Trouble with new kitten and older cat

tinzeal

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Hi guys

Myself and my partner have had our cat Prince for about 3 and a half years. We got him from a shelter, he was already about two years old and had been re-homed due to his former owners getting a new cat that attacked him. He's settled in extremely well with us, he's so loving and has the sweetest nature, though he is quite shy, unconfident, maybe a bit timid.

For a couple years now we've wondered if he could benefit from having a cat friend, as we've seen him interact with some of the neighbours' cats locally and he seems interested in them rather than hostile. So about a month ago, we got a 9 week old ragdoll cross kitten, Pasha.

I did as much reading as I could on how to introduce them, though I will admit I read quite a lot of conflicting narratives and so I think I probably did this stage wrong. We set up the kitten's living space in our bedroom as it was the only place we could really keep him enclosed in, but we were encouraged to let Prince see him straight away when we brought him home, which he did (the kitten was in the cat carrier). Prince sniffed at him and then left, though he did seem very wary. After that we kept him in the bedroom for over a week.

We did try things like scent swapping etc, which seemed to work decently alright. The first few days were really hard as Prince would hide a lot under blankets and didn't want to come out and socialise with us at all. I admit we didn't manage to do any site swapping as Prince didn't seem happy with the idea of going in there at all. As for feeding, we also tried to give them treats either side of the door but didn't get them to regularly eat meals there.

I've recently found the Jackson Galaxy advice on how to introduce cats and I admit I'm feeling a little crestfallen about getting it wrong. It's been around a month now and they live in the same space. They can sleep in the same room, in different areas, use the litter without bothering one another, etc. Prince doesn't hiss at him at all anymore unless Pasha tries to initiate play with him when he's not in the mood, which he does a lot. They're able to eat treats side by side and they seem to be playing to some level - I have questions about that too, but that can wait. I'm just really worried that we've mucked it up and that there's no chance they'll learn to properly get along now. Prince is still not quite "himself" again yet, which makes me sad as I care for him a lot and it's upsetting to see him be less sure than he was. For example he won't come up on the sofa with us anymore, especially as the kitten will almost always be there if we are (he's very attached to sitting on my partner), and if I do manage to have any nice moments with him ie. brushing and stroking him, the kitten comes in and bothers him until he walks away. Is this a bust? I'm prone to over worrying and know it may take more time, but I'm worried that we've set ourselves up for failure and now it's screwed with no chances of them bonding/becoming friends. Can anyone help?

Thank you! 314929048_1043253870409620_8610855403379778438_n.jpg Screenshot 2022-11-24 at 03.27.48.png
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! Welcome!
They're gorgeous and I love that blep lol

For example he won't come up on the sofa with us anymore,
Lift him up to join you. Don't let the kitten hog all the attention, that's frankly unfair to Prince.

the kitten comes in and bothers him
Don't allow the kitten to do this, distract it or whatever necessary so that Prince gets his time of love.

These two are getting along to a pretty decent degree, and honestly it doesn't matter that you didn't follow a prescribed method. They're figuring it out anyway and will continue to do so.
 

susanm9006

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I don’t think anything is messed up. They seem to be about as adjusted as an adult and kitten can be after only a month. It may take until your kitten is fully grown before their relationship fully develops. In the meantime your older cat is doing what most do, that is tolerate the kitten.

I would try, though, to give your older can some alone time with you. Put the kitten in the bathroom or another room for an hour or so in the evening while you groom, cuddle or play with your older cat so that they can have some of your undivided attention.
 
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tinzeal

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Hi! Welcome!
They're gorgeous and I love that blep lol


Lift him up to join you. Don't let the kitten hog all the attention, that's frankly unfair to Prince.


Don't allow the kitten to do this, distract it or whatever necessary so that Prince gets his time of love.

These two are getting along to a pretty decent degree, and honestly it doesn't matter that you didn't follow a prescribed method. They're figuring it out anyway and will continue to do so.
Thank you! Much appreciated.

I do try to bring Prince up but he doesn't want to stay, he'll jump down more or less straight away. It's a huge bummer as before we got Pasha he would spend the evening curled up between us on the sofa purring (he was never a lap cat but that's fine) and now he's mostly quite distant unless I give him treats...

I'm relieved that you think it'll work out. The whole point of getting a new kitten was for Prince to have a friend, and it's causing me a lot of anxiety to think that not only has getting a new kitten not worked out, but he may not trust us anymore either. I guess we'll just have to keep trying
 
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tinzeal

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I don’t think anything is messed up. They seem to be about as adjusted as an adult and kitten can be after only a month. It may take until your kitten is fully grown before their relationship fully develops. In the meantime your older cat is doing what most do, that is tolerate the kitten.

I would try, though, to give your older can some alone time with you. Put the kitten in the bathroom or another room for an hour or so in the evening while you groom, cuddle or play with your older cat so that they can have some of your undivided attention.
Thank you for this! I really appreciate it. I was quite surprised at how boisterous the kitten turned out to be, which Prince doesn't really stand up to well as he's quite shy...we picked the kitten because he seemed a bit quieter but as the weeks have gone by he's more and more active haha!

That's a good idea about separating them, I may try and start implementing that in the evening. I dearly miss having some good time with him and it'd be good for him to get some confidence back I think
 
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tinzeal

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Keep using these, keep living on him and maybe use freeze dried ones that aren't quite as calorie Kaden as those such as temptations. Hang in there
Thank you so much. Its reassuring just to be able to chat with people about this...part of me was worried that my relationship with Prince would be irrevocably damaged even if we decided to rehome the kitten. Not that we're at that stage, but it's just been stressful knowing that he's not as happy as he was, and I feel guilty.

He seems a bit more vocal today (he used to be really meowy before we got the new one) so I'm optimistic!
 

3sNot-a-Crowd

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Wow! What timing! Same thing going on here but 1st rescue cat is 5 (identical personality as ur 3 yr old, and just brought in a very sweet stray about 8 mos who has a kitten meow, is SUPER loving, purrs and is a TOTAL lap cat. Hubby says no more pets (have 2 large dogs and all 3 originals get along extremely well! I always thought a little girlfriend (all are fixed) would be nice for Boots as he can't really play anything but "chase" with the dogs who are VERY gentle with him. But I've put up a doggie gate to slowly introduce lil miss Hissy to Boots and the dogs. Sophie, the new girl in town, tries to attack the quiet, staring, confused dogs just standing there, with paws and body bumps against the gate. All 3 eventually walk away and Sophie does not back off or away from her side. Try the treat thing too, plus I talk calmly to all of them. I've heard cats need slow introductions. Both of ours are black as well! I'm also torn about rehoming as we are a great fur family and worry excessively about putting Sophie into any stressful situation as she's been in our finished basement for a month and is used to it. I make 5 trips all day to keep her busy and socialized (and caught hubby on camera going down to hold her on his lap when I'm gone, lol. Hope your end works out. I think you and I WAY OVERTHINK all this. Things seems to work out in the end😉.
 
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tinzeal

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Wow! What timing! Same thing going on here but 1st rescue cat is 5 (identical personality as ur 3 yr old, and just brought in a very sweet stray about 8 mos who has a kitten meow, is SUPER loving, purrs and is a TOTAL lap cat. Hubby says no more pets (have 2 large dogs and all 3 originals get along extremely well! I always thought a little girlfriend (all are fixed) would be nice for Boots as he can't really play anything but "chase" with the dogs who are VERY gentle with him. But I've put up a doggie gate to slowly introduce lil miss Hissy to Boots and the dogs. Sophie, the new girl in town, tries to attack the quiet, staring, confused dogs just standing there, with paws and body bumps against the gate. All 3 eventually walk away and Sophie does not back off or away from her side. Try the treat thing too, plus I talk calmly to all of them. I've heard cats need slow introductions. Both of ours are black as well! I'm also torn about rehoming as we are a great fur family and worry excessively about putting Sophie into any stressful situation as she's been in our finished basement for a month and is used to it. I make 5 trips all day to keep her busy and socialized (and caught hubby on camera going down to hold her on his lap when I'm gone, lol. Hope your end works out. I think you and I WAY OVERTHINK all this. Things seems to work out in the end😉.
oh no way! Bless you, that does sound tricky. I think you'll be ok though from what you've said, and yes I think we're both just worry warts haha!! FIngers crossed for you :)
 

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I will say this: Keep bringing Prince back to be with his family. He will learn that it is safe. It helps to build your bond and tell him that you want him around.

I will also say to at minimum give Prince at least 1-2 hours a night with the kitten shut away. You can leave some enrichment out for her, or play with her first to tire her out.

During that time, give Prince some solo play and love. Play will build his confidence for sure!

Also, please do your best to stop her from bugging him when he's getting attention. It will take some time but she will learn not to be hogging things or bullying him out of the way.

PS. Jackson Galaxy is not the only way. There's variations on that. For example, I never did the food thing either, just treats because Nobel is very good insecure and would not eat in any room with another cat in it. But doing an introduction that was respectful to his needs means we had this beautiful moment pictured below, 1.5 years after bringing Magnus home and 8 months after bringing Calcifer home (2 intros). This isn't every day, but happens sometimes.
 

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tinzeal

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I will say this: Keep bringing Prince back to be with his family. He will learn that it is safe. It helps to build your bond and tell him that you want him around.

I will also say to at minimum give Prince at least 1-2 hours a night with the kitten shut away. You can leave some enrichment out for her, or play with her first to tire her out.

During that time, give Prince some solo play and love. Play will build his confidence for sure!

Also, please do your best to stop her from bugging him when he's getting attention. It will take some time but she will learn not to be hogging things or bullying him out of the way.

PS. Jackson Galaxy is not the only way. There's variations on that. For example, I never did the food thing either, just treats because Nobel is very good insecure and would not eat in any room with another cat in it. But doing an introduction that was respectful to his needs means we had this beautiful moment pictured below, 1.5 years after bringing Magnus home and 8 months after bringing Calcifer home (2 intros). This isn't every day, but happens sometimes.
Thank you for your reply! Sorry for not replying for a couple days, I was quite busy with work.

We've been trying this. Mixed results as myself and my partner have been ill with the flu so abilities have been quite low, haha. I think there's improvement happening tho. Slowly but surely (I hope!)

They do seem to be playing more too. I think it's playing anyway? Neither of them run away upset or anything like that. Prince meows at Pasha when they are playing which makes me wonder if he's more frustrated or cross than enjoying himself, but I'm not sure...

That's true about Jackson Galaxy. I didn't necessarily mean that his word was law but it seemed like the right approach when introducing a new cat. That said I really appreciate what you've said! Hopefully it'll just keep improving and we'll be able to get them to end up making friends :D
 
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