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Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on this forum and wanted to say Hi to everyone.

Sorry to make my first post a call for help but I'm desperate! :)

Here's my situation. About 3 weeks ago I took in a 16 year old male cat (Gilligan). An x-coworker of mine was going to bring it to a shelter because her neice was allergic. After trying to convince her not to do that cause Gilligan would surely be euthanized due to his age, she insisted that she had no choice. I decided to save Gilligan.

I have two 4 year old female cats at home (Elsy and Emily). I had never been faced with having to introduce a new cat to the household and was a bit concerned about how it would go.

My x-coworker had told me that Gilligan always like to hide. However, on a few occasions I saw him out in the open at her house. In order to make him feel comfortable and allow him time to adjust, I immediately released him from the carrier into a huge walk in closet I have in my bedroom. I wanted to give him is own space. I put his litter box, food and water bowls in with him. I put two of those gates used to keep babies from wondering into other rooms on the closet doorway, one on top of the other. This way The cats can see and smell each other.

After a few days, i started opening the gates and allowing the cats to interact. Gilligan hissed a lot whenever Elsy or Emily approched him. I have never seen Elsy or Emily hiss before, they are very unaggressive but I noticed that Elsy hissed back a few times.

A few days past and i noticed that Gilligan was wandering out of the closet and not hissing that much anymore. He was hanging out with the girls with no problem. Things were rolling along fine.

He then switched his hiding area to an amoire thats in the room also. He sort of took possession of it and started hissing at the girls again when they would come near.

Im not sure what happened after that (between them) but a few days later Gilligan was back in the closet and rarely coming out. Whenever he would peak his head out of the closet, Elsy would start getting into pouncing mode. She would jump out at him and he would hiss and run back into the closet. At first I thought Elsy was just trying to be freindly and play with him and since he wasnt used to it, maybe he thought she was attacking him. After a few days of this, though, im not sure anymore. It almost seems like Elsy won't let him out of the closet. She does the pouncing thing everytime he tries. Almost as if she's trying to let him know that he is not allowed out of the closet. (or maybe its just he trying to play). Im not sure! Im just getting worried. It's no life for Gilligan in the closet. I don't know how to proceed.

A few more things I want to add that may help with any advise you guys may have. When I got Gilligan I took him right to the vet. He was diagnosed with a Hyperthyroid. In order not to stress him even more by orally medicating him, I put his medication in his food. Therefore, when I feed him, I put the baby gates back on the doorway to keep the girls from eathing his food.

All three cats are fixed btw.

Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to give a lot of detail. Thanks!
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum and bless you for taking in this senior cat! I think you will need to reintroduce the cats. I think the hissing and hiding means the introduction went just a bit too quickly. You can easily start over again. Here are two great resources to get you started and I hope you can find something in there that will help your situation.
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=basecamphowtoprepareforyournewcat
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=cattocatintroductions
 

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How wonderful of you to take in a senior cat. You are very caring cat parent, I say!

A stray tabby (about 8-9 months) adopted me 7 -8 weeks ago. She is and indoor cat for most of the time and is only outside when I'm outside. I do have a "resident" cat, Ka'ana who is 6 years old. Ka'ana still has not accepted her so I have them in separate bedrooms with their own bowls, litterbox, toys etc. I've tried the vanilla and flower essence and yet no progress too. So I'm afraid the only thing left is TIME.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to everyone for you nice responses.

The situation at home seems to be getting worse. Im not sure what to do. I'm glad that I was able to give Gilligan a home but he seems miserable. My cat Elsy is obsessed with him. I don't know if it's curiousity, playfulness or aggression but she won't let him out of his hiding spot. She runs toward him and scares him to death everytime he makes himself visible.

I got so upset yesterday that I yelled at Elsy. Then I felt bad. She's my baby and she's always been such a wonderful cat. It's her home thats been disrupted. I can't blame her for her actions.

Is there such a thing as a cat therapist? Someone that you can have come into the house and evaluate the situation and help with the transition?
 

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I actually haven't tried the re-introduction yet. I figured I'd give them another chance first. I really didn't want to have to lock Elsy and Emily out of the bedroom (they love sleeping on the bed) but after yesterday I see I have no choice.

I am a little curious about why re-introductions work. The cats already know each other's scents (they've been 'together' for 3 and half weeks already). How would seperating them and gradually exposing them to one another help?
 

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I think they work because the cats have been together and know the others scents, but right now there is so much stress in the air the cats can't progress in their relationships. Separating the cats completely will give them a chance to relax. Then if they are slowly reintroduced you may be able to avoid getting them upset. By respecting their boundries and slowly getting them to accept the other cat, they will learn that that cat was not the threat they had originally thought they were.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Kitty's mom. That makes sense. Will the fact that the new cat's basecamp is in the resident cats' favorite room of the house (the bedroom) cause more stress/resentment for the resident cats? The way my apt is laid out, its the only room that can be used to isolate the new cat.
 

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I'm sure it's not the best option, but if it's your only option then, so be it. Introduction and acceptance just takes time. Thomas and Kitty have been together for a year. I expect that they will get along any time now. :D
 

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Just wanted to give you guys an update. I kept them in different rooms all day yesterday. Gilligan (the new cat) seemed a LOT more relaxed. He would still look at the door with fear but not like he was before. He ventured out of the closet and even hopped on my bed and slept all night. I was shocked.

On the other hand, Elsy (one of the resident cats) freaked out this morning around 5 am. She kept meowing frantically and scratching at the door. It broke my heart to keep her out. Eventually I couldnt stand it anymore so I grabbed a pillow and went to sleep on the couch to keep her company. She calmed down after that.

She has a special place in the bedroom where she sleeps and every morning she used to come up on the bed and wake me up. Ever since she was 6 months old. Now I lock her out. :( She must be like "what did I do?"

She even ran away and hid from me this morning when I was going to give her a kiss goodbye before going to work. :(

I really hope this reintroduction thing works and quickly cause im not sure how much more i can take.

ok, im done venting. :wink:
 

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Hang in there; you're doing great! Now you can work with feeding/treats with both cats near the door, so they start to associate *good things* with the other one's presence, site and scent swapping, and the other techniques outlined in the introductions article.

For the first day, this is great progress. Really!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks so much DR. Jean. I appreciate your optimism. Definitely gives me hope. I was going to wait a while longer before doing the food/door thing but I guess there's no reason to.

I slept in the living room on an air mattress last night to keep Elsy and Emily company. I wanted Elsy to start feeling 'normal' again. She seems to be coming around. She was very affectionate this morning.

Gilligan is absolutely loving the bedroom. I don't think his previous owners let him on the bed cause he is like in heaven. Sprawled out all over. Its really cute cause when ever I walk into the room he lets out these really deep Meows of excitement. Elsy and Emily's meows are a lot more typical sounding so its funny to hear the deepness. I've heard this type of meow before from a Siamese at a cat show. Makes me wonder if there's any of that in his background. He's an orange tabby (like Morris) but he's kinda lanky. Has long thin legs.

I guess that's it for now. I'll keep you guys posted.
 

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I'm also going through introductions right now and can empathize with what you are experiencing!

Is there any other room in your home that you could put Gilligan? I'm not an expert, but I can imagine that Elsy, having always had a special spot in the bedroom with you, and now finding a new creature in *her* space, would be really upset.

If you could switch up the arrangement, and allow Elsy to have her space back and her regular routine, she might calm down - and you could go back to sleeping in your own bed.

I think the less you (and the new cat) alter the resident cat's routine, the smoother everything will go.
 

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You could also swap them out at night, put Gilligan out of the bedroom and bring Emily and Elsy in. Although, then they might cry to get out...so that might not work.
 

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Just wanted to update everyone.

I have had it. I did the reintro thing.

-I put Gilligan in the bedroom (door closed) and Elsy and Emily have the rest of the house.

-After like a week, I started feeding them on either side of the door.

- 3 or 4 days later I started opening the door a crack. Gilligan started hissing. (im not sure if I should scold him when he hisses, or if that makes it worse)

-I then started opening the door with a baby gate on it so they can see each other while I gave them treats. This seem to work well. no hissing.

-A few days later I took the gate off and let them interact while giving them treats. Hissing galore by Gilligan. Elsy and Emily scared. I took Gilligan out of the room and left the girls in there with the door closed. Left them like that for like an hour then switched them back.

Now everytime Gilligan sees Elsy and Emily he hisses. Elsy hisses back. I've had it! I want my life back. I can't go in and out of my bedroom without having to jump the baby gate hurdle. Elsy and Emily are constantly trying to get into the bedroom. The cry and scratch at the door at 5am every morning.

Since I've tried everything suggested. I think the last thing to do is just open the doors and let them at it. Of course, watch them. But maybe they just need to be thrown together and let them work it out. I'll give it till the weekend then I'll try that.

A coworker suggested something a little crazy but it actually sounds interesting. He said to buy a remote control car. (a big one that they will be scared of). Open the bedroom door and chase all three cats around with it. That way they have a common 'enemy' and in running from the car they'll forget their own little conflicts. What do u guys think?
 

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Ummm....That doesn't sound like a good idea. I mean they may forget to fight while the car is running around, but you'll freak them out and as soon as the car is gone, they'll be back at it.

So, right now they are hissing at each other every time they're in sight....hmm. Intros are so hard! You could try just flinging open the door and letting them have at it like you mentioned. But you might undo all the progress you've made so far.

You could try focusing just on Elsy. Does she play with toys? Like petting? Brushing? You could pick Elsy up and while holding her let Gillian out. Then take her with you and follow Gillian, wait until he settles somewhere. Then distract Elsy with whatever she likes, toys, petting, brushing, etc. So that she doesn't notice Gillian. After a bit, you can stop distracting her. If she starts to go after Gillian, you could start distracting her before she can get him.

I don't know, this is tough. It sounds like you really made a lot of progress though, so you might just want to stick with it. It's so hard when you have to start over! I'm sure someone will have more/better suggestions.
 

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The things I've read indicate that one week may not be enough. Another possible trick is scent familiarization. Put something that smells like you in a place where one cat will sit, then swap it with the other cat's similar item.

One of my cats always hissed at the other early on, but when I let them out together, they never fought really. That's another possibility - some cats never become a truly "happy" family, but just tolerate each other.

It's particularly hard for older cats...
 
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