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Old cat vs. New cat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a inside female cat (Sam) who is 3 years old. The problem is my family and I have found a cat (or should I say he found us). He most likely was dropped off on our street . We have all fell in love with him and he is like a member of our family now. The thing is...we want to let him live inside (since he loves being inside)BUT Sam isn't to crazy about the idea. When we let him inside we have to keep her in a seperate room just so they won't fight. When they meet face to face they both hiss at each other and we have to step in before it turns ugly. He leaves Sam alone but Sam doesn't leave him alone. What I was wondering is how do we introduce the two of them so he can have a perminent home? Will there ever be a time that they will get along and live in the same home? I am concerned because he is maybe 2x's bigger than Sam and I am afraid he will hurt her if they do not get along. Since we live in the middle of the woods and there are only 3 other homes where we live people are constantly dropping off their unwanted animals and we are animal lovers and we cannot turn them away! Can someone please let me know if we are making the right decision when it comes to trying to make these two cats get along?
post #2 of 8
This kind of situation is difficult There are some recent threads that dealt with various aspects of the problem and you might like to check them out. Off-hand I do not remember the exact names of the threads, but I will try to collect them together .

Basically, you in-house cat may never recover her sweet nature if you introduce another adult cat into your home. You could more easily introduce a new dog.

There are a number of things you can try. In brief:

put the newcat in another room with a litter box and a niche to sleep in (a cat carrier without its door, a blanket on a chair, etc). Feed it there and let it be essentially locked away for a week or so.

Routinely take the blanket the cat sleeps on and, before you wash it, put it where Sam can investigate it for a day or two.

Give Sam a great deal of extra attention.

Also give the newcat a great deal of attention.

Let each cat smell the other on your clothing.

Let the newcat out of the room for short periods of time with you supervising. Do not interrupt acquaintance rituals (hissing, brandishing claws, extremely tense posture or stalking) for the first few seconds. Then talk to both cats. Deliberately reach down and pet each cat a light touch on their heads and pull back, all the time talking soothingly about how good they are and how you love them and that they really don't want to fight (or you can quote Shakespear in an intimate, baby-tone voice!).

If it looks dangerous, pick up the nearest cat and very quickly and firmly put it in the isolation room. It doesn't matter which cat, since the idea is 1) separation, and 2) getting familiar with each other's smell with yours overlaying both.

At some point, you can let the cats out into the rest of the house and offer them some special food in their own dishes. Put the dishes down when the cats are at opposite sides of the room -- move quickly, but smoothly from one cat to the other, so they don't have time to try to jump on the food together. If you are indecisive, they have time to figure out that you are possibly putting down food for one and not the other.

Their tendency will be to gulp the treat and then try to steal the other's. by this time you should have the broom in your hand (having placed in at a midpoint between the two cats before you bring out the food. Use it to gently push whichever cat has finished first and is now advancing on the other. If the broom doesn't work (DON'T HIT with it -- just use it for gentle crowd control), snatch up the advancing cat and put it in the separate room. Repeat this maneuver once or twice every day at about the same clock time, so the cats get used to it as a routine.

This is all a play-it-by-ear process that takes a great deal of patience and regularity.

There are other things -- I will try, as I said, to refer you to the various threads that I have seen, but I am in the midst of a lot of work, and do not have "pleasure" time just now.

At best, the two cats will generally ignore each other except when they feel obliged to attack for some real or imagined invasion of areas they consider their own private places in the house.

At worst, you will end up with two cats who become near psychotic in temperament, and you will have to choose one and try very hard to give the other one away to someone nice. Much depends on your own approach. The main word is Love -- lots of it to both cats. The second most important word is Patience (as are the 3rd, 4th, 5th, ad infinitum).

I hope you are successful. Just don't give up.

I wish you peace and harmony,
post #3 of 8
P.S. check out the recent stream starting with the word "moving" which was posted a few days ago. There is all kinds of advice relevant to your situation. There have been a number of other threads on the same problem -- it isn't something unusual, unfortunately. Check back for the last few weeks and look over the abundance of good advice.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Today's introduction was a battle, but it was kind of funny though. We had Meanow (the bigger cat) inside the house sitting by my side and Sam was across the room stalking him while my daughter stood guard in the middle with a broom. All of the sudden Sam went running to Meanow like a charging bull and she was greeted with a big HISS from him and then she swatted him on his head!They were nose to nose and Meanow didn't do anything back "this time". We then seperated them (for Sam's sake)for a few minutes and then while Meanow was laying down, Sam tried to sneak up on him from behind. Sam then went to another room. Meanow went into the living room and went to sleep on the back of the couch. Then when Sam came into the living room, she went charging at him once again! This time she swatted him on his head and then he reacted by swatting her back! Meanow was very serious when he defended himself but we think Sam just wanted to play because of the way she was running around before and after the last incident. She is VERY curious, maybe a little too curious. We love these two cats so much and if it comes down to choosing a between the two it will be impossible. Meanow is VERY loveable and he loves being inside and we are trying to plan ahead for the winter...we want to give him a warm home inside before the snow comes! My sister has a few cats inside and when she got another cat it was no problem introducing him to the rest! He was welcomed by the others without a problem...We know other people with multiple cats but we are begining to think we are meant to have only one!My question this time is "How long does it usually take to introduce cats?" Is there hope for these two cats? We are attached to Meanow now and we love them both equally and we cannot see choosing between the two if it comes down to it. Thanks for all of the advice and we really LOVE this site !
post #5 of 8
Well, I think this encounter was quite successfull. Cats rarely instantly accept one another. But from what you describe, they did not go into a hind-feet clawing screaming fight. Perhaps that was because you were there, or perhaps it was because they are really just trying to assert their individual status and tolerance levels.. Remember that the territory belonged to the first housecat, and the intruder has to try to elicit sufference from the other cat. This is the same kind of posturing that adolescent boys do when a new kid moves into a tough neighborhood. (or when one boy --usually not a friend -- moves in on another's girlfriend).

How long? As long as it takes. Sometimes it is only a few weeks with occasional flare ups over an unpredictable period of time. Sometimes it never gets really comfortable, and generally the cats agree to stick to their own sides of the room/house, or favorite sleeping place. In this case, always put their food dishes some distance from each other -- even in different rooms, if you have the space. The same goes for sleeping baskets (for the winter), and litter boxes. Cats who are really barely tolerating each other really do not like to use the same litter box. Most of my 16 cats will use the same box, even if they are not absolutely comfortable with one or another of the pride, but usually they have access to the outside, so that is one problem I don't have except in extremely bad weather, when I usually have several litter boxes scattered here and there just because of the sheer volume.

If they continue like this, you should see marked improvement in their ability to go around each other without slashing. Be on the look-out for sudden and inexplicable explosions -- for example, one of the cats may launch itself at the other from way across the room, seemingly just for the hell of it. Or they may "try it on" by sauntering within a paw reach and perhaps pausing to see what the other will do. They have a malicious sense of humor, and will never quite leave things alone. When one cat is drinking water, the other may suddenly decide that it also must drink, and no waiting will do. These are childish sparring tricks, and all humans should be familiar with them.

I think you are doing good. Keep at it very consistently. Have you tried to give them each a treat at opposite sides of the room at the same time every evening? Since there are two of you, this should be easier than when I did the same with just me and a a dozen of so semi-wild cats (I would load up a tray with small dishes of a few tablespoons of a nice canned cat food, and rush around in a big circle, cats trying to pounce on the food as I put down each dish. But they did sort themselves out, and then my job was to make sure they didn't attack another cat -- or just sidle up and intimidate a less dominant cat -- and steal their treat.)

Keep letting us know how it is working -- which techniques you are using, since there are several to try from the threads on this site. If one approach doesn't work with your cats and your own personal tendencies, then try another. But talk to the cats as much as possible. Keep them focused on you and on a soothing tone of voice. It acts a little like hypnotherapy. Nothing loud or jerky. Everything very, very relaxed (even if you get scratched.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
They both seem to be tolerating each other and there has been fewer than usual hisses and swats. They are not "friends" yet and we are still hoping eventually they will become friends. Sam is VERY curious and she seems to go out of her way to get Meanow mad. She would sneek up on him and then swat him or she would run up to him really fast and then stop to sniff his face but then he hisses then swats at the floor instead of at Sam. She isn't doing this out of "anger" but only because she wants to play. She is playing alot more now than before Meanow came in the house. We are waiting for the day when they both play together instead smacking and hissing each other around. We noticed the other morning that Sam (inside cat) goes around the house meowing and smelling everything with a "lost look" on her face...we think she is looking for him because after seeing how she is acting we would let Meanow inside and she would liven up and play. They both don't stand guard anymore and they seem more relaxed now than in the begining. We have come along way!
We have been reading all the other threads and found them very usefull and we also realized that introducing two adult cats can be harder than it seems....we thought it would be alot easier :opposite:!
As for Sam and Meanow...we are half way there
post #7 of 8
Dear Anita, it really seems as thought you have turned a corner. Try adding feather-on-a-string games where you have two rods and entice the two cats to play on either side of you. At some point, graduate to flicking bottle caps or balls to one of the when they are in the same room, and then casually put your hand into the game from time to time to deflect the object toward the cat that is spectating. See if this doesn't eventually encourage a wild soccer match between the three of you.

Don't expect them to be 100 percent OK with each other for a long, long time. Even among cats that are reared together hiss and swat from time to time. Yesterday one of my firstcats (a neutered male) of 3 years suddenly attacked one of last-year's babies (she is a year old now) and raked her across the nose and face, leaving very bloody tracks and a deep puncture that bled for some time just below one eye. I picked up the male and dumped him in the bathroom and then tended to the wounds. All is well today. I don't know what happened -- some body language that indicated insult or challenge? Just the fact that maybe Little Black was in a bad mood over something the dogs did and Vanity was small enough for him to vent his anger on? Who knows. I only know that it happens from time to time even among groom-mates and best friends.

So don't despair if things don't always go the right way. But I really do think you are to the point that you can leave them together in the house while you are there. I would separate them into rooms with doors when you go out, however. At least for another little while. Being left without "mommy," cats (and dogs) often get that scary abandoned feeling, and this can cause them to misbehave, which can include fighting -- not to mention tearing up objects, curtains, upholstry, defacating or urinating on beds (particularly on "mommy's"), or, in the case of cats, getting up on the highest cupboards and throwing down pots, glass objects, wooden objects...often for the dog below to chew into splinters, and so on.
post #8 of 8
I am sure no expert but from what I have read it sounds as if the two will get along ok. It almost sounds like they like each other a little. Good luck
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