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Kitten is friendly in isolation, not so much outside of it

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, so we picked up a new kitten and we are currently working on the "slow and steady" method as much as possible. I will go into the bathroom to visit Frau periodically throughout the day. She's friendly, jumps up and sits in my lap, rubs herself all over me, lets me pet her on her head/back/chest (though not stomach yet), etc.

MK will not go NEAR the blanket and when he does, its not pretty. So, after speaking with a friend of mine who works with and is good with animals, I'm trying a slightly different angle. I am bringing Frau out of the bathroom when MK is not in the bedroom. That way, she can get used to his scent and he smells her when he comes back into the room.

Frau is a totally different cat outside of the bathroom. She's a biter (though it seems borderling playful) and won't let me pet her, kind of growls at me when I get near her, etc. She's swatted at me a couple of times as well.

Why would she be one way in one situation and totally different in another? It made me wonder. Maybe she was feral when she was picked up? And, perhaps, she'd been in the shelter long enough to learn to use the litter box, and be used to humans when she was in a confined area. That might make sense since the bathroom, although larger, probably seems like being confined in the shelter.

Would that even be a possibility? I have an appointment to spay her on Tuesday along with her Rabies shot. Will that help calm her down? She is almost 6 months, so maybe this is part of the whole "heat" thing? I've never experienced a female cat before.

Sorry for being clueless. It seems that, like the human children in my experience, males are far more straightforward and easier to figure out.
post #2 of 12
Depending on how long you have had her, she is most likely still adjusting.

And when you are bringing her out of the bathroom she probably just wants to shoot out of your arms and just PLAY!!!! Being a kitten yet, and being in a small room, she has got so much pent of energy by now, it is surprising she hasn't escaped out your bathroom door at the slightest crack yet...Lol!

Perhaps taking her into a basement, or another 'larger' enclosed room for better exercise time will benefit her.
post #3 of 12
I think she feels safe in the bathroom, but goes into 'serious fighter cat' mode outside of it because she's scared. Don't bring her out forcibly, just leave the door open and let her (eventually) come out on her own.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by faith's_mom View Post
Depending on how long you have had her, she is most likely still adjusting.

And when you are bringing her out of the bathroom she probably just wants to shoot out of your arms and just PLAY!!!! Being a kitten yet, and being in a small room, she has got so much pent of energy by now, it is surprising she hasn't escaped out your bathroom door at the slightest crack yet...Lol!

Perhaps taking her into a basement, or another 'larger' enclosed room for better exercise time will benefit her.
Oh she has escaped at the slightest crack. That's how the resident cat has met her. The reason I consulted with my friend and decided to let her out when he's not in the room is because one of the times she got out, he was eating. They were within 2 feet of each other...and he growled with an occasional hiss, his ears were not flat, his tail wasn't twitchy, and he made no jerky movements. She then took off out of the room and he would run after her and then stop when she was in view. I followed with a squirt bottle in case he got aggressive. He also no longer hisses at my hand when i've been petting her.

I did set her fishing pole toy up using a clamp so that it hangs just above her reach while sitting. She has toys in her bathroom and I play with her intermittently throughout the day, especially when I go to the bathroom and take a shower.

I'll let her out and see how it goes. Too bad Feliway is so expensive, or I'd buy another one for the living room.
post #5 of 12
She's not the problem, your older male is (or may be). She's just showing normal nerves, and while his reactions are normal too (pretty good so far actually) it's important that you monitor every time they're together until she's older and larger, keep them separate when you're out unless you're 100% sure he'll never attack her, or that she definitely has safe places to go.
post #6 of 12
Normal cat anxiety. Yes, spaying and getting her shots is a very very good idea to have done soon - especially since you said she gets rough with you. Has she already been tested to make sure she's Felv and FIV negative? Best to rule that out before you let them be together.

The bathroom is her territory, she's used to it and when you let her out of there the other room is full of new smells, sounds, and objects. Maybe try letting her out in the evening when it's quiet and have the lights down low or off. Many cats feel braver in the dark. Let her inspect things on her own and put her own scent on stuff.
Search for cat introduction or similar search queries in the behavior section. You'll find more suggestions and tips.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm going to go ahead and have her tested if they will do that, along with the full range of shots (they charge 25). I think that she might have ear mites, so I'm going to see if they can give me medicine for that too.

I only let her out for about 30 minutes to an hour at a time, due in part to the potential for ear mites. MK had them at that age too. I got some squirts and it cleared it up really fast. He typically stays in the bedroom while she's out. Today, she approached her and he sniffed her face but I startled him when I got up out of my chair to reach for the squirt bottle, just in case.

She doesn't like behind handled, and she will react negatively towards me when I do. When he hears that, thats now when he hisses at her. I assume that he interprets those sounds as being directed towards him. I'm very surprised at his change in the last few days.

When I leave or we sleep, she's in the bathroom. We use the hamper lid to hold the blanket she's been laying on.

I think it's going well...at least I hope it continues in this direction.
post #8 of 12
This all sounds very normal, as the other posters have pointed out.

I'd lose the squirt bottle, however. Most cats end up ignoring it or just get upset at meowmy for squirting it. Get an empty can and put coins in it. The sound itself will startle MK out of an attack if it happens. But growling or batting at a new kitty is VERY normal, and though the slow introductions to avoid any of the serious aggression are best, at some point they are going to have to work out territories and who's alpha, etc.

In the meantime, take some rags or towels (preferably washed without fabric softener) and rub new kitty all over with two, and rub MK all over with two. Put an MK scented towel under new kitty's food dish, and put a new kitty scented towel under MK's food dish. After playing with MK, put treats down for him on the other new kitty scented towel. Same with new kitty - after playing with her, put treats down for her on MK scented towel.

Also, any time they're in the same space and he doesn't growl at her, praise him to high heaven. You may also want to get some new toys, and when they're in the same space and he doesn't growl or get aggressive with her, give him a new toy to play with. Or break out a new interactive toy, and use it with both of them - and if they play nice, praise them both to high heaven.

The idea is to get them both associating each other with good things, to help him think that having the new kitty around is just a total party, and to help him understand what he's doing right - not just rattling coins at him to let him know what he's doing wrong.

It can take some time - but he'll come around, as will she. She'll slowly let her defences down as she becomes more confident in the new space.

But if she's 3 - 4 months old, I'd consider getting her spayed now.

Laurie
post #9 of 12
I'd hold off on rubbing them down with the same cloth until the possible ear mite problem is treated. They can climb out on the outer part of the ear.
Wouldn't want to have to treat two kitties!
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Will do on the squirt bottle. The coins is interesting...a similar approach my uncle was told to take with his blue heeler pup.

I have been praising MK. I do remember that from the guide. Any time there's been interaction, I praise him, and pet him...things I do when I show him affection.

I have an appointment for 8-9a on Tuesday to get her spayed. I will talk to the vet clinic about the shots (which I know they can do) and testing the cat for other stuff, ear mite included.
post #11 of 12
Have you tried the vanilla dab? keep them both 'dabbed' so they really get used to the scent then when Frau does come out she's not such a strange smell, I found it worked very well.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Actually, I think MK has adapted to her. He sniffs her a lot but doesn't hiss or make any sudden motions unless she goes for his food bowl.

He just wants to play now. He will chase her, but she's still intimidated by him. Last night, he sat there the way that cats do, with his head kinda rolled under his body, doing what was almost a "come here" motion with his paw. Frau just looked at him.

They both get affection when they are good, though Frau is still very much a cat when it comes to that...she only wants it when she wants to give it. Hopefully, getting her spayed on Tuesday will help with that a little bit.

Things are going well. They did start to take a turn for the better when I get that Feliway. Between reading about it on this forum and my friends suggesting it, I have to say that's a great tool. It's no magic wand, but it definitely helped get my situation moving in the right direction.
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