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Quickie introductions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Tonight we've added a second cat to our place. We currently have a boy, Bailey (fixed), and he's about 1 year 2 months, we've had him since he's been 8 weeks old, straight from the shelter. He's pretty friendly with people and very playful (he's a flamepoint siamese and pretty typical, also has "dog-like" qualities). We also have two rabbits. One is super-friendly, the other tends to not trust anyone/thing except her mate. Bailey gets along with the boy better (he's the friendly one, and was also the only one here before him). They're not as cuddly as we've hoped, but definitely no worries between any of them. Bailey sometimes wants to play more then they do, that and he wasn't quite as happy since we coupled up the rabbits, just seemed like he was a little jealous he didn't have anyone. So that, along with his personality and our wanting to help another animal led us to adopt our new resident, Zoe.

Zoe is a little girl. We picked her up from a rescue group. The woman we dealt with said the pound said they think she's three, but we all knew better. She looks and acts much closer to 6-8 months old. She's friendly and playful as well, but not too rough. Seems like a good fit.

Here's where it gets tricky: we live in a one bedroom apartment (I know we're outnumbered 2 to 1 in here, but it's not as bad as it sounds). It does make the "separate room" thing virtually impossible. Bailey is used to using both rooms and if we keep them separate - we have to cut him off from half of his day (the bedroom, where he does like to sleep); and she gets trapped in there, which is smaller. Bailey would be the logical one to keep out of the bedroom, because everything out here is "his" (litter box, dishes, etc.).

So we bring her in the apartment in the carrier. Bailey seems quite interested in what's inside and peeks and sees it's another cat. We wait a little, but she wants out (I would too) and we let her out. A few seconds later Bailey is hissing and growling like a wolf. He's hissed once or twice when we made him mad (clipping his nails is not his favorite pasttime), but he's never growled like this. Zoe keeps her distance, but just ignores him. So a few hours go by and depending on how close Bailey stays to her, he's just sitting, staring, growling lowly. The rabbits came out for a bit. Basile went over to say hello and gave her a nose-poke or two and she just seemed confused (a real "what the heck are you?" look on her face). Seems like she'll be fine with them after watching them for a while. Good

So it's been hours now and there's just been a LOT of hissing from Bailey. She hissed and growled once, for a few seconds only, and not in his direction. He once roared and lunged at her, but not attacking. At this point we're kind of lucky. My girlfriend, who I live with, is doing a couple of night shifts the next couple of nights, so there will only be a few hours over the course of the next few days that both of us won't be home (that's easier separation time).

So - without trapping them too much - does anyone have any other tips for trying to calm down our resident cat to accept his new friend a little quicker? (as we have little doubt he will eventually, but have to admit we expected hissing, but not quite as constant as it's been).
post #2 of 11
Because of your set up it does sound like separate rooms won't work. What will work would be a new cat condo, where the cats can climb up and down and play on and Bailey can take the top level and show Zoe that he is boss.

Another thing you can do is put vanilla extract on both cats, under their chins, between their shoulder blades and on the base of the tails, to make them smell the same.

IF she has been checked out by your vet and is healthy, no lice, or other parasites, you can rub both cats gently with the same towel to transfer scents. Put the towel with the combined scents under Bailey's food bowl and put something really tasty on that towel (not in the bowl) for Bailey to see that the strange new smell brings good things.

Don't yell at the cats, if they start to tangle, take a heavy dark blanket and gently toss over them to break them up, or if you have a wooden kitchen chair, set it gently around them as they are fighting, being careful not to set it on tails or paws.

You should also invest in a Feliway Comfort Zone Room Diffuser by Farnum Pet and plug it into a socket in the room where the two cats tend to meet up the most.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, two nights down and there's been little progress. Bailey gets a bit closer to her now, but is still hissing and growling. I want to calm him down, but not encourage that behavior. They've done "room swamps" a couple of times now, but it's rough because her scent is now on everything. However - that rarely discourages him from going anywhere or doing anything he normally would. He seems to not like the sight of her. For instance: she's lying on the bed. He jumps up there and starts hissing and growling. I take the blanket and bunch it up in between them, and he calms down. She's right there, hell, I can smell her (she needs a bath possibly, she happens to be a little smelly); but it's almost like out of sight, out of mind.
post #4 of 11
Most likely your existing cat will hiss and growl, maybe even wail, confirming their worst fears. Unless open fighting breaks out, let them hiss as cats need to establish hierarchy and territorial rights. Even though the growling is upsetting and sounds bad, it's okay.

Reassure your cat verbally and pet him if you can (he may not let you because he's upset so don't take it personally). When is nice or at least non-threatening to the new cat, praise your cat lavishly and give them treats.

It will most likely take some time before the 2 get used to each other...just like sometimes it takes people a while to get to a new person in the office. The point is to let them exhibit their "cat behavior" and do not take it personally...Hissy provided you some very good hints.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I can understand, the last time a new person came to my office and sat in my chair I pounced on them and clawed them a bit

The first night I wouldn't go near him when he was upset as he'd turn and hiss and growl at either of us. Last night he was a bit better. I was able to pet him a few times while he was growling, and I think it calmed him down. However - my gf and I disagreed here. She said we'd be encouraging his behavior and shouldn't do anything like pet him (or give him a treat) while he's growling (I didn't give him a treat, it was just within what we were saying). I thought petting him was ok, because it lets him know I'm still here with Zoe around. I'm waiting to give him a treat if he's nice to her or even just doesn't hiss, but it hasn't happened yet.

He hisses and growls at her no matter where she is - but here's the thing - she still isn't responding much. When he's gone forward at her, she's backed up, otherwise there's no reaction, no hissing back and she won't do anything he doesn't like. It's all him, and I hope he realizes he has the "top spot" already.
post #6 of 11
It's only been a short while.

Just give it more time. And I used to live in a one bedroom apartment when I introduced Esper to Russell. Invest in Feliway! It helped immensely calming both kitties down.

Hissing is quite normal in kitty introductions. As long as fights don't break out things are going along okay.

Petting while kitty is quite okay to do especially if it calms kitty down. Just be careful though as kitty may lash out at you. And if kitty does, don't yell at it. You'll just end up with a kitty who is further unsettled.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I thought I'd give an update.

After some days with a decent amount of separation we were able to spend a full day or two with them. So open doors and free roaming. A lot of cross petting went on and any time I gave Zoe attention I was sure to go and give Bailey some as well. That seemed to be his main thing - attention. He would usually only hiss at her if she was close, but if he was in the corner and I was lying down and she would hop on me, he'd start hissing from across the room. For those times, I simply let him sit and hiss and when Zoe would get up I'd go over to him and pet him a bit.

Exposure was good. He started to hiss less and less with her around. If she would walk by him and he didn't hiss at her, we'd both pet him and give him treats (and then after he'd lick my hand I'd pet Zoe with it). This seemed to be a good way to do things as when he would hiss we'd say "no" and just get up and leave him. More of that and they were able to sit near each other for a bit. We would only put small amounts of food in the bowls at a time so that we had to feed them a bit more then usual. We were then able to get them to eat right next to each other. It wasn't long after that they were able to nap pretty close to each other too. Six inches was usually the distance and they were comfortable around each other now. Shortly after my girlfriend caught them like this.

So now that's it, they were getting along and we could go back to one dish, one litter, etc (my gf got a double-bowl dish, kinda cute with one water bowl).

A day or two after that they started play fighting. Now that's what their days consist of. One bops the other and they rumble around and then chase each other back and forth (over and over and over...). It's not always fun when I'm trying to work, but eventually they tire out and sleep hard. It's also kinda funny because although you can't tell in the picture above (I'll post another soon), Bailey has quite a size advantage and seems to control their fights, but only if he wants to.

My gf now loves Bailey more then ever because he's become more docile with her (and everyone) since he gets to play fight with Zoe. That and Zoe can still be a bit of a terror, so she makes him look well behaved suddenly

Thanks for all the advice everyone.
post #8 of 11
dsvf..the picture was so AWWWWWWWW. You should definately keep 2 litterboxes (I have 2 cats and 3 litterboxes) that way they each feel like they have their "own" box. I would do the same with the bowls..because it just makes meal time a lot easier.


Glad it all worked out.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, there's not really a place for a second litter box in our apartment. Perhaps in the future when we move, but they seem ok with it right now. The shoebox NYC apartment just doesn't give us much floor at times :|

The bowl is weird. It's like a double-headed bowl. It's one thing, but there are actually two bowls. So they each have their own for that.

They've actually never fought over food or toys or anything like that. I was expecting some of that, but they seem to take turns with toys if they're both interested and have only a few common food interests (Zoe doesn't seem too interested in Bailey's treats, Bailey doesn't care for this treat we found for her; however they both like to try and get at my sandwich).
post #10 of 11
We have a 1 bedroom too, but the kitchen has a sliding door to the living room as well as a door to the bedroom, and the bathroom has a door to the bedroom and a door to the living room, so we could create four compartments if need be. We first gave Robin (the newcomer) the bed and Kitty the living and kitchen, then Robin the bed and kitchen and Kitty the living, then switched, and so on. It worked out fine. The sliding door was also great when starting face to face introductions--we could keep it open a certain amount and keep it there ^^

We keep one box in the living room and one box in the bedroom. It works out well. And I have heard of behavioral problems arising from cats sharing limited boxes, and one didn't want to hold it so it used another place for a litterbox and kept using it. I'd rather just be safe than sorry.
post #11 of 11
Awwwwwwww that picture is sweetness in itself!

I've been through exactly the same with my two, Rosies two years old and Sophie is now ten weeks.

Rosie hated not only Sophie but me as well , there was lots of hissing and growling at Sophie and myself, but now nearly 4 weeks on, they sleep together and Rosie gives Sophie a good old wash!!

Stick with it, as each day goes by things will improve
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