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adding a second cat!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Finally after many many months deliberating we are finally going for it and getting a second cat. We are picking him up next Thursday.
We are getting him through a rescue centre. The centre were great and met our current cat and asked questions about his personality and tried to match us with a cat they hoped would get along.
Our current cat is an 19 month old ragdoll mix, a boy. The new cat is a 6 month old boy who the centre suspect is a maine coon mix. The new boy is currently living with cats and the centre say he is cat friendly.

We are starting to plan for our new arrival. I have read the article on the cat site and spoke to friends who have introduced cats before but I just have a few questions...

We will be isolating the new cat in a spare bedroom for the first few days. There is a gap at the bottom of the door, should I initially cover it over so that there is no contact between the two cats?

Also, I know I will start to feel sorry for the newcomer and will find it hard to not rush the process...will the little guy be okay shut in a room for a few days?

And, I would just like to know what are the positive signs to look out for? For example would it be a good sign if my current cat was hanging around outside the room?

Thanks in advance! Sorry for all the questions Im just a bit anxious about the introduction process!
post #2 of 18

Hi there! Congratulations on getting a second cat and giving this boy a home where he can be loved!  :clap:

 

I wanted to make sure your post was answered, so I will do my best to address your questions.

 

I think the gap at the bottom of the door might actually be useful as part of the slow introduction process, so I would suggest to cover it at first. After you do the scent exchange and what not, you could remove the cover over the gap as a first attempt to give them a peek or a sniff at each other. You may want to supervise this in case arms and claws start thrashing around madly (I'm not sure how big this gap is).  ;)

 

Yes, I think the new guy will be okay in the room. Just make sure he has everything he needs to be comfortable - food, fresh water, cat toys, a bed and/or blanket - and visit him often. If he's going to be left alone in the room for periods of time, you may want to perform a quick check to make sure there is nothing around that could harm him, such as plants, blind cords, rubberbands, etc. If he gets bored, he may want to get into things.

 

As to your third question, I think that if your cat shows signs of curiosity and an interest in socializing with the new guy WITHOUT hissing, growling or lunging, then this would be a good sign. The position of the tail would be a good sign, too. A high tail is a happy cat!

 

I am hoping others with more experience in cat introductions might be able to chime in. Good luck! 

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your quick reply!

The gap isnt huge but there is a step down on the outside of the door so my current cat would be able to look under at the newcomer.

My husband and I both work during the day so he will be alone for several hours. I know hasty introductions are one of the main reasons for conflict but I am concerned about the newcomer being stuck in a room on his own...it wont affect him negatively will it?

Thanks :-)
post #4 of 18
No, a few days in the room should not affect him negatively. In fact, it will give him time to get his barrings and feel safe and secure with his new home and you before meeting the resident cat.

With that being said, if he is accustom to interaction with people and cats, I am sure he will be ready for his fair share of attention when you get home! If he tends more on the shy side, spend time sitting in the room, reading out loud to him.

If you have a spare tv, you can put it in the room with him (a radio will work too.)

Good luck and let us know how things go!
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
The new boy (and our current cat for that matter) is very sociable, his fosterer says he is always having a cuddle!

One last quick question... we are picking up our new cat a few days earlier than we originally planned so We've been sorting his safe room. Now that we have put the new cat bed etc in the room should we be shutting the door and stopping our current cat from going in there?
post #6 of 18

Looks like you've done your homework. I will add that it isn't a race. Don't force anything and let the cats set the pace. You say you'll have the new cat in the spare room for a "couple of days", but don't make this firm. You might have to have him in there for a couple of weeks depending on how introductions go.

 

Don't forget to do your site swapping, that's very important.

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well we have had our new cat since this afternoon and he is an absolute sweetheart.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice about comforting the little guy in our absence as every time we leave the room he cries and cries endlessly. My husband and I both have work for 6 hours tomorrow and are worried about leaving him crying.

Thanks :-)
post #8 of 18
You can leave him a few worn items of clothing and put a radio or tv in the room with him for noise. You could also hide a few treats in the room for him to find throughout the day.

Obviously, he will be ready for some cuddles when you get home!

Another tip. We use "Bolt" automatic laser pointers to distract cats/kittens when needed. They run for about 15 minutes and then shutoff by themselves. This could be used in the future. Make it a game. It has worked well for me personally and with the rescue. (I'm sure someone will come behind me an have something to say about laser pointers making cats crazy; but, I have never had any problems.)
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply. I left my ipod on for him whilst we were at work, he was still crying when we got in! Although there is evidence that he hasnt spent his whole day crying at the door as he has eaten the treats we left him and moved his toys.

Im finding it really difficult not to put my human feelings onto him and feel terrible for not being able to let him out of the room.

I know introductions can take a long time but I find myself analysing every mew and movement of the two cats!

My cat has been very interested in the safe room, hes hissed twice at the door but has also been sniffing it and sleeping by it...not sure how to take this but I guess its only been 24 hours!
post #10 of 18

The time goes by so slowly! But seriously you don't want to rush it.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just thought Id give an update..

so Data my old cat hissed at the door on the first and second day but hasnt since hissed. We started side by side feeding with the door closed on Thursday and have fed every meal by the door. Both Data and the new cat Geordi have both been eating all of their food every time.

Weve done two site swaps. Data the old cat sniffed his way quite calmly around Geordis safe room and even stopped to groom himself. He had sniffed a little bit at places Geordi has visited around the rest of the house but hasnt had much of a reaction otherwise.

He has sniffed the door a lot and keeps lying down by the door.

Also there is a gap at the bottom of the door which we had covered but have just uncovered whilst they ate their tea. Neither cat reacted much other than a bit of sniffing so weve now left the gap uncovered (its not big enough for paws to fit through)

I guess what Im asking is just for some perspectives about how it appears to be going and what our next step should be.

thanks in advance!
post #12 of 18

Sounds like things are going really well.

 

You could try getting them to play with a toy together under the gap in the door.

 

A string with two mice or something tied to each end so they can play tug-of-war. Or something similar.

 

Also you might try opening the door a crack so they can see each other. Be sure and be prepared to close it quickly if things go badly.

 

Seems like you are doing a great job.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your support and encouragement catdad!

Well we opened the door a crack earlier with some tuna as positive reinforcement. Geordi (new boy) was so eager to get out and meet Data. Data ate some food and then hissed a fair bit at Geordi however his tail and ears didnt really indicate that much aggression, after a while he ate some treats in front of the crack and then wandered off...Geordi was not fazed by the hissing at all and ate treats and kept on trying to stick his nose through the crack.

I found it quite hard hearing Data hiss as he doesnt normally. However Ive read on the internet that a few hisses are quite normal initially. We are going to keep opening the door a crack a few times a day over the next few days.

I'm hoping this is all encouraging after less than a week!
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickbeam View Post

We are going to keep opening the door a crack a few times a day over the next few days.

 

I think this sounds like a good idea. In my experience, the hissing will subside. My Boo hissed for two weeks after bringing home two other cats...all senior boys. Now they love each other.  :)

 

Some people have used baby gates (if you have one or can get one) as part of the introduction process. It doesn't sound like they are quite ready for this, yet, but its an idea for when a little more exposure is warranted.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just had to post about this evening! We have been doing lots of site swapping and opening the door enough for them to see each other lots of time during the day and at meal times. We've had no hissing from Data at all for 2 days and just now they were both sitting either side of the safe room door with it open enough for a head or a paw to get through. Occasionally they looked at each other but both seemed fairly at ease and relaxed. They sat like this for about 4 minutes and then Data wandered off.

It was such a great moment for us I just had to tell it to someone who would get my excitement!
post #16 of 18

That's such great news!  I really applaud you for your patience and for doing the introductions right!   :clap: 

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
One last question (promise!) We have had stair gates up at the safe room for two days now. We also did a supervised meet that went fairly well. Data still does the odd hiss but when he does they dont sound as hostile as before.
The picture below was taken this morning. Data just keeps going to sleep by the gate and even when Geordi sticks his paw through he doesnt hiss.
Should I be letting them have more supervised time together now?
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickbeam View Post

Should I be letting them have more supervised time together now?

 

I think that would be okay, IMO. The picture didn't come through, by the way.

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