Saving a bad introduction

Dyd

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 7, 2022
Messages
2
Purraise
4
I just moved into my boyfriend's house with my 2 3-year old female torties, Dinah and Willow (spayed) from across country and he has an 8 year old Somalie male, Ollie (neutered). I took the girls straight to a spare room when we arrived and they were digging at the door wanting to get out by the second day. Ollie spent almost every minute sitting outside their door being super curious. I did scent swapping of their beds which seemed successful (Dinah was laying in his bed within hours) and peeks of Ollie through the cracked door and Ollie was chill. 2 days later we did a supervised open door exchange. Dinah is more sociable and, although she did some light hissing and running away she seemed mostly okay with seeing Ollie. Willow however was less than happy - lots of wide-eyed meowing and hissing. It's a two level home so there's lots of space to avoid each other and we're working on catifying the space with wall shelving. The third day we had everyone roaming, moatly avoiding each other but by night time we had an incident. We heard a commotion of Willow all fluffed up, howling and chasing Ollie across the kitchen running scared. Right then I shut it down and put both girls back in their safe room.
I'm beginning the re- introduction process today but I'm struggling to find a way to get the girls not not be aggressive to Ollie and none of them are particularly food/treat or play motivated. I'm so stressed about this 😪
Any good advice on how to continue?
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
30,269
Purraise
41,052
Location
Colorado USA
Last edited:

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
4,647
Purraise
5,362
It was just too fast! With three cats and this mix of ages, you want to plan on a minimum of a week unless it seems to be going crazy well, and two weeks or longer if needed. As you'll note in the first guide linked above, there is a visual access step that you skipped entirely. Its useful to let it run for at least a few days, if the home set-up allows. It can be hard to set up gates, cats can jump over baby gates, but there are some pictures of homemade setups in the link.
 

D_H

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
56
Purraise
98
Hi, sorry to hear about your situation, I know how stressful it can be.

Slow and easy is the way, move to the next step only when all three of them are comfortable enough.
I'm sure it'll all go well :)
 

Mamanyt1953

Rules my home with an iron paw
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
28,027
Purraise
54,615
Location
North Carolina
I totally agree...just back up, regroup and move slowly. Cat introduction rarely take less than a week, and often a good bit more than that. You just jumped the gun a little. However, with cats, you get do-overs almost every time!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

Dyd

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 7, 2022
Messages
2
Purraise
4
Update: Not much progress.

The girls have been isolated in their room for over 2 weeks. I've used baby gates and a screen door with a tension rod and a vision blocking sheet that I open a little bit from time to time for them to see each other but the gurls hiss at Ollie through it. When they aren't meowing at me they are climbing and circumventing the barrier causing me to just close the door to the room instead. We've kept Ollie gated downstairs and allowed the girls to roam the second floor to explore from time to time. Just a little bit ago today Willow knocked my barrier down and they both came out. Ollie just sat and looked at them and is more curious than anything but Dinah hissed at him making him want to escape downstairs again which upsets my boyfriend and in turn, me. Now the girls are in their room, my boyfriend is hanging out downstairs with Ollie and Im upstairs alone 😔
I feel like our arrival has disrupted everything. I'm trying everything I can to safely get them use to each other but I'm not getting very good results because their food cant be inched closer on the girls side. The room is also at the end if a hallway. I bought the anti-anxiety plug ins for their room too. Food associations don't seem to work very well. I just don't know what more to do and I feel SO guilty keeping the girls cooped up in the room.

What more can I do?! Have I messed this up forever?! 🥺😔
 

Attachments

D_H

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
56
Purraise
98
I know that playing helped a lot in my case, I think it has something to do with building their confidence?

I don't think you should keep the door open all of the times, screen door or not, just for feeding and playing.
And even then, for short periods, and try to end on a high note.

If you can play with all 3 of them at the same time- that could be your next step: each cat and his/ hers wand for example

Good luck ❤
 

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
4,647
Purraise
5,362
So what if there is hissing at the gate? Thats the whole point, so they can hiss and growl and see that nothing bad actually happens and get it out of their system. Ok, if one of the cats is super stress by visual access or going absolutely nuts attacking the gate, then yeah, you need to go backwards or do the towel trick. But thats unusual -- the visual access step is designed to handle routine hissing. If the gate can be jumped over, thats a different story, you need to either double stack gates or make a homemade contraption similar to the pics in our guide: How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles

The food-inching-closer thing is a PITA that I'm not sure does anything. Thematically, its a whole different model of introduction from the rest of the process, and its not a natural fit. I have a whole diatribe on this if your interested, but my basic point is just dont worry about it, you dont need it. If you can get visual access working properly (no jumping over the gate) and leave it up, the hissing should stop eventually. People with big houses/multiple floors sometimes have the problem that the cats just wont go near the gates, but as long as they are going near the gates, this should be sufficient to reduce the tension enough to get the hissing over with. Face to face is a higher level of tension so you'll get hissing again, but at least with the groundwork done hopefully it wont be too bad.
 
Top