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Helping older cat to accept 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!

  
Cosmo

You love me, you- can't help it!
 
 
Purred: Tue Oct 20, '09 8:39am PST 
I'm looking for more ideas to help my cat accept the new addition to the family.

Cosmo is a 4 yr old neutered male, and he has been an only cat his whole life. I've adopted Zoe, a 6 mo. old spayed female about 3 weeks ago. Introductions started very slowly, but after 3 weeks I had hoped that the cats can be out living together peacefully.

Cosmo generally has run of the apartment, while Zoe still resides in her own private room. Whenever Zoe is let out to explore, Cosmo constantly harasses her. He'll follow her around, nipping at the back of her legs and trying to pounce on her. No matter what I do, he will not give up. Zoe will occasionally reciprocate, pouncing on Cosmo to play, but usually she runs from Cosmo and hides.

I've tried everything I can think of to help the cats get along: slow introductions, distraction with toys/treats/etc., I even bought a Feliway diffuser. Any other suggestions? I just don't know what to do to help Cosmo accept Zoe, and I can bear the thought of giving her back to the rescue group.

Help!
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Gracie

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Purred: Tue Oct 20, '09 9:13am PST 
Cosmo,

you might want to read some of the threads Charlie and Aura started in this forum (like "Hissing at new kitten and then running away") and the kitten forum about introducing an old cat and a young kitten (they are all rather fresh threads, so you won't have to do much searching, maybe backtrack a page, if even). I think their updates on how they progressed from Charlie's hissing to a peaceful coexistence might be helpful to you.

As for cats loving one another, it takes however long it takes, and you have to let them work it out. If they do play sometimes, or they played at first but now Zoe hides, it's possible that she is picking up on your own anxieties about Cosmo's behavior.

Cosmo will beat up on her for a bit, not to hurt her, but to boss her around. It's just how cats do things, and if you intervene in and interrupt that process, that will only create roadblocks on the way.

Unless Cosmo does nothing but terrorize the kitten, and she runs away from him every single time she meets his gaze, you're probably being an overprotective "mom", and need to check your need to have everything be all nice all at once.

We are not unsympathetic to you, just saying that your anxiety is the one thing you have absolute control of in this situation, and controlling it is a good idea. Just keep repeating to yourself "We won't take Zoe back. Things will work out, we'll find a way to make them work" over and over like a mantra. And relax. If being on constant supervision patrol is stressing you out, put Zoe in her room and go do something outside for a few hours. That helped mom and her anxieties over the possibility that Boris would end up rejecting me (the first week was pretty bad, and since the kitten refused to be quarantined and we exchanged each other's germs, both Boris and I were sick). He didn't, and we're now the best of friends, but it took Boris a while to fully forgive me for taking away some of mom's attention. If mom were to ever do this whole "introducing a kitten" again, the one thing she would work on is trying not to be so darn impatient. big grin

Edited by author Tue Oct 20, '09 9:20am PST

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Charlie

Why did they- take almost all- my tooths??
 
 
Purred: Tue Oct 20, '09 10:36am PST 
Yes read my whole thread, it's very detailed.

Actually what you are going thru doesn't sound that bad. Is there any hissing or growling?

Is there a way you could block off a room with baby gates so that each cat would watch you interact with the other cat? What I found helped me, when Charlie was being mean to the kitten, was blocking Charlie out of the living room with a baby gate so he could see me play with the kitten. We played and laughed and had a good time, and Charlie could see that the kitten was welcomed by me and wasn't that bad. The charlie made the decision on his own to come into the living room, and he was much calmer.

It's still not perfect, and it may never be. I'm surprised your 6 mo old is being so submissive about it.
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Cosmo

You love me, you- can't help it!
 
 
Purred: Tue Oct 20, '09 1:04pm PST 
Thanks for the responses. I've been going nuts trying to figure out why this isn't working as I had hoped! You're right though, I'm probably stressing about it more than the cats are...

Cosmo isn't hissing or growling at Zoe, so I know that's good. I just wish he wouldn't harass her so much! She's the most skiddish cat I've ever seen. I'm just worried that one of the 2 cats is going to get hurt. Baby gates are my next step.
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