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We have a new kitty! His name is Angus, he's a Tuxedo Cat, 4 years old,
and he is a bruiser at 18 pounds. We adopted him from the Peninsula
Humane Society. He seems quite confident and affectionate. We've let him
sniff noses through the door with our resident cat, Biscuit, but we're
keeping them separated for the next few days.

Before we adopted him, I snapped a photo of him in his digs at the
humane society:



Despite my having a lot of experience with cats, this is the first time I've tried introducing two unrelated cats. There's a fair amount of contradictory advice on the web. Any advice (to-dos and to-don'ts) from folks who've been there?

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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eeyorerin
May. 12th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
Hello kitty!
queensheba
May. 12th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
I have always put the two cats in separate rooms - typically I put the new cat in a room like a bathroom or a spare bedroom so as not to unnecessarily restrict the "current" cat's movements. I visit the new cat regularly and make sure it has food/water/litterbox/toys in there. The cats should sniff around the door and become aware of each others' presence quite easily; they will probably meow (or growl or hiss) at each other and reach their paws underneath. After 24-48 hours, I would put open the door and allow them to meet under your supervision. I would do only "supervised visitation" for a while until you are sure they are tolerating each other well.
epi_lj
May. 12th, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
AWW!!!! So cute!

All of our experiences seem to start with us having great intentions, separate bowls, separate litterboxes, separate them for a few days at least, possibly a week or two, let them smell each other's scents but not confront each other right away. This usually ends within 16 hours, because one of the cats escapes and encounters the other cat IMMEDIATELY and they go through whatever degree of hostility they're going to right off the bat, and continue to attempt escape at every opportunity.

After a while they adjust on their own.
cjsmith
May. 12th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
What queensheba said is almost exactly what I do. I add one "house visit" where the preexisting cats are corralled in a different room and the new cat gets to explore the digs by himself.

If there's much growling or hissing when they first see each other through the open door, I also add a baby gate phase where they can see, hear, and smell each other but can't effectively fight. (This phase is deeply annoying for the human as I need four baby gates to seal off a doorway and it's hard for ME to get through!) I've freecycled a lot of baby gates. :-)
cjsmith
May. 12th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
Oh -- and CONGRATS on the cat! He looks spunky, cute, and fun!
(no subject) - firecat - May. 12th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cjsmith - May. 12th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
vixter
May. 12th, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC)
We always start out with good intentions
and get lazy. Our 13 y/o female and 4 y/o male tux are still working on who is alpha cat after 3 years together. They mostly ignore each other, but there is some swatting, and some nose and butt sniffing. Sometimes they are both on the bed at the same time, but they are apart.

They do agree that the 12 y/o female tux is the omega animal.
kightp
May. 12th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
What a gorgeous guy!

All my attempts at introducing cats to each other have been dismal, long-term failures, so I won't offer advice on that count. But congratulations!
loracs
May. 12th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Congrats
A new addition - Yeah! I'm (as you know) more of a dog person but all the advice about keeping them separate for a while and then some supervised visits sounds right to me. Is you're other kitty a lot smaller than Angus? That can be an issue with dogs cause of the increased damage one can do to the other if they get in a fight, but cats (domesticate at least) don't have quite the range in size as canines, so maybe it's not a problem. Good Luck!
firecat
May. 12th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats
Biscuit is 16 pounds, and she is clawed where Angus is declawed in front (he came that way), so they would be reasonably well matched in a fight, if they did fight. (I figure Biscuit would be more likely to run away, though.)
saluqi
May. 12th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)

Congratulations! He's a very handsome fellow, & looks very much like our dear departed Clyde kitty.

As to introduction, my experience pretty much aligns with epi_lj's. At one point they finally had fairly frightening fight with tufts of fur on the floor and everything, then after that were fine with each other. The main thing I think is to keep them separate when you're not around to supervise, and also keep an eye on behaviours that might indicate some temporary intervention in the way of calming meds might be needed.

That said, I have actually decided that I won't introduce unrelated cats again if they are over 8 y/o, because it was hard .
liveavatar
May. 12th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
No advice to offer, since others with more experience have chimed in, but welcome to the new member of your household.

Your post, along with the post of another friend who knits cat beds for her local shelter, inspired me to call the Peninsula HS to see if they needed cat beds knitted. Answer: they're more worried than the other shelter is about the loops in knitting getting caught in cats' claws (but they're fine with fleece, which I find odd); however, they're open to several other types of donations that we can help them out with. So they'll be getting some old towels and rugs shortly.
firecat
May. 12th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
Cool! How would they feel about felted knitted cat beds?
(no subject) - liveavatar - May. 13th, 2005 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
ex_serenejo
May. 12th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwww!
pyrzqxgl
May. 12th, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC)
Another awwwwwww! Enjoy your kitty!
lysana
May. 12th, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
I have no advice; I just like the picture. Very fine cat.
auntysocial
May. 12th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
He reminds me of our old cat Jack who died last year at the age of eighteen. We got Jack from a neighbor, and we got another cat Cleo, from Mike's allergic parents, at about the same time. They didn't have the luxury of a planned introduction but were thrown into the chaos of our household by accident. They hated each other until they both got old and just didn't have the energy to argue any more. They made a lot of noise, but never did each other serious harm.
necturus
May. 12th, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
I have no advice to offer, but he is a fine looking beast.

Best of luck to all of you.
pameladean
May. 12th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Awwww. The Half-a-Moustache syndrome!

Very gradual introduction is the best way to go, as everybody has said. A lot of cats will, once introduced, establish territories on their own. They may divide up people between them, or divide spaces, or both. Or they may be permanently bristly. A separate food and water bowl for each plus extra, if you can manage this, will help reduce tension; the same with litter boxes.

P.
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