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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2005, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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New kitten... asking question for friends.

Friends of mine have adopted a kitten. They already have 2 adult cats, one male & one female. Currently the kitten is kept in an upstairs room as she had been for the last couple weeks. They are exchanging the bedding and removing the kitten from its room periodically so the resident cats can explore the room, although the cats don't go in much if at all.

The male cat seems a bit apprehensive but not angry. The female, however, hisses up a storm and growls every time she sees the kitten. They've given it time but it's not getting any better.

The owners are talking about bringing the kitten out in the carrier and let the female get the hissing out of her system but that doesn't sound like a good idea.

Any suggestions I can give them?

Thanks
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 09:02 AM
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You're right...it's not a good idea. Cats don't "get the hissing out of their system." It only gets reinforced by repetition. They risk a permanent bad relationship.

I suggest as the next step confining the resident cats in a room while the new kitten explores the house and has a chance to leave her scent around in the resident cats' territory. At no time should the resident cats actually SEE the new kitten. Cats are fine with shared territory so long as there's no confrontation.

Another thing is that the resident cats might be picking up on their human caretakers' frustration causing an increase in their stress levels. They should at all times be calm and act like nothing is going on, nothing has changed. Be sure to give the resident cats their usual amount of attention and affection.

Please be sure they understand that the resident cats should not even be SEEing the kitten at this point. They're not ready for it yet. Each time they see the kitten it's a territorial threat. And each time they get riled up by that, it can take a whole day to get over it.

You might point them to some new cat introduction articles on the internet. Sounds to me like they're rushing it. Trying to push it into a certain timeframe instead of taking it one step at a time. Which just ends up postponing and prolonging a successful new cat intro.

Good luck!!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 10:54 AM
 
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I had a cat that I introduced into a new household, and they had a cat already. We put them both in a room to get them used to one another and they fought for one day, and then became best friends. Seth loved her friend so much. One day some ******* locked Lestat under the house, while we were out, and Seth ripped out a claw trying to get him free.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 12:23 PM
 
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needed to reply!

I have continueously introduced new kittens to my already cat infested household. One just recently, and what I have always done is just throw the new kitten in and let her/him learn their place. The hissing is NOT bad behaviour it is a cats way of comunicated their dislike with a change in their day to day life...
My little gal, had a few scratchs and bumps. But in the long run, she knew that she was the last in the pride. Although now everyone accepts her and even cuddle with her, the others even give up thier food for her... when she still trys to cross the line with hierarchy, she gets put back in her place!
You have to think back to the prides of Lions that roam Africa... These little creatures we keep as pets in our homes are the far away descendant, when a baby is born it is a very joyous and special moment in the pride.
That cub is taken care of by all the whole pride.
Anyway what i am trying to say is, let the cats be, stop trying so hard.. *cats know change even when you are trying so hard to hid it!.. let the adults roam freely as well as the kitten, though do keep a close eye on all for the just in case(s). It might get nasty at times, just break them up by simply reprimanding the adult cat... If you did not see who started it, reprimand both. Never assume it is the older one... Make sure to reprimand them equally.. cause if the older on is always getting in trouble then you will have problems he/she might act out!
Cats are smarter than we think, and feel alot more than we realize!.. There is always a reason for certain behaviours!

Enjoy the new addition to the house, dont lock anyone up, cause that way, no one learns. Everyone is on edge!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 12:53 PM
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I think that's a recipe for a possible life-long bad relationship. Maybe you'll get lucky, maybe you won't. Cats in a home are in an unnatural environment, and things aren't going to work out like they do in nature. In nature, if two cats can't get along, they just learn to avoid each by claiming different territories or just staying out of each other's way. You can't do that in the home. The cats are forced into each other's proximity. So it's possible for an undesired behavior to develop.

I can't think of ANY current feline behaviorist that would recommend "just throw the new kitten in and let her/him learn their place." It might work in a feral colony. It's not recommended for the home. And the new kitten is NOT a "new baby." A mother cat and her kittens have a special relationship that endures into adulthood. A new kitten in the group that's not born into the group MIGHT be mothered by another female, and it might just be rejected by all. And, it's generally known that new kittens are more likely to be accepted than an older cat, so success with introducing kittens doesn't endorse the technique for all cases.

But, boy, if you like a household where "Everyone is on edge", I don't know....doesn't sound like a place I want to be!! Give me peace and calm!!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 01:12 PM
 
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I think everyone has their opinions on this. Personally, I think a lot depends upon the cats themselves, what they are used to, their personalities, ages, living situations etc. I think there is something to be said for both ways and everything inbetween, but personally, I would side with caution, taking it slowly step by step if needed,which in this case, I would probably go somewhat slowly but moving onto the next step if it goes well. Due to the hissing I would put the resident cat in the room like stated above, at least for a while, switching back and forth until everyone is used to the scents. Also rub the cats with a towel or something, or use their bedding and rub it around the house, where the cats lay, mingling their scents. I was very lucky, I did just "throw" my cats together (although I did try separating them but because of our very small home it was pretty tough. We don't have empty rooms). When we got Lewis last year I had a nice little place set up and was going to do everything perfectly....Well, that lasted about 5 minutes because he got out of our bedroom. And when he was in the bedroom, Wallace and Marcellus were VERY curious...no agression or hissing when they sniffed noses under the door. All 3 cats were meowing, not meanly,more like..Hey, I want to see you! Then Lewis got out and they all started sniffing. We were most lucky though as Marcellus and Wallace took to him instantly and within the day they were all buds, wrestling and having a grand old time together and still are to this day. Marcellus wanted to play immediately. We got Marcellus at 8 weeks and then we got Wallace when they were both 6 months, still kittens), Marcellus was the happiest cat in the world, I swear. He ran over to Wallace and if cats could talk, I think he would have said, "Thank you for bringing me a friend." They are buds. We had no problems. However...I KNOW this isn't the case with every cat and age and personality really do matter. Some cats never become buddies and only learn to tolerate each other, if that. My point, it wasn't necessary for us to take all those steps but for some cats it is, especially if you want them to get along. It seems that one should start out on the cautious side, taking it step by step, reading your cats cues very carefully, but feeling free to bystep steps if all is going well and if it doesn't go well to slow down. One thing I did do was put a dab of vanilla by their necks, under their chins and at the base of their tails. I think that helped too. I do that when they go to the vet also. Good luck with your new kitten! Everytime someone writes about kittens it just makes me want another. I just love kittens.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 01:16 PM
 
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I guess I should say, tell your friends, good luck with their new kitten...sorry.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 06:28 PM
 
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As Tim knows.....I'm going through this now.

I BOTCHED it up big time by just letting our one female, Lexi, see the kitten.

We made a trip to the vet today in case my cat needed to be medicated since for two days she been redirecting her aggression at us, the two other cats, and the dogs (who raised her and she sleeps with them every night).

She is making herself sick and more upset. So we got Feliway and a lavendar plug in and had to not only put the kitten back into a room by herself, but now we have to do the same with Lexi. And I didn't just 'throw them together'. I was trying to do the right thing.

Now, my wrist is a bloody, scratched mess and my female is finially calming down. But I have a feeling it will be months before we can reintroduce everyone.

Just because of a mistake.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 07:58 PM
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As ihave3kitties said it depends.

I believe that a large part of it has to do with the cats themself. I had Baily for about 6 years when I got Psycho (14 weeks old at the time). I had no room to seperate them. With Baily's personality I knew there wouldnt be a problem and there wasn't. However I doubt I could ever introduce a new kitty this way with Psycho.


Good luck to your friends

If you can't spoil a pet, there is no use in having one.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2005, 10:01 PM
 
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I agree, depends on the cats. I've seen many unpleasant first encounters without an introduction, but have also heard some positive ones. Mine included. I had Pixie quarantined for 10 days just to make sure there weren't any illnesses that would show up, but the others were kinda aware she was in there.

The first day I let her out, I supervised all day. I just let her run thru the house. The boys took right to her, and they were wrestling the first day already.

Kayla was in a serious snit, and refused to eat anywhere near the kitten for 3 days. She hissed up a storm at everyone, and was in SUCH a bad mood. That night I had a special 2 hr Kayla-only cuddle session with the door shut, and that seemed to really calm her down a lot. I kept the special sessions (half hr though) for about a month.

Best of luck to them whatever they decide.

EDIT: Adding pic.

I Hate You. Get Away from Me.

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