Resident cat attacks new kitten. Desperate need of help!

trixielim

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we have recently adopted a new cat. it’s almost been 2 months now, and our female adult cat (around 1 year and 6 months, spayed) still isn’t accepting our female new cat (not spayed, 6 months). our adult cat tends to viciously attack and badly scares our kitten, even if one of our cats is placed in a cat carrier. our kitten is afraid of our resident cat, and does not hiss or swat at resident cat. we have tried multiple forms of proper introductions, but it’s as if our resident cat wants to hurt the kitten. they are currently separated, and have only been together without a barrier twice (both led to horrible attacks, and the kitten was left frightened and pooped from fear). we have also tried distracting our resident cat with the kitten in the same room (kitten inside a cat carrier), and our resident cat wouldn’t get distracted, and was super focused on attacking the kitten. my family is starting to lose hope, so responses would be greatly appreciated.

attached here are a few of the fights. as i can’t attach videos, here are a few screenshots of recorded cat fights. if you would like to see the full video, i can email it to you.

thanks -trixie
 

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Nebaug

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Hmmmm, 2 months is not long but they are both still technically a kittens so they should have become friends by now. If the little one is poop and peeing herself out of fear it’s not good. Adults seldom attack kittens with intent to kill but it happens. In my case, I had to remove one of them out of the house (he became the office cat) shortly, someone will come along and advice better. Keep the kitten safe.
 
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trixielim

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Hmmmm, 2 months is not long but they are both still technically a kittens so they should have become friends by now. If the little one is poop and peeing herself out of fear it’s not good. Adults seldom attack kittens with intent to kill but it happens. In my case, I had to remove one of them out of the house (he became the office cat) shortly, someone will come along and advice better. Keep the kitten safe.
Thank you for this reply! We love the little one so much, and she feels safe at home if the resident cat isn’t around (kitten sleeps on her back, stays in the center of the room, asks for pets), so it’s really difficult for us to rehome one of them, and that is our last resort :((
 

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Lets start with the videos. Put them up on youtube or similar, and then you can put the links here. There is a way to post videos here without this step, but hosting it somewhere else is the easiest solution.

Just want to make sure this is in fact intent to injure, since some cats will charge at a kitten and swat it. That also seems terrible and stresses owners out, but its a different thing than an attack with intent to injure. So lets see what we have.

I'm not doubting you -- those action shots are very suggestive -- but nonetheless, charge swatting can look like intent to fight if you haven't seen it before.
 
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trixielim

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Lets start with the videos. Put them up on youtube or similar, and then you can put the links here. There is a way to post videos here without this step, but hosting it somewhere else is the easiest solution.

Just want to make sure this is in fact intent to injure, since some cats will charge at a kitten and swat it. That also seems terrible and stresses owners out, but its a different thing than an attack with intent to injure. So lets see what we have.

I'm not doubting you -- those action shots are very suggestive -- but nonetheless, charge swatting can look like intent to fight if you haven't seen it before.
thank you for this! that is such a smart idea. i’ve posted the videos on youtube, here is the link.
looking forward for your insights.
 
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trixielim

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we have recently adopted a new cat. it’s almost been 2 months now, and our female adult cat (around 1 year and 6 months, spayed) still isn’t accepting our female new cat (not spayed, 6 months). our adult cat tends to viciously attack and badly scares our kitten, even if one of our cats is placed in a cat carrier. our kitten is afraid of our resident cat, and does not hiss or swat at resident cat. we have tried multiple forms of proper introductions, but it’s as if our resident cat wants to hurt the kitten. they are currently separated, and have only been together without a barrier twice (both led to horrible attacks, and the kitten was left frightened and pooped from fear). we have also tried distracting our resident cat with the kitten in the same room (kitten inside a cat carrier), and our resident cat wouldn’t get distracted, and was super focused on attacking the kitten. my family is starting to lose hope, so responses would be greatly appreciated.

attached here are a few of the fights. as i can’t attach videos, here are a few screenshots of recorded cat fights. if you would like to see the full video, i can email it to you.

thanks -trixie
here is the link to the cat fights:
 
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trixielim

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Hi! You may want to get the kitten spayed as soon as you can, that may help. I don't know, of course but maybe.
thank you for this! we are actually planning to spay our kitten soon. hope it will help.
 

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Thats certainly a scary looking video. I think its charge swatting, rather than an intent to injure. Lets ask jefferd18 jefferd18 his thought on your video above (not the one I link below as an example) since he has a lot of experience and commented on this issue in the other recent thread.


Take a look at this video of actual cat fights. There is *some* swatting initially, which is like a feeling each other out move, but soon enough they go in for a full pounce and there is rolling around with mutual attempts to rip with both claws. The rolling around is characteristic of a cat fight when battle is joined. If the fight is uneven, you would see a neck bite, as that is a cat's kill move.

By contrast, some adult cats will run up to a kitten and swat it, some times repeatedly. They don't grab on and get in a rolling around thing, and they don't bite. I call this charge swatting. I think the intent is to back off the kitten and make it leave, rather than to kill. And you don't get bite wounds or injuries (although the occassional scratch is possible).

This strikes me as a particularly aweful example of charge swatting. Its a little hard to say for sure since you justifiably intervened, but that is my take on it.

Maybe its not such a big distinction, since it looks like the adult is just way too worked up for them to work through this, and you pretty clearly should back up and do more introduction, but at least you know the adult wasn't trying to injure and more trying to scare off. Probably.

As far as methodology, the carrier method obviously cant be used. Its a last resort anyway, and clearly with a soft carrier its a non-starter. Why is it a last resort? Well introductions take time together with nothing bad happening. So even if you had a rigid carrier or say a dog crate, you wouldn't leave a cat in there for that long. And its stressful for the cat in there. By contrast, if you get a gate up, you can leave that up 24/7 for days or weeks. A baby gate is not going to cut it, a motivated adult can jump over that, and your adult seems . . . motivated . . . but double stacked gates can work, and many have built homemade gates. Some pictures in our guide:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 
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trixielim

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Thats certainly a scary looking video. I think its charge swatting, rather than an intent to injure. Lets ask jefferd18 jefferd18 his thought on your video above (not the one I link below as an example) since he has a lot of experience and commented on this issue in the other recent thread.


Take a look at this video of actual cat fights. There is *some* swatting initially, which is like a feeling each other out move, but soon enough they go in for a full pounce and there is rolling around with mutual attempts to rip with both claws. The rolling around is characteristic of a cat fight when battle is joined. If the fight is uneven, you would see a neck bite, as that is a cat's kill move.

By contrast, some adult cats will run up to a kitten and swat it, some times repeatedly. They don't grab on and get in a rolling around thing, and they don't bite. I call this charge swatting. I think the intent is to back off the kitten and make it leave, rather than to kill. And you don't get bite wounds or injuries (although the occassional scratch is possible).

This strikes me as a particularly aweful example of charge swatting. Its a little hard to say for sure since you justifiably intervened, but that is my take on it.

Maybe its not such a big distinction, since you plainly need to back up and do more introduction, but at least you know the adult wasn't trying to injure and more trying to scare off. Probably.

As far as methodology, the carrier method obviously cant be used. Its a last resort anyway, and clearly with a soft carrier its a non-starter. Why is it a last resort? Well introductions take time together with nothing bad happening. So even if you had a rigid carrier or say a dog crate, you wouldn't leave a cat in there for that long. And its stressful for the cat in there. By contrast, if you get a gate up, you can leave that up 24/7 for days or weeks. A baby gate is not going to cut it, a motivated adult can jump over that, and your adult seems . . . motivated . . . but double stacked gates can work, and many have built homemade gates. Some pictures in our guide:

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
thank you so much for your reply! i’m very relieved to know that my resident cat may not intend to injure our kitten. what we’ve been doing so far is feeding them together with a screen door as a barrier, as seen in the image attached. however, our resident cat would pounce at the screen door, to scare off our kitten. our kitten seems to lack the nerves to hiss at our resident cat, and would instead, back off. we have also attempted the feliway cat diffuser, but it seemed to not have an effect on our cat. our resident cat has lived with 4 other cats before (all of which were male, neutered), and we have not experienced any severe issues regarding the introduction process. it seems as though she really dislikes our kitten :(( do you think spaying our kitten will have any effect on the introduction process? since our kitten is relatively young, she hasn’t been “in heat” yet, but we’re hoping spaying her early on will help. again, thank you so much for your reply, and i greatly appreciate it.
 

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ArtNJ

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Well, the feeding near each other thing is something that is in Jackson Galaxy's guide, but not in ours. I personally think that its more trouble than its worth. My main reason is that progress takes real substantial time in proximity with nothing bad happening, not a few minutes here or there. So if you have them separated by that screen door 24/7, the adult may charge at it a few times, but eventually will stop. Its just too hard to stay that riled up indefinitely. When the adult sees that nothing bad is happening, they will calm down.

I dont know if you can actually do that, and certainly a motivated cat can rip up your typical screen pretty bad. So a gate is better than a screen in that respect. Layout permitting, thats my recommendation -- a gate that you can leave up 24/7. Or take a chance on the screen door getting ripped up.

I dunno about spaying helping -- its certainly not going to hurt though. Nowadays its quite often done well before 6 months. And you have no progress to lose, at this point, so a break to get it done won't hurt anything.
 
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First step get her spayed & let her heal. Then introduce them slowly. I would site swap for 1/2 the day every day. Lock one cat up in a room and then release the other cat from their room. That way they can get used to smelling the other one in the communal areas. ⭐Each cat room needs litter, food, water, some toys & if you can a cat bed and a small cardboard scratcher.

Female cats can go into heat starting as young as 4 months! They keep going into heat until they are pregnant . The more heats she goes into, the higher her chance for breast cancer. Plus your unfixed female is going to be crazy with hormones until a couple weeks after she is spayed.

I have always adopted 2-4 months old kittens. Cats tend to give kittens under 4 months way more leeway and accept them sooner. Your resident cat is still technically a kitten until they are 2 years old...... however I would have adopted a baby kitten of 3 months. You basically have 2 teenage girls squabbling over who is queen bee atm. It can work out (after the younger one is spayed) but expect it to take at least 2 months. The slow introductions process at the the speed of your most reluctant cat is your best bet. Lots of extra TLC to your resident cat and extra yummy treats or play when they are together doesn’t hurt. (Have a wand toy in each hand.)

⭐if you can put an extra litter box in the communal space so they both can start marking the same box.
 
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trixielim

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Well, the feeding near each other thing is something that is in Jackson Galaxy's guide, but not in ours. I personally think that its more trouble than its worth. My main reason is that progress takes real substantial time in proximity with nothing bad happening, not a few minutes here or there. So if you have them separated by that screen door 24/7, the adult may charge at it a few times, but eventually will stop. Its just too hard to stay that riled up indefinitely. When the adult sees that nothing bad is happening, they will calm down.

I dont know if you can actually do that, and certainly a motivated cat can rip up your typical screen pretty bad. So a gate is better than a screen in that respect. Layout permitting, thats my recommendation -- a gate that you can leave up 24/7. Or take a chance on the screen door getting ripped up.

I dunno about spaying helping -- its certainly not going to hurt though. Nowadays its quite often done well before 6 months. And you have no progress to lose, at this point, so a break to get it done won't hurt anything.
thank you! planning to spay our kitten soon, hopefully it will help. will talk to my mom about the gate. just a follow up question though, but when will we know we can let the cats meet without a barrier? all the instances that we’ve let the cats meet without a barrier, led to our resident cat attacking our frightened kitty, and it seems impossible to distract our resident cat when that happens (we try to distract our resident cat with her favorite treats, and her toy) but she seems too focused on our kitten.
 
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trixielim

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First step get her spayed & let her heal. Then introduce them slowly. I would site swap for 1/2 the day every day. Lock one cat up in a room and then release the other cat from their room. That way they can get used to smelling the other one in the communal areas. ⭐Each cat room needs litter, food, water, some toys & if you can a cat bed and a small cardboard scratcher.

Female cats can go into heat starting as young as 4 months! They keep going into heat until they are pregnant . The more heats she goes into, the higher her chance for breast cancer. Plus your unfixed female is going to be crazy with hormones until a couple weeks after she is spayed.

I have always adopted 2-4 months old kittens. Cats tend to give kittens under 4 months way more leeway and accept them sooner. Your resident cat is still technically a kitten until they are 2 years old...... however I would have adopted a baby kitten of 3 months. You basically have 2 teenage girls squabbling over who is queen bee atm. It can work out (after the younger one is spayed) but expect it to take at least 2 months. The slow introductions process at the the speed of your most reluctant cat is your best bet. Lots of extra TLC to your resident cat and extra yummy treats or play when they are together doesn’t hurt. (Have a wand toy in each hand.)

⭐if you can put an extra litter box in the communal space so they both can start marking the same box.
thank you so much for this! we’ve actually been site swapping, having the cats take turns exploring the house, and staying in a room while the other cat is in their own room. they’ve already started using the same litter boxes :> (we have 1 per room). planning on spaying our kitten soon. i hope it’ll make a difference since our resident cat is aggressive towards our kitten even though our kitten has never been in heat yet. will be sure to give a lot of TLC to our resident cat, since i have a feeling she’s been pretty jealous of all the attention we’ve been giving to the new one. a follow up question through, do you have any advice regarding our kitten not wanting to hiss/show any signs of aggression at our resident cat? we think that might be one of the reasons our resident cat keeps attacking her, as our resident cat might be viewing our kitten as “weak”.
 

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Well the idea of the barrier is to get the stress out in safe way. So when the adult stops reacting to the kitten so strongly and hostilely when they are both near the barrier, its done what it can.

I like to tell people its like desensitization therapy for humans. You know, say your afraid of spiders. The therapist starts with a cartoon of a spider. When you stop sweating bullets, he pulls out a spider in a cage 12 feet away. And so on. When you stop reacting visibily and strongly, he moves on, and eventually the damn thing is on your hand. And your cured. Or you faint and demand your money back. Anyway, I think its the same idea with cats. When the gate seems to stop doing much, and when there is no further improvement to be had, its time to move on.

This analogy is why I don't think too much of 5 minute exposures. If the therapist just moved the spider closer, you freaked, and he instantly said "session over" you might be worse not better. Its the same with cats, super short exposures just dont give the cats time to calm down and see nothing bad is happening. Its also why I don't think the eating close to each other is necessarily too imporant. I've heard that is to "build positive experiences." But thats a whole different therapeutic model that doesn't necessarily combine naturally with desensitization therapy. After all, the therapist doesn't give you a bowl of ice cream after he moves the spider closer does he? You would be too stressed to eat it.
 
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Since you have a screen door, maybe you could use a feather toy to play with the kitten while the other cat watches?

It might help your older cat learn the kitten without feeling the need to engage. That helped me with Jasper, honestly.

Jasper took a few months to warm up to Gracie, but he was never aggressive like this either. Still I think it's normal for it to take a bit.

I wish I had more advice other than the play idea =( That was what worked for me with mine but again mine weren't aggressive. Just a few bats and hissy.
 

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When they ignore each other completely & can calmly eat from a plate on each side of the screen door.

When you let them meat get an extra thick piece of poster board (the kind with foam between the two layers) or a 4 foot by 4 foot piece of card board. If you see a stare down starting block the line of sight with the poster board.

Cats staring at each other is like one cat yelling “I’m going to kick your a** !!!!” Or a drunk person saying “hold my beer” a fight always follows. So better to block with cardboard (so the would be victim can go to safety) or block the line of sight- pick up the bully- place the bully in a roomwith the door closed for 10 minutes. Not a time out, just a reset.

Try to get rid of all dead ends & if necessary block all unders (to prevent stuff like a fight breaking out under the bed.)
 
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trixielim

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First step get her spayed & let her heal. Then introduce them slowly. I would site swap for 1/2 the day every day. Lock one cat up in a room and then release the other cat from their room. That way they can get used to smelling the other one in the communal areas. ⭐Each cat room needs litter, food, water, some toys & if you can a cat bed and a small cardboard scratcher.

Female cats can go into heat starting as young as 4 months! They keep going into heat until they are pregnant . The more heats she goes into, the higher her chance for breast cancer. Plus your unfixed female is going to be crazy with hormones until a couple weeks after she is spayed.

I have always adopted 2-4 months old kittens. Cats tend to give kittens under 4 months way more leeway and accept them sooner. Your resident cat is still technically a kitten until they are 2 years old...... however I would have adopted a baby kitten of 3 months. You basically have 2 teenage girls squabbling over who is queen bee atm. It can work out (after the younger one is spayed) but expect it to take at least 2 months. The slow introductions process at the the speed of your most reluctant cat is your best bet. Lots of extra TLC to your resident cat and extra yummy treats or play when they are together doesn’t hurt. (Have a wand toy in each hand.)

⭐if you can put an extra litter box in the communal space so they both can start marking the same box.
thank you so much for this! we’ve actually been site swapping, having the cats take turns exploring the house, and staying in a room while the other cat is in their own room, and they’ve already started using the same litter boxes (we have 1 per room). planning on spaying our kitten soon. i hope it’ll make a difference since our resident cat is aggressive towards our kitten even though our kitten has never been in heat yet.
Well the idea of the barrier is to get the stress out in safe way. So when the adult stops reacting to the kitten so strongly and hostilely when they are both near the barrier, its done what it can.

I like to tell people its like desensitization therapy for humans. You know, say your afraid of spiders. The therapist starts with a cartoon of a spider. When you stop sweating bullets, he pulls out a spider in a cage 12 feet away. And so on. When you stop reacting visibily and strongly, he moves on, and eventually the damn thing is on your hand. And your cured. Or you faint and demand your money back. Anyway, I think its the same idea with cats. When the gate seems to stop doing much, and when there is no further improvement to be had, its time to move on.

This analogy is why I don't think too much of 5 minute exposures. If the therapist just moved the spider closer, you freaked, and he instantly said "session over" you might be worse not better. Its the same with cats, super short exposures just dont give the cats time to calm down and see nothing bad is happening. Its also why I don't think the eating close to each other is necessarily too imporant. I've heard that is to "build positive experiences." But thats a whole different therapeutic model that doesn't necessarily combine naturally with desensitization therapy. After all, the therapist doesn't give you a bowl of ice cream after he moves the spider closer does he? You would be too stressed to eat it.
such a great analogy! thank you so much! will give you updates.
 
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trixielim

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Since you have a screen door, maybe you could use a feather toy to play with the kitten while the other cat watches?

It might help your older cat learn the kitten without feeling the need to engage. That helped me with Jasper, honestly.

Jasper took a few months to warm up to Gracie, but he was never aggressive like this either. Still I think it's normal for it to take a bit.

I wish I had more advice other than the play idea =( That was what worked for me with mine but again mine weren't aggressive. Just a few bats and hissy.
thank you so much for your advice! we have tried playing with both cats together by the screen door, but sadly, our resident cat isn’t interested in her toy anymore and would instead, just watch the kitty play and then hiss at her. we will try to play with them again.
 
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