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Old 10-29-2011, 08:13 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 15,193
How long til new cat and old cat become friends?

At work the other day, I'm eating lunch out in the parking lot in my truck. A little kitten comes up to me begging for scraps. Poor little thing looked like it hadn't eaten in days. So I threw a few scraps of my Chinese take out to her.

Being the big dumb softy I am, I wound up throwing her in my truck and took her home after work. As you can imagine, my current cat and new cat don't much care for each other. Actually, old cat wants to be friends but new cat ain't having it.

No cause for alarm as of yet. It's only been a couple of days. I'm just wondering about how long it takes. Also, advice is always welcome.

The weird thing though is; the new cat and my dog have already become fast friends as I saw them snuggled up sleeping with each other just yesterday. This is just so bizzare because my dog is about ten times bigger than my other cat and also ten times more hyperactive. Seems like the cat would view the dog as more of a threat than the other cat. But whatever.
Old 10-29-2011, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,968
I believe it can take anywhere from 2-3 months. But it's no guarantee that the new cat will come around.

My mother had two cats one disliked the other for the whole 16 years of her life. She tolerated the other cat eventually but if it got to close for her liking swat!
Old 10-29-2011, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 4,440
Yep - 2-3 months. I got a new kitten in August (that makes 4 for me), and it took 2 of my older cats 2 months to accept him.

The kitten took to my dog right away, too. He was afraid the first time they were introduced, but the second time he walked right up and head butted the dog. My dog was raised with adult cats but this was his first kitten; he was a little over interested in the speedy little kitten at first (i.e., he wanted to chase him), but after being told no he realized that the kitten wasn't a dog toy and he stopped chasing him.

Last edited by Hanna; 10-29-2011 at 11:10 AM.
Old 10-29-2011, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,503
30 days with carrot and stick. I rewarded my original cat with food and attention for good behavior and scolded her for her attitude. Often I'd call her first and pet her and then grab the other cat and pet them simultaneously. I'd switch hands so their scents were transferred onto each other.

There was occasional hissing over the years from the older cat but I think this was "I'm tired and don't want to play" moments.

Last edited by Magiver; 10-29-2011 at 11:17 AM.
Old 10-29-2011, 11:28 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 13,082
Somewhere between 15 minutes and never. Kittens are adaptable and usually blend in pretty quick, especially since the territorial drive hasn't fully kicked in yet. But some cats are just particularly anti-other-cat and never do warm up to their new housemates. But given that your new kitten has already bonded with the dog and given that the old established cat seems friendly, I'd imagine it will be sooner rather than later.
Old 10-29-2011, 11:53 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,030
Yeah, it may never happen. We added a kitten when our then-current cat was 7. They never learned to get along. The younger cat died suddenly of a congenital kidney defect at 5, and the older cat was much happier for the rest of her life.

Of course, there are different levels of "getting along." If they at least tolerate each other, then you're golden. My brother had to give up his cat due to a change in living arrangements and I had to take her because I am the only one who doesn't already have at least 1 cat. This cat absolutely cannot get along with other animals. She is wonderful with people but she needs to be the only cat. She stayed with my parents and their 2 cats for a bit and it was a nightmare. Growling and hissing that escalated to fighting. I have to take her with me over there for Thanksgiving and we're probably going to have to shut her in the master bedroom all weekend. Some cats just can't do it.
Old 10-29-2011, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 3,810
I have a nice cat who wants to be friends with everyone, but my other cat hates him along with everyone else she's ever met, and both my dogs don't like cats (but love each other). They might never be friends. But, chances are good they will because 2nd cat is still a kitten.
Old 10-29-2011, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 246
It can take a suprisingly long time, depending on the cats. With ours, we've been going on 9 months now, and the cats still ain't right with each other.

We recently rescued a small but tough street cat. We kept New Cat separate from Old Cat for a month. We'd let them sniff each other under the door, and would rub them each with the same rag in an attempt to get them used to each other's smell. It was pretty obvious, though, that they were never going to be friends.

OC is a big territorial tomcat who is unfortunately declawed. NC is not, and she used her superior armaments to pretty much take over the place. We attempted to referee, but in the territorial bouts that followed, poor unarmed OC was relegated to one small room in the house. OC was used to having the run of the place. I deemed this unacceptable, and was looking to rehome NC. (Not so easily done. NC is a sweet cat, but ugly enough to make your teeth hurt.)

I needn't bother, apparently. Upon one short foray into the living room, OC was once again chased back into the bedroom. Having apparently grown tired of this treatment, OC did a wide circuit around the room and picked up speed. He then slammed into NC and ran her over like a kid beneath a garbage truck. He looped around and managed to trample her three more times before I could remove my jaw from the floor and come to her rescue.

It was a return of equilibrium in my household. OC wanders where he will, and NC stays out of his way. She respects his weight, and he respects her pointiness. They still loathe each other, but a bad peace is better than the alternative.

There are good articles on some of the pet sites about this sorth of thing. Most of the one's I've read agree that it can take awhile. Sometimes a long while.
Old 10-29-2011, 12:11 PM
Horrified Onlooker
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Posts: 5,241
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Somewhere between 15 minutes and never.
This has been my experience as a lifelong multiple cats person.

Old 10-29-2011, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,503
since it's been over 15 years I had to do some "remembering". My carrot and stick approach involved a water bottle and "eyebrows". Since cats seem to use the same furrowed brow look of displeasure, I used the same facial expression with the older cat. It usually went as follows:
hissing.... "NO", squirt of water, eye contact with furrowed brow and then a summoning of the cat where I held her and repeated the furrowed brow up close with eye contact and then I would pet her. After 30 days of this she seemed to get both my displeasure at her behavior and the idea that she was still loved.

Note: I did this to accelerate the process. I wanted to push the process so it went in the direction I wanted and not just leave it up to chance.

Last edited by Magiver; 10-29-2011 at 12:49 PM.
Old 10-29-2011, 01:54 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,806
My two boys never really liked each other and from time to time one would growl or swat at the other but they never actually fought. And funnily enough even though they were not friends they were usually in the same room, and it was a big enough house they didn't have to be. And they did team up over that bird they caught that time...
Old 10-29-2011, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hither and yon
Posts: 2,780
With my first two cats, it took them about a year. It took another year for the older cat to forgive me enough to let me pet her or to sit on my lap. But once they bonded, they were really close; they slept curled up together, they groomed each other, etc.

So after they both passed, when I decided to adopt two cats, I picked a brother and sister that had been together their whole lives. So much easier since there was no adjustment for them.
Old 10-29-2011, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4,543
I had two cats that hated each other for 17 years. They never wavered.
Old 10-29-2011, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 5,146
Adult cats often resent and dislike kittens; once the kitten is properly smacked into compliance the older/resident cat may come to like it.

Or not. Like others upthread, I've had multiple cats and dogs for decades. Some cats bond, most in my experience don't really bond but do learn to tolerate each other and live peaceful parallel lives.

Unlike dogs, cats aren't pack animals and can get awfully set in their ways. Dogs are pack animals and tend to be (in my experience) more accepting and loving, as long as they're not the sort that wants to kill strange cats.
Old 10-29-2011, 04:30 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Originally Posted by Campion View Post
I picked a brother and sister that had been together their whole lives. So much easier since there was no adjustment for them.
I tried the same thing, but they turned out to be the Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine of the feline world. Hated each other till the day[s] they died.
Old 10-29-2011, 09:49 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Somewhere between 15 minutes and never.
This was our experience too. We had a brother/sister pair for a few years (Simone and Garfunkle) and a poor stray started hanging around our place and always getting knocked up, bless her heart. Well after she had her last litter (under our hydrangeas) we decided to take her in (or at least get her spayed.) Unfortunately most of the kittens died within a couple days, leaving only two. We decided to catch them and have them fixed as well. (Great story of us having to lure them into the house and then chasing them frantically throughout for half an hour like the Three Stooges.) The "mama kitty" practically walked into the carrier with no problems. (We suspect she was a domestic cat that was abandoned at some point.)

Well we decide to keep the mother and notch the ears of the other two and let them loose. Taking the advice of several cat websites, we confined the new cat to the den to let her get used to being indoors and using a litter box again, etc. We also enlisted the help of something called "Feliway" which is some kind of (I think) herbal concoction to help her calm down. (I believe it was suggested on this board actually.) After a few days we opened the den door and set up a little screen of whatchamacallit - the mesh-y stuff you wrap around tomato plants - so the cats could get used to seeing and smelling each other without the risk of them getting in a fight. After a few days of this we remove the barrier and slowly the new cat gains confidence to come out from behind the den chair and poke around. The old and new cat(s) were a bit wary of each other but soon learned to get along. Simone is still standoffish a couple years later, but Garfunkle and her are best pals and play together often. (We named her Cleo.)
Old 10-29-2011, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 6,436
I'll agree that it may be five minutes and it may be never. We moved into a house that came with a cat, and he took a couple of years to adjust to the cat we brought. (It may have helped that our dog served as a full time cat-fight-breaker-upper. Any time a spat erupted, he'd thunder off and whack them with his paw until they separated. It seemed to be his favorite game. I miss that dog.) My folks adopted a kitten when the cat they brought in died, and the old cat adjusted to the kitten within a couple days. Finally, they added a third cat, an adult, to the house last year, and the other two have still not accepted him entirely, and may never do so. They can now be in the same room together, sometimes.
Old 10-29-2011, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
long time maybe never. even though they may get along later there still might be territory or issues with which it will be a cat fight.
Old 10-31-2011, 01:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 51,562
One thing to remember is that cats sometimes have a "hierarchy". In our house, it's Buffy and Piper Grace who are at the top. Maggie tries to be dominate, but if someone stands up to her, she backs down.

Maggie pretty much hates everyone, especially Gypsy. She likes to lie in wait for her and attack her all the time. Gypsy won't go downstairs anymore and it's only been in the last year or two that she even left my parents' bedroom. Now she spends most of her time in there, or in my room. (Gypsy also hates Piper Grace)

It's mostly a dominance thing. Gypsy and Buffy were litter mates, and they really don't give a shit about each other one way or another. Annie and Luci, on the other hand, are practically co-dependant. (And with the exception of Maggie, they get along with everyone). So, it all depends.

Good luck.
Old 10-31-2011, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,011
Originally Posted by voguevixen View Post
Well we decide to keep the mother and notch the ears of the other two and let them loose.
Why did you notch their ears?
Old 10-31-2011, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 3,111
My newest cat (aptly named Trouble) has been here for almost two years. Bobbin still has to sleep in the bathroom and go out during the day to avoid him. I think if Bobbin would just smack him a good one, he'd back off, but Bobbin is a chicken and won't take him on. They both seem happy enough with the arrangement, though.
Old 10-31-2011, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,678
Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
Why did you notch their ears?
So people would know that they were neutered/spayed ferals. It prevents duplication of effort (so that other rescuers don't try to pick them up to be neutered/spayed again...for females, especially, it can be tought to recognize a long-past spaying until the vet has already made the cut).

Last edited by jayjay; 10-31-2011 at 10:56 AM.
Old 10-31-2011, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 22,322
Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
Why did you notch their ears?
It lets other people who see them know that they've already been spayed/neutered.
Old 10-31-2011, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,011
Thanks JayJay and Freudian. I had no idea that that was customary.
Old 10-31-2011, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: 39 46' N 86 10' W
Posts: 1,949
Cats is strange, and there's no telling how it will end.

My story:

My Maggie and Turk used to get on fine.

Then they got separated for about a year during my disaster of an engagement. They've now been back together about a year and are only now no longer hissing and spitting at one another, but they still aren't as comfortable with one another as they had been TWO years ago.

Now, add in my 12 week old kitten - Widget - who has been in residence for about eight weeks. At the moment, Turk, at age 9, pretty much ignores her with the occasional, half-assed hiss or two. Maggie, much younger than Turk, had begun to play somewhat with her, with rather less hissing and complaining.

Right now, Widget is still overnight at the vet's after getting her big operation. When I bring her back home tomorrow with all new smells, etc., on her, it will be very interesting to see if anything has shifted in the balance of power between herself and Maggie.

I swear, taking Turk in to be groomed before I brought him back home, changed Maggie's attitude toward him - and not for the better. It's gotta be the smell.

We shall see. If push comes to shove, and because I can't put Widget in a bath after her spaying and de-clawing, I'll throw Maggie in and scrub her fuzzy butt to change the smell.

That'll take the wind out of her sails in a heartbeat.
Old 10-31-2011, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Charm City
Posts: 3,540
In my only personal experience introducing a new cat into a home where there was already a cat it took just about six weeks.

I've posted about it before. When my husband moved in I already had a male cat who was about eight years old. He had a one year old female. He brought her and then went to Kansas City for two weeks. She spent that entire time underneath my bed. Closing the bedroom door to separate them would've blocked access to the litter box for one of them. They just growled for about three solid weeks. Then they only hissed when they accidentally ended up within a few feet of eachother.

Eventually (after, as I said, about six weeks total) they became friends and would lounge on the same piece of furniture at the same time. But the older cat was definitely in charge.
Old 10-31-2011, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 51,562
To put it simply, cats are like middle school girls.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 10-31-2011 at 10:48 PM.
Old 11-01-2011, 03:18 AM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,805
There's about a 5-year age difference between my two, though I had the younger one first. They still fight and chase each other, but not as much as they used to. And when they're through fighting, they start grooming each other . . . which often leads to another fight. All in all they get along as well as can be expected, but the first few months were a little crazy.

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