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Old 11-20-2012, 07:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Default Hello fellow cat lovers! Heeelllpppp

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a really long post yesterday and lost it, so will try to be more concise today! (unlikely though, sorry!) I was feeling pretty desperate yesterday after the weekend, but this week seems calmer. I should have made my user name "wannabeTwoCatHome" as we are struggling with the addition of number two.

A bit of background......despite me waiting almost 20 years of my adult life to get cats, to make sure I had the right environment, could make the committment, wasn't too transient etc, my partner is a little more impulsive. We talked about getting cats at some point, but were waiting for the right time. I had been planning the two I would get for a LONG time. Anyway, a friend of a friend's cat needed a new home, which sowed the seed, which led to my partner looking at rescue cats in general, then finding one, then ringing up about it and then anouncing that we had to go immediately or we would miss out. Apparently the cat was really friendly and purring while the vet checked it etc.

So within two hours we had a new black and white cat. I had been dreaming about warm tabby, abysinian, bengal type colourings! It was a shock, all happened very quickly, but despite my initial reservations, I absolutely adore him. However, he is not the most cuddly cat, doesn't like being touched much, hardly ever purrs and doesn't say much either. He is very "present" and loves to be around us, always greets us at the door, hangs out with my partner in the car while he works on it - just tolerates cuddles. He is a fantastic cat in so many ways and we just love him to bits, but he doesn't necessarily want to be loved in that way! He does come and snuggle with me in bed sometimes and kneads and purrs quietly, but he only used to do it with my partner was asleep and he didn't believe me for months! But the minute he's out of bed and downstairs, he treats me with his usual annoyance if we get in his physical space. He and my partner have a lovely relationship and he does "talk" to him during their feeding rituals, but physical affection is limited. He has been to the cattery a couple of times and so pleased to see us when we get back that he has been smoochy and cuddly, so he does have it in him! He was rehomed from a family who's 4 year old developed an allergy (he is 3) and alot of his behaviour suggests he wasn't treated very nicely.

So whilst checking out a new cattery for Christmas, they had some cats for rehoming. The were ones of a group of 30 who were dumped in a woodland area a year ago. They were taken in by someone and are in the process of rehoming them in groups. We had always wanted another cat, but with Christmas coming up, not the right time, so I didn't even look. Que partner falling in love with tortie girl. So even though it was another ill timed, impulsive move, it worked out well last time.........

"E cat" has probably been an only cat his whole life and is very territorial. We have a massive garden that he keeps clear of the neighbourhood cats. Though he seemed suprisingly fine for the first 6 days, he has started bullying, intimidating and attacking her.

We tried to do everything by the book, her own room, not seeing each other, then only through the glass doors etc etc. It possibly was a bit quick as she was sooo keen to get out and about. She is a truly delightful cat. The cuddliest you will ever meet, purring all the time, super inquisitive, loves jumping onto every ledge, bench, table, really vocal. However, she has now reverted to hiding under beds.

We have taken a few steps back, separating and monitoring and reflecting on the attacks, they generally seem to be when she is with us which suggests jealously. We have been fussing over him hugely from the beginning and tried rewarding them both with treats etc at the beginning. He has basically intimidated her to the point where she stays in two rooms and he even comes right into her room!

All the introduction advice seems to stop once they are introduced - then what? And how long? We had my partners kids over the weekend, which was probably a bit stressful all round, not to mention new cats "loose stools" and conversations were had about it not working and maybe having to give her back. (the kids loved her and her them). We decided we were maybe expecting a bit much as it has only been just over a week, but at what point do you know its not going to work?

I have heard it can take a couple of months, is this normal? Is it OK for them, or selfish of us? We really don't want to have to give her back as she is such a lovely cat, but don't want her to have a life of bullying. I would still like to think a warm upstairs with beds and windowsills, a litter tray, delicious food, adoring humans and the possibility of being stalked by a black and white tiger is better than an indoor outdoor (approaching winter) pen with 4 boistrous black boy cats? Or am I underestimating the "piece of mind" over physical comforts?

Is it that we are not being patient and expecting immediate results? Does it get better?

Any advice anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated as we desperately want this to work!!!

If you got this far, thanks!!!!
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think maybe you just moved a bit too quickly with the introduction. Some cats can be introduced in a few days, but for others it may take weeks or even months. I would say 2-3 weeks is probably about average. I would suggest separating the cats completely with no contact with each other for a week or so. The idea is to get them to (hopefully) forget the negative experiences they've had with each other so far. Then, start over with the intros, but move a lot more slowly this time, like take several days for each step before moving on to the next. Just one attack can send you back to square one, so when you do get them together again, if there's any sign of an impending attack, make sure you separate them and take a step back or two. I'm sure you can't wait until you're one big happy family, but patience is key.
Try not to stress about it too much either. If you're tense, the cats will pick up on that, and it can make them anxious as well. You may also want to try a product called Feliway. It is a pheromone diffuser that helps to relax some cats. It doesn't work for all (does for mine, though) but it certainly won't hurt.

I've lived with plenty of cats when I have lived with other people, and the introductions have really varied. Most took a couple weeks, some only a couple days, and one took several months (and I think part of the reason why that one took so long was that moving too quickly set us way back.)
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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All cats are different. Mine hated each other on site for about a week, and one day I came home to they cuddling each other and grooming each other.

Are both your cats fixed? If not, get them neutered/sprayed right away and they might be less aggresive. Also, make sure you have two litter boxes. You are supposed to have one litter box per cat. My cats used to share the same bowl of food but maybe getting them each their own bowl might make them feel less "competitive" towards each other.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What Nell said. It *can* happen in a week, but 2-4 weeks is pretty normal in my experience (I've had over 70 fosters and have 5 permanent cats so have done introductions quite a bit). The longest I've had it take was about 9-10 weeks and that was with an extremely hormonal and protective mama kitty. I know it can sometimes take even longer though. Your guy has had you to himself for a while and now he has to learn to share. It just takes some time, mostly for him to realize that her being there doesn't change the fact that he's the center of your universe.
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