When Cat Introductions Go Bad

So here is our second chance with George and everything we did to try to make it work out this time:

Day 1:

George came home again on Tuesday 9/1, a week after our initial adoption. This time we set him up in the entire bedroom area; this would be his home base (Class #2). Our other four cats were set up out in the main portion of the house.

This time, we made sure that there were waterproof mattress covers on the mattress.  I also sprayed the beds with Nature’s Miracle calming spray.  I set up two brand new litter boxes in this area with a large high-backed litter box and just a standard large litter box.  I used Cat Attract litter in both boxes. I also had some old Safe Space for Cats that I bought years ago. Since it was old, I didn’t want to put it in George’s water, so I put some drops on my hand and I’d pet him a few times per day.

We brought George home his first night and he was very excited, running all around.  We both hung out with him and re-acquainted him with the area and showed him where his litter boxes were.  I tried to give George calming treats, but he didn’t like them. My husband slept in bed to stay with him that night and I slept out with the other cats.

The first night George peed in our bed on my side while my husband was sleeping. He used the litter box to poop and did not pee in the guest bed.  My husband said that George was very active that night running around and playing most of the night, but also snuggled up with him in bed. First accident, but we can get past this.

Day 2:

On that first full day home, we both worked in the bedroom area with George. He was starting to calm down.  He spent part of the day laying on the guest bed next to me in my office and part of the day in my husband’s office. At one-point Marvin was at the bedroom area door scratching and meowing to get in.  George rushed the door and made his unhappy sounds.  I got some video of that. I wanted George to relax and to de-stress, so I put a towel against the door to cover the gap under the door some and I sprayed the towel with Calming Spray. I know that typically you want the cats to smell each other under the door, but until he calmed down a little I want to try to keep the door a calmer place.

George hanging out while I work.

At the end of the day I changed the mattress pad, bedsheets and blankets. Even though I had a waterproof mattress pad on the bed, the mattress smelled slightly of urine, so I sprayed some Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer on the mattress.  I sprayed the bed with calming spray.

After work we went to the other part of the house for dinner and to spend some time with the other cats.  I fed the cats on opposite sides of the door for dinner (Class #3).  George on his side of the door and Marvin, Pumpkin, and Nathan on the other side of the door.  No hissing or issues during dinner.  I checked on George a few times and everything was going well.  George had used the litter box to poop again.

After a few hours on the other side of the house I came into the bedroom area to prep for bed.  George had peed in our bed again, this time on my husband’s side.  I sprayed the area with Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer on the blanket and under the blanket onto the sheets.  New sheets weren’t clean yet, so I left them on the bed for the night.

I moved the litter box that he likes out further into the room.  I scooped the litter boxes to keep them clean for him (before I wanted some of his smell in the litter so I left some behind).

I did some reading and found an article from a girl that had a similar issue. I ordered some more waterproof mattress pads so I can replace the sheets faster and I ordered some tarps to keep on the beds until bedtime. Oh, and I also ordered Total Cat Mojo for more information and tips to help make this work.

George slept with me most of the night, he snuggled up with me when I went to bed, near my head.  At about 2 am he got up out of bed, he did use the litter box again, Yay!  Not sure how long after, but he came back to bed and snuggled with me the rest of the night.

Day 3:

By day 3 George stopped peeing on the beds. Thank God!

Day 4:

In the morning, my husband came out of the bedroom area to get me and George snuck out.  George went right past Marvin with no issue.  As my husband was going to scoop up George, Marvin must have snuck into the bedroom area.  I was still getting my flips flops on to come into the bedroom area when we heard the commotion.  George was attacking Marvin, fur was flying.  We were able to break it up and get Marvin out of there.  No damage to Marvin other than some missing tufts of fur, thankfully but man, that was a setback. We settled George and hung out with him to try to settle him down.

At this point it might be good to give a bit of information about George and his history. George was adopted from an adoption agency that had him since he was a kitten. When we adopted him he was just past 2 years old, so he spent his entire life at the adoption center. The adoption center is what I would call a cat colony. It’s a huge building perhaps a large house that is filled with over 100 cats. All the rooms are cat-centric. It has a huge wrap around porch covered with lattice and filled with cat trees and cat beds, etc. The yard is fully fenced and cats are allowed out in the yard with a concrete patio and a playhouse (cat house). The rescue is amazing (although I’ve only seen it in pictures) but George never lived in a foster home, he only lived in this giant cat colony, for his entire two-years. You’d think he would be fine with other cats after coming from that environment, but he is very territorial. This will be something we need to overcome with four other cats if he is to be able to stay in our home in harmony.  

On Day 4 we started site swapping, so George was allowed in the rest of he house and the other cats were moved to the bedroom area. Once everything was settled, George found a furry mouse toy and was immediately playing and carrying it through the living room. George spent the day exploring the larger area of the house (living room, kitchen, den, and finished basement). He loved the windows and the front screen door. He spent lime climbing the cat trees, and climbing to the top of the hutch and bookcase. He is definitely an air cat. He likes to get up high. The best part is that he loves the cat couch that I made. He keeps going back to it to relax.

George is an air cat.
And he loves the cat couch.

Day 5:

My husband was out all day, when he came home he was going to sleep in the bedroom area with George and I was going to sleep out with the other cats. But while I was hanging out with him before heading out to be with the other cats, George had an interaction at the door. He was worked up with a puffed tail, he was howling. Someone was on the other side of the door. I tried to distract him from the door because he was really worked up. I went to pick him up and he was a little wet, He got so upset that he leaked pee a little bit. He also had his paw under the door and was pulling on it. Even though we had rubber bands holding the doors closed, he was close to being able to open the doors. I put the towel at the door again with the Calming Spray, but he was still worked up. I ended up putting him in the bedroom with my husband so that he could calm down.

It was time to install the baby gate. The baby gate was purchased for Class 4: Initiating visual access, but may be needed now for extra security at the door. I bought was that was extra tall, because our young cats can jump high. After installing the gate at the door, I covered it with towels to keep the cats from seeing each other as much as possible.

Extra tall baby gate covered with towels.

Day 7:

We started baby gate feeding and initiating visual access. We fed the cats at the gate with the door open this time. Marvin, Pumpkin, and George were right up there at the gate eating (with the towel down to the floor). No hissing or growling. But Nathan was too scared to come up to the fence and eat. I tried giving him the bowl several feet back, but he was still too scared.

George helped Daddy with the crossword puzzle.

After the successful dinner, I raised the gate towel up a few inches. George even had another gate interaction with the towel up and no incidence. So we were starting to get encouraged that things would work out. I also noticed that George was walking around with his tail up. Jackson Galaxy would call this Cat Mojo, so his comfort was another promising sign.

I also started giving the cats Bully at some point. Mostly I gave it to George, but also the others, because they all have bullying tendencies.

Day 8:

Another day, another site swap. More gate feeding. Pumpkin was fine with it.

Pumpkin is happy.

Day 12:

First Day of Eat, Play, Love (Class 5 and 6). We started today with Pumpkin. It was successful. We were able to keep them playing, give them treats, and no bad interactions. We ended the play session on a high note!

At this point I’m really hoping the cats are fully mingled by next weekend.

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