Introducing a new cat to FIV cat - playing or fighting?

Cozzy

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Hi,

Firstly, sorry for the long post! Its my first time introducing a two cats and feeling like I need a little bit of direction!
I've read pretty much every other thread and advice on the intro process but I feel a little unsure about what to do next with my specific situation and wonder if anyone can offer any advice/insight.

So I have Zeke who is my resident cat. Hes a rescued street cat who is half blind, half deaf and FIV+. Ive recently adopted Aurora who is also a rescued street cat, and she has no tail as it was injures and amputated and she is FIV-. (Side note I did all the research on fiv+ and non fiv cats mixing and the only way to pass it on is if they seriously fight and Zeke bites Aurora hard).
Zeke is not aggressive, hes inquisitive but a little jumpy. Aurora is confident but doesnt seem overly agressive either.

So Aurora has her safe room and I started with the scent swapping. Neither of them where bothered and would happily rub against cloths with each others scents on. I moved on to letting them see each other through a cat and again fine, some hisses from Aurora but they will eat together either side of gate, come and go watching each other, lay down etc - no agressive or fearful behaviour.

So I decided to start letting them out together for short periods. First all was fine. They were intrigued by each other, but both happy to focus on other things as well. They are both quite playful and were playing with toys around each other. Then Zeke kept pouncing towards Aurora which would cause Aurora to hiss and swat a little. They then kept doing this, pouncing and chasing each other, they didnt seem aggressive but it did cause a lot of hissing and some wacking of each other.

So what I am wondering is should I just let them get on with this and is that ok or should I intervene? When they have done it I have intervened and when it keeps happening I put Aurora back in her room. I guess I am more anxious because of Zekes FIV if it does esclate into a fight theres more risk. Im also wondering if they might not be able to read each others body language as easily because of their special needs.

I am mindful that it has only been a few weeks and these introductions can take months but im wondering if should I still carry on letting them out together supervsied and let them do the pouncing and hissing or just go back to just the gate interactions? After they have pounced and chased each other when out, they are fine when they see each other at the gate again - they will go up and sniff close up and sit there again, Aurora will give the occasional hiss.

Any thoughts?
 

di and bob

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Hissing and swatting are perfectly natural and normal in cat introductions. Females are also known to be hissy and want to put the boys in their place. If it was me, I would let them have short periods together, like an hour at a time, and then separate. I would not trust them alone for a few months yet, but longer and longer times could be spent together if no real harm comes.
 
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Cozzy

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Thank you for the reply. So they are now together most the time the time when I am home. When Im out or asleep they are seperate. Its going ok I think. They will quite happliy be in the same room, sniff each other, sit on the sofa near each other. But Aurora does keep trying to chase Zeke at times, often for no reason. Zeke sometimes will stand his ground and not move but often he runs off. He does always come back in the room even if shes still there and isnt going off to hide at all. I guess my worry now is about him being too stressed out. I know he's not showing massive signs but he is more on edge around her. Aurora is a lovely (but very needy!) cat but I am struggling to bond with her because I cant bear the thought of her upsetting my Zeke who is so dopey and gentle. Zeke isnt really a lap cat but is always close by and Aurora wants to be as close to me as possible (she literally tries to sit on my face) and I get worried that Zeke will think Ive rejected him! Am I overthinking this all? 😔
 

Tobermory

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I don’t know if this will help, but for what it’s worth, your situation sounds so much like mine! Three-and a-half years ago, I adopted a three-year-old semiferal cat, Mocha. I already had two cats, sisters, who were then 13. I had to spend a lot of times socializing her. Iris and Lily didn’t like Mocha, who’s very sweet and loves other cats. Over time, Mocha has also turned into an extremely affectionate lap cat. Iris has finally befriended Mocha, but Lily still is unhappy about Mocha. Lily was exhibiting quite a bit of anxiety and had a few litter box accidents. She also was still growling and hissing and lunging at Mocha.

I realized a few months ago that in my effort to make Mocha feel comfortable in her new home, I wasn’t paying as much attention to Lily. I go out of my way now to spend time with Lily, talking to her, giving her scritches (which she loves), and brushing her (which she also loves). She has gotten much better around Mocha now that she’s getting so much more of my attention. She will still swat Mocha occasionally and give her a “I’m in charge here” hiss, but she really has improved with the extra attention.

So…you might concentrate on giving Zeke some extra special attention. It does sound like they’ve adjusted pretty well, but he may need a bit more from you so he still feels like he’s your special guy! :)
 
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Cozzy

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Thanks, thats a good point. Aurora is so dominant she demands attention all the time whereas Zeke is more subtle. I really feel for Zeke because Aurora has taken his cat tree and now he wont go on it and he will sit on the floor instead of the sofa. I have been getting down on the floor to sit with Zeke so he feels better and giving him lots of attention. They are better with the chasing but Zeke is still on edge and Aurora just gets more and more confident! I hope Zeke becomes more relaxed because its just not fair for him. I dont know whether I made the right decision getting another cat 😔
 

Tobermory

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I do understand how you feel. I really debated with myself about adopting Mocha given Iris and Lily’s ages, but I just had to do it. Mocha was semiferal and no one could touch her so the odds of her getting adopted were slim. Mocha does get a little carried away with Iris sometimes, trying to roughhouse with her. If it gets to be too much for Iris (she’s a bit fragile at 17 and very arthritic), I step in and stop it. Mocha has gotten to be very good about stopping when I intervene. I give her lots of praise and lead her away from Iris. And then I go back and give Iris some attention, too.

Like Aurora, Mocha has taken over some of Lily’s former favorite spots. But there are plenty of other places Lily can curl up, and she’s made those her new favorites. Lily is never going to fully accept Mocha, but she’ll be okay. And Mocha needed a quiet, loving home.

You could try some Feliway. It’s an artificial feline calming pheromone that’s dispensed by a diffuser plugged into an electrical outlet. I used it for the first year or so after I adopted Mocha. It doesn’t work for all cats, but I had good luck with it.

I think with extra attention for Zeke and consistent training for Aurora, Zeke will be okay. It’s wonderful of you to give a loving home to two special needs cats! :redheartpump:
 
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Cozzy

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Thats lovely you got Mocha and worked so hard with her. I find it so rewarding giving a home to the ones that might otherwise get left in a shelter or worse 😔.

So things are getting better! There is less chasing from Aurora and when she does Zeke doesnt run so much now. He's still the much more nervous one but I think hes getting better with just realising Aurora is a bit crazy! Ive been giving Zeke lots of attention and also both of them together lots of love when they are close to each other. Even though Aurora can be a meanie Zeke still will always be in whatever room she is and want to be near her.
They are together all day now but still seperated at night, mostly to let Zeke (and me) actually get some rest.
Zeke is also getting more confident in telling Aurora off, if she comes for his food now he does give her a hiss or a wack and she does just then sit back and stop.
Fingers crossed things continue.
 

Tobermory

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That sounds really promising! Zeke is standing up for himself, and Aurora is learning boundaries. It’s just been in the past four months that Iris actually seeks Mocha out to curl up with her—after more than three years! Yours won’t take nearly that long. :)

Your mentioning that you separate them at night reminded me that when I brought Iris and Lily home as kittens, I had seven-year-old Max. He was good with them, but they climbed all over him, batted his tail, chased him, then snuggled with him and loved him. It was a bit much for him. So I would put them in their own room at night to give him a breather and let him have exclusive cuddle time with me. And I did that for the next 13 years until Max died at 20. Iris and Lily were so used to “Bedtime!” that they’d automatically run to their room. So if you want to continue to give Zeke a break at night, Aurora will probably just assume that’s the way things are.
 
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Cozzy

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Sorry its been ages to reply!

Things have been up and down. There are times Zeke is more confident but Aurora is just so playful she wants to chase him a lot! I do wonder though if she is trying to bully him? When he doesnt run she doesnt pursue him but will wait till another time to pounce on him. If Zeke does stand up for himself they have a little tussle and Aurora seems to enjoy which does make me think maybe she just wants to play. She is a very crazy, into everything kinda cat!

They will quite happily play together with a feather wand, will sit on the sofa with me together will sniff each other, be fed together, be close to each other with no problems and sleep around each other (when Aurora is being calm). They even rubbed faces today but I think that was because I was giving Zeke chin rubs and Aurora wanted attention too and tried to run against my hand which just happened to move.

I guess im just worried if Zeke is being bullied, or if he might also just feel stressed from all the chasing. He does watch out for Aurora but still always wants to be in the same room as her.

Thats good to hear that seperation at night can be a successful long term arrangement! Aurora is still in her room at night and might have to he for a long time yet. Im hoping as she gets older she might grow out of the crazy, charging around, chase and climb everything! She has been fine in her room until the last few days when I think she has realised she gets let out in the morning so from around 5am will be jumping up at the door 😴
 
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