Resident potentially bullying kitten?

Lukin125

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I apologize as I’m sure this has been asked a million times, but I could use some advice and/or reassurance. :)

One week ago we adopted a 14 week old kitten, Luna. At home we have 2 resident cats - Tommen (7) and Maggie (4). We’ve spent the last week doing slow introductions as recommended. Things were largely going fine aside from the odd hiss and growl from Maggie, so we started supervised visits.

Tommen has pretty much taken to Luna already. He’s not hissing and they’ve bumped noses and briefly played. Maggie, not so much. At first she was just very cautious and avoided/watched Luna, only hissing/growling if she came too close. Then she starting swatting with the hissing/growling. Now she will seek her out and chase her, hiss/swat, and walk away. I don’t know if she’s doing this intentionally but Maggie will occasionally also sit in the hallway and then growl and hiss at Luna if she tries to get past. A few times she has even hissed at Tommen for no discernible reason (she’s never done this before).

They have all napped in the same room, ate within a foot or two of each other, and played near each other all without incident. Maggie is able to be distracted when she’s “stalking” Luna and doesn’t do it all the time. I guess I’m just really confused and not sure if this is all a normal part of the process, or if we should re-introduce or what. I’m mainly worried the chasing will escalate into full on fights. Thank you in advance for reading all this!
 

littlecatt

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Congrats on your new kitten adoption! You should absolutely post pictures of your group, they have such darling names! :heartshape:

From what you describe, this sounds like you've got a dominant resident cat who wants to make sure this new kitten doesn't step out of line, but it's not anything abnormal or even necessarily too concerning. I'd definitely stick to supervised visits right now but the fact that everyone's napping, eating, and playing without incident is fantastic progress. I don't think the stalking should escalate; your kitten is really young, and adult cats don't instigate fights with kittens, nor will Luna instigate anything herself. Most likely Maggie will just bully her a little, give her a smack, and all will be good. These things look scary to us, but if Luna isn't hiding, I guarantee it's less scary to her! I'd take a step back only if Luna is acting fearful of Maggie or if Luna is still pretty small and might accidentally get hurt. But usually when these things happen, the kitten is cowed, and then is bouncing back wanting to explore and play. Otherwise just focus on distracting Maggie and diffuse the tension with some playing instead, especially if you can get both of them playing near each other with a wand toy or something along those lines.

The bottom line is that cats have their own way of communicating, and hissing isn't a bad thing! It'll probably keep going on for months still, but you'll notice that Maggie's tolerance will get better and her personal space bubble will decrease. I have a dominant older cat too and he'd still hiss and bop my new kitten if he got too close way after their introductions were done. It was only about the six month mark that they started cuddling and allogrooming. Just give it time, Maggie just has to throw her weight around a little but as long as Luna doesn't seem overly affected by it, I'd just keep an eye on them and try to mediate while still giving them this visual time. :redheartpump:
 

Maria Bayote

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Seems like a normal behavior of your resident cat. Older cats are more tolerant to younger kitties. Maggie, as stated above, is only most probably setting boundaries. Among my cats, my Bourbon is the one doing that to the younger ones. Until now, even after more than a year, she still hisses, growls and swats Graham. It is her way of probably disciplining my naughty Graham.

Just observe. You said they sleep and eat in the same space so it seems its ok. You can distinguish a real fight from a mere swatting/hissing.

BTW, congrats to your new kitten! It is always fun having these cats in our life.
 

ArtNJ

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Adult cats dont ever actually hurt kittens. A "get away" swat or a "get away" charge/swat is about as intense as it gets. Biological hard wiring prevents them from going further than this. We don't hear about bitten up or dead kittens, not ever. So it is safe to see if they can work it out on their own. As suggested by the folks above, it often seems like with some time, the older cats that aren't afraid to get a little physical do better than the ones that just seem scared of the kitten. Still, the charge/swat looks scary, and I agree it would be helpful to make sure your nearby during together time for a bit longer -- at least in listening range.
 
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Lukin125

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Thank you all so much for your advice and reassurances! I had no idea adult cats don't instigate fights with kittens. That makes me feel a lot better. Of course after I worked myself up and worried yesterday, they've made a lot of progress today! There's been noticeably less hissing and chasing and no growling. I'm hoping within the next few days or week we can keep the door open at night too, but I'm going at their pace. :)

Funny side note: Tommen has made such a strong association with Luna and treats that any time he hangs out with her long enough, he will come up to me and meow for some. Silly guy.

Here's some pictures of my crew:
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Left to right: Luna, Maggie, and Tommen.
 
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