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Trying to combine a rescue with a pre-existing cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a 2 year old rescue who is pretty afraid of everything. He became friendly with our older cat (who passed away recently) and is in love with our dog, but he won't have anything to do with strangers, doorbells, etc...

We recently took in a stray siamese cat who is extremely people and dog friendly. He's been living in the basement for the last week while we try to slowly introduce him to the other cat. Things were going well for the last couple days - the older cat was hissing and scared, but becoming less so with each supervised, controlled visit.

Tonight my girlfriend decided that they should be able to be around each other with a little more freedom. The siamese walked up to the older cat in a quick way and the older cat hissed and retreated. The siamese followed until I stopped him. Nothing happened but our older cat was definitely scared.

The thing that I'm trying to figure out is was the siamese being aggressive. He didn't make any low growling noises, only his little high-pitched chortles. His fur didn't stand up in any way and his tail didn't puff up. But he also didn't read whatever signals the scared cat was sending. I don't know if these standard aggression signs don't apply to siamese or what.

My girlfriend is certain that this was extremely aggressive behavior. I'm not sure. He approaches us and our dog in a similar manner at times and only wants love.

She's also positive that he wants to steal the other cat's food out of dominance. (We have been feeding them in viewing distance of each other and the siamese tries to get loose and walk over to the other cat.) She is positive that he is trying to steal the food but I have no idea why she feels that that is definitely what he's doing when we've never allowed him to get anywhere near the food. I suspect that in his weird way both of these situations are just him trying to get up close to the other cat to check him out and sniff him. But if he is truly trying to be dominant and aggressive then maybe he's not a good fit for this skittish cat. I just don't want to write this behavior off as aggressive when it doesn't have hardly any of the obvious signs.

post #2 of 10
I don't think it is a bad aggressive behavior, just a bit more interested in making friends then your other cat, who may feel put out with the new presence. Was your cat close with the older one who passed? This could be a little traumatic, losing one and suddenly a new cat who is ready for friendship. Keep an eye and seperate rooms for a while when no one is around. Short intro times each day.....
post #3 of 10
It sounds to me like they are just not ready to be friends yet, I doubt that the siamese is trying to hurt the other kitty. You also have to keep in mind that siamese are a whole different breed, our siamese is slightly crazy! We too just introduced a new stray kitten into our home, but our existing 7 seem to be pretty open to change, seeing as we add a new one every few months or so lately (not a good habit to keep up ) Anyway I would just give it more time with supervison before I would leave them alone, it may take months even before you can feel safe leaving them alone, but if patient enough they can become friends. Also pay attention to body language, are the ears and tail tucked back or are they upright in a playful position, does it seem like they are charging at each other or just approaching with caution. I think that in the end it can work out just fine! Good luck and keep us updated on the progress of these two! By the way, how old is the siamese? and your other kitty, age can play a big role in it too! If the new kitty is younger it is not viewed as such a threat in my opinion, as opposed to an older kitty who may want to fight for the dominant position in the household.
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
I don't think it is a bad aggressive behavior, just a bit more interested in making friends then your other cat, who may feel put out with the new presence.
I agree. I think it'll be fine, when the older cat gets used to the newbie. It definately doesn't sound like there's anything other than normal getting to know each other stuff going on.
post #5 of 10
I just went through this. In two weeks, everything turned out fine. But it could take a lot longer. I started out keeping them totally separate and then keeping them separate by only a door that they knew each other was on the other side but could not see and then I started carrying them around in sight of each other and then putting them in a room together more and more each day. In the beginning, both had their own private rooms and things such as litter box, water and food bowls and I started moving those closer together too. Everything slow and gradual. After they started to tolerate each other in the same room I started putting them on the bed at opposite ends just to get them used to the idea. In a couple of days they started getting on the bed by theirself although not together. But after all of this persisent "forcing of bonding" they are now happy together and sharing everything including the litter box, food and water bowls. Last night they were even eating out of the same big food bowl together. Have you seen dogs do this without fighting? Anyway, the key here is time. Do not give up and keep having cases where they are together and give each EQUAL ATTENTION especially in the sight of each other. Best of vibes to you; it can be done!
post #6 of 10
I've introduced a new cat/kitten into our household so many times! There's only been 1 occasion that I had 2 cats absolutely hate each other; even after 12 years they wouldn't have anything to do with each other, and would swat each other on a regular basis. IMO, that's a rare occurrence. Your scenario doesn't sound like out-right aggression to me, just 2 strangers checking each other out. Around here, unless the new-comer is a kitten or is injured, we pretty much let them share the same space right from the start. I'm around to break up anything that might be too rough. I'm sure your 2 kitties will get along just fine, and one of them will probably end up being more dominant.
Good luck!
post #7 of 10
I rescued quite a few cats when I had a large house. Sometimes I'd have to keep them seperated for the most part, for quite some time. Months even. The only concern I have about having them all together is health concerns. A complete Vet check up is warranted, to make sure you're not bringing in any disease or illness to your resident cat.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the thoughtful replies. It reassured how I already felt; I was looking for some expert backup opinions to present to my girlfriend. The "older" cat (he may actually be younger in age) is her baby and she was so worried that he was being put out by the new guy.

Anyway, the combination of your advice and the advice from a friend with a gang of cats convinced her that the new guy isn't out for blood and that they should spend more time together. They are right now running around and playing like the fantastic cats they are. In fact, I think this will in the long run help the older cat (who has always acted a little feral even though we rescued him as a sick little kitten) come out of his shell.

As for health, the new guy had a full vet rundown the day after we took him in along with a little case of castration. So he's clean as far as we know.

I feel like there is more I wanted to say in this post but I'm eager to go upstairs and see what craziness they're engaging in right now!
post #9 of 10
Good for you! I knew your kitties would be ok with each other. Let the games begin
post #10 of 10
Happy to hear all is well! to your new family member!
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