Cat introduction update

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Purred: Sun Oct 21, '12 10:20am PST 
Okay, so after a bad introduction, I've kept Grazie (older cat) and Ladybug (new cat) separated for a week. They eat meals on either side of a glass door and they seem to do this peacefully enough. They have played through the door as well (I have opened it a crack), and it's mostly peaceful although if they get into a staredown, Ladybug will hiss. Grazie seems nonplussed at the hissing.

Today I finally opened the door and let Grazie into the same room as Ladybug. At first, they weren't close to each other but then, just as had happened prior to the re-introduction, Grazie chased Ladybug under the bed and Ladybug started hissing. There was no physical fight at that time, but I was anxious because in the past it always let to a physical altercation, so I immediately separated them.

Tonight I will feed them again from either side of the door, but should I start putting them in the same room more often and for longer periods at this point? What if Grazie just chases Ladybug back under the couch, and she's hissing and Grazie is all aggitated? Do I leave them be unless it gets out of control? Before the re-intro, every time Grazie saw Ladybug, she chased her into a corner or under the couch, and there might be a bit of a violent scuffle with, of course, the worst noise ever.

I'm trying to be patient but right now I'm not sure of the next steps or how long to continue with each step, you know?

Does anyone have further words of wisdom?? Thank you!


Purred: Tue Oct 23, '12 6:19am PST 
This is a hard one to advise on, because we aren't there and can't see the severity of the attack. I will say that after watching our indoor girls and, especially the outdoor ferals in our colony here, the vocal stuff sounds absolutely horrible, but then we'll see "the victim" a short time later looking completely unscathed. Sometimes they're even back shoulder to shoulder eating with the aggressor!
There is a lot of jockeying for alpha position in a household or colony. Crossing our fingers and paws, we'll say try them again, but have your spray bottle ready to spray the heck out of Grazie. And every time she corners Ladybug, spray her and scare her off, telling her calmly but firmly "NO!" You're the top Alpha Cat - let Grazie know this - hopefully that will get through to her.

Member Since
Purred: Tue Oct 23, '12 7:47am PST 
I've done a lot of introductions and I agree that sometimes the hissing and carrying on sounds worse than it really is. Also, like the other poster said, they may be hissing and chasing each other one minute, and eating side by side the next. I have done many intros and I use my intuition on each one as to how to proceed. Some have gone very quickly and smoothly; some involved keeping the cats separate for three weeks. One interim thing I've done, if needed, is to gradually introduce the new cat into the rest of the house by bringing that cat out in a carrier, and letting everyone else check her out. But you may already be beyond that point. A vet that I really trust said that we can usually trust the cats to work it out, unless there is serious harm going on. Good luck with the intros!

Cat Holm/Ann Catanzaro
Cat fantasy author