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Please help! I'm trying to introduce a new kitten to my cat, but I'm terrified he will hurt her.

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks you for taking the time to read this. I have a two year old raggdoll named Charlie. He is a very energetic playful cat and he loves to be around his people. I thought it would be in his best interest to get a kitten to keep him company and play with him. A week ago today I picked up my baby girl. She is 10 weeks old and very small. Especially compared to my big 20 lb raggie. I have her set up in a safe room with all her resources. I let her settle in for a couple days and she is doing just fine. About four days since her arrival I let Charlie look at her through the cracked door. He didn't show any sighns of aggression, no hissing growling or flat ears. He just seems eager to play with her and curious. So I let him into her room. She seemed very scared of him, arched her back and puffed her tail, she hissed at him. He rolled her around on the floor for a bit, I got scared and I separated them again. Now I'm really scared to let them meet again. I really appreciate any insight in this matter, and tips for introducing them. As of now I'm doing more scent swapping exercises. And Charlie sits outside her door meowing to get in.
post #2 of 37

Have you read the threads on introducing cats?  I just went through this--from February 6th until now.  I was introducing an older (12 yrs) male cat to a newcomer that was a freshly neutered 2 year old male.  I got through it by diligently following the practices in this article, and just reading my older cat's body language.

If I can do it you can do it!  Here is the article, and a link to my threads if you want to read our integration journey.  They just take time, and the majority of it, in my opinion--or at least it was so in my house--is that it is dependent on the resident cat's personality and willingness to accept.  You have a bit of a different situation, with a teeny tiny one meeting a big boy, but the premises are still the same.

 

My favorite article (and there are youtube videos from Jackson Galaxy that follow the same guide if you want to watch them too):

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/how-to-successfully-introduce-cats-the-ultimate-guide

 

My threads with our journey:

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/t/314186/need-advice-is-my-cat-just-evil-embodied-or-am-i-overreacting

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/t/325599/7-months-in-update-on-introducing-two-cats

 

 

Please keep us updated.  I had to modify many steps in the guide, and my time frame extended far longer than I ever would have imagined, but it worked. I needed a lot of patience, but it all worked out.

 

:vibes:

post #3 of 37

@Losna  Can you share the thread you shared with me, the simplified guide to introducing cats?

post #4 of 37

Just look down! It's in my signature. :)

post #5 of 37

Thanks @Losna  I was looking everywhere for that haha and it was right there!  @Charlies Mom this is a really good link!!

post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
hbunny thanks so much for the reply. I put a baby gate up at her door, and have opened it to see each other. she goes up to the gate and the two of them bat each other through the gate, it seems playful rather than agresive. I am still a little paranoid, because the way he looks at her is the same way he looks at prey. am I being paranoid? Have you ever heard of an adult male cat killing a kitten?
post #7 of 37

I think your introductions are actually going well.  If Charlie was just rolling around on the floor near her  then I don't think he was trying to attack her.  I am not at all surprised that your kitten is the one doing the hissing here. My 6 week old tiny Starbuck did the same thing years ago when I introduced her to my much larger 7 year old brothers. She would puff up and hiss at them like that and they would either walk away or just sit there and stare at her.  If Charlie was rolling around on the floor like he was playing then he was probably trying to tell her he wanted to play.  He would not have put himself in that position if he wanted to attack her. It seems to me like he was just ignoring her hissing at him.  I think if Charlie really wanted to hurt the kitten he would be trying to climb the gate to go after her and not just playing with her through the gate.  

post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 


This is how he sits outside her door when I crack it. He mostly just sits there in bread loaf position and look at her. He also now meows outside her door wanting to get in. Still haven't heard a growl or hiss from him. Hope this is a good sighn. The baby seems anxious to get out of her safe room.
post #9 of 37

The link provided above should be very helpful to you.  If you have any questions after looking the article then please ask them here.  You are doing a great job.

post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlies Mom View Post

hbunny thanks so much for the reply. I put a baby gate up at her door, and have opened it to see each other. she goes up to the gate and the two of them bat each other through the gate, it seems playful rather than agresive. I am still a little paranoid, because the way he looks at her is the same way he looks at prey. am I being paranoid? Have you ever heard of an adult male cat killing a kitten?

 

I do think it's going well, but no, you aren't being paranoid--you know your cat better than anybody else---trust your instincts more than anything.  You know your cat and his body language and expressions.  I could read my older cat very, very well, and I know that look you are describing.  His pupils would dilate, he would get this different stance while looking at Shortstack, I just knew when he was about to go on the attack.  The bad thing was this--Wurp would fool us.  He would sit and purr looking at Stack through the gate, actually rub the gate purring and Shortstack touching his nose through the gate, then if we let him out he would all out attack.  Wurp lived his first 7 years outdoors and he would actually kill intruding cats, and I always kept this in the back of my mind.  And he was neutered at 1 year old--he was just that territorial.  I knew better than to trust his purring and sweetie face.  He lies LOL!!

 

We had the lattice-type baby gates, and we tried stacking two on top of each other.  I mean Wurp is 12, and had shown no interest in climbing them at all.  We kept noticing him just sitting at the two-gate barrier, just studying it.  Watching Shortstack, purring, never making any attempt.  Then one day he scaled the two gates like a pro--almost if he had planned out where to put his feet in advance, and bailed off the top of the 2nd gate directly on top of Shortstack.  There was blood and fur shed, and Shortstack holed up in our fireplace behind the fake logs and peed all over the place, just terrified.  It was like he had studied the gates, planned his attack, and prepared LOL   He is a mean, mean old guy.  That was when we went to 3 gates stacked one on top of the other.

 

I do NOT think you will have the troubles I had.  I think your guy may genuinely be curious and may even want to play.  But trust your gut--like I said, you know your cat above anything else.  Read the body language and just keep the introduction slow.  A kitten may definitely feel threatened, and a fear response could produce a "prey" stalking or attack in your older cat.  I know that part of Wurp's drive to attack Shortstack was based on the fact that Stack would run from him.  Shortstack stood up for himself one time--and that greatly changed the relationship dynamics.  Trust your gut!

post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlies Mom View Post



This is how he sits outside her door when I crack it. He mostly just sits there in bread loaf position and look at her. He also now meows outside her door wanting to get in. Still haven't heard a growl or hiss from him. Hope this is a good sighn. The baby seems anxious to get out of her safe room.


Absolutely gorgeous! 

post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
Update. I've been opening the door regularly now. He doesn't attemp to jump the baby gate. The baby has gotten a bit more confident and goes up to meet charlie. At times he seems very chill, and at other times he is batting at her through the gate. It's still hard for me to tell weather it's aggressive or playfull.
post #13 of 37

It takes time.  I had a long thread some months back about introducing my 12 week old Maine Coon to my 8 year old mixed breed.  It never went too smooth, but ultimately it was tolerable.  The older guy is cranky and ornery.  They go from complete indifference on his part to lunging at her and screeching, but then stopping.  She is as big as he is now.  Sometimes he wrestles with her and seems to bite her.  yet, they never really get into it.  Sometimes she jumps him and then retreats.  Seems to me that the current state of the relationship is what it is going to be.  He is the top cat and he sometimes exerts his dominance.  She tests him from time to time.  Generally he leaves her alone and will brush by her to go to eat or whatever.  I can't ask for much more.  I'm sure they will never hurt each other, which is OK by me.  Good luck.

post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
They had a face to face encounter today, my husband and I both played with each cat separately while they were in the same room. They ignored each other for about 10 minutes, playing with their own toys. When we put the toys down he went in and tackled her, he bit her and she screamed. I freaked out so we separated them. Even though it looked a little vicious to me she didn't look hurt at all after the incident, and she aproached him again shortly after. I would love to hear another persons take on this. I'm sorry if I'm being annoying with all my replies. This is he only place I can talk to people who care as much about cats as I do. Thanks x
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlies Mom View Post

They had a face to face encounter today, my husband and I both played with each cat separately while they were in the same room. They ignored each other for about 10 minutes, playing with their own toys. When we put the toys down he went in and tackled her, he bit her and she screamed. I freaked out so we separated them. Even though it looked a little vicious to me she didn't look hurt at all after the incident, and she aproached him again shortly after. I would love to hear another persons take on this. I'm sorry if I'm being annoying with all my replies. This is he only place I can talk to people who care as much about cats as I do. Thanks x

You are not being annoying at all with either your questions or replies.  This is a community of cat lovers that enjoy helping others. The best way to learn new things is to ask questions.  Please continue to reply and ask as many questions as you need to.

 

If she is not showing any signs of being scared after being bitten and tackled then I would not read too much into this yet.  What happened right before the screaming started?  Was there any hissing or growling before the biting and tackling?   It is possible that Charlie is trying to teach the baby boundaries or manners.  I remember the first time Tegato did this to baby Starbuck and her screaming scared the hell out of me. I had the same reaction you did and separated them.  The 2nd time this happened I noticed Starbuck was being a brat before Tegato tackled her and pinned her to the floor.  He was trying to teach her manners. Starbuck was screaming because she did not like or understand being told no. Starbuck was a tiny 6 week old kitten and Tegato was a 9 year old fully grown male that had not been around a kitten since he was one.

 

It is also possible this was re-directed play on his part that was just a little to rough.

I am going to look for some articles that may give you some insight in to what happened today.

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/how-to-stop-playtime-aggression-in-cats

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/re-directed-aggression-in-cats

 

I am going to bed now since I have to work in the morning.  I will check on this thread when I get breaks at work.


Edited by catlover73 - 10/19/16 at 8:25pm
post #16 of 37

I agree with the above poster.  I can tell you that watching what seems to be aggression by the older cat toward a defenseless kitten is very distressing.  I went through months of anxiety about this.  However, if she comes back and he does not seem to be trying to kill her (fur flying and extreme screeching and howling) it is just an adjustment phase.  There are boundaries to be made and a structure to develop.  Watch them and separate them if necessary, but give it some time and try to have patience.  Continue to post and ask others - that's good.  It will more than likely turn out OK.  I know it is hard on you.

post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the support. Before the tackle and biting started they were each playing with their own toys. When we put the toys down, Charlie aproched her slowly, there was no growling or hissing, he went in for a sniff and then started the tackle and biting. She rolled over on her back, he was biting her belly and neck, maybe even her throat. It happened very quickly. Her screams sounded like she was in pain. But like I said I didn't see a scratch on her after. And she was immediately back to her sassy self, even approaching Charlie again (this time through the baby gate we have set up between rooms).

Up until now I haven't heard a single hiss or growl from him. She hissed at him the first couple of times they saw each other, but I feel like that was out of fear, and she has since become a very brave little kitten.

The thing that scares me is just the fact that if he wanted to he could seriously harm her, just because of the size difference in them. And those kitten screams will haunt my dreams lol.

Again thank you to everyone who has replied, I really appreciate it.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 




Here are some pictures of the two, so you can put some faces to the names 😀
post #19 of 37
Your babies are both adorable. I was dealing with the same size difference you are facing here. How are they both behaving this morning? You are still doing a great job with the introductions.
post #20 of 37

@Charlies Mom  They are both so beautiful!  I completely agree with @catlover73  

 

Our altercations were TRUE altercations with screeches and yowls before the attack......yours does sound like either he is trying to teach boundaries and "cat manners", or maybe he got a bit overstimulated with the play and redirected.  I had to be careful with play when we started our first face-to-face sessions.  It really seemed to overstimulate my older cat, which led to him attacking the younger.  We finally stopped the playtimes, and started doing treats and brushing at their "together" times, or gentle petting sessions and treats.  We still make a point to have playtimes separately with each one, while one is asleep somewhere else in the house we play with the other.  It gets a bit too close for comfort if they both get wound up at the same time.

post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice. My cat isn't really food motivated, he turns his nose up to allot of treats. I did order some that he does really like, I will try giving treats and petting in the next together session. After reading the article I do think it was over stimulation.

Is it a good ideas to hold the kitten while in the same room with the adult cat?
post #22 of 37
I would not try holding the kitten while doing face to face interactions. This would limit the kitten being able to escape easily if something goes wrong. I would also be worried about you getting injured if she gets scared. You also risk getting injured by Charlie trying to interact with the kitten. If he gets over-stimulated or she gets scared you run too much of a risk getting bitten or scratched up badly.
post #23 of 37

We did both ways with our two.  I would hold one, husband hold the other, then we sat in the floor near each other (but not within swiping distance) and petted and gave treats just with them near each other.  It is supposed to create a positive impression of being near the other...so they think, "Oh, if I'm near him, I get something nice that I like".  That was what worked for us.  My old guy loves his belly rubbed, so I would sit with him upside down on my lap where he could see the younger one, and just rub his belly until he started purring.  I've seen others post though that the playing together worked well, but with two closer to the same age, or two young cats. 

post #24 of 37
I do agree with having one person hold each cat as mentioned above. It will be much safer with having 2 people involved because one person will be able to watch each cat.
post #25 of 37

*

It is hard watching one cat on his back and the other on top biting him.  Yet, being on the back is the submissive pose, which should be expected from a young kitten; and. the cat on top is dominant.  Only thing I can say is to keep on what you're doing.  A good thing is play with a toy, like a feather on a wand or something else which gets them both interested.  When they are both in the play mode they will ignore each other, even if brushing against each other, as they are entranced with the toy.  Keep it up.  have patience.  have faith.  It can take a number of months before you feel more comfortable.  In the end it is worth it.

post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 
It's been about three weeks since the kitten came home, and I still feel like progress is slow. They are still separated for the majority of the day. They have face to face every day. They can play separately while in the same room, that will usually last a couple of minutes and then the chasing starts. Seems okay at first, until he pins her down. He'll bite her and kick her with his hind legs. While this is happening the baby tends to scream bloody murder. At this point I usually separate them. I always check the kitten to see if she has any bite marks. She never has any physical signs of damage. At this point I usually put her back in her room behind the baby gate. Not even two minutes later she comes back out to meet the big cat and tries to play again.

I feel like progress is slow, is there any hope for them living in harmony?
post #27 of 37
I'm not terribly experienced at introducing cats and getting them used to each other, but I can say there is definitely hope in my opinion. My experience currently is that after about 3 months my 2 year old cat Waffles and my daughter's kitten (7 months old) can now be together smile.gif.

Going slow and a step at a time has been the key for me.

I did it too fast at first, so backtracked. Had them on either side of a closed door for several days (they played pawsies under the door), then Waffles (the newcomer) in his room with 3 stacked lattice baby gates with a towel draped except for the bottom 2-3 inches- Beans was loose in the house- and I'd feed them canned food (high value) and give them treats that way daily. I think that was the key for my kitties.
Then, the towel higher, continued feeding on each side. I'd swap the room too, Beans in there and Waffles in the house. They started playing paws and staring with no hissing or aggression through the gate. When Waffles would lay on his back to play with Beans I knew I had him smile.gif.
Then, Waffles out in the house for short periods. Beans was scared, and spent a lot of time up high just observing, and if any aggression would separate them, back to the baby gates.
Beans has gradually gained confidence and with him getting older he will now chase Waffles, they take turns chasing. Once Waffles got a mouthful of fur from Beans, got a picture of him with Beans black fur in his mouth looking quite satisfied- kind of like a lesson that "hey I'm in charge."
They are together only when we are home.
The biggest progress was with feeding together I felt. And, Beans gaining confidence to not back down.
I am doing playing with toys together, too.
Like I said there are people more experienced than me, but that's what I've been through.
Waffles is a semi-feral cat I adopted from a shelter almost 3 months ago. He's made great strides with time and patience, so I certainly think your Charlie will do fine!
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlies Mom View Post

It's been about three weeks since the kitten came home, and I still feel like progress is slow. They are still separated for the majority of the day. They have face to face every day. They can play separately while in the same room, that will usually last a couple of minutes and then the chasing starts. Seems okay at first, until he pins her down. He'll bite her and kick her with his hind legs. While this is happening the baby tends to scream bloody murder. At this point I usually separate them. I always check the kitten to see if she has any bite marks. She never has any physical signs of damage. At this point I usually put her back in her room behind the baby gate. Not even two minutes later she comes back out to meet the big cat and tries to play again.

I feel like progress is slow, is there any hope for them living in harmony?


3 weeks is actually a very short amount of time in cat time.  Like I said, it took 7 months for mine to cohabitate without fur-flying (sometimes bloody) encounters.  Be patient.  I wouldn't let them loose together without someone ready to snatch one up before they make contact at this point.  I think it is just too soon for them to be able to have actual contact other than visual.

Cat time is very different than our time, and from my long, sometimes horrid experience, I have learned their timetable of forming relationships is very different than any other animal I have encountered.  That being said, I will say it was all worth it.  Mine now happily snooze together on the bed, the younger follows the older around nonstop (to his dismay, but he tolerates it), and they eat together just fine.  They have become house buddies...maybe not BFF's, but buddies who just hang out.

 

Don't rush things.  It can cause setbacks, resentment from the cat with the most seniority, and you will have to start all over again with complete separation.  I would definitely at this point keep hands on while they are in the same room.

post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone who posted in this thread and got me through this thing. I am happy to say the cats are getting along pretty well now.
post #30 of 37

I am so happy to hear this!!  How wonderful! 
Hopefully it is the beginning of a long and happy friendship.

My guys are like brothers from other mothers now too.  They have set their boundaries with each other, and both respect the other.  That was a major milestone.  Now you never see one in a room without another.  They stick together---not lovey-dovey with each other, just a lick on the head passes between them occasionally, but they are always hanging out together!  You would never have made me believe that was even possible 11 months ago!

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