We think we may have introduced our resident cat to our new cat the wrong way.

abella1995

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Hello!

I had done some reading about cat introductions before we decided to get a second cat, we wanted to get it right and it feel natural. We have one current cat, her name is Ellie, she's 2 years old. We adopted her in March of this year (2022), so we've had her for about 6 months. She is a more aggressive cat, likes to swipe and nip us but I think most of it is because she is very active and loves to play and will cuddle us on the couch or the bed once she's done playing. She is a dominant cat for sure, very confident and sassy and likes her space when she is cleaning herself. We thought Ellie may be good with cats since she had a litter of kittens at one point in her life. My fiancé and I both work full time, and she misses us when we aren't there. I noticed she only eats her food when we are home and she follows us so much she's under our feet. She loves to talk! Meows and purrs and chirps often. We do spoil her, but she knows her boundaries (no jumping on counter or dinner table) etc.

We assumed since we haven't had her for a year, it would be a good idea to get her a playmate now instead of later. We just adopted her a friend that is also 2 years old and female. We made sure that this cat has attributes that match up with Ellie -- active, loves to play, likes car rides etc. We learned Gabby (new addition to the fam) likes other cats, is non aggressive and she's a bit shy, but we thought their love of activity and playing would be a great bonding experience or companionship for the two cats.

We brought her home yesterday and kept the cats in separate rooms, door open and had Gabby in her crate so Ellie could smell her and see her. We gave both of them treats too so they had a snack to ease the intro. Ellie was NOT happy. Complete fear -- dilated eyes, low long growls and hissing. We felt like we had messed up their introduction! Gabby is so shy she didn't react to Ellie at all. Just sat quietly. About 10 minutes after we closed the door, she had a very light hiss towards my fiancé since he was on the other side of the door with Ellie. The behavior from both cats made sense, we were just concerned we could have somehow eased things a bit more where Ellie didn't act so strongly. (but maybe any way we did it wouldn't have mattered).

Its now day two and even the smell of Gabby on a brush, on my hand or hearing gabby in the other room makes Ellie hiss or growl. I found this forum today and was hoping I could get some feedback on the situation. I know it's still early but any feedback on stories would help. We do have a lot of hope for the two of them to get acclimated and will end up playing together even if they aren't the biggest fans of the other. We are going to try to have them both eat wet food on either side of the door tonight (no view of the other) and see if they have a bonding or any type of progress at all.

Thank you for reading/listening!
 
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abella1995

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abella1995

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Things seem to be better - we put Gabby's smells around the house, and Ellie seems like she's making progress accepting her existence through her smell. Little bit of hissing but not like the day before.
 
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abella1995

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Hello! Tomorrow will be a week of having the new cat.
Ellie will go in the room and sit near Gabby. But she will occasionally growl or hiss still.

Yesterday she hit (batted) Gabby on the head a few times but I yelled at Ellie to get out.
I later read we shouldn't yell at our resident cat because they may associate getting in trouble to the new cat. This only happened once, hopefully it can be reversible? I was just afraid Ellie was going to injure the Gabby.

Even though Ellie is making some progress. She still seems like shes not accepting of the new cat. We are hoping for more progress next week...
 
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abella1995

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abella1995

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Hello again!

Was curious if I could get a little advice.

It's been over a month now, and the growling from Ellie has stopped, but she still will hiss/chase and batt at Gabby, but they don't roam the house together, Ellie is still quite territorial. We do have some good days when they are both in the safe room together but usually results in a hit and a hiss.

We've been trying to keep the doors open in the safe room (we ended up getting a gate for when we are at work so they can still interact) but Gabby is a fearful cat we learned, she only likes staying in the safe room.

Should we try to take her out of the safe room for longer periods of time? We want her to be comfortable, but we also don't want to stunt the process either. We've taken her out a few time and she just darts back into the room.

We are taking our time and practicing patience, but we're worried if we were keeping Gabby in the room too long, even though it seems she loves her own personal apartment lol.
 

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Are you swapping them in between the safe room and other parts of the house, even for short stints? If not, Gabby may need some time to get used to other parts of the house while not having to have Ellie in that same space with her. If you are swapping them out between spaces, then I would have to agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom that more time is needed.
 
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abella1995

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Are you swapping them in between the safe room and other parts of the house, even for short stints? If not, Gabby may need some time to get used to other parts of the house while not having to have Ellie in that same space with her. If you are swapping them out between spaces, then I would have to agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom that more time is needed.
Sorry I didn't see you response! Yes, We have swapped them a few times, but Gabby will cry and want to go back into the safe room. One of the times we tried to let Gabby roam while Ellie was in the gated room, and Gab just ran under our bed for a few hours.

We aren't sure if Gabby has past trauma, but from her actions it seems like she does. She is terrified of being picked up so we try to do that the least amount of times as possible. It makes me happy to see her comfortable in her room, purring, playing, and looking out the window, but my husband and I are going to continue the swapping every so often so Gab can try to get used to the house.

She likes Ellie, but is also afraid of her because Ellie does sprint at her to hit her and such, but in general Gab takes a while to adjust to even just one room. (If Ellie is extra aggressive on a random day, we just let them be fully separate, other than the gate, for a day).

Its been almost 3 months so hopefully it will keep moving in a decent direction!
 

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I introduce cats in a different way. I let them mix from the start and I have 10. 9 of my own and 1 long-term foster. Our latest addition was a stray cat that took nearly 2 years to catch. There was a bit of hissing and growling but that is normal cat behaviour. Oscar settled in really well with our other cats. We only kept him separated for a few days until we could get him neutered and his sore paw seen to. I've found that it's best for us humans not to interfere as cats do have a heirarchy and are usually very quick to sort out the pecking order. We've had Oscar for just over 3 months now and he gets on really well with the rest of our cats. Found him and Shadow curled up together on my bed the other day. Bit of a bromance going on there I think.

Give your cats time to adjust to each other as it's very early days yet. I'll give them 2 - 3 weeks and they'll be friends. At the very worst, they'll tolerate each other. Also have a look at Jackson Galaxy's YouTube channel. He's got some really good advice on there.
 

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Sorry I didn't see you response! Yes, We have swapped them a few times, but Gabby will cry and want to go back into the safe room. One of the times we tried to let Gabby roam while Ellie was in the gated room, and Gab just ran under our bed for a few hours.

We aren't sure if Gabby has past trauma, but from her actions it seems like she does. She is terrified of being picked up so we try to do that the least amount of times as possible. It makes me happy to see her comfortable in her room, purring, playing, and looking out the window, but my husband and I are going to continue the swapping every so often so Gab can try to get used to the house.

She likes Ellie, but is also afraid of her because Ellie does sprint at her to hit her and such, but in general Gab takes a while to adjust to even just one room. (If Ellie is extra aggressive on a random day, we just let them be fully separate, other than the gate, for a day).

Its been almost 3 months so hopefully it will keep moving in a decent direction!
That sounds like really lovely progress.

A little hissing and batting is normal. Batting at one another without claws is also play. You can say, "be gentle" in a soft voice or something if you'd like.

Give lots of praise when they are around one another and lots of treats and love.

You've said that they are both calm and happy when they return to their separate spaces which means you are going at a pace they are comfortable with. Great job!

She might return to her safe space even once she is let free fully. Magnus would take himself back to his safe room for his naps for three months 🤣

Here some videos on cat play vs cat agression by the way:

 
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