Looking for Introduction Encouragement

BeccaCat

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Hello, we have a 3 year old Tonkinese Female, Tessa. About 8 months ago we lost her sister Freya, who she was bonded with. Tessa has been very lonely. We really felt she would benefit from feline companionship as well - as she is very upset any time we are not home. So upon the advice of our vet we looked for a younger, male cat.
We adopted little Smudge - a 4 month old male, Siamese mix who loves other cats. He moved in yesterday. Now I know this is very, very soon - I'm just looking for some encouragement.
Smudge seems fine and he loves all of us already and he wants to come out and be in the house (he is currently secluded in the guest room). The rescuer thought with as friendly as Tessa is, we could try seeing how they were with each other after a few hours. At first they were fine, smelling one another and bumping noses, but then one of them moved too quickly and they got into a tussle (which I broke up almost immediately). We separated them again and everyone is calmer, but now Tessa almost seems frightened of him. However, she will got to his door and just sit there, or sniff and sniff under the door. When we leave Smudge alone in his room he cries for a while. Both cats will sniff under the door and even put their paws under the door. I'm not sure if that is a good sign or a bad sign.
I know it can take days, even weeks. I've read all of the articles. I tried putting up a gate they could see through but Tessa climbs it. I'm wondering if I made a big mistake or if I'm being incredibly impatient. I'm just looking to hear some success stories. Did anyone ever have cats that didn't hit it off at first, but eventually became friends? We love Smudge already and really want to keep him. But Tessa is our princess and we want her to be happy as well.
I need some encouragement. Thank you!
 

Jcatbird

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Yes! Don’t give up. I have had to introduce a lot of kitties and it can be a tussle and then okay and then a setback. With working through a lot of kitties I used different things as tools for intros. One thing I learned is that one cat hearing another and understanding they are not able to escape, they sometimes develop concern and looked at me as though I had imprisoned the other. The resident cat developed some form sympathy and that was a good thing. Quarantine was necessary but explaining that to a cat is not going to happen. Lol If you have already read about things like scent swapping, I won’t repeat but I did find something I liked better than a gate.I used vinyl lattice panels that I cut and hinged to fit into the existing doorway. It was lighter than anything else I had tried. It provided airflow, visual and protection. The other thing I have used are large cages and a sort of catio on wheels. Both were temporary housing for the new arrivals but it allowed for daily visits and slow introductions. Out of many, many rescues, only one ended up preferring to be a human only kitty and even that one wants to be with everyone at times. I think she just wants everyone to know she is boss. Backtracking is very common but just keep going through the steps. Slow and steady and keep a routine. This is new territory for both kitties.
 
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BeccaCat

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THANK YOU! for replying, I feel a little better already - like I'm not in this alone :hearthrob:
One thing I am really nervous about, we are going to Thanksgiving dinner and we will be gone anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. As they are so new to each other, do you think it would be wise to leave Smudge confined to the guest room while we are away? I'm hoping both of them will just settle down and nap at that time
I LOVE the lattice idea, texting my husband about that now
 

pearl99

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Absolutely don't give up! It has every chance of being successful, with Smudge still basically a kitten and Tessa fairly young.
I adopted a kitten with a 4 year old former semi-feral to feral resident adult and they became buddies. Not bonded, but friends.
Then added 2 more adults senior cats a few years later and it is peaceful coexistence with each carving out their own space.
It can take time like you said, months like you said maybe.
What you are experiencing is totally normal. And great that they are alread door sniffing and paws under the door. There are many many cat intro threads on this site by members A ArtNJ , C calicosrspecial , and Jcatbird Jcatbird above and others that you can search and read. I've
used them extensively!!
And Jackson Galaxy has articles online to google on the internet with lots of intro info. He does the "My Cat From Hell" TV show on cable TV.
Please post how it's going.
 

Willowwombat

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It seems to me that both cats are interested in each other. The fact that they're playing pawsies under the door seems positive because neither is growling; they're just introducing themselves through the door. Your female is still pretty young and will probably like having a companion once she's used to the idea.

I'm guessing it will be just fine.
 

Willowwombat

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Also, if you are going out; yes, leave your new cat in the isolation room with their litter box and food and water. They should be kept apart for a while.

I introduced two middle aged cats last year, and although there was some bossy, obnoxious behaviour from the original cat, my female, with her constantly chasing the new guy, they never really had tension beyond the occasional hissy fit, and now they're pretty good friends. Your cats are lot younger. They'll be fine.
 

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I agree that leaving the new kitty in the room while you are gone is best until you know they have adapted each other. Better to err on the side of caution. I may have some photos of the lattice doors blocker if you wish to see how I did it here. There are framing strips that should be around the lattice since it adds strength abd covers the sides to avoid snd rough edges.
 
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BeccaCat

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Thank you I’d love to see a photo. My husband bought a screen door that will fit the outer door frame, and he can attach lattice to it. It does have wood “slats” at the bottom to hopefully help but if not he will cover it with the lattice, or he can just cut out the screen and replace it with lattice.
Now Smudge (the new guy) is having soft stool :bawling: I’m hoping it’s just stress. He is not happy being confined to this bedroom. He’s fine with the room itself, he just gets really upset any time I leave and close the door. I’m gonna call his foster mom later this morning and see what she thinks about the stool. Thank you all for being so supportive!
(He tested negative for parasites after being treated, and he has all his shots, so I’m hoping it’s just stress).
 
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BeccaCat

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PROGRESS!! So two friends recommended we hold the kitties and sit on the couch. After work I played with Smudge (the kitten) for a good bit to get his wiggles out. When my husband came home I waited until he was holding Tessa and she was calm, and I brought Smudge out. They were so good! Smudge is a wiggly worm, but he was good and Tessa watched him but no puffy tail, no flat ears, no big eyes. Hooray! We decided to end on a positive note.
Then after I put him away, Tessa was like "Hey! Where'd he go?" So I went to get him back out and she darted into his room. I let her look around and Smudge watched her, and then they started sniffing each other. As soon as they started staring I put a pillow between them and they relaxed. Then he darted out to the kitchen and the chase was on! Tessa was definitely willing to assert her dominance. But they chased a little and sniffed a little. Any time it looked like it was escalating I just placed the pillow in the middle. Smudge did hide behind the couch a few times, but he kept coming out, and she kept being pretty good and just watching him.
I'm hopeful. I put him back in his room because I wanted to end on a positive note. But I am hoping these are positives! We will try again tomorrow. Right now everyone is having their late afternoon nap. :hearthrob: :hearthrob: :hearthrob:
 
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BeccaCat

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Update: Not quite best friends yet, but we are definitely making progress. Smudge was out for a couple hours today. Tessa chased him some and swatted him some, but no real “violence”. It seems like she is teaching him she’s the boss. I’ve attached a photo of her tolerating him this morning. :)
He is a little boy kitten (still not neutered, my vet said to wait until 6 months and he is 4 1/2 months) so he’s very energetic. But in a way it’s making 3 year old Tessa (who IS spayed) more active and interested, which I think is good for her.
I love him but I won’t mind if the neutering mellows him a touch. Right now he’s kind of like a toddler hopped up on sugar!
84AE7D04-4FFE-4C51-81C4-43570940794F.jpeg
 

pearl99

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This sounds pretty normal to me :clap2:. Letting him know to keep his distance for now and she's in charge. They can take some time to adjust and accept.
I think they will be fine too!
 
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BeccaCat

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He’s getting a little braver each day, and she’s getting more and more tolerant. :hearthrob::hearthrob:
I think he wanted to snuggle but she’s not *quite* ready just yet.:) But oh I am so happy with their progress! They’ve been playing a lot. It sometimes escalates and he gets a bite when she’s had enough, but he seems just fine. Thank you all for your support!!!
6E175FF0-2213-404B-A318-1C4AFEF40E79.jpeg
 

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Alldara

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That's really beautiful. They will be good friends I'm sure.
They are lucky to have you and your family. Can't wait to hear more as it progresses.

It's so much easier when they are young, and if they've only had positive introduction experiences.
 

pearl99

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He’s getting a little braver each day, and she’s getting more and more tolerant. :hearthrob::hearthrob:
I think he wanted to snuggle but she’s not *quite* ready just yet.:) But oh I am so happy with their progress! They’ve been playing a lot. It sometimes escalates and he gets a bite when she’s had enough, but he seems just fine. Thank you all for your support!!!
View attachment 436820
This is heartwarming.
 
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