Cat introduction - month two

Meowzarrella

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Hi all - I'm having trouble introducing my two cats and don't know how to progress (or if I should?)

I've had my 3 year old cat Ella since she was a kitten. She is kind of anxious, prefers the floor to the shelves/top of the cat tree, and likes to be in her carrier when she's stressed. I adopted 1 year old Esty two months ago, and she is almost opposite - outgoing, likes the tops of tables, and constantly wants to be involved in everything. Both are spayed.

I started the introduction with keeping Esty in the living room with her own setup, Ella with all of her stuff in my room and bedroom (this isn't a change from her normal setup), and leaving both cats' bowls by the door. Hissing and growling by the door stopped by day three. They seemed to want to see each other (no growling, hissing, or puffing up) and put their paws under the door. I allowed them to have treats with the door cracked, and once that was going well I allowed them supervised time with play, increasing it each day. By two weeks, I basically just let them roam throughout the house together. They seemed to play rough (chasing, rolling, swatting with claws in, and pinning), but neither of them made vocalizations other than to let the other cat know to let up. I noticed that Esty was really in Ella's personal space. Esty would come up to Ella when she was sleeping, try to lick Ella on her head, or cuddle up to her. Which was really cute, but it bothered Ella a lot. Ella also seems to get tired of putting Esty in her place she would do this, and would eventually try to run to another corner or her carrier to sleep in. I've tried playing with Esty multiple times per day to the point of her panting, but within 30 minutes she's up and after Ella again.

At that point, Ella started vomiting daily. The vet ruled out other medical causes and chalked it up to stress/excitement of the new cat and suggested I completely separate them and try gradually reintroducing them again. Esty is now in my bathroom almost full time and Ella has the rest of the house. A few days ago Ella would get nauseous at just the smell or sight at Esty, but now I have them eating treats by the door and in the room supervised for half an hour to an hour at a time. Ella now gets nauseous and vomits after too long with Esty. Recently Ella also vomits if I leave the house for too long too.

I'm afraid that Ella will continue to be sick and that Esty living in the bathroom will be unsustainable. I don't know if I should dial it back even further or what. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

ArtNJ

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I'm not clear from your post if the older cat is showing stress at all. One year olds can certainly overdo it and cause stress even in older cats sometimes willing to play. However, from your post it mostly sounds like they were friends and enjoying ordinary roughhousing, so a stress reaction isn't my first guess. Rather, I would suspect hairballs. Either that, or they are roughhousing too soon after meals, and a well timed break could fix the issue.

Even if it is excitement, given that we have a one year old being a typical one year old, and overdoing it with constantly insisting on play -- things a reintroduction won't fix. So as near as I can tell, the answer is that a reintroduction won't help at all -- this isn't that kind of issue.

It doesn't seem like a normal reaction to have vomitting merely from excitement. And if there was stress, you were see avoidance behavior and annoyed vocalisations from the older cat. So I can't see the point of full time isolating friends that appear to be enjoying playing. Maybe an hour or two here or there for the older cat to give him time to rest would do the trick? Maybe they are roughhousing too soon after eating? You could time the breaks to after meals?
 
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Meowzarrella

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I'm not clear from your post if the older cat is showing stress at all. One year olds can certainly overdo it and cause stress even in older cats sometimes willing to play. However, from your post it mostly sounds like they were friends and enjoying ordinary roughhousing, so a stress reaction isn't my first guess. Rather, I would suspect hairballs. Either that, or they are roughhousing too soon after meals, and a well timed break could fix the issue.

Even if it is excitement, given that we have a one year old being a typical one year old, and overdoing it with constantly insisting on play -- things a reintroduction won't fix. So as near as I can tell, the answer is that a reintroduction won't help at all -- this isn't that kind of issue.

It doesn't seem like a normal reaction to have vomitting merely from excitement. And if there was stress, you were see avoidance behavior and annoyed vocalisations from the older cat. So I can't see the point of full time isolating friends that appear to be enjoying playing. Maybe an hour or two here or there for the older cat to give him time to rest would do the trick? Maybe they are roughhousing too soon after eating? You could time the breaks to after meals?
Thanks for the food for thought! I'm glad you think they are friends. The introduction process has me doubting my decision daily. I assumed it was stress because of what the vet told me. I would see Ella smacking her lips after smelling Esty during the reintroduction, after smelling dogs outside when windows were open, and right before vomiting. Ella hasn't had problems with hairballs before, and it actually started with bilious vomiting and is now vomiting of food. I have seen her vomit after playing too hard on a full stomach or with too much catnip, so perhaps all this new activity for her is causing this. She's also vomited while separated from Esty while I'd be gone overnight, though, so I'm not really sure what connections I am missing. She isn't showing much avoidance behavior in my eyes. She does meow to me less when Esty is around, but that's the only other change I can think of for now.
 

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Was there any change in diet? It sounds like what she is eating is coming up too easily when she is excited. You might try a hairball treatment to see if that would help, or switch to a food for sensitive stomachs. Etsy will grow up and become much less active and will bother Ella less. I think it's going to take Ella really putting Etsy in her place to get through this. If Ella is too timid or passive to do this, make sure she has several carriers or smaller spaces she can escape to that is easy to defend from Etsy's advances. When I was doing introductions, my Chrissy kept getting jumped on which made her really upset, screaming and yowling and trying to escape, it finally came down to her fighting back. The boys respected her after that. She went on to become the Queen of the household after spending months and months in a bed on top of the fridge! If they got along that well before, I would let them sort through it, give Ella extra time with you, change to a sensitive stomach food, and let nature take its course. The first thing to do though is to reduce Ella's vomiting, I really think it will stop in time when she gets more used to her new roommate. Two months is not long at all in a cat's world, I have had cat's take 6-9 months to adjust. We just want things to happen sooner and that doesn't happen.....
 
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Meowzarrella

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Was there any change in diet? It sounds like what she is eating is coming up too easily when she is excited. You might try a hairball treatment to see if that would help, or switch to a food for sensitive stomachs. Etsy will grow up and become much less active and will bother Ella less. I think it's going to take Ella really putting Etsy in her place to get through this. If Ella is too timid or passive to do this, make sure she has several carriers or smaller spaces she can escape to that is easy to defend from Etsy's advances. When I was doing introductions, my Chrissy kept getting jumped on which made her really upset, screaming and yowling and trying to escape, it finally came down to her fighting back. The boys respected her after that. She went on to become the Queen of the household after spending months and months in a bed on top of the fridge! If they got along that well before, I would let them sort through it, give Ella extra time with you, change to a sensitive stomach food, and let nature take its course. The first thing to do though is to reduce Ella's vomiting, I really think it will stop in time when she gets more used to her new roommate. Two months is not long at all in a cat's world, I have had cat's take 6-9 months to adjust. We just want things to happen sooner and that doesn't happen.....
Thank you for your reply! I have been much more liberal in feeding Ella treats and giving her her favorite wet food, so maybe that is a contributor. I hope with time and the suggestions from this thread, things will get better.
 
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Meowzarrella

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Hi all - I hope updates are allowed but I apologize if it is against the rules to bring this thread back from the dead! I wanted to thank everyone for their advice. You all were right.

I switched the cats to a sensitive stomach cat food and the vomiting stopped immediately. Ella has only had an episode after I gave her too much of her favorite treat. Esty has moved out of the bathroom and the cats get along so well - they'll nap together and occasionally groom each other, but mostly they'll lay on the bed together or chase each other around. Ella has learned to assert herself and is back to being the queen of the house.

Thanks to all who answered and helped us get through the introduction process!
 

di and bob

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I'm so glad everything is going well. These things usually work themselves out, it just takes lots of time. Much more than we realize. Remember, treats are rich. My little girl always vomits when she gets too many, the others get diarrhea. I quit giving them since they are getting a little too fluffy (they say fluffy,not fat!) All the luck!
 
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