The mods will probably say this is in the wrong place, but I wanted to have as much exposure on this as possible.
For those of you that have been on this forum for a while know me and most of my cats. I haven't been posting on here for several reasons (moving, building new house, new job, etc, etc), but I have been checking in from time to time. You all also know that:
1. I love cats.
2. Nearly all my cats have just "shown up". (One was gotten from a shelter as a companion for the first cat, and the Evil Twins were snatched from euthanasia at another shelter.)
3. I have learned most of what I know from experience (read that trial and error).
For those that aren't familiar with The Herd, we are currently at about 18 cats split between two homes since we are in the process of building/moving.
Now for the meat. I have read many different posts here regarding introduction of a new cat into a home that already has one or more cats. I've read about many successful intro's and a few that were unsuccessful. The thing that I hate to see is folks anguishing for weeks while trying to go thru an "introduction program" and experiencing perceived setbacks (according to that particular program).
Disclaimer: I AM NOT AN EXPERT, just someone that has done this many, many times.
My cat introduction rules:
1. Not all cats will like all other cats.
--This does not mean that they can not live in the same home. They will have to find their place the pecking order. This usually involves some
2. Cats will hiss at each other.....even when they like the target of the hiss.
--Even if you only have one cat, I'm sure you've seen/heard your cat hiss at something or someone.
3. Some cats will spray even after being spayed/neutered.
--I have two cats, one male and one female, that still spray two years after being fixed. These cats are Alpha and there is probably little to nothing that can be done to change the behavior. If you have a fixed "sprayer" and think that you have done something (ex. Feliway) to alter the behavior because they are not spraying in the normal places, more than likely your cat has changed the location of release. You may not realize this since an intact male's spray has a very strong odor whereas a neutered male's does not. These same Alpha cats retain the need to define their territory by spraying, hence the non-effectiveness of spaying/neutering regarding this behavior.
4. Cats will fight.
--Most of the time, the fights are posturing or pecking order changes. Most of the time they are bloodless with only a little fur flying. Occasionally with two extremely Alpha males, the fight can be horrifyingly long and bloody. Most of these I have experienced have been between one of our cats and a stray that comes up. BTW, every one of those strays has ended up staying and assimilating nicely. See rule #1.
5. (This is MY rule from experience) Don't confine a new HEALTHY cat for more than 3-4 days.
--And that is the extreme limit. After a day or two, the door to the isolation room gets opened. Any longer than a couple of days in isolation serves no purpose in my mind. I want the newcomer to feel somewhat comfortable in their new environment, but they know there are other cats in the area and want the chance to find their place in the group. After 3 days, I can see the new cat becoming slightly distrustful of the situation and the stress level goes up. With increased stress comes a higher likelihood of fighting.
I know that my methods are in direct contravention to a lot of the published things out there from the experts, but these rules are from MY EXPERIENCE, and it has worked for nearly 30 cats (some have died, others have moved on).
One thing I have noticed about people that are on this forum is that they are very sensitive to their cats and don't like seeing conflict or stress. I don't like seeing my cats have problems either, and I hate it when they get hurt or picked on. I also understand that cats have their own social order and sometimes I may not like where a cat is in that order, or how they are treated by the other cats in the group. All I can do is let them know they are loved by me and they will usually end up getting along with the others.
Sometimes you just have to let them find their own way