Introducing a new cat to a home with adult cats....? Any advice?

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • We've got two long-term residents of the feline persuasion but a stray has turned up; he's been hanging around a while, all attitude, claws and hissy fits so ours are both scared of him.

    But he was desperately hungry and cold last week; it's been snowing here and the temperature's been below freezing most nights, so I made him a bed in the greenhouse and have been taking him food but I daren't invite him in until he's a little more socialised...

    It looks like we've been adopted! But he's an unneutered tom and a bit of a bully, though since he's had regular meals and a cushion, his behaviour seems to have improved.

    Has anyone else tried to introduce an adult cat to an existing clique? Can you recommend ways to ease the situation?

    And why isn't there a *crazy cat lady* smiley?! :insane:

  • I'd let your cats get used to the smell of the new fella first, and likewise, let the stray cat get used to the smell of your cats. Swap their feeding bowls and bedding a few times, stroke one cat after stroking the other so they get used to the smell on your hands, give them a little treat every time you introduce the new cat smell to them, so they associate that smell with a positive response. If you are thinking of keeping the stray, would you get him neutered? It might calm his behaviour a fair bit, because he won't be fighting to be the alpha male in the household. When your cats are out, let the stray come into your house and get used to the other cats' territory. Good luck with it all :) have you named him yet? :P

  • Firstly, it's so important to establish if he is actually a stray. Post a picture of him on missing cat sites and get him scanned for a microchip. He might just be lost.

    If he is a stray then get him neutered first! It's not that expensive but if you can't afford it, the Cats Protection will pay for it. They paid for Oscar to be neutered when he started hanging around and it really helped with relations between him and our existing cats. If you explain that he's a stray and you're happy to look after him but can't afford neutering then they are usually really helpful.

    Don't rush it, slow is good. It's taken months to integrate Oscar totally into our family because our cats were very wary of him. We've done it really gradually.
    Get them used to each other's scents by swapping blankets.
    Give them treats when they're near each other.

    Be prepared for the odd spat, it will happen.

  • please get him neutered,he will calm down a lot as his testosterone levels drop.starpoi and Elfie give good advice which is worth following.If it gets really cold he will need more warmth than in a green house if possible.
    If you get a big box you can put warm bedding in and drape insulating material ie old blankets or sleeping bag over it to create a den like structure that will keep him warmer in an unheated dry space like your greenhouse.You need a big box that you can either lay on its side or cut a hole in one side ,in effect a cardboard kennel.If you can lift it up a bit off the cold ground ,maybe on a bit of wood so much the better. Some newspaper under the bedding will give extra insulation.
    Make sure he always has access to clean water in the greenhouse or where ever he is hanging out allthough he may still prefer puddles or the birdbath! he will have the choice.

  • Thanks all! I've visited missing cat websites and haven't seen him mentioned. My neighbours said he's been around for nearly a year. They've put down their cats' leftovers for him from time to time but tend to chase him away because he attacked one of theirs. There's a dry stone wall between our gardens and they said he's been living in the wall, where there are some stones missing. When we take him to the vet's we're going to ask them to see if he's chipped.

    Madcat, I'm delighted to say I'd already done what you suggested! He's got a box and I've put packing insulation around it. There's extra insulation in the bottom and I've put in several old jumpers and a thermal fleece and there's more over the top. When it's been freezing I've been giving him a hotwater bottle, wrapped in bags and insulation and and put to one side under all the other jumpers. It's on a low shelf, so it's off the ground and I've been putting my hand in when he's there - so far he's feeling warm and snug :)

    I don't really want to swap blankets till he's been de-fleaed tbh, but my two have smelled him on me now for the last couple of weeks and when I feed them, they no longer follow me to the door to see where I'm going with the box of biscuits! The greenhouse is attached to the side of the house (so it's a bit warmer) and you have to go through it to get to the front door. There is a basic cat flap in the greenhouse door and a chip-reading one in the front door of the house. My two have to go 'through' his scent to get in and out. They seem to be getting used to it, but won't go near his box. There was a bit of a stand off a few days ago when he and Ron came face to face, but nothing since then that I'm aware of.

    My husband's away at the moment, so I want to make sure that he and the stray get on too. Hubby's the male version of a crazy cat lady so don't anticipate too many objections but the stray seems terrified of men :(

  • What you've been doing and the advice you've been given sounds spot on to me. You should definately get him nuetered, even if you decide not to keep him. It'll be better for his health and stop unwanted kittens. You can get some of that liquid flea and tick killer from the vet when you go and pop it on him, he'll feel better for it. Good luck

  • Yep do all those things. :)
    Also worth remembering that cats, unlike dogs, are not social animals - they tolerate each other but are not as good with communication with unfamiliar individuals as dogs are. So expect 'aggression' and always allow lots of room for one or more to flee. Standoffs like you saw will usually result in displacement activities anyway rather than altercation.

    The fear of men can be overcome, my friend had a cat like that because of past abuse and it took a lot of work but you can do it :)

    Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; its about learning to dance in the rain.