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Cat hissing at kittens - what to do?(7 Posts)
I’m hoping some experienced cat people can give me some advice. We got two kittens (brothers) in July, after our boy cat was PTS a few weeks earlier. We also have a 10 year old girl cat. Girl cat has always lived with other cats. We got her when she was approx. 3 years old from a multi-cat household and up until our boy cat was PTS, she lived quite happily alongside him.
So we did slow introductions with the kittens - the shelter we got them from lent us a dog crate so girl cat could have a good sniff without feeling threatened. There was a bit of hissing and growling from girl cat initially but this calmed down. We did scent swapping, let them in each other’s spaces etc. and things went quite well. When they were together, girl cat would sometimes give the kittens a whack if they were trying to play when she wasn’t interested, or would sometimes hiss or grumble, but most of the time it was fine.
It’s now been nearly 3 months since the kittens arrived and if anything, it feels like relations have gone downhill over time! On the one hand, they will all sleep together and girl cat can seem completely at ease and relaxed with them, but on the other hand she is sometimes hissing quite a lot at them and going for them. It’s not like a proper cat fight, and they never retaliate, but it’s more than the quick whack she used to do. She sometimes sort of chases them, and not just if they’re in her face. I’m confused by the ups and downs and not sure how to move forwards.
We have two feliways and a pet remedy plug in. We also invested in a cat shelf which is high up so she can get away from them. We lock the kittens in a room at night so girl cat has the run of the house and she often sleeps in with us.
If anyone has any advice re: what to do next, I’d be very grateful! I’ve attached a pic to show how close they are at times, she has even groomed them on a couple of occasions (though this was a while ago). We’re a bit stumped! We were hoping the kittens would spend quite a lot of time outdoors but they’re little homebods! Girl cat is outside a fair bit during the day but not so much as it’s getting cooler. I’m worried that the more time she is indoors, the worse things might get 🙁
I think it's probably the fact that the dynamics will be changing as your kittens are getting older, their personalities will be developing and your older cat obviously feels the need to assert her position. If they are sleeping together as in the pic I honestly wouldn't worry!
I think the feliway is a good idea, and the making sure that there are places for any of them to retreat to out of the way if they want to, but unless she's really attacking them I don't think that I'd shut them away overnight. I find one of ours can turn nasty with the one cat that stays out a lot, it's as if she sees her as an intruder when she does come in and absence hasn't made the heart grow fonder, they are bettter with each other when they are together all time.
Thanks for the replies - Girl cat is very petite, you probably can’t tell from the picture but she only weighs 3kg so the kittens are now bigger than she is. Perhaps this is part of why she is asserting her authority more now? You might be right about not shutting the kittens away at night and letting them be together all of the time. I think it’s my anxiety stopping me from doing this more than anything. In reality they’d probably just be sleeping most of the night so it could be some calm, positive time together.
The kittens have been neutered, yes. It didn’t seem to have much of an impact on their relationship.They seem to have calmed down a little since then, they sleep a bit more. They’re still absolutely bonkers for a good chunk of the day though! I’m very glad there are two of them, otherwise I think poor girl cat would be getting jumped on all of the time. On the other hand, I think she sometimes feels stressed about the fact there are two of them as she can’t always keep her eyes on them both at the same time.
It just feels very stressful at the minute! I don’t want our cat to feel pushed out or scared. We’ve started doing half an hour of playtime with da bird in the garden each night to try and tire everyone out and I’m hoping that will help. They’ll all play together-ish but the kittens get over excited so aren’t great at sharing! I’ve become quite adept at having two da birds on the go at the same time!! They actually seem to get on better outside and there is rarely any hissing or slaps. I think it’s because everyone has space to get away whereas sometimes it can feel a bit crowded in hallways etc with three cats.
I'm sure it will get better, they will settle down and give your old girl some peace; we have six cats and some get along better than others and they are adept at sorting out who takes priority on access routes!
They do have the occasional spat and increased tensions at times, but always go back to being okay (and it's nearly always the same girls!)
Some good toys we've found that don't need human input are the undercover miaow - the rechargable one is best; the icat play circuit and Frolicat fox den. Might make it easier to tire the little tykes out!
You've probably already seen him, but Jackson Galaxy has some good videos on helping cats get along.
Thanks Fenneltea - I’ve just ordered an undercover miaow and we already have the icat circuit. It has provided hours of fun so far and when it’s arranged in a circle, they sleep in the middle! So it’s a bed and a toy in one.
I have watched some of Jackson Galaxy’s videos and he puts a lot of emphasis on making sure the time they spend together is fun and positive so they associative each other with good things happening. That’s why we try to have regular joint playtimes but it can end up turning negative if the kittens get grabby! Will persevere and see how things go. Would be lovely to have a truce by Christmas!
Fingers crossed, I suppose it's the cat version of having teenagers! :D
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