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Thread: my old cat hates my new cat!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7

    my old cat hates my new cat!

    I have just adopted a new 5 month old male (neutered) kitten to be a companion for our existing 5 month old female (not yet neutered) kitten Miuccia who I found on the street back in October, 2000. It's been a week already and still Miuccia hates the sight of the newcomer Xander. I feel that she is jealous of him. She will growl and hiss at him all the time, but he is not afraid of her at all. He is actually a very friendly cat and has tried on many occasions to play with Miuccia or to groom her, but she just runs away, hisses or spits.

    Right now I am concerned because Miuccia seems to have lost her appetite and refuses to eat. She has been eating less since he came to live with us and now for the past day she is not eating at all. Otherwise she seems healthy.

    We have tried separating them in the beginning by shutting Xander up in the bathroom for a few days but since he is a very vocal cat, Miuccia gets upset and won't eat or play when she hears him meow through the door.

    We have tried in the past two days to let them just spend time together without our supervision and although they do not fight, Miuccia tries to avoid Xander who is always trying to encourage her to play.

    We have had a very close relationship with Miuccia and we have tried to spend extra time with her and play with her at least twice as much as prior to Xander's arrival but she seems to get less and less interested.

    Xander meanwhile has adapted to living with us and seems extremely pleased and happy in his new home. However, our Miuccia seems always so upset and depressed with him around it is making us worried for her health.

    Does anyone have any idea how to get cats to get along? How long does it take usually before two cat strangers living together start to get along? Should I be concerned about Miuccia's lack of appetite at this point?

    I appreciate your advice! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Lawrenceville, Ga, USA
    Posts
    2,492
    When we first got Fluffy and Eli our dog, Rosie didn't like either one. She would swat at them and hiss. She still is not happy with Eli, but we have seen Rosie and Fluffy paying at times.

    I think it just takes time for them to determine a "pecking order". For Rosie, it was a month or two. I would say give them some time to adjust, and they will find their own "pecking order". It may take some time since they are about the same age.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Greenville, SC, USA
    Posts
    17,963
    Join the crowd. My situation is a little bit different as my 11 year old, Mimi, has been the "only cat" for her entire life. Butter adopted us about six weeks ago and it has been turmoil in this house. Butter is approximately 4 years old (vet's best guess) and he is obviously a little more energetic than Mimi. I had him neutered immediately, but one hiss or growl from her and he is ready to play. They aren't physically fighting though, and she just tries to stay out of his way. I'm not sure they will ever be good friends, but they are making it together so far. Both of them have no problems with our two year old dogs.
    Good luck. Just be patient.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    4,770
    I can tell you stories about getting my 2 cats together! Yikes! LOL But, alas...after 6 months of patience and working with both of them, they get along great. Looking at them now you wouldn't even imagine that they didn't get along at first! I was lucky that my cat had such a laid back personality when he was brought in to meet my husband's cat. I tell you what, I've never heard a louder set of lungs on an animal! My husband's cat sure cat reach the earsplitting decibals!!! Some of the tactics to use are to spend time with each cat (separately). Speak calmly to both cats. Get something that has each of the cat's scents on it, like a towel they sleep on. Bring those things into the opposite cat's room to familiarize each to the other one's scent. Have brief interactions with the 2 cats. Start out at viewing from a distance and work your way up to having both in the same room at the same time (hands free). For a long time we couldn't do this, so we inserted a separate tactic. I would put one cat in a carrier (they feel safe there) and I would have one cat out and would be holding him. Then we'd switch and do the same thing with the other cat. Putting each cat in its own carrier and facing them toward each other also helped get my husband's cat adjusted to my cat. Thank goodness he was so calm!!! He didn't once raise a fuss when my husband's cat was yowling and spitting and growling at him!!
    But, like Spencer said, isolate them and be patient. It could take some time. Good luck! Keep us up to date on what happens

    ------------------
    "In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats." - English proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7
    All your advice is great, thank you!

    To update you all on the situation, Miuccia (my old cat) had lost her appetite and wasn't looking too well. When I came home from work she didn't run out to greet me, and she had watery eyes and the most forlorn expression. She was shivering a little too. When I sat down next to her, she weakly extended a little paw over my hand as if to say "oh, thank you for your kind attention...I apologize for not being so playful but I'm feeling not at all well!"

    I immediately took her to the vet. She became quite alert once we got there. Curious. Once we were in the vet's examination room I explained to him the situation, and her symptoms. He suggested that we place her on the floor to see how she was moving about, and she started running around investigating and climbing up my leg! I remarked to the vet that it was the first time in three days that I've ever seen her so lively!

    Turns out her temperature was normal, and she was not dehydrated or sick. She was just constipated probably from stress of having Xander around and that made her not want to eat.

    The vet advised me that we should not have given Miuccia "special treatment" without Xander around (we had shut Xander up in his own room because we felt he was upsetting Miuccia, and given Miuccia lots of individual attention) because that would just reinforce her dislike of Xander. We should have made sure that positive things happened only when they were together, so they would associate rewards with being together.

    Turns out that my cat was putting on an act to get all our undivided attention! Once she got home, she was eating and running around as usual.

    However, once my boyfriend got home from work, she immediately went to the corner and pretended to be sick again!

    This is not to say that all cats pretend to be sick. I'm a firm believer that if there seems to be anything abnormal about my cat's behavior or habits, and the cat doesn't seem to be eating, drinking or going to the washroom (especially if the cat in question is a kitten), I'd take kitty to the vet right away.

    I'm following your advice and the vet's advice and I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that Xander and Miuccia will someday like each other.

    [This message has been edited by khoiho (edited February 16, 2001).]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Lawrenceville, GA USA
    Posts
    68
    Fuzzy317 - you forgot about Morgan...

    Some cats will never get along. NEVER. When we adopted Jackson, his previous owner also had his sister, Morgan. She was having a difficult time adopting out Morgan because the PetsMart adoption days were far too stressful for her. After a couple of weeks, she talked us into taking Morgan. Since they were brother and sister and had been together (in an "outdoor cat only" home) all their lives, the transition should have been smooth (even though I'm an "indoors only - outside on a leash when trained" home).

    That's when everything that could go wrong did. Those two hated each other and the two weeks before she slipped out the door and ran off were the worst hell I've ever been through trying to bring a new cat (she wasn't even a "new" cat!) into my home.

    They did everything they could to antagonize each other. She didn't care for catnip, but he did, so if we put some out for him, she flop her fat butt on it so he couldn't roll in it. She was rather fat and couldn't squeeze behind the water heater, but he could and he'd hide there, while she's sit in front of the heater and howl. Jackson, Fuzzy and I were "sleep at night" people, but Morgan would start yowling around 2AM and wouldn't stop. Nothing made her stop, so Fuzz and I'd throw pillows over our heads until we fell asleep. Jackson also figured out how to get into the cabinets, but since Morgan was so fat, she couldn't. Jackson found every hiding place he could to get away from her. The only time he would spend with us was when we three would go into the bedroom and close the door. And even then, he wouldn't get anywhere near the door and she'd stay right outside of it yowling the whole time.

    Yes, these were brother and sister who had been together all of their lives and were around 7-8 years old. I'm guessing the "being together" part was only because they were outside cats who were fed off the same porch.

    Morgan eventually ran out of the door one evening while we were bringing in groceries. We did try to find her for two or 3 months, but after she left, Jackson and our home returned to normal. In all my years of doing rescue work and having multi cat households (I've never had a NON multi cat household - at least 3, sometimes a dozen), I've never had a case as extreme as this. This integration was one of only two failures I've ever had. (The other involved an FIP infected cat that infected a dozen cats/kittens - and even then, that cat had a physical reason for being a jerk.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7
    Just an update....

    We have been telling Miuccia "NO!" when she growls or hisses at Xander and she had reduced her show of aggression by a lot since she went to the vet.

    In any event last Sunday, Miuccia and Xander miraculously started to play with one another. It was still rather aggressive play (in my eyes) - Miuccia will entice Xander to chase her under the coffee table and then she will attack him - but they seemed to have fun.

    They started to eat right next to each other the very same day without Miuccia growling or hissing. When Miuccia slept on her favourite chair Xander will sleep right underneath it.

    Miuccia will still let out the occasional growl or hiss but otherwise, it looks like they are going to be friends!

    I can't tell you how relieved I am!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    chicago
    Posts
    530
    I can totally relate to every post here. When I brought my second cat, Miko (2yr fem.), home in early January, it was a very bad scene for several weeks. First cat Saima (3yr fem.) absolutely HATED Miko and would hiss and growl every time Miko came within her field of vision. Miko was calm and friendly toward Saima, but would have to defend herself (and sometimes retaliate) if Saima ever pounced on her. I kept on hoping and praying that they'd become friends and snuggling buddies, but for a while Saima just couldn't tolerate this new cat at all. If I was cuddling and petting Saima and Miko came up to join us, Saima would frown and leave the room (no matter how much I begged her to stay!). Fortunately Saima never lost her appetite and made pretty darn sure she got her share of food. I gave each of the cats as much individual attention and love as I could, playing with them and talking to them, trying to reassure them.

    Let me tell you that I really do believe that time and patience is the key in these situations. That is theme of most of the posts here on this topic. I know it's very true that some cats may never get along. It just depends on their personalities and histories. But I have seen so much progress between my own cats and I can honestly say that Saima is slowly warming up to Miko. Fights break out much less often, and any chasing by one cat of the other looks a lot more like "play" than it ever has. Both cats can now sit with me at the same time and they can usually look at each other without hostility. I have recently seen Saima ALMOST let Miko groom her (Saima was sleepy at the time ). And many times they have approached each other for what looks like a friendly sniff-each-other's-noses greeting. We're still not quite there yet, but I think as time goes by, Saima and Miko can only grow closer. I do forsee the day when they will bond and be friends for life. I can't wait until that day!

    I wish you luck, Khoiho, and I hope Miuccia will eventually accept Xander. Just hang in there and hope for the best! Happy, peaceful days may still be ahead!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Greenville, SC, USA
    Posts
    17,963
    You guys at least give me hope that Mimi and Butter will someday co-exist peacefully. Yesterday, Mimi scratched his beautiful nose and his paw...drew blood for the first time. If he would just leave her alone, but NO, he is so curious about her that he goes and gets right in her face. She puts those ears down and starts growling and swatting. I bought Butter some toys yesterday to distract him, but of course the dogs have already destroyed the catnip mouse when I wasn't looking.
    We're going to keep working on it, and thankfully, Butter allows me to pick him up when they are swatting, and I move him into another room.
    This morning, my daughter, who is sick today, started yelling for me to come fast. She was lying on the couch. Mimi was on her chest and Butter was right above her head on the back of the couch. They were about to go for each other right over Helen's face! That was a little too close for comfort.

  10. #10
    Vi Co Bi-

    I can relate to litter mates hating each other. I've posted the story before about a kitty I was fostering who had two kittens in my closet. I kept them after their mom went to her new home, but they never Got along. They hated the very sight of each other and would fight if they happened to come within feet of each other. They were like this until they day they died (tragically, together in an accident) four years later.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Lawrenceville, GA USA
    Posts
    68
    4 Feline - I'd never had any like those two.

    I did have a female with kittens who came to me when the kittens were 8 hrs. old and the mom took a dislike to one of the kittens. The vet said he was healthy and normal (except for his horrible loud annoying meow that got on EVERYONE'S nerves...), so we kept tricking the mom into nursing him. We'd put vanilla on her nose so she couldn't smell him (and prayed he'd keep his mouth shut!), would rearrange the kittens to make sure he got a good nipple, even supplemented her nursing with replacement. As soon as this mama cat would realize which one he was, she'd take him out of the playpen and dump him in another part of the house, usually near another cat I had who looked similar to that mom (he never could smell the difference and she'd wallop him sending him sliding across the floor).

    Although he never lost the annoying meow, he lived for many years after his mother was put to sleep. After his two brothers and a sister were adopted, I accepted a foster cat who'd tested neg. for FeLV/FIV, but turned out to be FIP positive. This mother tested positive right away, but this guy was 2nd to the last to die - about 6 years later.

    We never knew what it was about him that the mother had found so objectionable, unless it was that meow - reminded me of what it would sound like if you stepped on a siamese's tail.

  12. #12
    Poor little guy! But I guess his kittenhood struggles to be loved by his very own mom made him stronger - to resist succumbing for so long!

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