New kitten is chasing after the residents

Alexxandra

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Hi everyone, I am coming with a request for help/ advise. Here is the situation.
I have 3 cats. Two residents: Olaf (6 years old) and Elsa (3 years old). We didn't plan to have more, but while on holidays we found a kitten on the street. He ended up coming home with us. We named him Ivan, he is currently 6 months old.
After arriving we separated him in the kitchen. He was not very healthy, it took around 3 weeks until he got better. After that, we started exchanging the smells. There was no hissing, just curiousity on both sides. Then we bought a plexi glass, so cats could look at each other, but with no interaction yet. It took around 2 weeks. Ivan is young, so he is very energetic and excited everytime he sees the other cat. One week ago we started introducing them to each other face to face. And here is where the problem starts. Everytime we open the door, Ivan is so excited to meet his new "friends" that he literally starts jumping on them and chasing them around. It seems to be a play for him. Olaf and Elsa are not so excited though. When he is calm, they follow him around, but as soon as he attempts to play with them, they are running away, hissing and growling. He doesn't stop though, so in the end they are so irritated that they hiss and growl even when he is just passing around. We hoped it will get better after a few days, but it doesn't. We are afraid Olaf and Elsa will start associating his presence with the need of running away from him. We tried to distract him when he does that, but literally nothing is working - as soon as one of them is around, it's the only thing that matters for him. Is there something we can do? We are terrified we will need to find a new home for Ivan, which would honestly break my heart...
 

tarasgirl06

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Hi everyone, I am coming with a request for help/ advise. Here is the situation.
I have 3 cats. Two residents: Olaf (6 years old) and Elsa (3 years old). We didn't plan to have more, but while on holidays we found a kitten on the street. He ended up coming home with us. We named him Ivan, he is currently 6 months old.
After arriving we separated him in the kitchen. He was not very healthy, it took around 3 weeks until he got better. After that, we started exchanging the smells. There was no hissing, just curiousity on both sides. Then we bought a plexi glass, so cats could look at each other, but with no interaction yet. It took around 2 weeks. Ivan is young, so he is very energetic and excited everytime he sees the other cat. One week ago we started introducing them to each other face to face. And here is where the problem starts. Everytime we open the door, Ivan is so excited to meet his new "friends" that he literally starts jumping on them and chasing them around. It seems to be a play for him. Olaf and Elsa are not so excited though. When he is calm, they follow him around, but as soon as he attempts to play with them, they are running away, hissing and growling. He doesn't stop though, so in the end they are so irritated that they hiss and growl even when he is just passing around. We hoped it will get better after a few days, but it doesn't. We are afraid Olaf and Elsa will start associating his presence with the need of running away from him. We tried to distract him when he does that, but literally nothing is working - as soon as one of them is around, it's the only thing that matters for him. Is there something we can do? We are terrified we will need to find a new home for Ivan, which would honestly break my heart...
Hello A Alexxandra , Olaf, Elsa, Ivan, and ? and welcome to TCS! Most experts recommend keeping the new adoptee in his or her own room for up to 2 weeks, with all needs (bed, litterbox, food and water, toys, scratching surfaces, and cat trees if possible) gradually letting them sniff through a crack in the door, feeding on either side of a door or other barrier, and gradually letting them see each other, then letting them spend supervised time together until they adapt. There will usually be some hissing/growling and maybe spats until they establish dominance order. This may take days, weeks or even months and as long as they do not cause actual harm to each other, it is normal and natural. You can look at the cat articles here on TCS on cat behavior/introducing a new cat, and also at cat behaviorists' advice (search this on your computer. Jackson Galaxy, "the Cat Daddy" and host of Animal Planet's "MY CAT FROM HELL" as well as numerous YouTube videos and author of several excellent books, has a lot of good suggestions about introducing a new cat.). Please keep us informed as to how it's going! There should be no need to re-home Ivan. Love and patience will win. I've lived most of my life with multiple cats, and I never give up once an adoption is made. Right now, my feral-born Baby Su, 17, and my more recently adopted Elvis, 14, have a sort of co-existence. She doesn't like him because he is territorial and dominant. He will chase her if he can. But they get along and spend most of their time in the same (large) room.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. A week's time with face-to-face meetings isn't a very long time, but I am curious about this door that you open to let the kitten out - is it a solid door or one that they can see and smell each other through (I doubt the plexi glass allowed for much smelling and it certainly didn't allow for touching if any of the cats should want to pursue that option)? If you aren't using an open-type barrier, I would invest in baby gates or build your own blockade so when they are not together, they could have the chance to interact through it. For one, the kitten will be able to see out and that might help to reduce his excitement level once he is allowed out of his room. For two, your resident cats can 'check him out' without having to worry about being pounced on. You might even consider staying with the barrier arrangement and feed them on both sides of the barrier for a while, especially if this step hasn't been done already. Maybe you will see a change in your two resident cats once they realize your kitten can't get to them.

Also, having a very energetic play session with the kitten before he is allowed out of his room might help temper his over-excitement a bit.

Make sure you have places that your older cats can escape to if they need to. Allowing them to escape is a stress reducer and should help to avoid health problems that can be caused from too much stress. Also, picking up the kitten and removing him from the older cats - before they run away - should help them to understand you aren't going to continue to let him 'bully' them. You and I know it's not bullying, but right now apparently your two resident cats haven't yet figured that out. At this point, as far as they are concerned, he is an annoying, bothersome threat to their peace, and they are on guard all the time because of it. The more often you can intervene before they feel like they have to escape, the less likely they will be inclined to do so. The key is to get them to the point where they feel confident enough to give him a 'swat' or two to teach him 'manners', rather than hissing and running.

Here is a link to the TCS article about Introductions. You might take a look and see if there are steps you didn't take, or need to go back to a specific step for a while longer. There is no harm in taking a step or two back if you decide it might help in the long run.
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 

ArtNJ

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Ivan will calm down eventually. It mostly just takes time. The older cats don't seem to be reacting too badly in the scheme of these things. With the two older cats being fairly young, especially the 3 year old, there is a decent chance this could even mature into friendship.

Remember, full interaction is always going to be more stressful than what came before, especially when one party is an overly playful kitten, so its perfectly normal to have hissing for a period of time. There is no perfect introduction process that always means that they don't have some tension and working out of things to do at the end of it. So even though we want to be good parents and supervise so things go perfectly, that just isn't realistic -- we do what we can, and ultimately, the cats often need to take things the rest of the way.

As noted above, try and play with the kitten as much as possible -- every little bit helps, even though tiring him out completely or even mostly may not be achievable. You can also give the older cats a break now and then by putting the kitten away for a bit. Just don't overdo that, as then the kitten gets even more eager and the older cats assume that whenever they see the kitten the jumping will start.
 
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