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Hi All - This is my first post and I am really hoping to get some wisdom from everyone. My husband and I have just adopted a beautiful 10 month old all black medium hair kitty we named Mystique. She is very loving given that we got her from a shelter where they had originally thought she was feral. She is really not, not by a long shot. She purrs, rubs and rolls over when we talk to her and pat her. She even closes her eyes when I talk to her which I know is a sign of trust.

The problem is my existing cat, Penny (8 yrs old), is not feeling it at all. I lost my 16 yr. old male cat Punky about a month ago, who was the love of my life and was a total velcro boy, always on our laps, involved in everything we did and I have been grieving so hard. Penny was essentially his cat, not ours, as she is not a people cat. She has been grieving too but recently seemed like she was coming around. She has never seemed at all dominant, although we brought her into the house when she was around a year old and Punky was about 8 or 9. They got along so well almost from the beginning that it lulled us into thinking Penny would easily accept another cat.

Mystique has only been here since Tuesday night, but Penny seemed completely unconcerned. No sniffing under the door (we have the new little one in her own room), no change in behavior, not seeming to take any notice when I would pat her right after coming out of the room that Mystique is in with her scent on me. So we decided to try a brief, supervised face to face intro - big mistake. Mystique was a love, she walked right over to Penny as if to say, "Let's be friends" and Penny hissed right in her face. Poor little thing shrunk all up and slunk away.

But that is not the worst of it. Penny didn't hurt her at all, we wouldn't have allowed that, didn't even touch her in fact - but she stared at her in a fixed way like she considered her prey, and was all crouched down. This was very unnerving and scared the little one who started yowling, so we removed Penny right away.

I have read a lot about introductions and none of it seems to apply to Penny, who is sweet with us but a bit of a weirdo lol. She doesn't play with toys, doesn't like treats, doesn't sniff around the door - and we can't put Mystique in the carrier to let Penny check her out because Penny has a phobia of carriers so she would never go near it in a million years. We have been feeding Penny close to the closed door of Mystique's room though, as that was one suggestion I read.

Help please - I am heartbroken thinking that I will not be able to keep Mystique, who is shaping up to be a real love (and probably will be a lap cat as she has already crawled onto my lap twice) because Penny, who doesn't give two figs whether we are around or not (unless it's mealtime lol) won't accept her. Is there still hope even though we had such a dismal start?
 

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You have only had Mystique for 3 days, it is WAY too soon for introductions, in my opinion. Even though Mystique is OK with Penny, that is not the only factor to consider in getting them to the point where they can be acquainted. That is my opinion, I know some people, like my sister, and some people on here, successfully just bring a cat home and put them together and let them work it out, and sometimes that works for them. I am more for letting a new cat chill in their own room for at least a week, before they get to be introduced to the rest of the household.

That said, the fact that Penny hissed at her....that is normal. That is to be expected, and you cannot freak out about this. You need to be CALM, and trust me on this, because I fouled that up really good with my oldest cat, and she has to live separately from my other two cats, and I believe I was a big part in the intro being really bad....but I think in my case, it wouldn't have mattered no matter what I did. The fact that Penny just hissed or growled, that is normal. You need to be calm, act indifferent when they do this. Penny does not know this cat, she sees it as an intruder, she does not understand that you have brought this kitty home to help her cope with the loss of Punky. Even if Penny and Mystique smack each other, you cannot be surprised by this, this may happen when you first have them face to face. That is not uncommon with cats meeting each other for the first time. The fact that Penny did not run after Mystique right away, and she just hissed and growled, that is actually a good sign. She could have pounced on her and tried to tear her up, and she didn't. When I introduced Stephano, my youngest kitten, to Taffy, my 5 year old cat, Taffy first hissed at Stephano, who was only about 5 mos old, he hissed and growled for almost a whole day, and every time STephano approached him, he stared him down and just growled. I just ignored it, gave it some time, we had just a few of these supervised sessions, and then I put Stephano back in his safe room. After a few of these, Taffy stopped growling, and STephano actually pounced on Taffy and rolled him, all playfully, and Taffy was shocked, but he didn't growl or hurt him. I was lucky and they get along wonderfully now, but that does not always happen. Sometimes they will learn to tolerate each other, at best, but they won't be all lovey dovey to each other, and that is just something you need to face as a possibility. My sister has this problem with a new kitten, her 10 year old male wants nothing to do with him, the kitten keeps trying to play and he just looks annoyed and moves away from her. Hopefully your cats won't do that, but they could.

You just need to give it more time, and remeber, BE RELAXED. BE CALM. Do NOT let those cats see that you are affected in any way by WHATEVER happens!!! I cannot stress that enough. If it goes bad, and they have to be separated a while longer, then be prepared that is a possibility. Cat fights usually sound worse than they are, if they roll around screaming at one point, just wait until they are apart and separate them, but DO NOT try to pick them up when they are growling or near each other, you will end up getting hurt really badly, so be very careful.

Just give it some time. It didn't sound that bad, at all actually.
 

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Penny will come around - give it time. Some cats just need more time to accept the new normal. Hissing and asserting their territorial claim is normal. Stay calm, let things work themselves out. It's only been a few days, no need to rush things or worry. Show Penny love and support and she will settle down and hopefully be best friends with Mystique in no time! Congratulations, and thank you for adopting a black cat. They often get overlooked.
 

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Thanks howsefrau32, that is encouraging. I agree that it was too soon to introduce them although I just thought Penny was unconcerned by her early reactions - NOT. As I think I said, I've only done this intro thing once and that was 7 years ago, plus the two cats involved made it look easy so I was lucky. We did confine Penny to a room when we first got her home at that time, and now Mystique as well, so I definitely agree with the part of not just putting them together and hope for the best lol.

That's a good point about staying calm - I did really well with the hissing part, as I was pretty sure that was only Penny staking her claim as the oldest and resident cat. I didn't react at all. But when she started looking at Mystique like she was a mouse and Mystique ran under the bed and started yowling, I did 'encourage' Penny out of the room with a feather toy lol. I didn't yell or scream though, which I guess is good. That did bother me more than the hissing though.

I am prepared for the fact that these girls may never be best friends, and I can live with that as long as they can co-exist without making each other miserable. I wouldn't wish that on any cat. I think our next move is going to be putting Penny into Mystique's room (taking Mystique out first naturally) for a while to really immerse her in the scent, then getting pet/baby gates and stacking them two high in the doorway so Penny and Mystique can see each other but Penny can't get to her and maybe let her get a bit more used to the sight of her for short periods while we are there to supervise.
 

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Thanks Marcia, I didn't see your post when I started the last one. Yes, I had read that black cats have a harder time getting adopted so I definitely was thrilled when I connected with this girl. I actually am drawn to black cats anyway. Plus it was two days before Halloween so it was even more appropriate! :lol:

I'm sure I was premature with getting so worried over their first intro going a bit sour, but I am already in love with Mystique and having lost Punky so recently I panicked thinking I would have to lose her too. Even though Penny is not a people cat, and as much as I want another cat in my lap, she has been with us for 7 years and I could never even think of getting rid of her so I'll have to work more with the situation as it is. Thankfully, my husband is completely on board with everything and feels as I do. We are both off today so we will go get the pet gates and also do the room switcheroo together.
 

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You are doing everything right. Just give it time. The stacked baby gates and room switches are exactly what I do. I've never needed more than a few days of "get acquainted through the gate" time unless someone was sick. I adopt senior and adult cats so intros can be tough, but a calm, quiet attitude will go very far. Eventually they both will come to accept the new normal. Within a few weeks this will all be just a memory I predict.

I'm actually surprised a shelter would let you adopt a black cat so close to Halloween. I thought most did not. They must have really liked you! :thumb
 

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Well from your mouth to God's ears lol...I am hoping and praying they will be able to coexist. I work with a woman who is very involved in the shelter, so although we are not friends outside of work she knew me better than they would the average adopter. She also knew how much I was grieving my boy, as well as how much I had invested in his care toward the end of his life, although I know I was lucky to have the means as so many people just don't no matter how much they would like to. I just wish it had had a different result - RIP my Punky Monkey. :cry:
 

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Ok, so we did the room swap this afternoon with mixed results. Penny worked her way through Mystique's room, rubbing/marking everything and sniffing up a storm without showing any negative behaviors so I'm considering that a success. My husband was in there with her and he said she seemed interested but fairly calm.

Meantime, I was in our bedroom/en suite area with Mystique. I had the door closed as I did not want her to get 'lost' in the house and then I wouldn't be able to put her back into her safe haven when it was time. We were in there about 20 min., all seemed good, she checked it all out but seemed relaxed. Then all of a sudden she started scratching at the rug and licking the air, then threw up a LOT. Mind you this is 2 pm and she hadn't eaten wet food since 6 am, although I don't know if she ate any dry. She seemed ok again for a couple of minutes, then went over to the throw rug next to the bed and started scratching at it and then peed on it!

At that point my husband had already let Penny out of the other bedroom so I just picked Mystique up and brought her in there and put her in her box. She got right out but just laid down near me. So I don't know if she just had to go and her box wasn't in that room, or if she was marking. It wasn't spraying though, she definitely squatted and peed. Oyy, at any rate I wouldn't consider her field trip to be a resounding success lol.
 

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Well, this morning Mystique seems to be fine and was eager for her canned food so I'm hoping her tummy is better.

We bought the baby gates and have stacked them in the doorway of Mystique's room. Yesterday when we did this and fed Penny in front of the gates, Penny ate just fine but she didn't see Mystique while she was eating as both times Mystique was in another part of the room that wasn't visible.

This morning I fed Penny in front of the gate and I was in with Mystique giving her a bit of canned food. Penny came down to the gate, stared in at Mystique for a few seconds, then ran away. She won't go back to eat her food. Mystique didn't pay any attention to Penny at all while she was there, just ate her food.

Do you think at this point a calming collar might help Penny, or in your collective opinion is it still too soon to be concerned? Mystique tried to follow me out of her room last night for the first time and I feel like she would like more room to explore and be able to be with us, so I hate to have to continue to confine her like this. :sad
 

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I still think you are noodling this WAY too much. Penny is going to be perturbed by Mystique's presence for awhile - maybe weeks. Yes, Feliway diffusers or a collar might help, BUT if she is not used to wearing a collar and you suddenly put one on her it may add to her stress. If this was me, I would keep the gates up for a day or so, go about my normal routine then take the gates away and let them work it all out. GROWLING, HISSING WILL BE NORMAL - ignore it. Acting like the world is falling apart WILL BE NORMAL - ignore it. Give plenty of lap time and love to both. Penny is obviously not aggressive towards M so IMHO things will settle down to a peaceful co-existence and perhaps even being best buddies. The biggest most important key is to stay calm, and act like this is the most normal thing in the world to be going through. After today (Sunday), just take the gates down, don't fret, stay calm and let nature take it's course. IF, and that is a BIG IF, physical fighting erupts and the fur is flying and there is screaming then a spray bottle, a clap with a loud NO may be in order. Only if things get intolerable for one or the other should you need to separate again after that. I've never needed to do initial separation more than a few days or a week at most. Good luck, and stay calm.
 

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Yes, I agree with Marcia, don't overthink this and stress about it, just see what happens, and let them work it out and expect hissing and growling, and even some scuffling, possibly. I had forgotten about the gate thing, but I have done that too, if you can just leave the gates up all day and ignore them, Penny will eventually wander closer to have a look. Leave them up for a few days and then see how it goes. This transition period is WAY harder on us than the cats, usually :)
 

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Well, just a quick update. We took down the gates today and it was very anticlimactic lol. Actually, they didn't see each other much as Mystique stayed upstairs and Penny downstairs. Mystique is still exploring the house and I don't think she feels comfortable coming all the way downstairs (it's a big house) yet. The one time she did, she ran right back upstairs and under the couch. I think it was a bit much for her. And Penny, I'm sure, was staying downstairs specifically to avoid Mystique. But I'm grateful she was avoiding and not attacking.

A couple of times they were in sight of each other and Penny just stared at Mystique - not in that 'prey' way she did the other night though, and Mystique wasn't bothered by it at all. She also watched Penny but did not approach her, I'm sure she remembers her reception the first time she did.

Anyway, although I know Penny is certainly still unsure and definitely not what I'd call accepting of the situation, she isn't doing anything at all aggressive. Also I'm glad that Mystique seems respectful of Penny's space. So far so good! Thank you for all the advice.
 
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