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Older cats - New Home, New Owner

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I just got two cats from a girl who has had them since they were both kittens. Trouble is 9 and Leo is 4, they are both female Tabbies.

When I brought them home, the moment I let them in my home they started hissing at each other. The younger one went and hid in my cupboard and the older one sniffed around, ate a bit, and has now found her new home on my stairs. They have been together for 4 years, and I'm wondering why now it seems that they hate each other because whenever one gets close to the other they start hissing.

They are hissing at me, well, mostly the younger one is.. She is hiding and very timid of me. The older one on the other hand, is very strange. She seemed fine with me at first, let me pet her and talk to her, but the last time I was petting her, for only two seconds, she all of a sudden hissed and nipped at me.

What I'd like to know is, is this behavior normal, will they eventually love me as much as I know I will grow to love them? Will they eventually be all cool with -each other- again?

And more importantly, what can I do to make their transition into my family easier? (they've only been here about a day)

(The previous owner took very good care of her cats and showed them lots of love, in case anyone thinks it is a history problem)
post #2 of 2
They are hissing at each other because they haven't yet established new territories in their new home. Territory is probably the single most important thing to a cat, and they have to work out from scratch who 'owns' which parts of the house. They are hissing at you because everything is unfamiliar and they are feeling very insecure and afraid.

There are several things you can do to help them.

Firstly, invest in a Feliway (synthetic cat pheremone) diffuser, or 2 if you have more than one floor. They aren't cheap, but they will be worth their weight in gold in helping your cats to be more comfortable in their new surroundings, and you probably won't have to use them forever.

Secondly, set up different 'territories' for them. You will want to have 3 litterboxes, each in a different room, as well as a couple of different feeding/watering areas for them. This will prevent one toilet or feeding area from becoming fraught with anxiety for them as one prevents the other from using it over a territorial dispute - one cat cannot 'guard' all three areas at once! Provide plenty of hiding spaces and high vantage points, these things help cats to feel secure. Many multicat households have areas where a different cat is dominant - in my household one of mine has the bedroom as his core territory, and another the kitchen. In other households one cat will be dominant in all areas. Your two need to work this out between themselves for the new space they are in. If you had just one cat, I would suggest confining it to one room, but if they are having problems with each other, confining them to a smaller space may exacerbate it - so go with the hiding places instead.

Thirdly, establish a fixed routine. Feed at set times every day. Routine makes cats feel more secure.

I hope that helps, be patient, their world has changed completely and they don't know what's going on. I am sure that with a bit of time and tlc all will be well
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