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My kitten is still hissing/spitting at the Dog - Any Ideas to Help them interact?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by SarahBugz, Jun 6, 2014.


  1. SarahBugz

    SarahBugz PetForums Member

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    I picked up my new kitten (Alan) last Thursday and after some deliberation and a lot of pressure from his previous owners I took his brother too. They said the kittens we on a BOGOF offer and pretty much forced me to take the last 2 when I only wanted one. They told me to rehome his brother if I didn't want him... which made me feel even worse about leaving him with them. I just had to get them out of there. Anyway, my best friend who has wanted a cat for years came round to see his brother and it was love a first sight. His brother is now in a lovely home and is being spoilt rotten. He cuddles up to their dog (an old greyhound) and it appears I've been left with a monster cat, although he is very cute and rather cuddly and I love him very much.

    Alan met my 4 year old cat Charlie first. Charlie just did the usual hissing and then sat on the back of the sofa watching him play from a safe distance, ate her dinner, then went back outside to her favourite spot in the garden.

    I kept Alan separated from the dog at first and let him have a wander of the house. I put a felliway diffuser in the Hallway (centre of the house) and I swapped Toms bed so the kitten could smell it and get used to his scent. That night I had Tom (on a lead... just in case) in the Kitchen with me, behind a baby gate as Allan was busy exploring the Living Room and the Hallway. Alan caught one glance of Tom and went mental and made a beeline for him, slipping through the baby gate and getting up close to him, hissing and spitting and getting puffed up and tried to swipe for him. Poor Tom looked frightened to deaf. Tom has always lived with cats and is used to kittens. His old day care used to have a couple of Siamese kittens running around. To give Tom credit he didn't react once. He just continued to sit behind my legs whilst I removed Alan from the room. That night Tom was asleep locked in his crate in our bedroom Alan was also in the room with us. There were no more interactions between Alan and Tom and as far as I can tell Allan was either asleep between us, or asleep on the windowsill the whole night and didn't bother with Tom again that night. I posted on the forum (under cat chat by mistake) a week ago and realise that They should have been segregated from each other for a few days and that letting Alan have the run of the house so soon was the wrong way to go. After posting I moved Alan's stuff into the spare bedroom and left Alan separated for a couple of days before introducing them to each other again.

    Since introducing them to each other again things have settled down a tiny bit as in Alan doesn't swipe for Tom anymore but he still hisses and spits at him. I've noticed he does it more if he's just been playing and got hyped up. Which I guess could be down to adrenalin levels? I have caught Alan sniffing Tom's nose a few times and looking like he's interested in playing or going to head-butt him but if there is any noise or if Tom walks away from Alan, he puffs up and starts hissing again. I can be stroking Tom and Alan will come running over for a stroke too and will hiss at Tom.

    Occasionally Alan will just ignore Tom but most of the time he is watching his every move. Tom has now stopped looking scared every time he sees Alan and has even been showing off, rolling on the floor and trying to instigate play like he did with my 1yr old cat who sadly passed away. I sometimes think that Alan is starting to tolerate Tom. We can go hours without hearing any hissing but then he'll suddenly turn. Last night tom was running around with Alan's cat nip mouse on a string in his mouth (wish I had my phone on me to film it) and Alan was chasing it but as soon as Tom stopped and laid down on the living room floor, Alan was back to hissing at him. At bed time Tom was sleeping at the foot of our bed and Alan was quite happy sleeping between me and my partner knowing that the dog was there and didn't hiss once. If I feed Tom any chicken as treats (he's still in dog training) Alan comes bounding over and tries to share like they are best buddies then starts hissing again afterwards.

    Alan and Charlie still seem to be getting on ok. Charlie still hisses a bit at him occasionally but nothing that doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Alan doesn't hiss back and just sits staring at her or carries on playing while she walks past.

    I know I need to be patient and continue to keep a close eye on them and wait for things to improve but is there anything else I can do to instigate a truce in the household and ease the process along? I feel mean keeping Alan segregated in the spare room. If we are in the house and have him segregated Alan will meow and scratch the door, wall and carpet trying to get out of the room which means that the dog then starts whining at the closed door. During the day Alan is locked in our bedroom if Tom is at Home, or if Tom is at work with Jamie or at day care Alan has the run of the house except the living room and conservatory as we have a marine tank and don't want to come back to see Alan swimming.

    Aside from all of this, and having Alan banging around the house at 3am and waking us up, having to remove him from the curtains and him launching himself and random shadows and the usual kitten antics he is a lovely little cat. Just incredibly Hyperactive and wild and an incredibly good jumper. Not even Jack our Bengal X was that mental! All my cats have been placid until now so this is a new experience for me. I've never known a kitten be so bold with a dog before. I asked the vets about it when I took him for his jabs and they couldn't really help as they said they've not been asked about kittens chasing dogs before. I picked Alan because he seemed like he would be the best fit for Tom and Charlie, he was so quiet and calm when I went to view him and while I had his brother but he also still looked like he'd be able to hold his own if Tom did get bit excited with him. His brother was the mental one but he has calmed right down now and is such a lovely lap cat in the making. My friend keeps sending me updates.

    Thanks for reading.... Sorry it's been a long post!
     
  2. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

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    Hi SB, sounds like Alan is settling in nicely. Last Thursday is only 10 days ago. A slow introduction would take a lot longer than that.

    Hissing is a warning to back up but it's not aggressive. It's only saying "don't come any closer than you are, back up a bit" but it's being afraid or uncertain that makes cats hiss - so it's very normal in a new situation. So Charlie hissed and then took a distance she was comfortable with to keep an eye on this new little bundle in the house. Ideally they should have been introduced gradually too, but that seems to have gone well.

    So Alan is hissing at Tom, that's very normal too. A dog is a big animal and Alan maybe hasn't met one before? Or if there was a dog in his previous house his mother might have hissed at the dog to say keep away from my kittens.

    It sounds like Alan is forgetting that Tom is big and scary as soon as he is distracted by food or cuddles, then remembers he's scared and hisses again. Tom has figured out this kitten is ok and is trying to make friends. Alan will figure it out. Tom responds positively when Alan is crying to get out of his room, so honestly to me it sounds like it perhaps wasn't the text-book start but all seems to be going pretty well.

    Yes you do need to be patient and keep an eye on them but also you need to relax, they are doing very well. What you describe doesn't sound like war - just 3 animals getting to know each other, making friends and sorting out their boundaries.
     
  3. SarahBugz

    SarahBugz PetForums Member

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    Thanks for your reply. Its been very reasuring! Its been hard to give them a slow introduction. We live in a bungalow and use our spare room quite alot. Things seen better today. Although the dog has been outside most of the day. He's a jack russell so is cat sized and smaller than Charlie. The house where i got Alan from didnt look like they had a dog but they had 8 adult cats. I think that they must have had to compete for food because Alan is very funny when food is around. He wouldnt let his brother eat and he tries to stop tom and charlie from eating. Apart from that he seems to be settling down nicely. He's taken over charlie's bed and has made himself at home on the bay windowsil. He is such a cutie! Still having to stop him swinging on the curtains at 3am but im hoping with the toys ive just bought him today he'll tire himself out tonight and stop pulling my curtains down lol!!
     
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