Long and difficult introductions...

valanhb

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My question mainly has to do with Ophelia, 7 years old, healthy, spayed, former feral kitten. Although she came into our lives at around 6 weeks old (a rescue), she has maintained her feralness with the exception of getting loves from Daddy and sometimes from me. She has grown up with Trent, also 7, so she is used to being around another cat. They get along very well. Ophelia has been Alpha since they were kittens.

Last September, once we owned our own home, we added Ginger to the family. We followed introduction protocol - separate room, screen door, lots of attention to Trent and Ophelia. Ophelia decided that she just plain doesn't like Ginger, which is OK. I don't expect them to be friends. Thankfully, there really hasn't been any bad physical confrontations, just a lot of hissing and growling and posturing.

In December, we brought home Mojo (in part because Ginger was too rambumctious for Trent, even though they get along, and just because DH fell for her...). Ophelia doesn't have a problem with Mojo, though it appears that Mojo does stick up for her friend/sister Ginger. (I'm probably reading too much into that...)

Since Ginger has had full run of the house, Ophelia has been a long time coming back to her Alpha-self. She is at least back to the point where she will go to both levels of the house. The problem is that she will be Alpha again for a week or so, undisputed by all, and then she will revert to being submissive and scared for a few days. This is obviously confusing Ginger and Mojo, who just don't know how to relate to her.

Is this typical feral cat behaviour when there are major changes in their world? Is there anything we can do to help them sort this out?
 

catpsych

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Actually it is totally normal for Ophelia to bounce back and forth between being an alpha and a periah (submissive) kitty, since she is slowly regaining her status. The heirarchy that cats form within their colonies is everchanging, fluid, and dynamic, it is normal for cats to switch roles.....us humans can view it as a sort of a timeshare network between kitties.
When one cat is in one area of the home they maybe more of an alpha and the other more of the middle class, and this can easily switch when they are occupying another area of the home. So, no worries, things sound quite normal around your home......if there is any real fighting then it's time to contact the behaviorist, most of the time the cats will settle it on their own.....and sometimes that takes years before everyone settles in good and is accepting of the arrangement. Take care!
Kerry


Originally Posted by valanhb

My question mainly has to do with Ophelia, 7 years old, healthy, spayed, former feral kitten. Although she came into our lives at around 6 weeks old (a rescue), she has maintained her feralness with the exception of getting loves from Daddy and sometimes from me. She has grown up with Trent, also 7, so she is used to being around another cat. They get along very well. Ophelia has been Alpha since they were kittens.

Last September, once we owned our own home, we added Ginger to the family. We followed introduction protocol - separate room, screen door, lots of attention to Trent and Ophelia. Ophelia decided that she just plain doesn't like Ginger, which is OK. I don't expect them to be friends. Thankfully, there really hasn't been any bad physical confrontations, just a lot of hissing and growling and posturing.

In December, we brought home Mojo (in part because Ginger was too rambumctious for Trent, even though they get along, and just because DH fell for her...). Ophelia doesn't have a problem with Mojo, though it appears that Mojo does stick up for her friend/sister Ginger. (I'm probably reading too much into that...)

Since Ginger has had full run of the house, Ophelia has been a long time coming back to her Alpha-self. She is at least back to the point where she will go to both levels of the house. The problem is that she will be Alpha again for a week or so, undisputed by all, and then she will revert to being submissive and scared for a few days. This is obviously confusing Ginger and Mojo, who just don't know how to relate to her.

Is this typical feral cat behaviour when there are major changes in their world? Is there anything we can do to help them sort this out?
 
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valanhb

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Thank you so much Kerry! It's difficult to gauge when this is our first time introducing kitties to the resident household.
 
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