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Q: Please help inherited two cats!

November 21, 2008 | By Puzzlesmom | 11 answers | Expired: 2147 days ago

Please help inherited two cats!

I inherited two cats 8 and 9. They are both neutered and front declawed. They are some of the best cats and I mean that, loving patient love to snuggle, love each other, no accidents immaculate house keepers. I have had cats and these are the kind of cats you Hope to have, but unfortunately my sister is a crazy alcoholic and picked up herself a couple of Min Pins and became a back yard breeder. She then neglected the cats leaving them to eat dog food and she also had a terrier that chased them off any time they would come out. When she reached her limit on pets in her Apartment, she put her terrier to sleep and had my niece gave the cats to a young friend in MI. That girl lost her job, moved twice with the cats, then I got a call they would go to the shelter if I did not take them. This started in July of this year. Poor things have moved 4 times in this short time! I have had them or two weeks.
Now my problem is that I have a 15 year old male cat that is not neutered or de clawed. I did as much research on introducing cats as possible, and I am so worried for all of them. I have been keeping the two boys in my bedroom, sleeping on the couch with my 15 year old. The two 'new' boys have had limited time in the kitchen in the past week, and in the last two days have got to come out into the living room for a few hours. The cats have all been sniffing each other threw the divider I have up in the doorway. While my cat appears interested, he is obviously nervous. We originally had two other cats that have since passed and were both males not neutered. Yes I learned the hard way, they had a few really bad fights. One even sent me to the hospital when I tried to break it up. I ended up with four abbesses on my face. It was afful. So as you could imagine I am scared to death to let them meet.
The two boys have lost some weight since July when they left my sisters, but they are still overweight from the dog food. Both weigh I would guess 20 lbs each. There coats are awful and they are both so itchy they have had flea meds so I know it is diet related, the long hair boys is really matted and I am trying to come up with the money to take them to the vet.
My cat weighs 11lbs. he is in fairly good health for his age, has a skin condition that makes him itchy but also had chronic gum disease and one by one the vet had to remove all but one of his fangs and the little front teath. My vet says he is a tough tom cat, and he is, he is all muscle. He was social with both our other cats, and those two did not get along. He would police them if he saw they were about to intersect.
Am I nuts? Is this a bad idea? I feel like I am over my head and keep freaking out. Our place is tiny and I am doing the best I can, but my husband is getting impatient.
Any advise would be appreciated

Readers' Answers (11)

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Kelly
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Dec 05, 2008

I do cat (& dog) rescue & always have animals coming & going here. We're always introducing cats because we foster our rescues until they're adopted. I, too, have ended up in the hospital. I had my lower eyelid ripped away from my eye & my tear duct was severed. I had to have have plastic surgery to repair the damage. My injury wasn't from separating a fight; it was a fear response, but in rescue you steel yourself for those moments. You can't be scared of what "might" happen. Those things are rare. If they get in a fight, don't put yourself between them. Use water, noise, or some other distraction.

Patience is the key & you're doing it right. Let them get each other's scent under the door & get used to the idea of each other. Then let them see each other - the crate idea is very good. Switch out bedding & litter boxes so they are sharing & they get used to each other's scent that way. When you are comfortable with letting them out in the room together, initiate play with an interactive toy like Da Bird or something similar. I find that they'll all get interested in the toy but keep their distance so you be dangling & bouncing the toy around in front of each of them with periods of time in the middle. Eventually they start moving in closer. They may always hiss & growl at each other. I have a 14yo who does this with all of our cats even though some of them have now been with us 6-7 years. On occasion I have a couple of the males that still jump on each other but a squirt of water, clap of the hands, or just a yell of their names will stop the melee. They are the two alphas so they have a need to test each other. They'll need to find their pecking order. Since your cat is not neutered & has testosterone affecting him, he may have more alpha male tendencies. If the other two are not alphas, there won't be a problem & they'll accept their secondary place in the hierarchy. If one of them is an alpha, there may be a battle for dominence.

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Ourstaff
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Nov 22, 2008

The first thing is to remember that you are trying to do the best that you can for all of the cats so no matter what happens you tried. The crate suggestion is a good one. Put one cat in it at a time and let one roam around. Then switch them around so they spread their scent around. You can also do this by switching litter boxes. Don't feed them the same dish but let them see each other when they do eat. I know that they need to lose weight but food is one way of making peace (you don't want them to compete for food). It will take some time. Some cats can take a couple of years to adjust and some never do.
The main thing that you HAVE to do is get them to a vet to get them checked.

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karen l.
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Nov 21, 2008

Generally cats work stuff out pretty well after the initial snarling and hissing stages. sounds like you make avoid that part for the most part, congratultions. Since the older kitty is the one who packing (claws), there should not be too much "evil kitty". Go ahead and give them some time together and see what happens, then separate them when you are not around. Oh yeah your big boy may make his territory for a while, even neutered males are a bit snotty about that. We solved that by one of our males using a pee pad for housebreaking. Yeah, I guess my guys are weird, but so are we. Good Luck!

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Jan H.
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Nov 21, 2008

Sounds like you’re doing it right by introducing them slowly and allowing them to get used to each others’ scents. If they’re sniffing each other through the divider and not hissing and growling or running away, then that is a good sign that they can get along. The next thing I would do is swap rooms. However, unless you’re certain that the new cats are healthy, I would keep them separated until you can take them to a vet.

You’re not nuts.

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karen r.
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Nov 21, 2008

be sure to reward them with treats when they are together and just move the treats closer each time.

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Lexismommy
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Nov 21, 2008

You're already off to a good start. You have the cats separated but they're stilling checking each other out through the door. Now you just need to let them see each other and sniff. The cat not be declawed is not much of a problem nor is the not being neutered (although he might spray at first to mark his territory). Cats usually work things out between themselves and it's usually not going to be done in a day or even a week. Good luck.

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Cindy
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Nov 21, 2008

I agree with dawgwoman. This is how I have always introduced new animals, both canine and feline, to my home and have always been successful.

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Dawgwoman81050
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Nov 21, 2008

The next step I would do is bet a dog wire crate that is open and put the 2 declawed cats in it and see what all the cats do. Try this for a few days and usually this will work. When I have brought cats home to my cats I do this and it seems to work just fine. The declawed cats really can't hurt you cat unless they bite him. You do have to worry about your cats claws though.

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Brian K.
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Nov 21, 2008

Google 'introducing new cats', there are a lot of articles out there. One thing that you can try is to put their food next to the door, so they're eating next to each other with a door in between them. We have 6 cats, and have had many foster kittens, and everyone always gets along fine. They usually just figure it out on their own. When you let them out together, have a squirt bottle or cup of water ready in case they start a serious fight. Has your un-neutered male started marking around the house? If not, that's a pretty good sign they will be fine.

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Cindy
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Nov 21, 2008

It will be all right. Bless your heart for taking them in.

It will take a little time for everyone to get used to each other and the newcomers to settle down after all they've been through. Letting them sniff each other through the gate is a good idea. After they've gotten used to each other, you may try them all together under close supervision. Have a blanket ready though to throw on them though in cae of a fight, or use s squirtgun for shock value, but don't get in the middle again.

For the matting you can try some vegetable oil and a de-matting comb. If they are really bad, you may need to cut them out, but be careful not to cut the skin. Cut between your fingers, not the skin and your finger.

You could give the cats each a therapeutic bath - oatmeal or aloe vera formula - something that would soothe their skin. If water is too aversive to them, try a waterless shampoo. Maybe even apply some oil directly to the skin and massage it in.

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