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Need help with transition -- not sure whats going on

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Resident kitty is 7yr old female, gentle, sweet and very mellow.. chronic IBD but on meds and very attached me. New kitty is 1.5yr old female who has been 'quarantined' in room since Sunday when she came home from humane society. New kitty is very shy but then very loving when warmed up.
Questions -- Vet said a 14day wait before they can meet in case of upper resp. that new kitty could develop? Is this true?
New kitty is frantic in room.. almost agressive loving and wants out!!
Resident kitty is suspicous and getting more stressed about whats behind the door? Help? How long do i wait?
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
sorry .. more info:
New kitty is almost crazy loving.. head butting, hissing then jumping on me, rubbing and meowing, but wont settle at all when i am in the room. Is this normal? Is she lonely or freaked out or going to be just a crazy kitty? She came from a home w/ lots of other kitties and was an indoor/outdoor (another reason for quarnitine - she is being treated for earmites). Every time I go in there to see new kitty, Resident kitty gets stressed and upset/sad and is pouting in the corner. I am getting worn out trying to keep both feeling good. I think once they meet it will take a little while but neither are agressive and seem to need companionship. I have tried the rubbing a sock on either one and trading -- leaving in the others' space, but how do I know if this is working.

Is there a point, where quarantine is not really helpful since its causing so much stress? When do I know that its been long enough?
thanks for any help
post #3 of 10
All of this sounds completely normal. And yes, the URI is a very real threat to kitties from shelters. Napoleon had to be sequestered for longer than one week because he had a URI when we brought him home.

As for "suspicious" resident kitty, this is also perfectly normal. My suggestion would be to have the new kitty rub her scent on an old blanket...maybe a towel or old shirt you have. Get your resident kitty to do the same. After about a week, switch the shirt/blankets and intermingle their scents. Get them to play on them, eat treats on them, anything to get their scent. Cats are VERY scent driven (which is probably why you have a suspicious one LOL).

A trick that worked for me was to get a string (like a shoelace or something) and I put it under the door that separated the kitties. They were playing with each other without seeing one another. This really piqued their interest. The scented blankets helped tremendously too...Cassie was hissing like crazy if she caught a glimpse of Napoleon but was very intrigued by his scent.

When introducing them for the first time, try to play with them, then feed them. We just introduced them without doing any kind of "icebreaking" activity. It's taken a while, after months of play therapy but it's helped a lot to get cats to coexist and not want to beat each other up all the time LOL. Good luck. And read the TCS intro on how to introduce cats. It will help, believe me!
post #4 of 10
I would say that if the vet told you to keep them quarantined, follow that advice. No matter how stressful it is to keep them this way, the vet is obviously looking out for one or both of the cats' health, and you don't want to mess with that. Also, keeping them separated for a longer time will give them more of a chance to get to know each others' smells, which is important.

Just a head's up: I have had a LOT of trouble in the past trying to introduce females, especially older (kittens are usually fine). I have read that females (even spayed) are more territorial than when introducing female - male or male - male (only if the males are neutered). This has also been my experience. I've introduced my female and my previous male to another female and male, then my female to another female, then my female to another male, and the only problems between these 6 cats were between the females. In one case, the cats had to be permanently separated, because NO manner of easing the transition worked, and I believed my female would be in physical danger if we kept trying to introduce them. We tried for two months, with no improvement whatsoever. I'm talking full-on fighting, with fur flying, and cuts to both cats and to those of us who were trying to separate them. The one cat had been found in the bush as a kitten, feral, and most likely the offspring of a number of barn cats, and had been raised as an outdoor cat in a very secluded rural area. She had been attacked numerous times by feral strays, and also doesn't really like people (she's great with my dad, but even though I brought her home, and have lived 7 of the 13 years with her, she still scratches/attacks me!). My parents then moved into the city, and she became an indoor cat. I think that this transition was hard for her, and the previous experiences with strays may also have contributed to her behaviour, so I don't think that this is a typical situation, just trying to put the information out there that it is a possibility. If both cats are very affectionate, they may be more territorial about who gets to hang out with mommy/daddy... The behaviour with the new cat seems a little bizarre, but could just be a reaction to the new surroundings, or to being locked up when she is used to being able to roam freely in and outdoors. I would suggest waiting to let her out though, if the vet is concerned for the health of your "kids". If you're really concerned about the stress levels of both cats, I would recommend following up with the vet, explain what's going on with both cats, and ask what you should do. If it's OK to separate them, the vet will tell you. The advice on these boards is fantastic, but should never be taken in place of your vet's advice...

Good luck!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
thanks.. I did read about the female/female territorial issue, but also read on this board about letting 'a kitty pick you' and my new kitty picked me for sure! So I didnt worry to much about the gender issues. New kitty has a history of getting along well w/ older cats and Resident is sweet and easy going (only you wouldnt know it now!). Anybody have any thoughts about waiting the 10-14days quarantine and how you dealt with it?

I did the blanket/sock w/ each other's scent, and new kitty seemed willing to smell and rub on Resident cat's scent, but Resident kitty smells New kitty scent and just seems disgusted like 'are you KIDDING? get that outta here' attitude. I left it in her territory so she can get used to new kitty smell. How long does it take?

I like the string under the door idea but I dont know how to get new kitty to chill out a little and focus on anything... even toys. Whenever I am in the room she acts like a crazy thing -quickly and continually kneading, pretty agressive headbutting and walking over me/on me, up & down and meowing. Will she settle down? Is this just her transition behavior? If she doesnt chill a little I dont think Resident will take to her... which is my main worry..
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sorry.. me again. I was just reading that its probably not good to have 2 females and also such a diff. in ages. Is this true? Since my Resident (bella) is 7yrs and very mellow and New (tixie) is 1.5yrs and so far has been hyper while I am in the room but quiet (when I sneak in) otherwise- How much does this stuff matter vs. just taking time to socialize slowly and them both having lived w/ other cats successfully before?
post #7 of 10
My cats were acting similarly to yours so I decided not to listen to the vet's advice about the quarantine. BIG MISTAKE. Of course, new kitty came down with a severe URI and infected resident kitty so I had two very sick cats to take care of. Definitely wait the whole 2 weeks, you don't want both cats getting sick and from what I've heard, almost all cats from shelters come down with a uri about a week after being placed in new homes.
post #8 of 10
YES! Keep them separated. My cat Buddy came down with a bad URI about 10days after I brought him home. The symptoms don't always show up right away. That reminds me that my 6yr female also got a URI, a bad one too about a week after she came from the shelter when she was a baby. Alot of cats from shelters get URI's.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I just got home and my new kitty, trixie started sneezing!! Whew... so glad that she hasnt even seen bella (my resident) yet. And I am feeling much better -- I gave both kitties cat nip which improved their moods immensely and then Trix settled down and fell asleep w/ in my arms a while ago. She is much more calm. AND resident bella sniffed for the longest time the blanket trix had been sleeping on. No hissing or being upset -- just sniffed curiously for about 10 min then sauntered off.. HOPING that is a good sign thanks for all your help -- I didnt think separating for 2 wks was a big deal but sooo glad I did it!!
post #10 of 10
I'm glad Bella seems to be coming around a little! What a relief!
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