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Mon Feb 8, 2021, 02:05 AM

Introducing a soon to be former stray cat to my house cat

So, the past few weeks a young stray cat has been getting closer and closer to us. We have been feeding her outside and she now jumps on our lap when we sit on the porch, loves to be patted.

We are planning to get her to the vet next week to get her shots and have her spayed. After this is done, we dont want to leave her outside in the cold recovering from the procedure so we will take her in. How would you introduce a new cat to your existing cat?

For what its worth, they have been looking at each other through the french doors and they seem more curious than aggressive towards each other.

on edit: here is a pic of her

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Reply Introducing a soon to be former stray cat to my house cat (Original post)
drray23 Feb 2021 OP
RockRaven Feb 2021 #1
mr_lebowski Feb 2021 #2
Grokenstein Feb 2021 #3
PSPS Feb 2021 #4
procon Feb 2021 #5

Response to drray23 (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 02:12 AM

1. I've got no advice since we've only ever added new cats when our household was cat-less...

But I wanted to laud you for caring for her!

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Response to drray23 (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 02:17 AM

2. Put the new cat in a room that the others don't commonly use (if possible)

Give her her own litter box in there of course.

The others will come round, they'll smell each other under the door and generally get used to each other, probably paw at one another under it.

There should be lots of advice online about introducing new cats to an existing cat household. But I've done it before as described above. Obviously if they seem to be playing footsies under the door and not hostile instead, this is a good sign.

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Response to drray23 (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 02:50 AM

3. There are plenty of YouTube videos on the subject, but

my favorite features YouTube superstars Cole & Marmalade:



(Marm's a bit of a psycho)

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Response to drray23 (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 03:04 AM

4. As others have said, make a "safe room."

Pick a room you can close off for the new girl, complete with some place to sleep, food/water dishes and new litterbox & litter. Visit frequently but keep your resident cat out for now. They will investigate each other through/under the door, become accustomed to the other's scent (a cat's world is mostly scents,) and new kitty gets familiar with the rhythm/noises of the house. There will probably be some growling and hissing through the door but that's normal and will subside as each grows accustomed to the other's scent. If new kitty immediately hides in the safe room (i.e., under furniture,) just continue this routine until new kitty comes out to you when you're in there (without resident kitty.) Pet her, maybe play with her using a wand or some other cat toy. If she's outgoing and never hides, all the better!

After she has started coming to you for affection or playtime when you're in the room for a couple of days, you can leave the door cracked a little but only under supervision. See how they react. Try to keep your resident cat out of the new kitty's room for now. Remember, the new kitty considers this her "safe place" where she is never in jeopardy. What you're looking for is the absence of severe hostility. Nose boops, smelling each other, growling, hissing, the occasional whap at one another, charging each other is normal. If one cat is cowering or attacking or it looks too aggressive, separate the cats and close the door, leaving new kitty in her safe room. Cats have a natural way of establishing their social order.

Just keep doing the cracked door thing every day or two and see how it goes. You will see that it will eventually turn into more playtime and less growlies. The new kitty will venture out of her safe room to explore (leave the door to the safe room open.) The resident cat will shadow her, smelling her, maybe a perfunctory whap, etc. If the new kitty gets spooked, she will instinctively run back to her safe room because, well, it's safe! If she does that, just close the door to keep resident cat out and try again the next day.

Before you know it, they will be a happy couple. The obstacle here is that cats abhor "change" so, after a while, the new kitty will no longer be considered a "change." It will be obvious to you when the transition is over you can regain possession of the safe room for your use. Put the new kitty's litter box next to the one you have for resident kitty.

My experience doing this is that the period of transition can be as little as one day or as long as about a week. From your description, I think your new kitty will become a comfortable member of your clowder very quickly.

Good luck, congratulations, and keep us posted!

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Response to drray23 (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 03:16 AM

5. I used a two week quarantine with new kitty

In a spare room with all her stuff. She could still play footsy under the door with the cat in residence. I used one of those enclosed playpens to bring new kitty out into the house for the big meet and greet day.

They can watch each other, sniff and hiss, scratch at the mesh, but they can't get into any spats. I fed them together and they started snoozing side by side on each side of the playpen. After a few days I opened up the door and it was anticlimactic. Resident cat walked inside, used new kitty's litter box and plopped down on her bed and new kitty explored the house and ate all her kibble.

They hissed a few times, but nothing more. They are doing normal cat stuff like chasing and pouncing. They don't exactly cuddle up, but nap real close. All is good.

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