Cat behavior . . . requesting your wisdom

Alisande

Peachy (orange tabby female) and Pogo (black male) used to be my indoor cats, and Rocky and Scruffy were outdoors during the day and inside at night, separated from Peachy and Pogo. Pogo died last year, and this year I brought Rocky and Scruffy inside full time. It has worked out well, but I have to keep them separated from Peachy.

At first I tried bringing Rocky in for short periods, hoping Peachy would accept him. He was willing, but she wasn't. She got more and more hostile, until I finally moved her upstairs and closed the stairs door. Peachy has always been somewhat of a loner. She and Pogo weren't close; they just tolerated one another. He was devoted to me, but even after he was gone Peachy spent most of her time by herself in the attic. She enjoys the attention I give her, but doesn't seek more. I think she's pretty content by herself much of the time.

An extended family member went into a nursing home recently, and we're looking for homes for her two cats. One is a tuxedo cat, very sweet and loves to be held, but timid until he gets to know you. I don't really need another cat, but I want to help and part of me thinks Peachy might benefit from having a companion. I realize i could be wrong about this though. The tuxedo cat is used to living with another male; I don't how he would react to Peachy.

My allergies have been worse than ever before this year, but I've never reacted to black cats--just tabbies (like Scruffy). I don't know . . . maybe this isn't a smart idea, especially right now when I need to have an exterminator and possibly a contractor come and get rid of the ants I discovered in the attic ceiling--and find out why they're there.

Have any of you presented a loner cat with a companion? Was she grateful? :-)



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colleenoz

I'd have to say that it sounds like Peachy isn't a social cat, given how she has behaved with your other cars. I had a cat like that; I loved Mischief to death but she was always a prickly cat (think adolescent girl) and her relationship with our older cat Motley was always more of an armed truce, even though Motley and our previous two cats had been very friendly with each other, generally sleeping in a pile together.

I don't think Peachy would thank you for introducing another cat into the household.

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Jasdip

Cats are pretty territorial. Not all cats need another cat, we humans are their "social animals."

The only time where I saw this work instantly was when we took Bud in for a week while my parents went on a holiday. He and Smudge (lone cat) took to each other like long lost brothers. They sniffed each other and right away things were good. They were even on the bed together shortly afterwards.

It's usually safer to introduce a male and female, vs 2 males or 2 females. But it still may or may not work.

To do it successfully takes time......keeping them separated for days, rubbing a towel on each and letting the other sniff it, that kind of thing. And they still may never get along.

If you tried it, and it didn't work out, do you have a back-up, for someone to take him?

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Elizabeth

My cat is not social. He only loves me. Not even another human. He met another cat once and it was horrific. So, from my experience you can't change who a cat is. As we know, cats do what they want.

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Alisande

If you tried it, and it didn't work out, do you have a back-up, for someone to take him?

I do not. That's the thing . . . and we all know how hard it is to find a good home for an adult cat, especially a shy one. The other cat in that household is diabetic and needs shots twice a day. I'm contacting a friend who already has a diabetic cat and is used to that routine. My daughter has offered to pay for the insulin. If my friend turns him down (which would not be unexpected) I don't have a Plan B.

Many thanks for your input. I think you're right.

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nicole___

I agree with above: it may or may not work out. It's worth a try as long as you have a backup plan. (Could you advertise/Nextdoor for instance, the cat locally for adoption if it doesn't work out?)

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Alisande

We don't have Nextdoor here. Nextdoor has invited me to start a local chapter, but I'm not tempted. In any case, I avoid even looking at "free to good home" ads. Dog fighting is a big underground business, and those involved have been known to show up with their children in tow, pretending to be pet-loving families but in reality they're looking for bait or dogs to use for fighting. Also, plenty of well-meaning people are not equipped (mentally, physically, or financially) to have an animal. This is why some rescue groups have made the application process so difficult.

This is kitten season at the shelters. So much cuteness overload to compete with!

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PattiG(rose)

Several years ago I introduced an older female stray kitten to my adult female cat. I had adopted the adult cat from the Humane Society, where she was kept separate from other cats because she was afraid of them or didn't get along with them.

I was able to keep them separated by a baby gate in the house, and it probably took a couple of weeks to get them to tolerate one another. It took a lot of time and patience.

They do get along now, but sometimes I think they still just tolerate one another.

I agree with Jasdip and Nicole...It's worth a try.

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joyfulguy

In that there doesn't seem to be a large supply of alternatives, I agree with the idea of giving it a try - keeping them nearby but separated for a time.

Also connectors, as letting the resident cat smell a towel that's rubbed the newbe, plus perhaps the reverse.

Pet each at the same time, on either side of the gate? Or one right after the other ... (resident first?).

Hope that things work out well for all concerned - not least of all, you, Alisande.

ole joyful

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georgysmom2

Since you have to find a home or bring them to a shelter anyway, if it were me, I would give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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patriciae_gw

I found Margaret P. Jones under a tree as a tiny two week old...left behind apparently since she was a toddler not a walker and couldn't see though the eyes were open. I was down to one elderly cat at the time so I decided to get her a companion kitten at six weeks. Wes was about the same age, he was very willing. She despised him. They barely managed to cohabit without bloodshed. Wes passed fairly young and I was doomed to be a one cat family I thought (Shelby has passed) but one day Charlotte showed up in the yard, a dumpling, starved to a bone and a rag. I had to bring her in while I fed her up and looked for a home and Maggie looked her over and gave a sniff. No drama, no nothing. It has been a few years and they actually play even though both are mature cats now. You really never know with a cat. I would try.

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kadefol

I would give it a try and see how it goes. We took in a relative’s 4 cats last year (we already had our own 4 but it was us or animal control which is so full they euthanize after 48 hours) and everyone except for our old male and the younger newcomer male gets along. We keep the two males separated and don’t expect that to change. They initially got along just fine, but then decided they didn’t like each other so you just never know with cats.

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Alisande

It's true, you never know with cats. When my kids were growing up we had many cats and dogs at one time. In addition to those we adopted from the shelter, we took in whatever showed up. Somehow the cats all adjusted to one another. Some paired up and established "best friends" status; others did not. But I don't remember a single cat fight.

That changed when Rocky arrived as a stray. Annie, a female we had at the time, gave Rocky a hard time. He took it until he one day he didn't. It was the cat fight of nightmares. Water didn't stop it. Annie ended up with a nasty bite and I ended up with a worse one, thanks to my own stupidity. When they finally separated I was so eager to get Rocky upstairs and away from her that I grabbed him from behind. He, of course thinking that Annie had come at him again, whipped around and opened up my wrist at the base of my thumb with one of his canines. What a mess.

That was six years ago, and I still have (and will always have) issues from that injury. So I'm a little gun-shy when it comes to cats not getting along. Peachy and the new cat would be upstairs, out of my sight and possibly out of my hearing. Oy. I shouldn't think about potential difficulties at night, when I'm tired. :-)

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lisa_fla

I would at least try it. Especially since the circumstance is sad and your relative would be thrilled with updates and photos. I highly recommend calming collars from amazon! They were a godsend for us. You definitely want to start out on the right foot. And if you can start out with them separated, and rub each other with the others bedding that will help. My vet actually said to rub the cats face in it then switch. It’s a process that takes time and patience. You can get an indoor pet cam or baby monitor for upstairs once they are alone up there. If it doesn’t work, you never know-the downstairs cats might like him. I’m looking forward to updates and I wish you well. Remember the slower the introductions go, the better the chance for a good outcome. Another thought -my sister propped a screen door in front of a room before letting a new one loose so they could sniff with pressure.

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annztoo

Lots of good suggestions given already.

I can understand what you're going thru since I have 4 cats and the oldest female is a diva who would love to kill the youngest cat (female). Fortunately my house is such that I can rotate them from one part of the house to the other, but the 2 females have to always be kept separated.

I wouldn't place the new male with Peachy until they've spent time separately in the upstairs room. Immediately putting him into her territory could create long lasting problems. Instead, consider rotating Peachy and the newcomer to the downstairs and putting Rocky and Scruffy upstairs for half a day each day (if Peachy gets along with the new guy). Personally, I'd change out the upstairs door and place a screen door there so everyone wouldn't feel isolated from each other.

Also.....continue to give Peachy her special time with you.....even if you have to put the 'boys' upstairs for a few hours. She had a special routine with you before Pogo died and I'm sure all the changes have not been easy for her.

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Alisande

It's morning, and I had a good night's sleep. But this still seems like lot to take on. When I was younger, and especially when my kids still lived at home, it would be a no-brainer--a project with the potential of great rewards. But I'm not young, and thanks to scoliosis by mid-afternoon my spine is rubbing against the bottom of my rib cage, and the prospect of physically rotating all the cats twice a day is so remote that it made me laugh. These days I need all the laughs I can get, so thank you.

However, the suggestion that the downstairs cats might adjust to the new one made me think. There's no downstairs room to sequester him in, but if he's as shy as I think he'll be he might take cover under the sofa. If that's the case, Rocky and Scuffy might not perceive him as a threat, and then when he finally feels safe he'll emerge and they'll all be happy. That's the idyllic version anyway.

I'm having a socially-distant meeting with my daughter on her porch later today and will talk about all this with her then. Thanks again, everyone!

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samkarenorkaren

I had 2 cats that got along great when introduced. But tried to adopt 3rd and cat 1 wanted no part of it. He became so mad he actually bit me. Was able to find another home for cat 3 and cat 1 calmed down.

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Vikki

Mr Tuxedo sounds like such a sweet fellow. I would be very tempted to take him in. Best wishes with whatever you decide.

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