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Introducing new kitty to old kitty - need advice

Ker13
September 1st, 2005, 12:02 PM
My fiance and I just moved into a 2-bdrm appartment. We have a 1-yr tortie, who didn't adjust that well to the move at first, but is now enjoying the place (after 4 weeks.) Last Friday, my fiance and I went to the Animal Services and picked a new 3-month old kitten, a pal to keep Nibbley company.

We've kept them segregated (no easy feat, as they're both escape artists.) The only room with a door that closes well is the bedroom, so baby Turdlet stays in there - this may have caused some jealousy, since Nibbley was used to coming in to visit us in the early morning. Over the last day or two, we have started introducing them, although preventing physical contact (usually by holding Turdlet and showing him to Nibbley.) We understand that hissing or resentment may occur, even if we don't like it (Nibbley's never shown aggression before.) What's worrying me is that every time we let Turdlet get close enough to Nibbley, she whaps him on the head. Not exactly a killing blow, but definitely a smack, on the top of the head. What does this mean? Except for this, I would have thought she was relatively ok with him - she watches his door all day, and I've seen her gently patting him on the bum. How do I get her to stop this - I'm worried about hurting the little guy, but I don't want to yell at her and negatively colour her view of him.

Any help or previous experience would be great. Thank you!

Lucky Rescue
September 1st, 2005, 08:58 PM
"Turdlet"?? LOLOL!:p

The whaps on the head are nothing to worry about. It seems things are going rather well, considering how annoying 3 month old kittens are.

As long as there is no real fighting or bloodshed, and the kitten is not terrified or hiding, I would let them sort it out on their own when you can watch them.

Continue to separate them when you're not there for now.

Definitely do not yell or do anything punitive to your older cat. Since she's only 1 herself, they should soon be getting along fine.

IF the kitten is harassing her too much, put him away briefly so your cat doesn't get too fed up!

mona_b
September 1st, 2005, 10:52 PM
Ditto on what LR said.

LR helped me BIG time when I adopted a little sister for Casper.

Casper was 6 months at the time.And Winnie was 8 weeks.

When we brough Winnie home,I left her in the carrier and let Casper check her out.Casper is deaf and was VERY aggressive with us.This was a devil kitten.LOL...So I was very worried how he was going to handle his little sister.He did show some aggression towards her.Everytime Winnie stuck her paw out,he was biting it.And it did hurt her.We kept alternating rooms.We put Casper in the bedroom while Winnie checked out the place.Then we put her in the bedroom and let Casper out.I did put her back in the carrier and brought her in the living room.I wanted Casper to get used to her.We had the initial meet and greet.Oh what fun that was...LOL.......We never left them alone together if we were not home.This was even after a week and a half of them being together.Well to make a long story short,they adore each other.Casper cleans Winnie and vise versa.They are the best of friends.And if Casper starts to meow,Winnie goes to make sure he is ok.She has calmed him down alot... :)

Trust me,you babies will too become best friends.

We want pics..... :D

Ker13
September 3rd, 2005, 12:14 AM
That's really encouraging, because I'm starting to really worry. I know I have high standards for Nibbley, and because she's so big and furry I forget she's a baby herself. Still... We just had a meet 'n greet in the hallways, and Nibbley bit Turd Ferguson, once on the back, once on the base of the tail. I seem to remember something about wolves establishing their dominance like this, but do cats? Is it safe to let her do this? No bloodshed, and it didn't seem there was the intention to wound, but she's never tried to bite anyone before except in play, and it's upsetting to see her act so differently than normal. She was stilling smacking him on the head, but a minute before, she had been licking his ears. I'm getting all these mixed signals!! :confused:

Lucky Rescue
September 3rd, 2005, 11:26 AM
As for the biting, cats have no hierarchy, therefore do not have dominance other than intact males fighting for territory or females.

Was the kitten hurt? Check for puncture wounds, since those can abcess very quickly.

She could be just disciplining him. Even cats who are very bonded for many years can have spats, but don't hurt each other. I've had cats together for 10 years, and they still had little boxing matches, and sometimes got into real tussles. Just do something like snap your fingers, or lightly clap to break it up, then give out treats or catnip. Also try feeding them side by side, but not too close.

If you think they're getting too heated, just separate them briefly again and stay calm. If you are tense, they'll feel it and act accordingly. Try not to hover over them. Never try and force them to be together or to be friends. They must do it at their own pace!:)

Ker13
September 3rd, 2005, 11:46 AM
She beat the crap out of him this morning, no wounds but he's definitely cowed. They both wedged in behind our bed and had a free-for-all. I'm an only child, I have no idea what sibling rivalry looks like, but to me it looks like he's "surrendering" and she's taking advantage of it to hit him some more. They eat on either side of the same door quite happily, but maybe she's interpreting his play actions, like chasing paws, as attacks. I have no clue what to do other than keep them separate.

PetFriendly
September 3rd, 2005, 06:30 PM
I have no clue what to do other than keep them separate.

There's not much else you can do until they learn to co-exist.

My cat had those same feelings for my room-mate's cat. It took quite a few weeks of being seperated before they wouldn't try to kill each other. If you aren't already, try switching them places, let your older cat into the room the kitten is in (after having taken the kitten out of course) for a few hours every day so she can get used to the smells. Don't rush them, it will come. Our two now will sleep on the same bed without any problems, they aren't sleeping side by side, but you can't exactly make them be friends, so a cease fire was good enough for us.

Lucky Rescue
September 3rd, 2005, 11:11 PM
There's not much else you can do until they learn to co-exist.

My cat had those same feelings for my room-mate's cat. It took quite a few weeks of being seperated before they wouldn't try to kill each other. If you aren't already, try switching them places, let your older cat into the room the kitten is in (after having taken the kitten out of course) for a few hours every day so she can get used to the smells. Don't rush them, it will come. Our two now will sleep on the same bed without any problems, they aren't sleeping side by side, but you can't exactly make them be friends, so a cease fire was good enough for us.

That's about the size of it! Yes, it can take weeks, especially since your first cat is not used to living with another cat and is peeved at having her territory invaded.

Don't worry - they WILL learn to get along!

Ker13
September 5th, 2005, 10:27 AM
The cats are now openly tussling - I'm inclined to think it might actually be "play" fighting, as I've seen Nibbley make an effort to only bite Turdlet's ears, and she doesn't bite hard at that. However, we figured that she'd have to assert her dominance as the bigger, older, resident cat and beat him up a bit.

The problem is, he's winning.

PetFriendly
September 5th, 2005, 12:12 PM
I don't think there's as much of a dominance issue with cats as there would be for dogs. If the ears are back, the hair on their backs is up, they are not playing and you might have rushed them. Otherwise, sounds like its working itself out. Good luck!

Ker13
September 6th, 2005, 03:06 AM
I'm getting very mixed signals, but it looks like things might be settling down - Turdlet curled up with Nibbley in the cat turret (like a kitty condo but taller) and licked her ears. They're chasing each other at the moment, but I sense that things are less frantic now they've confronted each other, and all will settle down eventually.

Thanks for the reassurance, everyone! :thumbs up: