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So bad I'm considering rehoming.....

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
For anyone who hasn't seen my other posts, about a month ago I brought home a 10 week old kitten and have been introducing her to my beloved 2 year old tabby, Kaylee. By this point my husband and I have tried every trick in the book and then some - you name it!

Both cats are completely happy when they're alone. We've had them eating side-by-side for a while now with no problems. When they're both tired, they can sleep in the same room for hours, even within a couple feet of each other. I know these are all good signs, but that's where it ends. Every other waking minute of every day other than the situations described above, they are fighting. Nearly constant chasing accompanied by hissing, growling, screaming, swatting, pinning...I haven't seen any actual biting yet but it's hard to see exactly what's going on, just the horrible cat fight noises and then we use a loud noise to break them up and give them time apart.

Despite Kaylee giving pretty obvious instructions that she does not want the kitten anywhere near her, the kitten won't give up. She's almost constantly trying to pounce whenever Kaylee's back is turned. This is usually what starts the fights. If the little one actually gets the hint and goes off to play on her own, Kaylee will watch for a while and then eventually she'll be the one pouncing and starting a brawl.

I am at my wits' end! It's getting very difficult to do anything else in our lives right now because we're constantly either shifting their stuff around to keep them apart while still giving them both plenty of attention, or breaking up cat fights. It's really starting to feel like it's not fair to either one of them to keep trying to work this out. Sure, maybe someday they'll be able to ignore each other for the most part, but is it really worth what they're both going through right now? I'm starting to think about finding a good home for the kitten. She's absolutely adorable and tons of fun, so I don't think it would be a problem finding someone good to take her. I even imagine she'd be fine with other cats...just not this one.

The thought of this absolutely breaks my heart, but I just want to give them both the best lives they can have.....

The only thing we haven't tried yet that our vet suggested is giving Kaylee an anti-anxiety medication to help her feel more comfortable around the kitten. I'm not sure that would help though, as the kitten would surely keep pouncing on her and no amount of drugs is going to make her be okay with that.
post #2 of 24
By any chance have you tried Feliway yet?
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yep, we've had a diffuser for a couple of weeks now and it doesn't seem to make a difference....other than whenever the kitten gets near the diffuser she gets scared, postures, and sidesteps away from it.
post #4 of 24
I brought a cat in that was hanging around my house in with my other cats and he was a complete live wire he would chase all of my other cats. He was so bad he would run on 3 legs and left the 4th paw up for swatting the other cats as he went by them. They had high perches so they could get out of his way, I wasn't sure if he was going to calm down either but eventually he did. It took a couple of months. I also had him neutered, that helped a little. But unfortunately its time that is really the problem solver, and your little one is such a baby yet. Good luck.
post #5 of 24
Did you do a slow introduction? I had to go very very very slow when we introduced Lola. Stimpy was not amused by the new addition AT ALL. It was so bad that when I did scent swapping with socks (rub a sock on the new kitty, put it with the resident kitties) that Stimpy actually hissed at the sock. We did scent swaps, room swaps, let them peek through a crack in the door at each other. They could smell each other under the door too. Nabu took to Lola almost right away, but not Stimpy. We did a very slow process and they get along now. Lola even gets them all playing, and I think she makes them feel young again.

Here's a good article I used:
http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/4...cing-Cats.html

I also used Pam Johnson-Bennett's method of introducing as described in her book Think Like a Cat, combined with a little bit of other methods I've read online.
post #6 of 24
A month is about when I can start to introduce the new kitty into my household, I have to keep them locked up & switch scents for that long. I'd consider starting again with a re-introduction.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
We took it pretty slow slow, lots of scent swapping, eating on either side of the door, etc. for the first couple weeks, then short supervised visits - which is where we've been stuck for about 2 weeks. The resident cat hissed a LOT at the scent at first, but now she doesn't seem bothered by it at all. They're both perfectly fine until they get close to one another, then all hell breaks loose.

At this point it just feels unfair to the kitten to keep her locked up all the time, and unfair to the resident cat to let the kitten out at all. We want them to both be well loved and taken care of....I just can't help but wonder if the kitten would have a better life someplace where she didn't have to deal with a territorial cat, and I'm quite sure by this point that the resident cat would be happier alone.
post #8 of 24
Are they fighting because they hate each other or is it just the kitten wants to play, older cat gets irritated, and that’s what starts the fight? If that’s the case cant you just keep the cat occupied when she gets obnoxious, distract the kitten and play with her until she doesn’t want to play anymore?

We have a totally different story, but same concept. When Bugsy gets into a certain mood we have to distract him to stop stresses in the house. Sure, it takes effort and time but our house is peaceful now.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
I would think that it's just that the kitten wants to play...but the 'older' cat is only 2, and she's a complete ball of energy, so she wants to play too - just not with the kitten. We can't play with them both in the same room because the older cat wants all the toys for herself, and hisses and swats the kitten if she tries to get in on the action. If we're playing with the kitten, the older cat comes in to 'take over'.

Neither of them seems to be particularly scared or stressed about the situation in general, which I guess is a good thing....but it's like they're both always looking for the first opening to attack the other. I haven't seen either one of them puff up their tails, but the kitten will sometimes do the 'Halloween Cat' posture (back arched as if on her tiptoes, tail curved up pointing down) if she gets a good warning hiss. Otherwise the kitten is doing a lot of submissive behavior, getting low to the ground or rolling over on her back.
post #10 of 24
I know with my cats that Halloween look with the back arched and on their tip toes they usually start trotting sideways and that with mine means they want to play fight with one of my other cats. I know with mine also, they can sound and look like they really mean to fight but it sounds a lot worse then it is.
post #11 of 24
I wonder if your older cat is just confused about what is normal kitty behavior. If she's been alone for 2 years, maybe she doesn't know how to interact with the kitten?
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27 View Post
I wonder if your older cat is just confused about what is normal kitty behavior. If she's been alone for 2 years, maybe she doesn't know how to interact with the kitten?
I guess that could be, though I'm not sure if there's any info on something like that? She's a rather unusual cat - my husband and I have always joked that she's not a very good cat and would probably make a better dog. We adopted her when she was 7 months old and she had been a stray before that. I'm guessing she was separated from her mother too young and has never spent much time around other cats.

She's actually quite well trained in other areas - she'll sit on command, and generally we can get her to stop doing anything bad just by giving her a verbal warning. She's incredibly social with people and is never voluntarily out of our sight unless she's using the litter box or eating...which is another thing that makes keeping them separated so hard. If my husband and I are in the same room with the kitten, she'll BEG to come in, even though she knows the kitten is in there. After a brawl she still won't want to leave the room unless one of us leaves with her. I think she just wants the kitten to disappear so her life can get back to normal.

As an aside, I don't think we'll be seriously considering rehoming for a while yet. Apparently my hubby would sooner cut off his own arm than give away the kitten - he's determined to make it work. So I guess we'll just keep at it....
post #13 of 24
I know its not an easy situation. But in the end given time it does work out. I started out with 2 a brother and sister they are 11 years old now and when they were 6 years old there was a cat that had a litter of kittens in my back yard, I kept 2 of them. Eventually they adjusted to each other, then another cat had a litter in my yard 4 kittens, I tried to find homes but couldn't, and a shelter was not an option, They also managed after a while to live together. Then I got Charlie, he was the wild one at that time. Now occasionally there will be a little hissing and swatting at each other but for the most part everyone seems happy. Good luck. I'm sure in time it will work out.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement...I really do hope that later on I can be one of those giving the advice that "it takes time..."

Anyway, thought I'd share a picture for anyone who's interested. They're perfectly happy eating near each other...

post #15 of 24
I think in time it will work out. I reached a point last fall where I was thinking "What am I doing?" when we were integrating Lola. Now she gets along great with the guys. Just the occasional hiss when she pushes Nabu too far. They will sleep together now and don't care if they are eating near each other. I did have to rearrange litter boxes because she was a little too rambunctious while Nabu was in the box.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mochapenguin View Post
I guess that could be, though I'm not sure if there's any info on something like that? She's a rather unusual cat - my husband and I have always joked that she's not a very good cat and would probably make a better dog. We adopted her when she was 7 months old and she had been a stray before that. I'm guessing she was separated from her mother too young and has never spent much time around other cats.
If she was taken away from Mom too young, she probably doesn't know how to behave with another cat. That's what her behavior sounds like when she runs up to play with the kitten. It sounds like part of her wants to play, but another part of her is afraid. My guess is that as the kitten calms down they will learn to live peacefully.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27 View Post
It sounds like part of her wants to play, but another part of her is afraid.
That's exactly what it looks like too. She's exhibiting a lot of her 'play' behaviors, but once they actually come in contact she freaks out. It's like the kitten is a toy that fights back.
post #18 of 24
What little cuties. They're little Angels when food is around. I'm sure in time its going to work out. Keep us updated on how its going.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mochapenguin View Post
That's exactly what it looks like too. She's exhibiting a lot of her 'play' behaviors, but once they actually come in contact she freaks out. It's like the kitten is a toy that fights back.
She's probably not sure what to do with this toy that fights back. I remember when I brought Isaac home I was worried Jordan would not accept him, but then Jordan was watching him play & it was like a light bulb went on "I can play with that." For the most part they have been friends ever since.
post #20 of 24
I can relate to the situation you are in. In fact we were in this situation not that long back. We have Ping that we rescued when he was a baby. The when he was 7 mths old we brought another kitten into the house. The became fast friends. 2 years after (roughly) we brought the second cat in (her name was Pong and she was a young kitten when we brought her it) passed away.

After a few weeks it became unbearable for me to only have 1 cat in the house and a friend told me about a 12 week old kitten that needed a home. I went and got her and everything seemed. Ping was now 3 years old and not as playful as he used to be and things went sour quickly between those 2 (Ping and new cat Tiny).

Ping was sprouting grey hair that he never had before. They were fighting, Tiny was bulling him, he was not eatting much, one was peeing everywhere in the house. I was to the point of almost rehoming her. I felt horrible about just thinking that.

AS a last ditch effort to not have to rehome her I went and got another young kitten as a playmate for Tiny. That was the bet thing I could have done. Tiny and Yang (the new guy) bonded pretty quickly. Ping and Tiny no longer fight, Ping eats and no longer hides, and the peeing everywhere stopped.

Have you thought about bringing in another kitten for the young one?
post #21 of 24
I would just keep giving them a LOT of separate-rooms time, so that the older cat feels like she has control. Kittens can be really annoying to older cats; the older one can even end up sleep-deprived. (For some reason, kittens never seem to need to sleep!) I'd worry less about them getting along right now, and just keep each of them comfortable in their own space. And I wouldn't go out for the day and leave them in the same room.

I've known several cases where owners bring home a puppy or kitten and the older animal can't stand them, but then they become pals when the baby gets older and calms down.

Also what about getting a small cat cage so the kitten can be in the room with you and your husband along with Kaylee, without the kitten pouncing on her constantly. Just put a lot of toys in it. Maybe it will help them learn to be in the same room without fighting? They can play with their paws through the cage if they want to.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
The thought had crossed my mind about getting another kitten, but I'm just not sure we would enjoy having 3 cats and the financial responsibility is a bit much with the economy right now...so I don't think that's probably an option...but it might be better than rehoming, if it comes to that. Thanks for the suggestion.

As for a cat cage, we did go out and buy a large dog kennel/cage for just that reason. Kaylee is generally pretty comfortable with this setup, but she will go over and hiss/growl at the cage from time to time. Currently we actually have the kitten sleeping in the kennel in our room at night (with food, water, bed, litter, and toys of course!) and that works out well. The kennel is set up on my husband's side of the bed and Kaylee has no problem sleeping in her usual spot on my side.

Yesterday evening they spent quite a bit of time together without too many incidents...they even seemed to do some regular old playing together (lots of chasing/stalking without much hissing), although it did eventually break down to a brawl after the older one was unexpectedly pounced on.

I think the biggest problem at the moment is that the kitten insists on trying to pounce on the Kaylee whenever she lets her guard down. I think she's finally starting to learn that if the older cat has already put the smack down on her that she should avoid contact for a few minutes. So maybe they will 'work it out' on their own over time....
post #23 of 24
Sounds like things are improving slowly & I'm sure both kitties will learn their place in the house and the baby will learn that the older cat doesn't enjoy being pounced on all the time.
post #24 of 24
It took my girls 2 years to be able to truly cohabitate in harmony. Much of what you described is what went on in my house, except my older, resident cat was about 9 at the time the new cat came in, who was 7 mos old. We couldn't play with them in the same room, so both DH & I played with one kitty in different rooms. We had to feed them in separate rooms, and still have to supervise feeding so the younger cat won't scarf down her food as well as our older cat's food. We kept old towels laying around everywhere in our house so we could redirect the new kitty whenever things got a bit too intense for our older girl by holding the towel between the two of them, then gradually moving the towel and the kitty into a different area of the room. We figured out that the new kitty played too rough for our older kitty.

Now, they'll share sleeping space and play together well. There is still hissing and stuff, but it's more "bark" than bite. We still occasionally have to redirect our younger kitty, but all in all, it's a peaceful household. However, I won't get another kitty until our older cat passes away as it's just too stressful for her.

So, give it time, and relax as they will pick up on your stress.
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