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Helping a stray and now my 2 cats can't stand each other!

March 25th, 2008, 11:30 AM
Here's the story: yesterday, hubby and I took in a stray cat. She is very skinny but otherwise she seems in good health. We are feeding her (she was sooooo hungry) and keeping her warm. I think she is about 7-8 months old and has been on her own this winter: the top halves of her ears are gone; froze and broke off.

We are keeping her separated from our other 2 cats, 4 year old Kira and Jadzia. But last night, through a slight crack in the doorway, Jadzia and cat #3 saw each other. All hell broke loose:hissing, growling, etc. In all this commotion, Kira appeared and then Jadzia and Kira started hissing and growling at each other!:yell: It lasted all evening and this morning Jadzia came in the bedroom and growled when she saw Kira on the bed. I swear it's as if Jadzia is in a trance; she doesn't seem to recognize Kira and she even growls at the dogs. We squirted her with water when she growled hoping it would snap her out of it but it didn't work.

Kira is pretty much her old self, she slept with us as usual and walks around the house but she's nervous when Jadzia sees her and starts to growl. Jadzia didn't sleep on the bed last night like she usually does. She stayed in her basket on the top of the kitchen cupboards and seems to stay there a lot. She's not my easy going cat anymore. I hope she gets back to her old self soon.

Have you experienced such behaviour? We were thinking of keeping cat #3 but I don't know if everyone will get along... It hasn't started off very well:sad:

March 25th, 2008, 12:09 PM
The term for what Jadzia is doing is called 'redirected aggression'. It's common for cats that are stressed (and a new cat in the mix is a huge stress) to lash out at any and everything. You can read some more about it here:

I wouldn't punish her for growling, it will only add to her stress-level. If she's causing Kira any harm, you might want to keep them separated, but otherwise it would be better to just ignore her. In the meantime, perhaps you could try a couple of Feliway room diffusers (one for the new kitty and one for your 2). Here's more on Feliway:

And finally, here's some info on how to do a slow introduction with the new cat:

Good luck!

March 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM
Totally normal. Unless she attacks for real, try to ignore it. Definitely keep the stray separate from the other two for now, until she regains her strength and has preferably been checked by a vet. Integration will take time, do not rush it. Blanket switching between cats to get them used to each other's scent is supposed to help.
Feliway is a good idea. Pricy though.
Thanks for taking in this poor girl, I hope she isn't preggers :eek:

March 25th, 2008, 01:52 PM
Pretty normal behavior, yes. Just give her time to adjust and also let her see that she's still your house-kitty, she's not being replaced or anything, you love her and feed her and play with her as always.

In addition to the smell-interactions with beds, toys etc like Badger said.

Poor little one, frozen and broken off ears? :cry: ouch :sad:

March 25th, 2008, 02:43 PM
Thanks everyone for your reassurance. I will be looking into Feliway. From a recent post, it seems that ebay is the best and cheapest way to get it. I also have some Rescue Remedy, I will give some to Kira, Jadzia and cat #3 when I get home from work. To bad I didn't think of it when I was home eh?

I'm a bit overwhelmed: if we keep her, she has to get used to 2 other cats and 2 dogs. I will have to be patient which isn't my best quality... She is very affectionate, rubbing on our legs and doesn't seem scared of us. She didn't exactly like having her claws trimmed but that didn't take too long. We printed a "found sign" to post at the only convenience store in our rural area and the SPCA in the next town but I don't think we will be getting calls.

I will call the vet to have her checked but maybe she should gain some weight first. Anyway, it will probably take some time before I even get an appointment.

March 25th, 2008, 04:24 PM
I would definitely worm her, when the time comes. She's probably been surviving on garbage.
Maybe once she's put on a little weight you could rehome her. No shame in limiting numbers, wish I'd done it oh, about 7 cats ago :laughing:

March 25th, 2008, 04:49 PM
:laughing: Good one badger!!! But what would all of those kitties you saved have done without their :angel: ?
I agree with everyone. Perfectly normal. Time, patience, exchanging towels, blankies, etc, patience, baby powder even to make them all smell the same, did I say patience?
Only 2 cats and 2 dogs? Mmmm can I come visit? It would be a holiday. :D At the moment I have 2 dogs and 7 kitties in the house and 11 more out in the catuary. I love it!
Btw - there was a little barking, a little hissing, a lot of swatting, a little more hissing. It's all good. No blood drawn.
Good Luck!!