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New Kitten Introduction(5 Posts)
I'm starting to completely worry I've done the wrong thing bringing a kitten into the home.
I know it's early days but I'm a worrier by nature!
We brought home a 9 week old kitten to my older (9ish) female today and while realistically it's been OK - I'm thinking it may never be as good as I hope.
I did a fair bit of research beforehand but living in a 1 bed flat, I'm not able to fully follow recommendations of introducing a new cat.
we've separated the kitten into the living room while the older resident cat has the other rooms - she initially hissed at the kitten as we brought him in the carrier then hid under the bed for a few hours.
She's now explored the living room (kitten can't get out of that room but the resident cat can get in) while he's asleep and sniffed around. When she saw where he was sleeping she approached and hissed - then ran into the bedroom where she ate some food and is now sat on the bedside table.
It has only been 10 hours - should I be worried by her reaction?
Is there anything I can do to help? Should I interfere when she does hiss/approach the kitten?
(I will fully close the resident cat in the bedroom and bathroom when I'm asleep/not in the flat for now.)
Firstly, it is REALLY early days - cat introductions can take weeks or months.
A few things...
Has your 9 year old previously been exposed to other cats and how is she with other cats in general? A cat that's generally fine with other cats is much more likely to learn to share her territory than one that's been a solo cat all her life or tends to react negatively towards other cats.
A 9 year old cat and a kitten do have completely different energy levels so you'll have to be super committed to keeping kitten entertained for the first year or two of his life before he calms down a bit! Give older cat plenty of space to escape from kitten - high places etc. As it's a small flat, it's even more important.
Hissing, some swatting etc. is perfectly normal when introducing two cats and more so with a kitten as the older cat will want to make sure kitten knows his place in the hierarchy. Obviously their size difference is considerable so it's safer to start with kitten in a large cat carrier or crate so there's a barrier between them preventing any aggression should things not go well. Don't force the interactions - i.e. never try to bring the two closer or pick one up to move him/her closer to the other. Use treats and toys to create positive associations when they spend time together, and give your older cat plenty of individual attention away from the kitten so she can see her place as your number one is not under threat.
Don't expect them to become friends. It may happen or it may not. The best you can hope for is peaceful co-existence, anything else is a bonus.
To answer your questions - we rehomed her last year and was told she was used to other pets, however looking back, they never specifically said other cats.
We had a couple introductions yesterday where the older cat came into the same room as the kitten. We had hissing and growling from the older cat but her body language stayed quite neutral (ears forward, head up and blinking), and the kitten wasn't worried albeit did keep his distance. Second time, we had the same but she allowed him closer. If he gets too close, she moves back a few steps.
She seems more scared than anything else, and is keeping herself under the bed. She comes up at night for cuddles while we sleep but 95% of the time she's hidden away. Is this something I can do to help or should I just leave her to do her own thing for now?
I have found that feeding them together helps.
Also from experience agree with everything Viccat said above - mainly that it can take a long time for peaceful coexistence to ensue (i.e. months).
I introduced a 10 year old cat to my 2 year old cat back in November.
I was so prepared for the first few weeks to be horrendous but they completely blew me away. That being said, their behaviour with each other now is definitely no where near perfect, but time really does win all.
Sounds like you're doing all the right things RE keeping them separate for the time being. After a day or so we put the new cat in her cat box inside 'her' room, and then let the resident cat into the room, meaning that he could go up and sniff without being scared if he wanted to (which he did).
I also highly recommend Feliway Friends which is designed to calm cats in the present of other cats.
Try feeding them both treats at the same time across the room from each other, slowly moving closer to one another.
It will take time but you will get there! Ours love/hate each other now. the youngest will regularly go up to the oldest and groom her and she'll sit there purring, then when he's had enough he'll take a bite at her (not a proper bite or anything to be concerned by) and she will swipe back at him (again just asserting her authority not anything horrendous).. he does also occasionally try to mount her despite being spade... although weirdly this only happens in the morning (they sleep shut in separate rooms), and when she's running/trotting (she's sassy) towards her food - my theory is he thinks it's a game as she has a VERY fluffy tail and he just wants to grab it.
Don't be worried, you just need to make sure you original cat feels loved and gets the same level of affection. Cats definitely do get jealous!
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