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Hisses & Growls

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I know for some of you long time board members this is something you have addressed often, but for me it is a new problems and I would appreciate the favor of any tips you can give me. For a week now I have been trying to introduce a newly spade female feral cat into my home. She is a sweetie and has not done one wrong thing. The problem is our resident neutered male cat, Jake. He is not accepting her. He hisses and growls whenever she is near. (I never heard these noises out of him before.) She is still recouperating from surgery and we have a nice place set up for her in our extra bathroom. We bring her out several time a day in a cat carrier,for her protection, and let her watch the goings on in our household. This also gets her close to resident cat without putting her at risk. I've read several articles about introducing new cats but would like some personal tips if you can spare them. How long should I wait before removing the new cat from the crate? Will there be some specific behaviors that I can look for in resident cat that will give me a clue that he is mellowing and might eventually accept the new arrival? Thanks in advance. This is my first experience with this kind of thing and I'm getting frazzled.
post #2 of 4
Here is the technique I have used with great success:

Introducing a New Cat

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

By the end of week two, your old cat is 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 cat for brief visits. As soon as the new cat comes out, give them both 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 (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 cat so he knows that he is the top cat.

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 #3 of 4
Sounds like even though you are frazzled, you are doing everything the right way. Ferals integrate with other cats differently then say domestics. Any new cat in a feral household is automatically looked upon as competition, and if you go to quickly with introductions, then you have problems.

If you have a second carrier, I would put the new one in the other carrier and leave the old carrier out for the resident cat to investigate. When resident cat approaches it look for these warning signs, puffy ruff of the neck, tucked in tail, ears flat- all those show there will be a fight soon. Hissing and growling is normal as he investigates the new scent, and if that is all he does, then the next day, I would open the carrier and let the new kitty roam the house while putting resident into a room while she is about.

Also before you introduce her fully to your resident boy, take some vanilla extract and put a small dab under each kitty's nose and on the back by their tail to neutralize their smells.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hissy and Lotsocats -

Thanks so much for the tips and the encouraging words. I can have patience as long as I can forsee some success. I'm attached to both cats now and am really hoping they will eventually coexist in peace. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again.
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