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Introducing new cat to very timid resident cat

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

This is my first visit to this forum. I'm glad I stumbled across it! I'm hoping some of you may have suggestions to offer.

I'm currently in the process of introducing a new cat into my home (I've had him for almost a week). He's a stray that appears to be between 3-6 years old and is already neutered. My veterinarian has given him a clean bill of health (FELV/FIV negative, etc...).

I already have an older dog (golden retriever mix) and an older cat (~9 years old, neutered male) in the home. The dog is used to living with cats and is pretty laid back. He's not a chaser, and is perfectly willing to make friends with other animals.

I adopted the 9 year old cat from a shelter about 5 months ago. He's very sweet, but very timid. He bonded quite quickly with the 2 people in the household, but it took him months to feel comfortable with the dog. It's really only been the past month that he's been coming out of my bedroom into the main part of the house on a daily basis.

He's understandably freaked out about the new cat. I've been keeping the two of them apart, but have allowed him to catch a few glimpses of the new cat. Each time, the older cat has run to find a hiding place. He's now once again voluntarily keeping himself confined to my bedroom and hasn't ventured out at all the past few days. I know this is not an unusual reaction. I'm more concerned about how long this behavior might last given his shy personality.

I've got the new cat set up in a spare room. He's not timid at all, and is very eager to explore his new home. I've been letting him out into the main part of the house for short, supervised visits the last couple of days (keeping my bedroom safely off limits...). He's already well on his way to being fine with the dog.

The issue is how to introduce the two cats. I've been rubbing them down with the same towel and have switched scratch pads between the two rooms to exchange scents. How do I introduce them face to face? I'd prefer to have the older cat approach the spare room where the new cat hangs out and let them sniff and view each other through the door on the older cat's terms, but he's so timid that I think it might take a really long time for him to work up the courage and curiosity to do that. He's almost a bit too comfortable in my bedroom. His litter box, food and water are kept in the adjacent master bathroom so he has everything he needs in there. It took him months to really venture out before and I'm afraid it may take months before he's willing venture out again. In the meantime, I don't want to keep the new cat confined. He's very sociable and wants to be where the people are.

So do I keep the older cat in my bedroom and let the new cat have run of the rest of the house? How do I facilitate interaction between the two cats to get them past the initial introduction? Should I let the new cat explore my bedroom (supervised, of course) or will that really stress the older guy out?

I could use some help, if anyone has ideas!

Sorry for the length of the post. I have a hard time condensing without losing pertinent information!
post #2 of 4
Welcome to TCS. I let my new guys out to explore (supervised) I also put a gate up on the doorway where the one is in the bedroom so they can see each other. I've also fed both of them within eye range of each other. I also would open the gate and sit on the floor and swing a little stick with a string attached and a rubber spider, they get curious and will both (hopefully) come close enough together to start to swat at it. I have 9 cats of all ages, eventually they will get use to each other, or just peacefully tolerate each other. Good Luck.
post #3 of 4
God Bless you for adopting a 9 year old cat from the shelter. I volunteer at my local shelter and I LOVE when the older senior cats get a second chance at a loving home!!

I'm sure with time, things will work out between the 2 cats and your dog too. Hang in there!
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies, KRZ and aswient. I've been extremely busy at work and am late to acknowledge your posts!

My 9 year old timid kitty is actually adjusting to the new cat better than I hoped. There's still some sporadic hissing and growling, and I haven't left them alone unattended yet, but my older guy is very curious about the newcomer and approaches him several times each evening when I let him out of my spare room. They stay several feet apart from each other, but at they are checking each other out.

The new kitty definitely has a fiester personality than I'm used to and I have some follow up questions about his behavior which I'll post under a new heading. I have a few concerns about him.

Thanks again for answering my original post.
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