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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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New rescue kitten, and older cat.

Hi everyone about 6 weeks ago I adopted a kitten from our local shelter, he is a good kitty, very sweet and lovey, but he seems to have a big issue with food, and this has caused a major problem for my older male cat that I have had since he was born, he is 9.

Both cats are neutered if that is pertinent info.. Frankie, the kitten, absolutely will not let my older cat (Dominic) eat. When Dom goes to the bowl, it wont matter if Frankie has just eaten, he will rush over and muscle his way in, which then causes Dom to get irritated and walk away. Dom was, prior to Franks arrival, a very large boy (about 16 lbs)..he is a Norwegian Forest cat, big boned and yes, kinda chubby. In the last 6 weeks Dom has dropped a significant amount of weight and is down to about 12 lbs and is looking rough. His demeanor has also changed a lot, he seems very depressed and annoyed whereas before he was vibrant and happy. When this first started I thought they would work it out and Dom would show Frank that he didn't appreciate his interference, and Frank would "get it". Well all Dom does is lowly growl at Frank under his breath and walk away, he has not laid a paw on him, and Frank hasn't "gotten it" at all. He continues to pester the daylights out of Dom and refuses to let him eat.

I have separate bowls, it doesnt matter which one Dom goes to, Frank is immediately in it, and as soon as he arrives at the bowl, Dom leaves. I have tried separating them, by putting Frank in a room behind a door, and he pees and poops everywhere...within minutes of me locking him up. I have taken Dom to the vet and they cant find anything wrong with him physically...he so badly WANTS to eat, but he simply wont if Frank has even stuck his face in the bowl or nibbled one bit of food.

I don't know what else to do. I love Frankie, as does my 4 yr old, and I SO don't want to find him a new home, but Im so worried about Dom, I adore him, and he was here first, I feel like we are torturing him with this kitten and making his life miserable. Help please!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 02:23 PM
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Is feeding the only time you see an issue with dominance? Are there any dominance issues with places (sleeping spots, certain pieces of furniture) or people (lap time, play time) or similar protective behaviors about the litter box?

If food is the only thing Frankie has an issue with, then maybe after time when he finds out that food is abundant, and not something in limited supply that has to be protected, he will ease up. In the meantime, it may benefit the health of the older cat to feed him separately in a place closed off from the kitten.

Also, I recommend the book "Cat vs Cat" by Pam Johnson Bennett. In it, the author discusses introduction of a new cat to an existing cat household and how issues of territory and hierarchy may arise and how tips on how to help resolve them.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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no other signs no, but I have a large house with many rooms and there multiple litter boxes and places to sleep, so that hasn't been an issue.

I have had the kitten for over 6 weeks and if anything he is more determined to annoy the older cat...I just don't know how long I can give this before the health of the older cat really is in jeopardy. He had a few extra lbs to spare in the beginning, but not so much now. I will try putting the older cat in a room alone...Im not sure how successful that will be as he is a grazer that likes to nibble all throughout the day//but Im willing to try anything. Thanks for your response.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 05:58 PM
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Are you seriously saying in 6 weeks the cat has lost 4 pounds?! That is serious! That is 25% percent of their body weight!! A cat that is overweight is even more susceptible than most cats to developing hepatic lipidosis from not eating enough (fatty liver disease). While it may be good that he's at a lower weight now, losing it too fast is a real concern.

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Originally Posted by LissaE531 View Post
I have tried separating them, by putting Frank in a room behind a door, and he pees and poops everywhere...within minutes of me locking him up. I have taken Dom to the vet and they cant find anything wrong with him physically...he so badly WANTS to eat, but he simply wont if Frank has even stuck his face in the bowl or nibbled one bit of food.
You should feed your cat separately to make sure he eats. I would stop free feeding as it can lead to overweight cats and yours must have been one that falls into this category. Instead, do scheduled meal times it separate areas of the home. They should quickly get used to the new routine of scheduled feeding times.

I really think you need to go into more details on why Frank is peeing and pooping everywhere when shut in a room. Does the room have a litter box? Could you sit in the room with him? There must be more to this. Instead of locking him away, lock Dom away... maybe in a bedroom or something, a place you can sit with him while he eats.


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Last edited by Carmel; 11-09-2013 at 06:03 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 11:00 PM
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My new cat has an issue stealing food.. even from the trash... we decided to put him in the bathroom to eat while my other cat and the dog eat.. when they're done I put left overs in the fridge and let him out of the bathroom.. I didn't want to mess up my resident cats routine...after all she was here first.. don't know if this helps but I hope it does

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:22 AM
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I agree with Carmel that they need to be separated while eating in a peaceful, quiet place; for the benefit of both cats. Did the vet to a blood panel on Dom?

Have you tried separating using baby gates? A couple stacked might help. This would separate a room without actually closing a door - may be less stressful. It's just a thought on my part, I've never experienced this.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:57 AM
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Have you tried feeding the one stealing the food out where he is comfortable, and put the other cat up to eat? I have to separate my two boys, because the little one will inhale his food in 30 seconds and eat the others.

If you are used to free feeding dry food, I would seriously consider changing that. Like others said, it will lead to obesity and other issues. Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health is a great website to read about why cats do not need to have access to dry food 24/7 and the problems that it can cause. You want to establish mealtimes, it is not good for a cat to have access to his food bowl 24/7. I know that seems to have worked for your cat, and he is a grazer who likes to nibble on his bowl throughout the day, but it would be in his benefit to change that habit with regular mealtimes.

With your older cat being annoyed with the new younger cat, we had this problem too, even though Taffy (older cat) and Stephano (kitten) got along OK, it was clear that Stephano was annoying the heck out of his new brother, so I was sure to put him up at times, and give Taffy a break. My boys have their own room that they sleep in at night, and are in while my oldest cat is out....she cannot be out with them since she is vicious to other cats. So my boys have their bedroom, with a cat tree and window and litter box and are very comfortable, and they know the routine. That is the thing, at first, if you give the kitten a time out from the older cat, he is going to be mad, mew, scratch the door at first, but eventually they settle down and if you make it a regular part of the day, they get used to it. My cats know that they get their PM meal at 9:30 (right before bedtime makes kitten sleep MUCH better) and then they get put up for the evening in their room. Stephano mews for a good 5-10 minutes in protest, and then he curls into his tree and goes to sleep. It is routine now, and he is used to it. He now doesn't have to be separated from Taffy, but while he was young I did frequently put him in his room and give poor Taffy a time away from the little pest, that way he could sleep without one eye open and have a break. I think this would work wonders for your cat, to have a break from the new kitten. I know new kitty is going to protest and freak at first, but if you have a litter box in there, a comfy bed, maybe you go in there with him, pet him, play with him, get a laser pointer.....best thing ever to wear out a little kitten and get him tired, he will eventually settle down. I think the best thing I ever did for my older cats sanity, was give him breaks from Stephano while he was a kitten. And then when I did let them out together, they seemed to be happy to see each other and play more.

Some feliway might be a good idea for you, I know people like the plug ins but I have the spray, I just spray a spray of it in the rooms they are in every day, and I think it really helps.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel View Post
Are you seriously saying in 6 weeks the cat has lost 4 pounds?! That is serious! That is 25% percent of their body weight!! A cat that is overweight is even more susceptible than most cats to developing hepatic lipidosis from not eating enough (fatty liver disease). While it may be good that he's at a lower weight now, losing it too fast is a real concern.
It's not a complete exact amount, Im going by what he weighed at last vet visit (16 lbs, 8 mos ago) to this most recent vet visit (12.8 ) it is entirely possible that he dropped a few lbs over the 8 mos prior to the kittens arrival, but regardless, he is losing, and I know it is because his food intake has gone way down. He is a very large cat, with a large bone structure and head/etc...he has never been lightweight, even when he was very young.

I do move Franks litter box in to the bathroom when I put him in there, it is the only room in my downstairs area with a door, so that is my only option..he does not use it though, and instead will poop in the tub, or pee behind the sink. He doesn't do this at any other time, only when he is put in there during Dom's eating times.

I can't really go in there and sit with him, I have a four yr old, and 95% of the time we are the only ones here.

Dom had a full work up at the vet, blood work and exam, they said everything came back fine...and to just keep them apart during feedings and eventually they will adjust. I'm just wondering how long that will be, if ever.

Aside from the food issue I am just as concerned about Dom's demeanor in general, and his very apparent unhappiness with the presence of the kitten. He is not a super affectionate cat, so giving him more petting and loving on him isn't something he really tolerates well, only occasionally, and on his terms. He likes to be around me, but he doesn't necessarily want me picking him up and petting him etc. He normally sleeps with me in my bed, but since Franks arrival, he has opted to sleep with my son instead.
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