Integrating new cat into household

(35 Posts)
LastingLight Fri 11-Apr-14 10:36:54

I posted about our rescue kitty here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/the_litter_tray/2048397-Rehoming-cat-to-a-farm

He has now been with us since Monday night (was snipped and inoculated on Tuesday) and we are introducing him to our 3 other cats. Our old boy is not fussed and there is very little aggro. Our 2 older girl cats are a different story - they're scared of him and there is lots of hissing and growling. We are rotating rescue kitty through the 4 rooms in the house that have doors so that his smell can get everywhere, and we're letting him spend some time with the other cats under close supervision. Is there anything else we can do? We don't want to stress our cats unnecessarily, it's not fair on them. How long should we give it to see if they will get along with each other?

cozietoesie Fri 11-Apr-14 10:39:56

How is he reacting to them?

LastingLight Fri 11-Apr-14 11:08:13

He seems fairly relaxed. He will hiss if they get closer than about 2 metres but otherwise he just looks at them.

cozietoesie Fri 11-Apr-14 16:27:31

Ah - 'looks' are a very powerful thing when used to effect. It sounds as if they're having a turf war and he's edgy but trying for dominance. Which they don't like.

One thing to remember is that he's only recently back from the vet and from being snipped so his smell and some of his behaviour is still not necessarily the complete and final product. It can sometimes take a short while for things to calm down after neutering.

Are you planning on keeping him if things settle down?

LastingLight Fri 11-Apr-14 19:19:27

Yes, I guess if the other cats are ok with it we will keep him. smile

cozietoesie Fri 11-Apr-14 20:12:07

Thought as much. smile

Check his posture and how he looks. A cat who is truly relaxed will usually sit - often with paws curled under - and doze. A cat who is sitting and looking (without falling half asleep) is generally alert. I'd be the same in his position being faced with a gang of resident females and just after having been hoicked to the vets for the day.

Going from 3 to 4 is a lot easier than from 1 to 2 though so I would be fairly optimistic - and you're on real early days still.

Do the girls have favourite taste treats that you could help the situation with? (I'm a big believer in bribery.)

LastingLight Fri 11-Apr-14 20:38:40

I have rewarded both girls with a little bit of milk after they were exposed to him.

He definitely relaxes in the company of our old boy, as long as old boy is sleeping on the table and new one is on the floor! As soon as they're on the same level things gets a bit tense. I will watch him carefully when we get him together with one of the girls again.

What you're saying makes a lot of sense, thanks, we must clearly be a bit more patient. I just feel so sorry for the poor thing, locked up in the bathroom the whole night and part of the day. I suppose he must just be patient too!

LastingLight Sun 13-Apr-14 19:11:46

Here rescue kitty is facing up to our old ginger boy. We let him out of the house today and bolting was the last thing on his mind. He kept wandering in and out of the house and annoying the girl cats by following them around. They get quite wound up, hissing and growling, I hope things settle down soon. he appears to be curious about them, not rushing them aggressively or anything like that.

Question: Rescue kitty is eating copious quantities of food, I suppose because he was starved before. His tummy is so full all the time, he looks pregnant. He is also producing copious quantities of very soft poo and distributing it throughout his litter box and all around. Is this something we must worry about, or will it become normal as he (hopefully) starts to eats less?

cozietoesie Sun 13-Apr-14 19:59:14

The old boy isn't bothered, is he? (And it looks as if NewCat doesn't quite know what to make of that situation.)

When you say 'soft poo' is it diarrhoea or just not rock hard?

By the way, have you named him yet?

cozietoesie Sun 13-Apr-14 20:00:39

PS - what kind of food are you offering him and how does it fit in with the feeding arrangements for the other three?

LastingLight Sun 13-Apr-14 20:17:10

His name is Minus, because we rescued him from floor -1 of the office parking garage. smile It's also a name that works in both our household languages (English and Afrikaans).

I just had the dubious pleasure of watching him defecate in the newly cleaned litter tray. (Why oh why can't he just go outside!) TMI... he sort of farted and then deposited a heap of poo... not watery, but not formed at all. I hope that explains it.

At the moment he is fed a mixture of supermarket food and Royal Canine Renal Feline, which is what the other 3 eat. Once the supermarket food is finished he will just have the Renal, the vet said this would be ok.

LastingLight Sun 13-Apr-14 20:24:55

Oh, and the food is all dry pellets.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 13-Apr-14 21:22:39

It sounds like his tummy might be overwhelmed with the new diet. Maybe it's too rich or too much cereal?

cozietoesie Sun 13-Apr-14 21:30:08

Right now, I'd also be inclined to think too rich or simply too much for his tummy to handle. Would it be possible for you to restrict his eating a little given that there are other cats around eating? Maybe even put him on bland food like chicken or fish for a day or two and see how that goes? It's just to see what happens and whether his poor stools improve.

By the way - I forget. Did the vet check him over and worm him etc?

LastingLight Mon 14-Apr-14 05:29:23

We will probably lock him in the bathroom for another couple of nights to give the girls a break so I can control what he eats then. During the day he unfortunately have free access to the others' food.

Vet did blood tests, snipped, inoculated and dewormed.

cozietoesie Mon 14-Apr-14 08:21:55

See how he does today then. Poor lad - it's all a lot for him to handle, really. Give him a good cuddle or two from me - if the girls can't see.

LastingLight Wed 16-Apr-14 11:22:37

We got special food and probiotics from the vet. He doesn't like it so he isn't eating much which I suppose is a good thing.

Two of our cats will sort of tolerate him now but the third one is very scared of him and he chases her out of the house the moment we let him come out of the bathroom. Help, how do we stop him from doing this? I wish she would just stand up to him and put him in his place.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Apr-14 12:25:04

How is his pooing with the change of diet?

On your third cat, is he actually chasing her aggressively (with noise and attitude etc) or just running after her wanting to play do you think?

LastingLight Wed 16-Apr-14 20:04:00

He is eating less so pooing less, it is still quite soft but has a bit more form.

I'm no expert on cat body language but to me it mostly looks as if he is curious and wants to play. He has swatted at her a couple of times if she has to run past him to get away, but no hissing or growling.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Apr-14 20:11:10

I'd guess that he's after a game and has selected her as his potential chum. He's only young isn't he? How old is she - and is she by any chance the youngest of the ladies?

My only suggestion at the moment would be to play some more games with him to tire out his youthful enthusiasm, perhaps a laser toy or a thing on a stick/thread - something like that. If he could even be playing with you (if he takes to it) when she comes in, the pair of them might get into the habit of playing together. What you don't need is her getting into the habit of avoiding him I think.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 16-Apr-14 20:12:12

They are very sensitive animals, it takes time for them to adapt. It's still early days for them.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Apr-14 20:13:22

I think I miscounted - is it two girls or three?

LastingLight Wed 16-Apr-14 20:26:19

Two girls (10 and 11), and an old boy (14). So they're not that playful any more. Minus is around 1. With the long weekend coming up we will be home for 4 days so will have time to play with him and try to supervise contact.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Apr-14 20:35:28

He's likely looking for a Mum then. (Or an older play figure - which he might have had as a kitten and your old boy is not providing. Quite understandably.) Maybe try the games for a few days and see how they go?

LastingLight Thu 17-Apr-14 07:38:03

Fluffycloudland77 you're right, it just breaks my heart to see her run outside the moment we let him out of the bathroom, and stay there until we coax her back in with food.

cozietoesie thanks for all your input, much appreciated. I think we will try to play with him outside where girl-cat can see him, maybe that helps her to relax a bit. He has a toy mouse on a string that he absolutely loves. I have an 11 year old dd who desperately wants to keep him. I think they can spend some time together!

LastingLight Thu 17-Apr-14 07:52:22

It also breaks my heart to lock Minus in the bathroom all the time, he must be bored stiff in there.

cozietoesie Thu 17-Apr-14 07:54:58

That sounds good - an 11 year old dd should just about be able to keep up with a youngster's play requirements. (He should calm down by the way - about a year old is really just a kitten, except with added muscles and stamina. They generally become a lot more sedate as they mature.)

LastingLight Wed 23-Apr-14 09:57:00

We've had Minus for two weeks now and it's not going too well. sad I need a cat whisperer to explain to him that if he wants to stay in our household he has got to stop chasing the girl cats... and to tell the girl cats if they just stand up to him then he will leave them alone.

cozietoesie Wed 23-Apr-14 10:34:43

Oh Dear. It sometimes takes a short while for the hormones to settle down after snipping but it sounds as if they've got into a pattern of behaviour. (Two girls acting together should have cowed him by now.)

Remind me - is he going to get outside any time soon?

LastingLight Wed 23-Apr-14 10:48:49

When we're home he has free access to outside, just like the others. At the moment we're still locking him in the bathroom when we're not home, partly so that the girls don't feel threatened and partly so that we can leave food out for the others as he is still on a restricted diet. It's really not ideal but we don't know what else to do. I guess I might start another campaign to try and find him a new home. sad But we got attached to the little guy.

cozietoesie Wed 23-Apr-14 10:57:15

Right. How much of the day does that make him shut in the bathroom then? And how long is his restricted diet to go on for?

LastingLight Wed 23-Apr-14 11:08:11

I don't know about the diet problem... his poops are improving but is still not normal. I may need to speak to the vet again.

Over the 4 day long weekend we let him out for most of the day. Now that we're back at work and school the best case scenario for him is to be out between 6:00 and 8:00 and then again between 15:30 and 22:00. Unfortunately we don't always get home that early so some days it will be closer to 17:30.

cozietoesie Wed 23-Apr-14 11:28:09

I can't help but feel that you now have to put him on the same footing as the other cats in the household to allow relationships to be thrashed out. (I hope not literally.) At the moment, he's only out of the bathroom when you're around and the other cats know that. (And so does he - he can run back for protection at any time.)

I'd have a quick word with the vet about his poops/restricted diet because they seem to still be your main problem. It seems like a long time for his abnormal stools to sort out.

LastingLight Sat 03-May-14 14:43:03

So we've still got rescue kitty. I've found a home that he can hopefully go to in about 2 weeks time. In the meantime the humans in the household have fallen in love with him (and will miss him lots) but 2 out of the 3 other cats still can't stand him. We're leaving him out for longer and longer periods in the hope that they will sort themselves out but it hasn't happened yet. Grey girl in particular just goes outside whenever Minus is around, creeps in now and again to ask for food and then goes out again. We've had good weather the past couple of weeks but tomorrow it's going to rain and I don't want her to be cold and miserable instead of inside on her warm bed. sad

I saw on another thread someone said it can take up to 8 weeks after neutering before a cat calms down, is that true?

And lastly, how do we persuade young Minus that it's ok to use the great outdoors as a litter tray? He makes a terrible mess, litter everywhere, poo distributed all over, I wish he would just go outside! We've tried putting the litter tray outside and showing it to him but he looked at it, went inside and weed on the newspaper on which his litter tray normally stands.

LastingLight Sat 03-May-14 14:50:30

And a pic, just because he is gorgeous. smile

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