jekni: (Default)
[personal profile] jekni
Back in February we rescued two female Rex cats, a 5yo Cornish named Tango and a 5.5yo Devon named Jini. They were raised together and had been part of a house of 11 cats. Divorce and loss of house ensued and they were thrown on the mercy of the public. After 3 months a (relatively) local organisation called Rex Rescue advertised them on their fb page. As we were looking for Rexes in particular we adopted them and they have settled in quite well.

As I mentioned in my previous pos, our problem has just arrived at the house. She is a 10yo Cornish Rex named Sheba who we got from Rex Rescue on Tuesday. She is a little toey with other cats and I was wondering if any of you had any tips for integrating another cat into a household. Our previous boys (passed from old age two years ago) were acquired as kittens so we've never really done the 'adult cats don't like each other' thing before.

Do you, my flist, have any words of wisdom ('cause your words tend to have that quality) to help the blended household? I'd really appreciate any insights anyone might have.

Date: 2011-12-29 05:31 am (UTC)
mmegaera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmegaera
I wish I did, but I've always acquired my cats either as only cats or in littermate pairs, so I have no experience doing what you're doing. But I wish you luck.

Is 'toey' an Aussieism? I've never seen it before.

Date: 2011-12-30 02:28 am (UTC)
mmegaera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmegaera
Aggro's another one I've only heard from your part of the world [g].

It's short for aggravating, right?

Date: 2011-12-30 06:17 pm (UTC)
mmegaera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmegaera
Ah. Once again, two countries divided by a common language [g].

What I need is a dictionary of Aussie English.

Re: Dctionary of Aussie Slang

Date: 2012-01-01 01:01 am (UTC)
mmegaera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmegaera
Ha. I'll trade it for the Lonely Planet USA Phrasebook I picked up on a whim a while back (I found it extremely amusing reading [g]).

Re: Dctionary of Aussie Slang

Date: 2012-01-05 12:41 am (UTC)
mmegaera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmegaera
Excellent [g].

Date: 2011-12-29 06:42 am (UTC)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
From: [personal profile] blamebrampton
I have been where you are now! It is possible to make them live in peace. You may never get beyond peace, but that's enough for a happy home. It is not a fast process, and takes a bit of work, but it's worth it.

Cats are territorial, but not very social. They don't mind socialising with creatures they are fond of, but they don't need to be part of a social group the way that dogs do. However, they do have very clear ideas about territory and ownership, and are just as miffed as dogs when they feel something that is 'theirs' is being impinged upon.

The trick to integrating a new cat is to make it become a part of the household with minimal change, so that your current cats don't notice that they are losing out on anything. Choose an area that the new cat can be sequestered in, and lock it off from the current cats. This is the Berlin Wall for the first few weeks, and you are the meanest border guard possible. The current cats stay on their side, new cat stays on her side. This area can be any place EXCEPT your current cats' favourite room.

Dividing the house means that the current cats don't really miss out. Sure, they're a room down, but meh, they never liked that room (they will of course paw at the door as though it contains The Cat King, ignore this, they are just being bastards). It gives the new cat a safe space in which it can become used to the new house and new people. It's just one room, so new cat won't need to worry about the whole house and can just feel comfy in her one little bit, where her food and litter tray and sleeping bits are all there.

For both cat sets, make sure they have blankets or towels that they sleep on or have their food bowls on, so that the fabric becomes imbued with the scents of various cats. After a week, swap the sets from one cat area to the other cat area. At first, each set of cats will probably look at the towels and sniff them and generally give off a 'That's gross' vibe, but they will ultimately deal with it. Once they are sleeping on the new blanky or towel, give it another four or five days, then swap again. Do this a few more times, with shorter periods.

What this does is get each cat set used to the smell of the other. You can also swap over foodbowls, but that's a bit manky and means not washing them as often as is best. Once they are dealing with the scent easily, you can open the border door and allow the cats to intrude on each others territory under supervision. Don't make any fuss over any of the cats, just intervene if there is any violence. If there is just hissing, then calmly say 'Oh none of that!' and lift any cat who is misbehaving and put it back into its own territory. If Sheba is cornered in her room and freaking out, just remove the other two cats quietly and without fuss, and then leave all of them alone for a little bit.

The trick during this period is not to make any cat appear more important than any other, so don't go after them to give pats and affection, but just hand it out evenly when each cat comes to you. If two come at once, give equal affection to each.

The original cats soon learn that they are not going to miss out or be replaced by the new cat, while the new cat works out that you will protect it, but also that it has to work within the system. Because you have spent the time on the scent transfers, they all 'know' each other, and so there is no big stress as there would be at a raw introduction.

How close they become is up to them, but once they know that everyone will have food and pets and space and that there is nothing strange about the newcomer, everything becomes a lot less fraught with hissing!

Good luck!

Date: 2011-12-29 06:59 am (UTC)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
From: [personal profile] blamebrampton
If it's just hissing, that's a good sign!

The second last time I had to integrate cats it took two months, the last time was Monster the medium-sized kitten and Cookie the loveliest cat in the world, and Cookie had started to groom Monster between the bars of the cat carrier before we could get her into the study, which we had set aside as 'her' room', so all our cunning plans weren't needed ;-)

Actually, we had one attempt in between that was just aborted, because we found an adult male cat and had him desexed, and our fairly old formerly feral female cat was not having that thing in her house. Since they were both so much against the idea, we found the boy a new home instead, rather than stress them both unreasonably, but they were both unusually solo solo cats!

Date: 2012-01-03 05:42 am (UTC)
kk1raven: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kk1raven
I tend to defy conventional wisdom and just throw all my cats together when I get them. There isn't any good way to separate them here so I don't bother trying. What I do do is make sure that each cat gets plenty of individual attention. New toys are good distractions too. Princess Jasmine has been here for a couple weeks now without the world ending. I can't exactly say there's peace in the household but there isn't war either. We've reached the point where the other cats and Princess Jasmine can sleep on the bed at the same time. We haven't reached the point where Miss Kitzie is allowed to sniff Princess Jasmine when she's awake.

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