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Can't we all just get along?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi -

I'm new to this board and wanted to get some opinions about introducing a new adult cat to the household. We had three cats, ages 15 y/o male, 8 y/o female, and 7 y/o, and then around the middle of June we took in a pregnant cat that appeared in our yard. We kept mom in our guest room all through her pregnancy and while the kittens were growing - three of the four went to new homes weekend before last at 10 weeks old. We have had some small successes at bringing baby out with the older cats (although we don't leave him out unsupervised)... the 7 & 8 y/o's don't hiss or swat unless he is in easy reach, and the 15 y/o doesn't really care. Mom has been recovering from spaying so she is still in the guest room. Any suggestions on how to get them acclamated to each other? I had her out once, in a cage, and tried the feeding everyone yummy food technique, but as soon as the food was gone they went right back to hissing and growling. I have a Feliway plug-in, but it doesn't seem to do much. We're considering putting a temporary screen door on the guest room so they can see each other but not be able to reach each other. I'm particularly worries about the two females as they can both be a little on the aggressive side. But I would really like them to get used to each other as soon as possible as mom is pretty sick of the guest room, and I hate to keep locking the others away when she wants out. Any suggestions?


PS I should also mention that Annie (new cat) and Penny (old cat) have already been having fisticuffs under the door to Annie's room. I have been reading the suggestions about having the door cracked, and although we haven't done that for any sustained period of time, every time I crack the door nasty swatting occurs on both sides. They certainly must be used to each other's smells and sounds after three months in the same apartment. Should I let them just duke it out? I'm really concerned that they will hurt each other.
post #2 of 8
Have you tried actually "trading scents"? From the sticky above
"After a couple of days, start trading scents between the cats. Rub the new cat (especially around the cheeks) with a slightly damp towel and then go rub the old cats with the same towel (and vice versa). This way they will associate the scent of the new cat with good things (being rubbed and getting attention). Do this several times daily."
Or do the vanilla trick?
" Put the vanilla extract- and just a small amount- under their chins, between their shoulder and the base of the tail". Do this dabbing several times a day.
post #3 of 8
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks Hissy and Yayi - I figured scents would be traded on clothing and by having Annie in the main part of the house, but maybe that wasn't proactive enough. I do have a blanket that Annie has been sleeping on (mine, actually, that I was using when I was sitting in the room with her and she looked so comfortable that I left it there) for about a week, and last night I brought it out and put it on the ottoman for Penny to sniff at. She took a couple of sniffs at it and then laid down on it. Then Annie did the same thing when I brought it back to her. I'm going to try the vanilla thing...I didn't think of it when I had them together (I tried the cage with catnip trick for about 10 minutes, didn't work so well. Annie kept taking swipes at the other cats if they got too close, and then the other cats got bored or pissed off and left), but I was talking to my husband about it later. Hopefully my husband is starting on the screen door today.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok, so last night I tried the washcloth trick with Penny (old cat) and Annie (new cat), and they both got fairly annoyed at having their faces rubbed with it and the sniffing exchange didn't seem to have much affect. So then I tried the vanilla under the chin/smelly salmon treat/Annie in the cage again. I also had Feliway sprayed on a tarp in front of the cage. Again, while they were eating they completely ignored each other but then as they started to sniff much screeching and smacking ensued. I also let Penny and my two boys into her room to smell, but it really seems to be Annie who's the aggressor. And she must be used to their smell, as I mentioned before I let her out into the living room every morning and their smells are all over the place.

So is repetition the key here? I've only done this three times in the last week, so maybe they're just not getting the exposure they need? I re-read above that I should be exchanging smells and doing the vanilla dabbing several times a day, but since I work full time I really can only do integration things in the evening or weekend. The morning has become Annie's out of the room time and I hate to take that away from her. Some other people have told me that I should just let her out and let them duke it out, but I'm really afraid if they get into it that I won't be able to get them apart. Annie is a biter, so I'm worried about both injury to my other cats and injury to myself. The cage seems to be the best solution, but in trying to hit the other cats Annie tends to hit the bars of the cage, which hurts her paws. Suggestions?
post #6 of 8
I'm just curious: Vanilla? What does it do for the cats? Or does the smell just distract them, like putting VapoRub under your nose helps when working with cadavers? (I'm sorry, I take weird courses in school. )
post #7 of 8
With claws extended?

Cats do make a "pecking order" esp if no kittens are introduced. This is really an issue with females, I have found.

Are you sure the footsies under the door are hostile, and not a "game"? or just testing the waters?

Our girls who get along quite well, occasionally punch each other out, if some
invisible line is crossed...but no nails or injuries occur. You can hear the
thunk thunk tho.

I have never introduced an adult to a group. It has always been a kitten for us.

But recently my son introduced a rescue adult female spayed, and recovering from surgery to a kitten who was theirs for only 3 weeks.
It took 10 minutes or less... I almost fainted with surprise.
And there were little hisses, and boundary things, but basically it went like a dream. In our home it took at least 24 hrs in separate rooms to introduce a kitten to our other adults.

One thing that worked for me was sitting on the floor with the new cat, to supervise... that sort of placed me in alpha position, and the resident cats, understood they better behave. I was lucky. The worst we had was if the new kitten got too close... she was hissed or maybe punched with nails retracted. (all of our cats have intact claws).

I would have those treats handy and reward non aggressive behaviors as much as possible!!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
The feet under the door are definitely hostile, screeching also ensues. I have also never introduced another adult, always a kitten, and this time of course we have both. It's going better with the kitten, although even after almost 2 weeks of togetherness (although not too much since baby spends most of his time with mom), the other cats are still giving him some flack, which surprised me since the last kitten we had they adjusted to fairly quickly. All of our cat visitations are strictly supervised - I wouldn't dare letting anyone mix without being around.

I imagine your son got off lucky because no one had established a territory yet. My cats are pretty firmly ensconced, and I also wonder since Annie has been in her room for three months if she now feels that is her territory as well. Of course this is reason 1,001 that I wish we lived in a house instead of a 2-br condo. I keep feeling like maybe I made a mistake bringing her in, but I can't imagine what would have happened to her and her kittens if I hadn't. Even at the time I couldn't imagine bringing her to a shelter.

Anyway, thanks for replying!
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