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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Old Cat - New Kitten Problems - I've read everything offered

I'm afraid to say, we messed up and brought the new kitten into our household before reading anything on cat introductions. We have a variety of pets in and out of our home, but love our cat very much. We have grown to understand that "Gertie" (the older cat) pretty much rules them all. We didn't think much when we brought home a 7-month old kitten (friends were moving) and Gertie hid for a day or two. The kitten "Katie" came from a household which had 4 other cats, two dogs and an iguana. She is not afraid of Gertie and doesn't back away when she is hissed at. The kitten is the most loving cat I've ever seen and adjusted to us all right away. I'm concerned now, because it has been almost a month and although Gertie lets Katie come near her, it isn't without a hiss or two. We can see them getting closer, but it always ends in a hiss. In addition, Gertie is pooping in various family members rooms and has recently thrown up her food on two occasions. She also isn't as friendly to us as she was before (only when she's looking for treats!) We are going out of our way to pay extra attention to Gertie, but she doesn't seem to want it. She also sits at the opening of a doorway and watches us play with the kitten... I feel like I'm cheating on her when she catches us! We call her to come join us and she runs away. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I've read the links you all have offered, but they are more directed to introductions. I'd appreciate any suggestions from experienced cat owners... thanks!
leela is offline  
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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All is not lost! You just might need to back up a step or three and let Gertie get used to the idea.

It's not clear from your post whether the kitten is confined to her own space/room or if she has the run of the house. If she isn't already separated from Gertie, start there. Let your existing cat have the run of the house except for the kitten room, and then go through the steps you saw when you read the introduction threads - feeding on opposite sides of the door, scent-swapping with towels, etc. Lots of people go through "re-introductions" if the cats don't cope well the first go-round. It can take a LOT of time, but it's worth it in the end if both kitties are happy and can at least tolerate each other.

I read a thread some time ago that was really helpful for us when our existing cat (Lando) was showing clear signs of stress and jealousy toward Leia (the kitten). It had to do with making sure the resident cat gets EVERYTHING first. Feeding time? Lando gets the first bowl. Playtime? Lando first. Petting? Lando got first dibs, and if he showed any signs of jealousy while we were attending to Leia, one of us (my husband or myself) would go to him separately. If he wanted to be left alone, we respected that, too. Basically, we tried to make sure that if one of us was shut up with the kitten, the other was playing or just sitting with Lando. Basically, if you can demonstrate to Gertie that you recognize her dominance, then she might feel a bit less unsettled.

I'm sure someone may also mention that Feliway, or a similar product, might help relieve Gertie's stress, which sounds fairly severe.

Hope this helps a little - good luck!
rachi99 is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Oh, and one more thing -

Since you've seen some progress but things always "end in a hiss", try to monitor them so that you can more or less gauge when they've had enough and separate them before the hissing, or at the "critical point" give each of them a treat or playtime so that their interactions always end positively. That was crucial for our kitties.

Some posturing and hissing is natural, too - they need to establish their chain of command, if you will. You just have to be careful that Gertie doesn't assert her dominance too soon or two aggressively.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Yes, we have been allowing Katie full run of the house. So, maybe we'll give the kitten room a try and see what happens. I spoke to my husband earlier and he said they were both in the dining room. Gertie was under the chair and the kitten was on top of the chair next to her. So, Gertie is allowing her to come near her. I will also try the idea about feeding Gertie first and I'll go out of my way to pay more attention. I'll let you know how that works. Thanks so much for your help!
leela is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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It sounds like you might actually be close to the two of them at least tolerating each other. If you tried a kitten room, you might soon find one or the other actually *missing* their cat buddy and asking to be together!

Lando and Leia tolerate each other most of the time, and can sleep and eat and coexist pretty peacefully. I've found that I sometimes have to separate them during Lando's most agitated times - near playtime in the early morning and late night - before he decides to take his energy out on the kitten.

I'm sure things will work out! It does take time, and a month isn't that long from a cat perspective.
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