Problems introducing kitten to older cat

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elektray
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Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by elektray » Sun May 26, 2019 7:08 am

Hello,
I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend.
I'm new to the forum but read a few threads and thought it would be a great place to get some advice.
Yesterday we brought home a Ragdoll kitten and introduced him to our in house 2 and half years old female Ragdoll.
We didn't do much preparation as different sources were saying they are a breed who get along well. Also the breeder didn't give us much advice and was positve everything would have worked fine. Unfortuntaly it didn't turn out that way. :(
Our older cat hisses and growls as he gets closer to her. She is also very stressed and if I pick her up and have the scent of the kitten she would do that to me too. Reading some advice yesterday night I kept them seperately but it is quite challenging as we have a one bedroom flat in London and there isn't much space. The kitten seems absolutely fine and careless, however our older cat is very stressed and that makes us very upset.
I've ordered some Feliway which would arrive today and will be swapping beddings bowls to get her used to his scent.
Myself and my husband feel very upset to put our older cat in such stress and feel bad about our little preparation and sudden introduction... and naiveness. My husband got so upset that we had an argument yesterday night (which doesn't help at all).
Please send any further advice or simply ressuarance you had a similar situation and it turned all well. I would really appreciate your support. <3

Thank you

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Lilith
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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by Lilith » Sun May 26, 2019 8:13 am

Hi and welcome - and, first of all, please don't worry.

What's happening is perfectly normal. Your senior girl is very cross and yes, it would have been better to have more space to provide a gradual introduction, but time will be the remedy. Also, hissing and growling aren't necessarily signs of aggression; they are often cat conversation, and she may well be saying: 'I'm boss here, kitten, so behave yourself.' Yes, she's unsettled, and she's going to say a mouthful about it!

I'll never forget the time when I bred Siamese and sold a kitten to a woman who already had an eight year old Siamese girl, who was furious! For a week we spoke on the phone every night, discussing the progress of little Thor and the disgusted Misty. I was prepared to take him back and refund his price in full, but eventually Misty decided to keep him. She started to wash him. She would pin him down on the hearthrug and turn his ears inside out.

A great deal of the initial problem is scent, as you've noticed; the kitten smells strange, and once that wears off things become easier. This isn't an impossible situation; I too have a tiny house and have had to introduce new cats without much ceremony; I've been lucky in that my seniors here were all ex-ferals and therefore communal cats, but the manners of my incoming cats sometimes left a lot to be desired; my current youngest is still very boisterous.

Special your older girl for all you're worth, fuss her, feed her titbits, ignore the kitten while she's around and taking notice, tell her how wonderful she is ... I'm sure you're doing this already. But time is the remedy. Cats do appreciate the company of their own kind and I feel sure that, like Misty, she will decide to keep him.

Hopefully other people will be along soon with more advice, but hope this helps for now; please update and keep in touch, and good luck :)

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ThorpeDave
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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by ThorpeDave » Sun May 26, 2019 8:29 am

Welcome to the forum

Hissing and growling is quite normal and nothing to worry about. Your existing cats will initially feel threatened by the new arrival and will want to let the kitten know who is boss. There is always a pecking order in a multi cat household.

which Feliway did you order?

Feliway Friends comes as a diffuse while Feliway Classic comes as a diffuser or as a spray

You may find that both might help but in different ways.

Feliway Friends is likely to take days, weeks or even months before it has an effect so don't expect miracles. Feliway classic can work quickly and should calm things a little for a few hours but DON'T let the cats go where it has been sprayed for at least 10 minutes.

I use Friends but also use the classic as a spray to spray on bedding and cat trees and it does help to create a more relaxed atmosphere.

Keep your existing cat happy with plenty of fusses and treat and try not to break the routine. Fussing both is important as it transfers scent from one to the other. Play is also very important especially for the kitten. Play also diverts attention

Patience is the key and try not to get stressed yourself as the cats will feel it.

We are now 2 weeks in to 2 new kittens with 2 existing cats. We are not there yet but the growling and hissing is reducing considerable - it just takes time

Regards

Dave

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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by Mollycat » Sun May 26, 2019 9:41 am

It's funny how scary a normal animal conversation can be to us humans when we're not used to it.

Hissing and growling as Lilith and Dave have said is a normal reaction to a new invader on their patch, not only animal but sometimes even an inanimate object.

I'd like to grab the chance to bust a myth here about Raggies, and to some extent breed temperaments in general. Raggies may have a tendency to be more docile and lazy than other breeds but this is by no means a reliable characteristic. My boy certainly didn't get the memo about a lot of aspects of being born a Raggy, despite being apparently a great specimen and therefore a retired stud, father to 13 litters, bla bla. He still has the reflex to bite if irritated, though he is a gentleman and stops himself to lick instead. Until recently (he is now 15) he was playful and energetic between long sleeps and even this morning he had a bat at a toy. He does not like being picked up and he doesn't mind using strong language to make the point.

When it comes to socialisation and introductions I'm no expert but there is a ton of good advice on how to make this successful slow and steady step by step. I must admit my multi-cat episodes have been driven by the cats themselves, the resident either accepting or even recruiting the new family member, or in Raggy's case being so stressed at suddenly living alone that I had to sort him out with a friend. She only accepted him because he was resident and she was new - I don't think I would attempt to bring a new cat into her territory.

For the past 18 months I've been getting to know what's a normal level of growling snarling and even snapping between dogs, and when the humans have to intervene for everyone's safety. It's a big learning experience. And of course I've been through all the hissing, spitting, lashing out, avoiding, hiding, barking and "I want to obey and come to you but I can't cos the cat is sitting nonchalantly in the doorway" stuff. We picked up the dog and Raggy had a lot to say about it, yet in 3 weeks they were sleeping with their heads together on the sofa.

If your new kitten is totally ignoring the hissing and growling, that's a good sign. If it was that threatening, you'd see a reaction.

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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by Ruth B » Sun May 26, 2019 10:41 am

Welcome to the forum, and please don't blame yourselves, we all make mistakes and it isn't the end of the world, the main thing is to learn from them.

As others have said the main thing is time and lots of fuss to your resident Raggie. If you can separate them a bit it might help, I know you mentioned that space it tight, but could you get and fit a kitten pen in, it would give the kitten plenty of space while limiting him so your original cat can approach at her own pace and get more used to him. As others say make sure you do plenty of scent exchanges so they both get used to each other being in the flat.

I will also add that while Feliway can help it is not the miracle cure some of the adverts make out.

I am also of the view that a lot of what is said about Raggies is myths. We had one for 13 years, he was a 3 year old rescue when we had him and we had an older tortie female moggy at the time. They were both desperate for company so were well matched there, but she was a typical tortie moggy and taught him how to be a 'Real Cat'. He loved outside, his defensive instincts were still intact (a Ragdoll with all his fur fluffed up looks huge), but he was also one of the most affectionate cats i have know, he was the type you could carry around cradled in one arm like a baby, and loved nothing more than having his belly rubbed and combed. They may be a pedigree, but they are still cats at the end of the day, and unlike some dog breeds, even a specific breed of cat is still very much a cat.

Let us know how you get on, and if you can suss it out, photos would be much appreciated.

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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by Catotum » Mon May 27, 2019 11:38 am

The experts recommend keeping any new addition to a cat household separately & introducing cats carefully, slowly & under supervision.

I think this is probably the best way to go to avoid long-term behavioural problems with both the kitten & the adult. When things have not gone right after a fast introduction, advice is to go back to stage 1 & start afresh. Have a read through:

https://icatcare.org/advice/how-introduce-kitten-cat
https://www.felinebehaviorsolutions.com ... -patience/


It is awful to have an adult cat permanently disaffected by your sudden seeming rejection of his/her rights, which is what happened to me when I did things without these precautions. You need a Kitten Room for at least a few weeks - time depends upon how the situation develops. Do try this for both their sakes.

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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by elektray » Tue May 28, 2019 12:12 pm

Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice. Mostly thank you for your support - your words made me feel instantly better - like a pat on the shoulder from a good friend.

With a calmer approach we took a step back, kept them separate and get the Resident Raggie to observe the kitten in the carrier for some time. She was curious looking at him still slightly growling and absorbing the new scent. We've then got them to meet in the same room for a brief period. She still growls and hisses and chases him out of her room.
We've decided to do a couple of this short encounters every day. We've also been giving her loads of treats and fuss.
It reassures me to hear time will make it better, we just need to be strong and patient.

Here is a photo of an encounter.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LK_IMV ... sp=sharing

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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by Mollycat » Tue May 28, 2019 12:34 pm

Ruth B wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 10:41 am
I will also add that while Feliway can help it is not the miracle cure some of the adverts make out.
Agreed and I don't trust the slight burning smell. Our vet recommended the Pet Remedy spray and plug-in and I felt it had more effect. Also it burns at a lower temperature and doesn't give off that burning smell and the diffuser didn't feel warm to the touch.

There are lots of others on the market too. Feliway is just better at marketing, it's not a better product. We had Feliway Friends before and I really didn't notice any mellowing with it.

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ThorpeDave
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Re: Problems introducing kitten to older cat

Post by ThorpeDave » Tue May 28, 2019 12:53 pm

Mollycat wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 12:34 pm
Ruth B wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 10:41 am
I will also add that while Feliway can help it is not the miracle cure some of the adverts make out.
Agreed and I don't trust the slight burning smell. Our vet recommended the Pet Remedy spray and plug-in and I felt it had more effect. Also it burns at a lower temperature and doesn't give off that burning smell and the diffuser didn't feel warm to the touch.

There are lots of others on the market too. Feliway is just better at marketing, it's not a better product. We had Feliway Friends before and I really didn't notice any mellowing with it.
I would highly recommend the Pet Remedy products despite their awful smell!

I used it often when Hendrix got too wound up and still use the spray before visits to the vets.

It does work to calm tense situation, bad behavior or a cat going crazy!

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