Introducing a 4 m. o. kitten to a 4 years 10 m. o. cat, is there any hope?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by mycatsatemysoul, Jul 16, 2017.


  1. mycatsatemysoul

    mycatsatemysoul PetForums Newbie

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    Hi!
    (I'm not a native English speaker and sometimes my explanations may seem weird or confusing. Don't hesitate to ask for a better explanation.)

    I have two female indoor cats, 4 years and 10 months old Eva (sterilised, she has been with me since she was 2 months old. She spent the her first three years with a hyperactive dog) and 4 months old Iris (soon-to-be sterilised). I brought Iris home two months ago. I used the safe room technique, but somehow I think that I screwed things up (Eva ended up hissing constantly at poor Iris, and I don't have experience with cats besides Eva and Iris) so I started again after Iris was at my cousin's for a few days.

    Safe room, closed for two weeks... Eva hissed twice at the door. Besides that, she seemed relaxed and happy, eating as usual (she barely lost her appetite). She hasn't sprayed or become destructive or aggresive at me at all.

    Almost three weeks ago, I opened the safe room door again. Iris was getting really upset inside it, anxious to be with me and Eva (she really likes Eva; she has never hissed at her. She just wants to play). There was some hissing from Eva. Iris wanted to play but Eva beat her up with her paws...
    Two weeks ago, they had their first play fighting session. They do that on a daily basis now. However, Iris is full, full or energy and she keeps trying to play with Eva when Eva is tired, so Eva gets angry and hisses and beats Iris up.
    Iris has been learning to be more gentle though. It's kind of funny, because Iris runs to Eva to jump over her but she ends up turning back 1 centimetre before touching her... she has been learning things.

    The most scary part is when Eva growls at Iris. I don't mind the hissing, Eva is teaching Iris how to cat, but the growls are very, very scary. Since we have had cold days (I'm from the southern hemisphere), I can't leave Iris alone in the safe room at night. I wouldn't be able to until Wednesday... and since Eva is uncomfortable trying to sleep near Iris, I had to open my bedroom's door, at least Eva will have more space. She's in the kitchen right now.
    Eva growls when she is trying to rest and Iris goes near her (50 cm). Iris isn't even trying to play...
    I'd love to sleep with Eva and Iris together, but that seems impossible... sometimes I want to give up, but I can't. Putting Iris up for adoption would break my heart, she is such a sweet girl and she deserves to be well cared for. I couldn't trust anybody else.

    Any help would be appreciated. I want Eva to stop growling at Iris, or at least, know if that's normal, if I'm doing things right, if there is any hope.

    Edit: some hours ago, Eva licked Iris and then hissed and ran away... I don't know what to think about that, I really don't...
    I've been thinking about using Feliway, but it may not work and Feliway isn't cheap, especially the Friends variety.
     
    #1 mycatsatemysoul, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  2. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums Member

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    Until someone more experienced comes along with additional advice what i would suggest is to make sure that in every room Eva has somewhere high that she can go to when she has enough of Iris eg top of cupboard or a high shelf. Make it comfortable for her with perhaps a cat bed or folded blanket
    Hopefully if she can get some peace from Iris she will accet the kitten more readily
     
  3. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak PetForums Newbie

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    How long were they in separate rooms? Did you use any techniques to bring them close during this period? It's typically helpful to try feeding them on opposites sides of the door as close as they will allow and slowly inching them closer as well as giving treats and playing with them as close as you can. This is something you want to do without the door as well. Your job is to make them realize the other is not a threat. Give Eva plenty of high places to get to and ensure she has a safe place.

    To be completely honest, I wouldn't bring a kitten in a house with a fully grown cat because, with the age difference, there's a large gap between their energy levels. If Iris had another kitten to play with then she wouldn't have to bother Eva. But she doesn't. That means you have to fill the spot. Spend plenty of time playing with her to wear her out. It would be great if you could get Eva playing with her around too.

    Can you explain the fights? Is there hissing, spitting; does Eva chase Iris? Has there been any blood or injuries? If yes then separate them immediately and go back to step one. Start introductions over again and try to feed and play with them on opposite sides of the door.

    If not, then you're actually off to a pretty good start. It took a few months for my cats to stop attacking my dog and a year for there to be (nearly) no incidents. Until Iris gets older and loses some energy, you'll probably have some minor incidents. I think you should mostly leave them be. Unless Eva is hurting Iris, then it's not really aggression. She's just teaching the kitten her boundaries. Just try redirecting Iris's attention to a toy.

    Unfortunately, it's unlikely they'll every be friends. They can learn to tolerate each other and live in peace, but that's about the most you should hope for. It's rare for cats to truly be friends unless they grew up together. The age difference only decreases the chances.

    Just remember to stay calm and confident. They know how you feel. If you're not calm, neither are they. If you're tense than they are too. Watch they're body language. You can stop a fight before it starts by redirecting Iris's attention when you see Eva getting irritated. And if you don't already have a cat stand (or two) I would highly recommend getting one. If you want, you can also invest in calming items. Most have good results with Feliway, but it is expensive and I, personally, didn't notice a difference. There are cheaper options too. A lot of people use Rescue Remedy. Mostly, it's just going to take time and patience.
     
  4. mycatsatemysoul

    mycatsatemysoul PetForums Newbie

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    I'm done... I will rehome Iris. I just can't stand conflict and I wanted them to be friends. I failed miserably. Well then...

    I'm starting to resent Eva. I'd put her up for adoption. I know, this sounds horrible and mean, but I don't like her personality anymore. I prefer Iris' sweetness, Eva is selfish and cold, a manipulative little thing. Iris is humble and good-natured.
     
    #4 mycatsatemysoul, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  5. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums Member

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    Yes. I agree. It does sound horrid n mean.
    Will u rehome Iris once she becomes an adult n loses her kitten appeal. Get yet another kitten n start the cycle all over again?
     
  6. mycatsatemysoul

    mycatsatemysoul PetForums Newbie

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    I'm not that dumb. No more explanations though, I'll give one more try and I'll seek advice in other community. 'Thank you' mate
     
  7. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums Member

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    If u havent completely gone off in a huff i suggest u look up posts by @chillminx. She is a very xperienced pf member n advised many times on introducing new cats/kittens to resident cats.
    Read n adapt to yr situation.
    But u NEED TO GO AT EVA'S PACE!! It might b a few wks or even months if u rush it as it will make the situation worse.
     
  8. Fred&KiKi

    Fred&KiKi PetForums Junior

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    i know it is tough and hard work, and i do feel from where you are coming with this in a sense,
    My partner has wanted a kitten for soooooooooo long (we already had my cat freddie but he was mine from before we were together and he is very much a mummies boy!) so he's done his research and spent over a year looking into the best breed etc. that would suit our personalities etc. and we decided on a maine coon (not that the breed is overly relevant) anyways my partner had built up this expectation of a soft bundle of fluff that plays at the right times and how fred would walk up to her bop noses and then they'd be best friends (seriously he really did think it would be that easy! luckily i'm more realistic) it has taken me over a month to stop him trying to rehome her every week because he "can't cope" the thing is he can cope if he uses his head! you say you are starting to resent little Eva? are you spending too much time in that situation? my partner was working from home everyday so he had no break at all, he would not leave the kitten and naturaly she played him up to get his attention. he now has to go to work for atleast half a day to make sure he gets that break (and good for the kitten too!) as with fred its taken a lot of time a and patients and my god fred grumbles and growls! he's never growled at me until we got the kitten and wasn't i just the worst mummy in the world because of it! well that was another reason my partner was ready to "give up" and then suddenly this week it all seems okay, the scratches on the wall paper the waking up a 4 in the morning (every bloody morning!) all no longer matters because a love of a kitten is worth so much more! and fred is getting better too! you are doing okay and it will be okay you just have to grin and bare it and let them do what cats do! from the sounds of it if they are play fighting already the hard stuff is done with now its about learning each other and getting routines in place! (much like children i guess!)

    so hang on in there! you aren't alone in feeling fed up, upset and done in but you can do it! :)
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I am afraid you are anthropomorphising here - i.e. making a human interpretation of cat behaviour. Cats are not the same as humans. Cats may be reserved, timid, unhappy, nervous, anxious etc. depending on the circumstances.

    All cats are protective of their territory and resources. That is normal cat behaviour. It does not make them "selfish and cold" in human terms.

    Eva is being protective of her territory and resources and does not like being forced to share them with a strange kitten. She is being an utterly normal cat.

    Iris is only a kitten and kittens are not protective of their resources and territory. That comes later, after sexual maturity, and into adulthood. That is why Iris is "humble" and good natured. She has nothing to be upset about. Eva has plenty of reason to be upset.
     
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