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Unread 08-27-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Older" cat not happy about new kitten

No, we didn't expect our 4 year old cat to take to a new kitten immediately, but I didn't think it would be so hard on my husband. Or older cat, KU (Kitten Unknown) won't come downstairs. We've each brought her down once to nibble a little food and she's made a couple very quick forrays but she still hasn't finished her dinner. She hisses and growls and is, of course, not her usual, carefree, self. My husband is beside himself -- he can't bear to see KU so distressed.

What I'm wondering is if anyone has any idea how long it might take the established cat to call a truce and put my poor husband out of his misery. If I could give him a range of best-case to worst-case time required, maybe it won't seem so hopeless to him.

KU is the kitten in my avatar. Attached is a pic of the new kitten, Carbin -- such a cute little bugger to be causing such unrest.
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Unread 08-27-2009   #2 (permalink)
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It is recommended that you don't introduce the new kitten to the older cat immediately. A method that seems to work for many, is to have the new kitten in its own room for several days. That way, the older cat gets more used to its smell and it wont feel as strange to it. In that period you should also give the older cat something that smells of the kitten, like a towel or a piece of clothe.

How long have you had the kitten? It varies from cats how long it takes for them to get used to each other and more friendly. But the hostility is quite common and you just have to hold on and be strong Many members here have experienced this and their cats now get along- some may not be bestfriends, but still they get along.
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Unread 08-28-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Hello Natira, KU & Carbin. I'm Helen and I have two cats Ripley & Newt. How long have you had the kitten? Ripley was 3 when we got Newt and Ripley reacted in a similar way to KU. She hid upstairs, hissed and growled at the kitten and wouldn't come down to eat. Newt is now 2 and while they aren't the sort of cats who cuddle up together (Newt would but Ripley will have none of it!) they get along just fine now even if they do still have the occasional spat! The first few days were awful (I was considering rehoming the kitten at one point), then things started to get easier and after a couple of months things really settled down. Please tell your husband that he has my sympathy as I know how upsetting it can be but to bear with it as it will be worth it in the long run, the antics of our two little furballs give us no end of amusement.
People on this forum highly recommend Feliway plug in diffusers, I wish I'd known about them 2 years ago as from what people have said they would have really helped. Please make sure you give KU lots of love and attention, until now he has been used to having your undivided attention and probably feels like his safe, secure world has been turned upside down. I used to go upstairs and sit with Ripley and talk to her for the first few weeks if she wouldn't come downstairs.
As I said things really settled down after the first few months and now Ripley wouldn't be parted from her little 'sister', even though she pretends otherwise. When we took Newt to be spayed she was looking all over the house for her and even now if she can't see her she goes off to look for her so I am hopeful that things will be fine for you too.
You'll find lots of good advice on here but please feel free to ask me anything, I'll do my best to help.
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Unread 08-28-2009   #4 (permalink)
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I should have known that the community on a cat-lovers forum would be helpful and hopeful. I have been repeating your "be strong" advice, KatrineA, since I read your reply and, oddly enough, it really helps.

Hallan -- I so appreciated hearing your story and it's similarity to our own. Yes, it's only been a couple days and we can already see progress -- slow progress but progress none the less. I have been popping up to chat with KU (when I can find her) and I'll look into the Feliway product you mentioned too. I've never heard of that but it sounds fascinating.

Thank you, again, for your support, advice and good thoughts!

P.S. I seem to have been calling the new kitten "Corbin" instead of "Carbin" and I think I know why now. If you've seen the movie, The Fifth Element, you can probably piece it together -- Corbin and Lelu . . . Corbin and KU . . .

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it!
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Unread 08-28-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natira View Post
I should have known that the community on a cat-lovers forum would be helpful and hopeful. I have been repeating your "be strong" advice, KatrineA, since I read your reply and, oddly enough, it really helps.

Hallan -- I so appreciated hearing your story and it's similarity to our own. Yes, it's only been a couple days and we can already see progress -- slow progress but progress none the less. I have been popping up to chat with KU (when I can find her) and I'll look into the Feliway product you mentioned too. I've never heard of that but it sounds fascinating.

Thank you, again, for your support, advice and good thoughts!

P.S. I seem to have been calling the new kitten "Corbin" instead of "Carbin" and I think I know why now. If you've seen the movie, The Fifth Element, you can probably piece it together -- Corbin and Lelu . . . Corbin and KU . . .

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it!
Glad to help! Why don't you start an introduction thread of yourself and your kits? We'd love to see some more pictures I saw your profile picture. What an adorable little thing!

I've seen the fifth element. Was a long time ago though. Me and a friend rented it before it was on sale.
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Unread 08-28-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Unlike a dog, cats in gen do not like other cats, esspeically after they reach a curtain age. There are cats that can never be with other cats. I'm glad things worked out well
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Unread 08-28-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PantherPride View Post
Unlike a dog, cats in gen do not like other cats, esspeically after they reach a curtain age. There are cats that can never be with other cats. I'm glad things worked out well
Really, this is not at all accurate. While there are some cats who do need to be in a strictly one cat household, it is not the norm.

It may take some time, as cats really hate change, but whether it's a month or six months, most cats do learn to accept, and often become inseparable with, another cat.

I've always had multiple cats. As have many others.

Congratulation on your new family member, I'm sure it will all work out. Smell is everything to a cat, so exchanging smells can be very helpful.

Rub a towel on UK, then Carbin, then UK again, then put that towel under UKs food to help him associate the smell of Carbin with something good.

Another idea for introduction time is the vanilla trick, which is putting vanilla on nose and root of tail of each cat so they both smell the same. (cooking vanilla, not perfume)

Let them get used to each other at their own pace. It's best not to have too much close contact for a couple of weeks and until the new kitten has had a vet check up anyway. Often kitties come from shelters with URI, ear mites or yeast, etc. It can take a few days for the symptoms to show up.

Be sure you have enough litter boxes, one per cat plus one, and keep on in a different place than the other two, if possible.

Keep us posted!
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Unread 08-28-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, acerlt! More great ideas. With all these tools I don't think they'll have a choice but to finally get along.

The new kitten was a barn cat at my mother-in-law's farm in Iowa so he went right to the vet from the farm before setting paw in our house with K.U. His tests were negative for the big stuff -- only a case of ear mites to treat. Really, I would have been shocked it he didn't have ear mites.

K.U. has now been downstairs for the last five hours. Still not happy, of course, but not hiding upstairs either. Baby steps . . .
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Unread 08-29-2009   #9 (permalink)
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See? It's going better already I'm happy for you
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Unread 08-29-2009   #10 (permalink)
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I'm really glad progress is being made! It will just take a little time for KU to get used to her new housemate. Hope your husband is feeling better about the whole thing. Keep us updated.
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