Is hissing okay in an introduction?

bpenniman

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Its been a week and ive been letting pumpernickel, a 9 wk old kitten leave the back bedroom today. She has been approached by buck, a 9 yr old cat. He sniffs her then hisses at her and goes in the living room for a couple hours. Complete supervision. No batting. She doesnt try to play with them. Boots is 13 and could care less. Just looks at her and gets back to what he was doing. Buck is kind of upset but when i pet him when she comes close to him he seems to unwind. But he was like this with boots and now: pic below. Is hissing okay? No batting yet. Buck is declawed. By previous owner. I adopted him. Im just concerned this could lead to violence but it never happened when buck came to live with boots.
20191116_164349.jpg
 
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bpenniman

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And ive read the introduction articles. But im confused on exactly how it should work.
 

ArtNJ

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Well, it kind of sounds like you just put them together supervised, ie you didn't actually follow the guide, but that its working out ok. A little hissing is nothing much. With the full process in the guide, they are isolated in separate rooms, and you "scent swap". Maybe you rub a sock on one and put it in the others room, and maybe you swap rooms. So they can get used to each others smell. Often they smell each other through the door without any of that, and can act stressed just from that. So you sort of adjust based on how its going. At some point when they are ready, you maybe crack the door open with door jambs, or stack baby gates in the doorway. Then and only then supervised visits. But sometimes you do a 2 or 3 week process and they are still hissing. So its normal that they have to work some stuff out at the end.

HOWEVER just putting them together without a process and seeing what happens isn't a great sin when one party is a kitten because if a kitten is involved you know there will be no actual fighting. Its usually better to keep a kitten in a safe room for at least a few days, get the kitten feeling safe there and comfortable, and see how the big cat is reacting. But if the big cat(s) don't seem to be reacting much, you can put them together and see what happens. If the reaction is on the mild side, you can let them work it out.

Your difficulty is that you haven't done this before, so you are skipping some steps without being able to properly evaluate that your big cats are reacting mildly. It sure sounds like they are doing ok though! One doesn't care, and one is doing some hissing with mild avoidance but no signs of high stress. That is not a big deal in the scheme of things at all.

At this point, its a judgment call as to whether to back up and do it the slow way. Honestly, the main reason I usually suggest a full process to folks in your shoes is that sometimes the big cats never warm up, and you don't want the big cat to be doing some growling and avoidance in 6 months and wonder if you could have done anything differently. I don't know that a fulsome process makes any actual difference, but at least you won't beat yourself up wondering if you could have done something different. I only did about 2 days in a safe room and went straight to supervised time together with my most recent kitten + 4 year old introduction, but I recognized the 4 year old's behavior as quite mild (some hissing but without any signs of especially high stress).

You do need to be careful because the kitten is 9 weeks. The big cats won't hurt the kitten on purpose, but sometimes -- mostly with much younger adult cats like one year olds -- very rough play can be worrysome when the kitten is so young. But your nowhere near there it sounds like.
 
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MoonstoneWolf

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Two of my passed cats were very close but if he even ventured to eat from her bowl instead of his she would hiss and swat at him putting him in his place. Then an hour later they would have been off playing together. I hiss at them when they do something they shouldn't be doing. I read somewhere on here I think that Mom cat hisses at them to let them know "that's enough"
 

Caspers Human

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I do agree that cats should be kept separate when they are first brought into a new home and they should be introduced gradually but I also believe that there is often too much concern over making introductions in a certain way.

All cats are different and some cats will get along in a short time while other cats might take weeks or months to acclimate.

I have seen cats brought into a new home just by opening the cat carrier and leaving them to their own devices that get along like brothers and sisters but I've also seen cats that just never seem to get along with other cats, even after years.

Hissing and posturing is just normal cat behavior. If that's all your cats do while they get used to each other I'd say your introduction is going well. I'd even say that swatting, chasing or even an occasional small scuffle is within the range of a "good" introduction.

If all is going well the way you have been doing things then I don't think you have much to worry about.

Just keep an eye out for trouble. If there are small tiffs and scuffles, consider it "cat politics."

If the fur actually flies, separate the cats and keep them apart until they calm down then gradually reintroduce them again.

Other than that, it sounds like things are gong well. :)
 

alphakitty

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Spray some Feliway around the room or use the Feliway plug-ins, helps to relieve the tension kitties feel when there is new competition in their community.

And for God's sake, play with the new kitty, the more you do, the better they feel.

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bpenniman

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Well, it kind of sounds like you just put them together supervised, ie you didn't actually follow the guide, but that its working out ok. A little hissing is nothing much. With the full process in the guide, they are isolated in separate rooms, and you "scent swap". Maybe you rub a sock on one and put it in the others room, and maybe you swap rooms. So they can get used to each others smell. Often they smell each other through the door without any of that, and can act stressed just from that. So you sort of adjust based on how its going. At some point when they are ready, you maybe crack the door open with door jambs, or stack baby gates in the doorway. Then and only then supervised visits. But sometimes you do a 2 or 3 week process and they are still hissing. So its normal that they have to work some stuff out at the end.

HOWEVER just putting them together without a process and seeing what happens isn't a great sin when one party is a kitten because if a kitten is involved you know there will be no actual fighting. Its usually better to keep a kitten in a safe room for at least a few days, get the kitten feeling safe there and comfortable, and see how the big cat is reacting. But if the big cat(s) don't seem to be reacting much, you can put them together and see what happens. If the reaction is on the mild side, you can let them work it out.

Your difficulty is that you haven't done this before, so you are skipping some steps without being able to properly evaluate that your big cats are reacting mildly. It sure sounds like they are doing ok though! One doesn't care, and one is doing some hissing with mild avoidance but no signs of high stress. That is not a big deal in the scheme of things at all.

At this point, its a judgment call as to whether to back up and do it the slow way. Honestly, the main reason I usually suggest a full process to folks in your shoes is that sometimes the big cats never warm up, and you don't want the big cat to be doing some growling and avoidance in 6 months and wonder if you could have done anything differently. I don't know that a fulsome process makes any actual difference, but at least you won't beat yourself up wondering if you could have done something different. I only did about 2 days in a safe room and went straight to supervised time together with my most recent kitten + 4 year old introduction, but I recognized the 4 year old's behavior as quite mild (some hissing but without any signs of especially high stress).

You do need to be careful because the kitten is 9 weeks. The big cats won't hurt the kitten on purpose, but sometimes -- mostly with much younger adult cats like one year olds -- very rough play can be worrysome when the kitten is so young. But your nowhere near there it sounds like.
Shes in the safe room most of the day. Yesterday was 2 hours outside the safe room, supervised. Buck growled and hissed and blocked the entry to the living room but after 15 minutes let her in. Then blocked his cat tree area. Shes been in the safe room now a week so thats why i let her out. I was doing scent swapping. It seems to work fine. My boston terrier mix dog seems to think she needs to police the cats when im doing a supervised intro. So shes walking in between the cats and licking buck when he hisses.
 

ArtNJ

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That definitely doesnt sound too bad. Since its Sunday if you are home, no reason not to let them spend more time.
 
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