Cat Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,280 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My friend got a kitten a month or two ago and things are going horribly for her! I could really use some ideas from you guys as my friend is close to giving up and I don't know what to tell her.

She has done everything she is supposed to do to introduce the kitten (8 months) to the resident cat. She has gotten calming agents, gates, even holistic flower essences and nothing is working. The resident cat is constantly trying to attack the kitten if she is anywhere near him. The only time she is okay is if she is getting food or treats by the gate. She is otherwise angry, growling, and lunging at him. This poor girl is sleeping on her couch at night (she has one bedroom and kitten is in there) every night so resident cat doesn't have to be alone. We have gone through the Cat vs. Cat book, researched on the internet and searched Catforum to try to find a solution and we just can't. She isn't just skipping introduction steps either, as I have said, she is doing everything by the book. Does anyone have any ideas that could help? Resident cat got along fine with a different cat when my friend had a roommate, so we thought introducing a young, male kitten to her would be a breeze, turns out it isn't :(.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
I'm not going to say I'm a kitty expert but doing some research online I've found a few things. But you said she's already done everything by the book so I don't know how much help this well be. It says this is for the REintroduction of cats, but I would assume it would work with a new kitten coming into the house as well.:


"Keep the cats in separate rooms for a few days. Then exchange rooms so that they can reacquaint themselves with each other's scent. The door should be kept closed so that there is no interaction between the cats at this time.

After a few days of room rotation, let the cats see each other, but not have contact with each other. This can be accomplished by securely wedging or hooking the door so the cats can peek through the crack but can't fit through the opening. Feed the cats something especially delicious on opposite sides of the door. You can also tie two small toys together with a string and slide it under the door so that when one cat bats at the toy, the toy on the other side of the door moves. The goal is for each cat to associate good food and good times with the presence of the other cat.

Praise the cats when they are near each other. It never helps to scold the aggressor. If either cat becomes extremely hostile or frightened, close the door and try again later.

When the cats are relaxed with the sight of one another, then it is time to open the door. Let them be together for only a few minutes at first, gradually increasing the time each day."

Re-Directed Aggression Towards Other Cats


I also found this website, again, not sure how helpful it'll be :/

"Distraction

Overly zealous play aggression, sexual aggression, and most Territorial/Dominance Aggression can be dealt with effectively by distracting the cats and redirecting their energies toward play with a toy. Here are some ideas:

Clap your hands, then say "No!" or "Time Out!" in a loud voice.

Blow a whistle or sound an air horn (I can't imagine always having one available, but for ongoing problems it wouldn't hurt.)

Hiss loudly. This is in imitation of their mother cat, a lesson cats remember well into adulthood. It can work effectively along with scruffing, described below.

Provide the aggressor cat with a large stuffed toy, such as a teddy bear. Keep it aside as his own personal "surrogate victim," and throw it to him to redirect his attention away from his feline victim (after getting his attention).

After you've gotten their attention, bring out an interactive toy, such as Da Bird, to redirect all that energy.

Physical Intervention

As mentioned before, never physically intervene between two cats locked in combat. However, there are times (during pauses between attacks, with less violent fighting, or during sexual aggression) where one form of physical intervention is extremely effective: that of scruffing.

Scruffing is performed by grasping the loose skin at the scruff of the neck of the aggressor cat, then gently, but firmly, pushing him down toward the floor. "Gently" is the optimum word here. Never use scruffing as punishment, but rather as a form of discipline.

Scruffing is a close approximation of the actions a mother cat will take with a disruly kitten. You can accompany scruffing with loud hissing, to reinforce the memory. The aggressor cat will immediately relax into a subservient posture, and may even roll over slightly. No doubt during this scruffing activity, the victim cat will beat feet away from the scene. Once you are sure the aggressor has calmed down, release him and talk to him quietly. A few gentle strokes will be appropriate at this time, much as a mother cat would lick and groom the kitten she has just disciplined.

Another form of physical intervention is separation, which may be necessary when a series of fights has occurred between two cats, or in the case of redirected aggression. Assign a "time out" room for the aggressor cat, and allow the victim the rest of the house. Separation can take place in as short as an hour or two, or as long as a day or two. Some cats living with forum members have needed separation for as long as several months, but most of them have eventually come to their own form of living peacefully together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
The girls still hate the dogs with a passion - hissing, arching, yowling, etc - but no longer lunge. Lunges got them groomed by Mama and they got the hint. Since it's an adult in your case and not kittens I'm not sure how it would work, but it might be worth a shot. Groom little Miss Bad Attitude, just make sure you start and end the session despite her displeasure. It may also be spray bottle time. Tolerance gets treats and lovins'. Homicidal rages gets behave yourself grooms and spritzs. And I'd say start with tolerance. She's allowed to hate the newbie with fiery passion, so long as she doesn't try to kill him. Another thing - no blood, no foul. If the kitten is big enough, a LITTLE bit of duking it out is ok just be prepared to douse her if necessary if it escalates to that point.

* Disclaimer: Under 99.99% of circumstances spray don't douse. Don't douse unless there is no other option. I'd even keep a heavy blanket near by to throw on her and attempt to safely separate them before resorting to dousing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
This is exactly what I am going through.... and i really do not wish it on my worst enemy. It sounds like your friend has done all the appropriate things. I have tried everything like feliway, re-introductions, herbal remedies, behavioral modification, read many cats books and so many more things i can't even remember. I had been to the vet a few times and one of my cats was prescribed an anxiety medication ( which i stopped giving her because i thought the vet didn't know what she was talking about).

I found relief when i switched vets and starting to see a vet who specialized in animal behaviour. The difference in my situtation is that my cats lived together peacefully prior to this happening. One of my cats got sick and when i brought her home from the vet my other cat freaked out.

My vet told me that re-introducing cats can take months. Which gave me ease of mind because i was starting to doubt that it was ever going to get better.

Some Suggestions i would say since i have been through it..and still going through it is to be patient.

- Make sure that the cats have no negative interactions because this will bring them right back to square one.
- I would recommend having them both medically cleared (just in case).
- Do scent exchanges a few times a day.
- When either cat acts aggressive re-direct it without giving it attention ( for instance if you pick up the aggressive cat and she likes being picked up she may not interpret it as discipline)
- Keep them separated (which i am sure she already is)
- Make sure she gives both cats equal attention
- Keep up with the positive interactions ( especially with treats)

I have been doing all this for about 3 months and I went from a 1 on a 1-10 scale to like a 3. Which is progress....

I am going to have a consultation at my apartment in December. She said if they are not making much progress with behavioral modification then she would prescribe anti-depressants to "aid" in the process. I am not against this since I have been trying everything.

Let me know if you have any other Questions since i am sure I left out a lot of information.

Also, how big is her apartment? This may have a lot to do with it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,454 Posts
Sorry to hear your friend is still having trouble, Becky. As you probably remember, I went through a difficult introduction with Muffs and Abby, which required me to hire an animal behaviorist. I agree with what Lilabootz said. There's not too much more your friend can do, other than do more of the same and be patient. A month or two seems like a long time, but it can take many months for certain cats to get along. It took my girls about 3 months before they could be together (supervised) and about 4 months before I felt comfortable leaving them together when I wasn't around. I've known other situations where the introductions took even longer.

Your friend should make sure the cats are separated using closed doors when she's not there to supervised. When she's there and able to supervise, they should be separated with baby gates (or screen doors, etc.)...something that will allow them to see/smell each other, but not physically interact. Try to have as many "good things" as possible happen on either side of the gates...food, treats, play, petting, catnip (for the older cat, if she likes it), cat grass, and anything else they like. As Lilabootz said, avoid negative interactions as much as possible, since the process really is a case of baby steps forward, but giant leaps backwards. Also, a daily room exchange would help to mingle scents (making sure the cats don't "meet" when rooms are exchanged).

Your friend should consider what to do about the sleeping arrangements, since sleeping on a couch is not fun! Perhaps she could make a cozy bed in a bathroom for the kitten at night (with litter box, etc.), and let the resident cat into the bedroom so your friend can sleep in her own bed. I imagine the resident cat will do an awful lot of sniffing the first few nights (given that the kitten will have been in the bedroom during the day)...but hopefully she'll settle down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,280 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
She said she feels more comfortable sleeping on the couch, so I told her I would come over this week and spend the night on the couch so she could go to her bed and get a full night sleep.

I really really really appreciate all of your suggestions Ms. M, Lilabootz and Susan, but she really has done all of that :(.

Lilabootz, I do live in St. Paul!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,149 Posts
Depending on the older cat's temperament (if she's bold and confident, not nervous or very shy and she doesn't sound like she is), an approach that can work is being the "alpha cat". I would keep the cats separated if she cannot supervise, but when your friend does have the time, when Miss Bossy Pants starts to bully the kitten or even looks like she's about to start, your friend could say a stern "No!". This conveys that your friend is not happy with her behavior. If MBP ignores that warning and goes after the kitten, then your friend should go after MBP with hard stomping feet. A lot of cats don't like that very much and it may be enough for her to be scared of it and back off. She will have to sound very stern while she's doing it and say "No, bad girl!" Now, it's important to counterbalance this alpha stomping with lots of one-on-one attention to MBP when she is in the same room and behaving herself. Hopefully, she will learn that it's better to behave and get along with kitty as she gets lots of loving and treats, but if she's Miss Nasty, big "mama" is going to be mad and chase her. Having said all that, some cats really don't like another cat for whatever reason and can't be convinced otherwise. In that case, it might be better to rehome he kitty. It may be even worse when kitten is an adult. It's very stressful to live in a situation where you always have to keep the cats separated or it's war. Hope you'll give us an update.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
This helps me. I wasn't sure if cats were like dogs and after a quick scuffle, determine who is Alpha and get on with it. I have the opposite problem where my kitten is being aggressive towards my resident cat!! Poor Agate has been freaked out about Lucky the kitten. She's not instigating the confrontations - she's willing to stay off at a distance and look at the kitten, but the kitten will run at her - and not in a "hey, let's be friends and play" way.

My dog's are now fine with the kitten - I got them to accept him by feeding them treats together. Agate though is not a food cat. She won't accept treats - or very, very rarely. I'm trying to give Lucky treats around her though.

I was hoping that they would "work it out" but from reading this - I'm going to have to continue to sequester them and go slower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,579 Posts
I also tried everything I could think of, and everything everyone else could think of, and nothing worked. Prince lunges at Princess Gatita sometimes when he's bored. The only things that seem to be reducing the aggressivity a tiny bit are to have them sleep on either side of me, leaving the bedroom door open so Prince isn't exacerbated by the opportunity factor, and letting Prince lunge at PG to his heart's content so "the forbidden" is not tempting anymore. It's incredible how this situation affects my mood constantly. It's a difficult way to live.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,579 Posts
From my experience, disciplining the aggressor is a big no-no, because all it achieves is that they won't attack when you're around, and will instead take out the frustration all the more the moment you're gone from the house - this is the worst scenario, because you live in happy ignorance of the state of affairs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,149 Posts
straysmommy, This is a method that can work, depending on the cat's personality and how much it respects the owner. But a very aggressive cat should never be left alone with the other cat, and I had stated that in my previous post: "I would keep the cats separated if she cannot supervise,..."

Sinatra-Butters, hope you will update us with what the animal communicator suggests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,579 Posts
That's what I said - it can work but you'll never know if it did, because you're not home if/when it happens.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top