Introducing Two Cats, with a Twist - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-20-2016, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
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Introducing Two Cats, with a Twist

Hi all,

I posted a LONG time ago and am back for more advice.

My girlfriend back in March (or May??) rescued a stray and we've been working on re-socializing her (the stray, not my girlfriend). The stray's name is Evie, and after a number of slow, slow months she's now more or less somewhat comfortable with people - still needs a lot of work, but she at least doesn't freak out and hiss whenever you enter the room and will usually come out to visit you. She'll accept pats and pets as long as you start with some sort of implement (cat toy, back stratcher, etc) and then use your hand.

Now, my girlfriend also has another cat named Max, who's been running the place for a few years. Currently, Max has free roam of the apartment, minus the bedroom, where Evie has been more or less cooped up for a few months (she has lots of toys and gets a lot of interaction with people when she's in the mood). Max is a very gentle and curious cat, Evie is still a high-stress furball of terror.

At one point when my girlfriend and I were sleeping, Max somehow got into the room and all heck broke loose - tons of hissing, growling, shrieking, and when we turned on the light Max was in the corner, very frightened, and Evie was sauntering away. Neither cat was harmed at all, just stressed!

So we've tried doing the thing where we open the doors a little bit so they can see each other. This works fine up until a certain point, where, as soon as the door is ALMOST big enough for one of them to squeeze through, the above heck breaks loose again - the hissing, growling, shrieking, etc. Neither has ever tried to scratch, hit, or bite the other.

Max will frequently put her paws under the door and reach for Evie's, and Evie will often do the same, and they get along fine in this very mild capacity. The gap under the door is big enough for them to see each other and there don't seem to be any issues day to day.

I realize, of course, that the best way to do things is to get the two cats used to each other's scents and go from there, but that involves moving both cats, and one won't let you handle her at all. I'm CONFIDENT that Evie will mellow out once she has more room to roam around in and has some companionship, but it's going to be a chore to get to that point.

We've only been trying this for a few weeks since we wanted to make sure Evie would get comfortable with people before we tried to introduce another cat into the equation.

Thoughts, tips, etc appreciated!

Last edited by Nest Commanders; 09-20-2016 at 03:01 PM.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-15-2016, 06:04 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Bournemouth, UK
Posts: 11
I've introduced 3 pairs of cats in the past with success using some of the methods below, predominately room and scent swapping. All ended up co-existing happily in about a 4-6 weeks.

However, I've been trying to integrate 2 cats for the last 4 months. One has the lounge and the other the bedroom. Unfortunately, this pair are proving far more difficult. Both are non-socialised house cats. One was terrorised by a Chinchilla as a kitten. I've had one for 5 months and the other for 4. Both are spayed females. One is a 6KG British Short Hair Marbled Tabby, 5 years old and the other has some Abyssinian in her and is a Mackerel Tabby, 4 years old and 3KG.

Here's what I've tried with these 2, mostly in order, with a few notes of how it went in this case:

- Feeding both with a closed door between them: Didn't work too well in this instance. One gulps her food down (she smells the other and is nervous) and promptly runs into the bedroom and honks it up.

- Socks for scent swapping: If I leave the scented sock by the food bowl for one of the cats (trying for a positive association) she refuses to go near it. One has stopped growling at the others scent. The other goes ballistic.

- Plate swapping: Small amount of food so they tend to lick the plate. Oddly, neither seemed to notice the others saliva.

- Room swapping: One goes into full escape mode, including trying to tunnel under the door. Lasted over 2 hours yesterday. I was going in every 15 minutes to keep her company. Suddenly, a switch flicked and she calmed down. Started back up when I left the room. An hour later she calmed down and was laying on the bed. The other got high up in the cat tree in the other room and attacked when I tried to get her down. When eventually I got her back into her room she was her usual sweet self. When they switch into defensive/attack mode, only removal of the perceived threat gets them back into normal operational mode.

- Litter tray/box swapping: Haven't tried this as one has a Litter Robot, but it would think it should help to acclimatise them to each others scent.

- Baby gate: Installed after a couple of months so they could see each other. If allowed to get close, they will fight through it. It helps to minimise potential injuries, stops charging and prevents those 'I only turned my back for 10 seconds' incidences. One doesn't jump (overweight when I got her and on a diet) so at least she's contained and I close the room door when I'm not in.

- One cat in a carrier: Tried this and took one into the others territory. She went into attack overload, so I got her back to base asap. Felt terrible for putting her through that afterwards.

- Feliway Deffuser: Doesn't seem to have made any difference after a week of usage. Have the new Feliway Friends on order. Everything crossed.

New Feliway Friends / Feliway

Hope this helps

Last edited by Mogadon; 10-15-2016 at 06:07 PM.
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