Cat introduction...help needed!

Sara 😺

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Hi all. Cat mum in need of urgent help. I've a 5 years old female cat (with me for 4 years) and I always wanted a 2nd kitty, but always afraid of my spoiled cat reaction (always thinking if they ever will get along). I finally made the decision and adopted a 3 months old male kitten 1 week ago (from the same rescuer I adopted my old 1). I followed all introduction steps (kitty in spare bathroom, smell swap, environment change, feeding from each side of the door...) and for the last 2 days they were able to be together under supervision, of course with some fight that I tried to distract with toys or clapping my hands. Things were moving slowly, but we were in the good way, so happy and thinking that will work out till today morning. Little guy wouldn't stop meowing in the bathroom at 6am, so I had the stupid idea of picking him and bring to my bed. He was all snuggled on me and purring till me resident cat noticed and attacked him as never before. I had to use water spray to separate them and even got scratched, no cat was hurt. My resident even attacked my legs while I was going to put the kitten in the spare bathroom again. I came back to bed and let them calm down. I feel so bad as I'm thinking that I ruined everything and we gave 100000 steps that may not be possible to make them tolerate each other again. Even worse is that my resident cat no is hissing at me, she never did that before to me before (even while introducing the kitten). As far as I read I should keep them 1 or 2 days separated and then start letting them see each other again thru the door...so start the process all over again. Please give me advice and share some success stories. Breaks my heart to hear the little guy screaming from the bathroom and super afraid that my cat even kill him next time she sees him (if I'm not able to separate them, I think she was not expecting the little 1 to fight her back and he did it). I just don't want to have to return him (I love my little guy so much). Thanks so so much.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the reason that brought you here.

About the introductions, definitely you need to go back to the beginning. Your resident cat is going to need more time to get used to the newbie. Since you're being hissed at, I think she's doing the re-directed aggression thing, so first things first you need to calm her down.

Despite this setback, I think there's still a chance of things working out. You've only had the kitten 1 week, which in a cat's world, is no time at all. Cat introductions generally take weeks. Every introduction is different, and you can only go as fast as the most resistant cat.

So for now, keep them separated, and out of sight of each other. And work on calming your resident cat down. Once she's calm again, maybe put her in another room, and let the kitten out to play, run around, and scent mark the home. Eventually, you might want to set up something like stacked baby gates at the bathroom door, so the 2 cats can see each other, and even paw at each other, but not really touch. Then you can try feeding them both treats, or something else yummy, to let your resident get some positive feelings when around the kitten.

Expect the entire introduction to take time. As I mentioned, likely weeks.

Below are links to some TCS articles with more info. You can also scan through various threads, and you'll find lots on cat introductions.

Good luck. Post again with updates, or questions.

How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – TheCatSite Articles

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide | TheCatSite
Introducing Cats To Cats | TheCatSite
How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat | TheCatSite

Re-directed Aggression In Cats | TheCatSite
Cat Aggression Toward People | TheCatSite
Why Do Cats Attack? | TheCatSite
Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles
 
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Sara 😺

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Thanks so much for your help. I feel terribly bad that this major setback will ruin everything forever. I knew beforehand that my resident cat wouldn't be easy to adapt to a new cat, reason why I didn't adopted a 2nd cat before. One question that intrigues me - if the resident cat scratches the door where the kitty is (without any hissing, growling, ...) like if she wants to enter the room, that is s sign of curiosity and could mean I can move 1 step forward?
 

rubysmama

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It's a setback, for sure. But hopefully not a major one.

About your question, my gut feeling is to continue to go slow. Though, I guess it depends what you're thinking of as being "1 step forward". I wouldn't go to letting them see each other, just yet. But the scent swapping, meaning letting the kitten out of the bathroom to explore/play, while your resident cat safe in another room, would be fine.

Eventually, especially if you can't do the stacked baby gates, you can put something to block the bathroom door from opening more than a crack, but open enough for them to see each other.

Do spend as much time as normal with your resident cat. Tell her she's not being replaced, and that you still love her. Watch her for any signs of stress - not eating normally, litter box issues, etc.

Also, of course spend time with the kitten. But again, you want the resident cat's life to be as normal as possible.

And remember, it's still early days, so don't worry. Also fight the urge to move more quickly. Baby steps forward are better, than giant steps backwards.
 
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