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Older cat hates new kitten (and me). How long should I give it?

(36 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 06:14:08

Our older cat really doesn’t cope well when we go away - he cries all the time and cries for days afterwards too. Our lovely cat sitter said she thought he would benefit from cat company. A friend had rescued three kittens (found by the side of the road - their mother had been run over and killed) and asked us if we would like one. We said yes - we previously had a kitten, and he loved her (unfortunately the love was unrequited and we rehomed her after four years as she just wanted to be left alone and not washed and cuddled all the time, which is what he wanted to do).

It’s been a week now, and he has started hissing and growling at me when she’s not around. He hasn’t attacked her, but hisses and growls at her when he sees her. We had an uneasy truce last night when they were both on the bed together, but it’s got worse again this morning. When she’s not around, he’s his usual cuddly lovable self, but when she’s around he is aggressive to me as well as her.

A friend of mine had the kitten’s sister, and would take our kitten too. Are they never going to get on, or should I give it longer? And if I give it longer, how much longer? I just want to cuddle him, but he’s having none of it.

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Fri 04-Sep-20 06:30:37

When you do slow intros it works best but they shouldn’t have even seen each other yet.

Look at Jackson galaxy’s YouTube videos.

rottiemum88 Fri 04-Sep-20 06:55:28

I'm a bit surprised you had your last cat for 4 years and then rehomed them purely because you felt they wanted to be left alone hmm If a cat wants to be left alone, they're perfectly capable of marking that out for themselves. Maybe you should just leave it at the one cat and let your friend have the new kitten

New2thismumthing Fri 04-Sep-20 07:07:04

You know cats don't have to cuddle and love each other? A lot of cats will tolerate each other, it's only been a week so I'm not really sure what you expect (it doesn't sound like you've introduced them properly). If you've rehomed a cat for that reason, why get another one? I'm sorry but they're animals not disposable toys because they don't wanna cuddle with your other cat. What happens if this kitten doesn't want to cuddle with him? Are you going to rehome them as well? I have five cats and they'll occasionally cuddle and play but mostly they just find somewhere to lie (either together or completely alone) and will go to sleep.

Pancakeorcrepe Fri 04-Sep-20 07:45:03

Rehome the kitten with your sister today - don’t be waiting until the cute kitten stage is over and then hand out a stressed kitten to her who needs to adapt all over again.
And don’t get anymore pets whilst you have your cat, you sound well intentioned but a bit chaotic. You need to do more research and think things through so you are not in this situation where you have had to rehome animals twice.
Kittens easily find a home so this kitten you have now could already be settled with a forever family rather than being passed on from pillar to post. Animals are not objects and I’m sure the kitten will be fine in the grand scheme of things but it is not helpful for kitten to have all this kerfuffle. They need stability. Cats in general don’t like change.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 07:50:28

I just want them to tolerate each other. I don’t require a complete love-in. They were introduced gradually, exchange of blankets etc etc (neither of them showed much interest), kept separate, allowed to see each other but not interact. There were no problems until they met. There was mild curiosity from both sides when they saw each other but no hissing or aggression.

The other cat was rehomed because she really just wanted to be left in peace and vented her displeasure at the other cat by pissing on our bed. A friend took her, and she has been absolutely fine on her own.

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Fri 04-Sep-20 09:12:41

One week is not a slow introduction.

viccat Fri 04-Sep-20 09:28:14

How old is your older cat?

A week is not a long time as others have said. Whether it will work or not is not guaranteed of course although most adult cats will take better to a younger new arrival. Saying that though, an adult cat and a young kitten will have completely different energy levels and your older cat (depending on age) may not be interested in playing with a little one - that's why it's often best to take two kittens and not just one. It's also normal to have some hissing and establishing of boundaries though, and a week is not a long time at all.

Although if your friend took a solo kitten then it may just be best for all cats concerned if your kitten goes to live with her sister.

TuttiFrutti Fri 04-Sep-20 10:07:32

Definitely give it longer. A lot longer. A week is nothing!

We introduced our older cat to a kitten a couple of years ago, and we were told to allow 3 months for the "keeping in separate rooms, swapping bed towels" stage. In the end, it took 8 days for the older cat to switch from hissing and growling at the daily supervised face-to=face meeting to licking the kitten's face. But we were prepared for a much longer introduction stage.

If your older cat is just hissing, not physically attacking, then already that's quite a good sign. At some point he will see the kitten as "the new cat who lives in our house" rather than "an intruder".

LabiaMinoraPissusFlapus Fri 04-Sep-20 10:38:04

When I brought two kittens home to meet my older cat I kept them in a different part of the house for weeks, swapping them with my older cat and them swapping them back again. They met each other for short supervised sessions and then we're put back into their separate spaces. There was definitely tension at first but no fighting, and they mingled more and more over the weeks. If I went out I separated the kittens from my older car. By 6 months they were firm friends, but it certainly didn't happen overnight. I would suggest doing this and starting again.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 10:45:02

I live in a flat - I can’t separate the cats in “different parts of the house” for months. The kitten was in my daughter’s bedroom for over a week - we did swapping bedding, then seeing each other but no physical contact. All that went OK. They have been in each other’s company for the past week. It has been as gradual as my circumstances can allow. I’ll see how the next few weeks go.

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Fri 04-Sep-20 10:50:38

Was it you who owned the Shitten?.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 11:19:24

Yes. You have a good memory!

OP’s posts: |
MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 11:20:57

They are both on the bed with me, at opposite ends. They are looking at each other but there has been no growling or hissing yet.

OP’s posts: |
Beamur Fri 04-Sep-20 11:29:15

My older cat and kittens have taken many months to get used to each other. It's never resulted in a scrap, but there has been staring, chasing and the odd cuff.
One of the kittens is quite dominant. The other is not. They dynamics between cats is very subtle and can change during the day even.
I would get a multi cat household Feliway plug in. It has made a huge difference for my cats, makes the older cat more relaxed and my arsey kitten less arsey!
If they're already tolerating being in the same room I would say that's really good.
With multiple cats they really need their own space, perhaps feed in different places (food is a bone if contention for mine) and extra litter trays that are kept really clean.

Beamur Fri 04-Sep-20 11:31:20

Staring at each other is very provocative and could escalate. Try and break the stare. I used to put a piece of cardboard in front of the kitten to stop this. Weirdly both cats would then immediately relax..

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 11:53:08

They are both having a nice sleep now, with me in between them as cat buffer. I do feed them in separate places and they have separate litter boxes. DD’s room is the kitten’s safe place as she can get away from the other cat there, although it is generally her who does the chasing.

OP’s posts: |
Beamur Fri 04-Sep-20 12:05:25

It's my kitten that does the chasing too. Older cat has been remarkably patient given she's obviously not delighted they are here!

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 04-Sep-20 12:23:52

You wrote eloquently about the shitten & the older cat wanting too much of her. Hence I remembered.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 13:18:22

@Fluffycloudland77 oh yes. He cried for her for months after she left, kept looking for her and miaowing at me. He had a toy kitten that he used to carry round, cuddle and wash. When that fell apart, a snowman from the Christmas tree took its place. Then there was a brief flirtation with Zippy.

They are now sitting close-ish on the bed. There has been some mutual sniffing but no more hissing and growling - yet. They are both sprawled out on their backs and I am hopeful that this is a good sign.

OP’s posts: |
Toilenstripes Fri 04-Sep-20 13:20:46

Pancakeorcrepe

Rehome the kitten with your sister today - don’t be waiting until the cute kitten stage is over and then hand out a stressed kitten to her who needs to adapt all over again.
And don’t get anymore pets whilst you have your cat, you sound well intentioned but a bit chaotic. You need to do more research and think things through so you are not in this situation where you have had to rehome animals twice.
Kittens easily find a home so this kitten you have now could already be settled with a forever family rather than being passed on from pillar to post. Animals are not objects and I’m sure the kitten will be fine in the grand scheme of things but it is not helpful for kitten to have all this kerfuffle. They need stability. Cats in general don’t like change.

All of this in spades. Just let your older cat enjoy his life without bringing in another animal.

EachandEveryone Fri 04-Sep-20 15:40:02

What’s a shitten?

Bargebill19 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:45:11

Early days. Have you tried the calming drops from pets at home? You put them on the cats neck - has worked like a dream for us.
We have introduced two elderly cats to three very boisterous kittens this week. Like you, we can’t separate them. Old cats have gone from hissing to purring and sharing food within half a day. By day four, they are all happy and have both their own sleeping spots and share happily the communal bits. I did do the sharing of smells with blankets for 17 weeks - not that you would have noticed when first introduced !

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Sep-20 15:49:06

They are curled up on the bed about a foot apart. shock The older cat is facing the younger one, and is on his back with his paws in the air (“like he just don’t care!“) and she is sprawled on her side. Both asleep and purring/snoring.

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Fri 04-Sep-20 15:52:10

does your older cta like dreamies?

We got a dog and our cat wasn't impressed. We persuaded him back into family life with dreamies. We sat on the sofa with dreamies, and he would creep closer and closer and have couple and then stay for a bit. With the dog lying down on the floor near by. It worked for him.

(and before anyone asks we had seperate zones and safe places for the cat etc etc as well)

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