Resident Cat terrified of New Kitten - HELP

gina_grace16

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I have read several forums regarding the issue of kittens and resident cats, however, I cannot find any help for my specific situation.

My husband and I have a sweet resident cat, Josie, 6 years old, who's lived with just us her whole life. To us, she doesn't seem the typical cat. She's a fluffy Siberian, and is the calmest cat ever. But even as a kitten, she doesn't like to play much. The laser pointer is the only thing that gets her moving, but she also has asthma, so she can only run for so long before an attack comes on. She loves to cuddle, hang out with us, and barely depends much more besides pets, treats, and ice cubes.

I convinced my husband to let us adopt a kitten for our resident cat, as we would like to have kids soon. I didn't want Josie to feel lonely and without a cuddle partner. Now enter in Dirk, a then 3 month old tabby.

Dirk is a typical kitten, so sweet and cuddly at night, and LOVES to play. He's very energetic and it doesn't seem to exhaust. We have taken the typical steps to introduce them (though we did rush the second night by putting them in a large open room together, my husband's idea), but for about a week they were fully separated, eating through the door together, everything fine.

Josie was a little timid walking by the door at first, but after a day, she was completely normal. A week in, we let Dirk roam free but kept an extremely close eye on both cats. There seemed to be zero issues until Dirk gets too close to Josie.

This is where the problem comes in. We have had Dirk about 2 months, never let him out unsupervised, play with him pretty consistently outside our work schedule, give treats, started clicker training, have both cats play with the laser pointer and feed treats and food together.

All is well until Dirk REALLY wants to play. He will constantly stalk Josie and pounce her wanting to play. Sometimes he runs up to her and stops, sometimes it's just a little paw to her head, and other times it's clinging on to her backside since she always runs away.

No matter how soft Dirk plays though, Josie will scream bloody murder. She thinks he is attacking her and makes the most awful screeching noises, noises you'd expect to hear from two alley cats fighting.

Josie will hiss and growl if Dirk gets too close and she's expecting it. But she will not fight back with him. She always runs, but never hides. She will cry, we make a loud noise or grab Dirk if that doesn't work, and then Josie will walk two feet away and plop back down. She seems interested in him, but does not want him in her space. However, she is giving him absolutely no signs that she doesn't want to play until she screams. She almost instigates by turning her back to him and wagging her tail, or following him even though he just attacked her. She does not hide from him (not in a concealed spot), and she makes no real attempt to get away from him.

We hate to see her be so terrified, and she may never want to play with him. We try and play with him enough so that he gets the attention he needs. But we simply don't know what to do. I know it is very early on, but it really seems like Josie will never adjust. Please help!
 

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nurseangel

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Hi, it's nice to meet you and your beautiful cats! IMHO, most cats resolve issues among themselves once a pecking order has been established. It can take cats a really long time to adjust. I only have two that absolutely cannot mix under any circumstances. I would suggest trying some type of Feliway product. I am sure someone else will have other suggestions, but that seems to help.
 

ArtNJ

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Kittens almost never take no for an answer or pay any attention to signals the other cat doesnt want to play. Actual screaming is not especially common, but hissing, growling and running away sure are. Your post doesn't have a lot of details as to how the cat acts when rough play is not going on, but it sounds like the cat is not generally bothered by the kitten except when the rough play is going on. That is inconsistent with true terror and massive stress, so I think your cat is basically a drama queens, screaming in a situation where most other cats hiss and growl. Some cats are like that. So this all sounds fairly normal.

You could have tried a longer introduction process, and you could back up and do more now. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles However, to the extent the cat just doesn't want to be jumped on, the introduction doesn't really fix the problem. At best, it makes the older cat somewhat less stressed about it. Which is valuable - going backwards to do more introduction is definitely something to consider. However, time tends to be the only thing that truly works, and sometimes its pathetically slow.

Sometimes a middle aged cat will befriend a kitten, but many times they will never take to the kitten and it might take a while to even get to toleration. Thinking they need a friend is a totally normal human thing and many, many make this mistake, but the older an only cat gets, the higher the chance they will never be friends. So I usually tell people only get a kitten *for you* not for your older cat. Still, you never know, and worse starts have been overcome and ended up in friendship. And even if you are on the long slow crawl towards toleration, things usually settle down and become reasonably manageable before too long. Good luck!
 
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gina_grace16

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Hi, it's nice to meet you and your beautiful cats! IMHO, most cats resolve issues among themselves once a pecking order has been established. It can take cats a really long time to adjust. I only have two that absolutely cannot mix under any circumstances. I would suggest trying some type of Feliway product. I am sure someone else will have other suggestions, but that seems to help.
Hi! Thank you so much for the help. The chaos is just non stop, but they are still my little babies! Things to actually seem to be getting a bit better, so we're just going to wait it out and let them figure it out on their own!
 
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gina_grace16

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Kittens almost never take no for an answer or pay any attention to signals the other cat doesnt want to play. Actual screaming is not especially common, but hissing, growling and running away sure are. Your post doesn't have a lot of details as to how the cat acts when rough play is not going on, but it sounds like the cat is not generally bothered by the kitten except when the rough play is going on. That is inconsistent with true terror and massive stress, so I think your cat is basically a drama queens, screaming in a situation where most other cats hiss and growl. Some cats are like that. So this all sounds fairly normal.

You could have tried a longer introduction process, and you could back up and do more now. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles However, to the extent the cat just doesn't want to be jumped on, the introduction doesn't really fix the problem. At best, it makes the older cat somewhat less stressed about it. Which is valuable - going backwards to do more introduction is definitely something to consider. However, time tends to be the only thing that truly works, and sometimes its pathetically slow.

Sometimes a middle aged cat will befriend a kitten, but many times they will never take to the kitten and it might take a while to even get to toleration. Thinking they need a friend is a totally normal human thing and many, many make this mistake, but the older an only cat gets, the higher the chance they will never be friends. So I usually tell people only get a kitten *for you* not for your older cat. Still, you never know, and worse starts have been overcome and ended up in friendship. And even if you are on the long slow crawl towards toleration, things usually settle down and become reasonably manageable before too long. Good luck!
Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to help! My husband and I laughed when you said our older cat might just be a tad bit of a drama queen. We've realized that you have nailed it right on the head!

She definitely isn't as terrified as she puts on. But the 'screaming' and crying made us think otherwise.

However, things have been going well the past two weeks! Our Josie has finally shown some dominance and courage with the kitten. She has not made any yelling noises, and doesn't run away anymore until she's really fed up.

I am super hopeful now, and especially more so with all the advice. I don't feel as crazy as before!

Thank you again for the help, and I will definitely use all the advice given!
 

GustifursMom

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It sounds to me like she's very vocal about her disapproval of his rambunctious behavior. Since she isn't hiding it doesn't seem like she's afraid, just annoyed. I would guess that as your kitten gets older and mellows out this will be a non-issue.
 

danteshuman

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A lot of older cats don’t even want to be in the same room as a kitten until they are 6-12 months old.

After my hyper bully jumped his older brother whenever he got bored, my advice may be different. I would reintroduce them, site swapping (he gets the house 12 hours a day, his room 12 hours a day.) For at least the next month, they do not see each other. During that month, build her self esteem with daily play with wand toys. Try things like da bird & the cat dancer (which cats weirdly like for some reason.) Then when you release him to see her face to face, I would keep him in a harness so you can stop a chase (you can harness train him that month.) Daily walks outside will help calm him down, along with letting him hunker down and hunt things outside for an hour; on a long leash. (1-2 hours outside every day, keeps my hyper boy outside. Plus outside time is what kept my bully from bullying his brother!) Then when your kitten calms down and can be calm around your girl, he can loose the harness inside.

That said is it possible to rehome him and to adopt a better cat temperament wise for her? It might put her health at risk. What you want is a calm, passive 1-6 year old neutered boy! Lastly female cats want to rule the house & boy cats (like human boys) want to wrestle/play fight.

3 kitten, 1 girl, 2 boys. They just turned three years old and they still occasionally big their sister! When the boys play fight it looks like a fight to an untrained eye but they love each other. The good thing about having the boys together is they can play with each other. Provided they are not rained in, they usually leave their sister alone. However the sister does want to play with them sometimes. It is just she wants to play hide & seek and they wants to play wrestlemania!!!

Here are the boys play fighting and cuddling. A second 6 month old male kitten may be the answer.


E6C9A2B9-96CE-44CD-B7F3-3D70B8146D6F.jpeg
50C75880-7A79-4434-B74B-9DDACE14097C.jpeg
& here is how she is with her brothers. Comfortable being near them but not best friends either.
B1B5176E-F1E2-4B52-9363-2D2AB1B5EB02.jpeg
 
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