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I think I may have just figured out the issue we've got but would love to get any feedback/thoughts anyone may have for this. Sorry for the long story...

In July, we moved with our 3 cats to a new state. Cats are Cinder (7 yrs old, female), Cricket (2.5 yr old female) and her brother Zeeben (2.5 yr old male). All cats are spayed/neutered. These 3 all get along fine; Cinder accepted the other two as kittens way back when. Cats have adapted to the new house and enjoy nearly twice the space as before.

In early September, we adopted a 4th cat from a local shelter. Neo is just over 1 yr old now, male, neutered, and looks to be Siamese (but probably a mix).

We kept Neo in the master suite for about 2 weeks. He did fine there, very friendly, purred all the time, playful, but wanted to get out and explore. The other cats were also very curious about the newcomer. When we let him out, we kept a close eye on all the cats. We brought Neo back to the master bedroom at bedtime each night for a while. From the start, Cinder hated Neo, and he would immediately chase her whenever he saw her. She'd growl and hiss but they would rarely fight. She'd run, he'd chase. We tried to intervene, and tried not to, didn't seem to make a difference, but the constant growling was really irritating.

At some point, it seemed like Neo was settling in okay and we could trust him to behave. He was pretty hyper, fairly aggressive, and would always take the toys and not let Cricket or Zeeben play. Eventually, Zeeben and Neo seemed to get along best, hanging out and play fighting.

The first week of December there were lots of changes: we set up for Christmas, tree in the house, had a large party where the cats were all confined to the master bedroom, and I went out of town for about a week. My husband and son were still home so the cats weren't alone. While I was away, Neo started misbehaving badly. [Note: His shelter file said he pooped outside the box. At home, we noticed that he never covered his poop. Ever. But did use the box.] Around this time, we got fed up with the growling and put Cinder into the master suite full-time so she wouldn't get stressed out. She was super happy up there, except for not seeing us as much. Zeeben also started asserting himself and would stare Neo down and yowl, like the pre-fighting warning cry. Neo would back down.

Neo would move the water bowl repeatedly, up to 10 feet from where it belongs, spilling water everywhere. He peed outside the litter box, about 3 inches from it. He went into my husband's home office while he was in there working and peed under the desk. He kept moving the water dish. He pooped outside the box, 6 inches from the box.

As December went on, Neo would pee outside the litter box 2, 3 times a day. Sometimes he'd poop outside the box too, and pee. One time I went into the laundry room where the boxes are kept and there was a pile in front of the box, and a puddle of pee 3 feet across the room.

Clearly, Neo is sending a message and he's not happy! I'm fairly certain this is not a medical issue but he's got an appt tomorrow to double check.

This past Saturday, we put him back into the master suite alone, and let Cinder hang with the other 2 cats. Just from 2 days in there without other cats, Neo is like a different cat. He's calm, purring, not overly aggressive, just like he was when we first got him. He hasn't peed outside the litter box once!

I think maybe we integrated them too quickly. Are we doing the right thing, keeping Neo separate again? Or do you think maybe he doesn't want to share the litter box? Or both? How long do we keep him apart this time?

Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated. Thanks much!
 

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You had a happy household of three cats, sometimes the addition of another, especially when there's a dislike from the beginning of the older female (usually dominant in the house) to the new cat, that's just one cat too many. Imho, for whatever reason I don't think Neo and Cinder are going to get along. Neo is also a dominant cat, evidenced by what he does with the water dish and chasing Cinder. I think he would be happier as an only cat, as he prefers to have his owners pay him lots of attention (a Siamese thing). Neo at 1 yr. is just coming into his own, is a dominant confident cat and will be foreceful in determining "his territory". I can't see Cinder being happy about that. You can try re-introducing them slower, but in my experience mature cats are pretty fixed in their personality and this may be a situation that will not be peaceful for you and all the cats.
 

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Thanks for the reply. It would be unfortunate if we had to find Neo a new home. I've never given a cat up, or given up on a cat, so I will keep trying, since we've only had Neo here 4 months.
 

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how many litter boxes do you have? and are they open or covered
 

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Mine was a totally different situation but I'll tell you anyways for reference.

Rocky is the dominant male dog. Miu is the resident dominant female cat and '2nd in command'. Cap'n Jack is the submissive underling, on the bottom rung on the command chain.

Miu started pooping outside the box all the time for no reason that I could think of, certainly not related to the addition of Cap'n Jack since it started before he arrived. She peed fine.

Someone here and also my vet, suggested that I try the confinement method. I got the biggest dog kennel/crate I could find which was 42". I put a bed and litterpan in there. She usually poops once a day and after a meal.

I confined her for her bedtime snack (and all meals so she associated the kennel with good things.) and then left her in there until she pooped. If she didn't poop before I went to bed, I left her in overnight.

In the morning, regardless if she pooped or not, I'd still feed breakfast in there. If she pooped either overnight or after breakfast, I'd let her out til the next poop time. If not, I'd confine her for another hour. If still no poop, I'd let her out anyways so she doesn't get overly stressed from confinement. Then repeat the whole procedure again.

Over time, she slowly started to get the idea. I went slow in allowing freedom. If she backslided, then it was back to the kennel. I'd say this went on for a good half year. She's finally got the idea now and happily poops in her pan in the kennel. I still feed all her meals in there as she is a slow eater. The others would cause her anxiety as they finish their own meals as quick as lightning. The kennel offers her peace of mind and it's all hers, no one else goes in there. She's become a much calmer cat from having her own 'hideout'.

Since you have a multi-cat household, perhaps Neo and also Cinder may also benefit from having their own 'place' where no other cats go so they can feel calmer and relaxed. Cinder may feel her position is being challenged and is feeling stressd out. Neo is young and rowdy, trying to find his place in the hiearchy. Miu was like that. Very hyper and rowdy too. I found the kennel helped her mellow her out...altho she's still more hyper than the other two, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
how many litter boxes do you have? and are they open or covered
We have one giant one and a smaller on in the laundry room downstairs. Both are uncovered. We have another one in the master suite for whoever is living up there (right now, just Neo).

So Neo's been separated from the other cats since Saturday last week. He has not peed or pooped outside the box once. Other cats are less stressed too. But Neo really wants to get out and explore more of the house again. I am going to try to add another litterbox downstairs somewhere, and if/when we try to reintegrate, maybe that will help.

Vet visit didn't turn up anything obvious from the exam. Unfortunately, right now we can't afford the $500 in lab tests that the vet wants to do (urinalysis, xray, blood panel), so we'll have to wait on that a bit.
 

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They do say one more box on top of the number of cats. So if you have 3 cats, then 4 boxes.

I have the 2. They have their own boxes (1 each according to some cat agreement), on the first floor and a third one in the basement which is used exclusively by one cat.

Cap'n Jack was confined for a while as soon as I got him off the street so he seemed to get it in his head that he has that ONE box. Even after he got full freedom, he still stuck with that one box and he's never had an accident for the year or so since he's been with us.

Since it's working well since you've separated Neo, then it looks like you can be patient and do a slow introduction with the rest of the crew. It really does seem like a stress related prob related to a new addition.
 
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