New kitten nightmares

mezgoezrawr

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Hello, so I'm just going to jump right into it. I've got two cats now, one was a semi-feral that can't be more than a year, that my friend caught at a garden store where he was being hunted by some the psycho that just recently got hired. Anyway, despite my rage toward this person, I offered to take him home, he's called Salem now. It's not as if he didn't know me and I suddenly brought him home, he knew me and would often let me pet and love on him while he was at the store. Now, after I brought him home he was a bit pissed off, he wouldn't come out of the crate. I set up the bathroom (I've got the master bathroom, It's actually pretty big) for him to have as many hiding places as possible, think I ended up with about 4 not including the crate. I left a blanket over the crate, as it stuck out in my room a little. My cat, Lady, age 4, was very curious. She didn't seem to want to leave the crate alone at first. I still wanted to do the proper introductions though, so I had to shoo her away while I closed the bathroom door and let him out.

Now at this point things are going somewhat ok. After about a week Salem was determined to leave the bathroom, he was mostly fine with me though he doesn't want to play with me ever, he's more interested in food. He'll sit beside me and eat no problem, he'll even let me pet him if I move slow enough. At first, him and Lady seemed like they'd get along, he eventually escaped the bathroom (yeah, he scared the crap out of me when I suddenly saw him trying to steal my wings), and Lady just watched him quietly. A couple days with him out on free roam and they fight, so, worried I moved too quickly (and strictly on Salem's time with no consideration for Lady,) I had to backtrack a bit with the feeding on either side of the door. Then a gate. They were fine, Lady would happily eat just on the other side of the gate with Salem fully visible, he didn't care about her either, he just wanted his food anyway. After another 3 days of this I let him out again and when Lady would start growling at him I'd give them some treats and she'd quiet up real quick. So the actual problem comes from the fact that they seem fine with one another for a day or so and then they're back at each others throats.

The only reason I'm convinced it's not playing is their posture no longer seems friendly. Salem waits till Lady is in the litter box or eating, like he wants her vulnerable. I do try to let them work it out a little, I let Lady growl and hiss as warnings, she'd give him a few baps when he jumped on top of her in the cat tree. But after she gave him the warning baps (no blood drawn, didn't even look like she pulled her claws out), she started hunting him. I had to put him in the bathroom for a night because she pounced on him while he was eating and I was scared she really wanted to hurt him. So they keep going back and forth. I'll put them back on either sides of the gate for a night, and feed them unseen the next morning, then try again to lift the sheet. I keep repeating this process, they seem fine with one another, and then by the next day it's all growling and fighting with one another. I really don't know what to do. I'm honestly not sure if they're just playing. It's been some time since Lady had other cats around. I had two kittens about 2 years ago for about a year each and lost both of them to FIP, she adored them. Just mothered them non stop, and she'd been so whiney lately I was sure she was lonely but now I don't know. Are they just not compatible? Is Salem just too young and over excited, and that's why Lady gets annoyed with him? Is it because he needs to get fixed before he stops being AS territorial? I really want them to get along, Lady even tried to play with him once, but that was a week ago, help!!
 

FeebysOwner

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I think you have to assume that his behavior will improve once he is neutered.

I gather that no matter how much Lady baps at him, he still comes back for more? So, he might consider this all to be 'play', but probably doesn't really know how to play in cat terms. I am not sure why Lady would go after him when he is not bugging her, but she could also be behaving territorially and doesn't have much patience as she 'waits' around for the next 'attack' by him. You might take a step back in the introduction process and let things settle a bit.

Not sure what introduction techniques you are using, but maybe take a look at these TCS articles for additional tips. I included the one about older cat/kitten, not because I think Lady is old, but sometimes a cat that has been by themselves can take on the 'attributes' of an older cat.
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat – TheCatSite Articles
 

ArtNJ

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Is Salem just too young and over excited, and that's why Lady gets annoyed with him?
Probably. If you are correct that he is under 1, well 1 year olds are basically the biggest PITAs there are. They want to play play play and they dont take no (or hissed/growls) for an answer. Sometimes, they will practice pouncing when the other cat is in the litterbox or eating. The non scientific term is being a jerk -- cats this young can be total jerks. If he isn't hissing or growling, its almost certainly this. You can't cure that; only age can. Well certainly neutering might help some and cant hurt, but mostly age.

So you really have two choices. One, let them be, unless there is real fighting. If there is no real fighting, they can likely improve over time. Two, back up, and really follow the guides FeebysOwner FeebysOwner linked. You don't necessarily need to back up the beginning, but a visual access step for a week or two might help the resident cat feel more comfortable. Given that its maybe helpful to isolate the youngster after neutering anyway (since he'll possibly open the stitches by trying rough play), I'd likely try and rig a gate along the lines shown in the guide so that they can have visual access while he is recovering.
 
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