New Kitten Troubles

Kitten on the attack

Have you ever had problems adding a new feline to the mix? One visitor shares her new kitten troubles.

Visitor's New Kitten Troubles

Recently my 17-year-old cat, Damanding, died. My other two cats seemed sad, so we got a new kitten named Remi. My cat Rachel is usually the shy one, but she showed Remi around the house. Meanwhile, my other cat named Precious was aggressive towards him when he first arrived.

Now Precious is not aggressive toward him anymore, but now Remi is picking on Rachel. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on how to help them all get along.

~~rlkundell

Expert Reply

Hello,

Although cats are not pack animals like dogs, they are naturally territorial, and adding a new cat to a long standing situation is always a gamble.

I'm wondering how the initial introductions were handled? Cats usually need some time to get used to each other's scent before they can set up housekeeping together.

What I'm going to suggest is that you go back to the drawing board.

  • Limit Remi's access to the entire house. Instead, keep him in one room for a few days and give him his own litter box and food bowls.
  • This will give your other cats a chance to relax, but they will still be able to hear and smell him.
  • Gradually reintroduce him to the household by letting him loose under your supervision for short periods. The minute he goes after Rachel, return him to his room.

Even once he's been reintroduced, keep his separate litter box and move it to a location that is not near the other cats' space. Feed him in a separate area too. This will give everyone a bit more breathing room.

You haven't mentioned if any or all of your cats have been spayed/neutered. If they haven't, I highly recommend having it taken care of since many breeding behaviors can appear like aggression to us.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you get your feline crew back on track, but realize that you may need to make a decision about whether you can keep Remi in your household if he isn't able to fit in.

Good luck~~ Kelly

New Kitten Causing Changes In Other Cat

We have two cats that are three years old. Toby and Lacy are brother and sister. Recently, we adopted a feral kitten. The kitten, Simon, was about six weeks old when we adopted him and is now about eleven weeks old. Lacy has begun to play well with Simon (although Simon still has more energy than both cats put together). Toby still shuns Simon a bit. If I carry Simon to him, Toby will occasionally lick him, but any physical contact seems to annoy him.

For being the "runt", Simon has a frisky personality. He pushes both cats out of the way when going for food, and almost assumes himself as dominant. Toby and Lacy are overall mild-mannered cats. Now, I have noticed Simon almost "presenting" his rear to Lacy. Lacy just looks at him and does nothing. Is he trying to gain her approval, share his scent with her, or indicate dominance over her?

Also, how do I ensure that Toby still feels comfortable? Some of his behaviors have changed. He used to sleep by our legs every night and now avoids the bedroom.

~~Jen

Expert Reply

Hi, Jen,

If the other two cats are docile, it is probably fine that the kitten has a more dominant personality. However, I would watch them all closely while he is younger and smaller than the other cats. Also, please make sure you've had him thoroughly tested through a veterinarian. Stray cats can sometimes carry diseases that are easily passed on to other cats.

As for the rear end in the other cat's face, this is just typical cat behavior. Some of the research I've read states that feral cats do this to see what other cats have been eating in the colony. I really don't think this in itself is anything to worry about.

As for Toby being uncomfortable, he probably is. Any change in the household, such as a new kitten, can really stress some cats. It sounds like he is tolerating the kitten well enough, so I'd just give him some more time. Also, if you are allowing the kitten in the bedroom and that has always been Toby's domain, you may want to consider containing the kitten at night in a small room with his litter and food. This will allow Toby to feel more at ease.

Good luck and congrats on your new family member!

~~Lori

Trouble Adapting to an Adoption

I hope you can help!

I have an 18-month-old cat, and I recently found and adopted a lost kitten. The two chase each other around the house however, and to me it seems to develop into a cat fight with the adult cat domineering the kitten. The kitten will fight back, but it cries a lot throughout the action.

I'm not sure if they are fighting or playing, since the kitten always seems to go back for more, tormenting the older cat. The kitten doesn't seem to get hurt, but her cries throughout the brawl concern me.

In addition, the adult cat always slept on my bed, but now that the kitten sleeps on the bed the adult cat sleeps in a different room. Is this fair to the older cat? I love the kitten, but I don't want to upset the older cat! I really hope that you can help.

Thank you~~ Katrina

Expert Reply

Hi Katrina,

If the kitten isn't getting injured and keeps going back for more, then she's alright. Some cats are simply more vocal than others. It's your older cat that I am more concerned about.

She has been used to being the only cat in your home, and then suddenly there is a new and brash young kitten badgering her and pushing her out of her own territory.

I don't know how you went about introducing the cats to each other, but I suspect you may have simply turned the kitten loose in the home. Generally, it's a better idea to introduce the animals to each other gradually. This way, the first cat has time to adjust to the presence, scent and personality of the new cat.

For the time being, I recommend giving your older cat a break, and limiting the kitten's access to the entire house. Then, when you let them out together, try squirting the kitten with a water bottle when she's chasing your older cat. Hopefully this will discourage the behavior. I also recommend having her spayed as soon as your vet says she's old enough. It may also calm her down a bit.

Best of luck working the situation out~~ Kelly

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New Kitten Troubles