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Introducing Dexter

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We brought home our new kitten Dexter today

Anyway Dexter and Pixel, who is our alpha cat, were separated for a few hours. Then they came together, the kitten isn't bothered by Pixel but Pixel is growling and hissing at him. She watches the kitten constantly and even took a few swipes at him. I hope this is normal behaviour. should I just allow it to happen or should I split them up a while? They seem to be able to be in the same room ok, but when the kitten comes close to Pixel, that's when Pixel gets angry.

What do I do?
post #2 of 21
It is best to keep them separated for several days before any introductions take place.

Please click here for an excellent article written by Hissy about how to make a successful introduction.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
We have a small condo and don't have space to separate for days.

Not sure what to do....
post #4 of 21
Did you read Hissy's article? If you have a bedroom, that is a great place to keep the kitten for a few days. Just make sure he has a litter box, food and water in the room with him.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Pixel now has a friend

Integration with Pixel is going ok, we are keeping Dexter locked away in the bedroom when we are gone and we let them out together when we are here. Pixel is still hissing a bit but seems to be somming around. How long can I expect pixel to be upset?
post #6 of 21
What a cutie! When we introduced our cats, it only took a few days, but I think it depends on the cats. Maybe a few weeks? One of the suggestions I've read is to rub one cat with a towel and then rub the other cat with the same towel. That way they have each other's scent mixed with their own.
post #7 of 21
Slipstream, your new kitty is so adorable!!

I just brought home, which is also a one-bedroom apartment, an adult cat 3 weeks ago. So I understand your situation. Hissing and growling are normal during the first few days when you introduce a new member. Just make sure you are around to avoid blood-shed.

Since your Dexter is so small and you don't have extra room to seperate them, perhaps you can put Dexter in the cage first. That one Dexter will be protected from Pixel's attack just in case. Also, the cage will be served as an extra room for you. In the mean time, you can follow what Hissy's article has suggested, such as using blanket or pure vanilla extract, to make Pixel feel that Dexter "smells" the same as her. Pure vanilla extra works great on my cats when they first met!!!

Hope it helps, and be patient!
post #8 of 21
I lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment and successfully introduced two cats to each other. I followed hissy's advice in her article. the link has been provided by lotsocats for you.

It does take time and patience, but the rewards are well worth it. The time for your two cats to get along varies. The key thing is to give each of your cats time they need to adjust and not to force things.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
I now separated Pixel and Dexter and they are only together when I am watching. Now Pixel seems to tolerate Dexter until he gets too close the she will hiss and take the occasionjal swipe at him. Dexter doesn't seem to care one bit but I more worried for Pixel. Pixel seems to be comming around slowly, she just kinda watches Dexter and follows him around.
post #10 of 21
I think your Dexter and Pixel are getting along just fine. Hissing and growling are tools that Pixel uses to show Dexter "I am the boss here!!" The reason why Pixel is watching Dexter and following him around is perhaps Pixel is amused by Dexter, the little cute thing, and trying to figure out what the heck Dexter is, and make sure he is not harmful to her at all... Funny things that cats do.
post #11 of 21
Just to clarify about that article, I wrote it on the perspective of working with feral cats, not domestics. The dynamics of a feral cat is so different from a kitten raised in a home. Any new cat being introduced to my colony over here, has to be done gradually in order to make the blending successful. Rushing it, because I feel sorry for a yowling cat in a room off by himself, has resulted in the past of emergency vet visits and high vet bills. Most of the time the new cats are not by themselves as I visit between 5-8 times a day doing various activities in the room, or simply sitting on the floor reading out loud to the newcomer to start the bonding process with them.
post #12 of 21
Dexter is absolutely precious! :
post #13 of 21
Hi Slipstream! I'm sure many in the Cat Lounge would enjoy pics of your beautiful new kitty, however, the questions you're addressing are more appropriate in the Behavior Forum. I'm sure you'll get the help you need there!

post #14 of 21
Slipstream - looks like you already had a thread started in the Behavior forum !

I went ahead and merged the threads for you and deleted the duplicate photo.

(If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me via Private Messaging. TCS doesn't allow duplicate posts or photos, and we try to keep threads of the same topic together. It can take a little while to get the hand of it! )
post #15 of 21
Oh... and in answer to your question... it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to a few weeks - it just depends upon the cats.

Hubby and I live in a very small home and we have four cats - but started with one. We've also fostered one or two along the way. We don't have the ability to keep cats separate when we integrate them, unless they're small kittens where we can keep them in a crate for a while.

One of the cats we integrated was a bit aggressive, so we kept a large dog crate in order to separate him for a little while.

Basically, we used the vanilla trick, which helped some. But basically we just kept an eye on everyone, and whenever the fighting started to get too aggressive (meaning, it looked like someone was going to get hurt), then we'd break it up.

Spooky hissed and batted at Tuxedo (Tuxedo was the last one we integrated) for weeks - she just wanted her space, and he wanted to play with her. Lazlo and Shelly were secure enough in their alpha roles (I guess) to not have a problem with Tuxedo. But it took about two weeks before we comfortably left the home, secure knowing that we wouldn't come home to bitten ears or something. We always made sure one of us was home until that point.

We also used the bathroom as a "cool down" place. Whenever Tuxedo went after Lazlo, Shelly or Spooky in a really aggressive manner, or shaking a can of coins wouldn't deter him from the attack, we'd pick him up and put him in the bathroom with a few toys and some water.

However, that was only when we didn't have time to play with him. The first few days, in my experience, the hissing and batting is to figure out who's space is who's, to set boundaries and establish the pecking order. After that, it seemed to me that Tuxedo wanted to play and ended up annoying the others - pushed them too far. Sometimes it seemed more like he was challenging for the alpha position (which he has not successfully won yet).

Shaking the can of coins almost always stopped the aggressive behavior. Also, we frequently grab a fishing pole type toy and swing it his direction when he's bothering one of the other cats. The play will frequently divert his attention, and absorb his play desire and energy into the toy as opposed to being directed at the other cats.

But like I said, when he was undeterred, putting him in the bathroom for 15 minutes to half an hour worked. He'd usually be asleep when we open the door - and sometimes he was just playing by himself with the mouse or whatever we left in there with him, and when we opened the door he didn't even notice or bother to come out - until he flipped his little mouse out the door and had to get out to retrieve it.

Just tricks you can try in a small space.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

post #16 of 21
Also, you should send that picture to anne@thecatsite.com for the Caption This Forum- too cute!
post #17 of 21
I was just about to post a question about our new addition (that i posted about in the health & nutrition section) and I saw this similar post from Slipstream. We have three cats that we are introducing to our new addition "Candy". Our most timid cat Sydney is the most curious. She wanders around watching Candy and even comes close enough to sniff her. I was impressed this morning when she even joined the kitten and me on our bed but she did swat her when Candy tried to play with Sydney's tail. We are keeping the kitten in the bathroom off of our room at night and closing the other cats out but let her wander a bit during the day when we are home. Our male cat Pooh growls and hisses at the kitten but otherwise seems to be acting normal. Our youngest cat Whisper is acting very strange. She seemed to be frightened by the kitten and won't come anywhere near her or anywhere she has been. She is even growling and hissing at us when we pick her up. Normally she loves to be held by my kids so I told my daughter to take a shower and then go try to hold Whisper when she didn't smell of the kitten. That worked but Whisper is just hanging out in my daughters room by herself. The blanket that the kitten is using has been used by all three of our cats so I figured she would get used to their smells and also maybe smell a bit like them from using it. It has only been two days so I am not THAT worried yet but I feel guilty because the cats seem to be mad at us. I even went and bought them a 5 ft kitty condo to suck up. Pathetic aren't I??
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
OMG KCKitty, your new addition is soo cute, it reminds me of Pixel when she was a kitten.

Well just to give you an update on Pixel and Dexter. Pixel still hisses and growls at Dexter but now they chase each other around and it seems kind of like play until Dexter gets too close, then Pixel will hiss again. I think they are getting better and I am sure it will be a matter of time before they get to be best friends.
post #19 of 21
I think someopne mentioned this earlier, but just in case I'm remembering wrong, I'll mention it again. Try putting a dab of vanilla extract under the chin and on the back at the base of the tail of each cat in the house. This will make them all smell the same and will probably help them feel more comfortable with each other.

Good luck!
post #20 of 21
Now does this cat look relaxed or what?? She is adjusting well and is a very good kitty. Just had to share the photo
post #21 of 21
Please, please, please, keep me posted on the status of Dexter and Pixel. I have an 11 month old female tabby (Boo) at home now and on July 2, I will be bringing home Bella (12 week old female diluted tortie). I have read everything about keeping them separated and making sure Boo does not get neglected any. I am just dreading this adjustment period. So keep your stories coming.

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