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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-13-2007, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Introduction

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 conflict.

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

spike481
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-13-2007, 11:43 PM
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Spike, agree or not, I'm happy to see you back!




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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-13-2007, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Jeanie. Just stopping by again and had to post. I know you and I don't always see eye to eye, but you are always fair, and for that, I thank you.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 12:38 AM
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I tend to do intros like you do, too.

I keep new kitties in the Master bathroom. During the day they get the run of the Master bedroom. My other cats know there is a 'new' cat and the new cat knows there are other cats. The amount of time they are kept in the MBR varies; it depends on the health, age and situation (nursing, recovering) of the cats.
For introduction, I usually open the MBR and let the new cat venture into the hallway. Interested cats come to see, uninterested don't and the hissers tend to stay away. Usually the new cat is eager to 'make nice' and I have very few problems.



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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 01:52 AM
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Great to see you again, spike! Hope all is going well with the new digs.

I agree completely, and have been wanting to chime in on the subject but have just avoided it. The little gray cat saga broke my heart. (no offense Tim, you sure tried like **** and every situation is different)

My approach has always been very straight forward, all participants are thrown into the fray and its sink or swim. There was only one intro that was particularly rough, and that because this cat was about 2.5yo and never been around other cats. Most of the time the edges are smoothed out and its business as usual within a week or so.

Give my best to the Herd

-steve


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
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 conflict.
I have had a couple attempts at a failed coup in my house lately. Its so fun to watch My youngest is easily twice the size of the others and knows it, and also incredibly strong. However, she is very timid by nature and just lacks the resolve to get the job done. She may have succeeded last time had she not relented.

I also regularly have "cage matches" in my kitchen. One cat is positioned under a bar stool, and is accosted from the other side by the aggresor. It's usually harmless fun but produces some of the most horrific sounds I've ever heard.

-steve


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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 08:16 AM
 
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Well...here's my 5 years of experience to add.... I have only 5 of my own currently, actually, 3 are my own, 2 are permanent fosters.

For the most part, I usually only foster feral kittens, or socialized kittens, which I understand are alot easier to introduce to cats. I never keep them in my "foster" room for more than a few days. The exception to that rule is if I have a pregnant female or one that has just birthed. We have taken the solid door off this room and framed in a lattice door, and then overtop of that, some screening; we also have a solid panel to put half way up the door if we have a nursing mother in here, because then I do not want her to see the other cats as she will become very nervous.

Everyone get's to see everyone right from the start and can smell everything as well. Within a few days, I open the door. I've never ever had a problem doing this ... so far!!

I to am of the opinion that, for the most part, and there are exceptions, that cats will work out their pecking orders. My two permanent feral kittens (8 mos old) do NOT like any foster kittens I bring in here... initially. Once they are out and about, they seem to ease up a little and start playing with the kittens. I've seen alot of younger and older cats that are alot of "talk" with very little action.

I sometimes think it's possible to "overkill" the introduction of cats to cats... sometimes it's best to let nature take it's course.... and obviously hope that there is no real "blood shed".
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Heidi, Steve, and Janice. I really wanted people to know that there are those of us that do, for the most part, just toss the newbie into the mix after a couple of days.

Please keep the success stories coming.

spike481
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 06:47 PM
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Great post, Spike! I agree with the introduction part, also. I had a 4-day weekend with Cinderella and Cleo and after the first night, I didn't have the heart to keep Cleo isolated in her bedroom any longer, so I split the house in half, even though it meant Cinderella was cut off from my bedroom for another day or two. After that, they just needed to work it out. They're not buddies, and I know I need to stop feeling sad about that. It's been 5 months (tomorrow) and they live together (almost peacefully), although it took almost four months for Cleo to feel comfortable having full run of the house (Cinderella kept her coralled in her room while I was at work, I suspect). I've only seen Cinderella actually slap her twice, and the chasing has practically stopped in the past 3 weeks. Cleo has always deferred to her and Cinderella is still the alpha cat, but with a couple exceptions, she refuses to sleep on the bed with Cleo there. I have to accept that it's her choice, she's always welcome, and I shouldn't feel sad about that either (but I do sometimes).

I've been thinking about adding two kittens (siblings). Cleo is young and playful and I think she would like the company and companionship. What are your thoughts about that, Spike?

P.S. Beautiful cats in your signaure! One of your cats (Eclaire) looks like a Birman. Is she?

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
Always in my heart, my sweet Cali, running free at the Bridge.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spike481
Thanks Heidi, Steve, and Janice. I really wanted people to know that there are those of us that do, for the most part, just toss the newbie into the mix after a couple of days.

Please keep the success stories coming.
Hi spike....glad to see you back.

I totally agree. Introducing my cats has never been something I really worried about and truthfully I had no idea there was supposed to be an introduction process at all!

Aside from Mateo who was sick with worm and a bad URI when he came home all of mine have just been set down and worked out their differences. To be honest it wasn't a couple of days after any of mine came to the house. They all came home and met whoever was already there. Things were different however when my dog was introduced to the mix!
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