Please helps! Failed cat introduction

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I’m currently desperate for help, we are having trouble with our two cats after introducing them four months ago.

Background: we’ve had our first cat for about 1,5 years. She is a five year old female we got from a shelter (not socialised from youth). The second cat is a two year old female, also from a shelter.

I have to admit we did some mistakes in the beginning while introducing them. We kept the new cat in the bathroom at first, for three weeks or so, but they were probably more together than they should have been early in the process. Partly because we have a small apartement, neither of them likes to be held, so we can’t carry them out, and they both hate being confined to a separate room.
This was okay to begin with, they never really liked each other, but they were doing okay.
Lately though, our old cat has become more and more stressed and aggressive. She will chase the new cat out on the enclosed patio, and come back (thay never really fight) and she guards the litter boxes (we have three and she guards all three of them).
We were adviced to try reintroduction, by keeping the new girl on the patio and switching, (she likes it there) but this only seems to have made them both more stressed out. The new girl is very playful; but my oldest has become less so.
They are mostly fine being together, but the oldest seems very stressed, and she is always guarding her recourses. Also, the new cat seems to be guarding the sofa.
we have three litter boxes, two food dispensers and several water bowls. The main problem is the chasing and the guarding of the litter boxes.
I’m at a loss for what to do, and I’m really stressed out about this situation!
Thankful for any tips!
 

savannahjansson

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Hello there,

I'm really sorry to hear about the challenges you're facing with your two cats. Introducing cats can indeed be a tricky process, especially when they have different backgrounds and personalities. From what you've shared, it's clear that you've put a lot of effort into trying to make things work, and that's commendable.

Here are a few additional tips that might help with the situation: Gradual reintroduction by letting them get used to each other's scents, using feeding time to create positive associations, engaging in separate interactive play sessions, providing vertical space with cat trees and hideaways, and, most importantly, being patient.

Cats might take longer to adjust than we'd like, but with time and consistent effort, their relationship may improve. Please keep us updated on how things progress, and don't hesitate to ask if you have any more questions or concerns.

We're here to support you through this process!
 

Alldara

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The problem is likely the patio. The new cat smells like different outside smells all the time.

If you have a bedroom with a closed door, I would suggest one cat in the bedroom and one in the rest of the apartment. Rotate who is where. Each cat does 24 hours in the bedroom. If there's two humans one can sleep out in the living area with the other cat if it becomes an issue (I slept on the couch a lot during intros).

Lots of playtime for both. Older one might not play at first but keep trying at it.

Cat calming music is helpful. You can find some on any streaming service. Steer clear of any with lots of high pitch tones.

Take a worn shirt and rub it on cat A, then Cat B, then Cat A again and then around cat level of your hallways etc.

Use catnip to your advantage if that helps to chill them out..if it makes them hyper, use before scheduled playtime to push them to use up that extra but of nervous energy.

Best bet for playtime is out of one another's line of sight. Again, if there's two humans, try one with one cat in the bedroom and the other in the main living space with the other cat. Otherwise try one on the bed and one on the floor.


Food through enrichment. There's lots of DIY food puzzles on YouTube to try. Lick mats are also great or snuffle mats. Basically, another thing to occupy the brain to get the cat out of that nervous state of mind.


You can also try putting on baby enrichment videos. People have had good luck with that. Basically they are big colourful shapes bobbing around the TV, but it could give them a joint 'hobby'. Joint hobbies are great for bonding. Mine love watching our bird feeder for that. We started with kind of segregated beds so they would feel separate. But now it's just a large flat surface. (Picture)
 

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Thanks so much for tips!
I tried putting the new cat in the bedroom, but she got really really freaked out and tried to escape all the time. That’s the main issue, they really don’t like being in confined spaces. Should I still try to use the bedroom?
 

Alldara

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Thanks so much for tips!
I tried putting the new cat in the bedroom, but she got really really freaked out and tried to escape all the time. That’s the main issue, they really don’t like being in confined spaces. Should I still try to use the bedroom?
Using the bedroom will be better for the introductions than using the patio.

It is normal for a cat not to want to be confined to a room. Sometimes right away but usually at least after a day or two there are escape attempts or they bolt when you open the door.

Use a pillow to block escape attempts.

Play in that room with the cat or hide treats around it like an Easter egg hunt. Make it a nice place to be.
 
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Thank you!! I will definitely try to do a proper reintroduction. Crossing my fingers things will ease up after a while!
 

Alldara

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Thank you!! I will definitely try to do a proper reintroduction. Crossing my fingers things will ease up after a while!
Us too! Can't wait to hear what works and what doesn't. We are here to help brainstorm if you want,.or just to hear.yoir updates.
 
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Hello!
Just wanted to post an update - things are gradually getting better! We ended up separating them at night, when our oldest cat is most active, and this helped a lot! We keep the new cat in the bedroom with us at night and she sleeps there in her bed. We also have to play ALOT with the both of them everyday which helpes. There is still some chasing, and our new cat is still wary of the resident cat, but I’m hoping it will gradually get better over time. Today I even found them sleeping next to each other on the couch when I got home, which I think is a huge improvement!
Thanks for all the tips!
 

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Alldara

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Hello!
Just wanted to post an update - things are gradually getting better! We ended up separating them at night, when our oldest cat is most active, and this helped a lot! We keep the new cat in the bedroom with us at night and she sleeps there in her bed. We also have to play ALOT with the both of them everyday which helpes. There is still some chasing, and our new cat is still wary of the resident cat, but I’m hoping it will gradually get better over time. Today I even found them sleeping next to each other on the couch when I got home, which I think is a huge improvement!
Thanks for all the tips!
Great job! I'm sure both cats are grateful for your hard work. Thanks for updating us.
 
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