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Unread 10-28-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default Two Older Cats, One New Kitten-- Advice?

Greetings,

You guys probably get this question fairly often... But I have two cats that are around three years old. They're both female, fixed, but have had kittens of their own before I adopted them.
One cat is very timid and, while she adores affection now, is very mild-mannered and skittish around strangers.
The second cat, however, is extremely nosy and curious, and loves to be the center of attention-- be it around strangers or not. She's definitely a "lap cat" and sleeps on my lap for hours each day (which gets rather uncomfortable, but what can I say, I'm a softy). She's very dominate and clearly considers that she owns this house-- and me, too. Heh.
Both cats are spoiled rotten and pout when they don't have their way.

Anyway... Just today I brought in a new kitten (a male) as a family friend's sibling's cat had kittens and was looking to adopt them out. I took one and brought it home.
At first the timid cat was curious about it and simply sniffed the kitten a bit and than walked away, not really caring either way. The more dominate cat, however, hissed and growled at the first sight of the kitten. It's been a few hours since the kitten came home and the hissing from the dominate lady has continued whenever she even catches a glance of the kitten's ear. The kitten has taken shelter up on top of the couch with one of my family members, but the dominate cat is sitting a few feet away, just watching and growling. And now the kitten has even started to hiss at the timid cat whenever she gets near, causing her to back off quickly. The kitten is hissing probably because it's scared, I'd imagine; not to mention tired, as he keeps fighting off falling asleep.

I know the hissing and such is normal, but is it a good idea for me to keep the kitten out with the other two cats? And is it a good idea for me to pet and hold the kitten around the sight of the dominate cat? I pet and held it a bit hoping it would show the dominate cat that "it's okay", but than again the dominate cat is always with me so now I'm not so sure that was a good idea-- though she is still letting me pet her and hold her, just with the growling. She even laid on me a little bit, until she caught sight of the kitten.
I've been trying to give the dominate cat as much attention as I can, and even pet her through her growling.

Should I keep the kitten out with them, or should I put the kitten in another room for a few days with food, water and a litter box? Is there anything else I should do?


Edit:
Oh, and one other thing... The kitten is, I believe, around three months old... Should I be giving it kitten food, or is it alright to feed it the adult cat food that I feed the other two cats? I was never sure about which to feed it...

Last edited by Blue Leader; 10-28-2009 at 01:38 PM.
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Unread 10-29-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Just a small update:
I went ahead and put the kitten (who we named Egon) into a bedroom with food, water, a litter box, a blanket he liked, and some toys. Though because he had a full day yesterday interacting with people he wants very badly to get out, and sits by the door and makes some adorable, though pathetic-sounding whines which simply break my heart every time I hear him. I just keep trying to tell myself that "this is for the best, this will (hopefully) help", but I'm not entirely convinced so far.

Hannah, the timid cat (female, three years old) still really doesn't care either way, just as she didn't yesterday. She's more curious about it than anything, but tends to keep her distance from it.

Caper (the other three-year-old female), who is the feisty one and has always been the center of attention doesn't really seem to even notice the kitten is in the bedroom. I had read that the cats will probably sniff each other through the door... Well, Caper has ignored it completely as if it's not even there. I'm sure she knows it's in there, as she heard it whining this morning when I first put it in, went up to the door, saw it through a gap and hissed at it. But since than she acts like it's not here. I don't know if this is a good sign or a bad one.
Caper did, however, come up and sleep on my lap for almost two hours this afternoon, which she really didn't do last night, so at least there's a slight improvement there, even if the kitten isn't out yet. I've been paying a lot of attention to Caper; picking her up, talking to her, petting her, giving her treats, and so on.

The kitten seems to be doing fine and is extremely hyper today, much more than he was yesterday which was the first day we brought him in. But he wants badly to come out of the room and explore the house, and I feel so guilty for putting him in there. I'm a complete softy, so I always feel really guilty when I do things like this, even if I know that it's something that needs to be done.

I read online about rubbing the kitten with some towels and than setting the towels around the house so the other cats could smell them. Heh, that hasn't done anything so far... Neither Caper or Hannah even seem to notice the towels, let alone sniff them-- though Caper has sniffed around the couch, love seat and blankets that the kitten slept on.

I'm not so worried about Hannah as she seems to be taking it well (even if the kitten does seem to freak her out a bit), but Caper is the one I'm more worried about. Caper and I have always been extremely close, almost inseparable when she's not asleep. Now that we have a kitten I'm worried that our relationship might take a hit. I'm doing my best to give Caper all the affection that I can possibly give her, and she's more than happy to accept it when the kitten isn't around, but I'm still worried about it.

But yeah... Am I doing these things right? Is there something I should or shouldn't be doing? Should I keep the kitten locked up in the room for a couple days despite my strong and pathetic urge to let him out-- even though neither of the cats seem to be taking notice of the kitten in that room? Or, because Egon (the kitten) and Caper only hiss and growl but haven't actually fought, should I just let him out and let them hiss and growl their way through it?

Last edited by Blue Leader; 10-29-2009 at 06:37 PM.
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Unread 10-29-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Hi there and welcome to the forum, your posts are very informative. I think you are doing all the right things - it might have been best to isolate Egon when you first brought him home to get him (and Hannah and Caper) used to the new situation, but what's done is done (not a problem ). This site has had lots of similar threads and the general advice is that - there will be issues in the beginning with lots of growls and hissing - but things generally settle down after a while, it's perfectly normal!
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Unread 10-29-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Alrighty, thanks.
Though I'm a little unclear... Should I still keep him in the bedroom, or let him roam around and just let them sort it out themselves?

It seems he was let out of the room a few minutes ago by one of my family members. Egon is bouncing around the house like a ball of energy, and while I can hear Caper growling, and letting out a hiss if Egon gets too close, from here upstairs... But at least I don't hear anything worse... heh heh.

Last edited by Blue Leader; 10-29-2009 at 09:16 PM.
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Unread 10-30-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Leave Egon out of the room and try to get some Feliway, that should help the situation, and hopefully Caper will settle down soon. Good luck.
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Unread 10-30-2009   #6 (permalink)
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What's "Feliway"? I've never heard of that...

And I'll leave him out like you said. Really, it didn't seem to make much difference either way.

I think a tiny bit of progress is being made, slowly but surely. While Caper is still hissing at the very sight of Egon, last night she slept on my lap for about an hour and Egon slept on the couch only about a foot or two away. Caper clearly wasn't pleased, but only made two light growls throughout the entire time. I made sure to praise her and tell her how good she was during that time.

Egon though... Yeesh, I hope his little kitty sense decides to show up soon. All too often Caper will be eating and he'll slowly sneak up behind her as if he's going to pounce on her or sneak in under her and eat some of her food. He knows she's going to hiss at him, so I don't know what he expects there. Maybe he has a little bit of a death wish, or enjoy taunting her. :P

Egon has yet to discover the "wonder" of going up stairs (not to mention I don't think he's yet big enough to even be able to get up the steps), but that's probably a good thing as it gives both Caper and Hannah a place to go to get away from him.
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Unread 10-30-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Hello to you, Caper, Hannah & Egon!
My first cat was three when I decided to introduce another cat to the household. She didn't take it very well, lots of hissing, growling, spitting & sulking. It took patience & a couple of weeks for things to fully settle down.
Newt was the same as Egon, no amount of hissing or growling would deter her from trying to make friends with her new big sister!
Sounds as if you are doing things right. If you can keep Egon downstairs that would be great (although it didn't take Newt long to work out the stairs, so that might not be possible!) it will give Caper & Hannah space to escape from their energetic new brother.
Continue to give Caper lots of attention to reinforce that shes 'No. 1' in your affections.
Keep us updated & please share some pictures of them!
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Unread 10-31-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Feliway is a synthetic pheromone which is designed to help cats calm down, it is only available from your vet, although if you 'Google' it you may find it for sale somewhere on the internet, as it doesn't need a prescription. It is also possible to use 'Bach Rescue Remedy' which is flower essence treatment, also no prescription is required and is safe for animals!
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Unread 10-31-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Ah, I see now.
I went over to Petsmart yesterday and they did have a few things with Feliway in it: a spray and a dispenser thing (like a Glade plug-in thing). But the dispenser alone was $47, and the spray was $37. They had a collar that was supposed to help calm a cat as well, though it didn't have Feliway in it (I can't remember what it was called). It was only $15 so I thought I'd give that a shot... Heh, so far it's done nothing at all.
The collar is messy as heck because it's covered in a powder, and though Caper smells great now (lavender :P), the collar hasn't calmed her down or changed her hissing, growling or anything like that at all.
I'm thinking I might try taking it back and perhaps try the dispenser, though $47 is a lot of money to cough up for something that might only be used for about month.
I know that there's also some drops to put in their water that I saw, but I really don't want to have to drug up Caper.

Is the thing from the vet any different than what I've seen on the shelves?
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Unread 11-01-2009   #10 (permalink)
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No, probably not. I must admit that when I tried the 'Feliway' it didn't work on my cats, and Saffy is still moody and wee's in inappropiate places, Technically she should be an only cat, but I have two other cats and I don't want to get rid of any of them! You could try the 'Bach Rescue Remedy' that may help, you should be able to get that from your health shop, and it maybe cheaper than the 'Feliway'. I would get the cream variety rather than the liquid, and rub it in the ear, but then again there's no guarentees, you may just have to hope that they will all settle down on their own! Good luck!
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