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maybe getting my first cat a playmate was an awful idea...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
someone, please help me!

i live in a studio apartment, so there is only one room. the bathroom has a beaded doorway (not my choice), so i can't even close the door in there. now, here's the problem:

i am a pre-med student in college. because of the nature of my studies, i am at school A LOT, and i have a five month old kitten. she is my favorite thing, my baby, and she and i have been together since she was two months old, just the two of us. recently, i decided to get another kitten, a little boy-- because that's what all the articles say works best with a female. he is only two months old, so she is twice his size, maybe bigger. he isn't violent at all, when i brought him home and first introduced them, he tried to curl right up with her, and all she could do is hiss and puff her hair out. it is now three and a half days later, and if anything, she has gotten more cruel to him. she will stalk him around the room- every move he makes, she follows him, and then as soon as he's focused on something else, she attacks him and makes him yelp in pain, until i get involved and shoo her off of him. i know in a few months he'll be able to hold his own, and he'll eventually be bigger than her, but i can't help wanting to strangle my precious little girl for being such a BITCH.

i have tried everything to keep him safe and make her comfortable. because i don't have a second room, i couldn't do what everyone suggests- put him in a room, let her get comfortable with him through his scent in that room, etc, i had to just let him out in my apartment and have them meet that way. his only safe place, besides in my arms, is a dog crate, which is obviously very large, that i put him in at night. he sleeps in there so she can't hurt him. he has food and water in there, but no litter box, and being a good little boy, he waits until i take him out of the box in the morning to use the litter box.

she has even become violent towards me, as if i have betrayed her. she no longer purrs when i touch her, wiggles out of my arms as quickly as possible, and i feel like we lost one of our special bonds- she used to sleep on me every single night, right up on my neck, and stay there all night, and wake me up by purring loudly. about twenty minutes ago, she and i were playing, and then the little boy pranced into view and she immediately turned nasty- i held her close to me, trying to give her love and attention, and she was growling and hissing at ME, not at him. she tried several times to sink her claws into me, and finally bit me.

she has never acted like this before, and i know it's uncomfortable for her to have a new baby in the house, but i've done everything i can think of. he has his own space to sleep at night so she can just prowl the apartment by herself, i bought him his own toys and food dish, so he's not taking over all of her things, and i try my best to give her attention when i'm not at school- she's just not willing to even be close to me anymore.

i really want to keep the new little boy, i have grown attached to him in the last few days, and i have nowhere to give him- plus, i don't think i should reward her behavior by removing the innocent kitten. but getting rid of my little girl is not an option, she has been my baby for the past three months and i love her more than any other pet i've ever had, she's like my child. it hurts me so much that she's been acting like this, especially being cold to me. i don't know what to do.

i have tried yelling when they fight, seperating them, putting him in his box, spraying them with a water bottle. i feel like if i let her just bully him like this, since he is only eight weeks old, she will end up killing him, or hurting him so much that he is emotionally ruined as a pet. i need advice, and i need a solution that involves me keeping both of the kittens.
post #2 of 26
We are in similar situations, except for I'm not in college anymore, but I'll be in law school in just a few months.

My first cat is 4 months old, female - Ally. The new cat is 3 months old, male - Ollie. Ollie has been in the house for a week and a half, but the two of them have been in the same room for 3 days or so and just when I thought things were getting better, as of an hour ago, it's been nothing but real fighting... violent fighting. I'm hoping that just monitoring them and breaking up their fights for the moment will be ok, and that with some more time they'll learn to get along.

Ollie isn't violent at all. Ally wasn't either.... but now with Ollie she is also - a BITCH! - just like you are describing. She seems p/o'd at me, and doesn't seem to want to be held unless I pick her up while she's asleep and then she'll purr and let me pet her.

I have no suggestions for you other than what's been told to me - and that's for us to just wait and hope that it works out.

Seriously though - it's funny just how similar our situations are. They are living in the bedroom of a house right now with me, but we'll all be moving to an apartment shortly, hopefully after they learn to love each other.

ETA: I've found that clapping and yelling loudly when they fight breaks fights up.
post #3 of 26
It takes time for them to work out their little pecking orders.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
lawguy, you are so right. as you were posting your comment on my problem, i had stumbled across your post and was reading all the comments hoping to find something that works. last night, they both ate side by side, and then shared treats side by side. right now, they're both sleeping on the bed, the new little boy under my legs and skunk (my little girl) sleeping at the foot of the bed. i keep getting hopeful things like this mean that they're going to start getting along, but every time i let myself think that way, skunk pulls some crap and starts being mean again. it's so frustrating!

if anyone gives me any advice i haven't seen you already get i'll be sure to let you know. and good luck, too!
post #5 of 26
My advice is to only separate or distract one of them if a fight starts (even if that means throwing a towel over one so you don't get scratched). Reward them lavishly when they're 'good', try feeding them in close proximity to each other, but don't punish either one. Cats react better to positive reinforcement, honestly. Keep telling the first cat that she's number one - make sure her food is down first, etc etc - she needs to know that she's not being displaced.

Believe me, I've been there - it's a horrible feeling watching the babies 'fight', but in most cases it'll be fine. Don't forget, stalking and pouncing each other is one way kittens actually learn hunting techniques.

I was on the phone to my shelter every day when I adopted my boy, the second cat - I was so sure things were just not working out. Within a week, they'd sit on the loveseat next to each other staring out the window - we'd all sleep on the same bed together - and they did begin grooming each other about a month down the road.
post #6 of 26
it's going to take longer than a couple days for them to get used to eachother, up to a couple weeks, so you aren't doing anything wrong. Your babys aggression towards you is just misplaced, try not to take it personally (I know, almost impossible). I don't have a lot of advice, I've never been through it personally, just know a lot of people that have, and it's always taken time. Just make sure to keep a close eye on him physically and make sure she doesn't actually hurt him (bite punctures on feet etc. can be nasty)

Do you even have a bathroom you can maybe put the boy in during the day while you're away (with a litter box) and then just keep them together while you're home? Just an idea. There is always the trick of putting a bit of vanilla on both their scruffs so they atleast smell similar....

Goodluck!! I'm sure it'll eventually work out!
post #7 of 26
The solution: you must chill out. This is just how cat socialization works- they are going to work out their differences and, in time, will develop levels of tolerance if not a close relationship. The more personally you take her reactions and the more frustrated you become, the more tension you are creating. It doesn't matter whether you verbalize these feelings or not, they will simply sense and feel them too.

If she doesn't want you to touch her, then don't. She wants her space because she needs it. If you're worried about her injuring him, then clip her claws or keep using that crate. There are plently of small litter pans you can buy or you can even improvise using old tupperware. The best way to break up fights at home is to use something a soft pillow to toss or, in my lazy case, a spray bottle to squirt them from wherever I was sitting.

Now that you've experienced them being together without major scuffles, of all things, don't project that her intentions are cruel - because they aren't. It sounds to me like she's currently not the smartest when it comes to playing (being too rough). So when she starts to play fight (which can look very violent) and he's startled because of her former actions, I can understand his yelping. That confusion alone can trigger a fight, but it has nothing to do with being a b*tch or not. As they get to know each other and learn how to play, there will be plenty of vocalizing, so you'll need to learn at the same time what sounds mean what by observing them. Anyone who sees my cats play fight are convinced they are trying to murder each other. Usually if they start to 'chatter' during play, it means that someone is really p*ssed off and ready to kick some tail.
post #8 of 26
It's a very hard thing to DO, but easy to say - just give it time. They're young enough, they'll work it out. And if Skunk seems mad at you, don't force love on her. The BEST way to diffuse "stress" is with play. If you're right-handed, it's awkward at first to use two wand toys, but it is possible.

One thing you really should do is have at least two litter boxes. I know it's a studio, and likely they'll both use both boxes, but it still helps diffuse tension to give them a choice.

...and PLEASE get rid of the water bottle! They learn to associte it with you, not necessarily the behavior. It is best to break up fights with a loud noise. And to train them not to do something (like biting you) the best way to teach them "no" is with a short, sharp puff of air to the face and saying "NO" firmly. They'll learn the meaning of the word. They won't always listen - but that puff of air in the face is definitely language they understand.

Laurie
post #9 of 26
Another thought - I know it's hard in a small apartment, and on a student budget, but if there's some way you can provide vertical space for them, that will be great. If you're handy or know someone, you can find cat tree plans on the net - but even the top of a chair or couch can provide a little extra breathing room.

It'll be ok - I remember crying my first week, but I wasn't helping the situation by being so tense myself.
post #10 of 26
Being in the same situation, I know how hard it is to chill out.... that's why I really haven't totally yet.

I did get tired of them fighting over the litter box though, so I cleaned out the litter box and replaced it with Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat.

I'm thinking, if they can't smell their own urine or excrement, then it's not "theirs" and therefore no more fighting over it.

So far, nobody has used it yet, and if they start going on the rug, I'll have to provide a small box with the old litter until they get used to it.
post #11 of 26
Usually with litter you sort of gradually introduce the new stuff (the bag normally has instructions) - like 10-15% the first week, double that the next week, and so on (yeah, like introducing new dry food). With the Cat Attract, I just set up a box with it, as well as a box with the old stuff. Cat Attract won.

With adults, the conventional wisdom is one box per cat, plus one, spaced out as much as possible. I so hoped to use just one box; I've got three now.

What do you mean they're fighting over the litter box - not letting the other one use it?

Some cats will absolutely not use a box that another cat used - until you clean it. Others really want separate boxes for #1 and #2. Some love covered boxes, but most seem to enjoy open boxes. Some really want open space all around the box, so they can see if anyone is sneaking up on them.
post #12 of 26
What are your kittens' names? Do you have pictures?

Since you don't have room to separate them, try to make them smell like each other. Rub a towel all over one, then rub it on the other. Then reverse the process. Put a dab of vanilla at the base of their tails. You could try a Feliway diffuser, but those are pretty expensive, especially on a student budget.

Is the dog cage large enough for you to put a small litter pan in one end? If you need to leave the boy in the cage while you're at school he really should have a litter pan available.

Give it more time. They'll work things out on their own. Of course, it could be harder on your nerves than theirs while they're figuring out the hierarchy.
post #13 of 26
Hi,

I agree with Laurie/LDG, give it some more time. Your cats are both very young so its very likely that they'll be the best of friends once they've got over their initial fighting.

So don't give up too fast. 3 1/2 days isn't very long!

If they can eat side by side and sleep on the same bed things are going well and can only improve!

As Laurie said- try playing with both at the same time with two toys in your hands.

Maybe a feliway diffuser would help your cats settle in with each other:

http://www.feliway.com/gb

In the long run you've done the right thing by getting your little girl a friend to play with- you're going through a rough patch now but this hopefully shouldn't last too long.

If she's playing too rough he'll let her know and sooner or later she'll have learned whats OK and fun and what is going too far.

Christine
post #14 of 26
Quote:
What do you mean they're fighting over the litter box - not letting the other one use it?
If Ally is using it and Ollie comes around the corner into the bathroom, he instantly rushes her. The same occurs the other way around.
post #15 of 26
In that case, one open litter box and one closed litter box might be a good idea.

Laurie
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawGuy View Post
If Ally is using it and Ollie comes around the corner into the bathroom, he instantly rushes her. The same occurs the other way around.


Hi,

get at least one more litter box so that Olli can't guard both at the same time and put them in opposite directions.

Both should be without a hood at the moment because Ally can't see Olli rushing her that well if the box is hudded- so she might avoid using a hooded box all together.


Christine
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
first of all i want to thank everyone so much for all of the advice i've gotten, i didn't know a lot of the stuff you guys told me. since i posted this, i took the advice of chilling out, and i really think that helped the most. i watched more carefully, and i saw the little boy, who i have decided to name Milo, sneaking up on Skunk (my little girl) and pouncing on her, and then when she was playing with him, he cried out, but since it was his own fault for starting with her while she was sleeping, i didn't do anything. since then, they have been sleeping on my bed, not together, but on the same bed. Skunk has calmed down and has returned to sleeping on top of me rather than what she's been doing the past few days- sleeping on the foot of the bed. they're currently running around the room chasing each other and making some funny noises, but both of them seem happy and playful. she still gets annoyed with him, when she was on my lap earlier and he came sniffing around she hissed at him and growled, but that's the extent of it since i posted. so maybe, just maybe, they're going to end up good friends after all. i probably should have given it more time before i posted but i was at my wits end- all of you who have been through this know what i'm talking about, i was going mad watching them act so badly.

and goldycat, i only have one picture from earlier yesterday when they were both near each other, and it's a crappy camera phone pic, but-



skunk is the black/white tuxedo, and milo is the buff little baby. he had allergies so his eye was really watery in this picture, but thanks to the vet it's all cleared up.
post #18 of 26
They're adorable!

And... I'm glad you posted, because it helped you learn about the situation and it has helped you calm down about the situation. It's normal when they can't be separated for a slower introduction. And even then, there's always a certain amount of posturing.

It can also be REALLY hard to tell the difference between playing and fighting, and that's just something you learn with time - but one that we've all freaked out about at some point.

Laurie
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 


since they are now calm and comfortable being this close to each other, i consider everything a success!

i only have one more question, pertaining to litter boxes. right now, i just have one large open box, and they are both using it and having no problems. skunk followed milo to the box the first night he was here and kind of just watched him, but that night she followed him everywhere so i don't know if it matters. since then they've both been using it like normally, neither of them have ever had an accident, and i clean it every day, sometimes twice a day so nothing accumulates. is it really important that i get a second litter box? i will do whatever is best for the animals, but since my studio could be likened to a dorm room in size/space one litter box is easier.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by frealsyo View Post


since they are now calm and comfortable being this close to each other, i consider everything a success!

i only have one more question, pertaining to litter boxes. right now, i just have one large open box, and they are both using it and having no problems. skunk followed milo to the box the first night he was here and kind of just watched him, but that night she followed him everywhere so i don't know if it matters. since then they've both been using it like normally, neither of them have ever had an accident, and i clean it every day, sometimes twice a day so nothing accumulates. is it really important that i get a second litter box? i will do whatever is best for the animals, but since my studio could be likened to a dorm room in size/space one litter box is easier.
If they are not having a problem with it, I wouldn't worry about changing it... Just make sure to clean it often.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by frealsyo View Post


.
My cats are "bonded" and have lived together their entire lives and they won't even interact that close~!!!! (and I live in a an apartment not a house) You're doing a GREAT job!
post #22 of 26
Aw I really feel for you and LawGuy going through this anxiety. I'm glad it's working out now!

Now I really want to get a 2nd kitty!
post #23 of 26
Oh my goodness.. could they be any more adorable?! It looks like Milo has a faint stripe pattern in the second pic.. just gorgeous!

I'm so glad you are feeling more positive about their relationship! The fact that they are able to be that close to each other without being in a war is awesome! It's totally normal to get stressed the first time though. I went waaay more overboard during my first kitty introductions that I was constantly in tears and calling those I adopted them from. "I ruined everything blah blah, they hate me yadda yadda yadda, blah apocalypse blah wahhh!" Until one day when they suddenly cuddled together, fell asleep and, in turn, even reduced my cell phone bill!

It's obvious that you want the absolute best for them and love them very much. There are plenty of people - totally unlike yourself - who give up when it seems tough or impossible, but here you are sticking by your furbabies and giving them the greatest home! They are so lucky to have you!
post #24 of 26
Oh, they are beautiful! Believe me, I was much worse when I brought my second cat in - to this day I will shop constantly at Petsmart because the managers there spent so much time answering my hysterical questions during the introduction.

And, yeah, I was convinced my little girl was being mean to new boy, til I saw them both taking turns whapping at each other. Don't worry too much if you see just 'puffy tails' - that can be a sign of excitement during play. If hair is up all over (like a Halloween cat) - someone is more seriously upset.

Re the box - try with just one, but if anyone has an accident, just be prepared to scoot out for another box. I would so love it if mine would share one box, but it was not meant to be.
post #25 of 26
I agree, if they're not having a problem with it and you keep it clean, I wouldn't worry. We live in an RV and have seven cats using three boxes. The minimum we scoop is twice a day - we just clean them often and make sure to have a lot of litter in them. At least you know what to do if there ever is a problem.

They are SO adorable! And they look and sound like they're doing just great. They ARE lucky to have such a great home!

Laurie
post #26 of 26
I have 3 cats in a studio and they are okay using one box. I clean it two-three times a day. They peepee alot.

Sounds like they are becoming fast friends. Thats so awesome! They are super cute.

Don't worry too much about the yelling while paying. It can sound worse than it is. Is he neutered yet? Make sure if not that you get it done sooner than later. It can develop issues with spraying and stuff. Also, make sure she is spayed also. You don't want a cat in heat...not fun.
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