Cat and kitten interaction
I've pretty much always had cats, but until recently, just one at a time. Now, for the first time, I am mom to two cats at once, and have a few questions. On September 22, I adopted Allie, a 6-year-old long-haired cat who came from a home where I suspect she may have been mistreated. I say this because she was brought into my vet's office in a sealed (i.e. airless) container to be put to sleep because her owner was "tired of her" and tired of her peeing outside her litter box. As it turns out, she had crystals in her urine. She was also terribly matted. On September 30, I adopted Samantha, a 12-week-old kitten, who had been found under an overturned flower pot at Home Depot with a sibling at 2 days old. She was bottle fed by a vet tech who fostered her until I adopted her. She is now 16 weeks old.
When I introduced the two cats, Allie glared at Samantha and gave a low growl every time she approached her. She also hissed some, but it was mostly growling. Within a few days, the growling had stopped, but Allie was still pretty guarded around Samantha. Samantha, on the other hand, is a typical kitten, extremely curious and extremely playful. Now and then, she clearly gets on Allie's nerves, as is understandable. Until about a week ago, Allie had been pretty standoffish with all of us (my husband, Samantha and our dog, Friederik). She'd almost cringe if you tried to pet her and didn't seem to want to have anything at all to do with the family. About a week ago, I bought a calming collar for her and she is a totally different cat. I've got to admit, though, that for a six-year-old, she is nowhere near as active or energetic as other cats I've had at that age. She has very little interest in toys, etc. and is mostly content to just sit around.
She is now wanting to be around the rest of us, and when we're watching TV, she's right there by me, still a little uncomfortable being petted (so I'm not pushing her to warm up to me), but at least interacting with all of us to some degree. The other night, she and Samantha were laying side by side on a cushion, not actually curled up together, but close enough to each other that I felt encouraged. Just a little while ago, though, I noticed the two of them in the hall together. Allie seemed to be almost patting Samantha on the head with her paw, but her claws were not extended. Then, she suddenly leaped onto Samantha and put her in kind of a choke-hold for just a couple of seconds, before releasing her. Neither cat made a sound, but Allie's tail was moving all over the place. Then she stopped. The two of them looked at each other again for a minute and then the whole series of events was repeated. Afterwards, they both just walked off.
Since Samantha was taken from her mother before her eyes were even open, I had hoped she might learn a few cat-acceptable behaviors from Allie. I understand that cats are not pack animals like dogs, but I have been hoping that the two of them would eventually become friends, even if they never totally bonded. So, right now, I'm trying to figure out what this little interaction between them was all about. Should I see it as a positive thing or a negative thing? As long as the two of them aren't actually fighting, I'm tempted to just let them work things out between them. But I can't help but wonder how I should expect a 6-year-old and a 16-week old to get along, particularly when the older cat is not the mother of the kitten. Any comments would be much appreciated.