Need help introducing two cats

GHsaltie

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I just got married this past weekend and have moved into my husband's home, including my cat. My husband also has a cat. Both are spayed females, mine is six in a couple weeks his is two. I had read about keeping one cat in a room and gradually introducing them to each other through the door and via mealtime so that's what I've been doing. I think I messed up though. My cat has confined herself to the bedroom closet until yesterday she seemed a bit more curious as to where she is so I decided to switch them, put my husband's cat in the bedroom and let mine roam around through the night she even came and slept in the bed with us. My cat seems emotionally better, happier not as scared except she sprayed on the bathroom wall and not sure where else yet. She has sprayed in the past when in a stressful environment with a previous cat. My husband's cat is now super on edge and angry. They are back in their respective places now but his cat is slinking around, hiding and growling at me when I come close. She even swatted out and scratched my foot when I walked past her. She perked up a bit when I gave her breakfast, but I'm still giving her some space to come calm. I'm heartbroken that I may have messed everything up and I'm worried they will never get along. I don't want to have to rehome one of them but I have doubts that they will ever accept each other. Please help, is there any chance this could turn out okay?
 

di and bob

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All you need is time and plenty of it. It takes MONTHS for cats to accept each other, not days or weeks. Growling, hissing, hiding, and even swats are perfectly normal, especially at this stage. I would suggest getting a blacklight flashlight to find any urine in a darkened room, get a good enzyme cat urine remover. You spray it on the spot and let it eat up the urine as it dries. The spraying will end once she feels secure and accepts the new home as her own. She is marking it as hers. My male sprayed for many months but finally did quit. Get some clear carpet runner, cut it and turn it little nub side up if she goes back to certain spots. It is removed easily and hurts their feet when they go there.
You might get a wire kennel and keep one cat in it at a time so one cat can see the other and get more used to its presence. I know this seems daunting right now, but it WILL resolve. Look up other articles/threads here that give advice on this subject. There are MANY believe me. One trick is to feed them closer and closer together because they have good feelings when eating. It's not going to be easy, but don't give up. they may never be best friends, but they will accept each other as a family member and get along. it just takes time, one day at a time.....
 

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Hi. See if this TCS article might help you to set up a plan for introducing them. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles. It would seem you probably just rushed the process - as it could take weeks (sometimes longer, depending on the cats) of a planned introduction process before you would see results.

Your cat would be considered the 'newcomer' since it is a new home for her, so she would be the one to be confined to a safe room to start off with. If at all possible, you might want to spend nights in there with her so that she doesn't feel abandoned.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Just reinforcing what has already been said. YES, to ALL of the above. And be aware that females are more territorial than males. Even spayed females retain the instinct to find and defend territory for their future kittens, even if that isn't going to happen. That's a brain thing, not an ovary thing. Your girls may never be "best buds," but with time and a lot of patience, they can reach a point of unarmed truce, coexisting peacefully. Just keep in mind that you cannot go faster than the most reluctant cat. If you try to rush things, you'll end up going backwards.
 
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GHsaltie

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Thank you FeebysOwner FeebysOwner for the article that really helped. Y'all's responses gives me at least a bit of hope, I was so sure this morning that there was nothing I could do. I do have another question now, how do I know when to move to the next step which I guess would be scent? They have both calmed down now since this morning. My cat is confidently exploring the spare bedroom and my husband's is letting us pet her again and is back to her normal self. They are aware of where each other are but haven't showed any interest/aggression towards the door. So when are they ready?
 

Mamanyt1953

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The best I can tell you is, "Not yet." Let these good associations continue for several days. What they are doing now is getting used to the scent and sounds of each other in a very non-threatening way, which is good. When they both begin to approach the door in a comfortable manner, let us know, and we'll work on step 2!
 
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GHsaltie

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Updating this thread as I want to keep is a journal of sorts as to how things are going. We are at week 3, there has been more swatting at each other under the door, some hissing from Summer, my husband's cat, when at the door but mostly she just crouched there and watches. She will also stalk up to the door sometimes when my cat Leaf is meowing, but then when she gets up there she crouches down and just watches with the occasional hiss. I haven't done much scent swapping yet, I tried briefly during meal time letting each cat smell a clothing article that had the others scent on it but they were both too interested in food to care. I have been placing a couple treats a few feet from the door for Summer to find after mealtime, hoping that may give her a positive feeling about the door. I'm not sure whether it's time to start introducing scent more and how I should go about it. I also thought maybe I should feed Summer closing to the door, she eats in the laundry room right now, but I don't know if that's wise. I'm having two other issues also, one is that Leaf is going stir crazy in the bedroom. I try to spend time with her, loving on her and playing but she doesn't have a lot of interest in toys. I'm not sure if it's okay to let her have some free roaming time around the apartment? The other issue is we have a neighbor cat who likes to sleep on our patio. Summer gets very agitated when she is there and they have tried to get into spats through the door. When this happens Summer seems more hostile to the bedroom and sometimes to us. I'm saving up to buy a cat tree and I was thinking of putting up some cardboard over the lower part of the patio doors so that when I get the tree she can see the neighbor cat from above but not get into cross-door fights. Would this be a wise thing to do?
 

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Yes because the sight of the neighbour's cat will make her insecure about her territory.
 
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GHsaltie

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I need advice please. I still haven't started any scent swapping, I don't know that they are ready. But I'm having a problem with Summer, she has started barking and swatting at me when I go to feed her. I squirt her once when she is about to do it and she doesn't try again until next mealtime but the behavior isn't letting up. I also have just now had another issue. I let Leaf out for a little bit after I got home, with Summer in the master bedroom, and normally when I do this I shut the laundry room so Leaf can't spray in there or use Summer's litter pan but this time I forgot. So I had to clean out the litter pan and I was doing so after I'd put Leaf back in the bedroom and let Summer out. She didn't seem weird about smelling Leafs urine, she was just following me around and watching me wash it in the tub, but as I was sweeping the laundry room I turned to walk past her and she lashed out again spitting and hissing at me. She got my foot pretty good and kept her distance from me after that. I didn't react and just kind of walked it off so hopefully she would cool down, but I'm so confused and disheartened. I don't know why she's acting like this. Someone please help?
 

Grinchy

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Stop squirting your cat - it will erode her trust in you.

It sounds like redirected or territorial aggression if she could smell the urine.

Give kitty time to decompress after an incident.
 

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i am going through that now we adopted two cats two are getting along and the other one stalks him and chases him. also the shelter said it could take time.
 
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GHsaltie

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I need suggestions, Summer's aggression is getting worse during meals. I haven't squirted her since Thursday morning. I've tried walking slower to give her more space and dropping pieces of food while going to the bowl. She is quickly getting worse, this morning she scratched my feet five times. My feet are torn up and I'm at a loss as to what to even try.
 

Grinchy

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I'm glad you haven't squirted her. It teaches your cat nothing except you're not to be trusted. By your own admission, it doesn't change her behaviour at the next meal.

What do you mean by swatting and barking when you go to feed her? When you're out coming into the room with bowl? As you are preparing it? When you put it down?

If meal times are a trigger point, you can take steps to diffuse her aggression.

1. Have you tried a timer feeder? You can load it up and it will open at the time you set. This way, you don't have to be around as she settles to eat.

2. Have you tried closing the door to where she eats, putting the food out, then let her in to eat it?

3. Would she prefer to eat higher up? Put her food on a table or higher surface and see if she feels more secure? This way, you could summon her up to the bowl and your hands and feet are away from her.

4. Try putting her bowl down first before Leaf's food bowl so she doesn't feel insecure.
 

FeebysOwner

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I agree with trying the suggestions from Grinchy Grinchy . But, I was curious - has Summer always been fed in the laundry room, even before you moved in? If not, that might be part of the reason for her aggression. And, she might be attacking you because you smell like Leaf. Try taking towel or cloth with Summer's smell on it and rubbing it on your feet, especially when you have just been with Leaf.

I am sorry if I missed it, but does Summer react badly to your husband at all? Did you block her view of the door where she was seeing the neighbor's cat? Even if you did, I will say, she can probably still smell that cat too - cats ability to smell is much greater than ours. Depending on your set up outside of those doors, you might want to consider some cat deterrent sprays to try and dissuade the neighbor's cat from hanging outside so close.

Which leads me to another couple of questions. Was this neighbor cat coming around before you moved in? How was your interaction with Summer before you moved in?

All in all, it just is going to take a lot of time. But, changes that Summer is going through - any above and beyond Leaf being there, need to be understood to better help appreciate all the adjustments she may be going through at once.
 
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GHsaltie

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Grinchy Grinchy I'll try to answer all your questions. The barking she did once during a meal a couple days ago and when she had the outburst during the litter pan issue. It sounds more like a quick spit and bark combined and she will poof up and scratch unless I back away. This is how feeding time goes, food bucket is in the bathroom closet, I get a scoop of food for her, take it to the laundry room and put it in her bowl. During this is when she will scratch at me, sometimes only as I'm coming out of the bathroom and other times it will be the entire time I'm walking to her bowl. Once I put the food in she's perfectly fine and rubs against my hand, I've been petting her briefly before walking away to try and make her feel better. Once that's done I get a scoop for Leaf.
1. We actually have tried a timed feeder for her, but she is wicked smart and has figured out how to circumvent each one we got. Granted the ones we tried were the standard drop feeders, I haven't looked into other types.
2. I haven't tried this. The only two places I could try would be the bathroom or laundry room where she eats. I feel that if I were to try the laundry room I would have the same issue once I opened the door, and in an enclosed space then. The bathroom is where the food is so that would be some finagling.
3. I hadn't thought of this, but this does remind me that my husband had a difficult time getting her to eat full meals until he realized that she felt more comfortable eating next to the couch where he was. Although this won't solve the issue of her swatting while I'm bringing the food, moving the bowl may make her more comfortable.
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner I moved in the same weekend that my husband moved to the new apartment and she's been fed in the laundry room since then. We didn't move my cat in until the following weekend and I don't really remember if she was acting this way before or after, but I don't think she was before my cat came.
I hadn't thought of smelling like Leaf, in general my smelling would be very different. I would visit maybe twice a week before we got married, and now I'm around all the time which she isn't used to.
She hasn't had the outbursts with my husband that she does with me, but I'm also the primary caretaker now since my husband works long hours. However the one time he fed breakfast last weekend she swatted at him too.
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't covered the patio door yet, I just got a large piece of cardboard and that will be done tomorrow.
The neighbor cat was using our patio before we moved in, our neighbors actually told us about the cat the day we moved in to let us know who she belonged to and that she frequents our patio. I don't mind other cats, but I need peace in my own home first. I'll look into some deterrent sprays and see what can be found.
My interactions with her before moving in were few, maybe twice a week. I would occasionally play with her but daily interactions were with my husband. She still seems to prefer him but I can't blame her I suppose, I'm still a stranger to her.
We didn't have any swatting at dinner today. She acted like she wanted to but I wore socks and walked a bit more confidently this time. It's better than this morning but I'm not holding my breath that it's a sudden change in behavior. I did order a couple interactive toys and will look for a wand or something that I can play with her and hopefully build her confidence in me. She is a very smart cat and I'm sure she gets bored being by herself all day. I think I covered everything, let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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You answered a lot of things. Summer has been through a 'boat load' of changes in a very short period of time. Just because she is reacting more than Leaf only means that things affect her more. Some cats are just that way. Don't despair, the time line is very short based on what she has been through and her apparent demeanor. Keep working on all the individual issues, and let more time pass. They are really both mostly new to their environment, so make sure each is given time by themselves to explore their new territory.

I am hoping to hear as you address each issue, with some issues perhaps having to be re-addressed a few times, things will improve.
 

Grinchy

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It's interesting that you said you walked with confidence.

That's excellent!

Keep doing that.

WWhen my cat blocks my kittens off and gets all territorial and swipey, I just breeze past her with full confidence and talk to her in the baby voice she loves.

DSometimes I cheekily rub her head and it totally disarms her.

Try the confidence walk and talk to her in her favourite talk next mealtime.
 

Lulu&Finn

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Lulu was being bratty for a bit and attacking my feet and ankles. I would carry something with me (a blanket) when I walked by her so she didn't have a chance to. Could you carry a piece of cardboard or something so Summer can't get to you? Also, are you from Massachusetts? "wicked smart". I am and we get made fun of for that! lol
 

lmdisalle

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I need suggestions, Summer's aggression is getting worse during meals. I haven't squirted her since Thursday morning. I've tried walking slower to give her more space and dropping pieces of food while going to the bowl. She is quickly getting worse, this morning she scratched my feet five times. My feet are torn up and I'm at a loss as to what to even try.
I am going through the same redirected aggression issues with my 4 year old this week after we brought home a kitten.
Keep your head up!! I know how rough it is. It sounds so silly but I have cried so much because I don’t want my cat to hate me and every time she swats at me it hurts my feelings lol.
Your baby is so lucky to have someone who is willing to give so much time and love into making sure both cats are comfortable with this change.
I keep telling myself that cats are resilient animals- with time everything will be ok :)
 
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