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New Kitten Likes Cat. Cat Not Keen.

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by IfYouSeeLaura, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. IfYouSeeLaura

    IfYouSeeLaura Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Dec 14, 2017
    Hi,

    Last year I adopted a stray - an ex housecat who had been abandoned by her old family. It's one of the best things I've ever done as I absolutely adore her.

    Last week, I ended up adopting a kitten who needed a home asap. Her owner unfortunately passed away and her family desperately needed someone to take her in. So, I ended up with a kitten with no time to prepare.

    I'm now trying to get both cats to accept each other. While it would be lovely if they became best buddies, I'd be overjoyed if they could just tolerate each other.

    The new kitten (Lilo) has had her own room since we collected her and Belle (my existing cat) wasn't allowed in for the first few days. They've seen and sniffed each other, but if they get a little too close, they growl and hiss. This seems to be because they are scared and not aggressive.

    We've managed to get them to eat at opposite ends of the same room without then bothering each other and we're slowly moving their bowls closer together. Belle has always been very food orientated so she will ignore Lilo for her tea.

    Lilo, however doesn't seem to care at all if she is around Belle or her blankets or toys, but Belle gets upset if she smells Lilo. They haven't tried to fight or anything, and we don't let them see each other unsupervised.

    I know this process can take a long time but I don't really know what the next "step" is. The cats can get fairly close now without hissing, but Lilo always seems to go that little bit too far and gets *too* close and scares off Belle, who then runs away. They can be in the same room and ignore each other, but Belle will start to hiss if Lilo pushes her luck and tries to say hi. Yesterday, Lilo was pestering Belle so much that Belle swiped at her so I feel like we've taken a huge step backwards.

    I feel awful having to leave Lilo locked in a room overnight/while we're out but I don't want to leave them alone together until I'm 100% sure they're okay and won't fight. The problem is, Lilo is a little whirlwind and seems to want to make friends with Belle and to explore her new home, but Belle isn't too thrilled about that. I feel cruel keeping her in, but at the same time, I don't want to shut Belle in because I don't want to interrupt her routine or make her feel jealous.

    Does anyone have any tips on how I can make them feel safe around each other or is it just a case of waiting now? Lilo seems happy with Belle and wants to follow her around, but poor Belle isn't keen.

    (For info both cats are female, Belle is approx 3 years old and the Lilo is approx 6/7 months old. They are both house cats. As far as we know, Belle is spayed and Lilo has been booked in for her op next week)

    Thank you!
    Laura x
     
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  2. EmersonandEvie

    EmersonandEvie TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Keep them separated when you aren't there and allow supervised time when you are. Cats just take time to get used to one another. The hissing and growling will eventually subside.
    Don't worry about keeping her locked up! As long as she has toys to play with, food water, and a litterbox, she will be fine in her own room during the day.
    Also...you would 100% know by now if Belle weren't spayed! She would have had multiple heat cycles and a cat in heat is loud and annoying.
     

  3. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Hi!
    You could try rubbing a cloth gently on Lilo, and then rubbing that on Belle to try and desensitize Belle. Try doing this a few times over a week or so, it may help.

    Probably not steps backwards, because this is how females teach youngsters what the boundaries are.
     

  4. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Thank you for adopting the kitten. I'm sure it would make the former owner happy to know their kitten has a new home, and is safe and loved. :hearthrob:

    About the cat introductions, some hissing and swatting should be expected, as your older cat teaches the youngster manners, and we always say if there's no fur flying or blood, and if neither cat seems scared, then things are going well. But you are wise to keep them separated when they can't be supervised, at least until the kitten is bigger, and you also know they are not going to get into a fight while you're gone.

    You may have read these, but I'll post the TCS links to the cat introduction articles.

    How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat
    How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide

    And this one Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? which describes body language to watch for to determine if a "fight" is serious, or just playing.

    Good luck with them. Post pics, when you can. :camera:
     
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  5. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi. Belle swiping at Lilo is actually a better thing that Belle running. As pretty much a repeat of some of the above - she is at the point of telling Lilo: "I am the boss and you had better start to figure that out. And, here's a swipe to give you a clue." Belle is kind of teaching Lilo cat manners.

    I hate to see confrontations and always worry about the 'resident' cat, but just keep supervising their times near each other. A few more swipes (if it doesn't lead any further) might just be what Lilo needs in order to figure out her place.
     
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  6. duncanmac

    duncanmac TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I recently introduced a 4 month old kitten to two 2 year old cats. There was some initial hissing by the resident boys but that went away quickly. The best way to describe the first few weeks of interaction was befuddlement - the resident cats just didn't know what to do so they hung back a bit - and the kitten was totally without inhibitions.

    Introducing kitten to cat is usually pretty easy. Keep them separated when you can't watch them until you feel comfortable with them being together. And don't worry about a little friction - that's just them settling in and setting boundaries.
     

  7. Elphaba09

    Elphaba09 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    This seems pretty typical, actually. Cats tend to acclimate at their own rate. As other said, keep them separated, let them get used to each other slowly, and try to be patient.

    We have nine and sometimes foster, so we have done a lot of introducing in the past. Some took hours, some weeks, and a couple needed months. Our most recent cat, Silas, was 5 weeks when we brought him home in Sept. Our one cat, Tara, still has occasional hissing issues. She can smell him, but if he smells her, she hisses. Evangeline did not like him for weeks, but now she licks his face and cuddles with him. The rest, especially Freya, play with him all the time now. I think it took two days for Fennimore to like him.
     
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  8. thefiresidecat

    thefiresidecat TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Dec 20, 2017
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    how long have you had Lilo now? If I'm reading this correctly it's only been like a week? or has it been longer? to echo everyone else it sounds like things are going perfectly normally and fine. I'd put something lilo sleeps on in with where belle normally sleeps. Also they have both been tested for fiv felv ect right? if not you really need to do that asap before letting them interact too much.
     
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  9. IfYouSeeLaura

    IfYouSeeLaura Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Dec 14, 2017
    Thank you for all your responses so far, its really reassuring to know we're doing the right thing. Its horrible shutting Lilo away on a night, but I know its not cruel for me to be keeping her safe. In her room, she's got her food, water, litter box, a window to sit in and lots of toys to play with...so she should be okay.

    Both cats have had all tests and vaccinations done and have been given the all clear by our vet so we shouldn't have any health problems, however I did forget to mention in my original post that Belle is blind in one eye. She injured it before she came to us so we don't know how it happened, but would this effect her making friends with Lilo? Her other eye is perfectly fine but I worry that Belle is scared of her because she might not always see her, especially when Lilo creeps up on her. Im hoping Lilo eventually learns that Belle can't always see her so stops sneaking up on her.

    Lilo is due to be spayed on Monday, but at the moment shes a bit of a handful so I can understand why Belle might be a bit overwhelmed. Could getting Lilo spayed also calm her down a bit?

    And one final question, with the hissing/growling at each other, whats the best reaction for us to have as humans? Tell them off, hiss back, ignore it etc?

    These are my ladies. The black and white kitty is Belle and the fully black kitty is Lilo :)

    20190103_230825.jpg 20190103_230742.jpg
     
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  10. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Such sweet babies!!! Blindness in one eye for Belle shouldn't really be a problem, by now she has likely adapted to it. But, sure it might make her just a tad more apprehensive. However, believe you me, Belle can hear Lilo!!! I think you've already seen she's getting over some of the shyness with Lilo - with her taking a more 'leave me alone' stand (with the swatting).

    Spaying Lilo will likely subdue her a bit. But, you need to know that going any further with introductions at this point is probably best left alone until Lilo heals.

    As far as the hissing/growling and a few swats (not blood drawing), there is no need to hiss back at either of them. Leave your hissing to when somebody does something naughty - down the road after they are more 'accustomed' to each other. If you are uncomfortable now, you can say a firm 'No' and if that doesn't stop it enough for your comfort level, just pick one of them up and move them away from the other at this point.
     
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  11. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Nov 25, 2013
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    Awwww... beautiful cats. :catlove:

    Just something I wanted to mention since Lilo is getting spayed on Monday. Sometimes bonded cats will develop non-recognition aggression when one comes home from the vet smelling different than usual. Since Lilo and Belle are still in the introduction stage, it might not be a factor with them, but thought I'd mention it.

    Here's an article with more info: How To Deal With Non-recognition Aggression In Cats
     

  12. thefiresidecat

    thefiresidecat TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    if you can take them to the vet together when you drop them off. maybe have them do something to belle like groom her. if possible have a little of the same clean solution they'll use on lilo around the wound they might smell alike and bond on the scary drive. and btw they're both gorgeous!
     
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  13. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Oct 10, 2018
    Michigan
    :yeah:

    That is good advice. It may seem counter intuitive to bring Belle along since she has no real reason to go to the Vet, but it may actually help them to get along better. Back when I was a kid we had 2 Cats that went to the Vet at the same time for checkups, one of them a senior and one a Kitten. My senior wanted nothing to do with the Kitten at home and would hiss and smack the crap out of him when he got too close, but at the Vet she was too scared for that and huddled in a corner of the room. The Kitten went over and curled up against her after his exam was done, purring the entire time until it was my senior's turn. After we got them back home she wasn't quite as aggressive with the Kitten and would tolerate him unless he pushed it a little too much and tried to jump on her or something.

    As has been mentioned swatting is perfectly normal behavior. It's basically the adult putting a rambunctious child in their place, as long as there's no claws you've got nothing to worry about.
     
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  14. micknsnicks2mom

    micknsnicks2mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    ...with the cats...
    you've gotten really good advice already! :agree:

    i'll add something that i did, when integrating our Dude with my little Snick :rbheart: . i tried to make the times they were together/getting to know each other positive...give them 'good things happen' when they were together. like giving them treats in the same room or when they were (relatively) near each other, or new small cat toys.

    when our Dude joined us (first fostered, and then adopted), i was always very careful to make sure Snick was given scritchins first, given cat toys first, given her meals first. Snick was 14 years old (and had serious medical issues) when our Dude (who was 2 years old) joined us.
     

  15. lavishsqualor

    lavishsqualor TCS Member Top Cat

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    Your cats are so beautiful! I took in a kitten about seven or eight months ago and my two cats, especially my female, were not thrilled. It took about eight weeks but they sorted everything out. The kitten was rescued from a wall at only a month or so old and was, and still is, super food-aggressive. I'm hoping that will eventually dissipate though. The vet advice above is excellent. Take them both in the same carrier, even if only one is going to be seen. Otherwise, you'll run the risk of non recognition once the single cat returns.
     
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  16. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hello @IfYouSeeLaura, Belle, and Lilo and welcome to TCS! We hope you enjoy it here. Other posters have already offered excellent advice, to which I'd just add that one week is very, very soon to introduce a new kitten to a cat. Most "experts" recommend two weeks apart before the intros begin. And cat behaviorist extraordinaire, Jackson Galaxy, a/k/a The Cat Daddy, has a lot of great advice on cat harmony on his hit Animal Planet TV show, "MY CAT FROM HELL" as well as in his YouTube videos and books. You might want to check him out. In the meantime, you're doing all the right things and with love and patience, you will soon see loving cat and kitten combos, I think! And yes, spaying will in time help calm Lilo down, but remember that she is a kitten and that kittens are energetic and playful by nature. It's a mark of a normal, healthy kitten.
     
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  17. Maria Bayote

    Maria Bayote Mama of 4 Cats, 3 Dogs , 2 Budgies & 2 Humans Alpha Cat

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    Before I took in Bailey the kitten, my other two cats have already seen her many times through the glass door. Occasionally I would carry her in, and the older cats would sniff her. One time my Bourbon even licked Bailey's ear so I thought there was no issue with her. It was Barley who seemed to be initially apprehensive.

    When we suddenly had to move apartment, I had no choice but to immediately grab the kitten (and her mother of course) to the new apartment. I could not leave the two homeless cat and kitten behind. Snow White the mother stayed as an outside cat (my husband built a cat house for her outside), but Bailey became a resident of the house. I thought my prior introductions were enough.

    Now Bourbon is having a hard time accepting her. When Bailey gets near, she swats the poor kitty. When Bailey wants to play with her, she hisses and growls. Whereas Barley on the other hand surprised me. He became an instant parent figure to Bailey. They immediately bonded.

    So I guess even with proper introductions it would still depend on the cat, in her own time, in her own terms. You are doing great. And thank you for taking in this cat.
     
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  18. IfYouSeeLaura

    IfYouSeeLaura Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Dec 14, 2017
    Thank you for all your replies, you've all been so helpful and I really appreciate it.

    Last night, both cats slept on my bed without hissing or growling which was wonderful. They weren't cuddled up or anything but it was great that they felt safe enough around each other to actually sleep.

    Theyre spending more time together now, and they dont really hiss unless Lilo is being incredibly annoying and Belle swipes at her. I'm still cautious about leaving them alone together while we're at work so Lilo is shut in the room again today, but my mum thinks I'm being cruel and we should leave her to roam now. I'm just terrified of getting home later and finding them both injured from fighting.

    I don't know how long to wait before leaving them both free to roam the house. They seem mostly okay but I worry Lilo will pester Belle all day while we're not there to distract her.
     
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  19. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Once they get to the point where they can sleep next to eachother the danger has passed. I wouldn't exactly say it's cruel to keep one of them in a different room, but I would say it's unnecessary now.

    I have 3 Cats in my house, one 14, one 4, and one 3. The 3 and 4 year olds like to try and play with my senior but she wants nothing to do with that and will hiss, growl, and smack the shit out of them when they try chasing her around. And I mean smack the shit out of them, there's been a few times I could hear the thumps from across the room. But aside from that they get along fine and can pass eachother in a hall without incident and even sleep next to me without fighting.

    Nothing wrong with being cautious but maybe you could try not distracting your Kitten and see what happens. You're going to have to let her out eventually and you need to see how they'll interact if you're not babysitting them.
     

  20. duncanmac

    duncanmac TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    When I was introducing Barry to Duncan, Duncan wound up and smacked Barry so hard it sounded like a face slap.

    @IfYouSeeLaura: Your guys are probably ready to be left alone together. What we did when we felt our guys were ready was to start on a weekend. We would leave them out while we ran errands, so we were gone for a hour or two at a time. That went well so we declared the hard work done and left them together. We still had to intervene here and there, but that was just fine-tuning.
     

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