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Help! My cat is being aggressive to my new kitten!

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Umar, May 13, 2020.


  1. Umar

    Umar PetForums Newbie

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    Hello all, just after some advice please.

    We have a 11 month old ragdoll cat who seemed to want a friend. So we got a new 9 week moggy who is incredibly friendly, well socialised and playful.

    We have tried to introduce them slowly. Initially there was some hissing which has settled and now they seem to be ok at times, they will eat together and occasionally sniff.
    However the older cat is mostly very aggressive to the kitten. We keep them apart most of the day but when we allow them to come together the older cat will be on edge and then suddenly will chase her, pin her down and bite her on her face or body. When she does this she seems to be doing it in a way that seems she thinks the kitten is her prey? The kitten hasn’t been hurt but does cry at this and we intervene immediately.

    Is this normal? Is there anything we can do to stop this or help them integrate/get used to each other more? Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Umar.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Umar - yes your Ragdoll's behaviour is the normal behaviour of a cat whose territory has suddenly been invaded by a strange cat or kitten. It would be strange if your older kitten did not behave in such a way tbh.

    Btw, is the ragdoll spayed?

    It sounds as though you did not take long enough over the introductions. I would go back to the beginning and start again. Keep them apart for a few days and then start allowing them short periods of time together under your supervision. Intervene immediately if the older kitten starts attacking the younger kitten and then place young kitten back in her safe room. Try again next day.

    Some pointers:

    Don't feed the cats near each other at any time. Cats being solitary hunters would never eat near each other (except for a mum and her kittens). Cats like their own feeding spots away from other cats. Your two should be fed out of sight of each other, permanently. This will prevent competition over food resources becoming an issue.

    Increase the number of water bowls to 3 or 4 around the house

    Litter trays are a highly valued resource to cats. Provide at least 3 litter trays, preferably 4 and spread them around. Open trays are best, so the cats can see around themselves while at toilet. If you provide covered trays please remove the door flap permanently.

    Provide plenty. of scratch posts & scratch posts, several to every room. Cheap ones are fine.

    Provide plenty of high-up resting places and cat beds (off the floor) . And also safe climbing opportunities.

    Yes, a small kitten can sometimes arouse the prey instinct of an older cat. This may be what is happening with the Ragdoll's behaviour to the kitten. You are right to intervene when it happens but don't chastise the Ragdoll, or shout, as it will only confuse her. She doesn't know she is doing anything wrong. But rather than pull her off the wee kitten, use a sudden sharp noise such as a whistle to distract her, and then remove the wee kitten.

    There may be times when you want to keep the little one safe but without shutting her away in a room. A large folding dog crate is very useful and not too expensive. Set it up in the room where there is most activity and kitty and the ragdoll can see each other. Put the wee kitten's bed, litter trays, water bowl, toys in the crate.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ellie-Bo-P...479&sprefix=folding+dog+crate+,aps,139&sr=8-6

    This size will give the little one some room to play. The crate is not intended for use all the time, but should be a big help in letting the cats get to know each other safely. Wee kitten may decide s/he likes to sleep in it at night.
     
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  3. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Unfortunately your kitten has been removed from mum and siblings too young, and with the best will in the world will never be well socialised due to missing crucial socialisation time with mum and siblings.

    At what age did you get your Ragdoll, and have you approached their breeder for advice, as they will know the behaviour of their lines best so can give appropriate advice.
     
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  4. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Umar
    I would not consider what Rufus15 says as the gospel in terms of your kitten being or becoming well socialized.

    My kitten was younger than yours when found on the street and is well socialized. Luckily, my adult cat took the kitten under his wing and that helped greatly.
    Your eleven month old not liking the younger in her space, is unfortunately a drawback.
    Having another playmate to interact with at this age is valuable.
    Hopefully, the tips from @chillminx will help your the eleven month old accept the younger.

    ,
     
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  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    #5 chillminx, May 14, 2020
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    The OP (Umar) has stated her new 9 week old moggy kitten is "incredibly friendly, well socialised and playful". It is not your place to dismiss the OP's assessment of her own kitten's behaviour, and your comments could come across as presumptuous.

    Incidentally many UK Shelters home their non-pedigree kittens at 9 weeks of age and this has included The ARC, a shelter you respect.
     
    #6 chillminx, May 14, 2020
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  7. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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  8. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Rufus15

    A study based on questionnaires and one that does not say, as you said to Umar, that her kitten or any other cat removed from the mother before 14 weeks will never be well socialized.
    Also the study you reference, mentions social isolation combined with early weaning as the most detrimental to kittens.
    A kitten on their own without a feline companion will develop differently than one with, also age and exposure to humans come into play. Many factors, rather than the sweeping statement you made.
    The article pointed out that weaning before eight weeks is most likely to be detrimental. With 8-12 weeks not being that different.
    And cats did best who were never weaned at all or weaned in adulthood.
     
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  9. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    Whilst 9 weeks nowadays is often considered too young, what's done is done. Kittens develop at different rates and when I was a kid, 8 weeks was considered the "norm" and we often intergrated kittens of this age with adult/young adult cats with success. I do think we had a degree of luck.

    But what's done is done and we are here to offer help and advice. I'm in no way an expert in introductions, so can't really add advice above what chillminx has said. Your ragdoll is a teenager in her development, so is finding her place in the hierachy. Cats are territorial, so it's normal that she's being a little aggressive. Your ragdoll needs to get used to the smells of the new kitten in her territory, she needs to associate positive things about the newcomer. Reward good behaviour, don't punish unwanted behaviour. Remember also that your kitten is very new to the world, she had the comfort of her siblings and mum and is no longer with them. She may feel a bit lost in a new, big world and needs to get used to it.

    Jackson Galaxy is a great cat behaviorist who has a programme called "My Cat from Hell" and has several videos on youtube. He has a few on introductions, and this is his latest and is useful viewing:
     
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  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    This is irrelevant. Umar doesn't have a problem with her new kitten who she says is " incredibly friendly, well socialised and playful". The problem is with the ragdoll who is 11 months old. We don't know the age of the ragdoll when she left her mum and siblings so no-one can assume she was 9 weeks old. :confused:
     
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  11. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    Sorry to repeat myself, but when I was a kid, it was normal to remove kittens at 8 weeks. We had a house full of cats and never had aggression issues, there was the odd spat, but they always tolerated each other, and many laid together and washed each other. I think there was a degree of luck, and I'm not saying it's right to remove a kitten at 8 weeks, but it happened.
     
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