran after him doing all of that and spitting multiple times.
I feel like she isn't going to accept him...is it too early to tell? Newt hasn't changed her habits or behaviors, she still eats and plays like normal. Do I keep letting him roam around the house with her doing this? My gut says no. I have fed them both across from each other and that has gone fine.
History - Kitty was here first, then Tiger, then Newt. Tiger was another male cat and the 3 of them all got along pretty well but he passed 3 years ago. I thought Newt would like a playmate because Kitty doesn't play with her, and I specifically chose a male because I didn't think another female would be a good addition. I haven't tried a feliway diffuser yet.
How long do you try to do this dance until you decide it's not a good fit and he needs to be rehomed? I feel bad locking him up and I feel bad for Newt if she is stressed and upset. (But she acts pretty normal when he's in his own space). Please help!
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Kitty & Newt & Kitten
 

ColoradoCat

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Introducing cats can be quite something. I've been an adoption counselor for a few years and there are two things I always tell adopters who already have cats: First of all, if you have any face cloths, hand towels, or small blankets lying around, you can use them for scent exchange. For example, leave a towel/blanket with the new cat and another with the resident cats (or even rub them on the cats) and then swap them out after a few days. This allows the cats to get used to each other's scents at their own paces. The other thing I like to recommend is feeding the cats on opposite sides of the same door, preferably something they really enjoy such as a favorite canned food. This allows the cats to associate each other's scents with something positive (food). Once they're used to each other's scents, you can do supervised visitation/play dates. If something happens, you may need to take a few steps back. Depending on the cats, it can be a very slow process, but it should be well worth it in the end.

Also, if your new kitten is high energy and the resident cats aren't, it might also be a good idea to wear the new guy out with interactive play. That way, he won't be too much for the older cats to handle.
 

ArtNJ

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OK, breathe deaply, we will help! Some important information for you:

(1) adult cats don't hurt true kittens (say under 6 months) on purpose. Yay for biological hard wiring!

(2) hissing and growling is normal and not a problem. Swiping is a bit less common. I call what you have "charge-swatting" and its scary looking. And it isn't wonderful its happening, but see (1) above.

(3) where you are at now, you have a choice of proceeding with unlimited interaction in the hopes that they can work this out, or of backing up and doing a more extensive formal introduction process. This site has a guide! How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles The seperation by a piece of glass (i.e. visual access only) is a very important and useful step. Not sure how long you did that for or how the cats were reacting. If you back up, you don't necessarily need to go to square one, and could back up to more time separated by the glass.

(4) cats can work through a lot on their own, and thanks to (1) above, it isn't risky. And an introduction process doesn't generally solve all of these issues in any event. Kittens plus older cats is often hard, and there are issues to work out after the introduction. That said, I would rather there wasn't charge swatting for sure! So I don't have an opinion on whether backing up would be best or not. Maybe if you provide a little more details, but I think its likely to remain a close judgment call that you will need to make based on what you are seeing and the history.

(5) commonly, problems start when the kitten is a PITA to the older cats wanting to play. Its not entirely a bad thing when an older cat is very assertive about its space. Oddly enough, its the older cats that get stressed by the kittens but are unable or unwilling to be assertive about it that tend to have lasting stress. So I know the charge swatting is scary, but long term, its not so horribly prognosis wise

(6) it definitely hasn't been long enough to be depressed or think about rehoming! These things almost always improve with time. Sometimes, well, a lot more time than one would like . . . senior cat + kitten is not usually easy . . . but they do improve, and you actually have one cat that already seems to be doing ok. And the fact that the other senior cat is being assertive about backing the kitten off isn't all bad, as noted above. So I would certainly want to see how the cats do with a week or so together, either now or after backing up for a more fullsome introduction process.

Hope that helps, lot of folks will have more tips. No need to be pessimistic, its wayyy to early for that! If things change and the older cats aren't eating, using the box or start fighting with each other (something that can happen when they get stressed) you can reevalute sooner, but absent that kind of stuff, you want to see if the cats can work through this.
 
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NewtScoot

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OK, breathe deaply, we will help! Some important information for you:

(1) adult cats don't hurt true kittens (say under 6 months) on purpose. Yay for biological hard wiring!

(2) hissing and growling is normal and not a problem. Swiping is a bit less common. I call what you have "charge-swatting" and its scary looking. And it isn't wonderful its happening, but see (1) above.

(3) where you are at now, you have a choice of proceeding with unlimited interaction in the hopes that they can work this out, or of backing up and doing a more extensive formal introduction process. This site has a guide! How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles The seperation by a piece of glass (i.e. visual access only) is a very important and useful step. Not sure how long you did that for or how the cats were reacting. If you back up, you don't necessarily need to go to square one, and could back up to more time separated by the glass.

(4) cats can work through a lot on their own, and thanks to (1) above, it isn't risky. And an introduction process doesn't generally solve all of these issues in any event. Kittens plus older cats is often hard, and there are issues to work out after the introduction. That said, I would rather there wasn't charge swatting for sure! So I don't have an opinion on whether backing up would be best or not. Maybe if you provide a little more details, but I think its likely to remain a close judgment call that you will need to make based on what you are seeing and the history.

(5) commonly, problems start when the kitten is a PITA to the older cats wanting to play. Its not entirely a bad thing when an older cat is very assertive about its space. Oddly enough, its the older cats that get stressed by the kittens but are unable or unwilling to be assertive about it that tend to have lasting stress. So I know the charge swatting is scary, but long term, its not so horribly prognosis wise

(6) it definitely hasn't been long enough to be depressed or think about rehoming! These things almost always improve with time. Sometimes, well, a lot more time than one would like . . . senior cat + kitten is not usually easy . . . but they do improve, and you actually have one cat that already seems to be doing ok. And the fact that the other senior cat is being assertive about backing the kitten off isn't all bad, as noted above. So I would certainly want to see how the cats do with a week or so together, either now or after backing up for a more fullsome introduction process.

Hope that helps, lot of folks will have more tips. No need to be pessimistic, its wayyy to early for that! If things change and the older cats aren't eating, using the box or start fighting with each other (something that can happen when they get stressed) you can reevalute sooner, but absent that kind of stuff, you want to see if the cats can work through this.

Thank you for your advice. I was not aware about #1. What does PITA mean? I did the glass in the door for a couple of times, about 30 mins to an hour each. Well tonight he jumped over the glass, so there goes the supervised visual separation. But Newt sat there and didn't chase him, then later she did chase him. So I know she just needs more time. At what point do I know I can leave him out overnight? I suppose I'm over empathetic and feel bad mutually for both parties being locked up/not being able to go in one room. Not that they used it often. I was thinking about picking up a Feliway diffuser.

Do they need to stop hissing at each other before I should leave him free to roam all night? Newt only charge swatted one time. My elder Kitty hisses if approached but doesn't react otherwise, except when I held him and he meowed, she meowed back, she always seemed to be a concerned gal. She'll do the same thing if Newt meows in protest when I pick her up.

My girls are acting normally when he is not out in the house and are not fighting with each other so that is also a good thing. Are there any other details you would like?
 

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Kittens are generally a PITA (pain in the *ss) to older cats because they try to play constantly and absolutely don't take no for an answer. Causes a lot of problems with many senior cats. I

'm glad to hear that there was only the charge swatting once. Generally, unlimited visual through some kind of gate would be at least several days, not hours here or there, but your past that and it doesn't seem to be going badly. I don't think I'd go backwards and do more introduction.

Although the kitten will not be hurt, things can still go south when there are three cats involved. A very stressed cat will sometimes lash out at a friend cat (or human) for simply being too close when they are stressed. So I'd say that a little light hissing is fine, but if there are signs of higher stress like constant hissing, screaming, more charge swatting, then I wouldn't leave them together when sleeping or out.
 
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NewtScoot

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Kittens are generally a PITA (pain in the *ss) to older cats because they try to play constantly and absolutely don't take no for an answer. Causes a lot of problems with many senior cats. I

'm glad to hear that there was only the charge swatting once. Generally, unlimited visual through some kind of gate would be at least several days, not hours here or there, but your past that and it doesn't seem to be going badly. I don't think I'd go backwards and do more introduction.

Although the kitten will not be hurt, things can still go south when there are three cats involved. A very stressed cat will sometimes lash out at a friend cat (or human) for simply being too close when they are stressed. So I'd say that a little light hissing is fine, but if there are signs of higher stress like constant hissing, screaming, more charge swatting, then I wouldn't leave them together when sleeping or out.
Ahh yes, PITA. He actually doesn't seem to annoy them constantly, they have set their boundaries by hissing and he doesn't get too close, just runs by on occasion. I have put the glass back in the door with a curtain on top to deter him from jumping over and it seems to be working. I think I will continue that for several days and then try letting him out again.

Neither of my elder cats have attacked each other or me. But if he does slip out of the door and they are sitting nearby and see him they both hiss. My elder cat is treat motivated, and will eat them in front of the glass with kitten on the other side with maybe a hiss. Kitten meows at the glass and she stares back at him.
 

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Don't worry about a little light hissing, but if you think its more than that, sure, proceed with your plan, its a good one.
 

ColoradoCat

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Introducing cats can be quite something. I've been an adoption counselor for a few years and there are two things I always tell adopters who already have cats: First of all, if you have any face cloths, hand towels, or small blankets lying around, you can use them for scent exchange. For example, leave a towel/blanket with the new cat and another with the resident cats (or even rub them on the cats) and then swap them out after a few days. This allows the cats to get used to each other's scents at their own paces. The other thing I like to recommend is feeding the cats on opposite sides of the same door, preferably something they really enjoy such as a favorite canned food. This allows the cats to associate each other's scents with something positive (food). Once they're used to each other's scents, you can do supervised visitation/play dates. If something happens, you may need to take a few steps back. Depending on the cats, it can be a very slow process, but it should be well worth it in the end.

Also, if your new kitten is high energy and the resident cats aren't, it might also be a good idea to wear the new guy out with interactive play. That way, he won't be too much for the older cats to handle.
I was quite tired when I read your post last night, and I seem to have missed some things that you mentioned, so I'm going to refine my advice now that I've had a good night's sleep. Kittens tend to be pretty hyperactive and often don't yet have the social skills necessary to understand when they've gone too far. I can definitely see some issues cropping up between a very playful 3.5 month old and a relatively subdued 11 year old. I think as long as your new kitten matures and you keep an eye on them in the mean time, he and Newt will end up friends, or at least tolerating each other.

I actually had a cat growing up that wasn't too fond of kittens even when she was only a few years old. In her time, we brought home to two-month-olds at different times. Midnight calmed down as she grew up and Tina eventually learned to be friends with her. Starburst, on the other hand, had infinite tortitude and never really stopped being a kitten at heart. She thought it was fun to push Tina's buttons for their entire lives. Thankfully, Tina was a pretty chill cat and was able to tolerate Starburst or outright avoid her if she felt it necessary.

I think the best thing right now is to give it time and supervise the two of them. If things get dangerously out of hand, you can always separate them and start over using my initial advice once things have calmed down, though hopefully it won't come to that. I also still think it may be worth trying wearing out the new kitten with ribbon toys or something since a tired kitten would probably be easier for Newt to get along with than a bouncy kitten.
 
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NewtScoot

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I was quite tired when I read your post last night, and I seem to have missed some things that you mentioned, so I'm going to refine my advice now that I've had a good night's sleep. Kittens tend to be pretty hyperactive and often don't yet have the social skills necessary to understand when they've gone too far. I can definitely see some issues cropping up between a very playful 3.5 month old and a relatively subdued 11 year old. I think as long as your new kitten matures and you keep an eye on them in the mean time, he and Newt will end up friends, or at least tolerating each other.

I actually had a cat growing up that wasn't too fond of kittens even when she was only a few years old. In her time, we brought home to two-month-olds at different times. Midnight calmed down as she grew up and Tina eventually learned to be friends with her. Starburst, on the other hand, had infinite tortitude and never really stopped being a kitten at heart. She thought it was fun to push Tina's buttons for their entire lives. Thankfully, Tina was a pretty chill cat and was able to tolerate Starburst or outright avoid her if she felt it necessary.

I think the best thing right now is to give it time and supervise the two of them. If things get dangerously out of hand, you can always separate them and start over using my initial advice once things have calmed down, though hopefully it won't come to that. I also still think it may be worth trying wearing out the new kitten with ribbon toys or something since a tired kitten would probably be easier for Newt to get along with than a bouncy kitten.
Thank you for the advice. Newt likes to play, she'll carry around a toy and yowl and she still does that with kitten here. I put the glass back up, Newt sits outside and intently watches him and tries to paw at the glass but eventually she starts hissing and spitting a bit. I will try the glass for a few days more to help acclimate Newt. It seems to be more than just a little light hissing.
 

ColoradoCat

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Thank you for the advice. Newt likes to play, she'll carry around a toy and yowl and she still does that with kitten here. I put the glass back up, Newt sits outside and intently watches him and tries to paw at the glass but eventually she starts hissing and spitting a bit. I will try the glass for a few days more to help acclimate Newt. It seems to be more than just a little light hissing.
It sounds like Newt is interested (and very cute), but not quite sure yet. Some cats take longer to adjust to change than others. She might just need additional time. If it's a scent issue for her, you could try the face cloth/blanket scent exchange thing I mentioned in my original post. That might help her get used to the new smell at her own pace. Perhaps you can even give her treats on the towel, such as Temptations.
 
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NewtScoot

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Thank you to all whom gave advice on the situation. My cats are doing much better together now. After another day or so Newt started to hiss less and they started to play together. New kitten still kind of torments Kitty and shes not so amused but she just hisses and runs away. I did purchase a feliway diffuser, that probably helped too. The little guy tries to steal food so I am working on that now.
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