My old cat is stressed out by the new kitten arrival- what to do?
This is a continuation of my post from few weeks ago - one where my friend wanted to take back the cat to the kill shelter.
To make it short- I decided to bring the 10 moth old male kitten home so he wouldn't end up in the shelter again.
I have to thank poster SAVAS for his valuable advice! And now I'm in a pickle again. The new kitten(Norman) is doing very well, he eats, drinks , plays like crazy and is using his litter box. So no problems there.
He ended up in my apt last Friday night. I knew it's going to be tough to bring him home since I have one cat already - 4 year old female. I did the whole thing with keeping a new cat isolated in one room for two days, after I exchanged their blankets so that they can meet each other scent first. To my surprise my old cat was very curious and was sniffing the blankie - no hissing or growling. Same the kitten So I decided that maybe they should see each other for a few minutes. He kitten was happy beyond himself to discover there's another cat in the house but my Kicia was very upset - hissing and growling. So I closed the kitten again. Now every day I try this for 20min to one hour to see if something changes. Nothing yet... Kitten is following every step of my cat wanting to play and "talk" - it's very cute but my cat seems upset and is running away. I bought couple feliway plugs hoping it may help.
My cat was never around other cats, I found her when she was a kitten and we've been together ever since. I understand that she feels "violated" by the new visitor and really upset. I know it may take weeks or months or never...
Is there anything else I should try? I'd really like to avoid upsetting my cat but I can''t keep kitten isolated all the time.
Whenever I have introduced another cat into the mix, I have done as you, by puttin the kitten up for some days, but when I did it, I rigged up a screen (if I remember correctly, I had to secure somehow with a bungee cord_) instead of the closed solid door. That way they could still explore and see each other safely. Then, a couple of times, I put up the older cat somewhere and let the new cat/kitten explore the whole house so he/she knew the layout of the land (and the best hiding places),, but this also put the scent all over the house for the old cat to get used to. I did this for about 1 hour at a time for some days, then introduced them together , no screen, etc. Well, sometimes, it works out, sometimes not. It just takes time, but some of my cats will either work it out and become friends, or at the worst, will just "tolerate" each other! But, it does take LOTS of time and patience! Oh, feeding them together (but separate bowls) helps....cats in the wild do this "community feeding". Good luck!
That screen is actually a good idea. I wish I'd thought of it. Generally I do all the other steps and then finally wait until I have a day off and let them loose together and try to be an impartial "referee".
Usually if your going to get serious violence it only happens in the first day. I try not to interfere unless I sense it's getting bloody (rarely does). breaking them up only staves off the inevitable and leaves them with unresolved issues. they NEED to establish their place in the pecking order when the humans aren't around.
I hope instinct kicks in and your cat can figure out how to assert dominance in a sane way. Since Kicia has never really been around other cats, she doesn't probably know how to react. I would guess that the new guy will follow her about for a week or two in a somewhat confused state until he comes to some sort of decision as to whether all this strange behavior means he's got a shot at being the dominant cat in the household. Remember, as the younger, newer member, he'll be watching Kaicia for guidance. When/if she doesn't offer it, he'll fall back on the few basics he knows.
The good news is you've got an older female and a young male; and female cats, especially older ones (fixed house cats) almost ALWAYS rule the roost (you go, girls! :) )
I'd try to make sure that Kaicia has one room in the house that is hers only, the new guy isn't allowed into it. It will help her deal with her sense of security that she still has a place that is entirely "hers".
But definitely try the screen plan. It sounds like a GREAT way to get your cat used to the idea that other cats do, visually, actually exist.
i didn't do it the same way with my cats. when i got my little one i brought her home and kept them on the same floor of the house. i let the kitten run around, and i held on to the big guy. i soothed him and told him how much i loved him, and how she was not a replacement. i spent the night hugging and holding the big guy. i was basically telling him with the body language that he was the important one and that she was not. the next day i took her out of the house for the entire day. we went to get coffee with kitty wraped up in a blankett like a little baby, and we went shopping. people were really convinced that it was really a little baby. i brought the kitten back home that night to a bit of protest from my big guy. i held onto him again all night, and heard his little mooo type growels. i just soothed him and really let him know that he was important. i only hugged and held her when he was sleeping. it took a few days, but he got used to her really quickly!
ok so what i'm getting at is that when you do have them in the room together keep your attention focused on your first cat. make sure that she gets the bulk of your attention. pet her, sooth her. she will realise that you are not hurting her.
my cats love eachother now. but i think that behind my back the big guy did tell the little one that mommy is his and she's not allowed to be my baby. lol. I also moved within a week of getting the kitten. i thought i would wrap all the trauma up pin one short time. so that came into play as well. little cat knows her place tho. she is around for his pleasure. she's supposed to groom him, and play when he wants. lol.
Some new develpoment - kitten did number 2 outside the litter box and then peed on my bed! After he had diarrhea. So I'm taking him to a vet tomorrow.
I'm concerned about the peeing on a bed - how can I prevent him from doing this again? Should I spray the bed with something? Is he sick or is it some serious mental problem?
He's got some history with peeing on my friend's husband and doing number 2 on a sofa.
I'm really overwhelmed by all this. I don't know what to do next..
Right before my husband and I got married we started getting his kitten (5months) and my cat (3 1/2 yrs) together to get used to each other. My male acted almost the same way. wanted nothing to do with this little kitten. one night she stayed the night at my house with me and me and the two cats all sat in a room together and just sorta had a stareing contest. If ever my cat hissed, growled or took a swat at little keiko he would get a tap and a repremand from me. After he learned that he wasnt allowed to hurt her I locked them in my bedroom all night. Even by morning I could see a difference.
They just need to get used to the fact that the other cat is around and is going to be around, and that means being able to see each other as well as smell each other.
Now if you have a cat not following litter box rules that could be a variety of thing. It could be behavioral, or there could be something wrong. They sell a particular kind of litter just at wal mart that will allow you to check for a urinary tract infection (and even though he's pooping that could still be part of it.) There are also scent based trining sprays that I have used and found work that you can spray around the house (especially if there are particular problem spots.) They work in teaching the cat not to go in that spot but I will warn you that dont smell all that great. If that doesnt work or youre still apprehensive, then yes consider taking your cat to the vet.
heh heh...well, it isn't like you didn't expect it. :)
the best you can hope for right now is to give her a few weeks to settle down. See if your two kitty's can reach a "detente" as quickly as possible. this is a cat with a history of bathroom issues, it isn't surprising he's started up again.
I'd also suggest having two separate litter boxes in separate rooms, if possible. Try to make it rooms you only allow access to the individual cats. Cats get VERY territorial about their litter boxes, often a human can't even tell there's an issue going on beyond the accidents that happen.
For now, just clean up the mess with "Natures miracle" or a similar product from the pet store, to properly remove all trace of odor. you can try getting some rags, dousing them with bitter apple and leaving them on the spots you really don't want him to use again, but he'll likely just "move over" to another spot nearby.
A word of advice; I'd put a plastic sheet/cover/tarp on the bed. Bedding can be cleaned easily, but the mattress...
Congrat's on doing a great thing, btw. Not many people would take a problem cat in and give it a shot!
Yes, I know i expected this but nonetheless it's a headache :)
I went to the vet this morning and he took kitten's urine sample, examined him and gave me an impression that he's a healthy cat. Urine's result tomorrow.
So this leave us with the behavioral problem. The weird thing is that after peeing on my bed ( thanks god the mattress wasn't wet) he went to his litter box to do number 2 and then he peed like twice in his litter box. I stripped the wet bedsheets and put some new and ordered plastic cover and mattress waterproof cover just in case from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
And I hope my cat will at least learn to tolerate the kitten and stop running away from him :)
well, the good news is if it's only occassional, it means the cat is actually pretty happy and it was the fault of the last owners. Which doesn't mean the problem won't come up (wrong behavior, once learned, still has to be unlearned), but hopefully it won't be a HUGE headache, just a minor one. He probably just had a moment of anxiety, which is natural given the situation.
I suppose now it's just a waiting game. Give it a few weeks and see how it goes. Let me know how kitty does, it's always nice to see a cat in this situation adapt and work out!
Possibly, but for now, I'd suggest staying the course as you've been doing. Until he's settled down, it's hard to predict exactly what's going in his fuzzy little brain. It would help if you got some idea if there's a pattern to the accidents. Does he do it when the house is empty or your at home? Morning or night? After feeding or in between?
Nailing down the "when" can often lead to the "why" with this kind of thing.
So I've noticed a pattern with Norman- the kitten.
He spends all day long hidden either under my nightstand or in his little"house". In the evening he "wakes up" and starts roaming the house, playing and being a happy kitty. When I go to bed he's all over me and sometimes when I wake up he's sleeping by my side.
Should I do something to get him out of his shell during the day? I don't want to force him to play but it seems like he's pretty shy, scared or reserved - I don't know. It doesn't bother me because cats are weird anyway LOL I just want to make sure that he's happy all the time not only when the sun goes down.
You no what they say...cats are nocturnal...so get a night job!!! :)
I'd bet he's just gotten used to being emotionally on his own and associates daytime hours with loud, scarey noises from his previous homes.
I'd say let him do as he does. When we have one like that, we'll "visit" (stop by, reach under and give a few pets, say a few encouraging words, give a treat, etc) but leave it at that. Pulling them out tends to freak these sensitive souls out.
The most important thing is to take advantage of when they seek you out, and lavish them with attention at those times.
We had one who was jet black and had a bad habit of sleeping in the middle of doorways in the dark. I finally realized that I was accidentally kicking the same cat every night when I got up to go to the bathroom. :)
The poor thing had become "gun/ Foot shy". Whenever wee started moving around it would go hide under something. (yet it still slept in doorways in the dark. Go figure, who said cats are clever?)
It took a while but we worked on her and she got over it (mostly). My wife insists I "Shuffle about" at night when going about in the dark so I don't kick the poor thing. :)
After a few weeks, i'll bet your cat becomes more outgoing. Has he been introduced to your female successfully yet?
Oh that was funny - "kicking the poor cat sleeping in the doorways"!
Well, I'll let him do whatever he pleases (I'm his slave, right?).
Even when he's awake he kind of runs away from me so I can't really pinch him down and pet him - I tried...
I don't think we reached the level of success yet! I let him out when I'm home and I close him in my bedroom when leaving for work. So far there are no changes in my cats behavior - kitten is still fascinated by the big female and he's chasing her and poking whenever he gets a chance. And my poor big cat is either growling, hissing, running away backwards or she starts swatting at him a little. Sometimes I just hear the rumble so I know they're chasing each other.
I guess time will tell - she may never really accept him, we'll see. Hopefully she will tolerate him so I can let the guy out of the room when I'm at work.
I got a kitten once when I had an older cat (2-3 years old). I put the kitten under a laundry basket with a weight on top so he couldn't move it and let the older cat have the run of the room. The older cat eventually got used to the kitten and they were good friends.
We adopted a 10 week old about 1 month before my 18 yr beloved kittie passed away. I had a hard time accepting that it was not from the stress but we had kept them apart for over 2 weeks and then I was with them all day for another week before he got sick. This week I am bringing home a new 5 month old girl kittie. Hopefully, the girls will get along since they are both the same age.
Hi I got anew 8 week old kitten and i already had an 8 yrs old female.The problem is that the kitten wont even come out to eat or do her business.I'm afraid she'll starve.And the older one just stares at wherever she is hiding.Please help.
it takes a long time to integrate some kitties, it is absolutely necessary that you provide a safe area or room in your home that the kitten can become familiar with and not be bothered by the older kitty.....be sure the older kitty has NO access to this safe area...and you MUST provide the new kitten with its own food/water/and litter box...it MUST eat honey or it will become very ill and very fast.
keep them separated until kitten is comfortable in his new home and isn't afraid to venture out a little more, spend alot of time with kitten to hold and pet her and reassure her of your love..
but most important right now and is to give her this SAFE area with food/water and litter.....she is just really really scared to move right now...it will come in time with patience
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