introducing cats to each other

I currently am living in a small one bedroom apartment with a 1 year old kitten. The kitten is very energetic. I also have a 13 year old cat that I left at my parents’ house when I moved out. They want me to take the 13 year old cat to my new house that I will be moving into in a month, along with my new kitten. My question is how to I get them to not hate each other? My parents got a cat to go along with the 13 year old cat about a year ago (when I moved out originally) and they hate each other, to the point where they cannot even be in the same room! The 13 year old cat is female and the my kitten is female. The cat that she hates is male. Any pointers?

Let them live in the same apartment, but never see each other; each one in its own room. Or one in a room behind a door. They’ll hear and smell each other. Let this go on for a few weeks. Then give them a catnip party. I had cats who hissed at each other for 8 years, but just once getting drunk together and they were thick as thieves.

Yeah, we had to introduce two new cats to our older girl, Max. It’s tricky. Max was not a happy camper when she found out we had brought two intruders home.

What we did was to put the newbies in a bedroom together, and kept the door shut for a couple of days. They and Max could hear each other and smell each other, but that’s all. Then we propped the door open just a crack, so they could see each other but still couldn’t make physical contact. (You could also maybe use a baby gate or something for this, although you’ll have to make sure they can’t jump over.

Once Max seemed to be a bit more chilled about the situation, we let the two new girls out and just let them work the rest out themselves.

I still don’t think Max is overly fond of them, but for the most part they all coexist peacefully. You can make it work, it just might take a little patience.

Then again, it might be love at first sight!

This site has a lot of great info on cat behavior. This article is about introducing a new cat:

Cats are either introverts, preferring life as a solitary individual, or extroverts who like companionship. Ultimately, you need 2 extroverts for this to work. But if you aren’t that lucky, they can at least learn to tolerate each other, with their own separate, personal territories within your home.

What is wrong with you people? There are no cat pictures here! Is this still the SDMB? :dubious:

When you do introduce them, dab a few drops of pure vanilla extract on their noses an hour or so before, so they smell the same to each other.

I think this sounds like an awesome idea… I wonder if the alcohol content of the pure vanilla extract has anything to do with this?

This is why I love the Dope. Good advice so far. Though I’ve never heard about the vanilla extract thing. Feliway can help a lot.

You’ve got the potential for a perfect introduction, though. The trouble comes when the cat who is established in the home is confronted with an intruder. Territory issues ensue.

If you’re moving to a new place, both cats should be brought the the new home on the same day. New territory, nothing to defend. If you collect the older cat from her home before you move, make double-sure she and the kitten don’t meet until you’re all in the new place. The slower the introduction, the better. My latest was a year ago, and I waited 2 weeks before letting anyone even look at each other. Lots of positive reinforcement at the “border” door, treats and teaspoonfuls of baby food.

I know many people who had cats that were introduced and living together barely civilly until the people moved. Upon moving to the new place and the cats having no established territory that they feel they must defend, the cats suddenly got along much, much, better. Even if they still never became best friends, they tolerated one another much more easily.

One thing to look out for, the older cat may end up with health repercussions if she’s used to her own home. The stress of moving and dealing with a new cat could fuel an upper respiratory infection (URI), or sometimes something else, so watch out for her appetite and maybe watery eyes or a snotty nose.

Both times I’ve done this I’ve posted panicked tearful things on these boards afraid that my cats will ALWAYS FOREVER HATE EACH OTHER. There is a three kitty nap pileup on my lap right now. Sometimes they wake up and lick each other. So generally, in my not very broad experience, it just works out in the long run.

Try some of that Feliway stuff, too.

Ah, so the Stokey thing worked out. How long did it take?

You know, they get friendlier every day and then one day you look around and everybody’s licking everybody else’s asshole. :slight_smile: I’d say they tolerated each other after a couple months, and now he and his old tormentor cat wrestle all the time (real wrestling, not fighting) while Dewey, Edison’s old wrestling partner, sits on my knee and regards it.

I use vanilla because I couldn’t be bothered to get Feliway and every other strongly-scented product I have would irritate their little noses (I can’t imagine vicks, garlic, or peppermint oil being comfortable.) I have a friend who swears by lavender oil for the same purpose.

The difference between vanilla and Feliway is how it works. Feliway (theoretically, and I’ve seen it have a calming effect with cats in the shelter where I volunteer) works by emitting “calming” pheromones that relaxes the cat. Vanilla, on the other hand (and we’ve used this too with success), dabbed on the nose acts as a mask against scents (in our case, scent of other cats) that may cause stress or any adverse reaction.

This, coupled with the separate spaces as mentioned by PeskiPiksi is your best bet. The best advice I can give is to not rush. And if you’re confronted with hissing or growling, don’t worry about going back a step, or not moving forward.

Also, if you use the reinforcement at the “border” door (which is a Good Idea) and you do decide to use baby food, read the ingredients carefully to make sure it DOES NOT contain onions in any way, shape, or form. They are toxic to cats.

Lastly, if you think the above may be an issue and the cat will eat wet food, you can give her L-lysine. It’s an amino acid that helps boost the immune system. We use it regularly at the shelter with incoming cats. You can get it at any drugstore usually. Give 1/2 tab crushed and mixed in with wet food 2x a day.


Do you have pictures of the cats in question? I’d like to see them, either separate or together.

Ok, OK. I’ve been avoiding posting pictures because I haven’t really figured out how to do it without joining a photo-sharing thingy that I don’t want to do. I’ll try my Walgreens service, though it’s not a social sharing-photo dealy…

Bunnie, my 14-year old diabetic - currently getting weaned off her insulin and may be going into remission:
Princess Foo

Noodle, 13 years old, my snuggle-bug boy who was my first pet as an adult on my own:
Doodle Bug

and Katydid, has a head-tilt and is kind of crazy, she followed me around the shelter for a couple of years before I realized she had really adopted me, only me, and I needed to take her home. She’s about 8 or 9 (we’re not too sure):

Hope this works

Uhh, missed the edit. The links won’t work. Am I stuck with having to join a photo-sharing site? I’ll do it <reluctantly> I guess if I have to. My kitties are the beautifullest of them all…

I should have posted these before.

This is the new kitten. I just got her a month ago, she is almost a year old now. Her name was Kitty but i wanted to rename her so i picked something similiar sounding. She was dyed pink when I got her, she is normal colored now. this is Izzy.

This is the second cat in question. I have had this cat for a long time, i think i wrote 13 in the OP but as I think back, I had her in elementary school so that cannot be right. I think she is 17! this is April

The third cat is the one that April lives with now and currently does not get along with. This is Buddy.