How to introduce my cats to new cat?

newhomeseekerFebruary 3, 2010

I adopted a "hard to place" cat from a shelter I volunteer at about three weeks ago. She was moody and aggressive (to people who wanted to look at her or touch her) and I brought her home and put her in a room by herself and she is a very sweet girl. We've only had one altercation since I brought her home. She does not like other cats. Even though she lived at the shelter for almost 2 years in a room filled with 10-20 other cats with new cats constantly being introduced to the room. I currently have 7 other cats (3 are fosters) in my house. there is plenty of room for them but of course if I let the new cat out EVERYONE wants to stalk her or try to make friends etc.

Mostly I let her out by herself and lock my other 7 cats in my bedroom (they mostly sleep during this time) or I will leave my "lazy" cats out and let the new cat because I know they won't bother her. Well it turns out when I thought I had 3 "lazy" cats, I only have one. My eldest female (8 yrs) could care less about the new cat and only wants in the room I keep her in so she can sample her food. Everyone else is very curious. One of my 6 mth old kittens (she is a tortie) just marches right up to the new cat and wants to make friends. My new cat does not growl at her (the only one she doesn't growl at) so that is encouraging. But my 1 year old "baby" is very upset (she is a dilute tortie) at once again being upstaged and stalks the new cat merciously. So I try to let her explore the house by herself. Have done this for a week and a half but I need to start introducing her to the other cats so she is comfortable. Right now if she is confronted with one of them she will get on something high and watch the other cat. If they come too close she will growl or swat.

I have tried leaving the door to her "safe" room open but the other cats are attracted to that and run in there to use her potty, eat her food and lay on her bed. I'm afraid she will associate that as an intrusion so mostly I shut the door. Last night my timid girl (7 yrs old thnks she's a kitten) ran into the bedroom where I keep the new cat. She wanted to meet her (usually she's timid) but for some reason she LOVES the newcomer. She would get as close to her as she could and sniff her and never growl. The new cat growled at her at first but realized she's not intimidating so she just watched her. I left them in the room together for about an hour (kept checking on them and my timid girl never wanted out) they never fought and there was never any growling.

Should I try this with the others as well? My fear is that my new cat is still not totally comfortable roaming my house so any cats she meets outside of her room she may get upset because it is THEIR territory she is meeting them on. One of my other kittens (sweetheart who has never growled at anything in her life) seems to hate the new cat. She growls at her whenever she sees her (she is a dilute tortie too) I've been trying to introduce the new cat to the resident cats one by one. I'm still not sure how it will ever be possible for the entire group to meet her and not freak her out but we will see. Any ideas?

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I have found the best way is to just act normally and let everyone do their thing. Monitor the cats and have a squirt bottle with water ready in order to disuade any bad behavior on anyones part. Cats seem to need to be able to spend time learning who is boss. Having one cat put another in its place is normal behavior...just make certain that a fight does not break out by being alert...good luck and kudos to your for fostering.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 7:11PM
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I have a screen door that I put in the open doorway and let all the animals sniff and look at the new cat through the screen for a while (days, week or 2) ... until the "newness" has worn off some.

This usually helps a lot.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 12:14PM
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I'd look out for territoriality tendencies. They could come up in the litter box or boxes or in the water and food access points. If the newcomer is intimidated and blocked access to the litter box, he or she may start voiding where prohibited. Once that starts, it could be very hard to reverse. So catch it early if it looks like it's about to happen, and intervene. You will need a lot of vigilance and patience.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 9:11PM
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