Second Guessing Getting a 2nd Cat

Edac3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
7
Purraise
19
Hello everyone! I hope you can help me or at least ease my mind. I adopted my first cat, Lottie, in November 2019, she is about to turn 3. She has always been a mellow cat, friendly, playful, doesn’t like cuddling but loves being near me or my boyfriend at all times, and handles change very very well. For about a year I had been thinking about getting her a sibling so she would have someone to play with but because of big life events it never happened. Recently my bf and I discussed it and thought that now would be a good time for us to adopt another. I had researched and also heard from several friends that adopting a kitten would be the easiest transition with a female adult cat. So 2 days ago we adopted the sweetest 4mo tortie, she is aggressively cuddly but is very needy and cries anytime we leave her in her room (we are attempting the method of separation/scent swapping/site swapping). On the first day, Lottie was curious but furious and hissed at the door repeatedly, since that first day she has shown no interest in the new kitten (yet to be named), avoids that area of the house entirely and is clearly distressed that this kitten is crying so often.

My concerns:
- I knew going into this process that it would be tricky and probably take time, I did not expect to find it so emotionally difficult and sad.
- I am afraid the kitten isn’t getting enough attention because she has to be isolated and we need to love on Lottie as a priority
- I’m afraid that Lottie will turn into a different cat than the one she was before we got the kitten.
- The entire reason we got the kitten was for Lottie and now I am having serious doubts if this will even be good for her
- I’m afraid that we are robbing this kitten of valuable time should this not work out and ruin her chance of finding a good home that could give her unlimited attention

We aren’t particularly attached to the kitten yet because we are both afraid that this won’t work out. That in itself is making me feel terrible. Please let me know what you all think
 

Cat McCannon

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
490
Purraise
1,008
If you’re gonna make this work, you gotta go all in. You have to make time for both cats. You can’t just keep one in isolation and put all the loving on the other. You can’t remain aloof from either cat. You can’t act with love without loving.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

Edac3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
7
Purraise
19
If you’re gonna make this work, you gotta go all in. You have to make time for both cats. You can’t just keep one in isolation and put all the loving on the other. You can’t remain aloof from either cat. You can’t act with love without loving.
Thanks for your response. We are definitely trying to make time for both, it’s just hard to balance with the kitten in her own room. Even with work from home, we are getting in there to play at least once every 2 hours for 15-30min. I am just having a hard time seeing my cat regress and show so many signs of distress. It is making me second guess our decision and I guess I am looking either for reassurance that this is normal and Lottie will be okay or for advice on how to better this situation.
 

Mamanyt1953

Rules my home with an iron paw
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
28,326
Purraise
55,733
Location
North Carolina
And remember...two days in is WAY too soon to be worrying like this. Your tension will transmit to the cats, making things harder for them. Take a few deep breaths, realize that cat introductions take time, usually start out rough, and then even out over many days, sometimes weeks. At this stage, you are just fine. Get both cats plenty of attention, site swap often, so both sets of scent is everywhere, and be patient. Unless you are able to bond with the kitten, you are actually pushing things backwards.
 

Squeaky_W

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
10
I was exactly the same after bringing in a kitten to a home with 3 older cats. I felt really guilty in the early days as the kitten was dying to get out of his room and I felt bad for having to keep him in there and felt bad as one of my cats was the same as yours - hissing at the door when she could hear him and just generally didn't seem happy about the kitten at all.
I was worried I made a mistake as I felt like I had upset my residents cats, changed their routine , not allowing them in certain rooms etc but a friend of mine said that you are giving them all a home that is safe, that they are well cared for and loved which did help me feel a bit better.

I did go through phases of feeling ok, then feeling sad and upset with myself through the process and I think that seems to be quite normal for lots of people that have brought home cats/kittens in to homes with residents.

I'm 2 and a half months in to the intros, been taking it really slow due to the age difference - residents are 10yrs and the kitten was 9 weeks - that also didn't help, being such a huge difference but things are going ok.
The one that would hiss at the door still hisses at him when she sees him but it's getting lesser and lesser.

Like the others have said, lots of love for both, site swap and enjoy playing with the kitten :)

It will get better over time :)
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
22,011
Purraise
52,486
Location
Canada
Hello and welcome to TCS. And congrats on the new kitten!

It's only been 2 days, so don't worry about things not working out between Lottie and the new kitten. Cat introductions take time, though generally introducing a kitten to an adult cat goes quicker than an introduction between 2 adult cats.

Here's a TCS article on How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat – TheCatSite Articles that might have some tips for you.

Also: How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
4,787
Purraise
5,590
In an ideal world, you'd do a bit longer introduction, but you'd have to somehow rejigger things because if the adult cat can simply avoid that area, the introduction wont actually do anything. Given the young age, I wouldn't worry about it and would just let the kitten out and see if they can work things out. Adults never hurt kittens, and young adults have a very good chance of befriending a kitten.

Reasons: (1) adults cats dont hurt kittens so there is no actual risk; (2) with the adult cat avoiding that area of the house, the introduction process is not doing any further work; (3) the kitten's desperation to get out is really hitting you hard and the kitten isn't too happy either; and (4) given the adult cats age, there is an excellent chance they can work through things and become friends.

There might be some hissing from the adult cat for a couple of days, but they will most likely be friends before too long. If the adult is crazy stressed, you can always back off. (You'll certainly get hissing, but truly problematic stress is unlikely.) That is the benefit of introducing a kitten -- you do not need to worry about actual violence, so you can go a bit more quickly, or at least safely take the temperature. When introducing a kitten to a much older cat, you still need to be careful, because those can commonly be very difficult introdutions, but quite often a kitten and 3 year old can settle into friendship within a couple of days.
 
Last edited:

caytexo

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
2
Purraise
4
I am currently in a similar situation (albeit we are 3 months in and have LUCKILY made significant progress since then). A little back story: We have a 3 year old female cat who likes to play but naturally sleeps more and likes to relax and be observant. She is on the anxious side - we recently added CBD oil to her wet food (look up the anxious pet if interested- brand recommended by vet). We adopted a 4 month old male Russian Blue who is one of the most hyper kittens, loves to play, explore, and was a foster kitten so he loves other cats. We followed the Jackson Galaxy method (watch on YouTube and read his 5 part cat introduction on his website!), although it hasn't been perfect (E.g., our boy kitten jumped over the gate during meal time a few times, they swatted under the door, etc.). Anyway, our resident girl reacted the same as your cat and it was incredibly upsetting and stressful. I thought I made the wrong decision and that she was just a cat who was meant to live alone.

Over the past two weeks, however, we have seen significant progress and here is my advice. 1) Follow Galaxy method to a tee, reverting back a step (and taking your time with each step) if your resident cat is upset/growling/hissing/swatting a lot. Our boy kitten was isolated in our bedroom/office for the entire 2.5 month period. Yes, it was stressful, and yes, it took a lot of extra energy (2 full months of this), but we swapped rooms and allowed him to play and explore in the house at least once a day. 2) During those swapping periods, allow your resident cat to sniff your kitten's scent. Exchange socks, let the cat into the kitten's "home base," etc. TREATS, PRAISE, and MORE TREATS (our girl is highly food motivated). 3) The key is to create positive associations between resident cat and kitten. "Oh, I get treats when he's in the room playing while I observe." "I get treats when I smell his scent in his room." "I get treats when he walks by and I don't hiss or swat."

This is going to take a lot of time and patience. Every cat is different and more or less tolerant to change and new tenants. After all this time, this is where we are: they don't sleep over together (we tried, and our girl was extremely upset and overwhelmed the next day). However, 3 months in, they are out in the house together all day. They play. She hisses because she doesn't like when he grabs and tackles her. But she loves playing with him and realized he's much more fun than we are heh. She protects him when he uses the litterbox/vice versa. She doesn't care when he cuddles on us. Is she still annoyed at times? Yup. Does he have too much energy for her? Yup. But I'm continuing to praise, give treats, and separate when she needs a break or if he won't nap. We're not at the finish line but they are friendly and loving a lot of the time now. It's all about moving the challenge line so slowly that the resident cat doesn't even realize things are changing. I really hope it works out for you. Our girl had to learn how to be a cat again, but she is definitely happy to have a companion, all in all. And once he matures a bit, he won't annoy her so much. Please keep us posted and I wish you the best of luck. I truly believe that when all is said and done, they will be happy together and it will make your life easier in the long run to know they are never alone.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

Edac3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
7
Purraise
19
Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond to me! You’ve all helped ease my mind. Things have progressed a tiny bit. Lottie has shown more interest in the kitten door and is acting much more normal when we are away from the room. I site swapped for the first time today and it went much better than I had hoped. The kitten obviously loved getting out of her room and got a lot of energy out of her system playing. When I took Lottie into the kitten’s room she was super pissed at first and was hissing at everything for about 2 minutes straight. Then when she realized the kitten wasn’t in there she very begrudgingly explored the room and all of the new scents. We stayed in there for about 20min and she very sweetly asked to be let out. Overall today has made me feel hopeful!
 

D_H

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
65
Purraise
115
I did not expect to find it so emotionally difficult and sad.
Yes, it's hard :( and if your Torti is anything like mine, then her miserable voice tone makes it's harder.

It's easy for me to say it, but patience is the key.
When I went through it (reintroduction), I knew that I have to patient, yet I broke down mentally more time than I'm willing to remember.

You received lots of information and good advices here, use it :)
 

Mamanyt1953

Rules my home with an iron paw
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
28,326
Purraise
55,733
Location
North Carolina
Oh, D_H D_H , you have heard the MAOWWOWWOWWOWWwowww moan! Sounds as if she has lost her last friend, and ususally means she can see the bottom of the dish, OR it has been A WHOLE TEN MINUTES since she got a treat!

Overall today has made me feel hopeful!
Very good! Time and patience are your very best friends. Sounds like your Lottie is making progress! Don't try to push her too hard, but as she becomes more comfortable, push the barrier just a little!
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
420
Purraise
562
- I knew going into this process that it would be tricky and probably take time, I did not expect to find it so emotionally difficult and sad.

it can be certainly. But it's really early days. Great news: there's two cats and two of you. Take turns being in the room with the kitten and being out with your cat.
- I am afraid the kitten isn’t getting enough attention because she has to be isolated and we need to love on Lottie as a priority
THere's two of you and two cats. Divide and conquer. The kitten does need a lot of support. She's on her own for the first time and in a strange space. That's really scary. Sometimes we have to actively decide to bond with a new pet. I was like that with Calcifer. I loved Magnus immediately but with Calcifer I had to decide to bond with him, because I was so worried about Magnus and Nobel. Now, I can't imagine life without Cal, he's exactly what our home needed.

- I’m afraid that Lottie will turn into a different cat than the one she was before we got the kitten.
You might see changes for sure. You'll see some really amazing ones in upcoming days too. Nobel learned so much from Magnus. It's been really cute to watch an old man learn new tricks.
- The entire reason we got the kitten was for Lottie and now I am having serious doubts if this will even be good for her
Long term it is great for them if you get them to the point of bonding. They'll help clean one another when sick or old and provide so much enrichment to one another.
- I’m afraid that we are robbing this kitten of valuable time should this not work out and ruin her chance of finding a good home that could give her unlimited attention
No home will be able to give her unlimited attention. Rehoming will also be a long and heartbreaking road. Focus on one step at a time. Learn her personality, you already know your other cat's personality and think, how can I get them confidently to the next stage? Jackson Galaxy's videos got our slow-to-warm cat and our new kitten to BFFS in 2 months. (That's amazing record time for Nobel) After that positive experience, Nobel accepted Calcifer in 3 weeks. Still hisses at him once a day for being invasive. Plays with and grooms him daily too.


IT generally takes 2 weeks to 6 months if you went based on personalities. It can take up to a year for cats to fully learn to live together though.

It'll be a hard few weeks. But you're about to learn so much about both cats and bring so much enrichment and love to them both if you give yourselves the opportunity to do so. Don't get discouraged because the early days are tiring. You've got this.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

Edac3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
7
Purraise
19
Thank you everyone! An update: things are definitely getting better but I’m still feeling discouraged and like we’ve hit a wall. It’s now been 4 weeks since we brought home Minnie. Lottie eats all of her meals outside of Minnie’s door with occasional minor hissing. But anytime we allow them to see each other Lottie loses her shit. We’ve tried a crack in the door, a screen door, and one time tried allowing them to be in the same room while distracting them from each other. Lottie has never attacked Minnie but she hisses, spits, and growls at her. Is this normal? Any tips? We are committed to keeping Minnie at this point but I am getting very burned out with this process
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,799
Purraise
42,837
Location
Colorado USA
Hi, it is normal, to a point. Which is to say, you won't know how things really are until they spend more time together. There is a member who likes to say "trust the kitten". If the kitten runs away in true fear with ears pinned and hides, there is definitely a problem.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
420
Purraise
562
Thank you everyone! An update: things are definitely getting better but I’m still feeling discouraged and like we’ve hit a wall. It’s now been 4 weeks since we brought home Minnie. Lottie eats all of her meals outside of Minnie’s door with occasional minor hissing. But anytime we allow them to see each other Lottie loses her shit. We’ve tried a crack in the door, a screen door, and one time tried allowing them to be in the same room while distracting them from each other. Lottie has never attacked Minnie but she hisses, spits, and growls at her. Is this normal? Any tips? We are committed to keeping Minnie at this point but I am getting very burned out with this process
"Early days yet." Magnus's foster used to say to me when we introduced him to Nobel.

I know it's a hard, burn-out process, but yes this is really normal in a sense.

Not being able to see her may be holding Lottie back. I would move to a baby gate and feed Lottie a bit further back from the gate. With Nobel we did it like this and basically gave him a "treat" (aka alternative dry food) every time he looked at Magnus without hissing or growling.

Have you done scent swapping and area swapping? How is Lottie at that time? When you put Lottie in the room with Minnie's smell, leave treats out.

If there's a gap between the floor and the door you can also have Minnie 'give' Lottie treats. Rub a treat on Minnie's cheek and then toss it under the gap for Lottie. (Also maybe give Minnie a treat too 😜). Or play with a paper straw under the door with both of them.

Is Lottie getting enough play time to wear her put before interactions?

Does Lottie go at Minnie when she's out or just become generally a grump? With Nobel we began keeping him somewhere he felt safer (like sitting on the couch with one of us) and we would play with a string or something with him where he could just roll, and then we would let Magnus do gymnastics on the carpet. And yeah more treats for when he would watch Magnus.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

Edac3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
7
Purraise
19
An update in case anybody reads this thread in the future and is going through the same thing: Lottie and Minnie are somewhat friends now! I started to “trust the kitten” and noticed that Minnie never ran away from Lottie when Lottie hissed or appeared aggressive towards her. We started with a pet gate to let them bat at each other and see that nothing bad ever happened. Minnie always submitted to Lottie. Then about 2 weeks ago we started with quick 1-5min play dates a few times a day which progressively got less intense. Now we are at a point where we let them hang out for hours at a time until Minnie starts to annoy Lottie too much. But Lottie rarely hisses at her anymore and we can tell she definitely likes the entertainment of a second cat. Yesterday they napped next to each other which was so encouraging to see. Every day is getting better and better!
B5F71B70-FD42-487F-BA2D-3400F20F6595.jpeg
EE53C9CB-8D6A-4AC4-B6A4-47B02020403D.jpeg
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
420
Purraise
562
Wonderful news! I'm so glad all your hard work paid off. Keep building on their positive experiences with one another, and you'll keep a happy cat home for sure :)

You're still within your first month, so they're learning one another quickly. Your kitten will adapt to your young cat's personality somewhat as well.
 
Top