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Bringing in a new cat with an old cat already there

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have one cat already...names Jenny and shes a Beautiful cat...Thing is, I want to get another cat. Can you be so kind as to tell me what I should do so that the cats don't get "evil" towards each other and spray up the house and all that other territorial stuff? If you got an answer, email me at thegr8n8@msn.com

Nathan Klich
Confused Cat Owner
post #2 of 15
Introducing a new family member is always fun especially when the new member is a kitty. Although if you already have a cat the transition can be tough but don't let that stop you.
I found this great article about introducing cats. It's a bit lengthy but it insures that every will go smoothly. There can be tons of variations on this so go at your cats pace and figure what will be the easiest on the both of them.
The Program

Bring the newcomer into a room that you have prepared as a comprehensive living area for a cat complete with a food bowl, water dish, cat toys, litter tray, cat bed, and climbing frame.

Spend quality time with your new arrival, petting her, offering food treats, and speaking softly.

Subsequently, spend some time with your resident cat giving her the same red carpet treatment.

At set times each day, refill the food bowls on either side of the closed door that separates the cats.

Spend alternate feeding times on each side of the door, observing their reactions to each other. The goal is that they should not react aggressively by hissing or batting under the door and should remain interested in the pleasurable but serious work of eating.

If the cats will not come to the door at the prescribed times, or if they display any hostilities to each other, the food bowls should be moved back to a distance at which all cats are comfortable and able to eat without distraction. It may sometimes be necessary to arrange to have the cats more hungry at feeding time by feeding slightly less food for a few days.

Change the new cat’s environment every 24 to 36 hours so that the new cat spends time in parts of the environment that have recently been occupied by the other cat(s). The other cat(s) should simultaneously be allowed access to the area previously habited by the newcomer. This way the cats will have a chance to investigate each other olfactorily without risk of conflict. The sense of smell is very important to cats and one of the ways they recognize each other.

If things are going well, crack the door an inch or two at feeding time allowing the cats to catch glimpses of each other. Ideally they should show interest but no aggression to each other at this level of exposure.

If there is no adverse reaction on the part of any of the cats at the “cracked door stage,†further visual access can be permitted via a screen. Sometimes it is necessary to progress more slowly by scotch-taping newspaper to the screen to limit the visual access to a 4-inch slot (rather than full screen). If necessary, visual access can be increased incrementally.

Once the cats are acting non-chalantly across the screen it is time to progress to the next level – having them in the same room together.

Rather than risk losing all gains in one fell swoop, have the cats restrained on harnesses or in see-through crates. Position them on opposite side of the room initially and feed them in this situation. If the cats eat, this is a good sign.

Over hours or days the cats can be moved closer to each other and/or can be allowed to spend more time in each other’ presence (still with physical restraint in place).

Then free one of the cats and note her response. A curious but friendly interest in the other cat is good news.

On the next feeding, free the other cat (the first one is now restrained). Make similar observations.

Finally, free both cats simultaneously and hope for the best (but be ready to intervene).

If at any stage of the proceedings there is a negative consequence, then simply return to the previous “safe†level of exposure and hang for a while, days if necessary, until the cats have regained their composure and can be brought closer together once more.

Some people might consider this program to be overkill, but it minimizes all risk of an acute behavioral meltdown and promotes the creation of any permanent malevolence. Also, if the cats are slated to be friends, it is possible to move through the program more quickly, progressing as fast as the cats’ reaction to each other permits. True to the old maxim, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Otherwise put: An ounce of caution can save an awful lot of grief and an awful lot of behaviorist’s bills!
post #3 of 15
how old is your cat and the new cat you intend on getting - I just went thru it and you have to be REDICULOUSLY PATIENT. You may want to consider a what gender as well, you may be better off w/a neutered male. I would keep them separated, but enable them to see each other via baby gates (i put three in the bedroom doorway, separating Jinxy from Jake for about a month, beleive it or not - it may not take as long for you - I had a minor setback). and then you just have to wait and see - do the feeding thing together (separate, but so they can see each other thru the baby gates), etc... GO SLLLOOOWWWW - DON'T RUSH - I'm tellin ya don't rush it.
post #4 of 15
I had a 4 yr old neutered male that was an indoor/
outdoor cat, and we brought in 3 male kittens. Drew
totally freaked out and it has been 8 months and Drew
no longer has anything to do with us. He will come up
to eat, but if we even attempt to come near him, he
will either run away or growl viciously. this was a
cat that before the kittens would lay around in our
lap all day long and loved being in the house. So,
you need to really be sure that you want to do this
because I was totally surprised at how Drew reacted.
Everyone kept telling that he would get over it, but
that never happened. Now, he comes by for a bite, but
lives at one of the houses behind me. everytime I see
him and he hisses and growls at me, it breaks my heart.
post #5 of 15
I would recommend getting a spayed female cat that is similiar to Jenny's personality. If Jenny is a mellow cat meaning she doesn't like rough play and wants her own space a kitten might not be a good idea.

I brought a male kitten home. It has almost been a year and they can not be in the same room w/one another without fighting.

Just take it slow w/the introduction of a new cat to Jenny and I am sure everyone will be happy.
post #6 of 15
Avoid, if possible, getting a same-sex cat. You're likely to have less friction than if you put two alike-sex cats, who will vie for dominance of the house, which could get ugly. Typically, there's never that much of an issue with male/female companions.

A kitten may be too high-powered and high-strung for an older cat. Many years ago, my sister asked me to watch her 1-year-old for a couple of weeks, and he was constantly jumping on, chasing and bascially harrassing my 8-year-old. It didn't go over well at all.

Keep the new cat in a room all by itself, with food, water, toys, etc. Visit the new cat, petting him/her with the same hand(s) you just petted your old cat with. This will familiarize them with each other's smell.

Holding one of the cats, allow both cats to meet (usually about after a week) and be sure no fights break out. There will generally be some growling and hissing, and offensive postures taken, but that will usually pass quickly (unless they're same-sex cats.)

In any case, be prepared to potentially be shunned by your old cat, because he/she might get jealous of the new entity, and you may forever lose the bond you had. Not worth it, if you ask me.
post #7 of 15
Well maybe someone can help us!!...I have 2 senior-aged cats 11 and 16...last week I introduced a stray I had been feeding for the last six months into the mix.....It was a very hasty and abrupt introduction, since I'm moving out of my apartment next weekend and I didn't want her to be abandoned. She's been to the vet for blood work, vaccines, microchipping, and also she needed to be spayed....My older cats, both female, are very sweet and good natured and, of course, have been curious about this new arrival-I think they just want to get to know her....she has become very attached to me, but growls and hisses at my other girls, and I can tell they are hurt by it....
I really hope that once we get moved and settled into our bigger place, that they will be able to coexist peacefully, but I feel so guilty about it now-especially my 16 year old girl, Fossil-I can see the hurt on her face and I've made sure to give her extra love and attention speaking to her, letting her and her younger 11 year old sister, Baby, know that I love them so much and don't want to hurt any feelings!
Sorry to ramble on and on....Cactus, the new 2 year old is grateful to have a home, I can tell, and she's very affectionate towards me but she's not being very gracious to her elders!
I know it's only been one week, but can anyone offer any advice-
Have I made a mistake in taking her in?
I know that the hasty introductions were far from ideal...
GreenFossil-Seattle, WA
post #8 of 15
When you move, I would try and reintroduce them slower. Let them smell from under the door and get a little more familiar before they are face to face. Another thing you can try is giving your young one some Dr Bachs rescue remedy on a regular basis. It doesn't work on all cats, but alot of them. It's flower essence to help releive stress. Sometimes it helps with the adjustments
post #9 of 15
Thanks for your reply....is Dr. Bachs remedy some kind of an oil or something/is it given by mouth??? Could I get it ant any pet store...
post #10 of 15
Sorry...it's a liquid you will find at most major health and nutrition store. There's a few online pet places that sell it as well, but if you can drive to get it, it's easier. You can either put it in the water or put 3 to 4 drops in thier mouths.
post #11 of 15
OK!...thanks!....I just want my girls to be happy together.....
post #12 of 15
Another thing that works quite well, is let the new cat sleep on a blanket for a few days, then toss that blanket in the vicinity of your resident cat. You can also put the blanket under the feed bowl to help acquaint the resident with the newcomer's scent. Also taking resident kitty's blanket and giving it to the newcomer works to an advantage. Good luck!
post #13 of 15
Hello, Hissy....
Thanks for the blanket tip!......
It seems as if things are improving bit by bit....
post #14 of 15
Hi all,

I've found all the messages in this topic about introducing a new kitten very helpful as i am trying to introduce a kitten to my 3yr old cat and sympathise with everything that has been said.
At the moment they will eat together but are not really friendly, trouble is, the kitty likes to run up to my older cat and she hates that, i am stopping him from doing this as much as possible, the advice about gradual exposure was very helpful!!
Maybe i have been expecting too much too soon! I really don't want to
upset my older cat as she is so lovely.
Best wishes to everyone with the introductions!
post #15 of 15
Good luck with helping your old cat get used to your new kitten. I'm sure they will soon enjoy each others' company.
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