Hi....I'm a newbie and need some help please!! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Hi....I'm a newbie and need some help please!!

Hi All

It's my first post so please be patient!

We have two maine coons (both sisters) just reaching 6 years old. They have completely different personality traits, one of them Misty is really loving but scared of her own shadow whereas Missy is a bit of a loner and scared of nothing, they are both indoor cats but we have outdoor cat runs for them.

We now have a bit of a problem though and need your help.

We wanted to get our son a kitten, he's only 11 years old. We spoke with the maine coon breeder where we got our two from 6 years ago and she suggested we get a boy instead of a girl for fear another girl would cause a lot of conflict.

So we went with a beautiful black maine coon boy and brought him home saturday.

Our breeder told us that we need to break them all in slowly and gently, however she also said that when we walk in the door with the kitten in the carrier box, (we are always greeted when we walk in the door by our resident cats) then we were to place the carrier on the floor and let them sniff and look inside. We done this, and Missy, the really inquisitive one immediately began hissing and growling then ran away into the kitchen.

Misty, as I described her above, the more attention seeking one just stayed on the stairs staring.

We didn't want to frighten the kitten so we took him straight to his room and we are glad to say he has settled in so so well and is loving every minute of it.

However, there are bigger problems.

Missy now keeps hissing at Misty so we have constant war of attrition now between the 2 resident cats. The kittens arrival has put them out of synch.

We have read up so much about introduning a kitten to resident cats and are doing everything we feel is right, but it's not working. I know it's only been 48 hours but it's so upsetting to see our 2 resident cats having a go at each other and of course it's so upsetting knowing the poor wee kitten cannot get out into his new house yet as the other 2 are seemingly no where near accepting it.

We would appreciate any words of advice or reassurance you can give us please....we lknow cats are really resilient however we also know they are smart, intelligent, sensitive and are fully aware of the pecking order that exists amongst both themselves and us....we just want to make sure everything will be ok and do not want to do anything that could make it worse.

With hindsight we wished we never laid the carrier on the floor when we came in the door but it's done now.

Hope to hear from you all soon. Thanks

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 02:43 PM
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Hi and welcome to the forum! I'm not a expert, but I do hope they all get along well.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 03:32 PM
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Not to worry…this too shall pass! When I adopted Abby 18 months ago, I was given the same advice…put the carrier on the floor and let my resident cat (Muffs) smell the new kitten (Abby). Muffs growled and started to attack the carrier! I could immediately tell that hadn’t been such a bright idea. I didn’t have a third cat, so Muffs hissed at me for a while, but she was ok with me a few days later. It took me a long time to introduce Muffs and Abby, and I ended up hiring a behaviorist to help. I asked him whether my incident with the carrier might have resulted in the difficult introduction and he told me “No”…it had nothing to do with it. On the plus side, my two girls are now best friends.

It’s a good idea to keep the kitten well away from your two cats for a few days, until they settle down. So, keep him in his safe room, as you’re doing. If his safe room is upstairs, away from the main activity in the house (your son’s room, perhaps), then so much the better. Also, don’t worry about the kitten not being able to get out of his room for now. He’ll be fine. Abby was locked in her safe room for three months before I could put my girls together, and she was fine. I’m not suggesting it will take you three months, but young kittens will adapt. Just make sure the kitten has lots to occupy himself with in the meantime, and I’m sure your son is spending a lot of time with him.

Your first step is to get your two resident cats happy with each other again. Play with the two of them together, away from the safe room, give both extra attention, feed them their favorite foods, and give them lots of treats…so they start to get the idea that having the new little guy around is not such a bad deal after all! You might also consider letting them in the outdoor run for a while. In that regard, I note that a few months back Muffs spent a day at the vet and, when she came home, Abby started hissing at her (because Abby could smell the other animals/vet scent on Muffs). This went on for a few days and the only thing that helped was when I put them in their outdoor enclosure together, following which they were fine. I think being outside help to “remove” the scents that Abby was reacting too. Putting your girls outside for awhile might not help, but it presumably can’t hurt and it’s worth a shot.

I would wait to do any scent exchanges/etc. with the new kitten until your two girls are ok with each other, which I suspect won’t take more than a few days. For the next few days – until your girls have settled down, you might also get in the habit of washing your hands after you’re with the kitten (your son and others could do the same)…again to remove his scent for now, so that the new kitten is not “in their face”. Once the girls are more or less back to normal, you can proceed with the introduction, slowly.

Good luck and post again if you have any more questions. No doubt others here will also join in with other suggestions
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by garymcl View Post
Hi All

We have read up so much about introduning a kitten to resident cats and are doing everything we feel is right, but it's not working. I know it's only been 48 hours but it's so upsetting to see our 2 resident cats having a go at each other and of course it's so upsetting knowing the poor wee kitten cannot get out into his new house yet as the other 2 are seemingly no where near accepting it.
Welcome! I've been through a similar stuation recently with my new cat and my friend, a neighbour cat. They used to be friends, but when I reintroduced my cat, they didn't seem to see eye to eye. I felt very upset and helpless for the first week or so. But gradually they started to accept each other again; there are random hissing and growling and sometimes even short attacks, but that's part of the "fun". So my first advice to you is give it time and don't dispair.

Missy is a more independent nature. She is frustrated with the change introduced (the small kitten) and redirects her anger and frustration on her more docile sister. In other cases the redirected anger materialises in scratches all over the owner's hands.

Another aspect: Missy needs to make sure she reinforces her right to territory. Being an independent cat she has a broader territory and she cares about it. Normally she can tolerate her quiet, submissive sister, but with the kitten around (from whom she doesn't know what to expect yet) she is nervous and her sister is a nuisance to her as well.

What might happen next: in worst case scenario, Missy will become increasingy upset and eventually reject everyone, turning into an aloof cat. If the kitten is a fighter and he stands his ground, especially after he gets bigger, he might chase her off or bully her. He might accept her sister better, since she is hardly a threat, being so shy. Remember he will need a territory of his own too (you might consider it as a wider personal space.
Another possibility is Missy forming an alliance with the kitten to bully her sister. Finally, the two sisters can team up and bully the kitten and if he is a shy nature he might forever seek shelter in his room, which is not a very nice thing for his morale.
There is a slight possibility for everybody to accept everybody, but this will take a lot of time, so you need to be prepared for what's coming: hissing, growling, occassional fights, chasing, hide and chase games, in one word: trouble.

What you can do: don't allow the kitten in with the girls for a while. When you finally do, don't pet him in front of them. Pet both the girls when they are together and also when they stay separately. Don't force them to eat rom the same plate, put 3 litter boxes, 1 for each cat and at least 3 plates for the food. I recommend feeding the kitten separately for a while (Missy might think he is a threat to her food.

If the situation improves, it's jolly good, however you need to consider the possibility they will never get along and you might be forced at some point to relocate one of the cats.

Question: is the boy spayed?
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