I write these pages to give knowledge and experience to those who are just getting cats or even possibly to the cat owner who just didn’t know these things existed. I say this because I too just didn’t know enough about cats before I brought them into my life. In fact it was starting to have a negative impact on our relationships and it was all due to my misinformation or lack of information. So I appreciate everyone here who is following along and helping out with their own lives about their experience with cats. If there is ever something I mention that is wrong or I do not have included on one of my posts please let me know so we may look into it.
In this post I would like to describe in more detail my experience with introducing our cats to one another. I have gone into the scenario briefly on another blog but felt like it was a topic that was worth getting a little deeper into. When I first got my second cat she was just a kitten. We brought her home and unknowingly, threw her right into the thick of things. Our first cat was about a year or so old and had been having a wonderful effect on our lives and in our home. We learned a lot from her and wanted to get another cat as well as a companion for her as she was home alone while we were at work. We did little to no research before getting our new cat and did not think it would be any different than it was bringing our first cat home. When we brought our second cat inside we knew things would be much different than we had envisioned. You see, we had pictured the meeting of two cats as a kind and gentle get together between cats. We thought it would be calm and nice like two people meeting for the first time. When the hissing, growling, and swatting began we were not ready for it and knew some research was needed. Here is the rest of the story and my findings.
The Introduction Story!
Had I known what I know now I feel like the introduction of our cats could have been much better and may have changed the way their first meeting played out! However it was not all a waste of time. This prompted me to think about the introduction process of cats and how to make it a better experience using products for cats that make their lives easier as well a ours. I have now learned the proper way to introduce cats and will tell you. However I want to describe the environment of our home in the first few days so you may have an idea of why we wanted to research this and what it was like.
When we set our second cat down in our home she was just a kitten, I believe just two months old or so. She was very small and seemed fragile and innocent. Now keep in mind our first cat was almost a year old, not a full grown cat just yet but very close to it. Aside from the rescue shelter we had gotten her from she had never been around other cats while growing up in our house. Even though she was in the shelter with other cats she was still very young and did not have to spend much time there. Also in the shelter we picked her because every time we went to her she would try to hide unlike the other cats. Almost as if she was not wanting to be picked, or wanted to but couldn’t bring herself to show off.
So when we placed our kitten down the first cat’s tail fluffed up and she started to hiss and growl a very low growl at her. We watched them for the next few minutes go through a very nasty introduction. There was practically no contact being made and even though it was tense we did not intervene because remember we had no experience with cat introduction at this time.
The cats, when together, would both hiss and swat at each other and get all puffed up and threatening to each other. The kitten would not do this as much because she didn’t really understand why our first cat was acting this way. The first cat would attempt to bat the kitten around and hiss and growl until she left the area. Then she would run and hide under the bed or in some other obscure area, such as the litter box, until the kitten had not been on the floor or around her for some time. We would keep the kitten close to us so nothing harmful would happen to her if we left them to their own devices. At night we would keep the kitten sleeping near our heads that way there was no way anything could happen while we were asleep. Then during the day we would make sure there were two areas of food and water so they could both have access to this while we were gone.
This went on for about three days and nights of pure terror. We did not know if our first cat would ever be the same and if the kitten would turn out skittish and not friendly because of this type of environment. We discovered a show on TV called My Cat from Hell and that seemed to be a turning point in this war. In the show there is a man who knows and helps cat owners that are having troubles with their cats. We watched a couple episodes and picked up some tricks however this opened my eyes to the fact that I could do research on different subjects regarding cat behavior. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t thought of this before as I had done research on different cat products numerous times. Thinking back it was probably due to lack of experience and the fact that we were new cat owners that were unsure of how two cats would act when together.
Either way this show opened my eyes and made me realize there was a whole world of information out there available for the picking. I went to the internet, library, and even the local vet to get information on the best way to introduce cats. The first thing I learned and probably the most valuable information I found was that throwing two cats together is not the best was to introduce cats. Some cats are better than others and take to new cats like white on rice however most cats do not feel this way. Evidence had already shown us our cat did not take kindly to a new intrusion into her territory.
This brings me to the second thing I learned about cats. Cats are territorial animals and mark and protect their territory by doing certain things. I always thought that our first cat was scratching up the box spring on our bed when in fact she was marking her territory. A cat will scratch up certain areas in a home to let it be known that this is their territory and they will defend it. My thoughts were always that it felt good to her to scratch that area, which may have been the case sometimes, but it is more likely that she was marking her territory. Now that I had this basic knowledge I knew there had to be a better way.