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Hissing and new cat introductions (long, but most can be skipped)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I have read Hissy's and several other sites on how to introduce two a new cat to an older one. Last night, I decided to let them mingle under supervision, as both cats seemed comfortable with the others smell. There has not been any violence, but the original cat will still hiss at the new cat with some regularity. There has been one swipe by the original at the new cat, but it was left at that.

The new cat is a 3 year old male, Clarence (neutered) that was rescued from a friend of a friend. He is quite a buddha-bear, with an absolutely inordinate amount of patience and friendliness.

The original cat is a 7th month old female, Crackers (spayed) that we adopted last year. She was the runt of the litter, and she is extremely sassy.

Further details about their interactions:
Clarence is comfortable in the house. When Crackers hisses at him, he stands his ground. He is not defensive, nor is he aggressive. There is virtually no change in his posture/body language when confronted with the little one's hissing. His only response to her is the occasional mew that I associate with annoyance/frustration. Crackers does not seem aggressive, per se. When she is not actively hissing at Clarence, she seems a little more curious or relaxed. She indicates mild curiousness, even playfulness from afar. She seems worried about her position in the house/among the family. I do not know if I should let them resolve this behavior (in hope that she learns not to be afraid/threatened) or to remove them to separate rooms (in fear that these current behaviors will become long-term patterns).

I suppose my question is this: is there such a thing as "too much" hissing? I have seen an improvement in their behavior since last night's introduction, but I have some doubts. I would like these cats to be integrated in the best possible way.

Anyway, I would appreciate any input from you guys.

Thanks,
Ryan
post #2 of 16
It will get better. Sasha hissed at Oreo when we got her. Now they play together all the time. Coco my almost 16 year old Cat licked her and became her friend the same day. Meeko my 7.5 year old Cat was ok today. Stormy my Cat that was Pts in Dec hated Sasha when she came. She would his so much and growl and they became friends. i sure it will be fine soon. It just takes time.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
It will get better. Sasha hissed at Oreo when we got her. Now they play together all the time. Coco my almost 16 year old Cat licked her and became her friend the same day. Meeko my 7.5 year old Cat was ok today. Stormy my Cat that was Pts in Dec hated Sasha when she came. She would his so much and growl and they became friends. i sure it will be fine soon. It just takes time.
Thanks for the response. Crackers is my baby girl, and I am afraid that I get a bit too worried.

I tried the vanilla extract trick in the cat introduction thread, and Crackers has not hissed in the last half hour or so. In fact, they are sleeping in the same room, albeit at different ends.

Thanks for the response, it makes me feel better about this situation.
post #4 of 16
I agree with Mews2much that it will get better. I have found that the girls tend to be a bit more hissy than the boys (just my own experience) but within a few weeks they are very accepting. When I introduced my new kitten to the 3 others about a month ago, Sasha and Casey (both girls) hissed the most while Oliver couldn't care less. Now they all play together and we've been "hiss free" for about 2 weeks. I too found that the vanilla trick worked well, as did giving the "old" cats treats when the new one was around so that they associate good things with the new arrival.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spookzilla View Post
I agree with Mews2much that it will get better. I have found that the girls tend to be a bit more hissy than the boys (just my own experience) but within a few weeks they are very accepting. When I introduced my new kitten to the 3 others about a month ago, Sasha and Casey (both girls) hissed the most while Oliver couldn't care less. Now they all play together and we've been "hiss free" for about 2 weeks. I too found that the vanilla trick worked well, as did giving the "old" cats treats when the new one was around so that they associate good things with the new arrival.
Thanks!

So you guys both think that so long as they are not actually fighting, I do not need to separate them during the day?

(I plan on separating at night, so they at least have some non-anxious rest.)
post #6 of 16
From what you've described I don't think they are fighting, their body language would indicate that if they were going to attack (ears back, pupils dilated, tail swishing, etc.). I imagine she is letting the new guy know this is her turf and he seems willing to accept that if he isn't retaliating. It seems unlikely that a 7 month old would go after a full grown boy. Personally would let them interact during the day and yes keep them separate at night to give them each some "down time". We left our cats together when we were home during the day and when we were confident they wouldn't attack we left them alone when we were gone. We still keep our kitten in a separate room at night as she can be a little much for the others (she never stops--like the Energizer bunny ).
post #7 of 16
I would keep them seperated when you are not at home too. I had a Male to but he was Pts Jan 11. He didnt like Sasha or Oreo either. He would whine when they came close to him. He was was sick when we got Oreo though. Keep them seperated at night too. I had Oreo un the bathroom at night and when we werent home. I also caught her trying to Nurse on Coco. I had to pull her off her. Your Kitten is only a month older then Oreo. Yoshi did get along with Sasha.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies.

The situation has changed slightly this evening.

The young one has taken a more antagonistic role. There still has been no fighting, but she has moved from hissing to running up and batting at him. From what I know of her play behavior, she is trying to play. Unfortunately, this seems to be bothering him. He is not responding violently, but he keeps trying to walk away from her, only to be hounded further. He does not seem to be afraid of her, but he has become noticeably more restless.

Sorry, this is my first time trying to introduce cats, so I am not sure how this is supposed to be going.

Any input?
post #9 of 16
From everything that I've read, if neither one is screaming and there's no blood or fur flying, it's fine. I'd actually say that the no hissing is a good sign. They just need to work out things like alpha cat and territory (which could very well wind up changing in the future anyway), and this is often how they go about doing it. It sounds like you've done your homework regarding introductions, and I would just keep what you're doing --- separating at night, and supervising at other times. Obviously if they start fighting for real (not to be confused with normal roughhousing), you'll want to separate them so they can both calm down. Ideally, it would be great if you could keep their nails clipped so that if they did fight, the chances of injury would be minimized. Good luck and just be patient! They may never be snuggle buddies but even so, most cats wind up at least tolerating each other.
post #10 of 16
It probably is play, but if the older boy is annoyed by it, it won't help the intros...I would start to give her more interactive play time (DaBird is highly recommended). He may even join in...the idea is that they have fun in each other's presence even if they don't play together. Plus, it should take the edge off of her kitten energy.

Good luck
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses.

As of now, the younger cat is hissing a lot less. However, she is trying to play with the older cat all of the time, mostly in the form of rough housing. He seems irritated, but I have witnessed a few playful boxing matches.

I will try Da Bird again today. Yesterday, it just provoked a bout of hissing from the kitten when the new cat attempted to join in the play.

Honestly, I think this may be good for the older boy. The person who took him in originally is, as she puts it, "not a cat person." During the cats' separation period, I noticed that his play/coordination was somewhat awkward, and I wonder if his previous owner spent any time playing with him. He seems to be more interested in play time with the kitten, and he is just starting to stand up to her advances when they are unwelcomed.

Anyway, thanks for all of the responses, folks. I really appreciate the input.
^_^
post #12 of 16
I'm going through introductions myself at the moment, it can be a stressful time for all concerned, but it usually works out OK.

I introduced my new boy to the resident 2 initially using vanilla, and they hissed and growled for the first 24 hours and then calmed down. All was well for a week, then something although I don't know what must have happened, and the oldest boy decided that he was terrified of the newcomer and they've been chasing and hissing at one another. I am letting them have supervised time together and some times where I separate to let the fearful one get some peace and quiet, and using Feliway and Rescue Remedy which is helping to take the edge off their reactions to one another and calm things a little.

It can take a while for cats to get used to and accept one another, but it sounds as if you're doing the right things.
post #13 of 16
Hello,

I have a number of cats over the years and introduced new cats to the house regualrly. Yes there is always hissing and guestering but in all it is them sorting out their standing. I would not seperate them at all let them get on with it. If it becomes annoying to you them tell them. No need to shout just be firm. Do not remove them from each othrthis actually, I have found, draws the whole process out.

If they start fighting on a regualr basis then remove the newcomer no matter how hard it will be. I mean get rid to another home their is very little chance of that cat been accepted especially if your cat is being aggressive or defensive. Hope this helps but it is whatI have found hrough my own experience.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies.

I feel more confident in their progress this morning, and I am not going to separate them tonight. I let them both in the bedroom very early this morning, and they both ended up sleeping with us on the bed. There was no hissing or chasing during these few hours (I am a very light sleeper, so I would have woken up even if they were chasing one another).
post #15 of 16
i would not separate them at all either. i think it just undoes any progress they have made when they were together. cats will generally find their places and unless there is all out warfare going on, then it is better to let them get on with it.

tabitha probably hisses at the kittens at least twice a day when they follow her too closely but as you can see by my sig, she is happy enough to sleep on the same bed as them! it can take a long time for some cats to get used to a newbie, hang in there!
post #16 of 16
Quite right to that is exactly what I found as well.
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