Quandary: Older Cat and Kittens

Should I...

  • Keep doing what I'm doing

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Go in a different direction

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Return the kittens even though we love them

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Accept that the older cat may die

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1
  • Poll closed .

dfwenigma

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
2
Purraise
0
Well I blew it. I suggested we adopt two gorgeous little kittens. They're wonderful. We love them. They are pair bonded. 15 weeks old. Still babies. We love being pet parents. One of my paired male cats had to be euthanized because of serious kidney issues which the vet couldn't resolve. So stupid me I thought our fairly territorial cat might live longer if we brought in two kittens. I wanted cats we could influence because it had worked so well with Simon. Simon is 12 going on 13.

My poor baby Simon -- the two babies are messing with his tail. He was impatient at first but eventually accepted them. He does hiss a bit (I despise hissing but tolerate it in this situation, formerly our cats hissing behavior was extinguished - no hissing or growling or extremely over mean behavior is allowed in our home by our cats.

Our cat Simon started going downhill. One of my household is a behaviorist by training and a cat maven. He saw the problems and ordered a litter that measures alkalinity in urine. It was very alkaline. He ordered Vitamin C drops which we're now giving to him. We have intelligent feeders that automatically dispense food. But they depend on a chip device they wear on their collar around their neck. When the cat with authorization approaches the bowl the little door opens and they eat. But when they approach a "foreign" feeder belong to the other cat the door closes.

Well the kittens at first were ridiculously curious. And they would walk right up to his bowl while he was eating. He would walk away rather than hiss. This went on for quite some time. We became very, very worried. So now we're hand feeding him a bit at a time. He eats. Licks his chops when he wants more. But the kittens are sometimes inches away. We distract them. It's taking two of us to keep the kittens occupied.

We have three automated litter stations. All three process without human intervention. One is a CatRobot, another a CatGenie, another a Littermaid. There is water around the house in fountains which all cats can reach. No one is cut off from food, water or a littler. But at night we've had to shut the door and leave our kittens out in the main house because they give our older cat no peace.

We've got one of those wonderful collars with a soothing aroma for our older boy. The girl and boy are just oblivious. They have so much energy. They're upstairs, downstairs. We play with them constantly. We interact with them. We see him constantly and spend time with him. But most of our time is at night when we want to sleep. We're all exhausted. And our older cat I think is OK but pretty miserable.

We took all three to the vet last week. The older cat, we were told, is fine. Keep doing what we're doing. They know the situation. The kittens are in perfect health. And are completely normal, the vet says.

The kittens were raised in a communal situation until about two weeks ago. Our cats were raised in a territorial situation under our roof. I really believed what I'd read and what people told me. The older cat, I thought, losing his brother would soon die of loneliness. Now I'm afraid I've made a mess of things. We love them all. Please give your opinion about what we can do to make this a good situation.
 

susanm9006

Resident Cat Willow
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
8,926
Purraise
18,369
Location
Minnesota
Could you shut the kittens in a different room while Simon has his meals. Otherwise things don’t sound so bad as is but he does need to be able to eat in peace.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

dfwenigma

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
2
Purraise
0
I can try that though the concern is they may not learn to socialize. I suggested that to my partner, the other pet parent, and he was concerned that getting them to eat together in the future might be problematic.
 

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
3,986
Purraise
4,533
Not sure I even understand where the problem is. The kittens won't bug him constantly, he will be able to eat. If he truly can't, then as noted above, you can give him a break from the kittens to eat. And he doesn't sound too bothered by them. A little hissing is nothing. Hissing can mean as little as "your bugging me, stop it". Its just totally normal for this situation. If he was hiding constantly, ripping out his own fur, not using the box then you'd have a problem.

Is he never able to relax and always on high alert? Thats common for this situation too, but I can see why you would find it off putting. If you have that, some closed door love now and then is helpful.

Mostly, the solution for all of this is time. It only gets better. Sometimes very slowly and sometimes progress caps a little short of where you'd like to end up, but it doesn't sound like your starting from a particularly bad level of this, so I'd say the prognosis is good.
 

susanm9006

Resident Cat Willow
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
8,926
Purraise
18,369
Location
Minnesota
I can try that though the concern is they may not learn to socialize. I suggested that to my partner, the other pet parent, and he was concerned that getting them to eat together in the future might be problematic.
I think the most important thing right now is to make sure your senior is eating and drinking as normally as possible. There are many other hours in the day to work on their relationship. It really isn’t a big issue if they don’t eat together as you can feed the kittens at one end of a kitchen or in a different room from your senior without it being a major inconvenience.
 

flybear

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
209
Purraise
277
Most cats prefer non automated feeders and litter boxes ... the noises and motions can scare them - their hearings is so much better than ours! It doesn't sound like your older cat hates the babies ... if he is fine with them I would focus on giving him time to himself at night ... the way I manage my colony of 5 is to put my older cats in one catio at night and the two kittens ( now almost 1) in another catio ... I feed them in that space, ave a litterbox in there and water of course ... cats are active at dusk and dawn and like to eat then so it give everyone their own food and space and also time to graze and eat. Maybe you could lock up the babies in one space / room overnight while your senior cat gets to stay in another area for starters. Maybe add a time mid day for separation as well ... Your senior cat's medical issues might be completely unrelated to the kittens ... I would be most worried about fluid intake and add a few extra feeding/watering/ litterbox stations. Your kittens will slow down eventually after about a year of age or so but ... kittens are punks and a trial to seniors ... but ... I am impressed how your older cat seems to tolerate the kittens- I bet he'll discipline them when they get too much ... most cats instinctively know when " babies" turn into " teens" and are simply less tolerant ...
 

Hellenww

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
760
Purraise
1,048
Location
South Jersey, USA
Meal time is only one aspect of life. It can make or break cat relationships but it doesn't sound like it in this case. Simon has accepted the kittens and they want to play with him. Eating separately until the little ones learn manners shouldn't affect that.

I've had to feed new kittens in their carrier in the first few weeks, then moved to opposite end of the room from the adult, until eventually they were able to politely eat next to the adult. I also kept the dry food in another area of the kitchen and moved the kitten to that if it looked like it was going to bother the adult during wet food meals.

If Simon needs a few breaks during the day, the kittens will be happy to play in a room with each other.
 
Top