Question: My boyfriend adopted a new kitten about a month ago. He already had a cat – a very friendly, loving, sweet, and docile 8-year-old female cat – and we hadn't really anticipated them having troubles getting along.
The new kitten is eager to make friends, but his older cat wants none of it. She's been SO sad – constant hissing, general unhappiness and sadness, and most recently, she stopped eating. We introduced them by keeping the kitten in the bathroom for a week or two, but now we wonder if we should have extended that period. It's been a month now, and she doesn't seem to be getting happier. Any advice?
Answer: I do have one FAQ on introducing a kitten to an older cat, which is somewhat related. But your boyfriend's situation is also about the depression of the other cat. I'm not sure if keeping them separated longer would have prevented it. In any case, there you are with a young kitten that needs play, exercise, and companionship; and an older cat who feels displaced by this intruder, and alienated from your boyfriend.
Before starting the program outlined below, I'd like for the older cat to go to the vet to eliminate any physical cause for her apparent depression and weight loss. Hopefully, that will be ruled out and you can start your Kitty Behavioral Therapy plan.
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
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