Smacking kitty head

mrw5641

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Our adult cat Oscar is 6 and Ellie is 16 weeks now and has been with us for over a month.

Oscar will unprovokingly swat at the kitten when she walks by.

Any reason for this?

Tips?
 

FeebysOwner

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What steps did you take to introduce them? Chances are Oscar is just 'not that into' Ellie - yet. A month is nothing to some cats, and some introductions between cats can take many months to get them to a good position. That is even more true with an adult cat and a kitten - at least on the adult cat's part. If the only issue you are experiencing is Oscar taking an occasional swat at Ellie, you actually don't have a horrible problem.

As far as provocation - there isn't any needed because Oscar considers her presence provocation enough! You might just need to make sure Oscar has his 'space', so he doesn't feel threatened by a new cat, and that Ellie is safe from any potential escalation from Oscar since she is still small.
See if there are any tips in these TCS articles for you to try.
How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat – TheCatSite Articles
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 
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mrw5641

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Thanks FeebysOwner FeebysOwner ! We have had her for over a month so just the normal intro. Smelling room, putting her in cage and letting him smell.

Now they run around but Oscar appears to be a bully but as you said her presence is enough for a slap!

I follow them very close when they are interact. I have a spray bottle if it gets bad... However, no blood or hair loss so that's a good sign.

Just frustrating
 

ArtNJ

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No, definitely don't use the spray bottle, that will just make him more uncomfortable with the kitten and be counter-productive. Its like if your toddler is nervous about the potty -- you sure dont smack him for that, would make things much worse.

This is a super common thing. Sometimes even young or middle aged adults have a little crotchety senior vibe with kittens. "Get off my lawn!" Since the kitten isn't provoking this with trying to play, there is probably an element of generalized discomfort as well as FeebysOwner FeebysOwner said. In that case its more like "I don't trust you, I'm watching you!"

Either way, its nothing uncommon and nothing so serious. If an adult cat wanted a kitten dead, it would be dead. This *isn't* attempt to injure, and your older cat can likely get past it on its own. Just let them work things out.
 

FeebysOwner

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I have a spray bottle if it gets bad... However, no blood or hair loss so that's a good sign. Just frustrating
Yes, it is frustrating for you - so, think how frustrating it is for Oscar! Nothing warrants the use of a spray bottle, so please remove that from your options. There are a ton of other things you can do to stop a fight - better yet avoid them to begin with.

But the biggest key of all of this is that you can only move through the steps of introductions as fast as the slowest adapting cat - that would be Oscar. He cannot be punished for how he feels, just given time to 'get over it'. That will come in time based on how things are going so far. They may never be best of buddies (at least not in the near future), but Oscar should - if he is allowed to move at his own pace - tolerate (and maybe even accept) Ellie.
 
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mrw5641

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Thanks for the spray bottle tip. What do you suggest if they are in a tussle?
 

ArtNJ

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Thanks for the spray bottle tip. What do you suggest if they are in a tussle?
If its just a smack on the head or even pinning kitten and play biting the neck, I suggest ignoring it. Generally speaking, that is the way the older cat tries to teach a kitten to leave it alone, respect its space and learn manners. In the early days, as mentioned above, there may also be an element of being nervous about the kitten.

If the kitten seems truly miserable, squealing, and cant seem to get away on its own, you could gentle distract/separate them. Just as long as you dont do it in a way that causes stress, thats totally fine. It won't teach anything, but you don't have too, and it will give the kitten a reprieve if it seemed truly miserable. Just be aware that sometimes kittens can be drama queens about this stuff, actually screaming when pinned by an older cat despite there being zero injuries. The older cat never intends to injure, and even if sometimes the stuff looks overly dramatic/scary, its basically the equivalent of a 7 year old giving a 4 year old a "head noogie" or something of that nature -- ie. nothing serious.
 
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mrw5641

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I was thinking of giving Oscar treats when he walks by her and does nothing.

Thanks for the advice!
 

FeebysOwner

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On the other side of the coin, if you see signs of stress in Oscar then you can't just let them 'duke it out'. So, watch to make sure Oscar is OK otherwise and just a bit annoyed when Ellie is in his presence. And, yes, if Oscar is not whacking at Ellie, a treat certainly isn't a bad idea!
 

ArtNJ

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Treats definitely won't hurt! But a cat that is nervous may not accept treats. Its like sometimes they are so hyper focused on the kitten they are like "not nowww mom, Im on guard duty, its important!"
 

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I think it's just because Oscar is telling Ellie, "Hey, you little upstart! I'm the boss around here! Don't you forget that!"

Basically, it's just posturing. As long as it stays at that level, I don't think there's anything to worry about.
If it turns into bullying or outright fighting, then you should put a stop to it.

No matter what ages the cats are or how long they've been together, even if they grow to be cat buddies, there will always be some occasional hissing, swatting and even wrestling. That's normal. Call it "Cat Politics," if you will. It's how cats communicate.

It's up to you to set the level of "rassling" that cats are allowed to do in your house. Like the referee in a football game.
If you see some behavior that goes over your limit, call it just like the ref does.

Decide how rough your cats are allowed to play and stick to it.
Maybe you think it's okay for them to tussle but no more. Maybe you set the bar higher and let them wrestle.
Personally, I say anything goes as long as the cats aren't damaging the house or hurting each other. No matter, you set the limit.

If they get a little bit more rambunctious than you'd like you should be able to just say, "Play nice!" If they get too rough, give them a little holler, "Settle down!" If they don't listen, clap your hands or stomp your foot and shout, "HEY! ENOUGH!" If it gets bad, you might have to separate them and put them in different rooms.

For most cats, stomping your foot and shouting is a pretty big punishment. We have never had to go beyond "scolding" our cat, Casper. Honestly, he rarely misbehaves at all. :)

On those rare occasions, little annoyances get, "Casper... Uh-uh-uh..."
Bigger things get, "Casper! No!" Repeat offenses, "I said NO!" Bad things, "NO!"
When he's really bad like trying to jump on the stove or run out the door, it's a foot stomp and a big, "CASPER!! **NO!!**"
Honestly, I don't even remember the last time I had to go beyond, "Uh-uh..." Casper is such a well behaved cat! :D

The big keys are consistency, immediacy and whether the punishment fits the crime.
Always scold your cats the same way every time, each time and in the same way. You have to step in and make that call the second you see behavior you don't like. If you wait, even thirty seconds, the cat won't understand why it's being scolded. Always try to catch them red handed.

It takes repetition and consistency or else they'll never learn.
 

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I would do two things. Give Oscar up to 12 hours a day of kitten free time every day. Maybe break it up into 2 chunks where Os at gets you rule the house & the kitten gets left in a kitten safe room. If you can let Oscar keep sleeping with you.

Two just ignore it. Give Oscar extra treats, love & play when the kitten is around. Give them the best treats like lickable treats or those fancy feast treats that are chunks of fish in tiny pouches.
 

danteshuman

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I wanted to add a story. Long ago there was an elder cat (with some middle age/adult cats) & along came 2 baby tiny 10 day old kittens. Now Quasi was an old senior and he hated the kittens! He wanted nothing to do with them! Then when they hit 3 months for some reason he fixated on one kitten, Sarah. They started hanging out though he was always quick to whack her on the head (a clawless bop.) We started calling Quasi The Godfather. Quasi taught Sarah everything and when he passed, the mantle of topcat passed to her. Quasi & Sarah became buds. So there is still plenty of hope for Oscar and your (currently) obnoxious kitten.
 

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Oh, yeah... Something I forgot to mention...

Try to make sure that Oscar knows that he's not being "replaced." Just like you do with kids when you have a new baby. The older child often becomes jealous. Ellie should be like Oscar's "little sister" that he should look out for, not be jealous of.

Do all of the things like you would do with children, except scaled down for cats.
Make sure that you give equal attention and playtime to both cats. Feed them equally (adjusted for age) and as close to the same time as possible.

Oscar is used to being "King of the Castle." Now, he's playing "Second Fiddle."
It's quite possible that Oscar could feel left out when everybody pays more attention to the new kitten. That could generate some acrimony between the two cats.

Instead, treat him like the "Big Brother." :D
 
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mrw5641

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Bumping this up! Oscar is bunny kicking the kitten as of recently.

Any reason as to this? Or tips?
 

ArtNJ

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Bumping this up! Oscar is bunny kicking the kitten as of recently.

Any reason as to this? Or tips?
Bunny kicks are the go to defense against enemy cats and predators in the wild. Flopping on the back with all 4 legs available to rake the enemy with nails is what we are talking about. In play, between adult cats its generally seen when one voluntarily decides to assume the defensive position. However, it seems that some adult cats will sort of grab the kitten put it in position for bunny kicks. Especially young stupid enthusiastic cats, less so six year olds like yours, but it does happen. Now you know this is play, because in the wild, this is a highly effective manuever at shredding the enemy with the nails. Kitten isn't covered in blood, so its play. And you won't find wounds. The nails are in. So it mostly just *looks* horrible, and isn't really.
 
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mrw5641

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It definitely looked bad. Thanks A ArtNJ
 

FeebysOwner

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An adult cat 'bunny kicking' a 16-week-old kitten, is not exactly to be taken casually. Especially if the kitten is reacting badly to it. Too much of a size difference, if for no other reason. Don't know where you are in the introduction process, but you need to re-evaluate.
 
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