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Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
Hi everyone! I’m new to this group, but I’m glad I found it. I need help. I’m a cat mom of 4 years. We have an orange tabby of roughly 6/7 years. She was a feral and is sweet as could be. I call her my little introvert, but she loves love, brushing, pets, and food! Lol! We also have a boy tuxedo who just turned 3. He was found when only a few weeks old. We’re all he’s ever known. The two are perfect and very bonded. I had no issues. Until my boyfriend discovered a shelter cat, girl 3 1/2 years, who looks very much like my boy. He thought it would be cute to have 2 tux’s. We kept her in my office for a week. Before introductions we even gave her a bath to wash away the shelter smell. She’s fine with us. We introduced at breakfast time, with her at a distance. My girl, the feral, was like “whatever” and went back to eating. My boy froze. Long story short, new cat stalks and attacks my boy. He’s terrified of her. New cat has been in shelters for most of her life, so I know living in a home is new for her, and she has SO much energy!! She’s very type A, acting like she runs the place, and hissed at the other cats. The other night I took my boy to my office so my BF would have the rest of the house to play with new cat and wear down her energy. While in my arms walking into the office, he immediately started hissing and growling, and new cat wasn’t even there. She was on another floor. Needless to say, we went into the bedroom instead. We keep new cat in another bedroom at night, and I refuse to have her roaming free unless I’m there to supervise. Her attacks start with a stare down. He freezes, then, as if I’m slow motion, he slowly turns around and tail down creeps away, as slow as possible. It’s like watching a sloth. New cat just watches, eyes locked on him, then eventually attacks. He is so scared. You can see it in his eyes. I feel like my pleasant and perfect home life is over. I don’t know to do. We also have those pheromone diffusers, but they don’t seem to be doing anything. I should also add that the girl at the shelter told us “she probably won’t be friend for your other cats. She would do well in an area of the house by herself”. In the maybe 20 min we were at the shelter, I saw her hiss and swat at another cat. BF didn’t care. He was adamant on adopting her. I love the idea of saving a shelter animal, but I feel like we got the wrong one.
Is there hope? Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m miserable. My boy is miserable. And I know my girl feels the stress too. Thanks for listening
 

susanm9006

Willow
Top Cat
Feb 20, 2011
4,165
5,684
I think you need a much longer introduction period than a week. I would go back to step one and separate the new girl from the others and start reintroducing via scent swapping and then brief periods together. This could take weeks or months until the new girl no longer attacks your other cats.
 

SirenSong

TCS Member
Young Cat
Sep 26, 2019
35
50
Agree that you need more time. I've been dealing with a pretty rocky cat relationship for 10 months now ... Read the articles on this site about how to properly introduce cats (they're great!!) and start over.

After 10 months, I've had to go back to square one with a reintroduction and, so far, it's going well. I hope you don't have to wait so long to start seeing some positive changes!
 

Etarre

TCS Member
Super Cat
Jan 25, 2018
749
1,826
If redoing introductions doesn't work, there are some great episodes of Jackson Galaxy's show with tips for this kind of conflict. Building up the scaredy cat's confidence through play, draining the dominant cat's energy through play, creating better traffic flow in spaces that seem to cause confrontations, and offering more resources (litterboxes, food bowls, window perches, cat trees, etc.) are key tips.
 
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Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement! I will read through those articles later today. And I completely agree that a week isn’t enough time. But I also feel like this is just her personality, and that we were even warned about it... but looked past it. I was thinking I’ll also go back to the humane society and talk to them about it. After all, they’ve known her longer than anyone else has. Maybe they’ll have some advice too. ☺
 

KarenKat

Kitty on the half shell, tortie power!
Top Cat
Apr 4, 2018
2,563
5,587
Littleton, CO
I know exactly how you feel! We had two cats that were very different but friendly and we adopted Olive from the backyard. Gohan would chase her all the time back to her safe room. He was very territorial and would also do the slo-mo thing (funny in retrospect but stressful at the time) to leave her area.

It took months. It was more than 6 months before we weren’t stressed when they were in the same room. We are now a year and a half later, and once in a while Olive will run over to Gohan and lick him (he is still scandalizes but he’s getting better). They are becoming friendlier every day. So there is hope, but it may be a long journey. Make sure if you go forward with new cat you take some time for yourselves too, it can be stressful and non-cat people don’t quite understand sometimes. But in the end, you treasure those peaceful moments you never expected would happen. Just be patient and follow the wonderful advice on here.
 
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  • #8

Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
Agree that you need more time. I've been dealing with a pretty rocky cat relationship for 10 months now ... Read the articles on this site about how to properly introduce cats (they're great!!) and start over.

After 10 months, I've had to go back to square one with a reintroduction and, so far, it's going well. I hope you don't have to wait so long to start seeing some positive changes!
So, did you keep the cat isolated for a certain amount of time before reintroductions? The other cats must know that she’s still there and feel that tension.
 
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  • #9

Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
That was for SirenSong... not sure if it addressed that message strictly to her.

But, I suppose maybe we had it too easy with the first two. My orange tabby feral, Sherbert, was a single cat for a year before the kitten (Kubo) came along. We were so nervous to introduce them. But he was quarantined for almost a month before meeting, only because he was too small. But at first introduction, I held him. BF held her. She certainly hissed! Backed away, kept to a corner. It took time, but she never attacked him. Not once. I feel like we’re going about it the right way again, but it’s the attacking that scares me.
 

SirenSong

TCS Member
Young Cat
Sep 26, 2019
35
50
So, did you keep the cat isolated for a certain amount of time before reintroductions? The other cats must know that she’s still there and feel that tension.
Yes. I have, for the most part, kept the cats separate since the move on Oct 1. They definitely still know that the other is there. They are both chatty Cathy's so they hear each other all the time and their food bowls are on opposite sides of the same door and they've both been eating well. I have also been "swapping territories" daily (in a controlled way, where the two cats don't come into direct contact). They were nervous, at first, both about the move and perhaps about each other, but a week later, they are both calm and happy in their separate areas.

I have been allowing them to see each other by opening the door a little bit and standing between them and I have had a couple jailbreaks because Belle is a sneaky little beast and sometimes I'm not quick enough to stop her. So they have come into contact and I've managed to keep even those encounters positive. The next step is that I am finding a screen that I can prop up in the doorway so they can see each other, but not get at each other. Once they are relaxed with that situation, I will move on to more face to face time
 
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  • #11

Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
Just wanted to give you an update: I stopped at Heritage (Humane Society). The girl was so nice and understanding. She actually wasn’t surprised to see me and hear about the frustrations. It actually seemed like she even expected it! She gave me some pointers, and said she completely understands if in the end we simply can’t make it work. One thing she said, that had crossed my mind as well, is that she be an indoor/outdoor cat. I’ve never been a fan of that. I don’t know how that works. Do I just put a collar on her, and let her loose? And hope that she comes back? I honestly have no idea! But she’s also going to talk to another feline professional who’s dealt with troubled behavior and have her get in touch with us. But she said we’re doing everything right! Thank you for listening and helping. I do feel better. We’re going back to isolating them. The only problem there is that she doesn’t want to be isolated!!! Back to endless nights of crying, banging on the door, wanting out
 
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  • #12

Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
Yes. I have, for the most part, kept the cats separate since the move on Oct 1. They definitely still know that the other is there. They are both chatty Cathy's so they hear each other all the time and their food bowls are on opposite sides of the same door and they've both been eating well. I have also been "swapping territories" daily (in a controlled way, where the two cats don't come into direct contact). They were nervous, at first, both about the move and perhaps about each other, but a week later, they are both calm and happy in their separate areas.

I have been allowing them to see each other by opening the door a little bit and standing between them and I have had a couple jailbreaks because Belle is a sneaky little beast and sometimes I'm not quick enough to stop her. So they have come into contact and I've managed to keep even those encounters positive. The next step is that I am finding a screen that I can prop up in the doorway so they can see each other, but not get at each other. Once they are relaxed with that situation, I will move on to more face to face time
I appreciate the detailed response. We’ll be doing something like that, and going back to isolation. But that alone is difficult because she wants out! I don’t want to give up just yet. I really do want to make this work.
I know exactly how you feel! We had two cats that were very different but friendly and we adopted Olive from the backyard. Gohan would chase her all the time back to her safe room. He was very territorial and would also do the slo-mo thing (funny in retrospect but stressful at the time) to leave her area.

It took months. It was more than 6 months before we weren’t stressed when they were in the same room. We are now a year and a half later, and once in a while Olive will run over to Gohan and lick him (he is still scandalizes but he’s getting better). They are becoming friendlier every day. So there is hope, but it may be a long journey. Make sure if you go forward with new cat you take some time for yourselves too, it can be stressful and non-cat people don’t quite understand sometimes. But in the end, you treasure those peaceful moments you never expected would happen. Just be patient and follow the wonderful advice on here.
Thanks for the response. I definitely feel this will be a long road, like you said. And you’re absolutely right, non-cat people just don’t get it! I really didn’t even get it since everything was wonderful up until now. I feel like I won the lottery with my first 2. And now it’s just chaos and endless nights. But I really do want to make this work. Thank you everyone for the support!
 
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  • #13

Jen2massage

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Oct 9, 2019
9
3
Virginia
If redoing introductions doesn't work, there are some great episodes of Jackson Galaxy's show with tips for this kind of conflict. Building up the scaredy cat's confidence through play, draining the dominant cat's energy through play, creating better traffic flow in spaces that seem to cause confrontations, and offering more resources (litterboxes, food bowls, window perches, cat trees, etc.) are key tips.
Agree. And I do like his show. The house is fairly open concept, but the last confrontation was at the bottom of the stairs. No getting around that. My boy wanted to come up. New cat was coming down. I think because new cat has so much pent up energy, we’ll just have to take the current cats to a room while one of us plays with her throughout the house. Not sure what else to do there, because the room she’s in is too small. And I mean she really has ALOT of energy.
 

SirenSong

TCS Member
Young Cat
Sep 26, 2019
35
50
I appreciate the detailed response. We’ll be doing something like that, and going back to isolation. But that alone is difficult because she wants out!
I know how you feel! I have been swapping who gets to stay in my room for cuddles every night and, let me tell you, whoever gets left outside sure lets me know that they HATE it. Between the meowing and pounding on the door and scratching under the door, trying to open it, the best way to address it is not to acknowledge it. As frustrating and annoying as it gets, don't respond at all. You may have a few sleepless nights but kitty will get the picture... eventually.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Jun 13, 2018
6,983
8,618
Central FL (Born in OH)
One thing she said, that had crossed my mind as well, is that she be an indoor/outdoor cat. I’ve never been a fan of that. I don’t know how that works. Do I just put a collar on her, and let her loose? And hope that she comes back?
Probably a good reason to be cautious of any 'advice/tips' you get from that human society place. If they were almost 'expecting' you, then there is more to the story than they are going to tell you.

Stick with the introductions - for as long as it takes. If you end up interested in setting up an outside space, the best bet would be a catio - where she can't run away, get lost, or get killed by other animals. And, tbh, she still needs to be integrated into your family even if you make accommodations for her to spend part of her time outside, so she can come/go inside/outside the house/catio at will, such as through a window or cat flap in a door.
 

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