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feeling guilty (long)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi, all. It's been a while since I've been here...but this is where I find the best kitty support.

I live in Russia. I have a six-year-old torti named Beazy.

About two years ago, I added another cat to our household. She was a street cat and, after 10 months of trying, still didn't get along with Beazy. She was rehomed to a student's family and is doing great.

Recently, Beazy has been very...depressed. She's bored and lonely. (I know that anywhere else that would sound a little crazy, but hope it makes sense here.) We've moved to a new flat and she no longer has any bird-watching opportunities. She's just moping around.

Knowing that I wil have to be away for a week and sometimes two in the next six months (I'm adopting a little girl), I thought it was best to introduce a kitten (and not a young cat like I did last time) now. I thought Beazy might need the companionship of another cat while I was away. Finding a kitten now would give me time to settle the kitten in and the two of them to make friends before the adoption--likely in about six months. And, I'm a teacher, so I've got 1 1/2 weeks at home before school starts.

It's only been a day and I'm feeling so guilty! My Beazy is a one-person cat, but with me she is always affectionate--following me from room to room and curling up beside me whenever I sit down. Now, she's on edge and has retreated to the window sill. Even when the kitten is in another room she won't come near me--and even ran away when I approached. It's breaking my heart.

I also feel bad for this little kitten who has no clue what has happened and is still calling for her littermates. The more I comfort her, the worse I feel about Beazy. When I leave her alone in the bedroom, I feel bad about that.

Both cats have had vanilla applied to the napes of their necks and the base of their tail. The are both female. I've kept them apart some of the time--letting each one spend time out with me and some alone time. I've had them both in the same room.There was a lot of noise and tension but no fur flew.

I know it's only been a day and these things take time. I know all about *how* to introduce cats. I've done it many times--very successfully. I guess I've just been really fortunate with how accepting my cats have been with each other in the past. Beazy doesn't seem to think she needs a companion as much as I thought she did. Was I right to try to bring a friend into the house for Beazy or have I ruined her little kitty world? I just want my cat back and happy.
post #2 of 24
Females are usually more territorial than males, so introductions often go worse with them.

However, it often takes up to 3 months to know for sure how the dynamic is going to work out. We introduced Ella to our two boys just a week ago, and if I didn't know cats, I'd be worried, but I recognize the "dominance dance" that's going on.
post #3 of 24
I think you felt the guilty feeling to leave alone to Beazy... when you need to go to work,....after almost 6 years Milky was alone at home...( Milky is a Male Neuter )... he´s a Indoor cat, I mean he have "permition" to go out at the garden by hours and under surveillance mine of DW,......but never leave him alone to go where he want... THIS push to us to consider to adopt to another kitty, and GOD send to us to CATULINA,.........we don´t planned this combination (Male adult- Girl Child ) becuase Catulina has around 2 years old, YOU going to imagine the Chaos at home because Milky is VERY territorial........BUT after a year and half have been worked, they settle almost there complete and fine, NOW we saw that we do it fine to get the girl and they both make company when we need to go out of the city even.......
Be patience my friend and Pray!... I know will work!...
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Cool Cat.

I understand all the how's and why's of adding a cat. You gave me what I needed--some emotional support.

Kitten has been in hiding for hours now...I went to check on her in the bedroom and couldn't find her. I checked everywhere--even out the closed and locked window--but she's little, and, apparently a very good hider! Hopefully she'll get hungry soon!
post #5 of 24
she's probably asleep somewhere...
i can tell you it took about 6 months before Pixel really accepted Cable... might've taken longer if Mouse hadn't died in the meantime [i think Pixel was lonely for her littermate].
post #6 of 24
A definitely-younger-than-Beazy male might be a better fit as females are even more territorial than males, and tend to like being queens of their castles. She may become friends with the kitten, but maybe not, though once a male is grown, depending on his drive to dominate, he could likely want to be #1 cat and give her a really hard time too. You'll just have to see how the present one goes and give both of them not only their own spaces, but 'private' times to be in the main part of the house with you every day so it doesn't always just smell of Beazy, and the kitten will become more confident (plus Beazy will get used to the idea of not being alone any more).
post #7 of 24

Just for reassurance, I have 7 cats (down from 9), and each introduction has been difficult to say the least. Some ignore the newcomers, some start a war, and some have just retreated.

It's taken time. Usually with mine a week or so will start to calm them down. With one adult male, who'd been a stray it took 4 months before he was accepted and things started to settle down.

I think the cats will work it out between them, but it will take time. I wouldn't be too alarmed if I were you, and certainly not guilty. After all, you are giving two creatures a good home, and I think they just need time to adjust.

Maybe give special treats to your first kitty and try to spend extra time with that one? And the kitten hiding - this is pretty normal at first.

Hang in there, it will pass as they get used to each other. And how wonderful of you to be adopting a baby!
post #8 of 24
I think it will work out. My Coco accepts the new Kittens the very first day. She lets them try to nurse on her and she is 16. Meeko used to hiss and growl when a new Kitten came. Now she accepts them te first day also. Sasha hissed at Oreo when she came and they are good friends. My worst Cats to accept a Kitten was my Male Yoshi and Female Stormy. Stormy would go insane when a new kitten first came but then they would become friends. Yoshi was mean to them and Coco would come and protect the kitten from him. Sadly both Stormy and Yoshi are dead. Meeko and Coco are the 2 boss cats. I am also getting a new kitten in Nov. Where in Russia are you. I ahve family from Russia on my dads side.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
We are hanging in there. I've been doing lots of reading about attachment parenting for my upcoming adoption and have decided to use it on my cats. So, even though Beazy wants to retreat, I don't let her. I made sure she slept with me last night and that helped tremendously.

I have had the cats take turns out in the house with me and in the cat room. (This has always worked for me, and I think it's more effective than the blanket method.) They are both fine with each other being in the same room now. We were even all on the couch at the same time!

Beazy isn't happy, but she's tolerant. She's interested in the kitten.

Kitten is venturing out (right on schedule) and is very interested in Beazy.

I still feel a little guilty about rocking the boat, but hope this will be for the best in the long run.

Kittens are WORK, aren't they?

mews, I'm in St. Petersburg. I work for the consulate here.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wanna see the new little one? Russian kittens have a distinct look-pointed nose and big ears. I think she looks like a house elf here:

Sorry it's huge I'm not sure how to resize it...
post #11 of 24
Resident females tend to be more territorial and take longer to accept a newcomer, especially another female. It may take months for them to get along. Always acknowledge the older one first, play with her first, feed her first, etc. Then play with the kitten.

I know it sounds a little silly, but I refer to the kitten as the older cat's kitten; for example you might say "Beazy, where is YOUR kitten?" - emphasize that its her kitten, not yours. Seems to get acceptance a little quicker.

IMO a male kitten would have worked better, but don't go trading kittens again. Just be patient and in time, I'm sure Beazy will accept the little one.

Here's one of my "acceptance" stories that you might like. I bred and showed Cornish Rexes. When I got a 2nd show rex kitten (4 months old), my oldest rex, Taz hated the kitten. Would avoid him, hiss/swat at him, etc.

I was laying on the bed with Taz on one side. Baby Spooky came up on the bed and as usual Taz started hissing at him but didn't leave her spot. Spooky wanted so much to be Taz's friend that he crept up slowly on the other side of me and then put his little head on my hip and started purring his head off. Taz just sat there and finally reached over and licked his head. Guess no one can resist a kitten's purr
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
LOL--I've been calling her "your"kitty and "our" kitty. And, I've been telling Beazy we're doing a horrible job of keeping track of her (co-miserating, not blaming ) and that she is crazy. She is.

I am working hard to keep Beazy's dominance. She's a little bit of a pushover despite her bluster. I keep telling her she is still the queen. I know that this has to be done with dogs, but didn't realize it would work with cats. I'll keep at it. And Beazy will keep sleeping with me. (Although we do want kitten to learn that night is for sleeping...)u

We had nose touching today!

I had planned on a little boy kitten joining us...a grey one, 'cause that's my favorite. But, you know how it goes...I went to "just look" at this litter and, well, home she came! The people who had her were so nice and it's hard to find a kitten here (for me--my Russian is very basic and there are no shelters)...so this little one came home.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
ps Loved the story!
post #14 of 24
She is adorable, what a little cutie she is. Don't worry, things will work out fine. I have 9 and with everyone there was a story behind it, then they all settled down, friends or just tolerating each other.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Here's queen herself:
post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by imogen View Post
We had nose touching today!
that's the 1st sign of acceptance!
both of your girls are very beautiful, btw!
post #17 of 24
I'm glad this is finally working out for you, but I really don't understand the bias toward multiple cat households that pervades this board. Why do you insist that every single cat needs "company"? I had a female who did not want a companion--and she made that clear on several occasions. We lived happily together for 18 years, and although I had to travel for a week at a time about 3-4 times a year, she was great with sitters and didn't seem to miss having a feline companion. Once when I tried to introduce another cat (because so many people kept telling me that she "needed" a companion), it was such a disaster that I talked to a vet who advised that eventually she'd "tolerate" the second cat, although they'd probably never be friends or even occupy the same room at the same time. I re-homed the second cat because it made no sense to alienate my girl when the purpose was to make her happier--and she very clearly was NOT.
post #18 of 24
Your babies are so adorable! If they are already touching noses, this is great news. It took 3 long months for our cats to get along. I got really worried at some points, wondering if we had made the wrong decision.

Like Beazy, our cat Ink got standoffish once we introduced Toby into the home. I was most sad about that.. he came around though and is back to his usual friendly self. And yes, I think he is happier with another cat around, and as a bonus he's more active than ever!

Make sure you get a nice BIG cat tree. We got a 5-foot one and this was a turning point for our cats. They were so busy enjoying the view from their new tree that they didn't care they were sharing space with the other cat. They have gotten along so much better since! We even caught them snuggling together on the tree the other night.
post #19 of 24
I wouldn't say the board was "biased", HappilyRetired, just that they acknowledge that multiple-cat households are often (not always) better for the cats in question.

Cats are not inherently loners; left on their own, they form colonies. Within those colonies, of course, they create pecking orders, chose their favorite friends, etc. At some point, they also stake out territories, but whether that's a whole-colony activity, an individual preference or a combination of both, I don't know (any feral caregivers out there who can elucidate on that?). Cats raised in domestic situations stake out their owner's territory, and defend it according to their individuality. Females generally care more about territory than do males, kittens are generally accepted faster than adult cats and, sometimes, a cat gets so accustomed to having it's owner's pad all to themselves that they won't accept a newcomer at all.

Doing intros slowly definitely helps increase the acceptance rate, but, hey, we're talking about cats - the only guaranty is that nothing's guaranteed!

post #20 of 24
Originally Posted by imogen View Post
Wanna see the new little one? Russian kittens have a distinct look-pointed nose and big ears. I think she looks like a house elf here:

Sorry it's huge I'm not sure how to resize it...
aww, she is just the sweetest, cutest little thing!

I don't know how your older cat couldn't resist falling in love with this little one. ...eventually.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by HappilyRetired View Post
it made no sense to alienate my girl when the purpose was to make her happier--and she very clearly was NOT.
That was my fear. But, Beazy is a cat who likes company. When I went away for a conference last, almost two years ago now, she stopped eating. I was only away for four days, but that led to her liver shutting down and nearly killed her. (It's all in the archives. Oh! That was a horrible time!)

I do think this will be best...although she was quite contented as an only cat as long as I was home all the time. She loves summer and weekends! During the school year, she gets lonely. Now that we're in a new flat and she can't even birdwatch, she was really depressed.

We had playing today...of a sort. So I'm feeling better about things. And, if I'm feeling better, they will feel better.
post #22 of 24
Your babies are both beautiful! I do hope your queen Beazy takes comfort in feline company, and not just yours. Its scary to hear that her liver shut down when you were gone I hope that never happens again now that the kitten is here.

I always think that 2 kittens together are better than one... Especially when they are very young and have tons of energy to burn. No one can entertain them as much as another of their own kind
post #23 of 24
what gorgeous girls you have!

i agree with all the advice/support you have been given here. the fact that they have touched noses is a really good sign and you are clearly in tune with beazy.

i have had problems in the past, my dear rb boy janet, did not get on with tabitha at all. or rather he would grab the opportunity to chase her if he could. for 5 years the 2 lived sometimes uncomfortably alongside eachother. it was suggested by a friend that i rehome janet. no way. i just had to work a bit harder to keep the peace.

as you can see in my siggy though, tabitha has a much better relationship with milo and shinobi. milo will push his luck occasionally (janet was his mentor for 8 months after all ) but generally things are good between them.

i think it'll be fine with your beautiful torties.

good luck with all that tortie-tude though!
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tab View Post

good luck with all that tortie-tude though!
LOL! Thanks. I certainly need it. I try to remember that the 'tude keeps life interesting.
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