Unsure of when to take next step in cat introductions

nkhanpirate

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We adopted a new cat (1.5 years old, male) 11 days ago. We have been working on slowly introducing him to our resident cat (3 years old, female). We've had our resident cat for a little over 2 years and she was the only pet in the house. We've been following the general advice of having new cat in his own room, site swapping (happens at least once a day for an hour), scent swapping, etc. Our resident cat was hissing and growling a bit under the door, but that has reduced significantly over the last few days. New cat is as easy-going as it gets and even after a couple of accidental meetings that included some serious hissing and growling from resident cat, he wants nothing more than to meet his sister.

We are at the point where during meal times we can open the door to new cat's room for full visual contact. Resident cat eats in the hallway about 6 feet from the open door, new cat in his room at the same distance. They occasionally look up when they are eating but both go back to their food pretty quickly. Here is where we are unsure of how to proceed next: when resident cat finishes her food (she eats faster), she starts to walk towards the door. She's not hissing or puffed up, but we are a bit scarred from the previous meetings and we close the door so she cannot fully approach new cat. She'll sit outside the door for a minute and then leave. Should we allow her to come into the room and approach new cat? Maybe leave the door cracked and let them make contact that way? We feel like we are making good progress, but don't want to rush things. At the same time, we've also read that taking it too slow can be a negative. Any advice or ideas would be welcome!
 

ArtNJ

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I'm not sure anyone on here will tell you that taking it too slow is a negative. And certainly 11 days is not a long time. All of that said, you dont seem to have a ton of tension left, so I'd want to do a visual access step for a bit, and if that goes well, move on to face-to-face. 2-3 weeks is certainly a reasonable length introduction if things are going about average, which they seem to be. But if you do a visual access step, and it produces more tension, there is no harm in slowing down further.

If you can do a gate (pics in here How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles) and leave that up 24/7 for a bit, I think thats best, but I believe Jackson Galaxy recommends a door cracked with door jambs, or maybe did at one point. And while I don't personally think its quite as good, its probably a good bit less effort, as a standard baby gate can be jumped over. So yes, that would be a reasonable next step!
 

mrotman

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We adopted a new cat (1.5 years old, male) 11 days ago. We have been working on slowly introducing him to our resident cat (3 years old, female). We've had our resident cat for a little over 2 years and she was the only pet in the house. We've been following the general advice of having new cat in his own room, site swapping (happens at least once a day for an hour), scent swapping, etc. Our resident cat was hissing and growling a bit under the door, but that has reduced significantly over the last few days. New cat is as easy-going as it gets and even after a couple of accidental meetings that included some serious hissing and growling from resident cat, he wants nothing more than to meet his sister.

We are at the point where during meal times we can open the door to new cat's room for full visual contact. Resident cat eats in the hallway about 6 feet from the open door, new cat in his room at the same distance. They occasionally look up when they are eating but both go back to their food pretty quickly. Here is where we are unsure of how to proceed next: when resident cat finishes her food (she eats faster), she starts to walk towards the door. She's not hissing or puffed up, but we are a bit scarred from the previous meetings and we close the door so she cannot fully approach new cat. She'll sit outside the door for a minute and then leave. Should we allow her to come into the room and approach new cat? Maybe leave the door cracked and let them make contact that way? We feel like we are making good progress, but don't want to rush things. At the same time, we've also read that taking it too slow can be a negative. Any advice or ideas would be welcome!
 

mrotman

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I did this just recently with our new kitten. It sounds like things are moving along as they should! We were fortunate in that we have a glass door to the kitchen, so we were able to put the kitten in there, and the older cat could watch from outside the door. If you have something like this or can put up a screen or double/triple gates, I think that would be a good next step. Another option is to have 2 people sit at the end of the room/hall from each other-each with a cat on their laps. Each day, you can move the chairs a bit closer to one another. I have also just held the "newbie" on my lap when nobody was around to help and allowed the older cat to come near to investigate. It has taken me 2 weeks with my older male but closer to a month with my young female to adapt to the new kitten. Good luck-you're doing it all the right way!
 
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nkhanpirate

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I'm not sure anyone on here will tell you that taking it too slow is a negative. And certainly 11 days is not a long time. All of that said, you dont seem to have a ton of tension left, so I'd want to do a visual access step for a bit, and if that goes well, move on to face-to-face. 2-3 weeks is certainly a reasonable length introduction if things are going about average, which they seem to be. But if you do a visual access step, and it produces more tension, there is no harm in slowing down further.

If you can do a gate (pics in here How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles) and leave that up 24/7 for a bit, I think thats best, but I believe Jackson Galaxy recommends a door cracked with door jambs, or maybe did at one point. And while I don't personally think its quite as good, its probably a good bit less effort, as a standard baby gate can be jumped over. So yes, that would be a reasonable next step!
Thanks! We know 11 days is still very early but we just wanted to be sure we are doing the right thing. We were trying to see if we could do without the gates, but I just got some from Ace. Going to set those up tonight and see how things go. I agree that is going to be more effective overall than cracking the door. Thanks for the advice!
 
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nkhanpirate

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I did this just recently with our new kitten. It sounds like things are moving along as they should! We were fortunate in that we have a glass door to the kitchen, so we were able to put the kitten in there, and the older cat could watch from outside the door. If you have something like this or can put up a screen or double/triple gates, I think that would be a good next step. Another option is to have 2 people sit at the end of the room/hall from each other-each with a cat on their laps. Each day, you can move the chairs a bit closer to one another. I have also just held the "newbie" on my lap when nobody was around to help and allowed the older cat to come near to investigate. It has taken me 2 weeks with my older male but closer to a month with my young female to adapt to the new kitten. Good luck-you're doing it all the right way!
Thank you! We're going to try with the gates and see how that goes. Overall things are progressing and I think this will help.
 

DebfromPhilly

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Many congrats on getting this far!. If you have any issues with them at the baby gate (I only used one and the cats played along even though they could both easily jump the gate), putting a blanket up and raising it slowly (per Jackson Galaxy’s suggestion), is how I recently did this with my new 3.5 year old and my resident who is 10.5 years old, and it was perfect. This way, when they started eating closer to each other, when my two would start to stare each other down, (locking eyes with each other) I could just drop the blanket down so they had to stop looking at each other. Then I’d raise it up and things would be fine. Also, my new cat is a very fast eater, and I personally closed the door when new cat was done eating because all new cat really wanted is resident cat’s food and it stresses resident cat out. Can’t hurt trying it though, to see what happens. Moving them gradually closer to get her, when eating is a great move, and worked well for me. They ended up eating almost right at the gate on each side, while pretty much ignoring each other, right before I removed the gate. Also, From what I’ve been hearing/learning, growling and hissing isn’t too much of a concern. I did not let that deter me, although I did end sessions when this happened until they were face to face. Once face to face, I allowed the hissing and growling, as long as they did not lock eyes, because Jackson Galaxy says when they love eyes is when you have a problem. Best wishes and good luck! It’s SO rewarding when they finally get together and ignore each other. Mine have been rubbing up on each other, which is even more rewarding. The wait is difficult though.
 

DebfromPhilly

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If you can do a gate (pics in here How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles) and leave that up 24/7 for a bit, I think thats best, but I believe Jackson Galaxy recommends a door cracked with door jambs, or maybe did at one point.
Hi! Thank you for always giving great advice and providing excellent resources and info!
Just wanted to mention this: Jackson Galaxy no longer says to do this through a cracked door. He has said for many years now, that it should be done with a full screen door, or a baby gate with a blanket draped over it to be able to have full control over their eye contact and other issues that may arise. We love your help so keep it coming! ❤
 

ArtNJ

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Hi! Thank you for always giving great advice and providing excellent resources and info!
Just wanted to mention this: Jackson Galaxy no longer says to do this through a cracked door. He has said for many years now, that it should be done with a full screen door, or a baby gate with a blanket draped over it to be able to have full control over their eye contact and other issues that may arise. We love your help so keep it coming! ❤
Thank you. Thats good to know, although I might still recommend it as a fall back, since gates/screen doors are hard for some people. And cracking the door 24//7 for a couple days is probably better than sticking one cat in a carrier for an hour like some people do.
 

NorthNVCat

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Hi. I came to this site because I saw some previous thread responses from Animal Freak. I’ve run into a bit of a challenge, which after reading this thread, I’m looking for some insight and advice.
Situation: adopted a 4 month old kitten, he’s very laid back, inquisitive, and came from an foster/adoption home where there was free roaming for cats, kittens, and resident dogs. Visited the place several times, and it was amazing how they all got along.

brought him home, and our normal chill 3 year old female, won’t have anything to do with him. Followed the typical routines, but after a week, she still hides from him, hisses at him when he comes close, which he respects, but he wants to meet her and play. She hasn’t attacked

because of her “tude”; we can’t get her to eat near him, she won’t go to the door to his room to investigate, and unfortunately, even when we put him away for several hours, she’s not eating like normal, doesn’t come for treats and snack like she used to.

we can tell she’s agitated and stressed; but are unsure if we need to start over, which he won’t like very much; or if we need to press on, and see how it goes. Vets said they’ll figure it out, and one friend said maybe she wants to be a “only cat”.

Disclosure is that we had to re home a 4-yr old male cat @several weeks prior, because of agression and behavior issues which were directed towards her. We tried for 18 months to “smooth things” out, but he became more aggressive, outward territorially defense, eating her food, even attacking her when she was on our laps, etc. Horrible story, and we didn’t know about some it until we put security cameras inside the house.
She didn’t seem to miss the other cat, but after a few weeks, she seemed like she could use a buddy.

there is space for both of them in the house, separate litter boxes, feed bowls, toys, bedding, etc. did the separation for 4 days, then scent swapping, visual, rubs, time together. She just seem to want to do anything with him.
As I write this, kitten-he’s stashed away in his room, sleeping after meowing and throwing himself at the door for 15 minutes; it’s been about an hour. She’s sitting on the back of the couch near me, hasn’t eaten, has used her litter box, but didn’t go down the hall to investigate at any time.

please help. We’re stumped by this, as neither of us have had a bad experience with new animal introductions in all our years.

thank you.
 
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