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Introduction problems... what to do now????

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hello, I introduced myself here some time before the arrival of our adopted cat, second cat to the household. And now I'm beating myself up soundly for believing the instructions I got at the shelter instead of at least thoroughly looking through the tips that are given here!!! Now I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the instructions they gave me, and we're in some trouble.

To make a long story short, I put the cats (Emma, 11 and Nellie, 5 or 6) together much too quickly. Emma was frightened and hissed every time they saw each other, and went to hide. Nellie seemed respectful at first, said and did nothing, but after two days she started to follow Emma when she was leaving the situation, and attack her. She even started caterwauling at Emma. I have told her no when she is being aggressive, and removed her from the situation, but I feel it's not a solution. Unless I close a door between them, she will go right back and harass Emma. Her behavior towards people is lovely, although somewhat different from what I'm used to. She follows me around a lot, is very vocal, friendly, and wakes very easily from her sleep if I change what I'm doing. I realize this is either her own special personality or a result of all the changes she has had to go through. It would be a big surprise if she felt 100% secure immediately, after all. It's impossible to really know at this stage what is really her and what is a part of the adjusting process.

So, what on earth should I do now?? I feel so stupid for not giving them WAY more time with the introduction. So is there any way I could start over, put Nellie in her own room and so on?? I was just so happy to see her move around freely in the apartment after being confined to a cage at the shelter. Please help, I thought I was a sensible cat owner but feel like a miserable failure!
post #2 of 2
CatMom2Em'n'Nel..please don't beat yourself up...it's not like this stuff is always easy to know and each situation is different. I say yes, go back and see if you can do the slow introductions. I would HIGHLY recommend buying some feliway since your place probably has lots of aggitated pheromones right now. Here is an article about slow introductions...see if it works:

Tips For Introducing A New Cat To Your Cat(s)

Keep Them Separated
When you bring your new cat home, have a special place set up
for them. A guest room or the bathroom is ideal. Put food, water and litter box in the room along with toys and a scratching post. Keep your new cat in this room, away from your other cat(s) for about a week. It is tempting to let them interact right away, but you will have much better luck if you wait.

Introduce The Smell First
To a cat, a sniff is worth a thousand words. To get your existing cat use to the smell of your new cat, rub a towel or washcloth gently over the new cat. Let your cat(s) smell the towel, but don't be surprise if your cats start to hiss. Hissing and growling are normal reactions so don't scold them when they hiss or growl. Do the same with our existing cat so the new cat can smell them too. Also, you can leave the carrier you brought the new cat home outside with the existing cat.

Encourage Interaction Through The Door
Place your new cat's food near the door of the room so he/she will stay near the door. Your cat will smell and hear the new cat through the door. Give your cat treats and/or catnip near the door of the new cat's room so that he associates it with good things.

Let Them Roam Alone

Lock up your cat in the bedroom, and let the new cat roam around the house. This lets them explore and exercise, and it also helps them find good hiding places for later. Then put your new cat back in its room and let your old cat walk around and smell them without having to see the new cat. This is another good way to get them use to each other's scent.

Open The Door A Crack

After a few days, carefully open the door a crack so the cats can see each other but can't stick their heads out. Be prepared for some hissing and growling, but if one tries to smack the other, close the door. Do often--a few times a day.

Let Them Out
Bringing a new cat into the house is not unlike introducing a baby to an older sibling. Jealousy and pouting are normal reactions. Even though you are excited about the new member of your family, do not forget the cat that has been your faithful companion until now. Do not yell, scold or punish them for hissing at the newcomer. They may not react like they way you want them to right away, but your cats will come around.

When the time comes to let the new cat out (do not rush--wait a week) and be sure to monitor closely, open the door to see what happens. 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 give them treats.

Do Not Expect True Love

We all wish our cats would become best buddies and curl up together, lick each other, etc., but unfortunately this does not always happen. However, your cat and the new will at least form a truce. They may not want to hang out together, but they will eventually respect each other's space and stop hissing. Don't worry if your cats never become best friends because they will still keep each other company and they will both love you.

Living Happily Ever After
Spend time with your cats--brushing, petting and playing with them. Cats may seem aloof and independent, but they need attention from humans. Cats are curious and easily bored. Be sure to provide some sort of new entertainment for your cat everyday. You will be surprised how much fun an empty paper bag can create.

I know Hissy has some really good suggestions using vanilla extract and towels etc. I'm sure she will post them here later.

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