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Help! My cat keeps trying to kill the new kitten!

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  

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08/08/2005
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Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 11:30am PST 
Hello all, I just recently got a new kitten and my spoiled brat only child cat hates the new addition. Oliver, the new kitten, is handling the situation very well considering his new sister keeps hissing and growling at him. We cannot let them be in the same room together because Bagheera literally attacks him. We are keeping him in his own room and only bring him out when he is in the carrier so they can get to know each other that way. The first time we did this Baghi would lunge at the carrier, hiss and growl with all her might. She even would growl at my husband and myself (she even tried to bite us). We were able to break her of this hateful behavior toward us by ignoring her for a day. Now she is nice to us even when the baby is around. However, she is still pretty mean to Oliver. She isn't growling as much or lunging as badly but she still hisses. It seems to be going so slow. I'm not sure what we are doing is working. Does anyone have any suggestions? Anything I could try that might help? I'm willing to try anything! I want my babies to get along (I'd settle for Baghi not trying to kill Oliver).
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12/31/1969
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Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 1:06pm PST 
I went through this when I brought Cleo into our home. Reading your kitties' diaries raised a question in my mind. Is your grown-up kitty getting enough one-on-one time with you? If not, she may be feeling jealous and taking that out on Oliver. If you are spending a lot of time cuddling, grooming, and playing with the new baby, Bagheera may feel neglected, even if she's never acted like she wanted to do any of those things with you. When I first got Cleo, I used to shut her in the bathroom, so Alex and I could have some quality time together.

Also, cats recognise one another by smell. If you're a cat and you encounter another cat who smells like you, you are more likely to accept him/her as part of the pack. It might help to try to make the kitten smell like your other cat. You could rub a handtowel over your big kitty (especially on the sides of the face and chin, where her scent glands are). Then rub the same towel on the kitten to transfer Bagheera's scent to him. Another trick I've heard of is to put a drop of vanilla extract on top of each kitty's head to make everyone smell the same.

In establishing their pecking order, there will be what may look like fighting. It will likely involve the cats wrestling around on the floor, Bagheera pinning Oliver, Oliver crying out, and Bagheera letting him go. (I'm guessing that may be the initial pecking order, but it may change when Oliver grows up.) That kind of interaction is completely normal, even though it may look cruel to human eyes. I just mention this because I don't know if you've ever lived in a multi-cat household before.

One last thing... don't yell at Bagheera for attacking the kitten. She isn't doing it out of a desire to be naughty. It's instinctive for her to protect her home against an invader and punishing her for that won't work. The trick is to convince her that Oliver is part of your "pack".
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Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 1:28pm PST 
Thank you so much for your lengthy/informative reply! We try to give Bagheera equal amounts of attention as we do Oliver but I'll try giving her more. I think she is slowly coming around. I'm afraid that if they were allowed free access to each other she would hurt him since he is so small. I will give her some extra special lovin' tonight to help her feel well loved. I will also try the scent trick. Thanks again! I'll let you know how it goes.
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Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 2:03pm PST 
Definitely let us know how things go. I wouldn't worry about trying to be fair. Just shower Bagheera with as much loving as she wants. Oliver won't notice because he's young enough to be pretty self-centered.

Also, I found these tips on how to introduce cats to one another. I didn't do this because my first cat is so mellow and lazy. I think that's a good approach though.

(Edited to take out some stuff that you've already tried.)
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Purred: Tue Aug 9, '05 7:42am PST 
Thanks a million! That is a handy dandy website. The cracking the door thing is tough because Bagheera can open doors that aren't latched. However we did this last night while my husband and I held the door open a small crack. Baghi is slowly getting more curious that hostile. We are taking baby steps but it seems to be working.
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Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 10:50am PST 
Baghi and Ollie's mom here. Things are going pretty good at our house with the kids getting along. Well, Baghi liking Oliver I should say since he seems to like her just fine. Last night I let Baghi smell him without a door or carrier between them and she hissed only a little and when she did swat at him it wasn't a serious swat ya' know? I was right there in case she got out of control. Tonight my husband and I are going to try letting them run around in the same room together and see what happens. I think Bagheera is finally beginning to be curious about Oliver instead of jealous. Yeah! I was afraid we'd have to find Ollie a new home but not now. He isn't going anywhere! Thanks for all the support!

>^..^
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Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 8:13pm PST 
It's sounds like things are progressing nicely. As far as her swatting him... yeah, that's going to happen once in a while. It's just her way of letting him know who's the boss. When Cleo was a kitten, it seemed like there were times when Alex was nothing short of abusive toward her. He trained her far better than I ever could have, though. He taught her about the litterbox (she'd been an outdoor kitty) and not to scratch my furniture and not to bite or scratch.
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Gemini

Tortie girl with- attitude
 
 
Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 9:45pm PST 
Hi! It takes time and patience...When my mom brought me home Gypsy HATED me - she had been an only cat for years and I was a tiny kitten. After a long time she finially tolerated my presence - that is as good as it ever gets for her. Some cats, however learn to get along well! My mom thought I might be lonely, and brought home Sierra for a friend/playmate - we hit it off great right from the beginning!!! Here is a link (I think you have to cut and paste - hope it works smile It is from the petfinder group. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

http://www.petfinder.org/journalindex.cgi?path=/public/anim albehavior/cats/1.2.505.txt
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Purred: Thu Aug 11, '05 4:24pm PST 
I'm Cleocatra's brother. When Mom first brought Cleo home, I hated her. I learned to tolerate her after a while and now, almost three years later, I'll let her lie near me on the bed and sometimes we almost touch each other.

Mom wanted us to cuddle together and stuff, but that's silly. Just because you have two cats doesn't mean they are going to be best friends and want to cuddle together all the time. You humans don't cuddle with all your friends, do you?
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