Introducing Older Cat to Bonded Pair

CMacInnis

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Hi there,

Due to some extenuating circumstances my sibling is unable to care for his cat currently. Normally I take her in during these situations. Since her last stay with me, I have adopted a pair of bonded sisters. They are 11 months old, former street cats. My sibling's cat is 8 and has never interacted with another cat, but has with dogs and while not aggressive did pick on them. She is grumpy. I am nervous. My cats are untested with other cats.

One of my cats is a stressed/upset pee fiend. So is my sibling's cat.

I can shut the new cat in my guest room for a time, but am very nervous about leaving for work tomorrow and leaving the three alone, even if separate. I know they'll be able to smell each other and imagine that will stress them out. What can I do to make them more comfortable? Any tips for the first 24 hours? I've never had to introduce cats before and the internet has sent me down such a rabbit hole. Is it possible for a bonded pair to accept a third cat safely? Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Try Cat Music, calming treats, possibly the vanilla trick and the info in this may help;

How To Successfully Introduce Cats [The Ultimate Guide] - TheCatSite

Either with real vanilla (rather than synthetic) or raw coconut (which still has fragrance) ;
From member valanhb;
You put a dab of vanilla extract under the chins, at the base of their neck (by the spine) and at the base of the tail (again, on the spine not the underside of the tail!) of all of the cats to make them smell the same. Cats recognize each other by scent, so if that kitty smells the same as "me", then he must be a friend. Kitty logic at it's finest.
This trick works when introducing cats into the household as well, or during a reintroduction after a redirected aggression event.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi and welcome to TCS! First and foremost, your sibling's cat should be allowed to get used to your place in a single room, as you are doing, before any introductions are started. This could take a while, even if she has been with you before. Ideally, you were able to bring with her all of the things that are familiar to her - her regular food, food/water dishes, litter and litter box, bedding, blankets, toys. That will help her to feel a little more comfortable in her new home. Hopefully, she is used to being alone for periods of time throughout the day, so you going back to work will not add an extra layer of stress for her.

Then once you think she feeling more at home you can consider starting an introductions process. I would not automatically move to the vanilla trick thinking that will enable you to bypass introduction steps. I kind of look at it as a last resort move. Here are some TCS articles that might help you map out a plan going forward.
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home - TheCatSite
How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat [A Guide] - TheCatSite
How To Successfully Introduce Cats [The Ultimate Guide] - TheCatSite

Good luck and keep us posted on how things are going!
 
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CMacInnis

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Thank you both for your help, these resources are really helpful. I feel so bad stressing all three of them out as my brother's cat likely will not be a permanent addition. Sometimes it is a few days, other times a few weeks. She will have all of her familiar stuff for sure, and she is used to be alone so that is nothing new for her. He does love her, even if his life isn't exactly stable I'm glad he does recognize those times and give her to me. As a more senior cat with known behavioural issues we know her adoption odds aren't great and I want this to be able to work out. No matter how patient I must be and how slow.
 

ArtNJ

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Sorry to be a downer, but just to be real, if there are troubles, the a few days here, maybe a few weeks there, aspect of it will make it hard to make & keep progress. Its totally worth trying, you never can predict these things, but if it were me, I'd fall back on permanent separation if it looks like its going to be problematic.
 
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CMacInnis

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Thank you. I always hope she will end up with me for a longer time (I've offered to keep her permanently) but I never know. So hard to plan when you don't know. I'll definitely keep it in mind. So far all three cats seem okay and not stressed separated. I will only introduce if she ends up here for more than a few weeks. The teens have the run of the house, I normally don't let them in the guest room anyways so nothing new. Older cat is enjoying the window sill and the guest room has been her favorite spot in past anyways. I appreciate your honesty.
 

chigusa

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You say you are afraid they will pick up on each other's scent because it will make them nervous. I understand. I am going through an introduction right now and I understand, I am afraid to make them unhappy.
However they do need to perceive each other's smell, even from behind a closed door. That's the only way they will recognize each other and come to consider each other family.

Also I do know it is easier said than done, but do not be nervous. They pick up on it and get nervous in turn.
 

Alldara

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Thank you. I always hope she will end up with me for a longer time (I've offered to keep her permanently) but I never know. So hard to plan when you don't know. I'll definitely keep it in mind. So far all three cats seem okay and not stressed separated. I will only introduce if she ends up here for more than a few weeks. The teens have the run of the house, I normally don't let them in the guest room anyways so nothing new. Older cat is enjoying the window sill and the guest room has been her favorite spot in past anyways. I appreciate your honesty.
When I was brining my cat home, we ways did similar and it was fine. Since it was never more than a few weeks, no cats were really stressed, even though Nobel had FLUTD. He never minded the travel and always packed himself up when he saw me packing.

We stopped travelling when he was around 10. Then they start to get older and need more vet care. Perhaps that could be a reason to discuss with your brother?
Either way, I understand it can be difficult when our family member's lives aren't too stable. Thanks for caring for her 💕 she's lucky to have you both.
 
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