New Kitten + Resident Cat: Progress?

Katykan

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Hi everyone! I have a 3-year-old rescue cat named Miso who is hyper, friendly, confident - and a VERY hard player! She LOVES to be chased, to chase things, to attack her toys, etc. She is the definition of CRAZY CAT! I decided she might benefit from a young male who can play with her while I am out at work. I brought home a 6-month kitten named Kimchi from a shelter 1.5 weeks ago who is super sweet, gentle, and just starting to come out of his shell after a lot of neglect. He is doing great, living separately from Miso. I started supervised interaction time a few days ago, since Miso was doing well with behind-the-door introductions. These in-person interactions go well for about 15-20 minutes, Miso just mostly watching Kimchi. She will sometimes gear up like she is about to attack her toy, run up to up to him, then run away. However, after about 15 minutes, Miso gets over-excited and tries to chase him pretty aggressively, and then bats at him repeatedly. He just either a.) takes it and lays down or b.) runs away and hides. Either way, he clearly does not like/gets scared by this behavior from her. Her ears are forward, whiskers forward, so I know she is just excited to have a feline friend in the house. Is this progress? Any way I can help Miso learn how to play "nicer" or should I just let them figure out their own feline friendship and not intervene? I usually just separate them again as soon as Miso starts batting. It's just so sad watching little Kimchi get batted repeatedly!!! He still lets her come close to him when they are together, but sometimes he flinches like she is about to bat him even when she doesn't. What do you all think?!?

Attached is a photo of Miso, hiding in her haunted house, ready to spook Kimchi. :lol:
 

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ArtNJ

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It would be hard to say that chasing is inconsistent with nice play -- its a normal part of it. You have batting, but it really sounds like that is part of an effort to provoke mutual play. That is pretty normal, and probably a more low key way to do it than just assuming consent to play and going for a full out pounce and play bite on the neck, which is unfortunately normal and common too. So this doesn't sound like inappropriate or unusual play to me, and I don't see how you could possibly teach her how to play differently. You would most likely end up not making any progress, or worse, teaching Miso not to play with the kitten at all, which isn't a good thing.

Its always possible to suggest a longer introduction process, but sometimes cats just need time to adjust even at the end of a proper process. Here, where your shy kitten is only 6 months, there is a very good chance that he will adjust in time. However, 15-20 minutes at a time isn't going to cut it. You either need to back up and do a more fullsome introduction process, or give them much more supervised time together to get used to each other.
 
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Katykan

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This is helpful, thank you! I don't feel that they need another fullsome introduction. I think you are right; I need to have them both out & supervised for longer periods of time so Kimchi can learn how to play with Miso. I agree; Miso is really just trying to get him to play back. He has "jumped" back at her 1-2 times and she LOVES it!
 

Mamanyt1953

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Kimchi obviously isn't fearful of Miso, just a bit overwhelmed on occasion, so you're doing pretty well. Keep up the supervised play, and make sure that Kimchi has plenty of places to retreat to when it all gets to be a bit much at the moment.

I love their names, BTW. Two of my favorite Asian foods!
 

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I would not be concerned ... if Kimchi isn't showing signs of stress - all is well ... Cats seem to be able to tell what kind of behavior is boisterous and which one is aggression. My adult cats regularly bob the kittens on the head or give them a swat and a hiss when they get into their space ( adult eating peacefully in a corner and Kitten sticking his head into the same food bowl will be punished ). There is also swatting as play behavior ... it means ... come play with me ... and kitten play looks much like fighting ( it IS play-fighting after all). You can tell the difference by carefully watching their body language ...they might be loud and go for neck bites and make each other squeak but ... if they go back for more... it was all in good fun ... ( I have three kittens here ages 5.5 months, 12 weeks and 12 weeks and two adults) ... With kittens ... I usually let them figure things out on their own rather than separating ... Careful introduction is great for the first few weeks but after that they have to learn to live and play together ... they learn to read each other's cues and body language ... my adults are not wild about the kittens but tolerate them ( they give an occasional lick even ) ... the kittens had to learn to accept these boundaries .... ( yes you can live with me , yes sleep on the same play tree ... but do NOT crawl all over me !). It can sometimes look frightening when cats play ... but I have realized that there is only so much I can do as a human to facilitate harmonious living ... at the end of the day ... the cats speak " cat" and have to figure out their arrangements ... I offer lots of hiding places and high spots and boxes and shelves and litter boxes ( always more than I have cats ), and water dishes and feeding spots ( at least three !) ... I say ... let them have more time together ... separate only at night and when you are not around ...
 
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Katykan

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Kimchi obviously isn't fearful of Miso, just a bit overwhelmed on occasion, so you're doing pretty well. Keep up the supervised play, and make sure that Kimchi has plenty of places to retreat to when it all gets to be a bit much at the moment.

I love their names, BTW. Two of my favorite Asian foods!
Yes, good idea. I'll build up more "hiding places" for Kimchi. And thank you so much! I lived in Korea for 3 years & love Japanese food, so their names are inspired by that. :)
 
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Katykan

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I would not be concerned ... if Kimchi isn't showing signs of stress - all is well ... Cats seem to be able to tell what kind of behavior is boisterous and which one is aggression. My adult cats regularly bob the kittens on the head or give them a swat and a hiss when they get into their space ( adult eating peacefully in a corner and Kitten sticking his head into the same food bowl will be punished ). There is also swatting as play behavior ... it means ... come play with me ... and kitten play looks much like fighting ( it IS play-fighting after all). You can tell the difference by carefully watching their body language ...they might be loud and go for neck bites and make each other squeak but ... if they go back for more... it was all in good fun ... ( I have three kittens here ages 5.5 months, 12 weeks and 12 weeks and two adults) ... With kittens ... I usually let them figure things out on their own rather than separating ... Careful introduction is great for the first few weeks but after that they have to learn to live and play together ... they learn to read each other's cues and body language ... my adults are not wild about the kittens but tolerate them ( they give an occasional lick even ) ... the kittens had to learn to accept these boundaries .... ( yes you can live with me , yes sleep on the same play tree ... but do NOT crawl all over me !). It can sometimes look frightening when cats play ... but I have realized that there is only so much I can do as a human to facilitate harmonious living ... at the end of the day ... the cats speak " cat" and have to figure out their arrangements ... I offer lots of hiding places and high spots and boxes and shelves and litter boxes ( always more than I have cats ), and water dishes and feeding spots ( at least three !) ... I say ... let them have more time together ... separate only at night and when you are not around ...
This is great insight, thank you so much! I think you are right. Kimchi just needs to learn Miso's body language. He has already learned NOT to go near her cat tree or he will be chased back into his room. :lol: He is very curious about her, but still apprehensive to engage in full play because she is quite intense.
 

Mamanyt1953

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I lived in Korea for 3 years & love Japanese food, so their names are inspired by that. :)
When I lived in Chattanooga, I had a very good Korean friend. His mother was VERY traditional in many things, and made outrageously good kimchi. She had a special pot, and would bury the kimchi in the backyard to ferment. Best stuff I ever tasted! For those of you not familiar, kimchi is...well...kinda a Korean spicy sauerkraut.
 
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