Introducing a cat to my two existing ones

gherkin2picklegherkin2pickle Registered User new member
A friend of mine has to move and give away her two cats, Calli and Leo. Leo already has a home lined up, but they can't find one for Calli. I'm thinking of taking Calli off of their hands, but I already have two cats. They're both males. Pickle is 3, and Cooper just turned 2. Calli is a female just over a year old. Mine are fixed, and my friend will fix Calli before she moves out. I'm a little worried about introducing Calli and Cooper (I think Pickle will be fine with it after some time). The reason for my worries is that Cooper has gotten aggressive with Pickle in the past. A few times, when another (outdoor) cat is near our house and Cooper sees it, he seems to become POSSESSED, biting and clawing and chasing Pickle around the house. We have no idea why he does this, because Pickle and Cooper get along quite well. He hasn't done it in a long time, but I don't want him to attack Calli on sight. I figured it might be a territorial thing, or competition if the cat outside is a female. Another thing I'm worried about is if Calli will be satisfied staying inside. She was allowed outside at my friend's house, but she won't have that luxury if she moves in with me. There are a lot of predators around my house, in general. Not to mention that there are cars around. I don't want my cats to get hurt, so they stay inside. Will Calli be satisfied staying indoors if she was allowed outdoors for the past few months? If you have any advice for me, I'd really appreciate it. My friend is moving in less than a month.


  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    She will probably be an opportunistic eloper. So no leaving the front door open and get her micro-chipped and possibly an ear tattoo for ID purposes in case she does manage to escape. Make sure to have plenty of window perch spots so she (and the other cats) can look outside. Perhaps see if she can be leash trained and take her for outdoor walks. Some can, some can't.

    As for introduction it is best if you keep her in her own room for a few days. So they can smell and hear each other but not interact. After a few days let her out while you are home (but still lock her in her room while you are away).
    There may be some leering, hissing and growling but hopefully no fighting. Do not allow wrestling or threatening postures in each others faces. One of them protecting their personal space with a quick jab is fine as long as it ends there. Have a squirt bottle and protective gloves ready just in case you do need to separate them. Most cats learn to at least accept each others presence possibly even become buddies over time but unfortunately there is no guarantee.

    You will probably need another litter box and possibly separate feeding areas in the beginning.

    Siska on
  • MaggieTheCatMaggieTheCat Registered User regular
    We took in a feral girl who decided to move in with us when she was about 9 months old. At first, we let her be indoor/outdoor since she had been an outdoor only cat until we found her, but gradually we stopped letting her go outside at all. She still hangs out by the back deck door and is pretty protective of the deck -- when other outside kitties show up, she grumps at them and lets us know there are intruders in her domain. But she's perfectly happy happy a warm (cool, in the summer), dry, safe place to live, soft blankets and pillows to lay on, and free food twice a day.

    As for introducing new cats to one another, you can also put some blankets/towels/toys in the room when you isolate the newcomer, and then after a day or two, swap them out with items that the existing cats have been using, so they get used to each others' scent. You can also rub a towel on the newcomer, and then on the existing cats, and then back on the newcomer -- also helps spread their scent between all of them. Above all, just be patient. They may not all get along right away but usually with enough patience and keeping them separate until they are ready, cats can learn to at least co-habit together. (our former feral girl doesn't particularly "like" most of our other cats, but she just avoids them as much as possible and hisses at them when they do something she doesn't like, and they know to back off.)

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    I would definitely give her a day isolated just to kind of get her feet under her. For proper introduction I usually recommend the thunderdome approach and just throw them together. Just make sure you are around and armed with some heavy blankets and spray bottles in case it gets nasty.

    You never really know how things will roll out until you actually do it.

    There might be posturing and hissing but let them work it out and only step in if it gets bad. If it goes ok. Then just keep an eye on them. If it goes poorly then isolate for longer and do a gradual introduction

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Just know that there's a risk that the cats will not like each other, ever. One of my cats basically ran away from home when we brought in others, and it's common to hear stories of cats which fight constantly and never get along, particularly if they didn't "grow up" together from a young age.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Well it sounds like you have a small window that you could bring the new cat into your home for at least a few days to check for immediate reactions from the other cats before your friend leaves town. So at the least bring her over as soon as you can and get a feel for the reaction.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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