Resident cat & new kitten adjustment

MeganP

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Hi all, I’m in need of advice for how to help my resident cat (Winnie, age 5, adopted at age 6mo) and my new kitten (Sophie, age 5mo, adopted at age 4mo) adjust.

I found Sophie in a park a little over a month ago. Brought her home and kept her in a separate room from my resident cat. Lived in a one-bedroom apartment, so for the first week that meant kitten was in the bathroom while cat roamed the apartment or kitten roamed the apartment while cat was in the bedroom. They seemed to be adjusting and were not intrigued by each other’s scent during scent swapping. They could see each other under the door and would occasionally paw. Heard a little hissing from the cat, but not much. Got a freestanding pet pen and made an enclosure in the living room. Let the kitten be in there while the cat roamed. Cat was fine with that, but kitten figured out how to climb the pen, so it was no longer a safe plan. I would sit in the pen with the kitten sometimes, or we would keep them in separate rooms. Cat would mostly ignore the kitten, would even lounge near the pen, or would paw at the kitten through the pen but not hiss. For three weeks, my husband and I took turns sleeping on the couch with the kitten while the other slept in the bedroom with the cat. The kitten didn’t want to sleep alone and cried almost the entire night the three nights we tried that.

Our lease ended at that apartment after three weeks with the kitten, and we moved to a nearby two-bedroom apartment at that time. We chose to let the cat and kitten be together in the new apartment instead of having them (and us) sleep in separate rooms. We have also left them alone in the new apartment with all doors open several times. They seemed to be adjusting relatively well for the first week (even sat in the same crate together in the closet with me also present during the first hour in the new place), mostly ignoring each other and even occasionally napping in proximity to each other, although at peak energy hours (mid-morning and late night) there would be some hissing/batting/even occasional tackling and biting. About a week in, it seems like progress is going backwards. Cat seems to be getting more aggressive, even when the kitten ignores her, but the kitten also doesn’t learn to give the cat space after the cat tries to communicate that she needs it. These problems are mostly at the peak energy hours. I try to play with the cat extra to help get her energy out on a toy instead of taking it out on the kitten, but it hasn’t seemed to help much. If they get in a tiff, I usually put a pillow between them gently. Trying to distract with a toy only seems to work for the kitten, not the cat, and the kitten is never the aggressor.

Please advise about how to help their adjustment! I wanted to introduce them well so we wouldn’t have to do a re-introduction, but I’m scared that I failed. If a re-introduction is needed, can anyone advise where to star

As a side detail, the vet determined the kitten needed her back right leg amputated, so kitten had that surgery about a week after we found her. She is recovering very well.

Attached is a photo of both lovely girls during a very rare nap in proximity to each other.
7F478890-0E32-4A96-9721-CEAB648B275E.jpeg
 

rubysmama

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Awww... what 2 beautiful sweetie pies. Hopefully you'll see lots more of these moments as time progresses. :catlove:

As for the current situation, it's hard to tell from your post whether it is actual fighting/aggression, or just the older cat being annoyed by the "let's play" kitten.

Is it just hissing and occasional swatting? Or has there been fur flying or bloodshed? And does Sophie seem scared of Winnie, or does she just run away after the incident, but then quickly come back for more "fun". Also are they both eating and using the litter box ok?
 
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di and bob

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I always go by the kitten. if she hides when the older cat appears and does not want any contact, then it means she is seriously getting hurt. If she goads the older cat into punishing her and teaching her manners, runs and hides, but then comes back for more, everything is normal. Get a kickeroo, or two, and keep one in a bag of catnip to keep it refreshed, and throw it towards the aggressor to distract them. That usually works. but it takes vigilance. An older cat teaching a kitten manners always sounds like world war three. But blood from deep bites or scratches is NOT normal. Moving is a horribly unsettling experience for cats. They would be both uptight, so a setback after the initial shock is not unexpected. It hasn't been long at all, so more adjusting is definitely needed. Try to keep your older cat distracted and give her high up places she can flee to. Swatting, hissing, growling, and pinning to the ground are all normal, but you don't want that kitten to get hurt.
 
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MeganP

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Awww... what 2 beautiful sweetie pies. Hopefully you'll see lots more of these moments as time progresses. :catlove:

As for the current situation, it's hard to tell from your post whether it is actual fighting/aggression, or just the older cat being annoyed by the "let's play" kitten.

Is it just hissing and occasional swatting? Or has there been fur flying or bloodshed? And does Sophie seem scared of Winnie, or does she just run away after the incident, but then quickly come back for more "fun". Also are they both eating and using the litter box ok?
It’s some hissing, swatting, staring, charging, and biting. There hasn’t been any blood or fur flying at all! They do a great job ignoring each other 85-90% of the time, but I’d love to get that much higher since it always makes me anxious/concerns me when there is aggression.

Sometimes Sophie seems hesitant, but sometimes she goes back for more. I’d say more often it’s hesitation.

Both are eating and using the litter boc
 
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MeganP

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Thank you for sharing! I’ll check that article out.

Sophie has been spayed. She was spayed about a week after we found her, at the same time as her leg amputation surgery.
 

rubysmama

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That's good she's spayed, so there won't be any hormone issues complicating things between them.

Oh poor baby needing the amputation. Now that I look again at the picture, I see it. I guess initially all I saw was the cutie pie kitten looking as relaxed and happy as can be. :hearthrob: They both look happy in the pic, so hopefully you'll see more of that soon. :catlove:
 
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