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Seeing vs Smelling/Sensing

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
So we're about 3 weeks in to introducing a new kitten (Zoe) to our 2 year old resident (Kaylee). Doing lots of supervised time together now.

Something odd I've noticed...Kaylee seems happy as a clam when they're in the same room, until she actually sees Zoe. They can be sleeping on the couch two feet apart and they're fine. But if Kaylee happens to look over and see Zoe she'll hiss and growl. She seems to have no idea as to the whereabouts of the kitten without actual visual contact. If Zoe leaves her field of vision, Kaylee acts like she's not even in the room anymore. Then she'll catch a glimpse of her and start the hissing all over again. If the kitten gets to close for comfort, she'll freak, swat her a few times with a loud growl/hiss and then run off. But I swear they could be an inch apart with no problems until Kaylee actually sees her.

Shouldn't cats be more aware of their surroundings? Couldn't she smell the kitten from a few inches away and know she's there? I would just assume she'd be smarter than to think that the kitten had actually left the room just because she's not looking at her...
post #2 of 2
Likely your kitten has picked up the smells of your own house and Kaylee isn't bothered by the scent. Not reacting until she sees her is actually a good thing as it means that she's not obsessing over the new kitten and hunting for her at every turn. She's letting her guard down!

Visual contact with cats is a very important part of their communication. A cat staring at you can mean everything from "come here" to "go away" and "I'm going to eat you." It's not so surprising that Kaylee reacts to Zoe when she sees her. Think of it more as a predator (they're excellent little predators) response to a visual stimulus rather than a prey response to environmental awareness. She knows the kitten is there when she isn't looking at her. She just isn't "provoked" by the scent.
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