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Zena and Holly - Not a very Merry Christmas?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This is my first post in this forum. I have come here for some advice and hopefully the kind folks here can help.

I have a wonderful female cat, Zena, who is 9 years old. She's been my best buddy for those years and I love her to pieces. Three days ago, however, I decided to get a kitten, both as a companion for her and because I thought it was time for a second kitty. So I went to an adoption event at the local Petco and fell in love with a little 9-week-old female tabby, adopted her and brought her home.

For a number of reasons, I don't have a room where I can leave her to use the usual preferred method of getting the two new sisters used to each other. So I had to just hope for the best and let her be in the house with my other cat.

To make a long story short, Zena (resident cat) doesn't like Holly (newcomer) at all. She hisses and growls at her and even at me, which really hurts because I love her. And Holly, when Zena growls at her, just lays right down and looks at her all sad. She doesn't run away or anything. I'm wondering if this is submissive behavior and a good thing, or not?

This being the third day they've been together, I was really happy when I held Holly and was right next to Zena, petting her and she seemed okay. Maybe things are getting better and it'll just take time? Because I will not give up Holly and definitely not Zena. I love Zena more than anything and I'm already attached to Holly.

I guess what I'm asking is, is there anything else I can do besides pray and hope? I don't have the room to keep the new girl in a room by herself. Advice would be really appreciated. Thanks so much.

Lisa, Mama of Zena and Holly
post #2 of 13
just give it time. i brought home a kitten 2 years ago, to a pair of 7 year old littermates, with a similar response. about 6 months later, i caught the kitten snuggling with the remaining cat [her littermate had passed 4 months earlier]. kittens have so much energy it can be rather wearing on an adult cat. but she'll grow out of it eventually.
post #3 of 13
Welcome to TCS! 3 days is not much time, sometimes it can takes weeks for them to bond. But they almost always do, and it is great to finally see.

Good luck with the new one, and have fun here!
post #4 of 13
I'm certainly no expert but I'm in the process of getting my own Holly used to her new younger brother. On Friday he will have been here three weeks, and even with keeping him in the bedroom during the day (allowing them closely supervised visits throughout the evenings), they still don't get along... YET. They are coming around, just at an extremely slow rate, and we are willing to wait it out.

When Holly has threatened the new kid, he cowers to her, too. It's plainly obvious that he's intimidated by her and has taken almost all this time for him to just be able to be in the same room without looking around nervously for her. Last night we had a major break through... as Holly walked by him, he gently reached up and touched her side... and she ignored it. Usually she gets a case of rabid squirrel tail and would hiss and bite at him.

Give them time... if need be lots of it. Some advice I've read says to show the older kitty some loving where she knows the newer one can see it so she can still feel like the alpha.
post #5 of 13
I agree-they'll be fine. I brought home a 6 week old kitten to my 4 year old, very dominant male cat. He hissed once, the kitten didn't care. They're 6 and 2 now and get along fine, although they have very different personalities. The younger is still somewhat submissive (even though he weighs 18 lbs!!). When they play, they take turns being the agressor, so it's all good

When they start to play, it may look like the older one is going to hurt the younger, but she probably won't. Resist breaking them up unless it gets out of hand. You will hear squeaks and cries from the little one and she will probably get pinned and bitten - this is the older one's way of saying "This is my house and my mom and I'm the boss and I'm tired of playing with you - so there."
post #6 of 13
It takes time. Kind of imagine if Zena brought home a new person to live in the house. I think it would take more than 3 days for you to get used to that person. They will work it out. I would suggest playing a lot with Holly so she tires out and isn't bugging Zena so much.
post #7 of 13
Dear Lisa:

Well, it sounds as if things are improving fast, but one thing you might do is take a towel or sweater or other cloth and rub it on one cat, then on the other cat. Then rub it on the first cat. You're transferring scents from one to the other cat this way, which might help them get used to one another. I've also heard that you can put some scent (perfume) on a cloth and rub on each cat, thereby masking both cats' scent and making them "the same". But it doesn't sound as if you'll really need to do anything -- they sound like they're getting used to one another just fine! "Experts" do suggest you pay a lot of attention to your resident cat and not much attention to the newcomer at first; that way your resident cat won't feel left out, looked over, or jealous. Play with interactive toys like "wand" toys (Da Bird, Cat Dancer, Feline Flyer, or ???) also helps break the ice. Keep us up to date on their progress!
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarasgirl06 View Post
Dear Lisa:

Well, it sounds as if things are improving fast, but one thing you might do is take a towel or sweater or other cloth and rub it on one cat, then on the other cat. Then rub it on the first cat. You're transferring scents from one to the other cat this way, which might help them get used to one another. I've also heard that you can put some scent (perfume) on a cloth and rub on each cat, thereby masking both cats' scent and making them "the same". But it doesn't sound as if you'll really need to do anything -- they sound like they're getting used to one another just fine! "Experts" do suggest you pay a lot of attention to your resident cat and not much attention to the newcomer at first; that way your resident cat won't feel left out, looked over, or jealous. Play with interactive toys like "wand" toys (Da Bird, Cat Dancer, Feline Flyer, or ???) also helps break the ice. Keep us up to date on their progress!
Rather than perfume, the recommended scent to use is real vanilla extract. Put some under their chins and near the base of their tails.
post #9 of 13
I think it will just take more time since you couldn't separate them initially. But try sprinkling some cornstarch baby powder on both so they smell the same. Comb it thru their coats.

Plus I recommend if you have a resident female, its a lot easier to bring in a young male (neutered) then another female. All my females (spayed or not) were more territorial then any of the males I had.

Ling is female; she's 1 1/2 yrs old. Our ocicat kitten we are getting next week is a male (neutered)
post #10 of 13
OOh, that sounds great!

Who doesn't love vanilla? By the way, your cats are adorable!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh my GOD, you guys!! Day 6 and I think...I think...they're PLAYING. *has a coronary* I tried the vanila extract thing today and while it's making my eyes water (lol) they seem to be doing good with it. Zena is in her kitty tent pawing at the sides and Holly's running around it and pawing at her paws and getting whacked when she goes by the door, but there's no bloodshed so I'm gonna keep on praying and vanillaing.
post #12 of 13
That's good news. Expect a few times where there are still some altercations. My three have been together 1 1/2 years and there still is sometimes some hissing and growling.
post #13 of 13
Dear Zena and Former Combatants:

You know what they say. IF IT WORKS, DON'T FIX IT.

I LOVE vanilla! Sounds like Zena and Holly do, too...
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