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Introducing kitten to two 4yo kitties

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey guys!

So, a few weeks ago, we brought home little Simon, a three month old kitten, who I brought home for our 4yo Hobbes (and I guess Hobbes' sister, Sunny). Hobbes and Sunny are both 4yrs old, both have gotten a clean bill of health. Sunny's matured to the point where Hobbes' incessant need to play kittenish with her has really started to frustrate them both: her because she just wants her time alone, and him because he wants someone to play with!

So, we brought home Simon on the 2nd of this month, and a week later discovered an abscess on his chin. We took him to the vet, the vet lanced and drained the abscess, and he's just finished his antibiotics for the whole process today. Simon's all healthy and his former abscess site looks like just another spot on his body (aside from the now-growing-back-in shaved fur, hehe).

On the 15th, once I saw that he was healing very nicely from his ordeal, I took Simon outside his room here (which doubles as my office), and took him downstairs (where the other two frequent), and held him in my arms on the couch, and let them get a bit familiar with him. Hobbes came over, sniffed noses very intently with him, Sunny (as expected, as she's the Top Cat of the house) hissed and went to her favorite hiding spot in the closet in our bedroom. That was pretty much exactly how I expected things to go.

Next night, same process, but with Sunny getting more interested, realizing she should at least sniff him a bit, but of course then hissed and left (not running, just left the room at a normal pace). I took this as a good sign...so...

The third night, I brought him down in my arms, Hobbes came onto the couch where I was sitting with him, they sniffed, and I saw good indicators that it was time that Simon could leave the couch on his own, and go make friends. So, he jumped down, and ran over to Hobbes, they sniffed quickly, and the first game between them ensued. They played for a good couple hours, no hissing, no problems at all. Sunny got a bit irked with him, so I wound up closing her in our room, which she was MORE than content with, since I had made the mistake of closing our bedroom door, so she had nowhere to run, and got VERY upset. Completely my mistake...

Anywho, the next night, I let Simon come down on his own, as opposed to carrying him down, and he and Hobbes started playing right away. (Now, I should put here that Hobbes was into playing, too. It wasn't a situation of kitten-taking-over-the-place as you would think. Hobbes is still VERY MUCH a kitten at heart, and they ran to each other to play. ) So, they started playing, wrestling (which was okay, because Simon is used to wrestling with much larger kitties), and having a great time. But, at one point, and I'm not sure what exactly happened, but one of them hissed and then growled. Sunny, who was on my lap at the time, got down immediately and started to run over to defend her brother (they're VERY close, these two), and they kinda ganged up on poor little Simon. Hobbes started hissing and growling at him, too, so we at first decided to let them try to work their differences out a bit, but wound up taking Simon back upstairs.

Next night, and this is Saturday night by this point, I tried letting Simon out to walk on downstairs on his own, and things started okay...but within five minutes Hobbes was again hissing and growling at him. (Sunny was, too, but again, with her position in the household, I expect it.) I wound up feeling discouraged, and took him upstairs after trying to let them work things out for about ten minutes.

Last night, we didn't do any introduction sessions at all...and I have to admit, I feel rather discouraged in the process at this point. Hobbes seemed so happy to have a playmate...they played right away, and had a GREAT time...tails expressing the fun of it all. They literally played for a couple/few HOURS that first night!

Can you guys help me? It's been so long since I've done this, I find that I'm second-guessing myself a LOT, and just want to feel like I'm doing the right thing here. I was going to, either today or tomorrow, just open his door for the DAY and let them all work out their differences (which isn't horrible, since everyone's claws are trimmed), and let him figure out the social structure we have here...but I think I just need some encouragement at this point. I'm actually quite surprised at Hobbes' change in behaviour toward Simon...and am kinda perplexed...

Any ideas you guys can lend me?

Thanks so much...hugs to you and yours!

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
OOPS!! Somehow I've posted two of the same exact thread! Feel absolutely free to delete one, if you wish!
post #3 of 13
I think it's normal and I would just let them be. I think hissing/growling is the cat's way of saying "HEY- that's enough!".

My 1 yr old cat and 13 wk kitten have been together for 6 days now and they wrestle. If the kitten gets too rough Kara might growl or hiss and the kitten turns on his back/exposes his belly (to show submission).

I would just let them wrestle around and just watch for any scratches/bites.

Mine sometimes look like they are being rough- biting/kicking but neither have a mark or scratch on them.

I always figure if one cat was really distressed wouldn't they run or hide somewhere instead of just hanging out right next to each other? kwim?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much, SweetKara, for your advice!

Things look like they're going MUCH better today. I realized what the problem may have been. We just bought a floor fan (that goes in our bunny room to keep our buns cool), and had the big ol' box out for the kitties to sleep/play in. Well, last night, that was where they (Simon & Hobbes) wound up playing, and the four-times-as-big Hobbes (I think unbeknownst to him, or maybe it was a "STOP IT" kinda action) wound up pinning Simon down so he was kinda sitting on Simon's head. Simon hissed, Sunny came running to help, Hobbes hissed to remind Simon of age/size difference...and I think Mama (that would be me) overreacted a bit. Lol...

Anyway, I have them all out together now, and they have been for a few hours now, without the box...and haven't had any real problems! I think this may be the final day...and tonight, I'll try having Simon out overnight (keeping an ear open while I sleep). I'm not sure if Simon will be sleeping with me (probably), or how things will go...but so far, things are going REALLY well.

I'm proud of my kittehs...they are really wonderful!
post #5 of 13
Oh good! I'm glad they are making progress! Mine have done that a couple times too- the bigger one sitting on the little ones head!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ugh...things are still going difficultly...

Last night stunk completely, with Simon bothering Sunny all night. Eventually we had to put him back in the office, because he just wouldn't stop (and because eventually he jumped up on the bed where Hobbes was laying and made him angry in wanting to play).

I feel like I made a bad decision bringing Simon here. The people I got him from said if things didn't work out, we were completely free to bring him back...but I don't want to have to do that. At the same time, our two older kitties kinda have priority here. I really thought it would go a bit better than this...and I'm second-guessing myself at this point about things. I hate that Sunny and Hobbes are both so upset. Hobbes plays with him sometimes, but overall just gets annoyed and hisses (even though Simon's play with him is the same thing he does to Sunny that annoys her) and gets all upset.

Any tips, guys???
post #7 of 13
4 year olds are not going to have the same energy levels as a young kitten, I would leave them to work it out on their own. The younger one will learn his place, but the older ones need to put him there.

Get some Feliway or Rescue Remedy (feel like I'm saying that a lot lately ), to help create happy relaxed cats.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
OOH...GREAT idea, Missymotus! I KNEW there was something out there that I hadn't thought of, and that is it! Funny, since we'd been pricing it for Hobbes' being so into pouncing Sunny...and then we got a kitten, and I totally forgot!

Thank you! We'll buy some probably today!

So, you think I should continue leaving him out with them overnight, or gradually work up to that again? I'd considered putting him back in the office at night, and having him out all day with them...until he's more respectful of their places in the household "social structure". And if it takes a couple weeks...who knows? He might just have calmed down a bit...

post #9 of 13
as long as the older & younger cat[s] have a 'safe' place to go to [maybe a small box of some sort for the kitten?] then it'd be ok.
but then, i've never done the whole 'formal introduction' thing... just don't have the space/doors for it. all of mine get along ok - some are closer [snuggling, grooming, playing] to each other than others.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post

Get some Feliway or Rescue Remedy (feel like I'm saying that a lot lately ), to help create happy relaxed cats.
Just wanted to report real quick that we bought some Feliway (the diffuser) yesterday afternoon...and what a HUGE difference!!

Both cats have calmed down notably, and things are now moving along quite nicely!

Another good thing...Hobbes laid down the law yesterday, and Simon's been respecting them MUCH more ever since. Sure, both Sunny and Hobbes would hiss and growl, but Hobbes got so intense with his growling yesterday, that I thought I was about to have to step in! And then...miracle of all miracles...Simon stepped back, gave Hobbes a bit of a puzzled look, and then moved on and played with a toy, instead of Hobbes!! He showed marked respect for both of them from that point on...I was so impressed!!

The last thing left: Sunny's still growling whenever Simon's around her (but not because Simon tries to play, because he's now stopped that, thank goodness), he'll leave the space she's in, and then she'll FOLLOW HIM to growl at him more! Huh? This is new for me. Is this just her showing her displeasure that he's here, and taking out a bit of anger on him? I'm puzzled.

I won't try having Simon out overnight again, though, until I see them lovin' on each other, lol!

BUT...a couple of good things happened yesterday...

Simon jumped up onto the couch where I was sitting, and promptly knocked out on my lap. Both Sunny and Hobbes noticed this. Sunny came on over, jumped up, sniffed him from afar, and actually laid less than a foot from us...for about five minutes! Then she decided she wasn't being authoritative enough, hissed slightly, and jumped down (even though he wasn't even awake to notice it...he was twitching/dreaming at the time, hehe). Then, Hobbes came up a few minutes later, and slept right next to my lap (inches away from Simon) for about an hour. I took Simon's tail, and put it on Hobbes front paws, and Hobbes got a good sniff (Simon was oblivious...still sleeping away), and then Hobbes laid his head down on it! He didn't even mind when Simon stretched out his legs on Hobbes' back! PROGRESS!!

And today, we let Simon out, and both Sunny and Hobbes came right into Simon's room (aka the office) and ate a bit of his dry food (same food as theirs), and hung out a bit!

I think it's just a matter of days before things work out completely. Just have to figure out that Sunny-following-Simon-to-growl-more thing...

post #11 of 13
It sounds like it is going great.

Kittens are so cute that adults of all species give them a lot of latitude. Cats get to the point where they've had enough and start setting the boundaries for the kitten. Growling, hissing, biting (but not breaking the skin), pinning to the ground are all forms of teaching in cat-speak. Try not to interfere, which can be hard when you see those big eyes and pitiful mews are heard. It's actually a good thing as they teach no biting and claws in. My vet says this is the time when the older cats can do no wrong and the younger cat can do no right.

It sounds like Queen Sunny is letting her new subject know his place in the family.

Be sure that you greet Sunny and Hobbes before you greet Simon. They need to be getting the most attention now, which is very hard when you see that cute kitten....
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Mom of 4!

It's reassuring to hear that Sunny's growling is a GOOD thing. And it's TOUGH to remind my eight-year-old daughter that Simon's not getting hurt, and that it's actually a good thing and should not be interrupted. Lol!

Things are progressing right along! Sunny and Hobbes keep coming into the office here (Simon's room) and saying hi to me. I think Hobbes might've even used Simon's litterbox! This is awesome, as they avoided this room like the plague when introductions started!

It was funny, too, because just a minute ago, Sunny decided to drink some of Simon's water, and he came in, and started walking up to her, as if to say, "That's....my...water" and she growled, as if to say, "No...this is MY HOUSE...and everything in it is MINE!!" It was kinda silly, if you ask me, but I understand that she's just showing him her entitlement in the household. He respected it and walked away.
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by maherwoman View Post
Just wanted to report real quick that we bought some Feliway (the diffuser) yesterday afternoon...and what a HUGE difference!!
Excellent news, hope Sunny calms down more but it sounds like other things are coming along well
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