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 © Martine Lavallée B.A.A. et Technicienne en santé animale

My passion for cats comes to me, as for many people, from my childhood. I have recovered since the age of 10, about sixty cats. Preferring to save lives, I have always favoured abandoned domestic type cats who are often adults. The adoption and introduction of adult cats under one roof are more complex and delicate than those of young kittens. Indeed, no magic formula guarantees a successful introduction or even the age, sex and breed of cats because they have very little influence. In any case, the introduction of a kitten aged 3 to 5 months is normally easier than that with adult cats. Finally, sterilization is almost essential for a smooth introduction.

I have done the test, these last six months, to adopt a first cat, then a second and finally a third cat! I wanted to share with you my experience which, by the way, is still not over. I present you my three protégés.

 

Arthur

The first newcomer introduced to our house had very little adaptation problem. At the time of her we welcomed her in September 2018 six months after the death of our old cat died from a lymphosarcoma. So, for Arthur, a year and a half old cat, neutered and amputated from the left hind limb, life was beautiful in our empty house! Shy temperament and small size, Arthur quickly appreciated the presence of 3 humans and 6 hands that gave him all the attention required.

This little tabby cat used, with his former owners, to always be outside. We wanted to keep him inside, so he wouldn’t be attacked again, by another beast because it was because of an attack that he lost his hind leg. However, we were unable to keep it in the house. Fortunately we live in the centre of a village and apart from the deer, they’re no predators and also very few cars. Arthur spends most of his time looking out the window, sleeping on the porch and running after the deer, a real sight!

 

Ninja

Ninja is another male of about two years old found in the summer of 2018 wandering on a farm in Arundel. Difficult to approach at first, he did not know either the kindness of humans or their homes. After being castrated, dewormed and vaccinated he finally calmed down. From June to September 2018, he lives on the farm surrounded by other cats, several farm animals and many humans. He learns different languages ​​and brings out his curious, affectionate and sociable character. On the other hand, it has its limits and it is important to recognize the body language of the cat to detect when Ninja has enough! A real personnality! In October 2018, he joins our family.

We had made a first "cold" try at home between Arthur and Ninja. A meeting that lasted about five hours and everything was marvellously done! It is extremely rare a situation like that where two adult males get along at once! We were pampered! But after having documented, I realized that our method of approach "cold" was to be avoided. So we were MUCH more cautious when integrating our third cat.

 

Innu

Found during the cold winter months of January 2019, Innu is a (other) male, all white, about two years old (maybe more) who clearly had a hard time. He gives him two ear-tips and this one is filled with ear mites (otacariosis). He has thick cheeks like tomcats who have fought all their lives can have. It is a massive, muscular cat with 6 fingers on its front right paw and 7 on its front left paw. He also has 5 fingers on his hind legs.

First steps, ear treatment, deworming, flea treatment, castration and vaccination. Then we also treated our other cats against ear mites because they are contagious. Also, we placed Innu isolated from our other cats in the basement of our house.


To make sure I get things right before putting my cats together, I read and learned about the proper methods for introducing new cats into the house.

 

How to Proceed?

Two things that helped me do a lot of good things are my reading and video of the feline behaviour specialist, the EduCator. I also bought pheromones to help me in my approach: two diffusers with soothing pheromones Feliway Friends that reduce conflict between cats in the same household and correct behaviours such as fights, the chases, the blockages and the stares, I placed them at passing places of the house. I also used the Feliway Classic vaporizer that calms my cats when I sprayed on things like the couch, small carpets and some cushions. In addition, I also followed the following basic tips to avoid mistakes.

 

DO NOT :

  • DO NOT when we arrive home with our new cat, place it in front of the cat we already have.
  • DO NOT force a first contact by taking our newcomer in our arms to carry him to the other house cat.
  • DO NOT scold them when they growl or growl.
  • DO NOT let our cats run on like rockets, or make big bumps, or start singing; Here, it is essential to separate them before there is an attack!
    In the latter case, instead of lifting one of the two cats away from the other, I prefer to use a cushion on which I sprayed Feliway Classic and which is big enough so that when I place it between the two cats, these are lost sight of and distracted by my action.

The EduCator advises

Bringing a new cat home, it is as if we were telling our cat already domiciled at home: "Here is your new companion of life; you will now have to share your territory with him, whether you like it or not! " Although we have explained several days before the introduction to our initial cat that a new arrival, it is a shock if we do not proceed to acclimatization. Here are the five steps suggested by the EduCator:

  • Step 1 : Make sure the newcomer is free of illness and has excellent health. A visit to the veterinarian is strongly recommended.

  • Step 2 : Isolate the newcomer in a room with food, a bowl of water and a litter box. Let him acclimatize to his new environment, new smells and the presence of other cats. This acclimatization usually takes a few days [I took 10 days]. During this period, there must be no contact between resident cats and the new cat.

  • Step 3 : Periodically, swap cat's territorial: let the new cat explore the house, while resident cats are locked in the home room. Then put your new cat back in his room and let your other cats roam freely in the house. Repeat the exercise. This has the effect of allowing a mixture of feline odours. Why not decorate it all with treats everywhere when you exchange cats? This has the effect of creating positive associations with new odours. If your cats are trying to feel through the slot under the door, let them do it!

  • Step 4 :Do not do this until the newcomer and resident cats are calm. The EduCator experience tells us that many people, eager to see their cats meet and have fun together, make the mistake of moving too quickly to this fourth stage. Make sure a minimum of 3 to 7 days follow the adoption of the new cat before starting this step. You put all the chances of a successful introduction on your side.

    When you're ready, give your cats the famous treat or food selected for each, then drop each bowl a few feet away on each side of the closed door. When they start eating, open the door a few inches. It is very important that cats can see each other without being able to touch each other. If you are afraid that opening the door will cause a battle, you can install a mosquito net door as part of the isolation room door. Thus, they can feel without touching each other. Otherwise, just make sure none of them can sneak in. If one of the cats refuses to feed when he sees the other cat, move the bowls further until the distance is sufficient. For individuals to be comfortable and eat. After this first meal, repeat the experiment as often as possible (at least twice a day), leaving the door ajar for a longer period of time and gradually bringing the bowls closer together.

    If the cats growl, flicker, or paw at the opening of the door, do not intervene and move the bowls away for a while. This is a normal reaction: it is their way of talking to each other and starting the negotiations that will allow them to establish the rules that will govern their relationship.

    * Do not go to the next step until the cats eat normally in the presence of the other, that is, they do not growl, flicker or paws. This can take from one day to two weeks, depending on the case.

  • Step 5: Open the door completely during one of their meals and let the cats interact with each other. Again, this meal must be absolutely delicious, so much so that it has to motivate the cat to eat rather than worry about the presence of the other. It is possible that they growl, that they fire or that a small argument occurs. It is important not to intervene, even if you feel that one of them seems too intimidating or unfair to the other. Because this negotiation, even if it is a little violent, will determine who among them, will have the right to feed first, which will have possession of a specific territory in the morning, then in the evening, etc. The sooner this negotiation is over, the sooner things will get back to normal. By intervening in this dispute, you will only postpone things, and the discord will continue needlessly. If the situation turns sour and you have no choice but to intervene, do not try to separate them: rather throw a small cushion in their direction or clap their hands without looking at them. That way, they will not feel like you're getting into their business.

Use the Benefits of Playing

Play is a wonderful way to allow cats to get to know each other. They thus make positive associations in the presence of other cats. Playing a lot with our group of cats is very recommended. Not only will the game improve the relationship between them, but it will also solidify the relationship you have with all your cats, both old and new!

 

[1]https://www.feliway.com/ca_en

[2]http://en.educhateur.com

[3] Use cat's best treat or favorite food  (canned food, tuna, chicken, commercial treats or even regular food, if you like it).

 

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