Our 13yr Old Cat is Upset By Arrival of New Cat

Our cat problems are with our 13 year old neutered male cat (Charlie) who we have had for the last 9 years. He has always nudged us in a gentle way with his forehead.

We have introduced a new neutered female (Poppy) who is about 9-12 months old a week ago. Since then Charlie has stopped nudging us. I know it is only something small but as he would nudge to put his scent on us, I can't understand why he isn't doing it now.

There are also a couple of other things as well, I am so surprised that Poppy seems to be dominant over him. They have a food bowl each but he doesn't stop her from eating out of his, he just walks away. I know it's extremely early days but do you think he will get back to normal? Sorry it's a bit long but I am worried about him being upset at us.

Reply from Liz (editor): These cat problems are pretty normal (albeit upsetting) when you introduce a new cat. There is always a period of adjustment, and I believe it's worse for the existing cat than it is for the new one - all of a sudden his world is "invaded" and he will be a bit put out and upset for a while.

From what you've told me, it seems Charlie is a bit put out at the moment, but I don't think he's taking it too badly... sometimes when two adult cats are introduced, they will hiss, growl and be really aggressive to each other for weeks, so the fact that he's already letting Poppy share his food bowl is actually a really positive thing.

If they're at this stage already, I'm convinced that they will get to the point where they are perfectly happy with each other - and then I'm sure Charlie will return to his old self and start nudging you again.

One of them will end up being dominant over the other, and they have to work that out between themselves. It may be that Poppy will be the dominant cat.

I have a similar situation with my two cats - I got Terry as a kitten but he's now dominant over Priscilla, who, when I got him, had already been living with me for several years. They get along fine, but the only thing I do have to do is watch Terry doesn't pinch Priscilla's food when I feed them. If I leave him unchecked (which I don't any more!) he eats a tiny bit of his own food, then leaves it, pushes Priscilla out of her food bowl, eats all her food and then returns to his own bowl to finish his! You may just have to supervise them when they eat (or even feed them in different rooms with the door shut) if Poppy keeps stealing Charlie's food.

Good luck with this. I'm sure a bit of time and maybe a small amount of intervention from you is all that's needed to keep Charlie happy and solve these cat problems.

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