Sudden aggression after new kitten

TashaLyn

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Let me give a little backstory. Two years ago we got sibling sister cats. When they were about 10 months old, we got another kitten. The older two were OK. They didn’t really like her but they weren’t mean. Fast forward to 10 months later. We found out that another kitten was in desperate need of a home. She just got fixed yesterday, and we brought her home today. She never had any interaction with the other three cats, as she went right into a room to recuperate. As soon as I put her in the room, I close the door. One of the original catsImmediately started hissing at me. I don’t know what happened. She never had contact with the kitten, but instantly became hostile towards me and the other original cats. she was my little shadow for as long as I can remember. I can’t even pet her, or look at her for that matter. I don’t know what happened that made her soo angry. We intend to go through the entire introduction process as we did with the other kitten we brought home. I just don’t know what happened that OG cat is angry with me. I’m worried that whatever is going on with her won’t be undone. I’ve never heard of this type of behavior and all I’m finding online is aggression towards new kitten - not the own. I literally can’t go near my cat without her growling, pupils huge, and hissing repeatedly. Any suggestions? Ideas?
 

Furballsmom

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Try putting a dab of vanilla extract on your hands or arms, and on your upset cat. Hopefully it'll override the scent of the other new kitten or whatever scent it is that's the issue. Also try literally ignoring your upset kitty, just go about your business as normal.
 

jen

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Cats are all about smell so this is pretty normal. Just like if one cat goes to the vet and comes home the others may start to hiss and growl at them or at you because you all smell like strangers and of stress and the clinic. You smell like this new kitten, its smell is in the air, something is not right in the resident cats mind and she will hiss or growl to show that she is aware and on guard.

It really isn't a big deal, just give it time. Scent swapping is a great way to help too.
 

rubysmama

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ArtNJ

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rubysmama rubysmama 's links explain it. Just give your cat some time. Don't try to cuddle or pet until she has calmed down or she will scratch you. Once she is calm, you might still wash your hands before petting. Scent swapping is one thing, but you don't want to be the vehicle to bring the kitten's smell to your upset resident cat if that is going to get you scratched.

Additionally, do note that this is a warning sign that this cat may have a difficult introduction process. While adult cats dont attack kittens and its often possible to go pretty fast when introducing one kitten to one adult cat, here don't do that. Its quite possible that if you rush the intro the re-directed aggression might flare back up (or get worse if its not going away so fast). So yep, do take it slow.

One last thing: redirected aggression can be pretty hard to get rid of if the cats actually fight. So far, I've only heard that the cat attacked you, but if your cats fight because of it (and this is possible), it becomes potentially more of a problem in that you might have to isolate that cat and basically do a 3 way introduction/reintroduction process.
 

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Others offered great advice already. Just wanted to share my Isabelle growled at me the first day or two after bringing the kittens home when I tried to pet her. She must have smelled the kittens on me. If I thought my hands smelled like kittens in the early introduction phases, I'd feed Isabelle treats out of my hand to associate a positive with the kittens scent. She is very treat motivated.
 
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TashaLyn

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Thank you for the advice. The thing that is soo upsetting is that I never even touched the kitten at the start of resident cat growling and hissing. I walked by her after putting kitten into a room and she hissed. We’ve pet cats and kittens and been around dogs and she never got like this. She has always been one of the most outgoing, sweetest, loving cats. My kids have pet the kitten and pet resident cat and she’s okay with them. My fiancé pet resident cat and she was fine with him until I walked by. She sniffed my hand and then hissed - I took a shower and hadn’t been near the kitten yet today at that point. She’s also hissing at the other 2 resident cats now. She used to cuddle with them on a huge pile but she hisses and runs away. They aren’t sure what to do with themselves bc it’s like there’s a part of their missing triangle and they’re besides themselves. I just hope and pray this all gets better.
 

susanm9006

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It will get better. It pretty much always does when the newcomer is a kitten. It is just going to take some time but usually adult cats will accept a kitten much more quickly than an adult. The best thing you can do is not get upset that they are upset since your emotions can affect them as well. They just may be hissy or irritated with one another for a few days but they will forget it and go back to their usual personalities once they adjust.
 

ArtNJ

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It does sound highly random, but the whole redirected aggression thing is some kind of weird flaw in the cat brain. Not like its a positive survival trait for cats in the wild to get scared by, say a coyote, and then attack their sibling. That is the opposite of a survival trait; maybe its a flaw from inbreeding from domestication. Anyway, this is a negative trait that evolution hasn't managed to clean up, and we can't expect it to follow orderly rules. Some cats get it in some situations and some don't, and we just have to deal with it even if we can't figure it out.

All of that said, it could be as simple as you being the one to stick your hand in the cat's face at the exact wrong time, when its stress was at a high level for whatever reason. I doubt your kids or anyone else has any immunity. The whole thing is the opposite of personal -- they aren't recognizing you as their human at all, so the strength of your bond is temporarily irrelevant. So, as the introduction progresses, warn your kids to make sure the cat isn't stressed before petting.
 
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rubysmama

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That's the problem with redirected aggression, it makes no sense to the cat or, in your case, human who is on the receiving end of the aggression. :alright: Hopefully she'll get past it soon, but with the new kitten in the mix, you've still got the introductions to work on. Good luck. :redheartpump:
 
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TashaLyn

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Y’all! So I was looking for the cheese in the fridge and suddenly I feel a cat rubbing in between my legs. It’s my girl! She let me pet her. She was flopping on the floor, showing her belly, rubbing all up on me. She even jumped into the window with her litter sister and laid with her. I pet her while she was in the window! She wasn’t relaxed too much, but she didn’t hiss and her pupils weren’t large. She is however still hissing at the other cat that she’s been with for 10 months. So far so good tho. My heart is filling back up again! 💜
 

rubysmama

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Great news! :redheartpump: Crossing my fingers as well for continued pawsitive progress. :crossfingers:
 
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