Should I move the new cat introduction to neutral ground?
I look forward to your collective wisdom! The last time I had to introduce a new cat in my household was 12 years ago when Pumpkin met Boo. That was tough because Boo was very stressed out by it. However, they worked it out and Pumpkin pretty much deferred to Boo's seniority. They never curled up together but they never fought.
At the end of September, I lost Boo because of kidney failure which broke my heart. I was relieved to have Pumpkin for comfort and I hated the idea that she was getting older (13). So, I decided to adopt another cat.
Unlike the previous introduction, I have followed a lot of the advice I have found here and other places. Halle (the new cat who is a petite 1 year old) has her own room. I have swapped their scents with each other. Once or twice a day, I have them swap rooms (without seeing each other). Both seem pretty happy. They eat on either side of the door with no problem. However, I might have rushed it, because I let Pumpkin see Halle. There was quite a bit of growling and hissing by her. Halle was nonplussed.
Halle has been in our household 2 1/2 weeks and I know I should be patient. She jumped the gate last week and Pumpkin saw her. My sweet calico cat turned into a monster and made a beeline for Halle. She was so aggressive. No hesitation at all! I threw a pillow to break it up. No one was hurt and neither cat was upset for longer than a few seconds. They've gone back to strict separation (although I have let Pumpkin see her through a cracked door -- I was petting Pumpkin and her tail was straight up and happy but she was hissing and batting at he same time -- weird!).
Anyway, my question is this -- Next week for Thanksgiving, I will be driving to my mother's (about 5 1/2 hours away). Normally I would have a cat sitter but I thought of this plan. What if I took both of the cats with me there? My mother's house would be neutral ground with no cat scent. They'd have to spend the car ride looking at each other in separate carriers. Boo and Pumpkin, I think, had bonded when I took a much longer move across country.
What do you all think of this? Once I am there, how do I introduce them in the neutral space? I'd hate to put unneeded stress on my older cat especially.
Thanks so much for your help!