Introducing cats for a temporary visit. Is it worth the trouble?

lisalu

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We have an only cat about a year old, and as a rescue cat I'm not sure if she's ever lived with other cats. My son will be moving soon, and wants us to keep his cat for a week during the moving process. His cat is a 2-year-old female and both our kitties are spayed, vaccinated, indoor pets (we're not concerned about health issues.)

I've read all the advice about introducing cats, and it seems like a pretty complicated process for a short term situation. A little over a year ago, my son stayed with us for a few months so his cat has been in our home although I don't know if she'd remember it, or if her scent would still remain. I suggested to my son that we confine his kitty to the bedroom he used when he was here (the room she would know best.) He seemed to think his cat would be unhappy shut up in the room and wants our cats to "play."

I'm a little stressed by the idea. Three months ago I had no cat at all, and I'm just getting used to one. Is is likely that two young adult female cats could co-exist peacefully without a lengthy introduction process? I already told my son we should swap some of the cat's bedding items so they can sniff them ahead of time, but I don't know if that will facilitate the introductions or not.

Any thoughts? What will be the worst-case scenario? Would they potentially have fights and hurt each other? If this is going to be a stressful situation, I'll just have to tell my son to board his cat rather than bring her here.
 

susanm9006

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I wouldn’t stress the cats or yourself out for a one week visit. It usually isn’t long enough anyway for two adult cats to get to know one another. So I agree, keep your son’s cat in his room for the entire visit.
 

di and bob

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I would too. If they wounded each other in a big fight you would feel terrible, and I have a feeling that is what would happen. Your son doesn't understand that cats just don't accept others in their territory, they are NOT like dogs who are pack animals. The chances of them fighting are very high. You could swap their beds/blankets ahead of time and see how they react to each other behind closed doors. Have a stiff big piece of cardboard handy to stick between them if they accidentally get together. you never know, but you are really taking a chance. You could also keep one then the other in a big dog crate (with a small box to hide in) and see how they react then too. Then the one wouldn't always be locked in the room.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I agree with susanm9006 susanm9006 one week isn't usually long enough for introductions of cat's. I think your son's and your cat would be less stressed by keeping them separate. Cat's aren't like dog's they usually see a new cat as a threat at first not a playmate. I would put your son's cat in his bedroom it's only for a week and reasure your son you will spend time with the cat, at least that way he knows she's left with someone he trusts.
 

Caspers Human

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Depends on the cat.

Some cats I have seen are like, "Hey, wassup?" when they meet a new cat. Others go crazy and never seem to like being around other cats. Most cats are somewhere in the middle.

I'd consider putting the new cat in the bedroom for the first day then switching places on the second day. On the third day, let them meet through a partially open door or a baby gate to see how they react. A little bit of hissing or growling is okay but anything more than a minor scuffle means that they aren't getting to know each other and it will take more time.

If they seem to tolerate each other on the first meeting, I think it would be okay to let them be together if you supervise them.

If they don't seem to get along or if you can't supervise them then I think it better to keep the new cat in the bedroom.
 
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lisalu

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Depends on the cat.

Some cats I have seen are like, "Hey, wassup?" when they meet a new cat. Others go crazy and never seem to like being around other cats. Most cats are somewhere in the middle.

I'd consider putting the new cat in the bedroom for the first day then switching places on the second day. On the third day, let them meet through a partially open door or a baby gate to see how they react. A little bit of hissing or growling is okay but anything more than a minor scuffle means that they aren't getting to know each other and it will take more time.

If they seem to tolerate each other on the first meeting, I think it would be okay to let them be together if you supervise them.

If they don't seem to get along or if you can't supervise them then I think it better to keep the new cat in the bedroom.
During my previous life as a dog parent, we had so many dust-ups between our two terriers that we finally had to rehome one of them. At least once my husband ended up at Urgent Care after trying to break up a fight, which would have otherwise resulted in even more serious injury to the dog who was losing (one bullied the other.)

The two of them would be fine 90% of the time and then a fight would break out over the slight provocation and end in bloodshed. I CAN'T go through anything like that again with two cats - even the risk of that happening is enough to stress me out.
 

Caspers Human

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Yeah, I've seen a dog fight or three! My father would break up dog fights with the garden hose followed by a swift kick in the a$$ for both dogs. That was back in the old days. Most people probably wouldn't do that, nowadays.

Little dogs can really get to scrapping, though! Can't they? :eek3:
My father's dogs were all hunting dogs. You can't discipline little dogs the same way as bigger dogs.

There's no reason why you shouldn't keep the two cats separated if you don't feel like letting them be together.

You can try to introduce them or you can keep them apart. It's your call. :)
 
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lisalu

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Yeah, I've seen a dog fight or three! My father would break up dog fights with the garden hose followed by a swift kick in the a$$ for both dogs. That was back in the old days. Most people probably wouldn't do that, nowadays.

Little dogs can really get to scrapping, though! Can't they? :eek3:
My father's dogs were all hunting dogs. You can't discipline little dogs the same way as bigger dogs.

There's no reason why you shouldn't keep the two cats separated if you don't feel like letting them be together.

You can try to introduce them or you can keep them apart. It's your call. :)
Well I have so little experience with cats in general that I'm not comfortable with it. I kind of have a handle on basic dog behavior - the "alpha dog" concept and the pack mentality. But I'm just not familiar with cats in the same way, and don't know how to interpret their behaviors. Just wish my son would let me off the hook on this!
 

Caspers Human

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"Alpha dog" is pretty much just a bunch of BS. That theory was developed in the 1930s and 40s by watching wolves in captivity. Not only was the research fatally flawed but dogs and wolves don't behave the same way. Even if the "Alpha Theory" was true for wolves (which it isn't) it still wouldn't apply to domesticated dogs.

I agree that there are some times when the human has to be the "big dog" but that only works in extreme situations like breaking up a fight but, most of the time, domination isn't the right way to train a dog. Appealing to the dog's desire for positive attention is the way to go.

Funny thing is...appealing to the need for attention also works on cats.
Give them lots of petting, praise and an occasional kitty treat when they do things you want them to do and they will learn a lot faster. The only time you should "discipline" a cat is when it is doing something dangerous or hurting a person or another cat.

Casper rarely misbehaves but on the uncommon occasion when he does, all it takes is a little verbal scolding.
We use the same voice that you might use when you catch a kid with his hand in the cookie jar... "Cas-PER! Uh, uh, uh!" 90% of the time, that "hand in the cookie jar" voice makes him stop whatever he's doing. If that doesn't work it's, "Casper! NO!"

For some strange reason, Casper prefers to be called "Puddy Tat." Most of the time, the only reason he gets called by his given name is when he's in trouble for something. If hears us call him "Casper" he knows he's in trouble for something! ;) ;) ;)

Taking care of cats isn't THAT much different from dogs. You just have to remember that dogs are more like pack animals where cats are more solitary hunters. Their motivations might be different but you appeal to those motivations in similar ways. Give them lots of praise and attention when they are good but never more than a verbal scolding when they are bad.

For a dog, it's, "Fido! Sit! Good dog!"

For a cat, it's, "Good kitty!" The biggest difference is in the voice you use.

Still... If you're dealing with a cat that's only going to be visiting for a week, it's totally your call on whether you want to introduce them. Either way is fine.

If you don't feel up to the task of introducing them, just keep them apart. What the heck? It's only a week. Right?
 

ArtNJ

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I agree its best to keep them separated. As Caspers Human Caspers Human said maybe they could get along pretty quick, but its only a week, so I don't see how its worth the hassle and risk.

The only tricky thing with separeation is to prevent escapes. Cats, especially young ones, can be real escape artists. So be very careful opening and closing the door your using for isolation.

Also, keep a towel/blanket at hand so that if there is an escape and fight, you can just pick one up. Believe me, you do not want to pick up either cat without something to help if a cat fight is going on. I mean, if you have to you have to, I've done it as have many, but it poses a significant risk of getting badly scratched up, in which case you might drop the cat having only made things worse! Some people have said you can stick a big piece of cardboard or a pillow in between them as well, but personally I'd have the towel handy.
 

Caspers Human

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Also, keep a towel/blanket at hand so that if there is an escape and fight, you can just pick one up.
Or, like in the old days, when I was a kid... an old fashioned straw broom.

You don't hit them with it. Just wedge it between the two cats then use a blanket when they are separated.
 
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