Looking for advice here, so I think this is the right forum.
My 9 month old male kitten is the new addition to the house. We’ve had him for about three months. My 8 year old female cat was the resident cat, and now they are dealing with living together. All of our pets are spayed/neutered and have all their claws.
Here’s the problem. The kitten, when he’s mad about something (whether it be us scolding him for scratching or playing in the houseplants or holding him for too long when he wants to run) attacks the other cat. He will seek her out and bite/mount/chase and otherwise antagonize her.
Today, I was playing with him and he began to bite and scratch me, so I held him down until he was quiet and had given up to me, the dominant one (or at least, I try to be). He was pissed at this point, and so sought out the other cat and chased her howling butt down the stairs. We tried a squirt bottle (which he hates) but that just makes him attack her more. He also attacks our 9 year old female dog, but the dog doesn’t care and ignores him or barks at him and he runs.
Our older cat hates everything about the new kitten, even when he’s being submissive to her and trying to play (touches her tail, no claws or tries to curl up next to her when it’s cold) she hisses, growls and either slaps him and runs away or just runs away.
So, how can I stay dominant, keep him from attacking the cat and keep the peace in our house? Also, how can I get the female cat to tolerate the kitten?
Well, if the kitten takes all his frustrations out on the older cat, she’s not going to have much use for him at other times. That’s just the way cats (and most humans) are. As long as they’re not actually injuring one another, I’d leave them alone to work it out between themselves. The more you get involved, the longer it will take and the more issues about perceived differences in how they’re treated there’ll be for them to work out.
As always, CrazyCatLady has excellent advice on cat behavior. The only thing I would add is that often cats respond better to bribes than to punishments. You might try giving both cats treats when they play nice, rather than just punishing them when they don’t.
You should understand that these are not “issues.” This is normal cat behavior. You are asserting yourself and establishing your place in the pecking order. And then so is the kitten. You are teaching him this. And it’s a necessary lesson. You just have to know when enough is enough.
At nine months, he can’t have been neutered very long ago. It will take several months for the testosterone to wear off, and even then, some cats are just naturally more aggressive than others. If you’re used to having a loveable, submissive female around, then it can be quite a shock to have to live with a rambunctious, aggressive, dominant male.
If you want to give your female some peace, make sure she has a place where she can get away from the kitten and still be part of the household, like the top of a tall armoire, or on top of the fridge or something.
Oh my God! Stop pissing that kitten off. Sounds like you are a dog person trying to use methods that are good for dogs but wrong for cats. While it is necessary to establish dominance with certain breeds of dog, it is not necessary to do the same with cats. If he gets too rambunctious when you play, just make a little crying sound. This will usually make them stop hurting you promptly. My cats try to lick the hand they were trying to bite.
The two cats will work out a system that works for them. The less you interfere, the better. Also, you might save a lot of the rough play for the dog. They seem to enjoy that sort of thing more. Cats like to chase things when they play.
Since my female is getting older and she is overweight, she can’t get away to high places that the kitten can’t reach. There isn’t anywhere the kitten can’t reach.
They NEVER play nice. If the female ignores him when he’s trying to play nice, he attacks her. As for treats, I’m not going to feed my overweight cat for being good. That’s how my mother got her into this condition.
Don’t call me a “dog person”. I hate that. I love all of my animals, and I’m not just a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person’. (besides, the holding until submissive technique worked fine with my female when she was a kitten) Sometimes cats get pissed off. So I’m not supposed to grab him when he’s trying to drink the boiling water on the stove? I’m not supposed to hold him back when he’s trying to get outside? (We do take him out on a leash when it’s not too cold.) I do this and he runs and attacks the other cat. I’m NOT going to let this kitten walk all over me or my other pets or get himself into dangerous situations. Dominance is fine, injury is not.
He suckles, and gentle pushes and hissing helps keep him under control. What am I supposed to do when he’s being overly rambunctious? Holding or petting him just makes him angrier.
We’re teaching the dog to play nice with the cat. She used to go after him, hold him down and bite his stomach until he howled and she sometimes drew blood. We’ve taught her that this is too much. She now just jumps at him and barks or head butts him. It knocks him over and she wags her tail. He rolls on his back and swats at her leg until she does it again. I don’t mind him being aggressive toward the dog as she barely feels his claws through her thick fur.
Is there a way to direct his aggression toward the dog? The dog enjoys rough play and I don’t have to pull scabs off of her neck every night.
I’ll try letting them work things out for themselves, but I feel sorry for my female. We’ve tried putting him under a laundry basket with a few toys and playing with the female. This seems to work as he is perfectly content to try and eat his own tail while she gets some one on one time.
When my cats are not playing nice, now all I have to do is yell. Before, when one started being pissy and attacking, he got a time out. We have a bathtub with doors on it, so in goes kitty and shut the doors. Never had to keep them in longer that 10 minutes, typically at 2-3 minutes you’ll get the plaintive “mew?” of a calmed down cat. Just closing them in the bathroom does the same thing. Any room where they are isolated and not by choice. Otherwise, we rarely shut doors inside the house. I have a friend that uses the cat carrier for a time out space, but I have enough trouble getting them in the carrier as it is.
I recommend Family Play Time, with toys. A hand is not a toy! Get a Feline Flyer (or make one: feathers at the end of a string, at the end of a stick.) Stand in the middle of the room and twirl the feathers around over the carpet. (“Holy shit, there’s a freakin’ bird in the house! Let me at 'em!” is what the male cat will say.) Tire one cat out and then the other cat. Pet the kitties a lot. (“Ooooh what a ferocious hunter you are! pet-pet-pet”) Alternate cats. Perhaps each cat could have his or her own toy. You have two hands–use them!
Family meal time: Divide a can of Fancy Feast into two bowls and put them two feet apart on the floor (preferably on two separate special kittty placemats). Say “Oooh, what nice kitties I have! …pet-pet-pet… pet-pet-pet…” They need to learn that you are the Momcat and they are the kittens.
Our new kitten likes to attack both our other cats, one which is 11 years old. We only break it up when it really gets out of hand. The kitten will change as it gets older. And your older cat will most likely learn to defend itself. It takes time.
I read your post thinking, “what’s abnormal about this?” If the kitten pisses the other cat off enough times, the big cat will show him who’s boss. Trust me. I’ve got three cats and they attack each other all the time. They’re just playing!
You want to talk issues? Two of our cats are gay, and one of them may have to go on medication for depression because when my husband doesn’t pay enough attention to him (like if he’s gone for a couple of days), the cat starts spraying (and he’s fixed). On top of that, they’re all just plain stupid. Ah, the joy of pets.
We left them alone last night and this morning put the male in his laundry basket jail (where he eats on his tail and bumps his head into the side of the basket to make it go where he wants. (he can get out and does when we leave the room)
I had the ‘special string’, the only toy my female likes, and we were playing. Male gets out, sits in front of her and reaches out and touches the string. Female smacks him across the face, no claws, but she’s not kidding, either. He backs off, comes back slowly and tries again. Same reaction.
[quote**So I’m not supposed to grab him when he’s trying to drink the boiling water on the stove?[/quote]
What, pray tell, is he doing on the stove in the first place!? My cats never get on the counters, or the table. They know where they may NOT go.
When they were small, if they tried to scratch (people or furniture) I would hold the offending paw and say “No claws” They are all very well mannered now. and the command “No claws” still works fine.