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Introducing new cat -- shifting hierarchies

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello everybody!

I'm new to this forum so I'm very pleased to be here. I need help and I've checked out the archives to see if this information has been answered. So far nothing so please forgive me if I rehash already covered territory. I'm also sorry that this is a long story.

I've been working on introducing new cat (1 yr old stray and recently spayed female named Pumpkin -- tortoiseshell) to my old cat (4 yr old spayed female named Boo). I did what the vet suggested by slowly introducing them to each other by keeping them separate for a while, etc... I finally introduced them in a supervised, non threatening (ie., not feeding time) way. Pumpkin, who is the =most= affectionate cat to humans I've ever met, became very aggressive with my old cat.

I decided, since no blood was shed, to let them work things out. I kept them separated with occassional "meetings." Then I decided to let them out by themselves unsupervised. Boo became very unhappy -- peed in places she shouldn't, cried to me, was jumpy all the time and stuck as close to me as she could. I decided the new cat had to find a new ownder. Unfortunately I didn't find somebody. I had Pumpkin spayed...now the tables have turned.

Boo (old cat) will fight back and chase the other cat off. In fact, Pumpkin is showing signs of becoming submissive to her. But I don't know how to leave them alone together because I tried that for a couple hours while I was out shopping and when I opened the door, Boo shot out of it!!! She's an indoor cat and has never done that before (except once or twice when I had been away for extended trips).

I'm still keeping them separated when I'm away although they are around each other when I'm home. Does anybody have suggestions on how I should proceed? Should I just bite the bullet and let them get used to each other 24/7?

Sorry for the long post but the relationship between them keeps moving around!!

Thanks so much for your patience.

post #2 of 16
I don't know how long you have had these cats together. Sometimes it can take more than a month for cats to get used to each other. Boo was just letting you know how she feels about the whole thing. I would try giving them all some cat nip before they all socialize. Then maybe when you let the girl out, make sure and take Boo for some quality time. Maybe give her a special treat like some baby food. I have only had 2 people that I know of that had to find a kitty a home because they couldn't get along. It usually happens with the older kitties. Keep working on it and they may learn to deal with each other. Good luck and keep us posted.
post #3 of 16
From my experience, it all depends on the specific cats involved and yes it could take ages (well months anyway )

Both of my cats are suspicious towards any stray that I bring home. Yet, for one of them (the male, Gezer) it takes only 2-3 days to get used to the idea. If the new cat is friendly, they cam become best friends in a matter of days.

My other cat, a proud tortie, just hates feline strangers. If she senses a strange cat in the house she goes nuts - growling, hissing and spitting at us whenever she smells that foul stench of another cat... . She'll go like this for weeks if necessary and be generally miserable over the whole thing.

She was the first in our home. We brought her a companion kitten (Gezer) when she was just 4 months old (he was a month younger). It took her months before she got used to him - in fact she was so stressed at the first few days she became sick and ran a fever. But now they enjoy each other's company.

It could take months... I think you're doing the right thing by introducing them gradually. I think you shouldn't leave them together yet. Let them meet as often as possible but only when you're around to watch over.

When they do meet, offer treats and play with them with nice kitty toys to help them make a positive connection of each other.

Keep us posted!
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Anne and Sandie!

I'm feeling much better now about the way things are going. To answer your question, Anne, I got Pumpkin in mid-October so it's been two months. However, I really didn't see a change in their relationship until Pumpkin got spayed which was only a couple weeks ago. I'm still keeping them apart when I'm not around and I'm trying very hard to play with them when they are together. That is excellent advice and seems to stop an ugly confrontation (or at least a chase or two!)I had been breaking up the fights and otherwise showing my displeasure. I hope to make it a much more positive experience for both.

I'll let you know if there are any more dramatic developments and if I have any more questions.


post #5 of 16
Thanks for the update!

You're welcome to join us even if everything goes well... These forums are for cat lovers to meet and talk about anything (cat related or not )
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I really just came in here to look for help but now that I've found all of you, I might just stick around!!

Here are some pictures of my two cats who are figuring out how to live with one another:



Right now they are "playing" near each other with occasional growls.

Best wishes and happy holidays!

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
It didn't appear that those links worked so I've slapped up a quick page:


I hope maybe pasting the address in your browser will work.

Oh well. Thanks!

post #8 of 16
They're so sweet!

I think they do have a Coonish look...

Thanks for sharing the pictures! If you like you can also post this link in the Kitty Lounge forum and properly introduce them.

BTW, I edited the url so that it would work as a link.

Great to have you here!
post #9 of 16
Hi this is my first time ever posting anywhere but have read many on different sites.

You are going through what I've been concerned about because my husband would like a kitten but Kitty is 5 years old and owns our place. I would be the one to have to make it work and now I know it would be tough.

If we would buy a kitten for my husband (he wants a lap cat lover,says Kitty is mine) it would be quite an investment because to be assured of this type temperment we most likely would consider buying a ragdoll. That means more problems and Kitty is a tabby that was a stray, so I might have problems with my husband also.

I've been wondering?????? I am really not sure about the added stress for Kitty and me.
post #10 of 16
It's hard to tell, really. Basically, having two cats together can be a lot of fun, but you say that Kitty is 5 years old and it might be a lot of stress for her.

It really all depend on the individual cat. Some cats adore feline company and can adjust and enjoy having other cats around after they get over the initial hostility. Others can't stand having other cats in their territory and they'll never actually be friends with a new cat. Such a cat would experience lots of stress and it could take months for her to adjust to the new situation (even then they may not become the best buddies).

I read somewhere that the way cats interact with other cats depends on the amount of time they spent with their littermates (or other kittens). So that if you seperate a kitten from the litter at a young age (younger than 3 months), that cat would have problems adjusting to other cats as an adult. Do you know how old Kitty was when she was seperated from her littermates? Do you have any previous experience with her interacting with other cats (maybe some stray cat you brought home?)
post #11 of 16
This is just my spin on the situation....I have 10 cats in 1 house...(3 bedroom). All of my cats have learned to accept each other. Some taking months and others days. Just taking a cat to the vet or changing furniture can be stressful for them. Some don't play together but do not attack each other. Usually it turns out for the better because they keep active more during the day and night. As for the buying a Ragdoll to get a lap cat....I will say that even the purebreeds dont guarentee a lap kitty. Some Ragdolls are not as social as they have been presented. I have some cats who hated human contact as kittens and now those same cats sleep on my head, neck and face. Getting a lap cat is not always easy, cats do not show a true personality until usually a year or more. I can say, the one cat that is an in your face all the time kitty, is one of my domestic long hairs that was abondened in a utility closet at 7 weeks old. Being a true cat nut, of course I am going to tell you to make the new addition. There is always a cat who needs a warm loving home!! Good luck!
post #12 of 16
You made a good point there Sandie. Cats show their true personality when they mature. I also think that instead of buying a ragdoll, you may want to adopt an adult cat from your local shelter. Spend some time with the cats there and ask the people who work there about their personalities (the cats' personalities that is )

Basically, you should look for a cat that is used to other cats and that your husband and you will fall in love with. The breed doesn't really matter IMO. The friendliest lap cats I ever met were mixed breeds.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi 3d archer, Sandie and Anne!

I hope everybody had a nice New Year's!

As for your question, 3d archer, I feel like my old cat would have gotten along wonderfully with a kitten. When I brought the new cat in, Boo was curious and did not seem freaked out at all. Once Pumpkin starting attacking her did Boo become very hostile and unhappy toward the other cat. You might want to pay attention to how your old cat reacts when she sees other animals -- even outside. I noticed that Boo was very interested but not upset when she saw a neighbor's cat hanging around outside. In fact, my vet had recommended that I get a male kitten so the two could interact. Of course that didn't happen since Pumpkin chose ME. The problem I find is that both of these cats are very demanding on my attention. Both are lap cats (Pumpkin more so than Boo -- she only just recently turned into one). And when they don't have access to me, they are unhappy.

Update on my kitties: still fighting

I was away for a couple days at New Year's and had a neighbor check in and play with them. When I returned, both really wanted to be near me which was impossible at the same time. I'm still working on it though! Sandie: you give me hope though!!!


PS: As for what makes a good lap cat, I have no idea. I feel lucky to have two who are so affectionate and both were strays and are mixed. My cousins who have purebred Maine Coons swear that those cats are almost like big friendly dogs -- and they are very sweet!!!
post #14 of 16
Trust me..you cant make everyone happy all the time. All of my cats live in the same house, but have to share me. I still have a 3 year old who will slap anyone else if she is on the bed and getting my attention. After about 6 months, they all know when to go where and who likes their attention in what place. One of my kitties has to come into the bathroom with me because it is where he feels he gets the most one on one attention. Trust me....they know what they are doing!!! It will all work out one way or another.
post #15 of 16

I just had to get my 2 cents in. You could pay a million dollars for a purebred. There IS no guarantee that you'll get a lovable lap cat. There are some wonderful cats at shelters who desperately need homes. And believe me, these creatures are so greatful when you give them the love and attention they deserve. You don't necessarily need a kitten to ensure a lap kitty. I've found many owner surrender cats at the humane society. Elderly people go into nursing homes and can't take their cats with them or people die and family doesn't want the responsibility. So you see, it's not necessary to spend alot of money on a cat to get one who will love you unconditionally. I know, I have 6 of them!!

One thing you might want to consider is they way a cat responds to you while you are searching. If the cat stays huddled in a corner, afraid to make contact, it could be it has been abused, abandoned or in a cage for far too long. If a cat walks up to you with his tale high, purring and rubs your face or hands, that's a pretty good sign that you've got a real lover on your hands.

Good luck in your search.

[Edited by donna on 01-09-2001 at 08:46 PM]
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi Donna,

You are absolutely right! Stray cats can make wonderful lap cats. The kitten idea was just for getting along with my second cat.

When Pumpkin chose me (and she did), she jumped up on a bannister of my friend's porch, put her front paws on my chest and smelled my face. I knew right away that she was going to be one loving cat and now that there are inches and inches of snow on the ground, I'm so glad that I took her in.

On the other hand, my family dog of seventeen years (just passed away a couple years ago) had obviously been abused before we got her and never really got over her terror of strangers. She was also a loving pet and I was very happy to give her a good home.

Using common sense is the best guide and pray for the best

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