Cat Introduction Not Going Quite As Planned. He

acatnamedjuliet

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Hi all! Long time reader, first time poster. I apologize in advance for the long-winded post.

I have a resident cat, Juliet, who is approximately 10 months old and I'm working on introducing almost-two-year-old Marta. Both cats are very playful, affectionate toward humans, and have similar energy levels—so I thought they might be a good match. I've read up on slow introductions and gotten as many tips from friends (as well as the internet) and that's what we've been working on for the last two weeks.

Week one went swimmingly.

Marta spend her time in the bathroom while Juliet had her normal run of the apartment. I fed them on opposite sides of the door and played with them in those spots also. The first two days or so, Marta (new kitty) would occasionally hiss at the door if she heard Juliet—or if Juliet would get ballsy and put her paws under. They shared swapped beds and toys and had no problems.

The hissing had stopped and all seemed well, so we transitioned to swapping their spots daily for three days. Then, we switched to having baby gates up in the doorway. Three of them, covering the entire entry. (Both gals found ways to get out otherwise.) Marta would occasionally hiss or growl but never showed any other signs of aggression. Juliet has shown no signs of aggression or dominance the entire time, despite being the resident cat.

They were comfortable eating at the baby gate together and would welcome blankets rubbed on each other. In fact, Marta would act excited and rub all over Juliet's scented objects. In fact, they both happily welcome a brush that was just used by the other. On top of that, they've been using each other's boxes. So, we transitioned to letting them be in apartment together. Marta continues to hiss any time Juliet gets near her. I may be wrong, but I think Juliet just wants a friend and does not understand personal space or the idea that a newcomer needs time to adjust.

Should I start the process over again? I'm confused as to why they clearly have no issue with each others scents, yet Marta continues acts aggressive. I understand it's still early in the game and introductions can sometimes take a long time. I just don't want to cause any permanent social damage as a relationship or to the individuals themselves!

I thought for sure this would've been the other way around, with Juliet not accepting someone new in her domain.
:ruminating:

Here's a video. Juliet, the tabby is the resident kitty. Marta, the grey tuxy on the condo, is the new kitty.

 
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acatnamedjuliet

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I forgot to mention:

I guess I have a fear that I'm wrong—that I have it all backwards. What if it always appears to me as Juliet watching in fear could in fact be her staring aggressively? ...That Marta is the innocent one!
 

susanm9006

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If all that is happening is some hissing and occasional growling, I would just continue as is. It is a sign of nervousness or making sure the other cat knows their boundaries but not necessarily aggression and sometimes they just need to get it out of their system. Both cats are young enough that they will move on to playing pretty quickly. And in the video it does look to me that the one cat is trying to engage the other in play.

A calming product might help, as well joint play sessions with a wand or laser.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Congrats on the new kitten, and on the "not going so badly" cat introductions. Occasional hissing and growling is how cats communicate with each other. The one hissing is the older cat, right? If so, she is probably just letting the younger one know who's going to be the "boss".

There's been no fur flying, blood or one cat acting scared, has there? Those are the things you need to watch out for. And any signs of one cat, or both, being stressed. Is Your Cat Stressed Out? | TheCatSite

When they do start to interact, playfully, it could look like fighting, so here's a TCS article on Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? that you might want to read.

One question, though. Are both cats spayed?
 
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acatnamedjuliet

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Thanks, susanm9006 and rubysmama!

To answer your question, Rubysmama,
The one hissing is the new cat, however she is about a year older. Juliet, the resident cat seems to walk on eggshells at all times. She crouches when she walks around the apartment, hides around corners, and makes sure she stays out of Marta's path. Hopefully that will end soon!

Neither are showing symptoms of stress. They're both eating as they normally do, using litterboxes regularly, etc. And there's no actual fighting happening—phew! So that's good. I'll continue to encourage a positive environment for both of them and hope that helps.

Thanks for your help! I'll keep you posted if things take a turn for the worst.
 

rubysmama

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Juliet, the resident cat seems to walk on eggshells at all times. She crouches when she walks around the apartment, hides around corners, and makes sure she stays out of Marta's path. Hopefully that will end soon!
Poor Juliet. :( Do give her lots of attention. Tell her you love her, and that's Marta is not replacing her. Give them treats together, if you can. And hopefully they become friends soon. :catlove:
 

di and bob

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They both are acting perfectly normal. Marta is hissing because she is so scared and uncertain, cats take a LONG time to adjust to new situations and she has been through a lot. She is also older than Juliet and trying to find her place in the heirarchy of the household. Juliet is more confident and secure, but it is a big change for her too and although she wants a friend and to play, the new cat confuses her with the hissing. As long as there is no blood drawn and outright fighting with deep bites, everything is fine. Hissing swatting, and yowling are perfectly normal in a situation like this. Juliet may even push a little too hard in the future, and it is Marta's right to put her in her palce as the older of the two. I think they are getting along very well,there may be a few set backs as everyone is adjusting but that is normal. Just give both lots of attention andtreats, offer both a safe place to retreat to if needed, perferrably a bed high up on a table, etc, and eveything will be fine.
 
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acatnamedjuliet

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Poor Juliet. :( Do give her lots of attention. Tell her you love her, and that's Marta is not replacing her. Give them treats together, if you can. And hopefully they become friends soon. :catlove:
They both are acting perfectly normal. Marta is hissing because she is so scared and uncertain, cats take a LONG time to adjust to new situations and she has been through a lot. She is also older than Juliet and trying to find her place in the heirarchy of the household. Juliet is more confident and secure, but it is a big change for her too and although she wants a friend and to play, the new cat confuses her with the hissing. As long as there is no blood drawn and outright fighting with deep bites, everything is fine. Hissing swatting, and yowling are perfectly normal in a situation like this. Juliet may even push a little too hard in the future, and it is Marta's right to put her in her palce as the older of the two. I think they are getting along very well,there may be a few set backs as everyone is adjusting but that is normal. Just give both lots of attention andtreats, offer both a safe place to retreat to if needed, perferrably a bed high up on a table, etc, and eveything will be fine.
Thank you, both! You help ease my anxiety.

I've been trying to give them treats together and only today did I have a breakthrough! Juliet, who usually goes nuts for treats, has refused to eat hers for weeks, when given in Marta's presence. She would slowly back up while watching Marta eat hers. If I gave it to her ten feet away, she would even then watch in caution and usually end up just walking away. Tonight, I got them both to eat three out of the five treats I gave...within inches of each other!

Marta is still the one that hisses and swats the most—often unprovoked. But generally, Juliet is the instigator. Juliet has now started attempting to swat...which is usually clumsy.

Many times, they will slowly walk by the other one as if they're scared to be seen, but then occasionally I can get them both on the bed at the same time!

Hoping that they become friends. I know it's probably a pipe dream, but I'd love for them to actually enjoy each other's presence and maybe bond one day?

Here's Marta smacking and hissing at Juliet who was just looking out the window and minding her own business:

Juliet's lazy attempt at smacking Marta:

Again, Juliet bothering Marta for no reason:

The sidestep that often happens:

The [few and far between] moments that they'll both be on the bed:

Please excuse the mess that the apartment is in the videos! :barfgreen:
 

Tobermory

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None of these look particularly aggressive to me! It’s more like they’re cautiously trying to experiment with playing and haven’t figured out how yet. Hissing and swatting are common, even after weeks. My 14-year-olds still hiss, swat, and occasionally growl at the 4-year-old, even after a year and a half. But no one shrieks with rage, flattens ears, and/or attacks. I’ll bet yours will be buddies at some point. :)
 

di and bob

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Yeah, they all looked normal! I didn't see true aggression either. there woukld be full jump on attacks with fur flying. Swats like that are just what cats do....
 

rubysmama

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Tonight, I got them both to eat three out of the five treats I gave...within inches of each other!
:yess: :clap2:

None of these look particularly aggressive to me! It’s more like they’re cautiously trying to experiment with playing and haven’t figured out how yet.
I was thinking the same thing.

In addition to the videos in the Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? article, here is a link to a post with a couple videos of @Kieka's cats playing, to show you that play between friendly cats can look serious.
Not Accepting New Kitten ;(
 

duncanmac

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I try not to joke about this too much because I was stunned when I saw how rough Barry and Duncan played with each other, but whenever I see an "are they fighting or playing" thread, I think to myself that if nobody is in the ER, then it was playing.

Even when our 8 pound kitten wrestles with her 14 & 16 pound brothers, its scary because it looks like nobody is holding back. She squawks, cries, hisses and breaks away but then she circles around and jumps right on top of one of them again.
 
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acatnamedjuliet

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:yess: :clap2:



I was thinking the same thing.

In addition to the videos in the Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? article, here is a link to a post with a couple videos of @Kieka's cats playing, to show you that play between friendly cats can look serious.
Not Accepting New Kitten ;(
I try not to joke about this too much because I was stunned when I saw how rough Barry and Duncan played with each other, but whenever I see an "are they fighting or playing" thread, I think to myself that if nobody is in the ER, then it was playing.

Even when our 8 pound kitten wrestles with her 14 & 16 pound brothers, its scary because it looks like nobody is holding back. She squawks, cries, hisses and breaks away but then she circles around and jumps right on top of one of them again.
Again, thanks everyone for the relief! Things are slowly getting better. They will eat treats together, like to hide under the bed together, etc.

They've been playing more lately...or attempting to.

Marta loves dishing it out. But as soon as Juliet tries to be the one to pounce, Marta throws a fit and hisses or growls. I think she needs to learn how to play???

I just took these three quick videos on my lunch break. They're in chronological order. First, Juliet pounced and Marta hissed. Second, Marta pounced. Third, it was mutual until Marta started growling.

1) Juliet pouncing on Marta

2) Marta pouncing on Juliet

3) Marta growling while playing
 

Tobermory

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These all look like completely normal playing to me! Mocha will lie in wait for Iris and pounce on her when she walks by. Iris will give a hiss and trot quickly away, and Mocha gives a little swipe at the air behind her. Then they’re done. Juliet and Marta aren't exhibiting angry or aggressive body language that I can see. I think they’re having fun!
 

Rummy

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Wish I had some sage advice! But I completely feel for you, also in the process of introducing two cats, it sure can be stressful!
As difficult as it is, everyone's been telling me to not really intervene unless it's a full on fight and to let them work it out. Sounds like you did the slow exposure thing so all that's really left to do is get them comfortable with each other over time.
 
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