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New cat problems

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm mancko and I'm new to the board!

My wife and I just got a new cat last week to keep our cat Thompson company. We thought there might be some problems with the new cat (her name is "Rowan") adjusting, but its been really awful.

First of all, there's absolutely no putting the two cats in the same room. Thompson seems to be curious and wants to sniff Rowan, but Ro immediately gets very agressive and starts hissing and swiping, as Thompson just backs off. That's okay, I guess, we're trying to get them used to each other.

The real problem is that it's been a week, and Rowan is still incredibly skittish with both of us. She is very nervous about every move we make, and if we move toward her too fast she hisses.

Also, when we're just sitting there, she'll come over to us and rub against our legs, roll over, as if she wants to be loved, but if we try to pet her (Erin (my wife) has better luck with this than me) she'll hiss and swipe at us.

We want to give her her space, but we live in a small apartment, so we either have to keep her in a separate room (away from Thompson), or put Thompson in a separate room to let her explore the apartment. Thompson, however, despises closed doors and either meows loudly or does some incredibly loud shaking of the door by grabbing underneath it with his paw.

The point is: She's too scared of Thompson, which we expected, but she'd also really scared of us, which we didn't.

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 6
i can understand this to a certain extent, my kitten socks, is only used to me and my bf, and when people come to our flat and try to pick him up he starts hissing and spitting, he will even go over and rub up against their leg, but as soon as they go to touch him, thats it...hair standing up on air and everything :
what i would try would be to just give the little one a bit more time to get used to the both of you, and i would keep both cats in seperate rooms for a while, put something that smells of the other cat in the room so they can get used to each others scents. hope that helps
post #3 of 6
I think giving Ro a space of her own would be helpful. I am trying to introduce a new cat as well (http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35672).

Is Ro an adult or a kitten? Maybe she just needs time to let her new situation sink in. I am trying to create an environment for my new cat such that she knows she has a space that neither of my other cats will disrupt. She has her own room with her own food, water, litter, scratching post and toys. She seems pretty content.

If you can accomplish the feat of giving Ro her own space in your apt, free from worries of Thompson, that may help.

Was Ro scared of you before you brought her home, or only since she has been introduced to Thompson? I have definitely found that the way a cat acts around you at a shelter etc. is not necessarily how they will act around you once you get them into their new environment. I'm just trying to figure out if you think Ro's fear of you could be connected to Thompson or not.
post #4 of 6
mancko..welcome to TCS!! How did you introduce Ro to Thompson?? Were they given an "adjustment" period? Or were they put in a room together right off the bat?? If the second is the case...it would probably be a really good idea to try to start over. Remember...Thompson is adjusting to a new cat, Ro is adjusting to a new cat, new home, new owners.....she will need time to adjust to all 3 and Thompson will need time to adjust to Ro. Here is a really good article on how to introduce a new cat to an existing cat:

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.

Let us know how it goes.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ro is turning into a wonderful little cat. She still hisses and swipes at Thomspon, but even that's getting better now.

It was actually kind of funny, since Thompson really just appeared bemused by the situation. She'd stat hissing, and he'd just tilt his head at her

So thanks for your help and advice. We were close to giving up, but with everything you guys had to say we decided to stick with it and I think it's gonna be okay
post #6 of 6
So good to hear!
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