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New Kitten/Old Cat... Getting worse

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My cat is 18 years old... 19 in November. The new kitten is 4 months old and we've had him for a little more than a month. He's a feral kitten that I was fostering. I never thought I'd have a problem wtih my older cat, but he hates the kitten. Not only does he growl and hiss, but now he is swatting and attacking... and even had the kitten pinned down. The kitten won't get the hint and still will not leave the cat alone. I feel so bad that the kitten is stressing my cat out. I haven't gotten one of those pheromone things yet, but I read it could take up to a month or so to start working. I'm deathly afraid that my old cat will either end up resenting me (he won't even come in my room anymore) or die (he has extremely high blood pressure).

Another problem... the kitten used to be more cuddly and now he seems like this crazy little thing. He used to sleep in bed with me when I first got him, that's what made me fall in love with him. I know kittens like to play, but the past week or two, he has been different- wild and crazy. I'm afraid to introduce him to the rabbits and guinea pigs, because he smelled them on me and was rubbing his face on my hand and biting me. Do you think he'll attack the smaller animals?

I honestly don't know what to do. I love the kitten but obviously my other pets come first. I have been feeling extremely guilty the past few days knowing my old cat is getting more angry. I know that they will get used to each other in time... but what if I don't have time? I don't want my cat live the last few months/years of his life angry and stressed out. But, I also don't want to give up this kitten. I hate those people who adopt animals and then need to give them up. I don't want to be that person. Help, please!
post #2 of 13
I'm no expert, but have you tried using the integration procedures that can be found under "Cat Behavior" on this site? They can be very helpful.

We are currently trying to integrate 2 6-month old kittens into a household with a 14 year old male and a 9 year old female, and it's been almost 7 weeks now and they are just beginning to tolerate each other. We just started short supervised visits this week! Previously the kittens have been in a safe room and we have been doing blanket swapping, room swapping, feeding on opposite sides of the doors, etc. until most of the hostility calmed down.

Now with the short supervised visits, we feed them at the same time, although the adults are about 6 feet away from the kittens, but this makes the time together enjoyable. Then we are only allowing interaction while things are on good terms. Once we see the adults starting to get upset, we either re-direct the kittens attention to something else with toys, or remove them back to their safe room.

With a kitten, I'm sure he wants to play with the "old guy", and I'm sure your "old guy" wants to rest, so you're going to have to be his playmate until he grows out of the playing all the time stage.

As do why your kitty is not so loving, etc., I think he may now be in his "terrible two's", and also teething? I"ll have to leave that to others on this site to offer up an opinion, but I'm guessing kittens go thru stages just like kids. (I got my kittens when they were 4 months, and they are definitely going thru stages...right now one is in a VERY loving and needy stage. The other not so much)

Good luck with the integration, and keep up posted
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I wasn't planning on keeping the kitten, so I didn't do the integration process. Then after the kitten was comfortable with the house, that's when I decided to keep hiim. And now that he has the run of the house, for several weeks now, I don't have the heart to lock him up and start over. So that idea is out the window.

I guess I'm more worried about him bothering my old cat and the kitten eating my other smaller pets. lol. I can deal with the kitten's crazy behavior. But even when you try to play with the kitten, he's still going after the cat. It's crazy. I guess I'm just a little stressed out and upset that my older cat is miserable.

Thank you for the reply though!
post #4 of 13
I feel bad, too, when it's time to lock my kittens back into their "safe room", but I do it because it's for their own safety, and to try to keep peace in the house and eventually have a happy home with 4 cats. At 6 months old now, my kittens are getting pretty big, but I put 2 cat trees in their room, plus 2 litter boxes, scads of toys, etc. These kittens have had the run of the house on occasion, when we have done room swapping, and now on their short supervised visits, so they know what they are missing!

BUT, if you don't want to try that, then maybe his just growing older will do the trick...at least he'll probably be able to hold his own against the other cat.

I'm hoping some other, wiser cat person will give you some advice!!
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you again for the reply. I just feel bad for the older cat being stressed out. He's my number one priority. I'm wondering if I should use a squirt water bottle on the kitten when he's bothering my old guy. I'd feel bad doing that though. I don't know. I'm sure everything will work out, but I'm just feeling a little guilty for doing this to my older cat. My older cat has been going outside to lay under the bushes (we have a fenced in backyard and he can't get out so he's safe). So he's been going outside to get away from the kitten. But once it starts getting colder, I don't know what he'll do. I'm hoping by winter the kitten will be less crazy.
post #6 of 13
No, don't use the squirt bottle. I introduced a kitten to a 12-year old cat last year.....she didn't like the idea one little bit. In fact, this was the third time I've introduced kittens to resident cats....and believe me....they don't like it one little bit...at first.

Your kitten wants to play....the old fellow doesn't....it's that simple. You be the playmate for the kitten.

If you feel that the old fellow might be a threat to the kitten, then put one of them in a secure area when out of the home. A room with the door closed is good enough.

In time, the old fellow will adjust and accept the kitten. Trust me...I've been through this alot.

Good Luck!!
post #7 of 13
Go ahead and get the Feliway plug in diffusers, they will help.

I understand your concern for your elderly boy, as stress can bring on illness. The Feliway will help with stress and territorial feelings.

In addition you can use Rescue Remedy to help reduce stress too.

As for the kitten's extra high jinks, I think that just means he's feeling at home now, so he's letting it all out, so to speak.

Rubbing a towel on resident cat, then kitten and putting the towel under resident cat's food dishes will help him associate the smell of the kitten with good things.

And has been already said, you are the one who will have to play with the kitten. I'm not saying that you were, but for informational purposes, don't let kitten harass the old boy. He was there first, and has seniority and should have. Kitten must learn to respect his elders.
post #8 of 13
We have much of the same situation in our home. Our kitten has been here about 3 weeks, and our 6 yr. old is not impressed. Dusty, the older one will hiss and swipe at Squeak if Squeak gets too close or threatens to play with her. I have noticed that Dusty is becoming more tolerant. I have hope that they will eventually get along. Dusty isn't bothered by the smell of Squeak, but she will become aggressive if Squeak gets too close. Poor Squeak really wants to play!

I've been told that it may take up to a year. I'm patient.
post #9 of 13
We went through this a few years ago when we adopted a 7 month old kitten. Our resident cat was NOT happy about that decision!! It took more than a YEAR for our older cat to calm down back to her pre-newbie cat state and then it took her another year to truly come back out of her shell. We have since decided that due to the stress of having a new cat in the house, we cannot get another cat until our older cat passes away.

I highly recommend the Feliway diffusers. We still have to run them to maintain total order in the house. Spend lots and lots and lots of time with your older kitty reinforcing your love and care. When the younger kitty starts bugging your older cat, stick up for your older cat and redirect the kitten to another toy or into a different room using a towel to "herd" the cat away. (Drape the towel between the two cats and gently "encourage" the kitten to a more appropriate place.) Be patient and don't expect an overnight acceptance. We still deal with dominance issues from time to time, but there's never been any blood drawn and they do play together at least daily. It's more like a smack down, but still it's play.

In the past year, my older cat has become much more loving, confident with herself, and more sociable than she ever was before we introduced the young whippersnapper. I am so glad she's finally coming back out of her shell!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the replys. I have one of those diffusers coming in the mail. It should be here before the weekend. I've been trying to give both cats a lot of attention. I try to distract the kitten from the cat, but sometimes it doesn't work. He's very intent on trying to play with the poor old guy! And I've been giving my old cat a ton of exta attention. I'm worried if it will take up to a year to restore harmony in the house. He is a couple months away from 19. He's healthy, but I'm worried he doesn't have much longer to live. I really hope the Feliway diffuser works! I will defintely try all the suggestions I've been given. Thank you all for the help. I guess some days are better than others between the two cats.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just when I feel like things are getting better... they get worse!! I've noticed last night and this morning that the kitten is actually starting to get aggressive towards the old cat. He's swatting at him and not backing down at all. I think he's trying to become the dominant cat or something. Any advice on this?? The Feliway diffuser should be here today or tomorrow. Think that will help this new aggressive behavior?? Who does this kitten think he is? Haha.
post #12 of 13
You have to let them work it out, supervised of course. Our new kitty was the dominant one and it was rough on me to watch my older kitty backing down, but that's the nature of the beast. Just make sure that there's no blood or injury and redirect the kitty as needed.
post #13 of 13
I don't want to burst your bubble, but the Feliway diffuser's are not always the answer. We are in the midst of integrating two 6 month old kittens into our household of a 14 year old male and 9 year old female, and bought 3 Feliway diffusers (depending on the size of your house), have had them plugged in now for almost 2 weeks, and have not really noticed any changes. I read that it might take up to a month for them to work. You might also get Rescue Remedy for Pets for the old guy to help with his stress.

In our case, at least we have TWO kittens to play with each other, and even though it's twice the work, it helps keep them off the older cats. We still have to intercede often, however, because for some reason, they find the adult cats so fascinating.

Anyway, I also worry about my older male, because he isn't eating like he should, and seems extra depressed, so I am lavishing him with attention, but cannot ignore all the others. Everyone must feel loved, otherwise the others will notice and think someone doesn't belong!

Best of luck to you. I hope the Feliway does the trick!
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