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Introducing a New Cat (Happening Now)

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone-

As you can tell, I am new here.

My wife and I rescued our cat Maya from a city shelter in June 2006 when we lived in New York. In July/August 2008 we got married and moved to Virginia. Maya has been a great cat so far. She sleeps at night in our bed, is playful, she always does her business where it should be done and is generally really sweet to us. She is about 2 1/2 (we resued her when she was about 1)

Just today we rescued a new cat who we think we are calling Sophie. She is 10 months and seems to be a lap cat....when we visited her all she wanted to do was kneed my legs and just hang out on my lap. We brought Sophie home tonight and put her in our second bedroom with a litterbox, food and water. I actually had my bowling league right after and my wife hung out with Sophie who was pretty comfortable. After my wife then took a nap outside the second bedroom with Maya, she went in the second bedroom, but Sophie was under the bed (it looks like she had knocked something over and startled herself). When I got home I hung out with Maya....my wife actually had a plastic string that she was sticking under the door and playing with Maya....then went to the second bedroom. I talked to Sophie and coaxed her out from under the bed and my wife and I hung out with her for 30 minutes.

When we got out, Maya was not happy....she was hissing and raised a paw at me and hissing at the general direction of the door. I put a bunch of food, treats and some catnip by the door which got Maya there.....she ate the food, but was growling while doing it. She has been a bit standoffish from me since then, but the good news is that she did use her litterbox, so hopefully she won't mark around (she has never done this). We did play for a little while which was good, but she lost interest pretty quick and is in her bed in the living room which looks out the front window.

So, I was just seeing what people thought the next step was.....it is a really bad sign that Maya seemed kind of upset?

I
post #2 of 28
It is definitely good your are keeping them separate. This may take a bit of time and giving both attention individually is a good thing as well. It sounds like Maya is very upset with the new presence, and is going to take a lot of reassurance. The new kitty may be wanting to roam and expand before Maya is ready to except, so just take it slowly.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
It is definitely good your are keeping them separate. This may take a bit of time and giving both attention individually is a good thing as well. It sounds like Maya is very upset with the new presence, and is going to take a lot of reassurance. The new kitty may be wanting to roam and expand before Maya is ready to except, so just take it slowly.
Thanks.....she is in her bed now which I guess is a good sign. Hopefully she'll be ok.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Short update....Maya had calmed down a lot and I petted her and held her with no problem...then went back into Sophie's room and did the same with her. Earlier in the night I had put Maya's automatic feeder next to the door which she can get the food out any time she wants and does (she is not a self feeder) and she started playing it like a slot machine and still did so while I was with Sophie....then found her on our bed sleeping....I went in there and let her sniff me and she hissed....gave her a couple of treats-from my hand and she growled in the process....
post #5 of 28
I would go slowly.
Sasha hissed at Oreo when we got her.
Now they love each other and play alot.
Let her smell her scent on the toys and you.
I would put her in a carrier next and let her smell it.
I have a new cat coming soon that would have been here today but it was to could to ship her.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks!

Maya is doing better. She slept in our bed as usual and has been interested in the door, but has not hissed that I have seen. She also sniffed our coats late last night, but had not bad reaction to it.

Sophie slept in the bathroom last night in the second bedroom because we wanted to be sure she is litter trained even though the rescue group said she was.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Things are going well. Maya has been a little more quiet than usual, but otherwise fine. After playing with Sohpie, I washed my hands, and petted Maya and she was fine. I also picked her up, so I think these are good signs.

I have a thought.....could part of the problem be that Sophie has the smells of dozens of other cats on her? Would giving Sophie a bath help? She is a bit stinky anyway.

I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!
post #8 of 28
If you're brave, a bath might not be a bad idea.

Cats are territorial, and females more so than males, so Maya undoubtedly is hissy about having her territory invaded. Many people expect the cuddly cat at the shelter to cuddle up with their current cuddly cats, but that's just not the way it works. And even when you do introduce them, they will have to work out dominance.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
If you're brave, a bath might not be a bad idea.

Cats are territorial, and females more so than males, so Maya undoubtedly is hissy about having her territory invaded. Many people expect the cuddly cat at the shelter to cuddle up with their current cuddly cats, but that's just not the way it works. And even when you do introduce them, they will have to work out dominance.
True....Sophie is very laid back, so she probably would not be so bad with two people.

Maya and Sophie were on opposible sides of the same door with my wife being inside the second bedroom pushing Sophie's toy under the door. Maya did hiss twice, but also played with the toy. Also, when my wife got out of the room, she petted Maya without incident and Maya licked her hand.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just an update and a few questions.....

Sophie, the new cat is adjusting really well. She is using the litterbox, eating, drinking and exploring the room she is in. In fact, I think she may be bored just being in one little spare bedroom....sometimes I hear noises in there and I think she is running around demolition derby style.

Maya seems to be coming along also, albeit a little more slowly. While she still hisses and growls at the door when Sophie is around it, they seem to be half-hearted. In fact, I flick food from Sophie's room (which I have rubbed on Sophie) to Maya on the other side of the door, she promptly eats eat (while still growling of course). For the most part Maya's actions seem defensive and not offensive....when she growls or hisses she is almost always in a sitting position....she also eats by the door with no problem from her automatic feeder. Away from the door, Maya's behavior is completely normal. After I play with and pet Sophie and I seek Maya out and let her smell my fingers and she has taken to doing a few small licks of them.....now growling and no hissing anymore like she did Wednesday and Thursday.

Sophie though, seems ready to burst out. So my question is, what should the next step be and when? Should I wait for Maya to completely stop groaning and hissing no matter how harmless I think it is? Can I put Maya in my bedroom and let Sophie explore the house for a half a day and put her smells around Maya's territory or switch them altogether?

Thanks!
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
I should also add that Sophie is unafraid of Maya....the shelter said she got along with all the other cats no matter whether they hissed at her or not.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just a further update.....Maya had dinner at the door without and growling or hissing. Good sign.

Would be interested on people's thoughts regarding my post above. Thanks all.
post #13 of 28
Do you have some place you could put something like a screen door between them so they can see each other without being able to touch (or scratch or bite)? Or maybe you could put Sophie in a carrier and leave the door to the room open to let Maya go in when she's ready to get closer to Sophie. I would only do that for about 10-15 minutes at a time because Sophie probably won't appreciate being closed up in a small space for long.
post #14 of 28
This often is the case, the new kitty settles in and wants to explore, looking for acceptance by the other. It is very important to allow Maya to feel comfortable with the new presence in her time. GoldyCat has excellent advice, just keep it slow and reassure Maya she is not being replaced or punished.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions

I was able to rig a screen and open Sophie's door half way last night. I put treats down by the door and Maya was eating them while growling and sometimes hissing at Sophie. Sophie didn't seem to care at all and even used the litter while Maya was hissing. At some point Maya got bored and left and went downstairs and that was the end of it.

Do you all think I should do this for a few days or do the room switch? In other respects Maya seems fine if not a little more quiet than usual....we played fetch today as we always do, she licked by wifes legs when she got out of the shower as she usually does for us and slept with us last night. She is also using her litterbox and eating normally. But, on the other hand, she is still not thrilled with Sophie. Do I keep the process going and let them work it out or do I give Maya more time?

Thanks all!
post #16 of 28
You can also take a towel, rub Sophie down with the towel, and then take the same towel and rub Maya down with it, and make them smell the same.
post #17 of 28
I would give them a few more days with the screen between them. When you do open the door, don't physically put them in the same room. Let them decide when to get together. From what you've said, Sophie is likely to be the one to make the first move. If they start fighting, give them a couple of minutes to work things out themselves before you separate them. You may still have to keep Sophie isolated at night and when you're away from home for a while.

Don't try to rush them. If you force them together too soon, you may have to start the introductions all over again.

Sounds like you're doing well so far.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KiTTYL0VE4 View Post
You can also take a towel, rub Sophie down with the towel, and then take the same towel and rub Maya down with it, and make them smell the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
I would give them a few more days with the screen between them. When you do open the door, don't physically put them in the same room. Let them decide when to get together. From what you've said, Sophie is likely to be the one to make the first move. If they start fighting, give them a couple of minutes to work things out themselves before you separate them. You may still have to keep Sophie isolated at night and when you're away from home for a while.

Don't try to rush them. If you force them together too soon, you may have to start the introductions all over again.

Sounds like you're doing well so far.
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I am sorry to ask so many questions at every step.....I just want to make sure I do this the right way.

So, I did the screen again today for about 90 minutes so far. I was in the next room-less than 10 feet away cleaning, but I popped my head in every two minutes or so. For the first 10-15 mins the screen was up, Maya did not bother to go there (and she had to know it was up because it makes a pretty big noise when put it up. It is actually those metal cages that you connect together to make cubbies for clothing etc.....it's actually this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/prod...652600&RN=1009 I rigged them four high with a piece of wood on either side) When she finally went up she mostly sat there growling once in a while with a couple of hisses while Sophie occasionally lurked in the background. Finally after 10 minutes Sophie approached the gate with Maya about 5 feet away and Maya was silent....no hissing no growling.....I was shocked....after about a minute, Sophie broke the stare looked away and went on her away....

I also have Maya's automatic feeder at the door which she can game and eat whenever she wants....after a little while Maya was eating from it though Sophie was not at the gate at the time.

After awhile, Maya got bored and left. Now I am downstairs (from Sophie's room) with Maya and she is purring away behind me on the couch on my shoulder).

I am just very excited that progress is being made.

Tomorrow is Sophie's vet appointment and I'll be home all day (I got laid off about 3 weeks ago, but I may start another assignment later this week). Should I keep her room open while I am gone so Maya can explore it while no one is home? When I get back, I was thinking of putting the gate up and pretty much leaving it that way the entire day (as long as I am home of course).

Thoughts? At some point I would like to give Sophie an opportunity to explore around, but Maya's mental health is more important.

The towels is a good idea......I will do that with some old socks-less intimidating.

Thanks everyone!
post #19 of 28
hey- sounds like it's going pretty well with your two girls.

I would let Maya sniff around in peace and quiet in new girl's room. What I found out in similar situation (two existing cats, one very nervous about the new guy plus a new guy who was very relaxed and known to have been with other cats at shelter) was that my existing guys were very wary in new guy's room even when he was not there. However, they very much liked to go eat from his cup and check his potty...

The opposite however was an absolute insult. When I let the new guy take a turn and walk the house (existing cats were locked in bedroom), there were consequences letting him explore the food cups and litter boxes. Nothing else mattered but after he had left his scent there (he did not piddle or eat even), it was too much and puddles emerged during the next night! Nothing more but it was just too much from first walk! Otherwise the brothers just walked the house sniffing wherever the newcomer had gone, and everything was fine.

We did do first walks in each other rooms without the other one/s watching but because new brother was so relaxed we very quickly were able to have joined walks (everyone walking together, eyeballing, and the most nervous one occasionally growling). For first nights after well gone visits we still isolated newbie but he started yowling in his solitude, and we decided that he can probably fend for himself soon after that.

Good luck - I enjoyed reading about your progress!
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by piikki View Post
hey- sounds like it's going pretty well with your two girls.

I would let Maya sniff around in peace and quiet in new girl's room. What I found out in similar situation (two existing cats, one very nervous about the new guy plus a new guy who was very relaxed and known to have been with other cats at shelter) was that my existing guys were very wary in new guy's room even when he was not there. However, they very much liked to go eat from his cup and check his potty...

The opposite however was an absolute insult. When I let the new guy take a turn and walk the house (existing cats were locked in bedroom), there were consequences letting him explore the food cups and litter boxes. Nothing else mattered but after he had left his scent there (he did not piddle or eat even), it was too much and puddles emerged during the next night! Nothing more but it was just too much from first walk! Otherwise the brothers just walked the house sniffing wherever the newcomer had gone, and everything was fine.

We did do first walks in each other rooms without the other one/s watching but because new brother was so relaxed we very quickly were able to have joined walks (everyone walking together, eyeballing, and the most nervous one occasionally growling). For first nights after well gone visits we still isolated newbie but he started yowling in his solitude, and we decided that he can probably fend for himself soon after that.

Good luck - I enjoyed reading about your progress!
Thanks for your insight. I enjoyed reading about your experience.

I took Sophie to the vet today. I took her to the bathroom and put her in the crate there.....in case she got away. She was yelping and crying. I took her in her crate downstairs and Maya was growling at her with a hiss or two. While we were gone, I left the room open, but I am not sure if Maya was in there while I was gone.

Since we've been home, I put the gate up, but neither has shown much interest in being at the gate (Maya was there for about 10 mins and did a little growling and a few hisses). Sophie was pretty wiped after the vet visit (all 6 1/2 lbs of her!), but she did come from under the bed to be petted at one point.

The vet thought I should introduce them tonight, but I think that is too quick. I think maybe I'll put Maya in our room and let Sophie roam around for a little while tonight.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by esc2476 View Post
The vet thought I should introduce them tonight, but I think that is too quick. I think maybe I'll put Maya in our room and let Sophie roam around for a little while tonight.
Our vet was way more 'pushy' about the introductions than we were too I was more concerned of getting going on the wrong foot and then not knowing how to mend it.

One thing I was going to mention but forgot... It might be a good idea on the day of the introductions to get at least Maya involved in some active play time just before the face-off. Some good old running after the string could burn her down a bit, then a little calming down period, and then go for meeting with new sister - and she might just not have the strength to be so wound up... Works with my boys to some degree because they get all floppy after they run like little nutters for 15-20 minutes... and on second meeting it'll all be old news anyway...
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks Piikki!

Last night and this morning I fed them pretty much nose to nose with the screen and it went pretty well. They both ate though Maya growl once in awhile. After their meal was done (a quiet time for Maya-she relaxes after a meal) I lifted the gate. Sophie was on top of the bed and Maya kind of sniffed around the part of the room near the door and left.

Awhile later, Maya was back upstairs and Sophie tried to sneak by and Maya saw her and chased her under the bed in our room. Maya hissed a bit, but did not go all the way to where Sophie was under the bed....it's a good hiding place. Maya eventually went away.

I went back up to check on her and closed the bedroom door (not her "safe" room, the other bedroom) and coaxed her out. We had a nice petting session and she was purring. I got up and let her hide again and let Maya in (I heard her coming to the door because she wears a collar with a bell) and she stalked around the bed growling.

She eventually left and is now downstairs in her bed looking out the window. I guess it's going well....I just hope Sophie has enough courage to come downstairs eventually.

Thoughts?
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
So, I was home a lot of the day and kept the door for the safe room open. Sophie remained under her bed much of the time with Maya going to the bed and growling every hour or two. A couple of times Sophie made it down stairs, but when Maya say her, she ran back upstairs. A few times, I was upstairs with Sophie petter her, etc. and Maya remained downstairs.

Before I closed Sophie's door for the night, Maya was stalking around her bed and got a little close and Sophie made a run at her. After which Maya raised a paw, hissed and promptly ran away. Not very dominant cat of her.

I am a bit worried that Sophie seems to be hiding a lot, but I think from reading everything here that this is normal.

Oh and Maya used Sophie's litterbox once today. Should I keep her from doing that? I cleaned it out less than a minute after she used it and disinfected the section she used.

Any thoughts and/or suggestions on the progress are very much appreciated.
post #24 of 28
Unless you notice that Sophie won't use the litterbox after Maya, it could actually be a good thing. Something like rubbing them both down with the same towel so they're sharing each others' scent.
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
Unless you notice that Sophie won't use the litterbox after Maya, it could actually be a good thing. Something like rubbing them both down with the same towel so they're sharing each others' scent.
Thanks

So, I have another update and a couple of quick questions if anyone can help. You all have been great and your advice has helped tremendously.

I now leave the door between the safe room and the rest of the house open. For the most part, Sophie keeps to her safe room. Once every hour or two, Maya will go sit outside the safe room at the door way and growl a bit and once in awhile throw in a hiss for good measure.

The last day or so Sophie has worked up more courage. Last night and today while Maya was downstairs, Sophie came in my bedroom and hung out with me....laying on my chest last night purring.

This afternoon, Sophie wandered downstairs. Maya happened to be sleeping and didn't notice her until Sophie hit something in the kitchen on the counter. Maya went there quickly and they had a standoff. Sophie made off and made it back to the safe room and under her bed. When Maya approached Sophie moved towards her scaring Maya off. This actually seems to be the pattern.....Maya chases her to the bed and stops. If Maya makes a move under the bed, Sophie scares her off. This has pretty much been going on the last 3 days.....almost like a stalemate. I worry that Maya will never let Sophie walk around downstairs without going after her.

What are thoughts?

To help things out, I confined Maya to Sophie's safe room for awhile today.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hello again....

So, they keep having these standoffs....usually when Maya goes into Sophie's room. Maya is sometimes growling with the occasional and will get close to the bed in sort of a threatening manner and Sophie will quickly charge back at her. They never touch each other, but do this instead.

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Are they continuing to test each other boundaries? Sophie loves it downstairs and it seems the only thing keeping her upstairs is the threat of Maya.

Also, I think I know the answer to this, but wanted to ask anyway.....is it ok to do a light verbal reprimand (which Maya usually responds to) to kind of reprimand her when she growls or hisses at Sophie.

b/t/w-in every way, Maya is the same cat she always was with her habits and personality.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
So something new that's happening......

Sophie sneaks downstairs. Maya discovers her and watches her and stares at her from about four feet away. Sophie freezes and sometimes lets out a soft cry.

This time, Maya walked away and layed on my AppleTV (which she always does). Sophie then jumped on the couch and is hanging with me under Maya's watchful eye.

This is progress I guess. They have been down here "together" for about 45 minutes.
post #28 of 28
You are doing great! I would just leave them together now at this point and let them work it out.

I've found it's best to just let them be and totally ignore them. Like be in the other room. I think they can tell if you are stressed and standing around ready to step in-- it makes them more stressed. Just let them both have run of the house like it was the most natural thing in the world.

I think at this point if they were going to fight they would have done it by now.
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