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Intro and introducing two cats

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello -

I'm Emile, I live in Los Angeles. I have a cat, almost 8 years old named Tabby Sebastian (picture attached). She's the first cat I ever had - she walked into my friend's house. Before her, I hated cats, but I've loved her ever since. So much so that I'm constantly having stray cats following me, wanting to come inside. I've never taken one in except recently.

A little stray tabby mix kitten, who looks almost identical to Tabby, followed me home. She had become a neighborhood kitten who was being fed by everyone but no one could take her in because they had cats. I didn't take her in until a week later, when the vet was still open. She's been checked, tested and now has all her shots except her boosters. Yesterday she was spayed. I kept the name a neighbor gave her, which is Allie Cat.

I did my best to introduce these two even though I received conflicting advice on how to go about it - I had them separated for a week and gradually introduced them. I give them both individual play time and I reward them when they get along and scold them when they don't. But the older cat is spoiled and she immediately started hissing and swatting and growling at the kitten. On the other hand, sometimes Allie chases Tabby and it turns into a game. Or they just leave each other alone.

They're both sweet, friendly cats on their own. But around each other, their behavior has escalated to wrestling, which is scaring me. No claws, no bloodshed, but it's kind of funny, kind of scary to watch them go at it. When it goes on too long, I put the kitten back in the bathroom.

I've been able to leave them alone when I go to run an errand and they've been fine - I've even come home to find them sleeping on the couch together. The problem I think is not so much they don't get along, but my presence triggers their territorial instincts. It doesn't help that the older cat is teaching the kitten bad habits - Allie wasn't swatting until Tabby did it to her. I was hoping that with the kitten gone for a couple of days for her spaying operation things would calm down - especially since she came home tired and groggy. Unfortunately, Tabby started hissing and swatting at her again the moment she came home. Luckily, the kitten is too tired to fight back right now but I don't want them to continue on the wrong foot, or paw as the case may be.

I want to believe there's hope for these two. Since Tabby was my first cat, I'm unfamiliar with the issue of introducing cats. I don't know how much of the aggressive behavior I should take seriously and whether or not they'll eventually get along.

Any advice? Should I start all over and isolate the kitten again? Or will this pass?

Sorry this was long. Thanks for any help you can offer.

post #2 of 12
Hi Emile and welcome.

It sounds to me like the intros are going pretty well. Tabby may have starting hissing when Allie came home from the vet because of the smell of the vet's office on her. Other than that, if they are sleeping together and not in an all out war, I think things are on the road to normal.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassurance. I've just been afraid that once they started wrestling, their relationship would be forever marred. I'll keep the board posted on developments.

post #4 of 12
I introduced a kitten to a 3 yr. old cat 3 years ago. There was hissing and swatting, but that stopped pretty quickly. Squirt and Joey get along well now. I think it took Squirt longer to forgive me than to accept his new brother. Good luck!
post #5 of 12
Welcome to the site Emile! Tabby Sebastian is a very beautiful cat. It's amazing what getting to know one cat will do to your whole attitude toward them. I was a true dog person until my kitties happened into my life. Now I'm a bonafide crazy cat lady.

It sounds like the introductions are going pretty well, especially if you find them sleeping together. Tabby is probably reacting to the new smell of Allie from the vet. They recognize each other by smell so since Allie smells all different it's like you brought home a whole new cat. One trick you can try is to put s drop of vanilla on a towel and rub down both cats with the towel, Tabby first so her smell is transfered to Allie.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi, Heidi -

Tabby thanks you for the compliment... and the advice. I didn't know cats were so into the smell of vanilla until I found this forum. I'll have to make a trip to the grocery.

post #7 of 12
post #8 of 12
the wrestling is normal cat interaction.
As long as one isn't desperately trying to get away, or cringing fearfully when the other appears, I wouldn't worry too much.

There are 11 of us here and we love to wrestle! Often we chase each other, pounce on each other, sometimes even making horrible sounding noises.

Then we groom each other & settle down for a nap.

Your two are probably still working out who is boss and who owns which part of the bed. Sounds like you did all the right things in intro'ing them! Just keep on lavashing them with attention and trying to get them to play together.

Bendy Kitty
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Bendy!
post #10 of 12
Tabby is very pretty. You are lucky yours sleep together. My Divot is still chasing and fighting with my roommate's Arthur. Arthur wrestles with Josie -- if it's relatively quiet, I call it playing.
post #11 of 12
Hi Emile - Tabby Sebastian is a very beautiful cat. As everyone has said, the swatting and posturing is quite normal. My 2 males still carry out this ritual, even though my ex-stray has been with us now for 9 months.

As there is no out-and-out fighting just this spatting I wouldn't be too worried.

Oh - welcome by the way, hope you stick around and join in on some of the forums.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the welcome, advice and compliments. I definitely plan to stick around and participate.

My co-workers and I were exchanging cat stories today and my cats' occasional wrestling sounds nothing like the cat fights some of them have witnessed.

Also, I notice that the number of times and the severity with which they wrestle has gradually decreased each day, so I'm very much relieved.

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