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Intros not going well

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, I recently took over my mother's cat, Cinders, as my mother at 93 can no longer care for her. Cinders is 8/9 years old and spayed, an inside cat who is not very active and has a clean bill of health. But we are having great problems integrating her into the household. I kept her completely separate for nearly a month, only exchanging litter boxes and blankets to mingle smells, none of which seemed to cause any problems. I also used vanilla on them to help the first sightings/sniffings. Then I began bringing her into the living room at night for a couple of hours, on my lap, where she remained quiet and most of the others ignored her or were gently curious. But Ellie is having none of it. Every time she sees Cinders she goes for her, claws and teeth and all. I have never actually seen a cat spit before, but there are no holds barred here. I and my daughter have been scratched trying to protect the newcomer. A couple of times a door has got left open and the cats have got into the other part of the house where we have been keeping Cinders, and while the others eat her food and sniff around, Ellie makes a beeline for the stairs and the bedroom and lets fly at her in her 'safe place'. Poor Cinders is retaliating by peeing everywhere - she has ruined a sofa and a chair, and I am trying to save a rug. I cannot blame her - she is stressed out and marking her territory. The vanilla trick did not work for these two - there is something about her that Ellie just cannot accept - I don't know what, she has always accepted newcomers before without all this behaviour, and Cinders is not aggressive towards her - she turns and runs and only growls or hisses once she is cornered. It is now seven weeks and we are at stage one again. Meanwhile the cats are kept out of half the house and are feeling cooped up. Life is getting difficult for all of us. I will try any suggestions anyone can offer. I feel such a failure on this one - all the others have assimilated so well over the years.
post #2 of 7
Sounds like my Wawa vs Ashley and Buddy. It's been more than 2 years, with numberless catfights, timeouts, gallons of vanilla and scent exchange tricks.
Wawa is now tolerating them but he forgets sometimes.
Anyway, you did not say if you put Ellie on time out. To me it is the only way to make Wawa behave. Not only is Wawa the aggressor, he has quite an influence with the young ones (I have caught the male teens wanting to pick fights with A & B). So I keep him "jailed" in the cattery every time he starts something. But I also reward him when he is being good. Slowly he seems to be getting the idea. Now he just watches his nemeses and is willing to eat with them at meal and treat times.
post #3 of 7
I'm so sorry you are having troubles at such a troubled time.

Is Ellie the Cat In Charge? Is she a busybody and likes to be active?

This could be a case of the quiet passive cat getting attention by being quiet and passive, and this infuriates the busy cat who doesn't play that way. If so, you might try getting the new cat cranked up with some toys to show she's not that different, after all.

If all the cats are fixed, and it sounds like you've done a good job with introductions, there's still another hurdle, and that's cat engagement styles. The active cat knocks something over and gets in trouble, and feels infuriated by the quiet cat who doesn't get into trouble. The active cat gets laughs and attention with their acrobatic play, and the quiet cat resents the active cat for getting attention with something they can't do.

The key here to to figure out where these two cats differ wildly, and try to come up with a strategy that will show the cats that they are not that different, after all. Cats can find a different style to be an affront to their very being. Here's somebody who is doing things the upset cat can't or won't do, and they are getting love for it! How are they to compete?

Also, have you tried bribes? Getting all the cats together for separate piles of treats lets everyone else think, "Gee, the new cat means treats. Maybe she's not so bad after all."
post #4 of 7
I have to agree with yayi on the time-outs I had issues with my boys Hades and Posey, with Posey being the aggressor and poor Hades fighting for his life, Posey is also 2x as big as Hades. I had no peeing issues thank goodness, but what I would do when there was a fight is I would grab Posey and put him in the bathroom. There was food, water and a litterbox in there and I would leave him in there for a couple hours, then let him back out. it took about 2 months of this but Posey finally got the idea, and there has been perfect harmony since then
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes, I have been doing timeouts - I always do if there is a problem of any sort, usually by putting the guilty one in my bedroom. But Ellie, though I love her dearly, has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, and does not get the message. It is strange - Dushka is Alpha Cat and mostly ignores Cinders unless she makes direct eye contact, and then it is only a growl or two, but it is Ellie who is violently aggressive on every occasion.
post #6 of 7
Jenny, I have no constructive suggestions, but just wanted to send some "harmony vibes" What a frustrating time for you!
post #7 of 7
I'm going through something similiar, but its not with intros... see my post, I can send you my dress to borrow if you think it would help LOL.
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