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Kitty Drama - December 15th 2012, 03:27 PM

So, my girlfriend, my roommate, and I all just moved into an apartment. My roommate has a 2 year old female cat that she first brought over two nights ago. Last night my girlfriend and I adopted a kitten (a 5 month old female calico) and brought her home. My roommates cat started hissing at the kitten and would growl at any one that got near her. She eventually went into my roommates room but still hissed at everyone, including my roommate (her owner). Now my roommate is upset that her cat is pissed and won't let her pet her and I'm at a lose of what to do. My roommate said that she's lived with other cats before. What can I do to make both our kitties happy? Both are fixed and our kitten isn't fazed by the older cat's growling what so ever. She went into my roommates room and the cat growled and hissed at her and our kitten just nosied around.
   
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Re: Kitty Drama - December 18th 2012, 08:58 AM

You have to let them work it out. Imagine that it's like a roommate situation! You don't always get along with your roommates, and it can be difficult learning to live with them at first (even if you DO get along), but you have to find a way to make it work. That's what your current cats are doing. The fact that she's growling and hissing is simply setting her boundaries and establishing herself as the dominant cat. She was there first, the apartment is her territory, and little girlie's got to learn that. I would say unless she's outright attacking her, there's nothing to be concerned about.

One thing I would recommend is purchasing Feliway. You can get it at any pet store and can get it either in spray form or in the form of a bulb that you plug into a wall. It's essentially a pheramone spray that smells like a lactating mother cat and is actually quite calming to cats in addition to discouraging unwanted behaviours. Spraying some Feliway around the house or having a various plug-ins for the wall (it's probably cheaper to spray) should make the house more of a neutral space. Feliway runs for about $30 at places like PetSmart. However, for the most part, I would say let them work it out. Make sure the cat has kitten-free places to go and watch for outright attacking, i.e. claws unsheathed, literal screeching, fur flying everywhere, etc.; sometimes cats get into tussles that can look scary, but they really aren't in cat language.

Things should work out, but it can take a lot of time for the resident cat to get used to the kittens and even when it doesn't, it takes more than one night. They also really don't recommend you throw them together straight away. I always have but my cats have always been rather docile and the kittens have never been given free reign of the house immediately. You should definitely section off a room for the kitten and allow them to meet through the door first and then slowly start introducing them. Since you haven't done that (though you can always go back to square one), one thing I recommend is if you schedule feed versus free feed, try feeding them together, but keep the kitten out of the cat's food! If you free feed, then give the cat a special treat, either some canned food or, if she eats canned food regularly, some special favourites. ONLY reward the adult cat for being around the kitten. Even if she growls, make the appearance of the kitten = treats.

Mutual playtime is also very good. Can you get the adult cat to engage in play? Feather toys are especially good because they look like birds. Move them horizontally or make a swooping motion with them in the air. This should activate the cat's seeking system and get her interested. Mutual play time allows them both to be in the same room with one another engaging in a positive experience (this is particularly beneficial if the adult cat is too stressed to eat around the youngin') while also expending the energy that comes with stress. If you can exhaust their energy, they will be more tolerable of each other and interact more calmly, because they won't have the stress energy buzzing around inside of them. Mutual playtime is amazing for these types of situations, and if the cat doesn't want to play with feather toys, try picking up a $6 lazer pointer. You'd be hard pressed to find a cat who doesn't like a lazer toy.

Best of luck!


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