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How long before cat gets used to kitten?

(20 Posts)
MerryMarigold Tue 02-Feb-16 15:01:13

Got a kitten just yesterday from refuge. Happy, little thing despite being dumped, poor baby. It's a boy but still v tiny (8-9 weeks). We were advised to get a kitten as we already have a 5yo cat. She is very shy, timid, nervous and seems to get bullied a lot by other cats (in our garden). The lady at pet sanctuary told us they would be fine together once the boy is 'done' (cat is already spayed).

So far, our cat has not taken AT ALL to the kitten, as in not even tolerating it. Hates its guts, but also seems v scared of it (it's tiny!) - she hisses at it, and then runs away and hides under a bed, refusing to come out for ages. Also refusing to eat so far today. It is only 24hours, but not sure if this is normal behaviour and not to worry. Kitten doesn't seem scared but only had a couple of encounters. So far, we have kept them mostly separated, but it is an open plan house, so basically the cat has been in the kids' bedrooms and the kitten downstairs. A couple of confrontations when kitten wandered upstairs. Obviously I am keeping a v close eye on things and will need to keep them locked up separately if I go out (dh working from home today so school runs been fine as he is around).

Any advice on how to help kitten integrate would be very much appreciated.

sugarplumfairy28 Tue 02-Feb-16 20:25:44

Separate them immediately! New friends should be introduced gradually. Your existing cat probably isn't very impressed that this safe place, her home, which was just hers, is now without any courtesy a shared place, and if she is already wary of other cats through experience, is probably petrified.

Get them apart, let your existing cat have as much space as possible. Let her learn the noise of the kitten through a door, then gradually let her see him, maybe hold on to him while she looks round the room. Try and get kittens scent on something, maybe a blanket, towel or something he has slept on and put it somewhere in the main bit for your existing cat to smell. Noise and smell come a long way before seeing for cats, so you need to let her get to know him that way first. You need to try and do this over a couple of weeks, especially if your existing cat is timid and bullied. Gradually let them spend time in a shared space and they should be less shocked at what's going on.

I currently have 10 cats, and this is has worked time and again, and should be what a professional would advise re: introduction. Good luck x

MerryMarigold Wed 03-Feb-16 10:01:50

Thank you so much! 10 cats, wow! The older cat is now sleeping on a blanket that kitten slept on last night, (I was surprised, but it's her favourite bed). The professional advised nothing!!! She just said older cat would hopefully mother him a bit after a while. It's hard to separate because of the open plan so either kitten has to go in garage which is cold, or in a bedroom where I don't want to put the litter tray. I shut kitten in bedroom this morning to give her time to eat, but she didn't want to again. Luckily other cat sleeps a lot so is not around downstairs much where he is naturally, but she is still upset and not eating (just eating grass). Last night they were in the same room for a bit and she hissed, but didn't fluff the tail, so I saw that as progress, but today she seems more scared again, poor thing. I will definitely try and keep them more separate today.

He can stay in the kitchen as that's the only room with a door, but it does have a serving opening which other cat can get through but kitten can't reach to. However, this is where cat's food has always been and I didn't want to move it (his food is elsewhere so not close to hers). Gosh, it's so tricky. I was expecting difficulty if we got a rescue cat, but thought a kitten would be ok as unthreatening. I hope cat gets used to him soon and can eat again sad.

sugarplumfairy28 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:00:53

We've introduced complete strangers 5 times, and the rest are kittens born in the house. We had 9 cats, all family, we had 6 girls and 3 boys (all done) and in September we brought in 2 male kittens, had to keep them separate for about 2 weeks as my boys weren't too impressed (we lost one of our girls in November). My most reliable girl, mummy to everyone, and our oldest cat, still took some time to come around, now the boys are like part of their family, cuddle up with anyone and everyone, they do get put in their place, especially by my big 6kg half Bengal boy, but that's normal!

This was last night as I was replying to you. One from each generation, 3 girls, 2 boys, the grey one is one of the kittens. If you give them some space and ease them in, you should be fine. I do find it upsetting that no professional gave you any advise.

Aphie Wed 03-Feb-16 11:06:27

I put my kitten in a bedroom with the litter tray. Pets at home has a tray with one slightly lower edge for kittens and it meant I had no litter anywhere in the bedroom and that was with a poorly kitten.
I then spent several weeks introducing the cats to each other, letting the kitten eat in the bedroom and bringing her out to 'play' several times a day with the other cat and when he was outside I'd let her wander around the house so her smell was around the place for the older cat to get used to.
I've only ever introduced this pair so don't have much experience but that was what worked for me.

MerryMarigold Wed 03-Feb-16 11:51:04

Thank you Aphie, that helps. And sugarplum, that pic is amazing! Wow, a 6kg cat. They look lovely all snuggled. I'd been imagining my 2 cuddling was so shocked at the response from older cat! Yes, I think since it was a rescue place, I would have had more/ better advice. I didn't think to ask as with no advice, I assumed it would be fairly plain sailing with a kitten rather an adult. I never saw her as aggressive, she's very gentle, quite reclusive ie. not clingy or much of a lap cat, and with him being so tiny I didn't anticipate trouble.

I do really feel for my older cat, but the kitten has been sat next to me (for warmth and company, purring and miaowing and playing) all morning whilst cat sleeps upstairs. I feel it would be mean to keep the kitten shut in a room with no company for hours on end as he is so sociable (adores the kids and playing with them before and after school) and she is a bit of a recluse anyway, spends her days sleeping mostly in Winter (doesn't like the cold or going outside in Winter). Plus she must be tired with not eating (she's not thin though so she will manage a few days). I will make sure she has some time downstairs later and really hope she eats. Dd could have kitten in her room for the afternoon and evening and entertain him in there so he's not lonely.

RubbishMantra Thu 04-Feb-16 12:12:21

MCat had a similar reaction to Little Monsieur to begin with, to the extent I thought I may have to return LM to the breeder. However, LM doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body, and now they're proper brothers, palling about and sleeping together. When LM wakes up, the first thing he does is go to MCat and nuzzle up to him, MCat reciprocates by pinning him down and giving his head a thorough wash.

Fadingmemory Thu 04-Feb-16 12:16:49

D Cat1 crept about looking angry for a week or so when we introduced D Cat2. After that they ate from the same dish and, although never affectionate, they lived alongside one another peaceably. Give it time. Lots of affection to the older cat and no "forced" introductions.

MerryMarigold Thu 04-Feb-16 13:49:12

Thank you. No, no forced introductions. They seem to be co existing a bit better now, though older one still hisses and growls if he comes anywhere near. I have separated them more, but not all the time. Kitty seems to be a bit fearless which is maybe good for him now, but I hope he will grow up to be respectful of the older lady in the house!

Thanks for inspiring me that it will get better and I hope one day they will be friends.

Writtenbyme Thu 04-Feb-16 20:02:27

I have done this several times and it took 3 to 4 weeks. Don't despair at times ahem there is progress only for it to take a step back. Good luck.

Writtenbyme Thu 04-Feb-16 20:03:10

when, not ahem

MerryMarigold Fri 05-Feb-16 10:10:04

Thank you, written. I will await the day. Currently older cat avoids him, and I have had to be creative how she gets to eat, because even if he is shut away, she doesn't always believe it. If he starts coming close, he gets TOLD.

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Feb-16 17:26:48

Once when we did this the older cat never got used to the kitten. She boxed his ears every time he walked past for 6 years, until she died. Other times the two cats have been friends instantly. I currently have two litter mates that I've had since they were kittens- they barely tolerate each other.

You can never tell with cats.

MerryMarigold Fri 05-Feb-16 17:31:39

grin at barely tolerate each other. True, Poor little baby wants a friend and keeps trying, but it's not happening any time soon.

AdriftOnMemoryBliss Fri 05-Feb-16 22:41:15

took ours a week, but our older cat was only just 18mo when we added the kitten, and we kept them apart at night, used liberal feliway and supervised contact at all times... we also fed them together.

it was exactly seven days after his arrival into the house that she deigned to clean him for the first time after he climbed into her bed with her.

it was probably another few days before she tolerated him for any length of time.

that was october, they're inseparable now smile this photo was 10 days after he arrived.

MerryMarigold Sat 06-Feb-16 09:44:38

That's lovely, Adrift. But what is 'liberal feliway'. I couldn't dream of feeding them together. The older cat wouldn't even eat for 2 days. Now she will eat, but only if she is outside, where she 100% knows he is not going to be. Today was a breakthrough, he got within 1 metre of her and she didn't hiss!

AdriftOnMemoryBliss Sat 06-Feb-16 12:03:43

Feliway is a spray or plug in that contains a liquid pheromone, cats release it and it tells them everything is ok, so its calming smile

its expensive, cost me £30 for the bottle, but whenever they were together in the room i would spray it and my older cat would noticeably relax.

Its often recommended as a plug in for stressed cats, but i found the spray adequate.

MerryMarigold Sat 06-Feb-16 16:44:51

AH thanks. My big cat is constantly stressed. I should get that spray.

buntingbingo Sat 06-Feb-16 16:47:56

Ours scrapped for a bit. 10 year old male and tiny female kit. Bit nothing too bad all noise really. That was Dec 14. By this xmas they were cosying up on the bed together.

Mouseinahole Fri 12-Feb-16 16:32:46

It's very early days for you. We got our new kitten on Saturday and introduced him to the 18 year old male cat. There was one day of hissing but now they will lie near each other. Have you tried a Feliway plug in? I put one near old cats bed and I think it helps.

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