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Big Kitten VS Deaf Kitten Situation

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm in a desperate need of advices and suggestions to have both of my kittens to get along. My first kitty is 5 months old and she's a rescue Ragdoll (maybe a mix) with torbie points. Leto is a very big 8 lbs kitten and she's 3x the size of the new kitty. She's already been spayed. I had her for a month and then I just rescued a deaf 9 weeks old male kitten with white fur and blue eyes named Exodus. I let Leto take a sniff while he's still in the pet carrier for half hour and she was growling with dilated pupils. When she calmed down, I released him and he was sniffing around. Leto was very angry and growled like crazy! Exodus is completely deaf and he can't hear her sounds of threat like growling and hissing so he got attacked all the time! She would get on top of him and bite his neck/face really hard. She stalked, lunged and chased him nonstop. Oddly enough, Exodus isn't afraid of her and always ignores her unless she's threatening him he would flatten his ears and hiss or lay on floor hissing.

I purchased a $50 Feliway diffuser hoping it would help Leto to calm down. She was being calmed down a little and sleeps alot but when Exodus is around she will still stalk and take him down aggressively until he cries loudly with flattened ears. She's really hurting him and luckily she's the only one who is wearing Softpaws claw covers so that prevented him of being scratched. It's been a week and nothing changed. I kept them in different room and let them interact with eachother for half hour unsuccessfully! I think I introduced them in the wrong way and I feel so guilty for getting one more cat. How can I fix this terrible problem? I tried advices on websites and they don't have the same situation as mine because one of the cats is deaf.

Edit- Thank you for these wonderful advices! I will defintely try these methods. I already have a 70" tall cat tree and Leto sat on the highest part for the first time ever. She's defintely displaying her alpha status. I'm moving to a new apt in a few days so my plan is to take Exodus there to settle down for a few days and then come back with Leto and confine her in my room. Maybe this will make her to think it's Exodus' territory so the dispute can be reduced? Is pet behavorist costy because maybe I will consider getting one in a few months if Leto is still tense and bolts out of door to attack other cat.
post #2 of 5
Just start over with the introductions. Here's a link to a thread that gives you a lot of great ideas on how to introduce them all over again:


You do have a twist with the deaf kitten, but you can still use the tips in that thread. I fostered a deaf kitten one time, and what I noticed about him was that he appeared to be completely fearless, but like your Exodus, I realized that he wasn't responding like a normal kitten because he couldn't hear what was going on around him. He walked around my house (with 12 other cats at the time) like he owned the place, and only cowered the one time that my Scarlett showed him who was the boss. His deafness worked to his advantage because he didn't show fear, the rest of my cats ignored him. Scarlett, being the queen of the house (as your Leto probably is), felt compelled to let him know that she ranked above him.

There is a deaf cat forum in yahoo.groups. There are some deaf cat owners on this site that will have other ideas for you, but it you want a group that focuses on deaf cats, you might try there also.
post #3 of 5
Personally, I don't think the situation has anything to do with him being deaf, except he can't hear the warning signs of an impending attack.

Two of our three girls have a problem with EVERY new kitty intro. Spooky takes 6 months to accept a new cat (meaning six months before she stops hissing/attacking them) and a full year before you'll find her grooming the "newbie" or sleeping next to them. Ming Loy "only" takes a few months, but in our experience, the girls are VERY territorial, and time is the main ingredient to making things work. Actually, let me revise that - Spook only takes about 3 - 4 months when the intro is a male.

Starting over with the introductions may help - but they will work it out over time.

Giving each of them a lot of "alone" attention will help - as will giving Leto extra play time.

But having a deaf kitty, my main advice is - create as much vertical space as you can! Flowerbelle - and from what I understand this seems to be a "trait" among deaf cats - likes to be as high up as possible, especially in the corners of the room. My theory is that she can keep an eye on everything going on better, and it is a compensation for not being able to hear. Our Flowerbelle only has one eye and vision in the other one is impaired, but that's neither here nor there.

Vertical space also helps (often) to diffuse alpha/territory disputes, which is what Leto is doing. She is establishing her position as alpha and letting Exodus know it's her territory, and she does NOT like him in it.

This is why I would start over with the intros. Exodus needs to establish a territory that is exclusively his. Hopefully you have a guest room or some room that has a door that can be "his."

If you don't, then focus on scent swapping (after alone time play with Leto, put treats down on some piece of cloth you've rubbed all over Exodus - put a piece of cloth you've rubbed all over Exodus under Leto's food dish, &etc. - the idea is to get her associating stuf she loves with his smell), positive reinforcement (especially treats) (whenever they're near each other and she's not attacking, tell her how good she is and give them both treats, and slowly give them treats closer and closer to each other), and create lots of vertical space.

You can buy or make cat trees. You can use large plastic containers - stack them in a pyramid. Cut out holes, so they can go through them and up them as well as climbing up the pyramid sides. Don't know if you're handy or know someone who is, but things like this can be made pretty easily: http://www.katwallks.com/customerphotos.htm We used open-ended book shelves and cut out holes in the shelves to make it easy to get "up" the levels of the shelves... We put a cat tree next to a book shelf so it was easy to get on each level of the shelves. We mounted a cat condo to the top of the shelves with brackets, and they could get to the top shelf easily from the cat tree.

We now live in a small space, and we bought those forming construction tubes (thick, hard cardboard - they sell them at Home Depot) and put those down in hallways - it gives another "passage" so cats can pass through the area without having to physically pass the other kitty. Stuff like that can help, if you don't mind ruining whatever decorating thing you may have going on.... (we also bought carpet remnants and cut long thin strips we then taped down the length of the tube so kitties can get traction running or climbing - we also used the tubes as means for them to get "up" various places).

They may never become best friends, but with a territorial cat, it takes attention on your part to help reinforce in Leto's mind that she's still your #1, to constantly reinforce the positive (rather than focus on the negative), to make sure Exodus has some Leto-free time, and then the rest is just time. She will calm down, and they will work out a truce, and hopefully starting over will help reduce the amount of time that will take. But the main ingredient is just going to be time.

post #4 of 5
Oh - and make sure you have plenty of litter boxes not near each other and easy to access without Exodus being attacked by Leto.

post #5 of 5
I don't have any advice right now that hasn't been given already, but I did want to say that I just went through this situation and it got better fast. Three weeks ago we brought home a deaf cat that is 2-3 years old. We have two other cats that are 3 and 1.5 years old. They were hissing and growling a lot, but the deaf cat appeared completely fearless and oblivious to their warnings. He just wanted to play, and the other cats kept acting like they were being attacked. It took a good week or two, but since then they're all getting along just fine. The deaf cat and the younger cat play all day. The older cat is tolerant of the deaf cat, but he's still busy ensuring that everyone knows he's the boss. Hang in there.
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