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New kitten after loss in January, need support

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have not written for a while. To bring you up to date, I lost one of my feline family members in January to kidney failure. She was 12 and the living one left is 13. The two of them were not from the same litter, never really real close. The older one tolorated the younger one. The death nearly killed me as well.
Anyways... we just got a kitten. 8 week old female from the MSPCA.
My older cat is totally avoiding our new member. We have the kitten in her own bedroom, fouton, litterbox, food, water, toys and window. After two days of her being in there hoping the older cat would at least sniff under the door, that did not happen. She ran past the door instead. We took off the door and put up a used screen door. She still avoids looking in. Finally she saw the kitten. The tale floofed up and small hiss. I am trying to push the issue a little by carrying the kitten around the house. Now the older looks at her, but does not run or hiss. When I lowered her to the floor about 20 feet from her.. the older took off. The baby is in her room having a grand time by herself. I go in there often to play with her.
I need some one on one support to help me bring this family together. Please do not tell me I made a mistake... I love both of my girls.

On one other question... the kitten... I know she bites to play.... I know I probably should stop it. they are not hard bites... but do not want it to lead to a habit. Should I stop that now, or am I being too pushy.

I appreciate your support.
post #2 of 21
Two days is not nearly enough time for them to get used to each other. It can take up to a month. My two adult cats took about 3 weeks to completely adjust to the new kitten I got. Just be patient, try some Feliway (will help settle the older cats nerves) and do -not- try to push them into being friends right away. Let them go at their own pace. They might never be the best of buddies, but typically, given their own space and time, they will learn to tolerate one another if not be friendly.

Secondly, if the kitten is play biting something or someone you don't want, replace that object - your hand for instance- with a toy and positive reinforcement when she bites the toy and not the hand. It is not actually a bad thing for a kitten or cat to learn the difference between a play bite and a real bite, they need to learn bite inhibition that way, or in other words... they need to know their own strength. If she bites too hard, say OW in a clear, stern tone and stop play time for 10 or 15 minutes. This has worked with all of my cats, none of them are biters, even though when I play with them with my hands they will 'mouth' or put their teeth on the skin, but never apply pressure. Doing this plus replacing what you don't want bitten with a toy that is acceptable to bite will probably work just fine.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your support. Yes, I am suffering from anxiouty and some emotional thoughts with regard to the lost pet and the new. She will never replace the girl I lost, but she will be a new life in the home.
Even if they are never best of buddies which when alive the two were never. But they did at times eat out of their bowls together, and sometimes played with me together when I had the catnip out. If I can get this again... I will be very pleased.
I have a large house.... I have read about this feliway, but do not understand it... I will get that tomorrow... Which is the better placement for that unit... where the older spends most of her time.... or in the hall near the room where the kitten is.
As for the biting... I think it was playing and I probably edge it on. It is only me she bites, and its not hard... maybe once and I bet that was a mistake. probably my fault.
Thank you again for your kind support... I really do care about my two girls.
I really believe in my heart that the older really missed the company of the one that passed away. My wife and I both work... and she just seemed so lonely.
post #4 of 21
It is natural for older cats to see new ones as threats, and sometimes female cats can be the worst in this way, as their home is their 'nest' and not having their own babies doesn't always make a difference. They'll probably be fine in time, but the older one will need lots of reassurance, and once she feels more comfortable about things (a few wks?) may even begin to help out with mothering, teaching, etc. which would be terrific. The baby will go through lots of changes, so don't get too worked up over any one stage as it may not last long at all, and if not challenged, she's as likely to forget it as anything - tell a child they can't do something and of course they will rebel! Good luck, and I'm very sorry about your other cat... most certainly have been there.
post #5 of 21
Hang in there. This takes time, but will work out 99% of the time. Just slowly keep working toward it. Despite our efforts, though, most cats seem to reach an agreement when we aren't around.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Should I let the kitten out... I really in my heart cannot do that. Sometimes this adult use to bite the younger one just to remind her who is boss... I do not want her to hurt the baby.
I read up on the feliway..... just need to know best placement
post #7 of 21
Originally Posted by OldfarmCats View Post
Should I let the kitten out... I really in my heart cannot do that. Sometimes this adult use to bite the younger one just to remind her who is boss... I do not want her to hurt the baby.
I read up on the feliway..... just need to know best placement
I wouldn't let the kitten out. Just be patient, they will click if you just hang in there.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Gary,, thank you... I would appreciate it if I can hang on to you for support.
I was just up there and she wants out of the room so bad. So I let her out on the second floor of the house while my wife kept the adult downstairs. What I thougth funny was she went to the adults water bowl, had some water, and was marking with the side of her mouth.. that ought to tick off the adult. I gave her some new toys in her room and she is having a blast.
post #9 of 21
Originally Posted by OldfarmCats View Post
Gary,, thank you... I would appreciate it if I can hang on to you for support.
I was just up there and she wants out of the room so bad. So I let her out on the second floor of the house while my wife kept the adult downstairs. What I thougth funny was she went to the adults water bowl, had some water, and was marking with the side of her mouth.. that ought to tick off the adult. I gave her some new toys in her room and she is having a blast.
I am here. I am going to be away from the computer tonight, but will post early in the morning. It is frustrating sometimes, but it will work out.

One thing I have done (and some will find fault in this, but it does work). Do this after about 5 days. Make the house as cold as you can. Now, I am not talking about abusively cold, but definitely make it chilly. After the two cats know each other by smell and have seen each other around the house, I have done this and left the house. When I come back, the cats are cuddled up. It works just about every time, but only after about 5 days. You want them to know each other well enough and know that the cat won't hurt the kitten.

Gotta run...
post #10 of 21
I'm sorry for your loss. Our cornish rex died from a heart attack in October (he was 15 1/2). First 8 weeks is a little young (but shelter kittens cannot be kept till older). So the kitten is doing what a normal 8 week old would do in playing with littermates.

That's why she's biting you - you are the "littermate". It might have been too soon to bring home another cat for a 13 yr old cat, and the kitten happens to be female. Most times older females will accept a young male kitten a lot better then another female. Especially if the 2 cats you had were not close.

It may take months for them to get along. Just introduce them slowly. Its hard when you've got an active 8 week old baby kitten that wants to play and a 13 yr old cat who doesn't. I hope in time they will be more tolerant with each other - but there's a good chance that might not happen. IMO its an awfel lot of age difference and if you really want the best, you might try finding a home for the kitten with one of your friends/relatives.

I'd wait till later to try and introduce another cat. But this time pick an older one - maybe a few yrs old and pick a neutered male with a laid-back personality.
post #11 of 21
Hi and welcome back! I am sorry about the loss of your longtime friend.

Here are a couple of links from TCS that may help with explaining introductions.

(2 pages to this article)

They really helped me a lot when I recently introduced kitten Daphne to 11 yr old Sebastian. In the past, all we knew was to just put them together and hope for the best. Now, I know better and both cats get along so well.

Your older girl is having her territory invaded by a stranger. She doesn't see the cute little adorable fluff ball you do She sees an invader, a female one at that. So if you can go slowly you will have the very best chance of your older girl accepting the younger. Make sure to keep loving your first cat so she doesn't feel displaced.

Please keep us updated with how it all goes. Patience really will pay off. Good luck

Edit: as for the Feliway, if you can place one near the room where the kitten is and one where your older girl spends her time, that would be ideal. But they are expensive. I hope a more knowledgeable TCS member will pop up and give advice on best placement of one Feliway diffuser.
post #12 of 21
You're such a great mom, to be putting so much thought into this -- I know you can make it work! I agree that Feliway in both places would be nice... but it's awfully expensive, so if you can only get one for now, I'd put it near the kitten's room. Maybe the older kitty will notice, as she runs past that room , that something about that area makes her feel good... and she'll assume it's the kitten!

You said you don't understand how Feliway works: it's a synthetic pheromone identical to the natural pheromone produced by the gland in a cat's cheeks -- the scent they use to mark things they like and consider their own. It's a reassuring scent to them, and that's how it works to calm them down. We've had quite a bit of success with it among our six cats. (By the way -- Feliway can be had online much less expensively than in stores. My source is valleyvet.com.)

You might also exchange the kitties's bedding every day or so -- so the new kitten and the old kitty start smelling like each other. That, too, should make them feel more at ease.

I love Magnolia's idea about making the house a little chilly! I've noticed that my cats, too, are especially snuggly when it's cool in the house -- with each other, and with me as well! Brilliant idea!

The one thing I don't think you can do, though, is keep the high-energy enthusiasm of a kitten from being an annoyance to your elderly cat. If your older kitty is in good health, maybe that won't be too much of a problem... but if she's a lounger, arthritic, grumpy... and that kitten wants to pounce on her and play... not a good match!

So if that turns out to be an issue, you might think about the possibility of getting a second kitten to keep the first one company. That would take the pressure off your "little old lady" cat.

I'm so sorry for the kitty you lost... but I think you've done the right thing by opening your heart to a new baby. Good luck with your girls!
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Actually, I am the daddy. Today was a good day.. I think..We bought one unit of feliway. It is in the hall outside the kittens room. The adult is still avoiding the kittens room. I took the kitten in my arms and walked through the house. Then we went into the enclosed deck and the adult followed. As soon as she saw the kitten.. she hissed and ran away. I let the kitten play on the deck for a while then brought her back to her room. The adult finally came out of her hiding spot and then avoided the deck room, thinking the kitten was still out there. She is now staying with us in the TV room, but not in our laps like she use too. She has not been our laps since the kitten has come home. Should the feliway be nearer the kitten... or in the TV room where the adult usually hangs out. I intend to get another,, but the retail store got 44.75 for the unit and one on line is 24.00. Boy did we get ripped off. However,, I would get ten of them if I knew for sure this was going to work.
What about the effect of catnip.. would that help this situation at all. I know I am in a big push to get them together.... but I will slow down.. its just killing me as much as them. I do not want to give up this kitten.. I want this to work. Thank you all again for all the support.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
The kitten is out in the house. The only thing the adult female is doing is hissing and growling.. She is not hitting or touching the kitten. The kitten just freezes and slowly moves towards the adult.
After about 1/2 hour of looking at each other.. the adult goes and hides. Not sure if I am making progress or not.
Any advise?
post #15 of 21
I would just keep them out in the house together, when you are there, even if they avoid each other. The kitten will learn to respect the adult's space. Everything sounds like it is normal to me. I would ignore the hissing. Only intervene if the adults starts to hurt the kitten.

In a few weeks, they will be fine together and, as the kitten matures, will probably become friends.

It is downhill from here.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
for reference, the adults name is Angel.
Today was very hard. I let the kitten out of her private room at 1PM. She runs all over the place and full of energy. She finally went out into the sunroom where Angel was laying in a chair. The kitten played in the sunroom and Angel watched on from the chair.
Since about 4, the kitten has been taunting Angel. Not attacking her, but running up to her and just sitting or laying down about 4 feet right in front of her. Angel is howling and hissing like crazy. I am feeling real sad for Angel. She waits all winter to go out on the sunroom and just relax, and now she has this little furball bothering her. I finally put the kitten in her saferoom. She is not happy, but Angel has been here 13 years and I have to respect her homelife happyness. She has given me 13 years of happyness.... the kitten almost two weeks. I love the kitten... but I am loosing hope this is going to work. Angel has swipped only once at the kitten for getting too close. I really want this to work... I feel so bad...and like I made a big mistake. I do not want to take the kitten back to the shelter. She too deserves a good home... she is a love.
post #17 of 21
Relationships between cats can take months, but almost always work out. If you can stand it that long, they will build their relationship - sometimes that means that they just learn to tolerate each other, but many times they become friends.

Hang in there. It just takes a while. You are doing the right thing by letting them be together for a while and, then, taking the kitten away from Angel for a while. Small doses right now and just work your way up to longer and longer amounts of time. It won't happen overnight.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Angel just tolorated the last feline we had that passed away in January. She too was 13 and not a littermate. I got them a year appart... and I do recall when I brought the last kitten home, Angel was only 2, but still hissed at the new kitten. I think its because I am older now and probably less tolorent.

The kitten came back out tonight... she has been playing with a toy mouse in the living room with us since 9. Angel hissed once at her and took off...
Thank you again for the support... I need it. Our new little kitten is adorable, and so full of energy.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
We have the two cats with the run of the house when we are home for about 5 hours a day. Sometimes less. The kitten still wants run at Angels face and Angel will most of the time just hiss and growl like crazy, or take a little hit in the head. Then Angel takes off. What I feel bad about, is that this is Angels house. It has been for 13 years, and she did have a sister that passes away. Now, Angel has bonded with my wife in I in a special way to even sleep between us at night. Angel is very comfortable in the house alone, but lonely when no one is home. Now she cannot enjoy her house in peace. Let me just point out that Angel never really got along with Mittens that passed away. Mitten knew her limits. It may be that Angel is a one cat home, and if thats the case I would have to find a home for the kitten. I love the kitten to death. But the two weeks has hurt me as well. I can feel the stress in the chest. I have two units of feliway going in the house. That has only been about 4 days. I would love to leave the house, let them both work it out, and come home and find them both in the bed. What a wish..., but probably would never happen. I will take all the advise you have.
post #20 of 21
I don't have any advice, but I just want to offer my support.

I really hope Angel can learn to love the kitten. There's nothing more wonderful then watching your cats interact when they really like each other. If it turns out you have to rehome the kitten, I believe the suggestion to get a young, laid-back male cat is a good one.
post #21 of 21
I have a cat (her name is Lauren) and everytime someone new comes in she throws a hissy fit and get sooo mad at us BUT she gets over it. She's almost 8 and has been this way from the beginning. Peri (my oldest also almost 8) was there before her and Lauren was still mad the Peri was there...

Salt's the latest kitty to come into our home and she's still a bit hissy with him after 2 months. Give them time. She may never tolerate the kitten throughly but she will adjust.

Just make sure you make every effort to give her attention when the kitten is around. That way she sees she's not being replaced and that she is still loved. Also if you have a pet brush brush one then go to the other and brush it. Keep going back and forth that way they get each others scents on them. Petting them back and forth can work too.
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