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Stressed out kitties after meeting

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have an orange tabby that is a little over 2 years old and was a stray and has gone through two moving situations already, unfortunately, so she has had a lot of adjusting to do. She's been very good with it all and always finds a way to make herself happy.

My girlfriend and I decided that we wanted to take in another cat after taking a trip to the shelter one afternoon. The cat we took in received high marks for getting along well with other cats and was living in a big room full of all sorts of cats roaming around and it was seen sleeping with other cats and such. This was a good sign as we wanted a cat that would get along well with others. She is a domestic cat that is about a year old.

I kept the new cat alone in a room for about a week before curiosity struck the old cat and she stopped hissing at the door. The initial introductions have gone well and are usually kept to short meetings between the two. As they've progressed over the past week, I've made the meetings between the two longer. They seem to get along well enough for about 20 minutes but then some hissing and rough-housing always develops. Maybe this is normal, I don't know. But it seems to happen at every meeting each day.

The old cat is a bit stressed I found because I touched her paw as she was sleeping and she instantly woke up with a hiss, until she realized who I was and that I wasn't attacking her. I've never had her hiss at me personally before. The new cat is so anxious to get outside of her confined room and ready to explore and be a part of the house but their fighting worries me about the future of their relationship.

Did I rush their meeting too fast (I saw the thread about introducing cats and I wonder if I should have waited another week or so)? Am I allowing them to see each other too much or maybe not enough to get used to each other? Is there something I can do at this point to help improve their relationship? The new cat is much more playful and social than the old cat, which I assumed was a good thing, but is this going to hurt their relationship?

Sorry for the long, long, long tale. If you made it this far and can offer some help, it's much appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 16
GIve this link a look - it should help with the intro. Just remember love and lots of patience..
post #3 of 16
I wonder if it might be more stressful for them being introduced so slowly... If they never get the chance to know each other they will always see each other as threatening. And, they have no means of determining who will be alpha kitty so each meeting they are thinking about that.

I'm no expert but it seems that to cats fighting is just a step in the introduction process, unless you're dealing with young kittens. Even some people feel that someone isn't your friend unless they're willing to fight you. And, kitties are forced to this ritual because of the hierarchical structure that is inherent to multi-cat prides.

That said, I would get their claws trimmed, then let them fight as long as they don't injure each other. But, it might be best to keep them separated while you are away until you are confident that they won't tear each other up.

Once they determine who is the alpha things will get better. The other kitty will submit and all will be sunshine and happy times as long as the hierarchy is clear.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks to you both for the responses. I had read that thread previously and other articles on introducing cats. However, maybe I rushed my meeting because these two definitely aren't sharing good vibes. They seem to ignore each other for 20 minutes or so and sniff each other here and there until somebody initiates a fight. It's really hard to tell who is being dominant but the old cat is usually on it's back during fights. I think the new cat may be play fighting and the old cat may be taking it too seriously but I can't confirm that.

Are there any tips to help them get along after they've already met and smelled each other out?

Is the Feliway product actually worth its money for this situation?
post #5 of 16
I think Feliway does help. I'm in the process of introducing 2 cats right now. I've had the new one for 3 weeks. In the beginning, the old cat would just sit and hiss at the door where the new cat was. A couple nights ago, the old cat decided to follow me into the room and they sat there staring at each other for a few minutes, no hissing. Treats to each of them helped too.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Heh, that's great, Jenny. You're luckier than me. They're fine eating treats in front of each other and everything. Only the old cat hissed initially in the early meetings. Now that the intial meets are over with, the only hissing happens when they are fighting each other.
post #7 of 16
I guess you are a stage ahead of me. I hope it works out!
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I hope so as well.

But, does anybody have advice as far as getting cats to get along after they've already initially met? Should I use Feliway? I know nothing about the product really so I don't know if that's the answer or not.
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by lukewarmth
I hope so as well.

But, does anybody have advice as far as getting cats to get along after they've already initially met? Should I use Feliway? I know nothing about the product really so I don't know if that's the answer or not.
Feliway comes in a spray or a plug-in. It exudes kitty pheremones, which help calm cats. I think a plug-in used in the space where they're interacting would be helpful. You can look online for more info, too.
post #10 of 16
I hear that Feliway is good. I have never used it though but I hear so many good things about it. Its worth a try.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
They are definitely getting along better and tolerating each other (for the most part) for longer periods of time now.

But, the youngest cat just peed on a throw rug while out with the old cat today. So, that's not a good sign. I guess I definitely have to look into Feliway now for that problem.
post #12 of 16
We introduced Bijou and Mika over a period of one month with supervised visits in the evenings only. If either one got rough they were immediately separated. They are now the best of buddies.

As far as the younger one peeing on the rug, if this is the first time this has happened, it's possible this kitty has a urinary infection which may also trigger aggression between them. I personally would get the younger one vet checked to ensure no infection.

Also, it's good to have a litter pan for each cat plus an extra.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks much, Yosemite. The girls are definitely showing signs of improvement now. They're not best buddies but I'll hold out hope for that.

I will definitely get the youngest checked out by the vet as far as the urinary tract infection goes. She did it once before, a few days after I got her, on a different piece of fabric I had laid out for her to sleep on. So I took that as a sign of nervousness and such. That was probably over a week ago that the first one happened though.
post #14 of 16
Hi! I was reading through your threads and was wondering if you used the Feliway plug in. I recently adopted a stray and went through those steps outlined in the introducing new cats. It'e been 3 very LONG weeks and the same things happened with my old cats and the new one. I still can't leave them alone for more than 20 minutes without lots of hissing and running all over my apartment. So, it sounds like we have very similar things going on. I'm quite frustrated. Let me know if you think the Feliway worked or what other things you may have done. Thanks a lot!
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hiya, amazalea. Well, I haven't gotten the plug-in yet because I briefly had new hope. It seemed the cats were progressing and getting to the point where they could at least stand each other and let the other one sleep around the house or something. But, this afternoon has been a disaster with bigger and louder fights then some silence then another scuffle. I think it's because it's the afternoon and they're more hyper, while the past few meetings have been at night when they're tired.

So, I haven't got the Feliway plug-in yet but now I am definitely leaning towards trying it out.

Make sure to keep my updated on your situation as it sounds eerily familiar to mine.
post #16 of 16
I will be getting my kitten this weekend and starting introductions. I bought the Feliway plug in and will let you know how effective it is. I have heard though that it does not work on some cats.
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