Trouble introducing new cat

calicosrspecial

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Hi! Thanks for the reply.
Yes we have 2 gates and plenty of blankets. I know the gates are a pain, but I know it is not the whole day, so not a problem. Opening and shutting the door is easier of course. But we plan to stack the gates and hang around there so that we can see what is going on. I figure we need to time it so that Penny is around (she spends most of the day asleep on my bed) or the whole gate this is useless, as she won't be seeing him.

How long do we allow them to "see" each other per day? How do we start?

It sounds to me like we put up the gates with just a hint at the floor of open room so they can see but not directly. Then gradually move up the blanket?

Sorry for all the dumb questions.... I am just so new to this. Tyson was my first ever cat and I loved him for 13 years. So having a new one, Penny, to get used to and now Bean has been hard. I won't lie and say this is easy and we are doing just fine and this is a piece of cake. It is stressful and feels never ending (much like 2020) but we are doing ok and really willing to try to make it work. I am blessed to have a husband that is willing to work with me too. We all need someone to support our crazy...

Thanks all... Much appreciated help!
"Yes we have 2 gates and plenty of blankets. I know the gates are a pain, but I know it is not the whole day, so not a problem. Opening and shutting the door is easier of course." - Great.

" But we plan to stack the gates and hang around there so that we can see what is going on." - Exactly. We will want human oversight with the gates up.

" I figure we need to time it so that Penny is around (she spends most of the day asleep on my bed) or the whole gate this is useless, as she won't be seeing him." - We want to do this during feeding sessions to begin with. So we'll put the gates up, put the blanket over them. And then feed. And each day or two life the blanket an inch or so and distract as needed. So we will want Penny to be eating and focused on the food and Bean doing the same. Then we end it. Get Penny back to the rest of the house and take the gates down and close the door.

"How long do we allow them to "see" each other per day?" - Just for the feeding to begin with. We will use the food as the distrction and using words.

" How do we start?" - We want to do this during feeding sessions to begin with. So we'll put the gates up, put the blanket over them. And then feed. And each day or two life the blanket an inch or so and distract as needed. So we will want Penny to be eating and focused on the food and Bean doing the same. Then we end it. Get Penny back to the rest of the house and take the gates down and close the door.

"It sounds to me like we put up the gates with just a hint at the floor of open room so they can see but not directly. Then gradually move up the blanket?" - Yes, gradually move the blanket up over days. Using the food and other distraction to get them focused on the food rather than each other. To create a positive association and positive encounter. If your spouse is capable and wants to I would have one person with each cat to distract as needed. If only one person will be doing it then I would have that person with Penny and distract as needed,

"Sorry for all the dumb questions.... I am just so new to this." - No need to apologize and they are not dumb at all. Great questions.

"Tyson was my first ever cat and I loved him for 13 years. So having a new one, Penny, to get used to and now Bean has been hard. - "Yes. We never replace our loved ones we only add more love to our heart with the new cats.

"I won't lie and say this is easy and we are doing just fine and this is a piece of cake." - It rarely is but your situation is totally normal.

" It is stressful and feels never ending (much like 2020) but we are doing ok and really willing to try to make it work." - Great. It can be stressful but don't worry. There are many more difficult things we face. This should not be high on the stress creating list. This is totally doable.

" I am blessed to have a husband that is willing to work with me too. We all need someone to support our crazy..." - That is very helpful. I often work with people whose husbands are not helpful and are unhelpful in many cases so that is very helpful.

All this takes is knowledge and effort. I have the knowledge and if you put in the effort things will be fine. I would re-orient my thinking that the process does take time but everything we do is with the cats best interests as well as the humans. Just accept it is a process and don't worry. I will let you know when to "worry". Each cat will be fine with what we do. And doing ti right will help get them intro'd faster.

Just ask any questions or for clarifications. Hopefully the above gives a good idea of what we want to do for the next step. Maybe start the gates next weekend?
 
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pam10144

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Hi all,

Sorry to sound like nothing but a whiner, but again, have no clue what I am doing. After almost a week and a half of really no interaction, Penny has all of a sudden recognized the kitten is in the room and is hissing at the door. Not continually, but when she comes to investigate.

And suddenly, she is investigating all the time. This morning, she started scratching at the door (something she has never done) with a little hissing and a few low growls. Bean of course lay down on this side of the door and was trying to see who was out there. He didn't seem to agitated (or not as much as she was/is) and had a few noises come out, but more half meows than anything.

I have no idea what any of this means. We are on 3 1/2 weeks, having gone back to isolation, and I can't tell if this is a good progression or a "time to rehome" progression. Bean really enjoyed his two days of freedom when we had them interact too early prior. I am fearful that he will now be different.

Both cats are fixated on each other a lot more than before. Bean more as a reaction to her at the door, and Penny more and more fixated at either getting in or getting him.

I should mention that Bean spends his days in a 2 room area and his evenings in the basement. When we switch over, Penny has access to the 2 rooms and not the basement that she has all day. So their scents are certainly mixed and both spend a lot of time in the others areas alone..

I'm losing it.... My husband and I are clueless about what it all means.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hi all,

Sorry to sound like nothing but a whiner, but again, have no clue what I am doing. After almost a week and a half of really no interaction, Penny has all of a sudden recognized the kitten is in the room and is hissing at the door. Not continually, but when she comes to investigate.

And suddenly, she is investigating all the time. This morning, she started scratching at the door (something she has never done) with a little hissing and a few low growls. Bean of course lay down on this side of the door and was trying to see who was out there. He didn't seem to agitated (or not as much as she was/is) and had a few noises come out, but more half meows than anything.

I have no idea what any of this means. We are on 3 1/2 weeks, having gone back to isolation, and I can't tell if this is a good progression or a "time to rehome" progression. Bean really enjoyed his two days of freedom when we had them interact too early prior. I am fearful that he will now be different.

Both cats are fixated on each other a lot more than before. Bean more as a reaction to her at the door, and Penny more and more fixated at either getting in or getting him.

I should mention that Bean spends his days in a 2 room area and his evenings in the basement. When we switch over, Penny has access to the 2 rooms and not the basement that she has all day. So their scents are certainly mixed and both spend a lot of time in the others areas alone..

I'm losing it.... My husband and I are clueless about what it all means.
"Sorry to sound like nothing but a whiner, but again, have no clue what I am doing." - That is why we are here, to educate and help. And no need to apologize, I understand.

"After almost a week and a half of really no interaction, Penny has all of a sudden recognized the kitten is in the room and is hissing at the door." - Yes, this is normal. She is wondering what is in there and if it is a threat. So she is telling that cat not to try anything.

What we want to do when we see this is distract with a toy, or treats, or calm and confident and loving words. Anything to let her know what is on the other side of the door is not a problem.

"Not continually, but when she comes to investigate." - Yes, normal.

"And suddenly, she is investigating all the time." - Yes, she is more interested. So just redirect and make it into a positive. And keep feeding them by the door. Distracting as needed.

"This morning, she started scratching at the door (something she has never done) with a little hissing and a few low growls." - She seems to have wanted to get inside. To see you maybe or your husband? Just reassure, distract in a positive way, etc when she does this.

"Bean of course lay down on this side of the door and was trying to see who was out there. He didn't seem to agitated (or not as much as she was/is) and had a few noises come out, but more half meows than anything." - Yes, that is great and not surprising. Is is most always the resident cat that has the most difficulty accepting as it is "their territory" being "invaded".

"I have no idea what any of this means. We are on 3 1/2 weeks, having gone back to isolation" - Hopefully the above explains what this means and 3 1/2 weeks is no time really.

"and I can't tell if this is a good progression or a "time to rehome" progression." - This is normal progression.

"Bean really enjoyed his two days of freedom when we had them interact too early prior." - They always do but it is bad for the resident cat (Penny is this case). It is most always the resident cat that has the most difficult adjustment as it is their territory being invaded and cats are territorial.

"I am fearful that he will now be different." - Not a worry at all. Just when you are with him play with him, give him safe love, attention, etc. Bean will be fine. If I thought there was a risk to Bean I would be telling you that.

"Both cats are fixated on each other a lot more than before. Bean more as a reaction to her at the door, and Penny more and more fixated at either getting in or getting him." - Yep, that is why we need to do positive distraction (with a toy, food/treats, words, etc). If we can get Penny to focus on something else in a positive way it helps build her trust and confidence as nothing negative or threatening is happening.

"I should mention that Bean spends his days in a 2 room area and his evenings in the basement. When we switch over, Penny has access to the 2 rooms and not the basement that she has all day. So their scents are certainly mixed and both spend a lot of time in the others areas alone." - It is VERY positive that she is accepting his scents. That is why this weekend we should put the gates up with the blanket and start the small visual. During this week work on distracting Penny as that skill will be needed when we get visual. We want Penny to be able to get her focus off of Bean in a positive way.

"I'm losing it.... My husband and I are clueless about what it all means." - No need to lose it, everything is normal. Hopefully the above makes what is happening understandable.
 
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pam10144

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Thanks for the response. My husband is balking now, saying he is sick of waiting around, and I cannot argue with him. I was hoping we could start the gates tomorrow, a couple of days early, just so he sees some progress and moving forward and out of the constant in out and transferring of cats. Do you think that is a problem to start Wednesday instead of Saturday? I just want to get it moving and we can at least keep that moving slowly so she just gets a peak of him tomorrow and can hiss and show her dominance while all the while acknowledging his scent everywhere he has been.
 

calicosrspecial

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Thanks for the response. My husband is balking now, saying he is sick of waiting around, and I cannot argue with him. I was hoping we could start the gates tomorrow, a couple of days early, just so he sees some progress and moving forward and out of the constant in out and transferring of cats. Do you think that is a problem to start Wednesday instead of Saturday? I just want to get it moving and we can at least keep that moving slowly so she just gets a peak of him tomorrow and can hiss and show her dominance while all the while acknowledging his scent everywhere he has been.
Ok, I guess.

Make sure you distract as needed to try to keep it as positive as possible.

The BIGGEST mistake I see is a rushed intro process.
 
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pam10144

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Yes thanks. We are going to be very positive and dote on Penny for any good responses.
 

calicosrspecial

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Yes thanks. We are going to be very positive and dote on Penny for any good responses.
I just don't know the timeline your husband has in mind.

The right way to do it is feed on each side of the gates starting with the blanket up about an inch. The food bowls should be about 2-3 feet apart (or more where ever they feel comfortable eating). Penny will be hissing and growling maybe swatting at the blanket. You have to distract as needed and if possible. When they finish eating you close off the visual. And each day you slowly move the bowls closer (a few inches). Typically this part of the process takes a few weeks or until they are like "I know that cat, whatever" and they aren't focused. They eat calmly and leave.

It doesn't feel like this timeline is consistent with your husband's. Hopefully we get lucky and things go well......................
 

calicosrspecial

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Are there any people that are experts in "Fast Introductions" that could help on this thread?

My skills sets are just not suited to going through the intro process quickly.

Time is of the essence so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
 

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I'm no expert, and tend to go slowly, but just my experience is that distraction of the resident cat is very important, so practice that and find things that work well to distract (toys, treats, any noise that they will look at, even just walking up to the kitty.) Also letting the resident cat decide how close to get to the slightly raised blanket to eat- it may be 6 feet, it may be 6 inches. I go with where they are comfortable and increase.
In between meals I have done treats with the blanket/towel up the currently proper amount to get more exposure than meals, making it very brief.
Also trying to see if the resident will play anywhere near the door.
I also had to train myself to not get too upset at hisses and growls. As above that is normal and just communication and a fair warning, like a horn honk "hey you're too close!!" or "watch out for me!!"
My intro 2 years ago of a then 12 week old to a then 4 year old took about 2 months to be fully done and leaving them alone, so it can take a bit. It's work!
 
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We just put the gate up, towel completely over it. She could see him poking around on the other side, hissed and then went back and ate..

BUT!!!!!

Just had the absolute disaster happen.... Bean escaped the room as we were taking the gate down and she freaked and went after him when he went running in the room. Full chase and screaming like I haven't heard before and attacking him as he ran. She swatted him the the backside, but no blood. This is so much worse than when they were around each other the first time and she kind of hissed and avoided him mostly. Scared the absolute crap out of me. He ran right back into the room and she settled right back down.

Holy crap. I might not be able to do this and it absolutely breaks my hears to death.
 

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C calicosrspecial will respond with more but in the meantime- has happened to me. Screeching happens and escapes happen! I used to be shaking and almost crying. But Penny was back to settled quickly so that is good. It will get better. Live and learn how quick the little furbabies can be!
 

calicosrspecial

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We just put the gate up, towel completely over it. She could see him poking around on the other side, hissed and then went back and ate..

BUT!!!!!

Just had the absolute disaster happen.... Bean escaped the room as we were taking the gate down and she freaked and went after him when he went running in the room. Full chase and screaming like I haven't heard before and attacking him as he ran. She swatted him the the backside, but no blood. This is so much worse than when they were around each other the first time and she kind of hissed and avoided him mostly. Scared the absolute crap out of me. He ran right back into the room and she settled right back down.

Holy crap. I might not be able to do this and it absolutely breaks my hears to death.
"We just put the gate up, towel completely over it. She could see him poking around on the other side, hissed and then went back and ate.." - THAT was REALLY POSITIVE> She chose food over him which is EXACTLY what we want to see.

"Just had the absolute disaster happen.... Bean escaped the room as we were taking the gate down" - Yes, that is always a risk and great care needs to be taken so he doesn;t escape.

" and she freaked and went after him when he went running in the room." - Yep, that is what will happen. :/ Very normal (sadly).

"Full chase and screaming like I haven't heard before and attacking him as he ran. She swatted him the the backside, but no blood." - Yep. BUT it sounds like they didn;t really fight so that is a positive.

" This is so much worse than when they were around each other the first time and she kind of hissed and avoided him mostly." - Yes, usually the first few days are ok as both are afraid and then reality hits and they (usually the resident cat) gets territorial.

"Scared the absolute crap out of me." - Yep, it will

" He ran right back into the room" - Ok

" and she settled right back down." - THAT is a BIG POSITIVE!!!!

We look to how they act after a negative encounter. If they rebound to normal quickly it is a positive.

So actually, it was unfortunate they had that moment BUT it actually sounds ok. It tells us a lot and it is actually better than I would have expected.
 
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I CANNOT express how thankful I am for your replies. I was FREAKED out, sobbing and uncontrollable myself! (I went outside to freak) I thought I had blown the whole thing in one STUPID mistake. We shall continue to take it slow slow slow. We were all suprised by his sudden escape, so we will need to be a lot more careful in the gate maintenance.
 
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pam10144

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C calicosrspecial will respond with more but in the meantime- has happened to me. Screeching happens and escapes happen! I used to be shaking and almost crying. But Penny was back to settled quickly so that is good. It will get better. Live and learn how quick the little furbabies can be!
Thank you. I was shaking and crying (outside) We have been in and out of that room 50 times and today he decides to make a break for it. Back to slow and steady. I was actually shocked that she just went back to her box and laid down. Thank you both!
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you. I was shaking and crying (outside) We have been in and out of that room 50 times and today he decides to make a break for it. Back to slow and steady. I was actually shocked that she just went back to her box and laid down. Thank you both!
You are welcome.

I know, it is traumatic. BUT often it looks and sounds a lot worse. The fact in your case it was/is VERY POSITIVE.

"We have been in and out of that room 50 times and today he decides to make a break for it." - I know. They keep us on our toes.

"Back to slow and steady." - Well, just do what you are doing just make sure he doesn't get out.

"I was actually shocked that she just went back to her box and laid down." - I can't say enough what a POSITIVE sign that is!! A quick return to normal is VERY POSITIVE. And it tells me that her reaction was more instinct rather than targeted. Meaning, a cat will pretty much always chase something acting like prey (running away). It is instinct. Whereas, if it was an issue where Penny wants to eliminate Bean she would not have gone back eating, would have been waiting for him, would have wanted to get to him, etc.

I am actually more positive now than before. I don't want to see it happen again but it went as well as I would have dreamed which is great.

Just make positive associations at the gate (feeding) and try to make every encounter as positive as possible trying to avoid negative encounters and distract as needed. Anytime Penny takes her focus off of Bean it is a positive and builds trust and confidence. And try to keep Bean from escaping.

Also, step up play with Penny if at all possible and keep reassuring her.

I will check in tomorrow.
 
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Thank you thank you thank you!
 
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The update today I have is that Penny is now desparate to get into the room where he is. She is constantly at the door looking under it. Scratching at it. She only hisses when she sees a shadow. And not always, sometimes just scratching Hubby is working on a full screen to let them see each other with no means of escaping. But this will take time Both cats are now sitting at the door, making coming and going very difficult and the whole thing is getting very strained Between both cats and humans.

Penny seemed fine last night, sleeping in her favorite spots and finally on our bed. Nothing seems to faze Bean, as he just seems to go on his merry way and want to play and sleep, although he is also desperate to get out and get to Penny.
 
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Edit to add... We are putting in a full screen door to the room, to avoid any more escapes. Screen will only be used under supervision and for limited time.

But again, Penny is so more invested in trying to get in with him, I am not sure if this is a dominant scary thing, or a normal, it will work in time thing.

Very exhausting and I am thinking we have a real possibility of having to either rehome or to keep cats separate for ever...
 

calicosrspecial

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The update today I have is that Penny is now desparate to get into the room where he is. She is constantly at the door looking under it. Scratching at it. She only hisses when she sees a shadow. And not always, sometimes just scratching Hubby is working on a full screen to let them see each other with no means of escaping. But this will take time Both cats are now sitting at the door, making coming and going very difficult and the whole thing is getting very strained Between both cats and humans.

Penny seemed fine last night, sleeping in her favorite spots and finally on our bed. Nothing seems to faze Bean, as he just seems to go on his merry way and want to play and sleep, although he is also desperate to get out and get to Penny.
"I have is that Penny is now desparate to get into the room where he is. She is constantly at the door looking under it. Scratching at it." - That is normal. Just distract her in a positive way and reassure her when you see that. She is showing curiosity it sounds.

"She only hisses when she sees a shadow." - Normal. She is battling wanting to see who it is but yet fears him a touch. So our goal is to teach her that is not positive and not a threat. SO we want to reassure, distract in a positive way (food, a toy), etc.

"And not always, sometimes just scratching" - She might be trying to open the door.

" Hubby is working on a full screen to let them see each other with no means of escaping. But this will take time " - Ok, I see the update it is done. He was fast.

"Both cats are now sitting at the door, making coming and going very difficult" - Yep, it is.

"and the whole thing is getting very strained Between both cats and humans." - You have to stay as calm and confident around them as possible. Cats take on the human's emotions so the more stressed you are the more they will be. Use a toy or food to lure Penny away from the door.

"Penny seemed fine last night, sleeping in her favorite spots and finally on our bed." - Yes, she is doing great. That is a great sign.

"Nothing seems to faze Bean," - Yes, the new cat tends not to and Penny must not be that threatening which tells me that she is more defensive rather than aggressive which is positive.

" as he just seems to go on his merry way and want to play and sleep" - Great, very common for new cats since they don't have to defend territory like the resident cat feels like they have to.

"although he is also desperate to get out and get to Penny." - Yes, he wants a friend. If we do it right he will get a friend.

"Screen will only be used under supervision and for limited time." - Ok, that is the right thing to do.

"But again, Penny is so more invested in trying to get in with him" - Ca you get a video of this? Can you distract her in a positive way?

" I am not sure if this is a dominant scary thing, or a normal," - It is normal

" it will work in time thing." - If you put the effort in.

"Very exhausting and I am thinking we have a real possibility of having to either rehome or to keep cats separate for ever... " - If you don't want to put in the effort then talk to the rescue so that Bean can hopefully find a good home. I now understand why the rescue person was worried about you intro'ing them. I am seeing what concerned that rescue person pretty much every day. Sorry.
 

calicosrspecial

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Someone please help on this thread as I am no longer capable of helping. I feel terrible but I just can't do it. My skillset and emotions are just not there for the help this family needs. I am in tears right now because I failed badly. I am breaking down badly right now.

So if anyone can please help and provide better advice and help save Bean's future it would be greatly appreciated.
 
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