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Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:30 am
by Mrs Monkey
Hi All

I am looking for some advice please. One of my cats went missing 4th November and we desperately miss him and hope he will turn up. In the meantime we have adopted a new boy as company for our existing cat and to be honest because we missed not having two cats. Newby was a stray taken in by someone else who already had 3 cats who just wouldn't accept him and one of them was quite nasty to him.

The thing is our existing cat is not as pleased to see the new comer as we are and we are not sure now if we have done the right thing for both of them. I know my existing cat has feline friends outside the house and is not a fighter. Injuries sustained suggest that he is normally trying to run away from scraps. I thought that he might be more tolerant to a new arrival and am quite surprised by his behaviour ... probably naïve of me I know !!

We couldn't do the separate room slow phased intro as the new comer is terrified of being shut in to confined spaces and just howls and wrecks everything which was really distressing for everyone. We decided to therefore introduce them under supervision in one room and see how things went. Our existing cat growls and hisses but the new comer seems totally unphased. The newby is incredibly docile and non confrontational and so when our existing cat growls or hisses he just ignores him or backs off. We have let them now have the run of the house and they avoid each other most of the time but every time my existing cat comes face to face with newby he hisses and growls which I am finding sad and not sure how to deal with it. I don't tell him off but just talk to him soothingly and fuss him to try and calm him down.

Obviously at the moment newby has to be kept in and so we have kept in our existing boy too in the hope that he will get used to him. Also I am terrified that if I let him out he will do a runner ... which would break my heart after his brother going missing.

I know we have probably handled this all wrong but its what I do from this point on that is important. Today is day 4 of them being introduced so I know its early days still. No major conflicts have occurred just a definite expression of disapproval from my existing cat.

Does anyone have any advice on what I can do to try and turn things around? I would love them to be friends as I know that my existing boy misses his brother and the company.

Is it best to perceiver or unfair on both of them to pursue trying to get them to accept it each ? How long can should you give before deciding that maybe its not best for both little guys?

Any constructive advice would be appreciated.

Many Thanks

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:12 pm
by Lilith
Hi there, sorry to hear things are fraught atm. You might have read the two recent threads on the 'behaviour and health' section about introducing cats; I won't repeat all the advice given there, but I have had a lot of experience of introducing new cats into the household and hope my two cents' worth may help...I will say though, that no matter how many times you do it, it always feels like the first time: sleepless nights, worrying, omg have I done the right thing...

Four days is early days though, and despite all the ructions, it sounds to be going well. Newby seems to be acknowledging that he's (at the moment) encroaching on Senior's territory and is treating him with respect. The fact that Senior has social relationships outside the house is good; he's used to interacting with other cats, but this is on 'neutral' territory, streets and gardens not 'owned' by other cats. It's natural for him to make a big display when finding a newcomer on 'his' patch - but cats are communal creatures and do enjoy each others' company and this is what helps the situation to settle down in the end. I'm like you - I can't close off a separate room in my house and any newcomers (or visitors turning up for a free feed before my garden was secured) have had to muck in with the rest. I do find though that boys are much more tolerant than girls (may be wrong but with the exception of a full tom who did try to take over the house - he got neutered lol - lads come round quicker than girls.) I don't blame you for keeping the senior lad in, if only for your own peace of mind, and at least the weather's horrible, not as if it's summer.

I can't predict a reliable time for when they will come to accept each other, but can only say that, as each day goes by and they become accustomed to each other's presence, smell etc, as they get used to the situation, they'll accept it and settle together. I remember about 30 years ago, selling a Siamese kitten to a woman who already had a Siamese girl - and the senior girl went ballistic! For a week the owner would ring me and we'd discuss the day's events. Misty HATED Thor! Although I was willing to have him back, like any kitten of mine, they persevered and at the end of the week, things were better...eventually they'd lie in front of the fire in each other's arms...Misty would wash Thor so thoroughly she just about turned his ears inside out! (Not sure if Thor appreciated this lol.)

I can only add, let them circle round each other, don't get worried about any verbals from Senior, and if they want to avoid each other for a while, then let them. I think you're doing all the right things tbh - it's a good idea to make a big fuss of Senior to build up his confidence but try to fuss Newby behind Senior's back...if that's possible, just to prevent any jealousy. Though I expect you'll realise this already.

I think, by the sound of things, that there's every chance of them settling a few weeks you'll be posting pics of them sitting side by side. Sounds like Senior needs another brother in the house. I don't think you've been naive at all, oh, and good on yer for rescuing Newby in his hour of need :)

ps edit - it would be wonderful if your missing boy would turn up - not too late to lose hope - paws crossed!

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:23 am
by Mrs Monkey
Hi Lilith

Thank you so much for your reply and words of wisdom its reasurring to hear from someone else who has successfully adopted cats that we have not completely messed things up. Everything that we have done for both boys has been with the best of intentions and we really hope that eventually they might be friends. Senior is normally a very friendly affectionate boy that is so laid back he falls asleep in the vets waiting room. So its been quite a shock to see him suddenly so confrontational.

However, having said that today things seem to be a bit calmer Senior has stopped growling and just gives a hiss if newby gets too near and earlier this morning they were both in the same room. Senior was on the window sill looking out longly and newby was asleep under the bed. Prior to this Senior was playing with a ball and newby kept giving little chirps like he wanted to join in I didn't stand and stare to see if he let him as I thought it might put them off but they certainly never came to blows so that's also got to be a good sign.

How long do you think I should keep newby in for to make sure he knows this is his new home? Do you think I should keep senior in for the same amount of time too?

I absolutely adore Senior he really is my baby and after what has happened with his brother I would be devastated if he went missing too. I am terrified to let him out to be honest but know that it would be really selfish of me and that I have to at some point. Also, I think once they are both allowed out that may reduce tension as well but I need to make sure that Senior won't run off and Newby won't try and find his old home. Its all so stressful :?

Giving newby a home seemed a no brainer he is the most laid back non confrontational cat I have ever met and to be honest if Senior doesn't get on with him then he won't get on with anyone! We felt that Senior needed some company and new that newby loved feline company but was currently not appreciated by his other companions. I hope Senior will in time appreciate him too ....

My partner and I desperately hope that Senior's brother returns home safely too we were heartbroken when he went missing. He too was a very laid back affectionate boy and we are baffled as to what has happened to him. We just hope and pray that some kind soul is looking after him in the interim till we are reunited. We have never experienced the heartbreak of a cat going missing and so its been really hard to come to terms with and its the not knowing that just eats you up.

Will keep you posted on how Senior and Newbie progress over the coming days.

Thank you again for taking the time to reply.

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:15 pm
by bobbys girl
You are right, it is early days yet -only 4 days.

Some of mine have been together for years, they still have their moments. Gracie can be quite grumpy with all the others (a bit of a bully too!) All the others will take just so much before there is a 'falling-out', which can last several days. Then everything settles down again. Part of me feels sorry for Gracie-no-friends. But she brings a lot of it on herself. :roll:

Don't be too down-hearted. They have to sort out their pecking order. It sounds as though Newby is use to getting his own way and Senior is, rightly, trying to put him in his place.

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:17 pm
by Lilith
Hi again Mrs Monkey. My pleasure :) And thank you for the kind words too.

Sounds like they're already tolerating each other; they sound to be doing really well, and well done you too.

About going seems to be different for every cat. At least at the moment you've got the excuse of the poor weather, although some cats will go out in anything. Under the circumstances I would guess that when they do go out, Newby will follow Senior and share his territory. Personally I'd give it another week or so and then, if they're reasonably settled together, if Senior wants to go out, and if you feel you're not going to worry too much, I'd let him out - perhaps before a meal so that he comes back soon, looking for his grub - and that will give Newby some time in the house alone, just to reinforce the idea that the house is his as well. I'd be inclined to keep Newby in for a few weeks longer, if you can, and at first let him out under supervision, just to see how he goes on. Chances are that he'll venture out for five minutes and then run back into the refuge of the house. At this point it's a good idea to be vigilant for any 'power games' such as Senior deciding to forbid Newby to re-enter the house - or vice versa! It's amazing how they can change once they become confident lol. But with bit of careful watching this sort of thing can be avoided. Hope it doesn't come to that though.

Well, sounds like everything's going very well, and congrats!

Would love some updates :)

And paws still crossed for the other lad's return. That is what's so awful, the not knowing.

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:43 pm
by Mrs Monkey
Hi Lilith

Apologies for late reply, bit hectic with settling boys and work etc.

Thank you for all your advice and encouragement. Things are still ticking along nicely with senior improving his behaviour everyday.

Will keep you posted on progress and hope to post pics of them cuddling soon :D

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:01 pm
by Lilith
Aww that's ok and again - my pleasure :)

Sounds like things are going very well - long may it continue and look forward to more updates - and pics. Lots of love to the lads :)

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:31 pm
by Fran_ki
Hiya :D
It sounds like things are moving slowly but surely.

We got a new kitten a few weeks ago he was 9 weeks old. Got another kitten a week past Friday he was 13 weeks.
Well to begin with it was hell, an awful lot of hissing and attacking from the first kitten, the second a BSH was very laid back and did not want to fight at all.
I had to seperate them into different rooms for periods of time then bring them together to play and try to integrate them.
Doing this I had to seperate the 2 often as I thought new kitten was going to get hurt.
I tried to play with them together, gave them treats together and also kept rubbing each cats cheeks and ears thoroughly then going straight to the other and going the same to transfer scent.
It's also good to have a wee bit of your perfume in your hands and do the same.
Eventually by day 5 things were getting a lot better !
I actually saw them curl up and sleep together. This now happens a lot.
Don't get me wrong they still scuffle but it no longer seems threatening and there's no hissing.
They slept together in same room overnight on day 4 and now if one disappears the other looks around for him.
There was so much hissing and violent biting at the start I really thought I'd ha e yo have an upstair cat and a downstair cat. ( they are both indoor cats )
I hope yours settle down soon but it sounds like things are moving nicely xxx

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:01 pm
by Mrs Monkey
Hi All

I thought you might like an update on how newby and senior are getting along. Its now been 7 weeks since newby came to join us, its flown by. At first senior was not impressed and growled and hissed at newby ... I found myself constantly fretting as to whether we had done the right thing for both of them and crying as I felt really guilty that I may have messed up both their lives. Senior had a brother who went missing last November and we were absolutely devastated ... senior seemed very depressed and we thought getting a new buddy for him might be a good move.

Newby came from a home of 3 other cats all of whom had not taken to him and basically picked on him. The thing that made us think he would be good for our senior was that he loves feline company, craved a friend and was totally submissive and non-confrontational.

Well I am pleased to report that after the initial couple of weeks of tenseness things have gradually improved by the day. They now sleep in the same room, eat together are perfectly happy sat side by side. They both will instigate play with each other and love to wear themselves out chasing each other up and down the stairs. The most exciting thing was last week when senior was asleep on the sofa and newby jumped up ... senior woke up looked at him got up and then licked newby on the head 3 times before jumping down and going to the kitchen for a "kit-stop" ... we were amazed!!!! I know that their relationship will never be the same as Senior and his brother but the fact that they are accepting of each other and even seem to have grown fond of each other is fab.

We are so relieved and feel blessed to have newby come in to our lives. Loosing Senior's brother was heartbreaking ...... although we haven't given up hope that he will turn up at some point. The fact that we have been blessed with another boy who is so gentle, mild mannered and absolutely adores Senior is just wonderful.

Thank you to those of you for your kind words of support and encouragement when I was having my wobble - I am so glad we didn't bottle out.

Mrs Monkey

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:47 am
by Lilith
Awww - this is grrrreat news!

So very glad to hear - thanks for posting. :D

It's so sad that Senior's brother has continued to go missing, but sounds like Newby is helping to heal that gap in your lives. Brilliant that they're already getting on so well - really pleased to hear, congrats! :D :D :D

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:33 pm
by Mrs Monkey
Thanks Lilith .... it was your words of wisdom that gave me the confidence to stick with it and we are so glad we did :D

Re: Introducing Newby to Existing Cat

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:50 pm
by Lilith
Aww thanks for the kind words but it was your wisdom as well you know, living with them and getting them over the initial awkward patch - so very glad they're settling together, again congrats :D