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playful kitten and scared 4-year-old

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I adopted a 4-year-old spayed female, Babe, 3 months ago. A shy, kind of scared cat, but affectionate at times (on her terms). Her foster mom told me that she was given up because she was scared of and was being chased by the other cats in her old home. 1 month ago, a 5-month-old kitten (now 6 months old) showed up at my door--hungry, injured, crying. Reported to shelters and pet clinics, and no one claimed him, so I have made him welcome at my home. I named him Buddy. My vet fixed his injury, dewormed, vacinated, neutered him. I did the whole introduction routine: separate rooms at first, introduce the scent first, feeding at either side of the door (although Babe is too smart to take bribes when she knows it's a bribe). My 4-year-old did not like him, but as long as he doesn't go nearer than perhaps 3 feet, all is fine. Since Buddy has become healthy, he has grown a lot bigger, and is a lot more energetic than when he first showed up. He likes to chase things, and ever since all his worms were gone, he has been chasing Babe non-stop (it didn't used to be that way when his stool was still loose). I tried to play the laser pointer, and the feather thing with him a lot, but that's still not enough. He also has plenty of toys. He LOVES to chase my 4-year-old--chased her out of her potty, out from her favorite window sill spot, etc. etc. I feel sorry for Babe, but at the same time Buddy is only being a kitten.

My questions are:
(1) do I do the whole introduction routine again? They never fought. I think Buddy just wants to play, but Babe doesn't!
(2) do I separate them until Buddy is 1-year old (hopefully an adult, and not so energetic then)?
(3) what is the best way to make Buddy know that he should stop during the chase? Buddy is clicker trained to follow a target, and comes when called (sometimes)--but when I fish out my target during the chase, he's not interested in anything other than my 4-year-old.

Any other suggestions?
post #2 of 6
I've been having the same problem! At first when I brought my kitty home, he was little, and was scared of the older cat, who wanted to play. The situation quickly reversed! The kitten is gigantic, but only 7 months old and very playful. The older cat is pretty small. I separated them for a while, especially while I was out of the house, but that seemed to only make the situation worse. I try to make sure the kitten gets played with A LOT so he isn't bored and trying to start things with the other cat, plus I think not separating them has helped them work things out on their own. They've actually started playing together at times happily, where the older cat is definately instigating the playing. But I still step in if I think the kitten is getting too rough; it's hard not to! He's so much bigger and stronger than my older cat.
post #3 of 6
Let me start off by saying that it's cool you've clicker trained your cat. My dog is clicker trained but I haven't tried it with my kitties.

Ok getting to the subject. I don't think just seperating them untill Buddy turns 1 isn't going to do a thing. I have a 2 year old and a year and a half old cats who still LOVE to chase the senior of the house. Before Fallon(2yrs) was introduced Xavier(year and a half) ALWAYS chased Mitzi(14yrs and for 12 had been the only cat). When Fallon came into the household Xavier started chasing her and although not completely he cut way back on chasing Mitzi and focused his attention on the much younger and spunkier Fallon. At times they still do chase her a bit but that's taken care of with a blast from the squirt gun.

Now I'm definatly not saying you should get another cat for Buddy to play with but maybe Buddy needs some more excitment in his life and chasing Babe is doing the trick. The laser pointer is good along with tons of toys as you have said but the pet shops now sell interactive toys that work not only his body but his mind.

I'm not sure the introduction is necessiary to go through again since it sounds as though they'd get along fine if Buddy wasn't so energetic. As for distracting him from chasing Babe a squirt gun may help, and you could even try a shaker can. If you're doing the clicker training you're already one step ahead of eveything.... Try to train him not to chase her. It sounds like you know the fundamentals of the clicker and use them to modify his behavior to release his energy in another way.

Hopefully this will be of some help.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, BadHabit, for your advice. I definitely would like the interactive toys! I have got a mouse that sings a song and moves when touched, but none of my cats have been interested. that was the only interactive toy I found at my local Petsmart. Do you have any suggestions on where I can find a large selection of interactive toys?

Oh, the water squirt is useless for me, because Buddy LOVES the water and the shower. I have never been able to use the water squirt as a correctional tool.

as for getting another kitten, I'm afraid that would stress Babe even more...Poor Babe

But I am going to think about how to use the clicker to distract Buddy. I just don't want to make him that he is rewarded for chasing my other cat! And since once he chases he would not stop until Babe goes hiding, I can't click at the moment when he stops to reinforce the stopping. And I don't want to click after Babe retreats to hiding because that might make Buddy think that chasing Babe away successfully is a good thing....

Any suggestions?
post #5 of 6
Well as for toys http://www.drsfosterandsmith.com and http://www.rcsteele.com

And I know what mouse you're talking about. My boyfriend's sister bought one for Xavier for Christmas one year and he hated it. Needless to say it found it's way into the trash. And I have a kitty who loves the squirt bottle too. She thinks it's fun to chase the stream.

As for the clicker I wonder if you were to find something that will distract Buddy right when you see he's about to chase Babe and if he responds then click and treat.... You might have to do you're homework on this one to find a distraction that will work. Here's a great site on clicker training I use for reference on my dog. It also has a section for cats as well as a couple books. http://www.clickertraining.com
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
BadHabit, your advice is very helpful!!! I have already gone shopping at rcsteel.com. AND I am going to try a new toy distraction for Buddy everytime he stares and crouches at my other cat in preparation for a chase. I'll click at any interaction he has with the toy, and hopefully that will be his reinforcement for not chasing. Then maybe he'll think, "I didn't chase. Pay up." I'll Click with a treat. Then he'll think "Good person!"

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