Introducing 16 Year Old Cat Into My Household

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kobata1928

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I have 3 cats that the oldest is 3 years old. My sister is moving cross country and doesn't want to put that stress on her elderly 16 year old cat so i'm taking her in. She hasn't even seen another cat in at least 12 years. She is front declawed and all my cats still have all their claws. I feed all my cats a strict wet caloric diet, 3 meals a day. Oriana has been free fed dry food her whole life. This is her, she needs to lose a few pounds.
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I want the rest of her life to be as gentle and easy as possible. I have been keeping her in a spare bedroom and after 1 week i've been letting my cats see her through a crack in the door and no one is happy. Even my own cats who get along well are hissing at each other. I will make sure she gets better food and loses weight eventually, but right now i dont want to stress her out. Right now i am locking my cats on the first floor of my house half the day so she can explore the 2nd floor as she wishes. Any tips anyone has would be appreciated.
 

rubysmama

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That is so kind of you to give your sister's cat a home. I'm sure she feels better knowing Oriana is with family. :hearthrob:

This is quite a change for, Oriana, though. Not only a new home, but new humans, and other cats. I hope in time, she becomes one of the gang. But at 16, I'm sure it will take a while.

You may have read these, but here are some TCS articles that might have some tips for you. Good luck. Keep us posted on her progress. :catrub:

How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide
Introducing Cats To Cats

Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food (canned, Raw, Or Homemade)
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?
 

Sandy Beach

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I have a multi pet household and we are still working out all the kinks after 2 months of introducing Moon. Every cat is different and their acclimation times will be different. All of my other pets are friendly and used to multiple animals, so adjustion time will be dependent on her.
We started Moon off in a large kennel (due to medical issues) in room by herself for a week and exchanged blankets back and forth every day between all the animals. I even let her have some dog toys to get a wiff of the dogs. I’d also trade out litter boxes every couple of days so both cats could get a better idea of each other
That way as well.

After a week we moved the kennel into the living room against the wall, but raised it 2 feet off the floor and put a fireplace gate around the kennel to give her a barrier from the dogs. She’d spend the day observing all of us and at night time, we’d let Moon have the run of the house while the dogs were locked away in our bedrooms (one dog behind every closed door) and our other cat, Mama, would spend the night in the large kennel in the living room.

We did that for a week before we started slow leashed introductions one at a time for a few minutes out of each day. Always with treats, brushing, toys and happy times to keep it positive.
Week 4 we blocked off parts of the house with baby gates to keep animals separate and allowed Moon to explore while we supervised. Giving her a chance to sniff them through the gates if she wanted to (she didn’t want to lol).

By a month and a half we got to the point where they could all be out together at the same time (as long as they didn’t invade her bubble) when we were home and could supervise, but at bedtime or when we leave for work we still separate them.

She tolerates them at best, but she still doesn’t want anyone too close to her. This is a huge improvement from her not even wanting them to look in her general direction the very first week lol.

Moons surgeries have slowed things down a bit as She’s been recovering in a different room away from the zoo that we call home. Hopefully we don’t need to start over.

Slow and steady wins the race. Mama cat took almost a year to fully acclimate to our household when I first brought her home. But she was also somewhat feral and we have a very “busy” home that can be a lot to take in for some pets.

Whatever you do, do it slowly and listen to your pets body language to decide if you should move on to the next step. Good luck!
 
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kobata1928

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My big update today is that oriana has been used to using a litter box that is shamefully too small for her. i have had a proper sized box next to hers for this past week and today is the first time she has used it.
 
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kobata1928

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Today I introduced oriana to about 1 ounce of shreds in gravy wet food, even though I feed my cats exclusively pate. She licked up the gravy and ate some of the shreds. After 16 years of dry, I'm happy she even tried it, and it didn't make her sick:yess:.
 

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Good start! It sounds like you are on your way, it will take a lot of time and patience but will work out in the end. You will be blessed for helping this beautiful girl, all the luck in the world!
 
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kobata1928

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Today I have tried to introduce my most gentle cat Mister to Oriana and he hates her:angryfire:. and he will allow me to do anything to him, including being docile while i put antibiotics in his eye . I dont know what im going to do because i thought at least he would be semi friendly.
 

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I recently brought home a third cat (Bella Roma) and my established two (Atticus and Thirteen) were less than thrilled. Atticus, my male, came around fairly quickly but it took Thirteen some time -- a few months at least. But now we're all one big happy family. You're wonderful for taking in Oriana and you're doing everything right with your introductions. Just be patient. In two months they'll be snuggled up together in a huge fur pile!
 

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Cats just plain do not like ANY other cat invading their territory. That is why cat colonies are a success in size, the resident cats drive off any others trying to invade. It takes a long time for them to feel comfortable. But it WILL happen, especially since the newcomer is an older female. Females usually keep this 'bubble' around them. They are the matriarchs, the divas of the family. They rule with an iron paw, so as long as everyone keeps their distance, and they will learn quick, everything will turn out. They will have to start seeing her more. Maybe you could bring them into same room one at a time in a kennel, or put up a screen door in the doorway. The holes can be filled in later.
Just DON'T let your other cats bully her, and they will try. They are a lot younger and she needs the respect that age brings. Like a gang of teenagers, they get bolder in a crowd. Plus she can't defend herself. I pray everything goes well, all the luck!
 
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kobata1928

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Todays update:
With the door open and carefully monitored Mister came into the room taking a step about once every 10 seconds and he was so very low to the ground, he was obviously scared. He eventually explored the 3 corners of the room orinana wasn't in. He eventually went towards her food and she charged him and he made a hasty retreat. No real danger, but he is the nicest of my kitties. I have to get orinana to use another litter box asap, hers has terrible jagged corners in the front that are just miserable to clean and its way too small for her. I'm trying to decide if I should just remove her box completely, and force her to use a better box, or let her acclimate more. I have a nice low sided box 4x the size sitting next to hers and i'm getting tired of dealing with her terrible box
 

rubysmama

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Is she using both litter boxes? Or just her old jaggedy corners one? I wouldn't get rid of it until she is used the new one consistently.

Poor Mister. Maybe next time he ventures in to visit, you can give both him and Oriana some yummy treats, so she will think positive things when she sees him.
 
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kobata1928

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Is she using both litter boxes? Or just her old jaggedy corners one? I wouldn't get rid of it until she is used the new one consistently.

Poor Mister. Maybe next time he ventures in to visit, you can give both him and Oriana some yummy treats, so she will think positive things when she sees him.
I hated her litter box so much I just removed it from her and risked trouble. It doesn't have a flat bottom and has indentations in the front corners where clumps get stuck. After about 6 hours she used the new better litter box no problems
 

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I have 3 cats that the oldest is 3 years old. My sister is moving cross country and doesn't want to put that stress on her elderly 16 year old cat so i'm taking her in. She hasn't even seen another cat in at least 12 years. She is front declawed and all my cats still have all their claws. I feed all my cats a strict wet caloric diet, 3 meals a day. Oriana has been free fed dry food her whole life. This is her, she needs to lose a few pounds.
View attachment 255446
I want the rest of her life to be as gentle and easy as possible. I have been keeping her in a spare bedroom and after 1 week i've been letting my cats see her through a crack in the door and no one is happy. Even my own cats who get along well are hissing at each other. I will make sure she gets better food and loses weight eventually, but right now i dont want to stress her out. Right now i am locking my cats on the first floor of my house half the day so she can explore the 2nd floor as she wishes. Any tips anyone has would be appreciated.
Firstly, kobata1928 kobata1928 and family, Welcome to TCS! and you are doing a GREAT job of introducing Oriana into your family. Experts suggest at least 2 weeks before intros; I play it by ear, the same way you are. Everyone is likely to be a bit shook up because there is a change in the family and Oriana's scent is unfamiliar to your other cats (and vice versa). You're doing great! THANK YOU for taking Oriana in and for intending to put her on some better quality (wet, I hope) food. That will be a gradual change, I'm sure, again as the experts suggest, starting with small quantities of wet and working gradually up to all wet in about 2 weeks. You may still want to offer her a small quantity of high quality dry food as a treat or snack.
I adopted Sammi at age 14. He was also front-declawed and had been an "only cat" his entire life. I started him out just as you are starting with Oriana. He already ate wet food, but I introduced him to a higher quality variety of wet foods because that is how I feed my family. It took him about a year to truly adapt to life in a mult-cat household, and he was often the aggressor on Calo, our alpha male at the time. There were a couple of times I actually had to use a broom handle to break them up. But there was never any question of relinquishing him. When I adopt, it's for life, through thick and thin. Love and patience are key. You may want to look at cat behaviorist extraordinaire, Jackson Galaxy, "The Cat Daddy"'s Animal Planet series, "MY CAT FROM HELL" along with his YouTube videos, follow him on social media, and/or read his books. He is a wealth of wisdom and information on how to raise and enjoy life with happy cats. Good luck to you, Oriana and family!
 
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kobata1928

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Firstly, kobata1928 kobata1928 and family, Welcome to TCS! and you are doing a GREAT job of introducing Oriana into your family. Experts suggest at least 2 weeks before intros; I play it by ear, the same way you are. Everyone is likely to be a bit shook up because there is a change in the family and Oriana's scent is unfamiliar to your other cats (and vice versa). You're doing great! THANK YOU for taking Oriana in and for intending to put her on some better quality (wet, I hope) food. That will be a gradual change, I'm sure, again as the experts suggest, starting with small quantities of wet and working gradually up to all wet in about 2 weeks. You may still want to offer her a small quantity of high quality dry food as a treat or snack.
I adopted Sammi at age 14. He was also front-declawed and had been an "only cat" his entire life. I started him out just as you are starting with Oriana. He already ate wet food, but I introduced him to a higher quality variety of wet foods because that is how I feed my family. It took him about a year to truly adapt to life in a mult-cat household, and he was often the aggressor on Calo, our alpha male at the time. There were a couple of times I actually had to use a broom handle to break them up. But there was never any question of relinquishing him. When I adopt, it's for life, through thick and thin. Love and patience are key. You may want to look at cat behaviorist extraordinaire, Jackson Galaxy, "The Cat Daddy"'s Animal Planet series, "MY CAT FROM HELL" along with his YouTube videos, follow him on social media, and/or read his books. He is a wealth of wisdom and information on how to raise and enjoy life with happy cats. Good luck to you, Oriana and family!
thank you for the encouragement. oriana currently weighs 13.6 pounds. I feel she should weigh around 10.5 pounds. I have talked to my vet and he knows how much she hates traveling and suggested waiting a couple months of her settling in before coming in for a checkup. I will most definitely be transitioning her to wet food as long as her stomach agrees.
 

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thank you for the encouragement. oriana currently weighs 13.6 pounds. I feel she should weigh around 10.5 pounds. I have talked to my vet and he knows how much she hates traveling and suggested waiting a couple months of her settling in before coming in for a checkup. I will most definitely be transitioning her to wet food as long as her stomach agrees.
Excellent! And Oriana's vet sounds like a good one. Keep us informed, won't you, and let me know how/if I can help in future!
 

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I hated her litter box so much I just removed it from her and risked trouble. It doesn't have a flat bottom and has indentations in the front corners where clumps get stuck. After about 6 hours she used the new better litter box no problems
Great news! :clap2:
 
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kobata1928

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Well I weighed Oriana today and she was at 13.1 pounds. That's losing weight too fast for my liking, especially since I'm still free feeding her mostly her old dry food as much as she wants. I'm sure its the stress of the move and unfamiliar environment.
 

rubysmama

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She's lucky to have you, who cares so much about her well-being. Hopefully the weight loss will slow down as she gets less stressed and more comfortable in her her home.
 
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kobata1928

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Today I gave Oriana some fancy feast pate, her first pate in her life, and she gobbled it up like she was starving. It has been a pleasant surprise she will take so easily to wet food after 16 years of dry. Hopefully she continues loving the wet and I can get her on more high quality food. No real updates on our introduction with my other cats, they still aren't happy, and my other cats are hissing at each other.
 
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