cat question - making them get along with each other : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Although this might initially seem OT or frivolous, I think with the number of households moving in with each other next winter, it could be a major issue for some.

My question is how can I most amicably introduce a new cat into my household. In this case, it is my parents' beloved, rickety old neutered but not declawed male. My two cats are spayed, declawed females - one of them beats the other up for the fun of it. (They love each other, really!!)

If I can't successfully introduce my parents' cat (they will all be housebound), I'll have to put him down, which wouldn't be too good for the cat, me or my parents.

One of the reasons I expect trouble is that my housebound cats have been tormented through the patio doors for a long time by a couple of black neighborhood cats. My parents' cat is black, and I can foresee that my cats may have developed a grudge against all black cats in particular, and perhaps any strange cat.

My plan is to bring down their cat a week or so before my folks move in with me. I have read that placing the new cat in a crate in the living area and then ignoring it (at least as far as my cats know) would allow the original cats to come to terms with the new one with fewer territorial issues. (People are owned by cats, or some such thing.) But how would I know when to let it out of the crate? It will be very stressful for all involved.

The cat I expect to be particularly obnoxious of the threesome is my bully. So I'm thinking there is a benefit that it is the new cat that has the full set of claws.

-- Brooks (, August 25, 1999


Just throw all of them in a little box for a couple of hours. They'll work it out. If not, you can freeze the meat for later use.

-- (, August 25, 1999.

Here's something from the site's discussion group - the question was similar... if she does show up with cat in tow, I would treat the cat as if it were a new cat, lock the new cat in a room (to be its primary domain) and allow the other cats/dog to smell it through the door for quite a while (longest it took me was 6 weeks - feral cat from rescue) after they are used to the others sounds/smell, take the dominant cat from your household and introduce - only seperate if they begin actual cat fight - not just posturing and swiping. Repeat as necessary until they accept each other - once the new cat has been accepted by the dominant cat the other cat should be introduced - same thing until they are "comfortable" with each other. Dog should be supervised around new cat - mainly because the new cat may never have been exposed to dogs and cats will attack faster than the dog will. It may take some time and a lot of patience but a new cat can be integrated. I have fostered cats and adopted 3 of the ones we never were able to place ( for various reasons) and all 6 of my cats and 4 dogs get along - there is a very definate social order and all the animals have their place in the "pack" Best of luck

-- Sandy Kucheravy (, August 25, 1999.


I wish my cat problems were so simple. We have FIVE cats.....

All introduced to each other at different times for different reasons. Two came with my kids moving in, one came with my new bride, two were adopted strays.

Not a single one of them gets along with all four of the rest. Each of them gets along with one, or two, or maybe three of the others. On the other hand, it depends on whether it is dinner time and/or which other cats are watching.......

So, your idea is a good start but, bottom line, they will/must work it out themselves. If they decide not to get along, they will "ignore" each other, unless they happen to meet in a hallway or something. Then you could see some fireworks...

Bottom line, not much you can do about it. Better to worry about water, food, heat. [G]

-- Jon Williamson (, August 25, 1999.

My husband I are cat lovers and have had many. A male cat will rarely attack a female and will probably hide for a few days. Since cats are very scent oriented a little trick is to take one of your unwashed t shirts or clothing and rub it all over the new cat BEFORE you bring him into the house.

We have our daughter's neutered male cat for two weeks every year and find that after the initial hissy stage they all get along just fine.

Good Luck!

-- FOX (, August 25, 1999.

Excuse me?

If you "can't successfully introduce" your parents' cat, you will have to "put him down"? YOU will put him down?

You have a room in your house for your parents, I presume? Or will they be crated in the living area until you are satisfied everyone will get along? Then their room is also their "beloved old" cat's room.

I hope the cat arrives with your parents and not before. Do they know you intend to "put him down"? Before or after they get there?

Your declawed, defenseless females are not the problem. You are.

-- Solange (, August 25, 1999.

My daughter moved in with us after a divorce, bringing a cat. The cat was a house cat, never been outside. Well, in one month we had fleas in the carpet, cat litter all over the laundry room floor, and terrible cat box odor even when it was changed three times a day. The cat was sent to live in the garage and now the cat has adapted to outside life very well. He seems to prefer the outside which is his natural environment. I can't even imagine trying to live in a house with three cats especially if they don't get along. Good Luck.

-- Carol (, August 25, 1999.

Thanks all, mostly.

Sandy, I had hoped a week would be enough, but the Y2KWomen comment of 6 weeks has me rethinking.

Rick, I'm not expecting my freezer to work reliably after the rollover. Also, apparently you are not aware that it is almost physically impossible to confine two cats in the same container, let alone three. (Cats are shapeshifters, and the first one or two will pour out as the next is being pushed in).

Fox, I was assuming that since the cats were neutered that gender might not matter. Hopefully I'm wrong, because that would help.

Solange, yes, if necessary, I will personally kill the cat because, unfortunately, I know I can do it as humanely as a vet or anyone else. Did that with my absolutely beloved 19 year old when the time came, because I owed that to her. One of the hardest things I have ever done, and I am honestly looking for suggestions to make this work out. Their cat is very old (not sure how old because they got it from a shelter). So old that my parents were planning on putting him down, but it is a wonderful cat, and there is no way that I want my parents to associate the death of their friend with moving in with me so I insisted on giving it a try. I don't see moving day for my (late 80s) parents as being a good time to test the waters if the cats have the opportunity to come to terms with each other before then.

Carol - It's likely in the long run that the cats will get along better than I do with my parents [g]. At least the cats will be a diversion. Outside isn't an option where I live.

-- Brooks (, August 25, 1999.

It will help that your two cats are spayed females. Cats have an annoying habit of spraying to mark their area when a new cat is introduced. that is probably the biggest problem. The males are usually the worst offenders.

I would suggest not separating the cat from its family. It will be much less stressful for the cat if it is with its owners. It has already had to deal with the trauma of abandonment, and probably would "freak" if it found itself in a new place without its familiar family.

Probably the best thing will be to make sure everyone gets lots of lap time, so the regulars don't feel displaced. Make sure each has its own litter box and feeding bowl, they get rather possessive.

We have introduced quite a few cats to the home over the years, and most of the time it isn't too bad. There is, however, a limit to the amount of cat urine I will tolerate in my living area.

good luck


-- gene (, August 25, 1999.

Yep, the yerfdog is a multi-cat owner. Neutered mutt male, aged 14 and 20 lbs., neutered and declawed Siamese male, aged 3, spayed Siamese female, aged 9.

DON'T FORCE IT!!! My experience is that the females will eventually have to hunt down that male and bathe it. Male cats, according to female cats, are incapable of proper hygiene. Much hissing and spitting at first, but I've always made it a rule to leave them alone unless there is screaming. And the males seem to ultimately enjoy a good bath!

Also-- don't worry about the black cat thing. Your cats know what those black cats outside smell like, and the new cat will smell altogether different (hopefully only to other cats-- his odor shouldn't be apparent to you).

As to fleas and such, go with non-carpeted floors. If the grid goes down, how ya gonna vacuum anyway? Keep in mind that, generally, if all the cats are kept indoors all the time, fleas shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck! I'd hate to put any of mine down, but our GI vet is willing to provide the supplies if we feel it's necessary.

-- yerfdog (, August 25, 1999.

Hey Brooks -- Maybe you could try some early visits -- especially if your parents live near you.

We have four cats (products of combined households). The boy cat doesn't get a long with two of the girls. We have cat zones. For part of the day the two girls are upstairs in the master bedroom and boy cat and his sister roam the rest of the house. Then mid- afternoon we do the changing of the guard and switch places. We switch them back around 10 or 11 at night. Silly to be living with cat zones, but so far boy cat has proved way too violently aggressive. Good luck!

-- Libby Alexander (, August 26, 1999.

Cats are y2k compliant. Cats will not fall from the sky. There is no reason to bury cats in your back yard, unless of course they are dead.

-- rambo (, August 26, 1999.

Um, we somehow collected nine indoor cats. They range in age from eighteen down to three. Not so bad, the Hungarian has 20. I hasten to add we both use copious quantities of scoopable litter and under normal circumstance, you can't tell there's a cat in the house. You might say we have a bit of feline integration experience. Now you understand why Sweetie and I both said "cat litter" when we asked ourselves what we would most hate to run out of.

The crate or separate room idea is a good one. The crate will have to be big enough so that two cats poking from two sides won't be able to reach the crated animal. Once the newcomer is allowed out, a water gun is a great equalizer. (Better than a spray bottle of water; it reaches much further and the concentrated stream is enough to break up most arguments when accompanied by a loud and firm "No!" or, in my case, "NO, dammit!".)

If the new cat doesn't come with his own bed, you might want to get one for him. The ones my cats like best are the fake sheepswool type, something like a large oval platter with a rolled edge. They're not that enthusiastic about the hooded types, although several of The Hungarian's cats like that type.

I've read that a dab of perfume on all cat noses works for introductions but I've never tried it. Patience is the biggest factor--we have a set of triplet females who are NEVER going to accept the last cat we introduced. They do tolerate him, though.

Another word about litter boxes. Get an additional one because the old one will be considered territory too. Also, there's a pheromone-based repellent/deodorizing cleaner which works fantastically well to help with any spraying problems. I forget the name of it, but it comes in a pink and purple-patterned plastic bottle. Be sure to look for "pheromone" on the label--this stuff is way ahead of the pack, a minor miracle for cat owners. I put some in a spray bottle and occasionally spray whatever I think looks tempting to a male cat.

A note about declawing. Please avoid if at all possible. Of all the scratching gadgets available, our cats like both the sisal-wrapped posts (the firm ones on a base, not the wobbly hanging ones)and the corrugated cardboard type. Of the latter, the round one set in plastic surrounded by a ball in a channel is the most popular.

Since the new cat is aging, you might also consider investing in something to help him climb. Our oldest one has a touch of arthritis and appreciates both a two-step stepstool to reach her favorite window and a three-step "spiral" stair thingie, with carpeting and sisal to get to her bed (off the floor to avoid drafts).

Cat hierarchy: very definite pecking order. It's so defined that our 18-year old only has to give "that look" to one of the others and they back down. (This in spite of the fact that several weigh twice as much as she does.} In the cat world, the top cat is known as the Despot and the lowest as the Pariah. And every time a new cat is introduced it's hierarchical musical chairs all over again for several weeks.

By the way, watch out for a formerly indoors-content cat to want to flee outdoors when a new cat is introduced. Keep an extra water gun by the door. . . And good luck.

-- Old Git (, August 26, 1999.

In addition to many cats who have moved in (down-side of cat doors... you find free-loaders sleeping on the sofa in the morning), and cats that we've brought home, and cats that are SUPPOSED to live in the barn (are you listening, you mangey felines???) ....

Both our mothers have pampered, de-clawed house cats who accompany them on every visit. Both are HUGE long-hairs, one neutered & one spayed. This is how we manage the 'new' cat adjustment period:

New cat waits in car until his/her personal litter box is filled and in position (in spare bedroom, which is Mom's room during visits, naturally) plus accustomed food dish. Old cats will immediately investigate or be underfoot during this process.

Then, New cat is carried straight from car and is put down in his/her litter box. Door to this room is kept closed for at least one day, so that there is NO confusion about where the litter box is. Old cats get to sniff under door and patrol the vicinity. If there seems to be enormous hostility, we wait a couple of days before leaving the door open.

After a week or so, with the cats who are permanent additions, we put New cat into Old cat's litter box several times a day, so he/she can get a clear idea about it's location. (no excuses {g}) Then one day, we shut remove the 'new' litter box & food dish, and shut the door to the spare room, forcing New cat to go to community area.

With the visiting cats, we leave their litter & food in the room with Mom. One stays under the bed the whole time, the other one always makes himself at home within a day.

Either way, we haven't lost a cat yet. Mainly, it's loads of fun watching them circle each other and act tough. Worst cat was a feral Mom, who was very agressive until her kittens were mature and she was spayed. We figure it was the Mommy instinct that made her so. She's okay now, although she never did become friendly to the other cats. Just tolerant.

Even Toms + Toms has never been a problem.... maybe it's the neutering?

-- Arewyn (, August 27, 1999.

Mrs driver and I have melded cat families a couple of times. TIME WOUNDS ALL HEELS ........ AND.... It ALSO seems to allow cats to get un-catty, as it were. it's just the PEOPLE hwo have to have a sense of humor about the screeching, hissing, and growling. Though, a bit of positive and NEGATIVE (got a squirt gun or LOUD voice) reinforcement seems to lower the time required to under a couple months.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, August 31, 1999.

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