Swampy recently adopted a second cat. That cat is a 20lb shelter cat. He is gentle and is very people centric. He has also often been in the presence of other cats.
Swampy's first cat grew up sailing around the world. She was the only cat on the boat. Later, the boat owner moved into a house and got a dog. The dog (an energetic puppy) terrorized the cat. So the cat refused to go in he house, moved into the garage. The owner tried to feed her and be nice to her, but being in an open garage meant skunks and raccoons would eat her food and otherwise annoy her. Bottom line: she is frightened of other animals.
So right now, cats are separated. Separate rooms, food, water, litter boxes. They can hear ech other through the door. Swampy was hoping that they would be curious about one another and come close and sniff at each other under the door. The new cat is absolutely fine meeting his new sister. But the first cat runs in the corner and shakes with fear.
Swampy is inclined to keep the two separated until the first cat gets over her fear. However, its worth asking the other cat people here -- have you ever had such a problem? How did you handle it?
Swampy's first cat really misses not being in the bedroom at night. Swampy wakes at 3:30am, goes out and sits with her for a few minutes, but its not the same.
Hey Swampy, I can only tell you what has worked for me, both in the past growing up around animals and recently.
Basically, we introduced very slowly. We did the separate rooms to start off with, they could hear each other and bat at each other under the door. Then we brought the new cat out in a cat carrier and let them sniff each other through the carrier but if one seemed too upset, hissing, etc., we would put them back in their rooms. Then we brought the new cat out in our arms and sat down on the floor holding the cat and let the other cat come up to investigate, never pushing or forcing anything. We let them take their time. Then we would let one cat have the run of the house with the other one locked up and then switch it to give them both the opportunity to pass on their smell and investigate.
Finally we'd let them both out and watch them carefully. We never left them unattended until we could see they reached the point of at least tolerating each other and not hissing, running or fighting.
It can take awhile but I think it's worth the patience of working with it. Try to keep things as calm as possible and don't force anything. Let them take their time. Each cat is different. Some can take a long time, some not so long.
My mom and dad got a new cat and they got in a little tussle shortly after they met and traumatized my mom's older cat so she didn't accept the new cat for the longest time. She'd hiss and run away and they kept them separated. I thought it was always going to be like that because it had been over a year that this went on but when I saw my parents last Summer I noticed the cats were both out and I was surprised. They finally got to the point of getting along. I don't think it usually takes that long but again, it can vary from cat to cat. Just try to be patient and give them as much time as they need, especially the cat who's been traumatized.
Hey Swampy, so great of you to rescue another kitty. I couldn't possibly add anything to April's great advice. I teared up reading you go sit with First Cat (Shadow?) in the early morning. First Cat loves you for doing that!
Best of luck and don't forget - we want to see pictures!
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