[New Cat Filter]: Help us integrate an elderly male cat into our home. It's not going smoothly. At all.
About a month ago, my housemate flew down to visit with her father. While she was there, it became clear he was no longer up to pet care. Even though we were at what we felt was a comfortable max cat count (3), this is an older cat, that we felt would be fairly difficult to place due to his age (14), and one her father loves. So, the cat came back with her.
We know the steps for cat integration, and we applied them as best we could. A week of quarantine, with bowls and towels being swapped back so they could smell each other. A week with a toddler gate up, so they could check one another out safely. Short visits into the rest of the house, that got longer and longer, until the gate came down entirely.
At first, things seemed cautiously good.
Our biggest concern was our oldest male (13). But honestly, he just doesn't care. He looks at the newcomer occasionally, and then goes back to sleep. No spraying, posturing, or concern.
Our second biggest concern was our 1 1/2 year old male cat. He was a little alarmed at first. Some posturing, some hissing and yowling. And then he was all "Okay, you're a cat!! Play with me??" (which can be an issue, cause he's huge, and the cats don't generally like to have all 17 pounds of him land on their head). In general, these two are getting along well. They stop and sniff noses and no longer freak each other out.
Lowest on our list of concerns, when it should have been our highest, apparently, was our 3 1/2 year old female. She started off cautious and inclined to run from him, but the longer he stays, and the more obvious it becomes he's not leaving, the angrier she gets
. She stalks him. She traps him in corners. Under beds. He howls at her, cause that's all he has to work with (declawed by my roommate's parents when they had him). She's got her claws and she's got him outmatched for weight and strength.
him. We were sitting downstairs, watching tv when he started to meow in the upstairs hallway. She hurled herself up the stairs, outraged, and chased him back into his starting bedroom, and under the bed again.
She's generally such a sweet-natured, low maintenance cat, that we just don't know what to do or think about this. She gets along with the other two boys. Mutual grooming with the older one, and tolerating or avoidance with the younger one. But this newcomer, HE MUST DIE.
We don't like to get involved with cats working out status issues, but she's setting him back at this point. He'd finally gotten to the point of exploring the first floor (he had never seen stairs before), and now he's trapped back on the second again, and occasionally, even that's not good enough for her. We're also worried that after a while where things looked like they were going well, we have an escalation of hostilities, getting worse and worse. We've given her a couple timeouts at this point, just to break up the standoffs.
We have a Feliway plugin. Things have actually gotten worse since we started using it. We had just reached a really nice equilibrium with the three existing cats, one that did not involve cat fights under the beds and in the hallways at 3 am. Any suggestions to help us get back there?
PICS OF ATTRACTIVE CATS TO HELP MOTIVATE!!:
Attractive Elderly Gentleman Newcomer!
| It's true, Orange Cats are Good Natured.
Tough Young Girl Cat takes No Guff.
This handsome boy
was the subject of a previous Ask Metafilter post.
This is not some kind of optical illusion. He's huge.
BONUS COMBO PICS!
These two get along.
| Okay, mostly!
| These two also mostly get along!
| These two basically adore each other.