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faye's avatar

Help with cats?

Asked by faye (17822points) October 7th, 2010

My daughter’s cat lives here. She has always had other cats and dogs around her. I got myself a kitten, 8 mos old, about 2 months ago. I am at my wits’ end with the older one. She stalks the little one and beats her up. I think I’ve tried everything but maybe you have some advice. The little one learned quickly not to come in my room because the older one occassionally sleeps on my bed. They are both spayed and the older one is by no means a lovey cat. My beloved cat died about 2 years ago and I finally felt okay with having a new one.

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17 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

its a territorial thing going on right there. it might get better as they get used to each other, or not.

tinyfaery's avatar

How did you go about introducing them? If you do the introduction to quickly, the cat whose home was “invaded” will be extremely territorial.

I guess it’s too late for a reintroduction (though you could, it would be hard) so your best bet is to retrain the old cat. Use a squirt bottle and ignoring techniques to change the cats general behavior toward you and the kitten. For awhile, you might want to keep them isolated when you cannot be there to supervise.

Give the new kitty extra love. Bring her in your bedroom and show the old cat that you will not let him be there if he cannot play nice with the new cat. Feed them away from each other for awhile, too.

I always recommend the book Starting From Scratch. Every cat owner should have a copy.

faye's avatar

I think we introduced them slowly as Paris only shows up for food or in a bad rainstorm. Favoritism was given to the older one to help ease jealousy. Paris runs away after she attacks, I’d never get a squirt in but I had the bottle ready!

tinyfaery's avatar

Fill a soda can with pennies and rattle it when he starts to attack. That is much quicker than a squirt. Try giving them both treats on your bed so he associates good things with the other cat being around. Never give him treats on the bed when the other cat is not there. Whenever he is around the kitten and is nice, give him a treat. He needs associate the kitten with good things.

It now occurs to me you might not want to give your cats treats on the bed. I let my cats to whatever.

faye's avatar

@tinyfaery I wish I had started with that. Babycat is too terrified now. (She has a real name, too)

tinyfaery's avatar

You gotta push through her fear. Keep your body between the two until they get more used to each other. You can do it. It’s not fair for Babycat to live in fear.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Get some Feliway so that both cats feel that it’s their own territory. If Babycat is smaller than Oldercat, then maybe you can find some places she could hide in when she wants to be safe that Oldercat can’t fit in. For example, my largest cat is far too big to get into the teeny carrier I have for my teeny cat, so she can go hide in there if he’s picking on her. It’s not always about just getting away from the big one, but just having a place to take a nap undisturbed by pleas for playtime. Maybe you have a closet you could install a petdoor that only opens for the cat wearing the key-collar, and then only give Babycat the key-collar? I also used tone of voice to train my cats, I’d clear my throat loudly and saying disapprovingly “Big cat(‘s real name)” when he was doing something bad (like peeing where he shouldn’t) and if he didn’t stop, I’d squirt him. Then, when I used that tone of voice when he wasn’t playing nice he’d know that I disapproved and he should cut it out or get squirted.

BoBo1946's avatar

What is going on with everyone’s cats? loll There has a huge number of questions lately on people’s cats. Must be the moon.

Well, I’m with @woodcutter on this one.

Zyx's avatar

@BoBo1946 I noticed that too. but I fear a lot of cat owners are simply not up to the challenge. My cat scratches me when he’s feeling playful and if he goes too far with me or the other cats I warn him and ignore his pleas for attention for a couple of minutes.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Zyx got’cha…

hearkat's avatar

@faye – How did it all work out? I am having a similar dilemma.

I moved to a new place and brought one of the 4 cats from my mother’s home. Rudy was the baby there, but when she’d try to play with the older cats, they’d hiss and run away. So stalking them became her play… They are also indoor/outdoor, so Rudy has some hunting experience. She was pretty freaked out when we brought her to the new place. Rudy’s 5 years old now and had only ever lived at my mother’s, so it took her a few weeks to settle in, and then started to seem bored even though we played with her and gave her plenty of cuddles. I had always intended to get another cat, so when a friend’s cat had kittens, I thought it was perfect timing.

We got Puffy the kitten when she was 8 weeks old. She has been here about 12 days now. At first, Rudy was understandably uncomfortable, and she’s hiss, but it seemed like it would be OK. Then after more than a week, Rudy started going after Puffy to attack her—even with me right there making the “Pssssssssst” sound I’ve always used to train my cats (when they’re kittens, I make the sound at the same time as squirting them, so they make the negative association. Eventually, the sound by itself – which also mimics their hissing – is enough to make them stop).

So now we have them isolated all the time, which seems to only make things worse. I think the food might be a part of it, because Rudy seems to really like the Iams Kitten formula that I give Puffy. I didn’t want her to eat it because she’s already a little overweight, but I wonder if she’d be less jealous if they were eating the same thing?

I think another part of it is that Rudy has never been around smaller cats, so she doesn’t recognize how much bigger and stronger she is – or even know her own strength. But several of these recent attacks have seemed more deliberate than if she was simply trying to play in her oafish way and getting out of hand.

So any further advice is welcome!

tinyfaery's avatar

Read the book Starting From Scratch. It’s the best cat behavior book out there.

faye's avatar

@hearkat The older cat began stalking the kitten, turned kind of feral, not like herself even. I took her to the vet, she didn’t react to being in the car! He said it looked like she had had a series of strokes that changed her behavior and personality so we had her put down. That sounds terrible, but it was the vet’s recommendation as well. He said she couldn’t recover and would have more strokes. She had been a nice old cat.

hearkat's avatar

@Faye: That’s very sad. My older cat is only 5, so it’s just her dominant personality, I guess. She’s only gotten worse, so we’re bringing the kitten back to her Mommy today.

I’ve had cats my whole life, and never had such an extreme personality like this.

faye's avatar

So, she’ll be a wonderful company cat for you. My kitten has become such an endearing little creature.

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