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Give up my new cat? Need advice.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My 9-year old female tuxedo cat (I've had her for 3 years) has always been very loving and needy. She wants to be where I am, eats when I eat, that sort of thing. I've been working late hours and I was afraid she was getting lonely, so I decided to get her a companion. I thought an adult cat with a similar disposition would be a good fit. I brought home a 5-year old stray from the shelter--she's had a hard life--has a torn ear, scratches on her nose, missing a tooth, a stubby, kinked tail, but purred like crazy when I petted her. Anyway, I read some articles about introducing a new cat to a resident cat; I kept them separated--set the new cat up in a downstairs bedroom, and let my other cat do her growling and hissing. After 9 days, I opened the door between the two cats and hoped the new one would run out and check out the house--she got close enough to the other cat to touch her nose, but then received a nasty growl and a swat. I've tried to make them more comfortable with each other by feeding them in the same general area---they tolerate it, but resident cat still growls. My problem is this: the new cat has rarely ventured from under the bed since I brought her home. She comes out when I'm in the room and lets me pet her and she loves it, but if I make a move like getting up, shifting my leg, or whatever, she dives right back under the bed. And, since her experiences with my other cat haven't gone well, she won't even leave the room except to use the litter box, which I finally moved into the same room as my other cat's, in the hope of bringing them together in some way. I try to get the new cat to come out, but she's so easily spooked by the other one, she runs back under the bed. I even locked resident cat in the new cat's room overnight(with some catnip and her toys) hoping that would give new cat a chance to roam the house freely, but she wouldn't even go upstairs (the other cat's main territory), she stayed under a couch downstairs.This isn't what I intended when I got a new cat. I wanted a companion for the other cat. In addition, though I've rubbed new cat down with bath wipes, I realized today that her room smells! I don't want a smelly house. I hate to give up such a sweet cat, and I know it's supposed to take time for old cat/new cat relationships to flourish, but I was thinking a kitten might be a better companion, because she'll be a little more fearless about approaching my other cat, even after receiving some growls or swats. And maybe I can get a sweeter smelling kitty. Advice?
post #2 of 12
My only question is how long have you had the older cat? Because it can take months for things to eventually calm down, and they have to go at it alone as well, fight it out between them.

We had the same problem although my two were younger but one was timid and the other wasn't and after more then a year she's helping him come out of his shell, it took them both about 6 weeks before one would walk past and not hiss.. The male (timid) one used to hide under the bed or the table and i used to get really frustrated and think gawd your a cat what are you so scared off, if you leave them to seek things for themselves they eventually come around i have learnt..

I say give it time, give them time to see each other but make sure you keep an eye on them.. Just think of how the older kitty would feel thinking it may have another chance at life and then bam! dreams been taken away..

I could be completely wrong here but i say give it time..

post #3 of 12
Give it time. About a month ago, I brought home a four month old kitten. Socks, who is nine and hates other animals, did not take kindly to Sadie, the new addition.

Over this month, I have heard countless growls and hisses and purrs. They're starting to get along... it's taken this long to get them to the point where they accept each other.

I don't think you're gonna find a 'sweet smelling kitty'. If it's that bad, I think a trip to the vet is in order to make sure that everything is okay.

Best of luck,
post #4 of 12
I am not surprised by the behavior of the new cat considering her history. A cat who has been abused will not change personality just because she changed living quarters.She not only has to adjust to your new home but to your 9 year old kitty (who may possibly react the same way towards a different cat whether an adult or a kitten).
I agree with RaKKa and Sockiesmom that it takes time. I have 3 cats who came to me at different times and it took months before they even tolerated each other. They will settle it among themselves, believe me. I suggest you read some more of the threads here about difficulty in introducing newcomers.
As to the smell, have you had her checked by the vet? Or perhaps you are using the wrong type of swipes? Maybe you can try bathing her with a good pet shampoo? It will be a pity if you reject her just because she offends your nostrils?
Please don't give up on the newbie!
post #5 of 12
You should give the new cat a lot more time. As some have already stated, it can take quite awhile for them to get along. Your older cat has been king, or I should say queen, of the house for awhile, so now she has to give up some of her space. Your new adopted cat sounds as if has been through some very rough times. If she has been abused, it will take her awhile to start trusting again. You say her room smells and that you locked your resident kitty in there for the night. It may be possible that resident kitty protested that by urinating in the room. I would just leave the door open and let them roam freely. I am sure they will eventually get along. Please don't give up on the adopted one so easily, she sounds like she needs a good home.
post #6 of 12
You have received excellent advice from everyone. I too would hate for this cat that you rescued to end up back in the shelter merely because of a territorial issue (that will eventually be resolved) and because your room smells.

You can do something about the room smell. If it is the cat herself that smells, you should get her to the vet and make sure that she is okay healthwise- no parasites, or internal problems brewing. If she is sick and it was not caught by whoever vetted her before, then that could very well be why resident cat is hissing and swatting (though that is a normal reaction)

Look at the world from her eyes for a second. She has probably been abused when she was out in the world, she never had much contact with nice people, therefore she is legitimately scared of you. Hiding under your bed is her safety zone. Don't persue her when she is hiding, leave her alone, if you bend over and peer in at her, you will only confirm her fears that you are out to get her. She was trapped, shoved in a box, taken to a place, poked prodded, put in a room full of overly stressed cats and made to live in a cage. And you wonder why she is hiding?

If you have a cat condo, move it into the room she is at. Go to a local appliance store and secure a large cardboard box much like one that housed a small :censor::censor::censor::censor:. Bring it home, cut the flaps off one end, flip it over, cut entry holes in all four sides of the box off the floor level a bit- and weight it down and let that also be a place of refuge for this poor cat. Play classical music constantly really low in her room- invest in a Feliway Comfort Zone room diffuser and just give this poor girl some time. You are working on her time schedule not yours.
post #7 of 12
It sounds as if your new kitty might be somewhat feral. Please click here to read a thread about how to socailize a feral. You will find that the cat in this thread is very similar to your new cat. You will read all of the things to do and not to do. It is a wonderful story that will help you tremendously.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Just wanted to thank you all for your great advice. I know it takes time; I'm just getting frustrated because I want us all to be one big, happy family! I'll have to remember that I'm working on her time schedule, not mine. It upsets me to think that the new cat (Sadie) might feel like she's "trapped" in her room, but it sounds like you all know what you're talking about. I'll read the article on ferals, and I'll get her checked out by the vet again.

One last question: I currently feed Sadie in her room, but I wonder if doing that only reinforces the "this is your territory" message--to her and the older cat (Sophie). I want Sadie to feel like she can come upstairs and eat in the kitchen, with me and Sophie. When should I move her food bowls upstairs, if ever?

Thanks again!
post #9 of 12
I'd like to add just one more vote for giving it more time. The new cat needs to begin to trust again and that could be hard as we do not know all that she may have experienced in her life. I know the frustration when things donot happen quickly enough. Calvin took a year before I could pick him up. Willow, 2 years before he started regularly being seen on the first floor of our home (he preffered the 2nd floor, under the bed covers), and it took Fern 6 full years to come to sit on my lap (which she really doesn't do that much even now).....but the point is, in each and every case, it was WORTH THE WAIT.
post #10 of 12
Originally posted by amg
When should I move her food bowls upstairs, if ever?
I would wait until she is fully integrated into the home. I fed one of my cats separately for about a year -- he didn't mind one bit!
post #11 of 12
It might also be that your cat is more of a solo cat and the two might not ever become "friends". My two cats tolerate each other, but are definately not buddies. They have lived together for 6 years, but stay to themselves and really don't want anything to do with each other. I've found that there are a lot of cats who just like staying to themselves and are not social cats..
post #12 of 12
Have you checked the forums by doing a search for "introducing cats". I remember seeing some great threads on this subject that might help you out. Good luck and bless you for rescuing your new kitty. Just think of the difference you have made in Sadie's life.
Here is a thread I found when I searched:
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