I recently adopted a nine-week-old kitten we named Sonny. I have two older female cats- Dolly, we have had ten years, and Charlotte, we have had eight years. My problem is, Sonny chases after the female cats, and they run from him. He has tried to jump on their backs, but they are faster and get away. I tried putting them in carriers and making them look at each other, but it hasn’t helped. The girls just hiss at him. How can I help them connect? Will it get better as he gets bigger? Any advice would be appreciated. How can two big cats be so afraid of a tiny kitten?
– Linda, Long Island, New York
The good news, they will eventually tolerate each other. They are not fighting, but Sonny is definitely establishing his territory at a young age by chasing the other two cats away. Make sure you have multiple litter boxes in the home, so he doesn’t chase them away from a litter box too.
Your cats could probably benefit from a slower introduction. Put Sonny in a bedroom for a little while each day for about two weeks, so that Dolly and Charlotte can wander around the house as they usually do. Then scent swap with the cats. Bring items that your two adult cats have slept on (cat beds, towels, blankets) into the room for Sonny to smell, and vice versa. By going slower with the introductions, everyone should be more at ease when they are together.
Next, when Sonny chases the girls, redirect his energy by tossing a pom-pom ball across the room or pulling out a feather wand to grab his attention. Over time, he should learn the girls are not his playthings and that he should leave them alone.
Finally, get a vertical cat tree, so the cats have more spaces to get away that are not always out of the room.
Just know, whenever you bring a new pet home, the animal hierarchy can change, and the newest member of the family could turn out to be the top dog in the house. But don’t let Sonny bully or chase the girls. Keep re-directing his energy until he is old enough to know better.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal