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very bad cat introduction...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok, the resident cat is named Lucky and the newcomer is Mimi. Both are females. Lucky is approx. 3-4 y/o and Mimi is approx. 6 months. Lucky is fixed (not sure if that's the correct terminology for a female cat) - I'm not sure if Mimi has been yet - and both have had their shots. Both cats are extremely friendly towards humans.

Anyway, my sister and I tried to introduce them last night. She brought Mimi over and I put her in a separate room. But of course my sister "felt bad" that Mimi was "locked away" and kept taking her out of the room and putting her near Lucky. I've read this is bad and, as you'd expect there was a fight. A big one. Lucky was non-aggressive at first, simply sniffing Mimi. Mimi was the opposite.

Mimi has been transplanted to different homes several times in the past 1-2 months (this will be her 4th transplant). She is currently at my sister's place, where she has had several bad run-ins with the 3 cats and 1 dog living there. She's scared by all the new "faces" and places. In all cases, Mimi has been the aggressor, I believe because she is scared and overwhelmed.

Anyway, Mimi kept hissing and growling at Lucky, and eventually after a few minutes Lucky started doing the same. When my sister took Mimi to Lucky's litterbox area in the basement, she attempted to poop in Lucky's box... and Lucky went ballistic. Big, big fight all over the house. Lots of screaming. I had to grab Lucky and take her upstairs into my bedroom (a "safe" place for Lucky) and pet her and talk to her. She didn't calm down for about an hour or two. My sister took Mimi back to her place.

My question is... is it possibly/feasible/likely to get these two cats together after this first bad encounter? The situation is that Mimi needs a home and I am willing to take her into mine, provided she can get along with Lucky. I know how to introduce two cats the right way (provided no one "feels bad" and interferes, heh)... but I just want to know if it's hopeless at this point or not.

Thank you
post #2 of 11
First of all, you need to overcome the feeling of "poor cat locked away". That is what you need to do. Keep them in seperate rooms, let them sniff each other under the door. Put each cats food right on opposite sides of the door so they can smell each other. Give each cat a blanket or something to lay on and then after a day or two, switch the blankets without washing them or anything. Switch their toys and everything every few days if you have to. They need to get used to each others smells first. You cannot put them together just yet. Eventually you can bring them out for supervised visits, but don't bring them to each other, put both on the ground and let them discover each other. Have a blanket handy to throw over them if a fight breaks out. You may have to let them duke it out a bit to establish who is the alpha cat. As long as no blood is shed they are FINE. Cats hiss at each other sometimes, and growl. My cats still do it after 3 years and they never harm each other in any way.

Be patient, this introduction process could take anywhere from a month to 6 months or more, but if you are patient and take my suggestions into consideration and not feel bad for the one locked away, you will do fine. Try locking one in a bedroom or the bathroom, but go in and spend time with that one everyday as well.

When you do finally introduce them one on one, make sure you have at least 2 or 3 litterboxes. At least at first. Allow options especially if the new kitty going in the other kitty's box is what triggered the attack. You should always have 1 litterbox per cat and in some cases, one extra.
post #3 of 11
Also if possible make the door an open door, screen door, homemade chicken wire door, several baby gates stacked on top of each other. If they can see each other, and actually smell each other, it goes much better.

Just a tip, when two cats have been posturing and fighting NEVER pick one up for at least an hour or longer. Use a blanket and drop it over them if they fight, then using the blanket, herd one of the them out of the room and close off the door. Otherwise you might find yourself in the ER with cat bites.

You can neutralize their scent with pure vanilla extract. A small dab under their chins, between their shoulders and the base of their tail several times a day can do wonders
post #4 of 11

It can be done, but it will take time, and it's vital for your sister to understand that keeping Mimi separated is for Mimi's own long-term good - if she's to fit in with your cat, it must be done carefully, to avoid another bad situation and even more stress for the poor cat. Being locked away isn't cruel to her at this point, it's kind - you're providing a safe haven where she can adjust slowly to her new home, without the stress of interacting with another cat.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jen Believe it or not, I don't have any problems/guilt with leaving the new cat alone in a room. My overly-motherly little sister is another story, heh

I plan on doing all of the things you mentioned, and I've got the patience to do it. I just wanted to know if that one first bad meeting is going to ruin everything.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all

What should I look out for as far as warning signs that the two will simply NOT get along?

I'm just going to keep my sister out of the situation for awhile, hehe.

PS: I had no choice with picking my cat up... they were in a spot where it was impossible to get a blanket between them. But I'll keep that in mind for next time haha!
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
By the way, I don't mean to "blame" my sister for anything She is a very kind-hearted animal lover. She's just a bit TOO kinda-hearted hehe. I'm hoping she learns something from this, as she's going to school for a degree where she would be using animals to help provide therapy for humans.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quick question... would Feliway help to make a more peaceful atmosphere for my dueling kitties to get acquainted to each other?
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by shmoo
Quick question... would Feliway help to make a more peaceful atmosphere for my dueling kitties to get acquainted to each other?
It would probably help if you use Feliway in addition to the normal cat introduction measures. You could put the diffuser in with Mimi, and it might help to calm her.

It seemed to help my cats a lot - I used the diffuser in the room where I kept my cats while adjusting them to my husband's cat. It stopped the bickering between my two females. My boy Mr Underfoot is extremely territorial, but we took the introduction to DH's cat very slowly and waited to let the cats see each other until they were playing with each other & sniffing under the door with no hissing or growling (it took about a month), and things worked out well - they all get along fine now.

If you separate the cats completely and don't let them see each other for a while until they've had a chance to get used to each other's scents, they can have a fresh start at getting along, and hopefully it will work.

I don't think it's possible to be able to say for sure whether or not it will work until after you've gone through the separation period and tried introducing them again.
post #10 of 11
Oh yes two very good pieces of advice I forgot to mention. Pure Vanilla extract and Feliway. Those should help a lot as long as they are done with everything else in mind too.
post #11 of 11
Captain and Kanoe absolutely hated eachother when they first met in September... and today they were both snuggled up. Good luck!
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