First time introducing two cats... Questions

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CityCatMom

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Yeah, I agree with you that the behavior at the gate wasn't great. Sometimes cats will do a little charge/swat that is a backoff signal rather than true hostility, but probably its overly optimistic to count on it being that. Well, maybe going slow here is for the best. Just too bad you'll lose progress when you go, but at least you have experience with how they act and can better put everything in context when you come back and resume.
Yeah she was in the living room and my older cat was in her room, so there was no reason for NC to tell her "to back off". I don't know why she attacked OC, but it's a big reason why we are still weary of leaving them alone together.

Do you have any tips on getting NC to stop thinking of the master bedroom as only her territory? Currently, she is in that room all day and sleeps there every night. She also has all her meals at the door there, while OC eats her meals in the living room and sleeps either in the second bedroom or living room. I think sometimes NC gets defensive when OC comes to the gate looking into the master bedroom.
 

ArtNJ

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Well, room swapping is a part of the guide process. I've actually not used that step myself, but I might if I had an intro that looked like it was going to be hard.
 

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Do you have any tips on getting NC to stop thinking of the master bedroom as only her territory? Currently, she is in that room all day and sleeps there every night. She also has all her meals at the door there, while OC eats her meals in the living room and sleeps either in the second bedroom or living room. I think sometimes NC gets defensive when OC comes to the gate looking into the master bedroom.
Yes, definitely do the 'room swapping'....as A ArtNJ mentioned.

Also, if you can, use 'scent items' from both cats....such as cat blankets, cat toys, cat beds, and make sure to put these in each cat's territory. Even rubbing an old sock onto one cat, and placing it near the other one...is usually suggested.

I find it interesting that NC is the one getting defensive, and not OC. But I guess this depends upon each cat's personality.

Did OC originally sleep in your bedroom?
 
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CityCatMom

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Yes, definitely do the 'room swapping'....as A ArtNJ mentioned.

Also, if you can, use 'scent items' from both cats....such as cat blankets, cat toys, cat beds, and make sure to put these in each cat's territory. Even rubbing an old sock onto one cat, and placing it near the other one...is usually suggested.

I find it interesting that NC is the one getting defensive, and not OC. But I guess this depends upon each cat's personality.

Did OC originally sleep in your bedroom?
No, OC used to sleep in the second bedroom/living room. We had originally put NC in the second bedroom and moved OC's stuff to our room for the first week but NC always kept trying to get out of that room to explore (which led to the initial spat I mentioned in my original post), so after a week of this, we figured the room was probably too small for her and moved her to the master bedroom. OC was happy to have "her" room back and NC adjusted easily into the master (which had a lot of OC's scent), so we figured they would both adjust to each other. NC has been in our room for two weeks now and I fear she has come to see this as "her" territory which ends at the gate. OC is now also uncomfortable being in our master room with the door closed.

I'm not sure why NC is being defensive. If I had to guess, it would be because the first time she escaped the room and came face to face with OC ended up in OC hissing and chasing her around the room. OC is also a 15 lbs cat, while NC is 8 lbs, so I wonder if being around a bigger cat makes her defensive. OC has become very chill around her - not comfortable but not hissing at all unless NC hisses at her, and sometimes not even then!
 
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CityCatMom

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I should also mention that we mostly play with NC in the master bedroom because that is where she spends most of her time. I'm not sure if that contributes to the situation.
 

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No, OC used to sleep in the second bedroom/living room. We had originally put NC in the second bedroom and moved OC's stuff to our room for the first week but NC always kept trying to get out of that room to explore (which led to the initial spat I mentioned in my original post), so after a week of this, we figured the room was probably too small for her and moved her to the master bedroom. OC was happy to have "her" room back and NC adjusted easily into the master (which had a lot of OC's scent), so we figured they would both adjust to each other. NC has been in our room for two weeks now and I fear she has come to see this as "her" territory which ends at the gate. OC is now also uncomfortable being in our master room with the door closed.

I'm not sure why NC is being defensive. If I had to guess, it would be because the first time she escaped the room and came face to face with OC ended up in OC hissing and chasing her around the room. OC is also a 15 lbs cat, while NC is 8 lbs, so I wonder if being around a bigger cat makes her defensive. OC has become very chill around her - not comfortable but not hissing at all unless NC hisses at her, and sometimes not even then!
Your set-up sounds really good.
And I do think you are right, that the original spat, accidental meeting, may have just triggered both cats' 'flight and fight' responses.
Also, yes, I'd think that size-difference would also influence, how NC sees OC.
OC is now also uncomfortable being in our master room with the door closed.
You don't have to actually keep OC in the master room, all night,...even just a few hours, or one hour....is okay.
We don't really want to make OC uncomfortable, or change up her routine, too much.
Because she is a senior, cat, then she get top priority.
OC has become very chill around her - not comfortable but not hissing at all unless NC hisses at her, and sometimes not even then!
The above sounds extremely good. Since it means that OC is not bothered by the newcomer ...in her territory.
I should also mention that we mostly play with NC in the master bedroom because that is where she spends most of her time. I'm not sure if that contributes to the situation.
Playing, playing, and more playing,...will be the key...in integrating your two cats.
As will giving them treats, and being with them, talking to them,...observing their reactions.

Once NC learns...not to charge at the gate...when you are either feeding, or playing with either cat, ...then you will know that she is ready for some contact. It sounds like NC is the one, whose 'fight' response is too high. So hold off on the contact...and only do it through a gate for now.
 
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CityCatMom

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Which cat do you guys think we should leave in the apartment vs relatives?

OC has gone to stay with our relatives before when we're on vacation. She's not happy to leave the house but she is used to their house and has her own routine when she's there (a room to sleep in, etc.). She gets upset for the first day she has to move but then adjusts (she hates being in her carrier and leaving the house in general). The thing that concerns me is that while OC has never had any problems adjusting when she is back home before, will she have problems this time since NC will be there? Is it better to keep OC at home and send NC away for a couple of weeks while we're on vacation?

In terms of their introduction/reintroduction - do you guys think it's better for NC or OC to be kept at home?
 

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...OC has gone to stay with our relatives before when we're on vacation. She's not happy to leave the house but she is used to their house and has her own routine when she's there (a room to sleep in, etc.). She gets upset for the first day she has to move but then adjusts (she hates being in her carrier and leaving the house in general). The thing that concerns me is that while OC has never had any problems adjusting when she is back home before, will she have problems this time since NC will be there?...
Hmm...I'm thinking that leaving NC at home, would be easier for the introduction/re-introductions.

But I only base this on the fact, that OC has already spent time with your relatives, before, and sounds to be a fairly adaptable, and relaxed senior cat.

Do your relatives have experience with new cats? cats in general? cats that may be afraid?
 
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CityCatMom

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Hmm...I'm thinking that leaving NC at home, would be easier for the introduction/re-introductions.

But I only base this on the fact, that OC has already spent time with your relatives, before, and sounds to be a fairly adaptable, and relaxed senior cat.

Do your relatives have experience with new cats? cats in general? cats that may be afraid?
My relatives don't have much experiences with cats outside of OC... OC is somewhat aggressive when she is scared/uncomfortable, but my relatives have dealt with her before and know how to handle it. NC is a less aggressive cat than OC, but she is a lot. She jumps up everywhere, meows a lot more and needs more attention and play time than OC. I don't know if my relatives would appreciate her jumping on the counters and such!
 
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CityCatMom

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You don't have to actually keep OC in the master room, all night,...even just a few hours, or one hour....is okay.
We don't really want to make OC uncomfortable, or change up her routine, too much.
Because she is a senior, cat, then she get top priority.
Yes, OC has actually been curious about the master bedroom and has peeked in there a couple of times when we are having combined play time with them in the living room. Last time, she was slowly going in and NC tried to follow her, which caused her to get scared, hiss at NC and walk away. This morning, she was also a little touchy during feeding time. NC meows A LOT and I think that really bothers OC - her hair stands up and she starts looking all static-y usually. We've been trying to distract her with play and treats when this happens. This morning, she was a bit upset when I went to go pet her and she smelled NC on my hand - she nipped my hand and swatted at it! (without nails).

Playing, playing, and more playing,...will be the key...in integrating your two cats.
As will giving them treats, and being with them, talking to them,...observing their reactions.

Once NC learns...not to charge at the gate...when you are either feeding, or playing with either cat, ...then you will know that she is ready for some contact. It sounds like NC is the one, whose 'fight' response is too high. So hold off on the contact...and only do it through a gate for now.
NC hasn't charged at OC in the last few days. They hiss at each other *some times* (maybe once a day) and usually only when they are in a room together with no barrier. We have been trying to do short periods of combined play time where we let them both into the living room, let them get near each other and play with them side by side. Day before, OC let NC follow her and NC was trying to sniff OC from behind... which I've read is a good sign?

They keep going back and forth, but on the whole, I think they are getting better with each other.

But I do worry what two weeks of separation is going to do to them...
 

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My relatives don't have much experiences with cats outside of OC... OC is somewhat aggressive when she is scared/uncomfortable, but my relatives have dealt with her before and know how to handle it. NC is a less aggressive cat than OC, but she is a lot. She jumps up everywhere, meows a lot more and needs more attention and play time than OC. I don't know if my relatives would appreciate her jumping on the counters and such!
Your relatives sound like awesome people. :biggrin:
But yes...NC jumping up everywhere, especially on counters, might be a bit too much. :bluepaw:
You want your relatives to enjoy the winter holidays, winter season, too. :blush: :evergreen::deer::santa:

Don't worry though, you'll have plenty of time, after the holidays, to 'train' NC out of things,...and as she gets older, she will mellow out.
 

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But I do worry what two weeks of separation is going to do to them...
Two weeks is not long at all...I thought you were going for...like a month.

You'll just have to keep them separated, when you first get back.
Get OC back home and settled into her home territory.
Which will not take long, since she has done it before.

Then work on the cat introductions from the beginning.
They should go smoother, since a lot of improvements have already happened.
 

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Yes, OC has actually been curious about the master bedroom and has peeked in there a couple of times when we are having combined play time with them in the living room. Last time, she was slowly going in and NC tried to follow her, which caused her to get scared, hiss at NC and walk away. This morning, she was also a little touchy during feeding time. NC meows A LOT and I think that really bothers OC - her hair stands up and she starts looking all static-y usually. We've been trying to distract her with play and treats when this happens. This morning, she was a bit upset when I went to go pet her and she smelled NC on my hand - she nipped my hand and swatted at it! (without nails).
That is really good that you notice all the little things that annoy OC.
This will help you...with deciding on when to get them together.

And OC reacting to the smell of NC on your hand, just tells you....that OC is not at that stage of being fully relaxed, to let NC near her.

The whole goal...of the 'scent swapping' and 'room swapping' is to get each cat to the point of them actually being 'bored and so used to the other cat's smell' ...that they no longer even react negatively, in any way.
They become so bored, and familiar with the scent, that the other cat is accepted as part of their territory.
This takes a lot of time, though.
NC hasn't charged at OC in the last few days. They hiss at each other *some times* (maybe once a day) and usually only when they are in a room together with no barrier. We have been trying to do short periods of combined play time where we let them both into the living room, let them get near each other and play with them side by side. Day before, OC let NC follow her and NC was trying to sniff OC from behind... which I've read is a good sign?

They keep going back and forth, but on the whole, I think they are getting better with each other.

But I do worry what two weeks of separation is going to do to them...
Yes, sniffing from behind is a very good sign.
It's how they get to know each other, through smell, and recognize each other.

Just continue with the 'scent swapping'....This will tremendously help, in reducing each cat's fear reactions.
When you do any 'scent exchanges' and notice good responses...then give them positive rewards such as treats.
They'll associate the scent...with something good.

Playing with them, helps to get them relaxed and feeling positive.

They definitely sound like they are getting more used to each other.
And you've done amazingly. (Just putting up a cat condo, in a short span of time, would have tired me out.)
C CityCatMom ...I can tell that you are a very caring pet guardian, just from what you have written.

Have a wonderful vacation, and don't worry about your two gals.
Enjoy yourselves, re-energize, and have a beautiful time.
When you get back, you'll have more 'fun' with these two...errr....I mean....it will be fun.
Each day will get better, and better...and you'll both be refreshed...to tackle the job of cat-intros. :catrub: :winkcat: ⛱🌅
 
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CityCatMom

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I can tell that you are a very caring pet guardian, just from what you have written.

Have a wonderful vacation, and don't worry about your two gals.
Enjoy yourselves, re-energize, and have a beautiful time.
When you get back, you'll have more 'fun' with these two...errr....I mean....it will be fun.
Each day will get better, and better...and you'll both be refreshed...to tackle the job of cat-intros. :catrub: :winkcat: ⛱🌅
Thank you so much for your lovely words! I do love the kitties a lot :) My OC and I are very close and I hope in the coming months NC becomes close with her as well!

I hope you have a good holiday season too! Happy holidays!
 

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Thank you so much for your lovely words! I do love the kitties a lot :) My OC and I are very close and I hope in the coming months NC becomes close with her as well!

I hope you have a good holiday season too! Happy holidays!
Thank you.:) (If you happen to be going to someplace warm and sunny....then send 'warm and sunny vibes' ....this way.
If it happens to be a ski resort, or wintry place....then not so much.
I can handle 'pretty snow....just not slush or ice....anymore.) :blush: :cold: :rolleyes2:
My OC and I are very close and I hope in the coming months NC becomes close with her as well!
This will definitely happen. :thumbsup:
 

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Sounds like its going really well and if you just had a couple more days you wouldn't need to split them. But no big thing, wont matter in the long run. And now that you know how they roll, you'll be better able to gage how they are doing when you come back.
 
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CityCatMom

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Sounds like its going really well and if you just had a couple more days you wouldn't need to split them. But no big thing, wont matter in the long run. And now that you know how they roll, you'll be better able to gage how they are doing when you come back.
Yes I think so. They spent all morning in the same room today (about 4 hours) and the only reason I split them up was because I needed to get some work done and couldn't watch them anymore, lol. On the whole, they lounge around in different parts of the room and are able to play side by side. Sometimes, when they are near, they just take turns hissing and swatting at each other (if NC does it once, the next time they are near, OC is more likely to do it and so on).

I find that most of the aggression happens either when they get too close to one another or when food is involved - OC likes to graze her food throughout the day while NC gobbles down whatever you put down in front of her within minutes and is always on the lookout for new food! Today, she tried to steal OC's wet food while she was going to eat. I tried to redirect them by putting down another bowl of dry food but then they both went to that bowl. OC let NC sniff the food in front of her and even sniffed her but then NC got freaked out for some reason, hissed at OC and backed off, at which point I put down the wet food in front of her and they both ate peacefully whatever was in front of them.

I'm not sure how to handle this in the future when I won't be at home. Do I just get an automatic feeder that gives them both food at the same time throughout the day but in small portions? I have also seen the SureFeed, which opens up for the cat with the correct microchip - I do worry NC will try to push away OC while she is eating or somehow try to steal the food even with the SureFeed... which might lead to a fight when I'm not home. I wish I could get her to slow down! She eats food like she's starving even though we're pretty sure we are feeding her more than what we're feeding OC and OC is 7 lbs more than NC!
 
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ArtNJ

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After vacation and when they are ready, you can let them sort it out. Putting two bowls down isnt a bad idea though, even if they will still have some sorting to do.
 
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