New kitten stressed over resident kitten

mamakay4

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Hello,

I adopted a 6 month old kitten 2 weeks ago. I had an 8 month old kitten at home already. New kitten was really shy at first but after a few days we were able to get her to come out of her carrier for pets, food, and play. She was a little hesitant about being picked up, but would let us hold her for a few minutes. She became a bit more confident each day, although still on the shy side. Well, our resident cat snuck her way up to our starter room and although we had a gate by the door, she got over it. We caught it fairly quickly and it appeared that they were playing and enjoying each other's company until the new kitty ran and hid and didn't come out for almost 2 days. She did come out to eat, use the litter box and I was able to coax her out with treats to play, but would run and hide when we left the room. It's now day 3 since this happened and she does come out and lets us pet her and will rub on us and looks for affection but still hides for a good amount of time. I'm concerned because I think she's terrified of our resident cat. When she comes out for food/litter box she comes out very slowly and will jump at any sound. I can't keep her in the starter room much longer as I will need it as a bedroom, but I don't know how to reintroduce these 2 without stress/fear. I feel like if the "kitty introductions" are anything like our "human introductions" she will take a few days to warm up. I don't know that keeping them apart is going to be beneficial since they know each other is there and look around for each other. I would like to slowly introduce them again. This is my first time introducing kittens so I'm not really sure what to do, but I think the more they get to know each other, the less scared new kitty will be. My resident kitty is sweet as pie but she is a bit more playful- which could have been what scared my new shy girl. Can anyone offer advice on how to introduce a super shy kitty to a playful kitty? I think my resident kitty could really help my shy girl, I just don't know the best approach. Thanks in advance.
 

ArtNJ

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In the final analysis, two kittens this young is pretty darn close to guarrantied friendship whatever you do, or dont. Just putting them together full time (after the new kitten settles in and gets used to you first) is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. So I think you've done just fine. Now there might be a little drama, usually for less than a week, but they *will* be friends.

I know you want to introduce them "without fear" but you really cant micromanage some perfect introduction process, and its likely to just slow things down if you try. Let them work it out -- and they will.
 

Mamanyt1953

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LOL, and no one else has chimed in after A ArtNJ because there is really nothing more to add! He covered it all. ENJOY!
 
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mamakay4

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In the final analysis, two kittens this young is pretty darn close to guarrantied friendship whatever you do, or dont. Just putting them together full time (after the new kitten settles in and gets used to you first) is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. So I think you've done just fine. Now there might be a little drama, usually for less than a week, but they *will* be friends.

I know you want to introduce them "without fear" but you really cant micromanage some perfect introduction process, and its likely to just slow things down if you try. Let them work it out -- and they will.
So, I was planning to “open the gates” today but when I went up get the new girl she hissed several times at me. She’s never done that before so it startled me. I had just been playing with her and she was very affectionate just 20 minutes before this happened. My daughter told me she did the same thing to her yesterday when she brought her food. Seems really odd that she can go from playful/affectionate to hissing like that. This is completely new and just started yesterday. Any idea what this means? I decided to wait to let her out until we get this figured out.
 

ArtNJ

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You may have had the other cat's smell on you, or the other cat may have been at the gate and scared her recently. Either way, waiting a day or two won't hurt anything. That said, its fine if they hiss at each other a bit. That can last a few days once they are allowed to mingle. When you do let her out, don't try and pick her up or even pet her when she is stressed, that will just make things worse.
 
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mamakay4

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Hi, circling back around with an update and another question. We got the new girl out of the starter room, but I'm just really confused by her behavior. One minute she's on my bed, in the open, and nothing phases her. She will let everyone come say hello, pet her, etc. then the next minute she's running at the sound of a pin drop and won't let anyone get near her. We're her best friends one minute then complete strangers then next. She won't leave the room to eat or find the litter box so I had to bring it into the room after several hours of waiting on her to come out. She's done well with our resident cat. They have had their moments but nothing that seemed overly aggressive. She doesn't seem scared of our resident. New girl has been staying in my bedroom since she came out of the starter room. Our resident cat has joined her for naps without issue. I'm just not sure why she's ok with us some of the time but other times completely terrified. We have only been able to pick her up 2-3 times since we got her. It took us a while to be able to pet her. I feel like every time we feel like we are making great progress, she just reverts back to being scared of us and will run and hide for several hours. My biggest concern is that she won't even come out to eat. We've tried to lure her out with food when we know she's got to be hungry and even that doesn't work. For example, she's been under my bed for almost 8 hours now and hasn't come out to eat. I don't know why sometimes she will come out without issue and other times she's too scared. Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated. I've never dealt with a cat like this and it has taken so much to get her to this point, I don't know if she's just not adapting or if this is normal?
 

ArtNJ

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One thing to note is that cats don't necessarily trust a person all at once, rather they might first trust a person in a certain spot, like on the bed. Thats common. So you would need to not make assumptions and be patient in other spots. I realize that likely isn't a complete explanation, but hopefully its helpful.
 
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mamakay4

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Thanks for the info. Any advice on what I should do with the food and litter? Do I need to keep putting it where she is hiding or can I put it in a permanent spot and make her seek it out?
 

ArtNJ

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Usually a hiding cat will come out at night, eat and use litter. Many kittens go through a short phase of this, but its almost always no more than a week or so.
 
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mamakay4

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OK, sorry if this is a stupid question but since I removed her from the starter room, should it be expected that it can take a week from then for her to warm up? Does a cat go through that phase every time they are introduced to a new area?
 

ArtNJ

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To some extent yes, its a fresh period as the new kitten is likely making her nervous. While friendship is virtually guarrantied, sometimes it takes them time to sort that out.

You did it correctly with the safe room first. You want the kitten to run under the bed there if its nervous rather than behind your fridge or soemthing. And the saferoom did help with your relationship, even if for the moment, the kitten is only interpreting you as safe in the safe room.

One thing I noticed on re-reading is that your trying to pick the kitten up. For the time being, best to let the kitten be the boss of the relationship and only do things it likes. Kind of like courting a shy boy or girl. Going in for a kiss before they are ready is a disaster.
 

Mamanyt1953

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And for now, you can put the box and food/water dishes in the room with her, slowly moving them towards their permanent spot as she relaxes and is more out and about.
 
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