New (feral) cat introduction went well until it didn't

JerseyCatMom

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Hi. We recently adopted a 4 year old feral cat to join our two cats (3 year old female and almost 3 year old male). He was on a one month trial and the day after his trial was over was the day of the most attacks on our other two cats. He is a sweetheart to people once he knows you. He will sometimes climb on my lap. He loved his caretaker, his foster mom and his first adopter. They are aware of what is going on and believe he may need to go to a home with no other cats since we are his second family with issues.

We did what felt like a slow introduction to our other two cats and were a day or two away of letting the second cat in for visits when he broke out. He spent the day out and everything was going pretty well. Our male cat followed him around at first, jumping on furniture and looking down at him. He ended up in the cat tree asleep with our female cat on the landing above him. We were cautiously happy. Once he went back in his room for dinner, we closed the gate and secured our makeshift top to it since all the cats could get over it. The next day, he came through the gate, and we could see how much he needed to be out of the room, so we made it work. I have a diary of every encounter, so I won't bore you with everything, but once both of our resident cats relaxed around him, he went into action. He jumped our female cat and ran her upstairs and it continued into three rooms before our male cat stepped in and she hid and my husband got up there with a spray bottle. She has been living in our bedroom now and he found her twice and "attacked" her there. Our resident male cat just wants to be able to look out the window, but he chases him away from every spot with a window and now just from being downstairs. He gets him cornered and just whacks him over and over. He has even jumped them while they are asleep upstairs. The chair my male cat was sleeping on was a glider, so he got scared and then decided to go for the female cat. The fact that he is feral has its own issues, but we knew he would need time to adjust to being in a home. He was learning about homes already from his fantastic foster. What I did not know was that we cannot pick him up. I am working on getting him used to my hands under his belly, but that is a long way off. So for three or four nights, we all locked ourselves in our bedroom while he had the whole house, but was in his hiding places. We made sure he had a few places to run to when he feels afraid. I know I am leaving out a lot of details, but I could write a book. I did not grow up with cats and we are still learning. We rescued one cat and then another and the process worked well. So we saw a cat who needed a home and brought him to ours.

Right now, he is back in his room. It's the largest bedroom with everything he could ever want. I hang out in there with him a lot and my husband goes in and plays with him. We are trying to go backwards and reintroduce the cats to him. I just started using some of Jackson Galaxy's Peacemaker Solutions. Our resident cats know who he is, but are coming to the gate and we are having snack time together. I am wondering if anyone has advice for our situation. Please be kind. My heart is breaking over this little guy and my other cats are miserable and scared.
 

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OK...I have a pressing question. Tell me exactly what these attacks are like. Is there fur in the air, or blood on the floor? You say "whacked," but do you mean a full-out, claws extended, OH GOD HE'S BLEEDING whack, or a series of HARD cuffs? Until we know that, we can't really begin to try to sort this out.

HOWEVER...if no one has been physically injured, you are probably dealing with a very dominant cat who is simply taking over, and making sure everyone knows, without doubt, who is boss. And that can be very, very hard to watch, as your current cats are driven out of places that they love. Once a new order has been imposed, things may ease off. Remember, ferals are strongly territory-driven. Even more so than domestic cats. Their very lives depend on defending their territory.

Also, if I'm reading this correctly, the introductions took about a month. Believe it or not, that's a VERY short time in a cat's world. I've seen some take as much as a year, but were ultimately successful. Don't give up quite yet. Here's a link to an article about how to go back and fix this:

https://thecatsite.com/c/how-to-fix-an-unsuccessful-cat-introducti

C calicosrspecial , I've seen some VERY sane advice from you, can you help here? And Jcatbird Jcatbird , you have extensive experience in integrating ferals! Any thoughts?
 

Jcatbird

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Backtracking is a very good idea. Your residents started out in places “above” him. Height can be safety but also implies that they rate higher in the colony. This cat is still nervous and trying to find where he fits into the family. He kind of jumped ahead of the process on you so the backtracking is excellent. Calm things down again before further attempts to introduce. Like any introduction, trust is needed and getting to know each other can form a bond. It can take a lot of patience and time. Please don’t give up on him. He has already been moved around so he is unsure of everything in his life right now. In his mind, If he could make the others turn the human affection over to him, maybe he will get to stay. He will need to learn that there is enough for everyone and that there is no longer a feral need to establish a place by swatting. All kitties still need to work out their place in the world but getting past anxiety can change the tone completely.
I would love it if you get him more used to human contact first. Practicing touch and handling is important. I like to sit or lay on the floor with ferals. I let them explore me and even walk or lay on me. I also practice lifting by just placing my hand under the tummy first. Later putting slight lifting pressure but not picking up yet. Once he trusts slight pressure, try sliding him over into your lap as you sit on the floor. Then let go. Let him leave or, hopefully lay or walk on you. Repetition counts! Once he trusts sitting on you, try getting up with him held securely against you. Let go the instant you feel he wants to go. If you can place him down in that instant and release, he will begin to understand that you are not keeping him against his will. Sleeping in the room with him is also a great bonding tip. He can explore you while you sleep and learn that you trust being vulnerable around him. You may find him curled up against you. In time, this can lead to bringing him closer to be held and later to picking him up. Having total trust in you and your relationship with him will give him more confidence in the household. He will feel more secure around others and less likely to feel a need to own all the territory. It takes baby steps sometimes and since he has already been in more than one home I really hope you will not relocate him again. Each move leaves them feeling less secure. Your other kitties will need to reestablish trust in him so separating and having visual contact can accomplish this. Food is a great bonding tool. Use feeding time to show all that it is safe to eat as a family. A colony. I know it is stressful. I have brought in many that had to socialize and meet residents. Time out is a great way to cool things down even later on in the relationship. I don’t find a spray bottle a useful learning tool. It may stop an argument but it may also cause some distrust of humans. I keep large pieces of thick cardboard to place as a wall between cats. It blocks them but is not offensive.It isn’t like a punishment but more a reminder to separate.
Having a feral is a bit of three steps forward and two back sometimes. My cat family is now all ferals. I should say , formal ferals. They have formed a family of very bided kitties. It took time but they are the sweetest family I could ever have desired. My oldest and most fierce actually turned into a big lap cat jelly bean. Lol All the others adore him now and he naps and cuddles with everyone. If you had seen him before, you would be amazed! I was. If you want before and after photos, just let me know! Lol Please do keep us updated.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hi. We recently adopted a 4 year old feral cat to join our two cats (3 year old female and almost 3 year old male). He was on a one month trial and the day after his trial was over was the day of the most attacks on our other two cats. He is a sweetheart to people once he knows you. He will sometimes climb on my lap. He loved his caretaker, his foster mom and his first adopter. They are aware of what is going on and believe he may need to go to a home with no other cats since we are his second family with issues.

We did what felt like a slow introduction to our other two cats and were a day or two away of letting the second cat in for visits when he broke out. He spent the day out and everything was going pretty well. Our male cat followed him around at first, jumping on furniture and looking down at him. He ended up in the cat tree asleep with our female cat on the landing above him. We were cautiously happy. Once he went back in his room for dinner, we closed the gate and secured our makeshift top to it since all the cats could get over it. The next day, he came through the gate, and we could see how much he needed to be out of the room, so we made it work. I have a diary of every encounter, so I won't bore you with everything, but once both of our resident cats relaxed around him, he went into action. He jumped our female cat and ran her upstairs and it continued into three rooms before our male cat stepped in and she hid and my husband got up there with a spray bottle. She has been living in our bedroom now and he found her twice and "attacked" her there. Our resident male cat just wants to be able to look out the window, but he chases him away from every spot with a window and now just from being downstairs. He gets him cornered and just whacks him over and over. He has even jumped them while they are asleep upstairs. The chair my male cat was sleeping on was a glider, so he got scared and then decided to go for the female cat. The fact that he is feral has its own issues, but we knew he would need time to adjust to being in a home. He was learning about homes already from his fantastic foster. What I did not know was that we cannot pick him up. I am working on getting him used to my hands under his belly, but that is a long way off. So for three or four nights, we all locked ourselves in our bedroom while he had the whole house, but was in his hiding places. We made sure he had a few places to run to when he feels afraid. I know I am leaving out a lot of details, but I could write a book. I did not grow up with cats and we are still learning. We rescued one cat and then another and the process worked well. So we saw a cat who needed a home and brought him to ours.

Right now, he is back in his room. It's the largest bedroom with everything he could ever want. I hang out in there with him a lot and my husband goes in and plays with him. We are trying to go backwards and reintroduce the cats to him. I just started using some of Jackson Galaxy's Peacemaker Solutions. Our resident cats know who he is, but are coming to the gate and we are having snack time together. I am wondering if anyone has advice for our situation. Please be kind. My heart is breaking over this little guy and my other cats are miserable and scared.
Hi,

Doing cat intros takes time. It is all about building trust in each other. One month is oftentimes way too short. Cat intros can take a month to over a year. It just all depends on the progress at each "signpost". It is a process that takes some time.

So your cats should absolutely be totally separated for now. No visual contact for now. I know the enw cat may want to get out etc but for everyone it is best to just keep them confined to their room. And during that time work on building all the cat's confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love. So playing as much as possible to build confidence and territorial security. Feeding after play. This replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" survival instinct in the wild. This gives a cat confidence. And territorial ownership. Then give them places to go high (Cat trees, cat shelving) and warm and comfy bedding and scratching posts again to give them places to "own" by getting their scent on. Finally, Love which is just being as calm and confident and loving around them. Giving them good food, clean water, keeping their litter box clean. Letting them know everything is good.

A confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted.

Now, oftentimes it is the resident cats that have the most difficult transition as it is "their territory" being "invaded" by a potential threat. So we have to build the confidence of the new cat and the resident cats.

If a cat is not confident they will be vulnerable and act like prey which cause the other cat to attack more. But a confident cat will make the other cat think twice before attacking.

Then we want to slowly build trust between the cats and let them know that the other cat(s) aren't negative. So feeding on opposite sides of a closed door makes a positive association between the cats (food and no negativity = something positive). And the more times they can smell the other cat but there is something good (food) there and nothing negative happens then it builds trust. Then after a while we then get the other cat(s) scent on an old shirt and have it by the food in the cats territory. Again, positive associations and no negativity (an old shirt with a scent can't attack etc). And so on and so on. More steps, etc. It is a process.

So what I would do is keep them totally separated and start from the beginning. Feeding on opposite sides of a closed door. No visual contact. Do this for a week. Start the food a few feet from the door and each day slowly move the bowls closer to the door.

Then we can help you move through the next steps until we have a successful introduction.

I have all ferals, all my life I have only taken in ferals. Mostly older. I actually find ferals to be pretty good at learning to accept since they kind of have to in the wild to survive. I think of them as diplomatic.

Don't worry, we do this all the time. We can help you get them intro'd.

Please let us know what questions you have and update us. He sounds like a great cat so I am not worried. We just have some work to do. The most important thing is to build trust by making positive associations and making every encounter (whether via scent for now and visual later) as positive as possible while minimizing or avoiding any negative encounters.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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OK...I have a pressing question. Tell me exactly what these attacks are like. Is there fur in the air, or blood on the floor? You say "whacked," but do you mean a full-out, claws extended, OH GOD HE'S BLEEDING whack, or a series of HARD cuffs? Until we know that, we can't really begin to try to sort this out.

HOWEVER...if no one has been physically injured, you are probably dealing with a very dominant cat who is simply taking over, and making sure everyone knows, without doubt, who is boss. And that can be very, very hard to watch, as your current cats are driven out of places that they love. Once a new order has been imposed, things may ease off. Remember, ferals are strongly territory-driven. Even more so than domestic cats. Their very lives depend on defending their territory.

Also, if I'm reading this correctly, the introductions took about a month. Believe it or not, that's a VERY short time in a cat's world. I've seen some take as much as a year, but were ultimately successful. Don't give up quite yet. Here's a link to an article about how to go back and fix this:

https://thecatsite.com/c/how-to-fix-an-unsuccessful-cat-introducti

C calicosrspecial , I've seen some VERY sane advice from you, can you help here? And Jcatbird Jcatbird , you have extensive experience in integrating ferals! Any thoughts?



OK...I have a pressing question. Tell me exactly what these attacks are like. Is there fur in the air, or blood on the floor? You say "whacked," but do you mean a full-out, claws extended, OH GOD HE'S BLEEDING whack, or a series of HARD cuffs? Until we know that, we can't really begin to try to sort this out.

HOWEVER...if no one has been physically injured, you are probably dealing with a very dominant cat who is simply taking over, and making sure everyone knows, without doubt, who is boss. And that can be very, very hard to watch, as your current cats are driven out of places that they love. Once a new order has been imposed, things may ease off. Remember, ferals are strongly territory-driven. Even more so than domestic cats. Their very lives depend on defending their territory.

Also, if I'm reading this correctly, the introductions took about a month. Believe it or not, that's a VERY short time in a cat's world. I've seen some take as much as a year, but were ultimately successful. Don't give up quite yet. Here's a link to an article about how to go back and fix this:

https://thecatsite.com/c/how-to-fix-an-unsuccessful-cat-introducti

C calicosrspecial , I've seen some VERY sane advice from you, can you help here? And Jcatbird Jcatbird , you have extensive experience in integrating ferals! Any thoughts?
Thank you so much for your reply. No, there was no blood, thank goodness. It was fur flying and a yelp/scream, or maybe the scream was from me. The new cat is very persistent when he goes after them. My resident male will "hide" under a dining room chair after being chased/"whacked," and my new male will go back and do a few more whacks (no claws I think). His ears do go back during the initial confrontations. The rescue was asking me questions about what happened and things to look for. I have been bugging them for help since this is beyond my cat knowledge. I have two calm cats who once in awhile zoom around like crazy. My male cat would LOVE someone to run with, but he is always the one being chased and seems to me, not in a friendly way. He did do one of his awkward jumps that he does to get our female to run with him which ends near the other cat and only works on her once in awhile, but was ignored due to a cleaning session. He gets chased, cornered and whacked, once was found in his sacred place under the love seat. Knowing our new cat likes to hide constantly, my husband put wood under the living room furniture so he would not be able to hide in too many places, but left a small area that is our male's sanctuary per my request. My mistake, because he was attacked under there and had no escape until I pulled the love seat away from the wall. It became one of the five downstairs hideaways for our new cat when he is afraid of something with us.

Yes, it was just under a month that they were introduced. We did the meals on either side of the door, progressed to our baby gate that allows some vision for all of them, but not a lot. The foster suggested a really nice, tall gate that she uses with all her cats. We ordered it, put it up, even though it felt too open. Both my cats went right over it seeing me in there (not seeing him since he was in a little fabric cat house), so we hung a sheet above it and tied it to the gate. It was supposed to be a good gate for our new cat since he was feral and needed to see us moving around and hear house sounds. He hid for weeks at her house, then down to 4-6 hour intervals.

Anyway, our resident male is not food driven, but he does like bonito flakes and our resident female who lives for food went on a hunger strike rather than eat near him. We just got her back to our family meals with some tiny pieces of tuna and it was going well. We thought a few more days and she could meet him. The two males had met twice and each time there was a hiss from our resident and chatter from our new cat. But he broke out. I did not tie the sheet back to the gate in all the places and he figured that out. When he went back in for food, I tied the sheet back correctly. The next day, he was out all morning, site swapping. It was the first time he was brave enough to go into the family room where we all hang out. Our resident cats were in our bedroom while he toured the house. We were so happy to get him that far and his scent would be in all their favorite places. Once he was back in his room, we tied the sheet to the gate and I began cleaning. Before I knew it, there he was. Looking back at our upstairs cat camera, he came through the gate - it took him about 15 minutes and he got his body through the gate. I was so afraid he hurt himself, but he seemed just fine. So, yes, we thought we were taking it slow, but with two cats, it seemed like the right thing to do. Then there he was - twice. We were able to play him back to his room twice, plus he was hungry, but I think the third day, he figured us out and hid. That is where we realize we have no control with the inability to pick him up. He is too scared and too fast. We are afraid of scaring him and are too slow to catch him if we were so inclined. When he is out, we basically sit in different rooms and say, “he’s coming to you!” And then it is my turn to watch who he is hunting down. When he is really tired, he is a different cat. He allows the others to exist; well, there is only one around because the female is terrified and hiding upstairs, but he didn’t care about anyone once and slept on the family room floor.

After the last incident, I shut him into one of our cat rooms and relaxed. By evening, the resident cats were in his regular room with one rolling on the carpet and the other sitting on top of his tall scratching post. I felt like they were celebrating him being gone. So we blocked the hallway and walked him back to his old room. And we are back at square one, family meal/snack time with no real view. Today, just giving a tiny view of each other and my resident male jumped at the gate and I think swore at him, but the female is now the one who seems not concerned. Thank you so much for listening to my woes and giving me advice.
 

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I take it that the new cat is not hissing or growling when doing these attacks? Makes me wonder if this is some sort of aggressive play. I'd kind of like to see a video. Not sure this is as bad as you are thinking.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hi,

There are some positives in your update. Which is great.

But the process moved just too fast. And allowing visual now is just too fast. We need to make those positive associations, maximize positive encounters (through scent only for now) and minimize any negative encounters. It is really all about getting them to trust. It is like dating. You don;t move in with the person after 5 minutes of meeting. Probably not even a month. It takes time to make sure the person is trust worthy, is honest, wont attack you, etc. So the cats are doing the same thing, evaluating the other cat to make sure they are ok. They can be trusted.

And during this really work on building confidence with the resident cats especially the one. Lots of play then feed treats or a meal after. We want them walking around, tall, tail up, owning the place. And if they are confident and they have had some time to learn that that new cat isn't really a threat that should help reduce the risk of negative encounters.

It just takes a little time. The new cat will be fine in their territory for a while. It will help the resident cats and lessen the time to a successful introduction.

So far now, I would suggest keeping the room the new cat is in very secure. No way of getting out. Whether that is a closed door for now or not that is fine. No visual for now. Just feed on opposite sides of the closed door for now until we get a sense they are doing ok. And during that work on building the resident cats confidence. And also work on spending time (safely) with the new cat and if possible build confidence playing.

There are positives in this update and everything seems pretty typical, normal in situations like this. I am not seeing any reason yet as to why they will not be intro'd if we do what is necessary.

We want a goal of getting them to think when they see the other cat(s) " I know that cat, that cat is cool, I still get my food, my water, a clean litter box, and the cat(s) don't attack me". It is all about positive associations and maximizing positive encounters and limiting or avoiding negative encounters.

We'll get there. We are willing to help you every step of the way.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Hi,

Doing cat intros takes time. It is all about building trust in each other. One month is oftentimes way too short. Cat intros can take a month to over a year. It just all depends on the progress at each "signpost". It is a process that takes some time.

So your cats should absolutely be totally separated for now. No visual contact for now. I know the enw cat may want to get out etc but for everyone it is best to just keep them confined to their room. And during that time work on building all the cat's confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love. So playing as much as possible to build confidence and territorial security. Feeding after play. This replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" survival instinct in the wild. This gives a cat confidence. And territorial ownership. Then give them places to go high (Cat trees, cat shelving) and warm and comfy bedding and scratching posts again to give them places to "own" by getting their scent on. Finally, Love which is just being as calm and confident and loving around them. Giving them good food, clean water, keeping their litter box clean. Letting them know everything is good.

A confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted.

Now, oftentimes it is the resident cats that have the most difficult transition as it is "their territory" being "invaded" by a potential threat. So we have to build the confidence of the new cat and the resident cats.

If a cat is not confident they will be vulnerable and act like prey which cause the other cat to attack more. But a confident cat will make the other cat think twice before attacking.

Then we want to slowly build trust between the cats and let them know that the other cat(s) aren't negative. So feeding on opposite sides of a closed door makes a positive association between the cats (food and no negativity = something positive). And the more times they can smell the other cat but there is something good (food) there and nothing negative happens then it builds trust. Then after a while we then get the other cat(s) scent on an old shirt and have it by the food in the cats territory. Again, positive associations and no negativity (an old shirt with a scent can't attack etc). And so on and so on. More steps, etc. It is a process.

So what I would do is keep them totally separated and start from the beginning. Feeding on opposite sides of a closed door. No visual contact. Do this for a week. Start the food a few feet from the door and each day slowly move the bowls closer to the door.

Then we can help you move through the next steps until we have a successful introduction.

I have all ferals, all my life I have only taken in ferals. Mostly older. I actually find ferals to be pretty good at learning to accept since they kind of have to in the wild to survive. I think of them as diplomatic.

Don't worry, we do this all the time. We can help you get them intro'd.

Please let us know what questions you have and update us. He sounds like a great cat so I am not worried. We just have some work to do. The most important thing is to build trust by making positive associations and making every encounter (whether via scent for now and visual later) as positive as possible while minimizing or avoiding any negative encounters.
Thank you so much! We have had him back in his room one week today. He seems fine and was excited when I opened the closet door in there today to get my boys' old clothes out and finally deal with them. He found a tub of clothes that was comfortable and slept in there for awhile today. I think he was happy to find new territory. We are actually thinking of linking the other bedroom through the closet for him to have two rooms to wander in while we work this whole thing out. But that would be after I deal with two packed closets of things left behind by my boys. What a good motivator! Anyway, my resident male has been trying to be the boss of our resident female. He always did fake pounce at her, but seems more inclined now to prove he's the man. She half takes him seriously and runs and then plops down because she knows he won't hurt her. I have a male cat who can be very girly and a female cat that (I can say this because I am) acts like she is from NJ. That encourages me that you have feral cats. Whenever I tried to find something about adopting a cat from a colony, it said DO NOT remove the cat from the colony - TN"Return" and that scared me. I know he is a sweetheart with us and I've seen him non-stop clear the room of cats and then rest and go on to clear the next room. I appreciate all the advice. How did you end up with your feral cats?
 
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JerseyCatMom

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I take it that the new cat is not hissing or growling when doing these attacks? Makes me wonder if this is some sort of aggressive play. I'd kind of like to see a video. Not sure this is as bad as you are thinking.
Hi. I have yet to hear him hiss. The hissing was always my cats when we were first introducing them. Well, the female cat did not get a one on one introduction really. He just showed up. I do have videos that I sent to those that cared for him before me. They did not recognize his behavior in the videos as anything they had ever seen with him.
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you so much! We have had him back in his room one week today. He seems fine and was excited when I opened the closet door in there today to get my boys' old clothes out and finally deal with them. He found a tub of clothes that was comfortable and slept in there for awhile today. I think he was happy to find new territory. We are actually thinking of linking the other bedroom through the closet for him to have two rooms to wander in while we work this whole thing out. But that would be after I deal with two packed closets of things left behind by my boys. What a good motivator! Anyway, my resident male has been trying to be the boss of our resident female. He always did fake pounce at her, but seems more inclined now to prove he's the man. She half takes him seriously and runs and then plops down because she knows he won't hurt her. I have a male cat who can be very girly and a female cat that (I can say this because I am) acts like she is from NJ. That encourages me that you have feral cats. Whenever I tried to find something about adopting a cat from a colony, it said DO NOT remove the cat from the colony - TN"Return" and that scared me. I know he is a sweetheart with us and I've seen him non-stop clear the room of cats and then rest and go on to clear the next room. I appreciate all the advice. How did you end up with your feral cats?
You are very welcome. Happy to help. Thank you for saving him!!

Ok, great that he is in his room securely. We'll move from there. I am not surprised he is doing well in there.

For now, I think I would just keep him in that room and not link the other room. It will be a bit easier to control where we is and how we do the intro process.

"Anyway, my resident male has been trying to be the boss of our resident female. He always did fake pounce at her, but seems more inclined now to prove he's the man." - Ok, that might be a sign of some insecurity. I would need to hear more about it. Step up play with him if possible. Also, just reassure him that everything is ok. Finally, just make sure their interactions are as positive as possible. Distract him with something positive if possible.

"She half takes him seriously and runs and then plops down because she knows he won't hurt her." - That is very good. She is doing a good job. We just need to make sure there isn't any negativity that could lead to a loss of confidence.

"I have a male cat who can be very girly and a female cat that (I can say this because I am) acts like she is from NJ." - Hahahahaha, too funny.

"That encourages me that you have feral cats." - I deal with ferals all the time. I have only had ferals, take care of a colony, help others with ferals. To me, ferals are just cats that had a different start in life. They still have the same instincts, want love, can trust, etc. Just need a bit more effort to build that trust. But when you do the bond can be something very special.

"Whenever I tried to find something about adopting a cat from a colony, it said DO NOT remove the cat from the colony - TN"Return" and that scared me." - Yes, it really depends. I always think it is best to have a home for every cat. The lifespan of a cat in a colony is shorter than one in a home. BUT there are dynamics in a colony. So it is a bit more nuanced, more art than science really. I do TNR all the time and my colony is happy and loving. But if the world was perfect my colony cats and all cats in the wild would have a loving home.

"I know he is a sweetheart with us and I've seen him non-stop clear the room of cats and then rest and go on to clear the next room." - He seems like a great cat. He is just acting like a cat, territorial probably. We just need to teach him that the other cats are positive and not negative and build that trust and confidence. We do this all the time. It may take some time and effort but we should be able to be successful.

My cats are all from the streets. A number were injured, some older and vulnerable. It is hard to save some and not all but there are limits. All the cats in my colony I WISH could be in my home. I love them, they are sweet. But I can't. Emotionally that is hard as a lot of sadness comes from taking care of a colony but it is also rewarding.

If you have videos of him that would be great.

Nothing I have read is really anything surprising or out of the ordinary. It sometimes starts off well and since there isn't a strong base of trust it then goes downhill. That is so common. It really is all about building confidence (as a confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted) and making positive associations and maximizing positive encounters and minimizing/avoiding negative encounters to build that trust so that the cats know the other cat(s) don't mean harm or negativity.

Don't worry, I will be with you every step of the way. We just have some work to do.

Let me know if you know the steps now. We want to keep him totally separate and feed on opposite sides of a closed door for now (at any distance where they all eat) then every day just move the dishes a bit closer. If you sense any negativity then reassure to make the cat(s) feel like everything is ok. And during other times step up play with them and give them love and attention ( as long as you are not at risk of being injured or hurt in any way). Also, try to keep them on a routine, a set schedule as cats are creatures of habit.

Just let me know if you have any questions.
 

tlco

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You have a lot of great advice here, so I am pretty sure mine will mimic most of theirs. Like said a 1 mo intro is very fast here are some tips I have not seen yet. I have been in Cat and Dog rescue for almost 35 yrs these are some I use to help new Feral cats to be introduced into a new home enviromint / colony (inside only house cats). Believe me or not I had at 1 time 42 cats and kittens in my home waitting for forever homes all living peacefully. You kind of have to restart so here is some ideals I used. Your older cats are gonna need to trust again and not fear him...

First is everybody fixed??? If not this maybe a little harder.

As stated your new baby needs a safe place away from everybody else with lots of visits from your family to help introduce him to the human family, sleep in the same room with him if possible it helps him to trust you. Start slow letting him explore you. Take it easy picking him up wait for him to let you know its ok start slow with him in your lap or next to you. Lot of love and praise treats if he likes them I used cheese. Leave one of your dirty shirts in his place to sleep so he can smell you and get to know your scent and your family. Give your older cats something to sleep on too a towel, t shirt, baby blanket whatever put it where they sleep. After about a week switch the blankets give your new cat the blankets from the other cats (keep yours in there as well) and give the older cats his blanket. This way they get use to each others smell without actually being in contact with each other. Do this off an on for several weeks sometimes longer do it the whole time your are doing introductions..changing out the the items as needed the ideal is for them to get use the others smell.

Set food and water bowel next to the door where the new cats is so that every time the eat they smell each other I would do this by a closed door eventually you will see them playing "footsie" under the door (which is a good sign). Then try a gate of some kind that they can't jump over but can see each other...here you might have to move the bowls back a little as they may not want to eat right beside each other. Slowly move the bowls closer as they get more comfortable. Always praising your older cats and reassuring them its ok.

Once they are comfortable around each other this way then start with a wire crate / kitty condo..put the new guy in the crate with all his stuff litter box food toys "scented" blankets and have him out in the rest of the house for the day / days....this is another long process. This will get him use to the coming and goings in the house and all the noises. Your other cats can interact with him safely when you are not home. You can take him back to his room or let him stay in the condo depending on its size give him play time out of the condo with the other cats not around. Once all this hissing stops and everybody is comfortable being in the same room you can start with small trips out of the condo without the others around then slowly introduce them into the house with each other (one cat at a time). Try not to let anybody get a height advantage on the other....There still might be a few swats but as long as nobody is bleeding or getting hurt they are just working out who is the top cat in the colony... here is a good article on introduction using some of the same techniques I just described. Good luck with some work he will blend in with the rest in time. Introducing Your Cat to a New Cat | PAWS.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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You have a lot of great advice here, so I am pretty sure mine will mimic most of theirs. Like said a 1 mo intro is very fast here are some tips I have not seen yet. I have been in Cat and Dog rescue for almost 35 yrs these are some I use to help new Feral cats to be introduced into a new home enviromint / colony (inside only house cats). Believe me or not I had at 1 time 42 cats and kittens in my home waitting for forever homes all living peacefully. You kind of have to restart so here is some ideals I used. Your older cats are gonna need to trust again and not fear him...

First is everybody fixed??? If not this maybe a little harder.

As stated your new baby needs a safe place away from everybody else with lots of visits from your family to help introduce him to the human family, sleep in the same room with him if possible it helps him to trust you. Start slow letting him explore you. Take it easy picking him up wait for him to let you know its ok start slow with him in your lap or next to you. Lot of love and praise treats if he likes them I used cheese. Leave one of your dirty shirts in his place to sleep so he can smell you and get to know your scent and your family. Give your older cats something to sleep on too a towel, t shirt, baby blanket whatever put it where they sleep. After about a week switch the blankets give your new cat the blankets from the other cats (keep yours in there as well) and give the older cats his blanket. This way they get use to each others smell without actually being in contact with each other. Do this off an on for several weeks sometimes longer do it the whole time your are doing introductions..changing out the the items as needed the ideal is for them to get use the others smell.

Set food and water bowel next to the door where the new cats is so that every time the eat they smell each other I would do this by a closed door eventually you will see them playing "footsie" under the door (which is a good sign). Then try a gate of some kind that they can't jump over but can see each other...here you might have to move the bowls back a little as they may not want to eat right beside each other. Slowly move the bowls closer as they get more comfortable. Always praising your older cats and reassuring them its ok.

Once they are comfortable around each other this way then start with a wire crate / kitty condo..put the new guy in the crate with all his stuff litter box food toys "scented" blankets and have him out in the rest of the house for the day / days....this is another long process. This will get him use to the coming and goings in the house and all the noises. Your other cats can interact with him safely when you are not home. You can take him back to his room or let him stay in the condo depending on its size give him play time out of the condo with the other cats not around. Once all this hissing stops and everybody is comfortable being in the same room you can start with small trips out of the condo without the others around then slowly introduce them into the house with each other (one cat at a time). Try not to let anybody get a height advantage on the other....There still might be a few swats but as long as nobody is bleeding or getting hurt they are just working out who is the top cat in the colony... here is a good article on introduction using some of the same techniques I just described. Good luck with some work he will blend in with the rest in time. Introducing Your Cat to a New Cat | PAWS.

Thank you! Yes, everyone is fixed. He is in his room with a baby gate (not a lot of view from center, but a side that gives a good view and a paw can come out and say hello or buzz off, so we have a peg board across. It allows some light, some shadow. Sadly, with carpeting, we have not had good luck with the doors closed. Every one of our cats has tried to claw under it, shredding the carpet so we have a mat under each door. But, with the gate, we have it up a tiny bit to allow interaction (really just us with toys) and a rising pegboard to eventually show (surprise!) another cat lives here that you met already, but hopefully forgot about how it went. And with the door being open, he can still hear us in the house and all the scary sounds like the vacuum (not that often sadly), the dishwasher, etc. I love the idea of a cat condo down by us. My biggest issue is how to get him in it and out of it. He walked into one room and we walked him into the other because we had a bit of control blocking off the hallway. With him being downstairs, he will run/hide and the cat condo will be a large sign of failure sitting in our family room. Every time I am with him, I pet/scratch him as he rubs his mouth on my toes and put my hand under his belly. His reaction, if busy eating, is ok, but otherwise, he wants nothing to do with it. In the beginning, he was more likely to crawl up on my lap, especially when I had a fuzzy blanket, but now, not so much. I did sleep in his room, and when he slept, he was on the bed near my knees. Close, but not too close. I will do that again, but I am still recovering from his 3 a.m. party that I stayed an hour for.

Today, my female cat ate her food on one side of the gate while he ate on the other. It was loud, happy, hungry eating, so she heard him and he heard her. Her reaction was so cute listening to him, but did not bother her one bit like it used to. My boy ate from his automatic opening feeder that we keep there now 24/7. He nibbles and exits. We tried to get him on a schedule, but it was horrible and once we got our female, she ate his food and got fat (another issue). So the feeder protects his food and his microchip opens it up. He started eating before we got there and did not stick around too long, but went into the original cat room right across our tiny hallway (both bedroom closets share the same wall). Our intent is to open up the closets with a cat door so our new boy can access another area. This is our plan to set up before our vacation if things are still not so great. We can't expect two young girls staying here to handle what we are trying to handle.

I so appreciate everyone's advice. I have hope. I also have a moody resident boy that follows me (always did) and is not super happy with all the time I spend with the new guy. So I am trying to play more with him, but he won't always have that. And playing with our girl and making our new guy happy. Six weeks ago, I was working from home with a cat on the dining room chair next to me and one on my lap, and it was quiet and peaceful. My dream is for that peace to come again with all three.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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You are very welcome. Happy to help. Thank you for saving him!!

Ok, great that he is in his room securely. We'll move from there. I am not surprised he is doing well in there.

For now, I think I would just keep him in that room and not link the other room. It will be a bit easier to control where we is and how we do the intro process.

"Anyway, my resident male has been trying to be the boss of our resident female. He always did fake pounce at her, but seems more inclined now to prove he's the man." - Ok, that might be a sign of some insecurity. I would need to hear more about it. Step up play with him if possible. Also, just reassure him that everything is ok. Finally, just make sure their interactions are as positive as possible. Distract him with something positive if possible.

"She half takes him seriously and runs and then plops down because she knows he won't hurt her." - That is very good. She is doing a good job. We just need to make sure there isn't any negativity that could lead to a loss of confidence.

"I have a male cat who can be very girly and a female cat that (I can say this because I am) acts like she is from NJ." - Hahahahaha, too funny.

"That encourages me that you have feral cats." - I deal with ferals all the time. I have only had ferals, take care of a colony, help others with ferals. To me, ferals are just cats that had a different start in life. They still have the same instincts, want love, can trust, etc. Just need a bit more effort to build that trust. But when you do the bond can be something very special.

"Whenever I tried to find something about adopting a cat from a colony, it said DO NOT remove the cat from the colony - TN"Return" and that scared me." - Yes, it really depends. I always think it is best to have a home for every cat. The lifespan of a cat in a colony is shorter than one in a home. BUT there are dynamics in a colony. So it is a bit more nuanced, more art than science really. I do TNR all the time and my colony is happy and loving. But if the world was perfect my colony cats and all cats in the wild would have a loving home.

"I know he is a sweetheart with us and I've seen him non-stop clear the room of cats and then rest and go on to clear the next room." - He seems like a great cat. He is just acting like a cat, territorial probably. We just need to teach him that the other cats are positive and not negative and build that trust and confidence. We do this all the time. It may take some time and effort but we should be able to be successful.

My cats are all from the streets. A number were injured, some older and vulnerable. It is hard to save some and not all but there are limits. All the cats in my colony I WISH could be in my home. I love them, they are sweet. But I can't. Emotionally that is hard as a lot of sadness comes from taking care of a colony but it is also rewarding.

If you have videos of him that would be great.

Nothing I have read is really anything surprising or out of the ordinary. It sometimes starts off well and since there isn't a strong base of trust it then goes downhill. That is so common. It really is all about building confidence (as a confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted) and making positive associations and maximizing positive encounters and minimizing/avoiding negative encounters to build that trust so that the cats know the other cat(s) don't mean harm or negativity.

Don't worry, I will be with you every step of the way. We just have some work to do.

Let me know if you know the steps now. We want to keep him totally separate and feed on opposite sides of a closed door for now (at any distance where they all eat) then every day just move the dishes a bit closer. If you sense any negativity then reassure to make the cat(s) feel like everything is ok. And during other times step up play with them and give them love and attention ( as long as you are not at risk of being injured or hurt in any way). Also, try to keep them on a routine, a set schedule as cats are creatures of habit.

Just let me know if you have any questions.
You are so kind. Thank you. We have a baby gate up since the closed door does not allow much sound or contact at all with our rugs/mat. I know my cats love to look under the door to the basement, and that door has room for interaction because of the hardwood, but our bedroom doors with the carpeting and the mat because the carpeting becomes the scratching post, does not allow any interaction. So the baby gate is sort of double plastic since it is not fully expanded and then we have a pegboard above it on hooks and now a pegboard in front of it. If you get super close and close one eye, you can kind of see in there, but otherwise it is more of a shadow. Our new cat is vocal at certain times, so they definitely hear him. We had three cats eating together oh so briefly today, until the one who nibbles and exits was done. It still felt like progress. The dishes are right there so until things progress, my nibbler has to continue to visit his new "friend." There is a lot of guilt with the whole process trying to play with each of them equally when my residents may nor may not feel like playing, and then having them follow me to his room where I try to make him happy even though I feel guilty he is stuck in a room. My resident cats are not bonded in a cuddly kind of way, but were doing much better with each other and now the boy is more likely to be grumpy with the girl and bat her away and chase her, but she definitely does not feel threatened by him, just annoyed because they have built a form of trust with each other. He rescued her when she was in an "attack" that spanned several rooms. I do have many videos and would love to share them, but I also don't want there to be any negativity to come back at him if after all of this, he ends up back at the rescue looking for a cat free home. We have been silent on the internet world while we work this out, but there are people out there who would love an update on him. We love him and want to keep him, but I also know sometimes the best thing is not what I want, but what is right for the cats. So when do you think we will know when to try another introduction. I am not in any hurry and with us deciding to expand his room into two so we can vacation in August has helped us not feel too guilty abut his one room life.
 

calicosrspecial

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You are so kind. Thank you. We have a baby gate up since the closed door does not allow much sound or contact at all with our rugs/mat. I know my cats love to look under the door to the basement, and that door has room for interaction because of the hardwood, but our bedroom doors with the carpeting and the mat because the carpeting becomes the scratching post, does not allow any interaction. So the baby gate is sort of double plastic since it is not fully expanded and then we have a pegboard above it on hooks and now a pegboard in front of it. If you get super close and close one eye, you can kind of see in there, but otherwise it is more of a shadow. Our new cat is vocal at certain times, so they definitely hear him. We had three cats eating together oh so briefly today, until the one who nibbles and exits was done. It still felt like progress. The dishes are right there so until things progress, my nibbler has to continue to visit his new "friend." There is a lot of guilt with the whole process trying to play with each of them equally when my residents may nor may not feel like playing, and then having them follow me to his room where I try to make him happy even though I feel guilty he is stuck in a room. My resident cats are not bonded in a cuddly kind of way, but were doing much better with each other and now the boy is more likely to be grumpy with the girl and bat her away and chase her, but she definitely does not feel threatened by him, just annoyed because they have built a form of trust with each other. He rescued her when she was in an "attack" that spanned several rooms. I do have many videos and would love to share them, but I also don't want there to be any negativity to come back at him if after all of this, he ends up back at the rescue looking for a cat free home. We have been silent on the internet world while we work this out, but there are people out there who would love an update on him. We love him and want to keep him, but I also know sometimes the best thing is not what I want, but what is right for the cats. So when do you think we will know when to try another introduction. I am not in any hurry and with us deciding to expand his room into two so we can vacation in August has helped us not feel too guilty abut his one room life.
You are welcome.

That is a good set up. Just keep it as much "scent only" as possible. Keep feeding by the door and make that positive associations. We want to keep the pawing as limited as possible for now so distract as needed to avoid. But it sounds like things are going well. Keep it up.

"We had three cats eating together oh so briefly today, until the one who nibbles and exits was done. It still felt like progress." - YES!!! Absolutely progress. Don't worry, they will figure it out and make that positive association (eating) with nothing negative happening so it builds trust and confidence.

"There is a lot of guilt with the whole process trying to play with each of them equally when my residents may nor may not feel like playing, and then having them follow me to his room where I try to make him happy even though I feel guilty he is stuck in a room." - PLEASE do not feel guilty, you have NO REASON too. The new guy has to be in his room so need to feel guilty. And on the attention, if they chose not to play it happens. You are trying. You are doing your best and I am PROUD of you. I think you are doing great and everything correctly. So no reason at all to feel guilty. Also, and this is really important. Cats take on our emotions so the more "off" we are the more cautious, uneasy, less confident they will be and that will cause issues. Just stay as calm and confident as possible and keep what you are doing. You are doing great!!

"My resident cats are not bonded in a cuddly kind of way, but were doing much better with each other and now the boy is more likely to be grumpy with the girl and bat her away and chase her, but she definitely does not feel threatened by him, just annoyed because they have built a form of trust with each other." - Yes, that is understandable. So we do need to work on their confidence and positive associations etc. So just play with them, feed them together, make those positive associations between them. If you sense tension distract in a positive way. (Avoiding negatives is a positive). Just keep their confidence up. They are in a good relationship so we can handle it.

"I love the idea of a cat condo down by us. My biggest issue is how to get him in it and out of it. He walked into one room and we walked him into the other because we had a bit of control blocking off the hallway. With him being downstairs, he will run/hide and the cat condo will be a large sign of failure sitting in our family room." - Cat condos can be a part of this. In my "Height" section of my confidence building program that includes Cat trees, Cat Shelving, Warm and Comfy bedding, Scratching posts, etc. I like to have those in each territory. Then I use those in intros moving them into other territories so that they feel "ownership" in those new territories. So those things in the new cat's territory is great. And also in the resident cats territory. They help build confidence and territorial security which helps in accepting other cats.

Also, I really want to view things in truth based views rather than fears. Nothing is going to be a sign of "failure" other than at some point we say it just isn't going to work (which I don't expect). I want to take one step at a time, not get ahead of ourselves and work to make this happen. There is absolutely no reason for you to be worried or feel guilty etc. I will give it to you straight. If it isn;t going to work I will tell you but there is no reason to believe at this point that is going to happen.

"Every time I am with him, I pet/scratch him as he rubs his mouth on my toes and put my hand under his belly. His reaction, if busy eating, is ok, but otherwise, he wants nothing to do with it. In the beginning, he was more likely to crawl up on my lap, especially when I had a fuzzy blanket, but now, not so much. I did sleep in his room, and when he slept, he was on the bed near my knees. Close, but not too close. I will do that again, but I am still recovering from his 3 a.m. party that I stayed an hour for." - Ok, just let him go at his pace. So use food to build a bond. Talk to him. I typically don't initiate attention, I let the cat do it. I give them eye kisses to show trust. I use food, I talk calm, confidently and lovingly to them. Cats will respond to love. How touchy feely they are depends but all we want is for them to be happy and confident.

"Today, my female cat ate her food on one side of the gate while he ate on the other. It was loud, happy, hungry eating, so she heard him and he heard her. Her reaction was so cute listening to him, but did not bother her one bit like it used to. My boy ate from his automatic opening feeder that we keep there now 24/7. He nibbles and exits. We tried to get him on a schedule, but it was horrible and once we got our female, she ate his food and got fat (another issue). So the feeder protects his food and his microchip opens it up. He started eating before we got there and did not stick around too long, but went into the original cat room right across our tiny hallway (both bedroom closets share the same wall)." - That is great. That is the point, to make that positive association with food and realize nothing negative happens. And we reinforce that and it builds trust and confidence. Keep it up.

"I also have a moody resident boy that follows me (always did) and is not super happy with all the time I spend with the new guy. So I am trying to play more with him, but he won't always have that. And playing with our girl and making our new guy happy. Six weeks ago, I was working from home with a cat on the dining room chair next to me and one on my lap, and it was quiet and peaceful. My dream is for that peace to come again with all three." - I just want to make sure how many cats you have. 2 resident cats (a male and a female) and the new cat. Correct? No other animals? Great you are playing with the moody boy, keep trying. And remember confidence comes from Play, Food, Height and Love. So there are multiple animals to build confidence. Just use them all as much as possible.

The new guy is going to be fine in a bedroom. We'll get it comfy for him with a cat tree, scratching post, litter boxes, comfy bedding, clean water, food, etc. If he can look out of a window safely that is great.

Ok on the videos. Maybe down the road. I will say, I am highly confident we can get them intro'd. I am not at all worried you will have to re-home him etc. The process works. We just need to have the knowledge (which we have) and put in the effort (which I feel like you will). Intro's can take some time. A month is usually not realistic. I don't have a good enough feel on your intro since we are early. I will know more when I see the progress. But I have not read anything that concerns me, that is out of the ordinary. Everything seems like a typical intro.

Don't worry, we can handle this. Just take one step at a time and build that trust and confidence and distract in a positive way as needed.

Please ask anything, anytime and post anytime. Here for you. Keep up the great work.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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You are welcome.

That is a good set up. Just keep it as much "scent only" as possible. Keep feeding by the door and make that positive associations. We want to keep the pawing as limited as possible for now so distract as needed to avoid. But it sounds like things are going well. Keep it up.

"We had three cats eating together oh so briefly today, until the one who nibbles and exits was done. It still felt like progress." - YES!!! Absolutely progress. Don't worry, they will figure it out and make that positive association (eating) with nothing negative happening so it builds trust and confidence.

"There is a lot of guilt with the whole process trying to play with each of them equally when my residents may nor may not feel like playing, and then having them follow me to his room where I try to make him happy even though I feel guilty he is stuck in a room." - PLEASE do not feel guilty, you have NO REASON too. The new guy has to be in his room so need to feel guilty. And on the attention, if they chose not to play it happens. You are trying. You are doing your best and I am PROUD of you. I think you are doing great and everything correctly. So no reason at all to feel guilty. Also, and this is really important. Cats take on our emotions so the more "off" we are the more cautious, uneasy, less confident they will be and that will cause issues. Just stay as calm and confident as possible and keep what you are doing. You are doing great!!

"My resident cats are not bonded in a cuddly kind of way, but were doing much better with each other and now the boy is more likely to be grumpy with the girl and bat her away and chase her, but she definitely does not feel threatened by him, just annoyed because they have built a form of trust with each other." - Yes, that is understandable. So we do need to work on their confidence and positive associations etc. So just play with them, feed them together, make those positive associations between them. If you sense tension distract in a positive way. (Avoiding negatives is a positive). Just keep their confidence up. They are in a good relationship so we can handle it.

"I love the idea of a cat condo down by us. My biggest issue is how to get him in it and out of it. He walked into one room and we walked him into the other because we had a bit of control blocking off the hallway. With him being downstairs, he will run/hide and the cat condo will be a large sign of failure sitting in our family room." - Cat condos can be a part of this. In my "Height" section of my confidence building program that includes Cat trees, Cat Shelving, Warm and Comfy bedding, Scratching posts, etc. I like to have those in each territory. Then I use those in intros moving them into other territories so that they feel "ownership" in those new territories. So those things in the new cat's territory is great. And also in the resident cats territory. They help build confidence and territorial security which helps in accepting other cats.

Also, I really want to view things in truth based views rather than fears. Nothing is going to be a sign of "failure" other than at some point we say it just isn't going to work (which I don't expect). I want to take one step at a time, not get ahead of ourselves and work to make this happen. There is absolutely no reason for you to be worried or feel guilty etc. I will give it to you straight. If it isn;t going to work I will tell you but there is no reason to believe at this point that is going to happen.

"Every time I am with him, I pet/scratch him as he rubs his mouth on my toes and put my hand under his belly. His reaction, if busy eating, is ok, but otherwise, he wants nothing to do with it. In the beginning, he was more likely to crawl up on my lap, especially when I had a fuzzy blanket, but now, not so much. I did sleep in his room, and when he slept, he was on the bed near my knees. Close, but not too close. I will do that again, but I am still recovering from his 3 a.m. party that I stayed an hour for." - Ok, just let him go at his pace. So use food to build a bond. Talk to him. I typically don't initiate attention, I let the cat do it. I give them eye kisses to show trust. I use food, I talk calm, confidently and lovingly to them. Cats will respond to love. How touchy feely they are depends but all we want is for them to be happy and confident.

"Today, my female cat ate her food on one side of the gate while he ate on the other. It was loud, happy, hungry eating, so she heard him and he heard her. Her reaction was so cute listening to him, but did not bother her one bit like it used to. My boy ate from his automatic opening feeder that we keep there now 24/7. He nibbles and exits. We tried to get him on a schedule, but it was horrible and once we got our female, she ate his food and got fat (another issue). So the feeder protects his food and his microchip opens it up. He started eating before we got there and did not stick around too long, but went into the original cat room right across our tiny hallway (both bedroom closets share the same wall)." - That is great. That is the point, to make that positive association with food and realize nothing negative happens. And we reinforce that and it builds trust and confidence. Keep it up.

"I also have a moody resident boy that follows me (always did) and is not super happy with all the time I spend with the new guy. So I am trying to play more with him, but he won't always have that. And playing with our girl and making our new guy happy. Six weeks ago, I was working from home with a cat on the dining room chair next to me and one on my lap, and it was quiet and peaceful. My dream is for that peace to come again with all three." - I just want to make sure how many cats you have. 2 resident cats (a male and a female) and the new cat. Correct? No other animals? Great you are playing with the moody boy, keep trying. And remember confidence comes from Play, Food, Height and Love. So there are multiple animals to build confidence. Just use them all as much as possible.

The new guy is going to be fine in a bedroom. We'll get it comfy for him with a cat tree, scratching post, litter boxes, comfy bedding, clean water, food, etc. If he can look out of a window safely that is great.

Ok on the videos. Maybe down the road. I will say, I am highly confident we can get them intro'd. I am not at all worried you will have to re-home him etc. The process works. We just need to have the knowledge (which we have) and put in the effort (which I feel like you will). Intro's can take some time. A month is usually not realistic. I don't have a good enough feel on your intro since we are early. I will know more when I see the progress. But I have not read anything that concerns me, that is out of the ordinary. Everything seems like a typical intro.

Don't worry, we can handle this. Just take one step at a time and build that trust and confidence and distract in a positive way as needed.

Please ask anything, anytime and post anytime. Here for you. Keep up the great work.
Thank you. I feel much better with all your advice. We do have a twin bed in there for him with several pillows and that is under one window that we added a reinforced screen so we can have it open when it is nice out. He also has a wide desk under the other window with fluffy blankets and a cozy bed that he loves to snuggle into. His litter box gets cleaned out every day. We have five litter boxes and three cats now, and I have always cleaned that every day. His large, high sided box is the challenging one because he pushes aside all the litter (flying litter) until he has the bare plastic and then he goes. Then he covers it up, chop, chop, chop - everything in it now in tiny pieces. Then he uncovers another area to go. Chop, chop, chop! Fun times. :)

We have a tiny cat tree in the one room that just reaches the window, so I am looking at purchasing another tree that he can have in his room and we can move with him into the family room. And my husband is planning to build the largest cat condo ever with our two metal dog crates (we shall see if that happens and if he can find the second crate). I love all the ideas to help him get more comfortable with us and the other cats and not see them as a threat to his new territory. The biggest drawback to everything is the inability to move him around. I feel like if I snag him somehow and get him moved for a day into something, I won't get him back and will lose all the progress. My husband picked him up once to bring into another room (in his little cat bed) for site swapping. He was terrified and hid for hours. When we tried to get him back in his room on our timing, he hid for hours again (overnight) and we were unsuccessful until nature called. We have to rebuild trust each time. We want to take him to our vet to get a microchip (no health issues and he has had an exam before we got him), but we know we will go back beyond square one over that. He was very loving today and we played over an hour until he got tired, but how long til we can move him around and do everything suggested, I don't know. I do know my son and his wife are having a baby in several weeks and we will want to go see that precious baby girl. Having cats sounded easier than all our dogs we have had, and it was ... until this little guy. I think we can be gone for a day. He does not overeat his dry food at all.

And, yes, only two resident cats. I was just being dramatic over the peaceful days of old. We wanted things to be a little more lively, but also thought there would be peaceful times, too.

I'm attaching a photo of our boy and girl resident cats. They were becoming closer lately, then the new cat dynamics changed them some, but are now getting back to normal which is friendly, grooming each other briefly which half the time leads to a swat or two, and trusting.

Thank you again. I honestly am terrible at navigating this site for some reason. It is like when my e-mails stack up and I lose where I was, lol. But I appreciate everyone here. :) IMG-7050.jpg
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you. I feel much better with all your advice. We do have a twin bed in there for him with several pillows and that is under one window that we added a reinforced screen so we can have it open when it is nice out. He also has a wide desk under the other window with fluffy blankets and a cozy bed that he loves to snuggle into. His litter box gets cleaned out every day. We have five litter boxes and three cats now, and I have always cleaned that every day. His large, high sided box is the challenging one because he pushes aside all the litter (flying litter) until he has the bare plastic and then he goes. Then he covers it up, chop, chop, chop - everything in it now in tiny pieces. Then he uncovers another area to go. Chop, chop, chop! Fun times. :)

We have a tiny cat tree in the one room that just reaches the window, so I am looking at purchasing another tree that he can have in his room and we can move with him into the family room. And my husband is planning to build the largest cat condo ever with our two metal dog crates (we shall see if that happens and if he can find the second crate). I love all the ideas to help him get more comfortable with us and the other cats and not see them as a threat to his new territory. The biggest drawback to everything is the inability to move him around. I feel like if I snag him somehow and get him moved for a day into something, I won't get him back and will lose all the progress. My husband picked him up once to bring into another room (in his little cat bed) for site swapping. He was terrified and hid for hours. When we tried to get him back in his room on our timing, he hid for hours again (overnight) and we were unsuccessful until nature called. We have to rebuild trust each time. We want to take him to our vet to get a microchip (no health issues and he has had an exam before we got him), but we know we will go back beyond square one over that. He was very loving today and we played over an hour until he got tired, but how long til we can move him around and do everything suggested, I don't know. I do know my son and his wife are having a baby in several weeks and we will want to go see that precious baby girl. Having cats sounded easier than all our dogs we have had, and it was ... until this little guy. I think we can be gone for a day. He does not overeat his dry food at all.

And, yes, only two resident cats. I was just being dramatic over the peaceful days of old. We wanted things to be a little more lively, but also thought there would be peaceful times, too.

I'm attaching a photo of our boy and girl resident cats. They were becoming closer lately, then the new cat dynamics changed them some, but are now getting back to normal which is friendly, grooming each other briefly which half the time leads to a swat or two, and trusting.

Thank you again. I honestly am terrible at navigating this site for some reason. It is like when my e-mails stack up and I lose where I was, lol. But I appreciate everyone here. :)View attachment 338787
You are very welcome.

Sounds like he has a great setup. Sounds perfect to me.

Yep. some will do that with the litter box. :/ My belief is if it is in the litter box then it isn't too bad....................

"We have a tiny cat tree in the one room that just reaches the window, so I am looking at purchasing another tree that he can have in his room and we can move with him into the family room." - That is perfect, great idea. A cat tree will give him another thing to own and as you say can be moved at the right time in the future.

I am very impressed with your husband. Good idea.

"The biggest drawback to everything is the inability to move him around. I feel like if I snag him somehow and get him moved for a day into something, I won't get him back and will lose all the progress." - Yes but that is something we will work on. We don;t really need to move him around right now. He should just be in his room for now. We'll work on building his confidence and trust. I wouldn;t worry about it right now.

"My husband picked him up once to bring into another room (in his little cat bed) for site swapping. He was terrified and hid for hours. When we tried to get him back in his room on our timing, he hid for hours again (overnight) and we were unsuccessful until nature called. We have to rebuild trust each time." - Yes, that is normal. It was just too early, he didn't have enough confidence and territorial security yet. I am glad that your husband was not hurt picking him up. So that is a good sign. I would be careful picking him up. We'll have to work on that going forward to carefully build trust about being picked up etc. It really is all about confidence. So we build confidence in a territory and then expand it out in addition to building trust in the other animals. It is just a process but we'll get there. It just takes some time.


We want to take him to our vet to get a microchip (no health issues and he has had an exam before we got him), but we know we will go back beyond square one over that. He was very loving today and we played over an hour until he got tired, but how long til we can move him around and do everything suggested, I don't know. I do know my son and his wife are having a baby in several weeks and we will want to go see that precious baby girl. Having cats sounded easier than all our dogs we have had, and it was ... until this little guy. I think we can be gone for a day. He does not overeat his dry food at all.

"We want to take him to our vet to get a microchip (no health issues and he has had an exam before we got him), but we know we will go back beyond square one over that." - Again it is all about confidence. Vet visits can be very difficult BUT with him gaining more confident he should rebound quicker when the time comes. For now it sounds like a vet visit isn't really that urgent. I would think in a few weeks time he should be fine. We'll just see how he is doing.

"He was very loving today and we played over an hour until he got tired" - GREAT!! Keep up the great work.

"but how long til we can move him around and do everything suggested, I don't know." - We'll just keep evaluating him. It depends. Probably several weeks but it really depends on his progress. Often we know how it will work out we just don;t know when. We know more soon.

"I do know my son and his wife are having a baby in several weeks and we will want to go see that precious baby girl. Having cats sounded easier than all our dogs we have had, and it was ... until this little guy. I think we can be gone for a day. He does not overeat his dry food at all." - I think you'll be able to go in several weeks. Even if you have to be gone for a few days a cat sitter should do fine. They just need to be kept separate. I wouldn't worry about this. We'll do everything we can to keep making progress.

"And, yes, only two resident cats. I was just being dramatic over the peaceful days of old. We wanted things to be a little more lively, but also thought there would be peaceful times, too." - Great. Oh, I know. It isn't too bad adding one cat to 2 others. It just takes a little time. Sounds like they all are doing well so I think we'll get there. When I don;t know yet but I am highly confident we'll get them intro'd.

The resident cats are GORGEOUS!!!! Thanks for the pic!!

"They were becoming closer lately, then the new cat dynamics changed them some, but are now getting back to normal which is friendly, grooming each other briefly which half the time leads to a swat or two, and trusting." - Great. The resident cats usually have the most difficult adjustment as it is "their" territory being "invaded". So the fact they seem be to adjusting and feeling more comfortable is a great sign. We still need to keep building their confidence and slowly introducing them, making those positive associations and maximizing positive encounters. But I am really encouraged to hear they are doing better.

You are welcome. Don;t worry, you are doing great on the posts on the site. And even more importantly doing great with the cats. Just keep doing what you are doing and we'll evaluate and see when we can move to the next step. Really like what I am reading in this update. great job!!
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Hi,

Doing cat intros takes time. It is all about building trust in each other. One month is oftentimes way too short. Cat intros can take a month to over a year. It just all depends on the progress at each "signpost". It is a process that takes some time.

So your cats should absolutely be totally separated for now. No visual contact for now. I know the enw cat may want to get out etc but for everyone it is best to just keep them confined to their room. And during that time work on building all the cat's confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love. So playing as much as possible to build confidence and territorial security. Feeding after play. This replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" survival instinct in the wild. This gives a cat confidence. And territorial ownership. Then give them places to go high (Cat trees, cat shelving) and warm and comfy bedding and scratching posts again to give them places to "own" by getting their scent on. Finally, Love which is just being as calm and confident and loving around them. Giving them good food, clean water, keeping their litter box clean. Letting them know everything is good.

A confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted.

Now, oftentimes it is the resident cats that have the most difficult transition as it is "their territory" being "invaded" by a potential threat. So we have to build the confidence of the new cat and the resident cats.

If a cat is not confident they will be vulnerable and act like prey which cause the other cat to attack more. But a confident cat will make the other cat think twice before attacking.

Then we want to slowly build trust between the cats and let them know that the other cat(s) aren't negative. So feeding on opposite sides of a closed door makes a positive association between the cats (food and no negativity = something positive). And the more times they can smell the other cat but there is something good (food) there and nothing negative happens then it builds trust. Then after a while we then get the other cat(s) scent on an old shirt and have it by the food in the cats territory. Again, positive associations and no negativity (an old shirt with a scent can't attack etc). And so on and so on. More steps, etc. It is a process.

So what I would do is keep them totally separated and start from the beginning. Feeding on opposite sides of a closed door. No visual contact. Do this for a week. Start the food a few feet from the door and each day slowly move the bowls closer to the door.

Then we can help you move through the next steps until we have a successful introduction.

I have all ferals, all my life I have only taken in ferals. Mostly older. I actually find ferals to be pretty good at learning to accept since they kind of have to in the wild to survive. I think of them as diplomatic.

Don't worry, we do this all the time. We can help you get them intro'd.

Please let us know what questions you have and update us. He sounds like a great cat so I am not worried. We just have some work to do. The most important thing is to build trust by making positive associations and making every encounter (whether via scent for now and visual later) as positive as possible while minimizing or avoiding any negative encounters.

OK, I need more advice, please. We have had our new guy separated in his own room for almost three weeks (ugh), got him his own cat tree, and other than wanting to get out when he hears the other cats, he seems just fine. The resident cats eat all their meals outside his room. We have a baby gate up and then a pegboard in front of that and above it. We lifted the gate/pegboard up a bit a week ago so there can be some paw interaction under the door. They can definitely hear each other and my resident male will jump up on the banister to try and get a better view down into his room. It has been several weeks of separation, going in and playing with him and trying to play with our resident cats. My resident male is not the same as he used to be. No longer enjoys playing as much, is more moody and has had episodes of being a jerk brother to our female resident cat. They always had their issues, but no hissing, just running and backing off, sometimes rolling on the floor after a cleaning session went bad. Now he is very moody, and we try to engage him in play and may get a paw to move and that's about it. He follows me up to the "other" cat's room and waits outside or across the little hallway into the original cat room where we have litter boxes and some more toys.

As far as our new guy, he always plays with us when we come in, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. He will walk away and go to sleep in his bed with me in there, and I still hang out in there with him even though he is asleep. He has his extra affectionate days and a few days not so much. I have yet to be able to lift him. He may put a paw on my leg, but does not climb up. I can put my hands under his belly when he is eating, but I would not try to lift him then. So I am still limited in that area. We have slept in there, get down on the floor with him and let him sniff us, but he may step on us to get somewhere else, but not stay.

I worry about building the confidence of my other cats, especially my resident boy that gives us glimpses of who he used to be, but is definitely not the same. He took the brunt of the "attacks" and kept coming back with the goal of being in the same room as us, being able to look out a window, being able to nap in our bedroom, etc. He can do all this now, but I know he knows the dude that caused him stress is still here.

Would you say it is time to allow more visual access to each other. If they eat near each other with our setup with no issues, then I guess being able to see each other safely would be next. We are trying to do this right this time and give everyone the best chance for success. We also purchased a pet door to install to give him access to the cat room across the hall via the closets. We hope to have him out and about and able to be in the same room with the residents without having to clear the room, but with vacation in August, we don't expect perfect harmony yet and will feel better if he has a bigger area of the house.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help us.
 

calicosrspecial

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OK, I need more advice, please. We have had our new guy separated in his own room for almost three weeks (ugh), got him his own cat tree, and other than wanting to get out when he hears the other cats, he seems just fine. The resident cats eat all their meals outside his room. We have a baby gate up and then a pegboard in front of that and above it. We lifted the gate/pegboard up a bit a week ago so there can be some paw interaction under the door. They can definitely hear each other and my resident male will jump up on the banister to try and get a better view down into his room. It has been several weeks of separation, going in and playing with him and trying to play with our resident cats. My resident male is not the same as he used to be. No longer enjoys playing as much, is more moody and has had episodes of being a jerk brother to our female resident cat. They always had their issues, but no hissing, just running and backing off, sometimes rolling on the floor after a cleaning session went bad. Now he is very moody, and we try to engage him in play and may get a paw to move and that's about it. He follows me up to the "other" cat's room and waits outside or across the little hallway into the original cat room where we have litter boxes and some more toys.

As far as our new guy, he always plays with us when we come in, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. He will walk away and go to sleep in his bed with me in there, and I still hang out in there with him even though he is asleep. He has his extra affectionate days and a few days not so much. I have yet to be able to lift him. He may put a paw on my leg, but does not climb up. I can put my hands under his belly when he is eating, but I would not try to lift him then. So I am still limited in that area. We have slept in there, get down on the floor with him and let him sniff us, but he may step on us to get somewhere else, but not stay.

I worry about building the confidence of my other cats, especially my resident boy that gives us glimpses of who he used to be, but is definitely not the same. He took the brunt of the "attacks" and kept coming back with the goal of being in the same room as us, being able to look out a window, being able to nap in our bedroom, etc. He can do all this now, but I know he knows the dude that caused him stress is still here.

Would you say it is time to allow more visual access to each other. If they eat near each other with our setup with no issues, then I guess being able to see each other safely would be next. We are trying to do this right this time and give everyone the best chance for success. We also purchased a pet door to install to give him access to the cat room across the hall via the closets. We hope to have him out and about and able to be in the same room with the residents without having to clear the room, but with vacation in August, we don't expect perfect harmony yet and will feel better if he has a bigger area of the house.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help us.
"We have had our new guy separated in his own room for almost three weeks (ugh), got him his own cat tree, and other than wanting to get out when he hears the other cats, he seems just fine." - Great.

"The resident cats eat all their meals outside his room." - Perfect. How close to the door are the bowls? And how ais the body languae of the cats (both new and resident)? Do they seem relaxed? Is it positive?

"My resident male is not the same as he used to be. No longer enjoys playing as much, is more moody and has had episodes of being a jerk brother to our female resident cat. They always had their issues, but no hissing, just running and backing off, sometimes rolling on the floor after a cleaning session went bad. Now he is very moody, and we try to engage him in play and may get a paw to move and that's about it. He follows me up to the "other" cat's room and waits outside or across the little hallway into the original cat room where we have litter boxes and some more toys." - Ok, that is normal. We need to do more work with him to make that positive association, build the confidence. So we'll want to make every encounter as positive s possible so distract as needed to reassure him that all is ok. Give him a little extra love and attention (as long as you are not at risk of being hurt). Keep trying to play. Stay calm and confident and loving around him. We want him to feel more confident and trusting. We want him to know he will not be hurt by this new "intruder". This is normal since it is his territory being "invaded". So we just need to show him that the new cat isn't a threat to his food, water, physical well being, etc.

"As far as our new guy, he always plays with us when we come in, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. He will walk away and go to sleep in his bed with me in there, and I still hang out in there with him even though he is asleep. He has his extra affectionate days and a few days not so much. I have yet to be able to lift him. He may put a paw on my leg, but does not climb up. I can put my hands under his belly when he is eating, but I would not try to lift him then. So I am still limited in that area. We have slept in there, get down on the floor with him and let him sniff us, but he may step on us to get somewhere else, but not stay." - Great. He is doing really well. That will help us a lot. Just keep doing what you are doing, he is doing great.

"I worry about building the confidence of my other cats, especially my resident boy that gives us glimpses of who he used to be, but is definitely not the same. He took the brunt of the "attacks" and kept coming back with the goal of being in the same room as us, being able to look out a window, being able to nap in our bedroom, etc. He can do all this now, but I know he knows the dude that caused him stress is still here." - Don't worry, we will get there. We have a number of avenues to build confidence. Play, Food, Height and Love. And also positive encounters. So every time a cat smells another cat, or sees them, or eats near them (with scent) and nothing negative happens it is a positive that builds confidence. So we just reinforce positive encounters and minimize or avoid negative encounters. And the more nothing bad happens the more trust and confidence is built. It is a process but we will get there. And during this just try to be as normal around them as possible. The fact you are seeing "glimpses" of who he used to be is a great sign of progress. We will get there, don't worry.

"Would you say it is time to allow more visual access to each other. If they eat near each other with our setup with no issues, then I guess being able to see each other safely would be next." - I don't think yet. I would like the resident boy to get a bit more comfortable. I want him to be a bit more like his old self. Keep letting me know how he is acting, etc. You are correct though, visual is the next step. The biggest mistake I see is people rushing the process. I really like the progress so far (being able to eat with the door closed with no issues) so let's keep reinforcing that and let me know how the resident boy is acting. I want him to be more aloof, ambivalent around the new guy a bit more. So like when he jumps on the banister to look into the new guy's room I would like to see that diminished or better body language. When he does go up there reassure him that everything is ok. De-escalate. It is a fair amount of art but you are good with cats so I think you know how to do it.

Don't worry about the new guy's territory. For now, the amount of territory is fine for him. The most important part is to get the resident boy feeling more confident, more trusting. The new guy sounds like he is doing great.

We'll figure out where we are when you go away. The main part from here is making positive associations (feeding on opposite sides of the closed door (no visual for now) and making every encounter as positive as possible and reassuring/distracting if you sense any tension. The avoidance of negatives is a positive and builds trust and confidence.

You are very welcome. I am happy to help. Never feel like you can't post something, etc. The more info the better so I am happy to help. I think you are doing great. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. We'll get there. The new guy is doing great. We just need to help the resident boy and reinforce that the new guy is positive and not a negative or a threat. It sounds like it is going well so far. And the more confident the cats are the more likely they will accept and be accepted.

Please let me know if that makes sense. And ask any questions for clarification etc. Happy to help. I am really pleased at the progress.
 

flybear

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I have fostered dogs and to a lesser extend cats and I have learned over the years that ... my home isn't right for every dog or cat and that ... my desire to help those poor creatures needs to take into account the welfare and happiness of my own pets first ... and that is hard ! I fostered one of the cutest puppies you'll ever meet but at the tender age of 8 weeks he terrorized my older dog who hid under tables and chairs and we had a kitten a while ago who would chase my mellow cats to no end ... in both situations we decided to find a different foster/permanent home ... I COULD have made it work with tons of training and adjustments but I did not think it would be fair to my pets to share their space with an animal they did not like. On the other hand there have been fosters that stayed because they were just so perfectly at home and fit into the family. My heart bleeds every time I have to admit that it won't work .. but at the end of the day you will have to decide long term if everyone will be happy with the arrangement to some extend ... you can give it time but not all cats or dogs ( or birds ) get along and it is stressful for them if things are tense. My 3 cats rejected one kitten a few months ago and accepted my latest one in just a few days ... no idea why - all I know it that the first one deserved a stress free and long home and mine wasn't it ...
 
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