4yo cat terrified of new kitten

(11 Posts)

Not sure what to do, it's been a month since we got the adorable bundle of fluff currently shredding my left leg. Old(er) cat (just turned 4yo) had been behaving very strangely after our beloved lap cat passed away so we thought she needed company, but whenever she meets the kitten she runs away in terror.

Older cat is a loner, she played lots with lap cat, but doesn't come to us unless she wants food. (Incidentally she is asking for food constantly and has gone from skinny to round since lap cat passed away, maybe because she has nobody to chase) was left it a couple of months before getting the kitten, Kitten is confined to her room while older cat is around. We are trying to introduce them slowly but abort most sessions quickly as older cat looks so distressed. She is starting to tolerate kitten so long as I am holding her still. Kitten is very interested in older cat and loves nothing better to jump on her.

WWYD? Carry on with this slow approach and hope older cat comes round eventually, or let them be together more and hope older cat learns to deal with kitten? I'm desperately in love with kitten already and can't bear thought of having to rehouse her if older cat can't cope.

orangemog Mon 14-Jul-14 12:32:49

I recently introduced my 10yo boy to a new kitten after I lost my 15yo girl (who had been alpha cat). I used the 'throw them in at the deep end' approach as wasn't practical in my house to keep them separate for ages, and though boy (who has always been very timid) was terrified of kitten at first, once he realised he could bash her round the head (claws sheathed, thankfully!) when she was being annoying, he got a lot better :-)
It's been a couple of weeks now, and although he doesn't actually like her yet, he will at least stay in the same room, eat from his bowl next to hers, etc and his body language is much more relaxed than when she arrived - he'll lie down/sleep in her vicinity instead of being constantly on edge.
Like you say - doesn't help that all kittens want to do is play - she managed to surprise him and get him in a headlock the other day and that set us back a bit!

cozietoesie Mon 14-Jul-14 13:03:44

It's been a month? She knows well that the kitten is around now so I'd leave them to it while the kitten is still too small to be a threat. She'll probably realize then that there's not so much to be worried about - and she'll see the kitten asleep as well. (At the moment, the kitten is always 'on' when she's around from what you say.)

Invest in some Dreamies or other taste treats as well for reassurance - bribery is often a good tactic!

We'll we are trying the in at the deep end approach from tonight.
It's not going well so far, lots of hissing and growling (and pouncing from naughty kitten, who incidentally jumped into the toilet today so I had to wash her. Silly kitten....) Older cat stays by cat flap looking very distressed. Have let her out for a little breather as felt really sorry for her.

Older cat used to be addicted to dreamier, so we fed her dreamies every time we wanted to introduce her to the kitten, now she hisses at the dreamies :-( (even when kitten isn't around)

cozietoesie Mon 14-Jul-14 20:10:06

Are you attempting to intervene actively in all this or are you going about your normal business?

abigamarone Mon 14-Jul-14 22:28:18

I'd try and wear the kitten out for a while, once it starts geting slower put them together

hoboken Mon 14-Jul-14 23:09:04

We introduced a kitten to our 11 year old cat. The latter skulked, sulked and retreated for several weeks then they settled into living alongside one another. That was three years ago. They have always eaten out of the same bowl - if I put down two bowls some distance apart they empty one together then the other. They sniff at one another but do not curl up together. There are occasional scraps but nothing major - boxing of ears etc. I didn't isolate the kitten but adopted your kind of approach.

I have seen the suggestion that a kitten should be shut in a room for a few days (with bed, toys, your frequent attention etc). The older cat should have access to the outside of the door so that he/she becomes accustomed to the new scent. The two can then be"introduced"

You are obviously giving the older cat lots of attention. Just give it time.

RubbishMantra Mon 14-Jul-14 23:21:21

I have a four y/o and a new kitten. At first, the older boy seemed scared of the kitten, he would hiss a lot and didn't want to be near him. I also did the in at the deep end approach. Personally, I think that when they're separated but are still aware of each other's presence, they get more stressed and worked up, fear of the unknown.

Play with your kitten lots whilst they're in the same room - it will distract kitten from pouncing on cat, tire her out, and it shows cat that kitten isn't a threat.

Now just over a month later, they are playing paws through the bannister and wrestling each other, like proper brothers. smile

Well it's still slow going. Cat wants out whenever kitten is about. She sits and batters locked cat flap until one of us relents. I seem to remember this behaviour from the first time we introduced a cat and kitten, they sorted things when we moved house (and it became neutral territory) but that seems a little drastic to do to sort these two out smile. I'm giving the older cat as much attention as she will tolerate but it's really not much. She's never sought out our company, even before we got kitten.

Plan going forward is to buy another litter tray for cat and leave cat flap locked and kitten loose 24/7. (Just leaving her free when we are home at the moment)

And it's so nice to hear positive stories from everyone, thanks.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Jul-14 22:24:39

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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