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16 year old cat scared of kittens and isolating
An_254341 posted:
Marie is a 16 year old cat. We got her as a kitten with her brother Oliver, who passed away a little over a year ago. Even with Oliver's passing Marie did not look for a companion. Her and Oliver were rather independent but did love each other.

A family friend had kittens and was trying to get rid of them and my mother and brother decided that it would be best to take a brother and sister about 9 weeks old. Marie is not taking it very well. We have a ranch with an open living room, kitchen, and dining room. The only door-ed rooms are our bedrooms and the bathroom.

On day 1 Marie would not eat out of her food bowls because they had the kitten's scent on them. We then moved Marie's food and water into my bed room where she spends most of her time. There was a lot of hissing on Marie's part when first meeting the kittens and when smelling their scent.

We are now on day Day 5/6 of having the kittens and Marie has isolated herself to my room. In the morning when the house is silent she will venture out to our basement to use her litter box but that is the only time. The kittens are kept in a big carrier in the living room when we are sleeping and when we are not at home. Twice when she has gone to use the litter box she has stayed in our basement and hid in a corner on a bin. The other times I was near her when she went to the litter box and called her upstairs.

I am worried that Marie is going to isolate herself and stop socializing with us. She is very loving when my family goes into my room and pets her. She will not come out of the room if you call her like she used to. Today while the kittens were sleeping in the dining room on a chair, I carried Marie out to the living room to sit with me on the couch (her second favorite place besides my bed). She would not have any of it. She hopped down and spotted the kittens carrier. She took slow steps towards the carrier and when she got about 4 feet from it she quickly turned around and walked to our kitchen where her food was normally kept. She smelt the water bowl and turned her nose up and then smelt a toy mouse. She quickly trotted back to my room. (Her form of running)

I am nervous that the stress will not be good for her because she is an elderly cat. I do not want her to isolate herself either. Is there any suggestions or advice you have?
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
It is awesome that you adopted two kittens but alas, your senior cat may never agree with you. Not pushing the issue is important. It may take weeks, months or never for her whiskers to get 'unbent'. If she prefers to have her own private suite in the home, your bedroom, perfect. She should have a litter box, food and water all available to her in that room. Let her roam the house as she desires but don't force her. You and the family can give her extra loving in your bedroom. It is important that the kittens are kept current on their vaccinations so as not to introduce potential diseases to your resident senior cat. A homeopathic product I will occassionally use is Bach Rescue Remedy. They have a liquid form that can be found at health food stores and on line. I have applied a few drops to the inside of their ears 2 to 3 times a day for a week or so. It is calming without being sedating...yes, it does get absorbed through the skin of the ears.
Be patient...continue to show your resident kitty that she is well loved and give it some more time.
Best of luck....


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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