Rushed initial introduction of adults cats, now concerned about longterm success

TheHalloweens

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As the title says, I fear I (unintentionally) rushed my initial introduction with my 2 cats and now I am concerned I have ruined it forever. Everyone here is so experienced and wise so I wanted to see what you all thought

For a brief background: I had a resident (only resident by a few weeks) 2 year old, semi-feral male cat and i adopted a 2 year old (also former semi feral) cat who had been with a foster for over a year. Resident cat is very timid, fearful and shy. He was unfixed (he is now-about 1.5 months out) when I got him and has since made leaps and bounds in his personality (once all of this parasites, cystitis and other issues were fixed). New cat is a female who is quite literally the most affectionate cat (towards people) that I have ever had. Her foster had a total of 10 cats and her info said she was good with cats which is why I selected her

I followed the Jackson Galaxy introduction technique but I wasn't sure how to gauge what the "move on to the next step when they are ready" meant so I was using hissing and relaxation in each others presence as my guide. Since they both were doing so well, they were in each others presence without a barrier within 4 days. The first time they were in each others presence (apart from me playing with her like crazy and giving him treats) they were laying in the same room with each other and slow blinking so I was like "oh yay i'm one of the lucky ones where they like each other right away"...boy was I wrong

Since then, New cat has progressively chased (at first I thought it was playing-I no longer do since she chases him from second story all the way down to the basement and her ENTIRE hair on her body is puffed. It absolutely seems aggressive). These attacks ALWAYS happen when Resident is not paying attention (so sleeping, has his back turned, playing with something else). Because of this I had to scale way back, moving to the closed door feeding together, then visual access etc after each incident. There have been probably 6 at this point. So far no fur has flown and no actual fight because he just runs for his life while she chases him down like a velociraptor. She is just SO much more confident than he is-I thought it would help him but it's been the opposite. If they are allowed together for more than 15 minutes or so, she WILL attack at some point

I am no longer allowing them any access to each other without a barrier since the most recent attack, which caused me to lose my temper and yell and clap loudly to get her to leave him alone (only time I have ever done that and I felt horrible). Resident cat (who is being bullied) will lay in her presence but does hiss and growl a little bit-probably because of the unpredictable and constant attacks.

My question is multi: is what I am describing concerning? Is this an issue that will exist long term? These cats are both FIV+ and the thought of sending her back to her foster (where she was for over a year-I fear due to her special needs) would absolutely destroy me. She also needs a very expensive (but essential) surgery which we are set up to do this week for ear polyps, but I fear if I send her back she won't be able to get it as the adoption organization simply can't afford it. I just want them to be happy and coexist but I am afraid I ruined their chances at this forver. By the way, we are currently in 2.5 weeks since bringing New cat home. Is this just too early to tell? I want hope right now more than anything. Any advice you can give is so appreciated
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi and welcome to TCS! As you suggested, you just rushed the introduction process. Since both cats are fairly new to your home, neither is really 'at home' in your house just yet. And even though they are young cat, some cats just take longer to adapt. 2.5 weeks is nothing, tbh. He needs confidence building and she needs to be restricted from attacking him, which should help.

Keep them separated (with a see through barrier), and get past her surgery, which is going to delay introductions one way or the other. Site swap often once she is more back to normal, and go from there.

I doubt that what has gone on is likely to have ruined any chance of them eventually getting along, or at a minimum tolerating each other. I have included a link below to TCS' article about unsuccessful introductions, although I can hardly call it that given the short period of time that has transpired. I also included another link about getting cats adapted to a new home, in case that might help too.
How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction - TheCatSite
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home - TheCatSite
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Thanks for giving homes to these cats who might otherwise not yet be adopted. I agree it's early days yet, and also that maybe you did rush the introductions a bit.

The fact that there's been no actual fights is good, but still the male cat "running for his life" isn't good.

Taking a step backwards and keeping them separated, and slowly re-introducing, but at the same time locking one in a different room from time to time, so the other can have access to the rest of the home and get their scent everywhere should help. FeebysOwner FeebysOwner makes a good point about continued the separation until after the female's surgery, as sometimes non-recognition aggression can occur after one cat has been to the vet.
 

niki-nicole

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I had to re-introduce our cats and it worked. It took a while and we added a screen door to divide the house, but it worked! I'm in the main part of the house during the day and living room in the evening, so I was able to spend time in both places with both cats. They calmed knowing that they were safe from each other and I slowly started feeding them closer and closer to the screen door until there were no more reactions to each other. Good luck!
 
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TheHalloweens

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Thank you all so much. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this! We are taking it SLOW from now on. I am absolutely determined to make it work because I really care about them both.
 
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