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Kitty-to-kitty introductions...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
So, I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I adopted a new cat just shy of two weeks ago. You can read about my new beauty, Emory, here: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=198750. I couldn't be happier with my new addition, but I do have some minor concerns about how introductions are going between Em and my two other cats, Cass and Laney. And I was hoping that I could get some support, experience, and suggestions here .

It'll be two weeks this coming Friday since I brought Emory home. Since I already have two beautiful cats who are both around a year old, I figured that Em being 1 year, 7 months would be a less of a shock than adopting a tiny kitten or an older, more set-in-her-ways cat. They're all very similar in size and have personalities that I feel compliment each other. Cassidy is very laid-back and cool, Delaney is rambunctious and affectionate, and Emory is the perfect balance of both of my other girls' personalities. But, really, all that is neither here nor there (though it is somewhat important).

Emory had been spayed, tested (FeLV/FIV -), and up-to-date on her vaccinations and wormings while at the shelter. I dosed her with Frontline Plus before we even hit the driveway and we then placed her in the master bath for quarantine for a couple of days to ensure that she was comfortable before even trying introductions and, in the end, we waited until she had her first vet visit and was cleared before even considering introducing her to Cass and Laney. Once we got the all-clear from the vet, we began slowly introducing her to the other cats. On the first day, we brought the girls into the master bath to have a sniff and allowed Em into the main portion of the house to get the scent of the other cats (the dogs were outside -- we didn't want to stress her too much). We then had a very quick first meeting which went remarkably well with the exception of a few random hisses from each of the three girls. We left it at that for the rest of the day, but then doubled the intro time the next day and experienced the same hissing. I continued the introductions despite the hissing and increased meeting times each day -- and then began doing introductions two and three times a day for extended periods. The girls were always supervised and despite some hissing and very minor growling, things continued to go as well as could be expected.

It's now been just about 7 days since the girls were first introduced and I had been working one-on-one with the dogs and Emory for about a week without incidence. They like to sniff her and she revels in it. Can't get much better than that! And since the introductions between Cassidy, Delaney, and Emory were fairly uneventful, I let her into the "main population" late yesterday afternoon. So far, everything's been okay. Delaney seems to be the most upset by the situation and will hiss and occasionally emit a low growl, but Emory hisses back and after the first couple of hours came out of hiding and is not acting too stressed out about being with the others full time.

However, here are where my questions come in. How do you determine when an intro is successful? By all appearances, the intro between my three girls seemed to go off without (much!) of a hitch. But I think Em is still a bit stressed and it's been hard to determine how much she is eating, drinking, and eliminating. I know that's normal for cats during times of change and stress, but I worry because I love them all so much and hate having them feel uneasy in their home. There has been continued hissing between Delaney and Emory, but Em and Cassidy seem to have hit it off far better and have gone nose-to-nose a few times and have no problem being near one another. Delaney will still growl on occasion, as will Emory, but neither has even attempted to attack the other and they have been left alone with one another overnight and for a couple of hours today and were no worse for the wear. I have three separate litter boxes as well as separate food and water dishes so no one has to compete for any necessities (and we have toys, toys, toys galore!) and I saw Emory eat a bit of wet food this afternoon so I know she's taking in something, but, like I said, it's hard to know just how much -- as well as whose pee is whose and whose poop is whose . But, despite all that, does it sound like I'm doing right by my girls?

Is there anything I should be doing that I'm not? How long do typical introductions take between cats (as in, how long is normal where hissing, growling, and dominant behavior is concerned)? I guess I'm just disconcerted since there has been growling and hissing over the last 24 + hours and my previous introductions between Cass and Laney were so simple that you'd have never have known that they weren't always together. I know I need to be patient and let things run their course and that, most likely, based on everything that has happened thus far, things will work out, but I can't help but worry just a little...or, let's be honest, a lot . I guess I just need some support with this and to hear the experience of others where kitty-to-kitty introductions were concerned.

I know how lucky I am that things have been as mild as they have been and that I'm probably totally overreacting, but, still...they're my babies and I want what's best for them. This is my first real experience with introductions and I read a lot, asked a lot of questions, and went by the book, but I just hope it's been enough and that I've not made a mess where there could've been an easier, softer way. But all that I've explained is pretty much the norm, right? I think I'm being hard on myself here, but I'm just exhausted at the moment and am a worry-wart to begin with so that's to be expected. But some support would definitely be appreciated as would any constructive criticism or experience. I really do want to do right by all my girls and I know my heart's in the right place -- I just want to make sure my actions have been as well...
post #2 of 3
It sounds like things are going well. It can often take weeks or months to make such progress.
post #3 of 3
I think you are doing very well also! Don't be too concerned about the hissing and stuff. Fiona STILL smacks Rocko alot and yells at him. But she also will settle down next to him and "hang out". Its been over a year. They are not best friends but they get along just fine. They even play occasionally. But they like to put each other in their place once in a while.
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