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AAAHHHH! Help With Kitty Introduction!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello! I'm new to the kitty forum, but have read articles on the site. I have a resident kitty who is 4 1/2. My boyfriend found her in a storm and ended up keeping her. He had her declawed in the front and also had played with her like a dog rather than a cat (as did his roommate), so there are two disadvantages to her behavior. Three years ago we moved in together and her behavior improved. She could turn at any moment and bite, etc. but has improved even more so since I gave him the choice or marry or move on. We moved on, now I have her. She is very dependant, would cry when I left for work and be at the door crying when I got home. If I left for even an hour during the weekend you would have thought she had been left alone for a month. I'm sure part of this is my doing given I spoil her rotten. I spoke with several people including the vet, co-workers, friends, and a foster mom for our Friends Of the County Animal Shelters. Everyone thought that she was lonely and would vent her frustration on me. She doesn't like it when my full attention isn't on her. So, after months of internal debate, I decided that since everyone advised a second kitty was needed to keep her company, I would bite the bullet and adopt a second kitty. I met with the foster mom and picked out a wonderful little fellow that is quite a love bug.
I brought him home late Friday afternoon. He had no problems adjusting. I placed him in the bedroom with his food, litter box, toys, and a blanket. He never hid, just purred and loved, and didn't mind the scent of the resident kitty one bit. The resident kitty on the other hand....is mad at the world, including me. She's still hissing at his smell, even at me. We've made some progress and I know that the key is patience and attention. They are still in different rooms and I am following the plan from the website for kitty introduction. I had brought the blanket out on Saturday night, my cat lost it, hissing and jumping at the blanket. Yesterday morning I tried it again, this time she just had a growl and slapped at it. So I left it out with treats on it hoping that would help with the positive association. She had nothing to do with the treats and continues to hiss at the blanket. As long as I wash my hands, she doesn't hiss or slap at me. Now it is Tuesday morning and she's still hissing at me like crazy when I come from the other kitty's room. Although I can continue to pet her without her biting me or attacking. I have been trying to talk soothingly to her while his scent is on me trying to show her it is okay.
I'm just really getting worried about this introduction, my kitty just won't stop with the hissing and slapping and I feel so sorry for the other kitty. Returning the kitty just isn't an option for me. I cannot give a poor kitty a home, love him, and then return him as if her were some object.
My question???? Is there still hope? The article said that if she's hissing, then I'm in for a rough introduction. Is there even hope that they'll become friends? Has anyone had this much of a problem? Any advice? Should I switch them out, leaving the resident kitty in the bedroom? I'm afraid that if I do that she won't come out and will have so much stress it will really affect her. I'm just trying to be a good mom. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks for listening!
post #2 of 20
Hi there. Thanks for joining us. Phew, sounds like you have a big problem on your hands. I've never come across such a strong reaction as this!

I know there are some real experts here who are used to socializing even the wildest critters - hopefully they might be able to help some.

Have you tried the exchange of scent by rubbing towels with each kitties scent on the other? You seem to be doing everything else correctly - hopefully some of our other specialists will jump in on this one.

Full marks for persevering though. I think your attitude of not giving the kitty back is great, and you're so right. They are not just objects to be discarded at the first obstacle.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the reply and the encouragement. Yes, my kitty is something else. This morning a little more progress, she let me pet her with his scent on my hands, even though she growled and hissed, she wasn't too aggressive with me. I have tried exchanging scents, but will continue to do so. Her scent has no affect on him at all, he still just purrs and loves. And when my hands are washed, she's purring as well. I left the new kitty's blanket in the living room again today with her favorite treats on it, but last night when I got home, the treats from yesterday morning were still there and she wouldn't even touch them after being removed from the blanket! She's just a little brat, but she's my little brat! Thank you again!
post #4 of 20
I'm going to be going through this myself in the next few weeks, but have you tried the vanilla trick? rub a towel with vanilla over both cats so they smell the same?
post #5 of 20
These are my thoughts based on the information you presented here and based on my own experience of dealing with multiple cats over a dozen or so years of rescuing.

I would venture to say that after your boyfriend had his kitty declawed of the front toes, this changed her behaviour drastically. Kitties need their toes and claws for balance and when suddenly that is taken from them, it sometimes creates problems. Sadly this cat will probably develop spinal issues as she ages, because she has to deal with this new set of problems of balance, that nature never intended her to have to even think about. She also knows she has no protection-at least in the front, so she will be more aggressive, and posture to keep others away from her, for her survivial mode tells her once this new kitty gets close he could hurt her. She will not allow that to happen. She cannot allow that to happen.

Ok now that this is on the table, you just brought the new kitty home on Friday and you should not expect that they will love each other right off. You have more of a challenge than some folks because of the declawing factor. Just for your own knowledge, declawing a kitty is an amputation of joints, not just the cutting off of claws. I KNOW you did not do this to her, but you might want to educate the man who did especially if he is thinking of getting another cat.

There is always hope and the fact that you understand the responsibility of adopting an animal and not returning it because of a problem or situation is admirable. This just might take more time than normal, and I wanted to let you know why that might be.
post #6 of 20
I agree that you need to give it lots more time. When I brought in our latest rescue I kept her separated from the others for a full month! By the time I let them interact they had grown bored with her sounds and scents, so seeing her wasn't much of a big deal. Given your old cat's history, I think you should keep them separated for several weeks or even up to a month. I know it is stressful to do this, but one month of stress will save you from years of fighting, so it is well worth it!

Good luck!
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone that replied to my original posting. It has now been two weeks. There has been some progress, but not a lot I'm afraid to say. My resident kitty is still showing agression and the new kitty is scared of her. I tried switching them out in the rooms a couple of times, the new kitty still seems unphased by her presence/scent unless she goes after him. The resident kitty has a fit in the room where the new kitty spends the majority of his time. I had a friend come over last night so that we could let them out together while having someone here to help me just in case. Resident kitty did a lot of hissing, but I had the spray bottle in my hand which she watched while watching him. This seemed to deter her from attacking, but still no sign of warming up. This morning I let him come out and the resident kitty really showed her rear. There are signs of improvement...resident kitty will go around the door and seems to take less time to recover from seeing him. By recover, I mean she doesn't hiss and slap at me as much. But she does hiss at me at attempts to bite me. He's still the most loving little fella ever.
Am I putting them together too soon? When she gets upset with him in the room, should I try to comfort her by attempting to pet her or just leave her alone? When she starts to go after him, should I squirt her or is this only placing negative association? I've done the treats/food by the door thing, but it hasn't improved relations. Should I continue to switch them out? Sorry to have 100 questions, but I just really want to make this work since as I stated, I'm not giving the new kitty back. I've been mostly sleeping on the couch with the resident kitty while the new kitty is in the bedroom. But usually switch out during the night, so I'm starting to lose a lot of sleep. Any further help that any of you could provide is again going to be greatly appreciated. I thought that I was doing the right thing, giving my kitty a companion for while I'm at work or away, and giving a shelter kitty a loving home. I just want to do the right thing and do what is best for the both of them.
Starting to lose hope,
post #8 of 20
Hi Leslie,

Don't lose hope, just reset your inner clock to their time. Cats need to have a adjustment period and they usually find it in their time, not ours. Just have patience and don't force the issue of them being friends. They will tell you when they are ready, and try to not squirt them either. That just adds more stress to the situation at hand.
post #9 of 20
I agree with Hissy (as always!). It is still too early for them to have worked out their differences. Give it more time!
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Should I continue to bring him into the living area with the resident kitty even though she wants to charge him?

Should I be switching them out between rooms to let her get more of his scent before placing them in the same room again? I've tried the blanket trick and the resident kitty just ignores it.

Should I attempt to pet the resident kitty when she's hissy because of his scent or from the sight of him? Or should I just back away and let her be?
post #11 of 20
Hi, I'm new to the forum and came here seeking info on cat to cat introductions, which I've found some very helpful info. I was reading through the threads between les1431 and others. I have a 14 yr. female and a 4 year old male who are compatible. I have recently aquired (Sat. 12/16) a brother and sister approximately 1 year old from a rescue shelter. From past experience, I knew to keep them separate for a period of time, but I'm so anxious to let them all roam free throughout the house. The older female is not interested in the new pair, she just looks at them, then closes her eyes (probably hoping it was just a dream). However, the male cat is very interested, but the new pair just hiss at him. I'm afraid to traumatize the new ones by just releasing them through the house so I have them in a guest BR with the door ajar and fixed at about 3" so they can see and smell each other but not have actual contact. I'm afraid that the new ones will eventually get very territorial about the BR they are in and not acclimate themselves when the time comes, but I want them to have a retreat if they feel threatened..........it's an emotional dilemma for me. I want harmony without the painstaking process. Any suggestions (other than some good ones I've already read here)? I'll try the towel trick tonight. I did give the new pair some toys from the other cats and they sniffed and sniffed, but eventually played with them. Thanks so much.
post #12 of 20
I know it is stressful to keep them separated, but it is the best thing to do in the long run. Why risk years of aggression by introducing them too quickly?

Here is something I wrote for another person. I hope it helps:

´╗┐First, put the new kitty in her own room. She will need to stay there for a couple of weeks, so make sure it is comfortable for her with litter box, water, and food. This will allow your old cats
to get used to the sounds and smells of a new cat without having their territory invaded.

After a couple of days, start trading scents between the cats. Rub the new cat (especially around the cheeks) with a slightly damp towel and then go rub the old cats with the same towel (and vice
versa). This way they will associate the scent of the new cat with good things (being rubbed and getting attention). Do this several times daily.

After one week, lock up your old cats and let the new cat out for the night or for a few hours. Do not yet allow the new and old cats to be together. Do this for one week.

By the end of week two, your old cats are going to be really curious about what is going on with the cat behind the door. You can try bringing the new cat out with the old cats for brief visits. As
soon as the new cat comes out, give them all some tuna or some other really yummy treat. This way they associate great things with the other cat. Put the new cat back in her room after a brief period of time. Make sure you keep any aggression from occurring (use a squirt bottle or GENTLY toss a pillow at the aggressor).

Gradually increase the amount of time the cats are together. I recommend keeping new kitty in her room over night for at least a third week. When the cats are out together, make sure you give
lots of attention to the old cats so they know that they are the top kitties.

Expect lots of hissing and perhaps a swat here and there. But...this should keep any real aggression from occurring. The hissing will stop once they establish their hierarchy and get used to each other.

Most importantly....have lots of patience and take things sloooooowly!
post #13 of 20
Scarlet, like Hissy said, you have to readjust the clock to their time, not yours. Think about it from your new kitties' perspective. Their world was just uprooted, they were brought to a new place with new people and OMG OTHER CATS! They don't know where their place in the social structure is yet (with the other cats), and they are trying to establish themselves, as well as still being a little scared and unsure about this new place being called "home". It's only been two days, and really some hissing is to be expected. Try the towel trick, have them eat on opposite sides of the door. The newbies may be a bit protective of their room for a while, but once the heirarchy is established all should be well in your house.
post #14 of 20
Thanks so much, I will try all these, it makes a lot of sense to take time with it. I'll let you know how it works out.
post #15 of 20
Have hope! Your cats sound like mine. My steven had a fit when we brought little Noah home about a month ago. He'd hiss at my hands after I petted the other kitty, and growled all day long for a good week. We made the mistake of making an immediate introduction as well.

After 6 days though, we let little Noah out, and Steven hissed a few times but he got closer and closer, still with some swipes. And then, strangely enough, it was if they were born together. Within hours they were rolling around on the floor playing with each other. Fast forward two days later and they are sleeping together. It's now 2 weeks later and my heart is utterly moved by how loving Steven is towards Noah. He licks him constantly. He will sit and watch him play, and he is constantly rubbing himself on him. It's like he's his father. Amazing to watch. These animals are truly amazing creations.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, there is hope, believe me....if it has been working with my resident kitty, it will work with any cat on this planet. She is a real stinker...other's may have different descriptions which we won't mention here. Anyway, it has now been three weeks since my original posting. I have found hope. Although it is not a complete match yet...it is getting better. I'm bringing out the new kitty into the living room with the other one for periods of time now and even leaving the bedroom door open at night. There is much hissing by the resident queen, the king just looks at her like she's nuts. They've had it out a few times, but really just hissing and batting and hiding then. As long as there are no serious fights or blood, I'm letting them work things out now. This morning when I got up, she was on one side and he was on the other, but still, in the same bed. You cannot imagine what an improvement this has been since my arms look like a chainsaw was taken to them due to resident kitty being rather displeased with me and the new kitty. Still tonight, more hissing, but almost seemed as though they were playing a little...until the end.
As everyone advised me, patience is the most important thing here. I lost a lot of sleep (switching rooms during the night to keep both company), stressed, felt really really guilty for leaving the my new mister in the bedroom, but it seems to be working. Although they are not ready for unsupervised visits at this point, I'm finally seeing a ray of hope!
To be honest the towel trick didn't work, the resident kitty would have nothing to do with it and new kitty was totally unaffected by her scent or actions. In my case, it was just a matter of letting them smell through a cracked door, bringing him out now and again, and slowing showing her that he's not going anywhere, so get over yourself miss thing! I expect that within another week or two weeks they'll be able to go unsupervised, when this happens I'll let you guys know.
Thank you again everyone for the encouragement and hope, I really thought that I had made these kitty's lives miserable, but now I believe they will be much happier having each other.
Happy Holidays!
post #17 of 20
Thank you snip. I can see improvement everyday with their behavior. This morning Cassidy(one of our current cats) was laying by the BR door that was propped open just enough for them to all see, smell, & hear each other. He was laying on his back and reaching his paws toward the open door where one of the new cats (Sebastian)of Sebastian (male) & Scarlet (female) was peeking through. There was no hissing or growling......it was wonderful. I tried the towel trick last night that was recommended (rubbing each of their whiskered areas and then rubbing the other cats and letting them sniff). I think that really helped. We are going away next week for 10 days and I think it's best that I leave things as they are for our cat sitter to deal with. I really don't want them together unsupervised for another week or so, it has only been 5 days to date that I brought the new ones in.

Thanks again, the info from this forum has been very helpful. I have had cats for the past 14 years, and I hope that I can help someone in the future with their cat issue!

post #18 of 20
I'm glad that there has been (partial) success with the kitty introductions. I hope everything works out fine in the long run.
post #19 of 20
Hi there,

Don't despair just yet, I've had my kitten now for 3 months and my resident kitty still has not fully accepted him, she still hisses at him but it is inproving VERY slowly. As others have said, you need to take things slowly and accept that it will take time for them to get used to each other, i don't know whether mine will Ever be friends, I just hope that they will learn to tolerate each other!!

Best wishes and merry christmas,
post #20 of 20
Thanks Pam, the introduction has gone very well considering I have 2 residents and 2 new ones (which are litter mates). I went through this before when I introduced my now 4 yr old male to two 10 yr old male/females. The male (Spuds) who recently passed in Nov. finally started playing with the new little guy (Cassidy), so now it's Cassidy's turn to accept some new little ones. He has done very well, not one hiss or verbalization. I really think he wants to be friends and play, he misses Spuds so much. He still goes to where Spuds used to sleep and stares at the sofa. In fact, he now sleeps where Spuds used to.

Kitties just have such adorable personalities and they are all so different. People who don't have kitties are really missing out on an wonderful experience.

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