Need to stop it fast: new cat terrorized

suesan_2008March 27, 2009

Well I am so disappointed with someone who left me a young kitty to look after while she moved and then told me she can't take her back due to 1 pet rule in her new digs (she must have known before & even got this cat while she knew she was going to move), and that I should to take her to the SPCA. No way can I do that. Cats aren't toys to be thrown away when it's inconvenient. Anyway this will be cat number 4. She's a sweetheart and of coarse I've become attached. Problem is one of my other cats, Cricket, is seriously jealous or territorial, and chases new kitty away from me and hisses at her etc, upsetting her a lot. New kitty is so gentle, sensitive and low key, she didn't upset other 3 cats at all - none of the usual transitional spats have happened. But Cricket never came to get along well with any of the others either. It's only been a few days with the new kitty. Is there anything I can do right now so this does not happen again, or is not as bad. I still give Cricket lots of attention etc. Thank you.

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correction - meant other 2 cats (and dog)- incident just happened again and upset.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 3:42AM
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Not sure how long you've had them or how they were introduced, but a long separation before integrating into the household is best. If you can keep the enemies apart for awhile - keeping one in the other room while the other is integrated, and then switching - should ease things.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 6:17AM
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Hi elly. I kept the new kitty in a separate room for 1 day, and then observed her with the others. She got along fine with 8 yr old Shang-Rai and 1 yr old Snook, and avoided 3 year old Cricket - a few swats and hisses from Cricket. We've had her for about 5 days now. It really got bad for some reason yesterday when we brought the new kitty back from the vet for first check up. Maybe Cricket hoped she had left for good! I don't know, but it's just that Cricket is so super-clingly to me and gets pissed off at the other cats esp if they dare come near when she's settled by me, although they're all mostly into their own territories that change with time of day & things were pretty smooth. The new one however is such a sweet purrbag who doesn't ever stand up for herself and went to hiding since the return from vet and subsequent chasings and hissing from Cricket. Yes, I think I'll put the new kitty back in the room for awhile where she perhaps might feel safer, and let the other 2 cats visit her. I'm afraid Cricket is going to be a real bully to her in particular because she does not stand up for herself. I don't know how old she is; she's about half grown, past the age where she'd be real rambunctious and perhaps annoying to the other cats because of that. How long of a separation do you suggest - or is it trial and error? Should I chastise/separate Cricket at all when she does that? I don't think she'd get it - she gets so riled up. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:29AM
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I had this problem when I integrated my cats into a household with 2 other cats and to be honest, they never fully learned to get along. The other cat would hiss, scratch and chase my poor cats every time she saw them. I found it was best to just keep them apart and kept my cats in my room for a couple of weeks to try to ease the transition.

I would yell or make a loud noise (clap my hands, bang the table) whenever the other cat would start chasing/hissing and that usually startled her enough to stop her (at least temporarily).

Also I bought this thing called "Feliway Plug-in Diffuser" which is *supposed* to calm the cats down by putting pheremones into the air. The cats all did relax a bit eventually but I honestly don't know whether that was due to the Pheremones or just time. But the link is:

Mostly I would just try to keep them seperate as much as possible. Like people, some cats just don't get along.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:23AM
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From copious experience, I have found that keeping them separate for a long time (2 - 3 weeks) and then introducing them gradually to each other works best for all involved. The longer they are separated, the better it turns out. 1 day is not enough for your old cat to adjust.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:28AM
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FWIW, when I had my first two cats, my very first one and 1 year older cat(and more territorial of the two), would swat and hiss at our other cat when one or the other or both returned from a visit to the vet's office.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:41AM
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Cats are extremely sensitive to smell. New cat undoubtedly came home from the vet's office with unfamiliar and possibly antagonizing scents on her which escalated Cricket's aggression toward her. In addition to separating new cat in her own room for a while, take a towel and thoroughly rub new cat with it. Then take the same towel and rub Cricket and your other cats with it. Then go back and rub new cat with the towel again. That way everyone's scent will be on everyone else so that Cricket can no longer easily identify the source of the odors. Do this scent towel rub down on everybody every day for a few days.

I also recommend that you buy a harness (NOT a collar) and light leash for Cricket. Put the harness and leash on Cricket every time you let the new cat out of her room for household visits, and keep Cricket leashed to you. That will give you excellent control over Cricket while she is learning to accept new cat peacefully. Each time Cricket makes an aggressive move toward new cat, give her a mild jerk with the leash and a verbal reprimand to let her know that her aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. It won't take long for her to realize that the rules have changed and she is no longer free to misbehave toward the new cat. And of course give Cricket plenty of loving and special one-on-one playtime when she's behaving properly.

This will all work out in time.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:22AM
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When I brought my new kitten in, older cat was highly annoyed with me and hissed, fought, wrestled, etc.

Along with suggestions above about gradual integration, I also gave older kitty lots of extra attention and TLC.

Her annoyance was sibling rivalry, naturally, so the extra TLC really helped.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 12:10PM
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Thank you so much everybody for your time to help and such great advise. Elly, I was afraid of the length of separation required, but will stick it out. For the best. Thanks. I am transferring smells using the towels to each of the cats. They are mildly interested, and have a halter ready for Cricket - thanks too for these tips Laurie. Had thought of using water spray, but seems a little too mean, and thinking Cricket may just well associate more bad stuff when the new one is around if water used. The new one, (now Leah for now anyway - hah, previous owner called her Leroy - guess why) seems happy and content in her room, although when I sleep I take her with me and close the door, and from her loud purring and rubbing seems to enjoy that time. Next week Leah goes to get spayed, & I'll take her right into her room again of course. Most interesting observation about your cats' reaction too, cat mom, of behaviour after a vet visit. I had heard of Feliway in the past and was curious - does not ship to Canada, so will ask the vet where to get it. Thanks for this reminder, katchus, great idea. Cricket and others still getting lots of TLC, tekaren. Cricket demands it. She's quite the cat - wraps her front legs around my neck and licks my face purring away and won't let go for eg. She is the only "bred" cat we have, an Ocicat - don't know if this weird attachment is particular to the "breed." I'm almost afraid she's too needy and worry some when she is left alone. The special one-on-one play times is with her favorite toy - the feathers on a string and stick thing.
PS there's kind of a neat little freebie going on from Purina - just got it in the mail: Cat records folder, coupon for a bag of their kitten food and a cute little tag with a red heart on it. Quick registration and option to receive newsletters. There's one for puppies too.
Thanks again everybody! Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 9:28AM
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I forgot to mention another trick we have used with good success. When there was a high level of annoyance, we would take my husband's cologne, and put a dab on the forehead of both cats. With this trick, there is a 'common smell' and a 'familiar smell' and so it really helped with the antagonism.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 9:40PM
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