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Introducing old cat to new cat?


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Feb 26, 2012, 12:15am   #31
mdmd's Avatar
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Hi OP, I've fostered cats from time to time. They've all been different in terms of how my cat acts towards them and vice versa. I think that may be a reason for the conflicting advice from everyone--why you may need to use more than one strategy and be very patient with each one.

I've also heard that you can buy artificial pheromones. I've never tried this myself, but a good friend swears it works like a charm.
Feb 26, 2012, 12:20am   #32
r
Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madamefifi
OP, the separation thing works best but it can take a long time for Old Kitty and New Kitty to get used to the idea of living together. I would re-confine New Kitty to one room and start over--it will save everyone involved a lot of stress. No one is happy with the current situation.

I don't want this to evolve into a long post because I'm a little tipsy and need to go to bed but I can speak from the position of the housemate of ten cats, ages 12 to less than 1 . A slow, supervised introduction is key. I would like to recommend a book to you: Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat., by Pam Johnson-Bennett. It's truly a miracle. I know you're pressed for time so reading the chapters about introducing a new cat is the most important but you can you can't go wrong by reading the whole book. Cats are surprisingly complex little creatures who are territorial and don't like change; keeping that in mind is the first step. Re-confining New Kitty isn't going to do anything but relieve tension so please start there. Simply tossing a strange cat into the mix and hoping for the best works eventually because the cats have no choice but think how you'd feel. No one likes to be blind-sided and cats cope the only way they can which is "fight or flight"-- very unpleasant.

I have had experience using PJ-B's method and I can tell you, it WORKS. I am ashamed that I used to just chuck a new cat into the herd without a thought. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, i have to state that cats do have feelings. Please don't give up and please do a little research. Right now I am lounging on the couch with Laszlo,, my 10 year old alpha male, and on the back of the couch are Zuul (12) and Lucinda (<1); playing together quite nicely on the rug are Tiny Rufus (3) and Cosmo (6) . Arthur (3) and Clarence( (6) are snuggled in bed with my husband. Dolores (10) is snoozing on the other couch. It's so peaceful! And I really feel I owe this peace to doing the legwork necessary, whether it's reading the aforementioned book or just doing online research or asking for advice on tPF. I skimmed this thread and much as I love and respect all cat ladies I jhave to disagree with the " let them fight it out" approach. It's just too hard on the cats, KWIM? It can work for some cats but not for all cats and I really believe the goal should not be eventual tolerance but complete acceptance. It can happen.


There I went, right onto my soapbox when I swore I wouldn't! OP, take or leave this post in the spirit it was intended. In your first post it sounded like you were doing everything right, I think you may have just rushed things. And sometimes cats will just never get along. In spite of everything, my Gozer (12) and Hector(3) hate each other and just this past week Hector has taken to living on top of the bookcase--he only gets down to potty. I am overdue for some research, myself. I'm no expert!

Anyway---best of luck to you and your kitties. Everyone just wants a happy home, right? Keep trying! Shutting up now!

*pours one last glass of wine*
Thank you so much, I just bought that book on my kindle and will be reading it tomorrow. I just want what is best for both cats and don't want the new kitty to be stressed, which she clearly is. It's back to confinement for now.

Thanks again!
Feb 26, 2012, 12:27am   #33
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cat hoarder
Ha! I did say I'm no expert, didn't I?. Just checked Clevercat's adoption thread and her new guy and old guy look mighty chummy all ready! Have to admit, I did just chuck Laszlo and co into the mix back in '02 and while he and Dolores integrated with no problem, their sis Mathilda ( gone to the Rainbow Bridge) never did. So I guess what I really meant to say in my tipsy rambling is that it's an individualized process as just mentioned by a previous poster; in your particular case, OP, it seems a slower introduction is necessary. It's always best to err on the side of caution when other peoples'/ cats' well-being is at stake.
Feb 26, 2012, 2:20am   #34
clevercat's Avatar
Murphy's Mama
Originally Posted by madamefifi
Ha! I did say I'm no expert, didn't I?. Just checked Clevercat's adoption thread and her new guy and old guy look mighty chummy all ready! Have to admit, I did just chuck Laszlo and co into the mix back in '02 and while he and Dolores integrated with no problem, their sis Mathilda ( gone to the Rainbow Bridge) never did. So I guess what I really meant to say in my tipsy rambling is that it's an individualized process as just mentioned by a previous poster; in your particular case, OP, it seems a slower introduction is necessary. It's always best to err on the side of caution when other peoples'/ cats' well-being is at stake.
I read your earlier post - I love that Pam Johnson-Bennett book, it's falling apart, I've read it so much. It's been read, reread, I've highlighted areas, there are post-it notes on almost every chapter - and when I was a newish adopter, I followed her method to the letter. Yes, it was very time-consuming, but it worked.
I changed the way I introduce everyone for two reasons - the Special Needs cats were coming to me thick and fast, and I didn't have enough room to do the separation and gradual introductions. Secondly, at the rescue centre, they think if cats are hissing and growling when they are first introduced, it's fine and to be expected, it's only the punch-ups and fighting they are worried about. They gave me a large kitten pen and suggested the new arrival lives in there until the hissies are over. It works! Some introductions have been easier than others... Colin, when he was a kitten, he just walked around, did a meet and greet, selected a cushion and then slept through until dinner. Tommy strolled calmly out of his carrier, purring his head off and it was like he wasn't a new kittie at all, but rather somebody who had been with us forever. Figaro, on the other hand, maybe because he was older, it was quite stressful.... Still, he has only been with me for three and a bit weeks and look at him, he is transformed. A total lap-cat - and he has a best friend already. I just took this photo of them

Name:  Phil n Fig.jpg
Views: 156
Size:  67.4 KB

So - I don't think there is a wrong/right way to do introductions but if you can get hold of a copy of that book, OP, I think you'll find it really helpful.
Feb 26, 2012, 3:04am   #35
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cat hoarder
Clever, I bow to your authority! Laszlo was so funny when he first came home with me, he knew right away that Gozer was the Boss Cat and immediately commenced his "flopping" campaign--- wherever Gozer settled down for a nap, Laszlo would show up and flop right down on top of him. Poor old Goze was mystified! It worked like a charm, though, and Laz does the flop on the Goze to this day, ten years later. Some cats just got it like that, don't they? Laszlo has never had a problem with anyone, he's a good kitty.
Feb 26, 2012, 6:58am   #36
inspiredgem's Avatar
Member
Originally Posted by rkmc12
Hello,
Did you separate them for some time or just let them together?
I kept them separate. Lana (new kitty) was confined to the sun room which has a sliding glass door to the rest of the house so she could see everyone. I should mention that I also have two dogs, so they needed to be introduced as well. Fortunately Lana had lived with dogs prior to being adopted by me so she wasn't too upset by them. After a week or so, I would let Lana into the rest of the house but only when I was home. When I went to work Lana would go back in the sun room. I also put her in there when I went to bed at night. I think it was a couple of months before she was free to roam the entire house unsupervised.

Originally Posted by madamefifi
OP, the separation thing works best but it can take a long time for Old Kitty and New Kitty to get used to the idea of living together. I would re-confine New Kitty to one room and start over--it will save everyone involved a lot of stress. No one is happy with the current situation.

I don't want this to evolve into a long post because I'm a little tipsy and need to go to bed but I can speak from the position of the housemate of ten cats, ages 12 to less than 1 . A slow, supervised introduction is key. I would like to recommend a book to you: Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat., by Pam Johnson-Bennett. It's truly a miracle. I know you're pressed for time so reading the chapters about introducing a new cat is the most important but you can you can't go wrong by reading the whole book. Cats are surprisingly complex little creatures who are territorial and don't like change; keeping that in mind is the first step. Re-confining New Kitty isn't going to do anything but relieve tension so please start there. Simply tossing a strange cat into the mix and hoping for the best works eventually because the cats have no choice but think how you'd feel. No one likes to be blind-sided and cats cope the only way they can which is "fight or flight"-- very unpleasant.

I have had experience using PJ-B's method and I can tell you, it WORKS. I am ashamed that I used to just chuck a new cat into the herd without a thought. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, i have to state that cats do have feelings. Please don't give up and please do a little research. Right now I am lounging on the couch with Laszlo,, my 10 year old alpha male, and on the back of the couch are Zuul (12) and Lucinda (<1); playing together quite nicely on the rug are Tiny Rufus (3) and Cosmo (6) . Arthur (3) and Clarence( (6) are snuggled in bed with my husband. Dolores (10) is snoozing on the other couch. It's so peaceful! And I really feel I owe this peace to doing the legwork necessary, whether it's reading the aforementioned book or just doing online research or asking for advice on tPF. I skimmed this thread and much as I love and respect all cat ladies I jhave to disagree with the " let them fight it out" approach. It's just too hard on the cats, KWIM? It can work for some cats but not for all cats and I really believe the goal should not be eventual tolerance but complete acceptance. It can happen.


There I went, right onto my soapbox when I swore I wouldn't! OP, take or leave this post in the spirit it was intended. In your first post it sounded like you were doing everything right, I think you may have just rushed things. And sometimes cats will just never get along. In spite of everything, my Gozer (12) and Hector(3) hate each other and just this past week Hector has taken to living on top of the bookcase--he only gets down to potty. I am overdue for some research, myself. I'm no expert!

Anyway---best of luck to you and your kitties. Everyone just wants a happy home, right? Keep trying! Shutting up now!

*pours one last glass of wine*
Great advice! I think I will have to check out that book too!
Feb 26, 2012, 7:01am   #37
inspiredgem's Avatar
Member
Originally Posted by clevercat
I read your earlier post - I love that Pam Johnson-Bennett book, it's falling apart, I've read it so much. It's been read, reread, I've highlighted areas, there are post-it notes on almost every chapter - and when I was a newish adopter, I followed her method to the letter. Yes, it was very time-consuming, but it worked.
I changed the way I introduce everyone for two reasons - the Special Needs cats were coming to me thick and fast, and I didn't have enough room to do the separation and gradual introductions. Secondly, at the rescue centre, they think if cats are hissing and growling when they are first introduced, it's fine and to be expected, it's only the punch-ups and fighting they are worried about. They gave me a large kitten pen and suggested the new arrival lives in there until the hissies are over. It works! Some introductions have been easier than others... Colin, when he was a kitten, he just walked around, did a meet and greet, selected a cushion and then slept through until dinner. Tommy strolled calmly out of his carrier, purring his head off and it was like he wasn't a new kittie at all, but rather somebody who had been with us forever. Figaro, on the other hand, maybe because he was older, it was quite stressful.... Still, he has only been with me for three and a bit weeks and look at him, he is transformed. A total lap-cat - and he has a best friend already. I just took this photo of them

Attachment 1617107

So - I don't think there is a wrong/right way to do introductions but if you can get hold of a copy of that book, OP, I think you'll find it really helpful.
I really admire all you've done for your sweet kittys. They couldn't have found a nicer home. I love this picture!
Mar 4, 2012, 6:17pm   #38
r
Thread Starter
Member
I currently have three baby gates stacked in my doorway so they can see and smell each other, but cannot attack. New cat still hisses and runs under my bed when she sees new cat, but I'm hoping this will change.
Mar 5, 2012, 8:21am   #39
bunnymasseuse's Avatar
BunniesN'DaSun
Originally Posted by cats n bags
I would also add to Clever's and Cindi's advice that if you are concerned about fights, you can clip their toenails.

If both cats are relaxed enough to let you snip the points off of their claws they won't cause the deep scratches if they do swat each other.

Have a squirt bottle just in case, but do not try to break up any fights yourself by grabbing a cat. Cat bites are serious injuries for both cats and people.
Originally Posted by rkmc12
I currently have three baby gates stacked in my doorway so they can see and smell each other, but cannot attack. New cat still hisses and runs under my bed when she sees new cat, but I'm hoping this will change.
Something I've really liked that I've seen on TV (outside of the hyped up drama they create to yeild viewers)... My Cat from Hell show. He's a pet behaviorist and has good tips for following, whether its a new introduction between cats or a new re-introduction between ones that have had something tramatic occur to make them not trust again. I agree slower may yield better results, and using food as a way to bring them together may help it along too. We spent a fair amount of $ and time to resolve a break in the happy household we had, sadly we found our issue was bigger than conditioning could fix, something mentally was not right. That said, we learned a great deal from the behaviorist we talked to that we will put into practice when we add cats into our family in the future.
Mar 5, 2012, 1:26pm   #40
mymeimei02's Avatar
Member
I think it takes time. I just adopted a cat and within a day I just let them go at it. I made sure they weren't fighting. After a day full of hissing and growling they calmed down with each other enough to say hi. I tried to stay calm because I think they can feel my nervous energy and they will be more nervous.Each situation is different though. Good luck.
Mar 6, 2012, 6:04pm   #41
r
Thread Starter
Member
Thanks everyone for the advice. It has been almost a month and new cat still hisses and hides from old cat when she sees him. I'm a little frustrated because the lady I adopted her from assured me she was great with other cats and had become best friends with two cats in four days. I just want her and old cat to get along.
Mar 7, 2012, 2:50am   #42
clevercat's Avatar
Murphy's Mama
Originally Posted by rkmc12
Thanks everyone for the advice. It has been almost a month and new cat still hisses and hides from old cat when she sees him. I'm a little frustrated because the lady I adopted her from assured me she was great with other cats and had become best friends with two cats in four days. I just want her and old cat to get along.
Don't worry! I was talking to someone who runs a rescue charity yesterday, and we were discussing how difficult and stressful introductions can be. She said she advises all adopters to give it a minimum three months. Your two may never be the cuddling up together cats, but they'll learn to get along and tolerate each other. Keep going, you're doing a great job with them!
Mar 7, 2012, 7:43am   #43
oggers86's Avatar
Member
Its taken years for 2 cats at my mums to sit within a few feet of each other. They co-exist but will never be friends and we never did any proper introductions.

If they arent fighting then thats a step in the right direction
Mar 12, 2012, 12:35pm   #44
r
Thread Starter
Member
After a week of seeing each other through the gates, and a month of her being sequestered in my room, I opened the baby gate today and left for an hour. When I came back there were tufts of fur everywhere and my cat (new cat) is hiding under the bed. I really do not know what to do. I've tried everything but I don't know if they are ever going to get along. I put old cat on a leash so if he goes back in my room I can monitor the stuation and he can't attack her, but I am at my wits end. Thank you all for listening and for your answers.
Mar 12, 2012, 9:15pm   #45
g
Account Deactivated
i am sorry they are giving you such grief, rkmc. i am still hopeful they will work it out.
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