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Introductions

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just how important is it to keep cats separate when introducing them? Most posts I read on here say to do so but both my coworkers who have cats and the guy at the shelter said not to worry about it. The cats may hiss at each other for a few days but they will work things out themselves.

Mez
post #2 of 17
IMO, it's very important. Trust me, if you screw it up.....it's MUCH harder to re-introduce than it is to do it right in the first place. Trust me, I screwed up with Ophelia & Lily.....I am paying for that 2( 2 years!!!!) later, still.
post #3 of 17
Depends on the cats I think.

I put Farley and Ana (6 and 3 months, came together) in with 9 month old Demetri right away. None of them hissed, Demetri touched noses with both of them and they became friends very quickly.

I did keep the new ones in a room for a few days as we live with my sisters 7 cats and a 3yr old child, once they were let out the other cats accepted them just fine too.
post #4 of 17
I think it is better to play it safe rather than be sorry later on. With kittens, the time can be shorter than with adults. They don't seem to have the whole territory thing ingrained as much.

When Daphne came to us, I placed her in the bathroom for the first couple of days with forays in my arms out to see Seb. For about 2 weeks after that, I kept them separate when I wasn't home. I let her out when I was home and could keep an eagle eye on them. It went very well

Giving the newcomer a place of their own for a little while helps with the feeling of security, too.
post #5 of 17
I think it totally depends on the cats. I was unable to keep mine apart for longer than an hour, so they were literally chucked in at the deep end and other than the expected hissing and a little growling, they were perfectly fine. I think maybe I just got lucky, so rather follow the advice of the experts. I have always gone for broke when introducing all my animals, dogs to cats, cats to dogs, dogs to dogs, etc. etc... and have never ever had a problem. I guess you could say that that lady luck has been with me .
post #6 of 17
I honestly don't think it makes much of a difference - I think it just prolongs the inevitable, maybe softens things a bit (less of a surprise, but that can be dealt with in a day or two once the smell has been picked up).
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I let them see each other 3 times. The first two times I was carrying the kitten. Junior would just slowly approach me but not make any sounds. When he got within a couple feet the kitten started growling and trying to get out of my arms so I took her back to her half of the apartment.

The third time I opened the door and let her walk in on her own. The 2 cats locked gazes and slowly circled each other. Again she started growling. Not only did Junior start hissing but I now know what people mean when they say the hair stands up on a cat's tail. He also arched his back a little bit. Needless to say, I picked her up and took her back to her half.

Ever since then, as far as I can tell Junior has done very little except sit 4-5 feet away from the door separating the halves and stare at it. He's acting almost like he's frightened that she'll walk through it again. When I entered the room this morning Junior went and hid in a corner, It took a little coaxing for me to get him to come over to me. He ate very little of his dinner last night and showed signs of not eating this morning until I put his food dish in front of my monitor. He then jumped up and dug into it. I have a feeling that once I leave this half Junior is going to go back to staring at the dividing door.

Since Junior is fixated on that door almost to the exclusion of everything else, should I still keep them separated?

Mez
post #8 of 17
The main reason to separate besides getting used to each other, is more of a health thing. The new cat should be isolated and checked out by a vet, given shots, spay/neuter, etc.

Cats are not like dogs - most take a lot longer to accept the newcomer and by throwing 2 strange cats together, you risk fighting and a lot more stress. Dogs are pack animals and most accept the newcomer in a day or two with no problems.

Its a lot less stressful on the cats and the owners if you separate for a week or two and do introductions slowly. If you can't separate due to space, it just takes that much longer for them to adjust.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
The main reason to separate besides getting used to each other, is more of a health thing. The new cat should be isolated and checked out by a vet, given shots, spay/neuter, etc.

Its a lot less stressful on the cats and the owners if you separate for a week or two and do introductions slowly. If you can't separate due to space, it just takes that much longer for them to adjust.
As for health, the shelter does a physical exam and blood lab before the pet is made available for adoption. They also do all shots except rabies.

It's not the space so much as that there is only one of me. Junior is in the entertainment half which is where I usually spend most of my time. She is in the half with the kitchen, bedroom, and bath.

I don't want to spend most of my time with her because it might make Junior feel neglected and foster jealousy. Plus he is with the TV, computer, etc.

I also don't want to spend all of my time with Junior because I'm not comfortable leaving the new kitten herself to get into all kinds of trouble. I don't want her to feel isolated, and she needs time to bond with me, which won't happen if I'm in the other room. Also, the reason she was surrendered to the shelter was that she required too much attention (duh, she's a kitten), which is another reason to spend a lot of time with her.

So I'm in a catch-22 right now. I'll have to decide what to do.

Mez
post #10 of 17
Well if its an adult cat and kitten case, then let them together while you are there to supervise. When you are not, then just separate them till you are home.

Most times adult cats don't have as much a problem with kittens as they do with another adult cat
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Well if its an adult cat and kitten case, then let them together while you are there to supervise. When you are not, then just separate them till you are home.

Most times adult cats don't have as much a problem with kittens as they do with another adult cat
Junior is only 10 months so is technically a kitten himself. He is not happy about the new kitten at all.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
Just how important is it to keep cats separate when introducing them? Most posts I read on here say to do so but both my coworkers who have cats and the guy at the shelter said not to worry about it. The cats may hiss at each other for a few days but they will work things out themselves.

Mez
I think it depends on the cat. I did not separate my one year old cat from my new 4 month old cat.
They did hiss at each other for a few days but after that they wanted to be together.
But my cats are both persians and very quiet and laid back.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I tried another controlled introduction tonight and Junior is not at all pleased with the new kitten to say the least.

First, I put the kitten in my bedroom with the door closed (I also moved his food, water, and litterbox in there just in case). I then opened the door that has been separating the 2 since yesterday. Junior would not go through that door! The closest he went himself was to creep up to it and carefully look through it. I had to pick him up and carry him into the living room and show him that the kitten was not there. Junior then slowly started sniffing around but quickly realized the bedroom door was closed and that the kitten had to be in there. He walked to it, sniffed under it a few times, then boxed it a bit which I took as a good sign.

I carefully opened the door about 2 inches and held it there. As soon as the kitten peeked out Junior immediately started hissing. I told him NO and closed the door for a few seconds before opening it 2 inches again. This time not only did Junior hiss but also stepped forward and took a swipe. Luckily I was quicker with the door and the kitten also jumped backwards.

That was the end of the introduction. I had to carry Junior back to the entertainment room (he remained fixated on the bedroom door and wouldn't go himself) and shut the door between it and the living room (the same it's been all weekend). I then let the kitten back out into the living room. The kitten acted like nothing had happened and immediately resumed playing. Junior on the other hand resumed his vigilant watch on the closed door for a few minutes before going back to his usual napping spot.

I think that will be the last introduction I attempt until next weekend. They will remain separate during the week.
post #14 of 17
If they are hissing/growling at each other, I would slow it down. It really does depend on the cats. I know the feeling of leaving the kitten alone in a room, but you want them to end up friends and must keep this in mind.
I recently introduced Hypnos to Ares and was cautious about the intro. They never growled or hissed at each other (actually I have never heard either of them growl or hiss) but I still took it slow with short intro sessions. In their first meeting they touched noses, then Ares wanted to play, play, play. (Hypnos was initally wary of the attention and considering the size difference, its not surprising.)
The signs continued to be good (they ate out of each others food bowl and both used Hypnos's litterbox without disturbing each other) so I started letting Hypnos out of his room for short periods of time with careful monitoring. At this point Ares would stand outside of Hypnos's room crying and moaning and didn't want to do anything else when they were separated. This led to Hypnos being in the main house at all times except at night and when we were both out of the house. Finally, we decided to let Hypnos roam at large at night and when we were gone and there have never been any problems. The process took us about 2 weeks, but again, both kitties reacted well to each other pretty much right off of the bat. I would take your time and look for positive interactions as your cues to go to the next step in the introduction process.
post #15 of 17
My older cat was hissing at the younger cat, and the younger cat was hissing back. I don't think it's a big deal unless they are really trying to hurt each other. All the hissing only lasted a day or two. I didn't separate them at all. They were hissing at each other but then after couple of days they wanted to be together.
post #16 of 17
Seb hissed at Daphne the first time her saw her, too. Its an okay reaction. As long as you are there to supervise, it should be alright. I know it seems off right now but soon they will be friends. We just have to give them time to adjust

Allowing them to be in the other's territory while the other cat isn't there is good. It spreads the scent around so it isn't so foreign. Keep up the good work
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
Allowing them to be in the other's territory while the other cat isn't there is good. It spreads the scent around so it isn't so foreign. Keep up the good work
That's what I was trying to do. Unfortunately with 3 rooms arranged in a linear fashion, I don't have any way to get the kitten to Junior's half of the room without somehow going by him. Fortunately Junior's spent 3 months in the room she's in now so she should get a good whiff of him anyway.

Can you think of anything else I can do to help speed things along?

Mez
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