Service Cats: Fighting or Posturing: Introducing Cats
MeOW Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It seems like furever since our last Service Cat Monday posty, but we’re back. We have a great question ‘bout specific trainin’ methods, but we want mommy to be tip top to tackle it, so tune in next week fur that post. Today, we’re gonna focus on a topic we got via email. Let me get the business pawrt outta the way furst. The followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual but rather Tips/Tricks/Techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section below or send us an email. Ifin askin’ ‘bout a behavioral issue, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Now, let’s get to our question fur today.
A new reader sent us an email and asked, “When bringing a new kitty into the home with a resident cat, how do you know when there’s a fight or just growing pains? And how do you know when it’s safe to leave them alone together?” That’s a wonderful question. And we’re thrilled that you’re adopting and saving another life. We have another friend going through this very thing right now, so this is perfect timing. This post is not about Aggressive Cats. If you’re dealing with Cat Aggression, please see our post series Calming the Tiger in Your Kitty (links below). So, you’ve decided to adopt a new friend for your existing kitty. Introductions and preparation are crucial to a long and happy relationship between all of you.
Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need before bringing kitty home. You’ll need a new litterbox. The rule of thumb is one per cat and one extra. Most cat owners will tell you that they can get by with less, but don’t expect to start out that way. Remember, if you set the stage for success, you’ll get success, if you set the stage for failure, you’ll fail; or your kitties will fail. The last thing you want is for your resident cat to start acting out. So, a new litterbox and a spare, new food and water bowls or a fountain. Mommy always likes to buy at least one new toy for the new kitty. Mind you, all toys are fair game for all cats in the home, it’s just that something special for the new kitty. And, it can be something as simple as the little dollar mice at the checkout. Since becoming bloggers, we’ve learned about the Yeowww nip nanna, and the wonders of kickers. If the kitty you are adopting is over the age of 5 months old and you already have a Yeowww nip nanna, PLEASE GET A 2nd banana before you bring kitty home or as quickly as you can. This will help avoid some territorial spats over the “mine” attitude. Yep, even sis Lexi and me had a few spats over the nip nanner until mommy got us a second one. Mommy also recommends some of the prime grade A treats. You know, the ones your kitty flips over?.
Okay, you’ve got the extra basic necessities, now what? Get everything set up in a quiet secluded area (Decompression Room) where the new kitty will spend their first couple of days. You want this transition to go as smoothly as possible and be as free of stress as it can be for the resident cat. We don’t personally have the space for kitties to have their own rooms, but we’re going to address this today as if we do. When bringing the new kitty home, mommy suggests putting kitty in the carrier on the floor for a few minutes before taking them to their “Decompression Room”. This will allow the resident kitty a moment to smell the new kitty and vice versa. There may be a hiss or growl, but don’t leave the kitty long enough for this to escalate. Take the new kitty to their room and leave the carrier door open. It will be tempting to stay and coax kitty out and spend time with them. Do Not!!! Resident kitty needs to know they are still valued and that nothing has changed. Leave new kitty to come out and explore their new room in their own time. Return to resident kitty and give them extra love and some of those Grade A treats. Trust me, we’re not fooled. We know something’s up.
down, pinpointed pupils
Anyways, once you’ve gotten to the introductions and kitties are spending time together in your presence, you need to start watching body language. There will likely be some hissing, growling and posturing. These are all normal. You’re looking for signs of acceptance or a fight. Try not to over react. There may be a tussle or ten. This is also perfectly normal. You know your resident kitty, so watch them especially, for signs of stress. Curious cats will approach one another with ears alert. If kitty’s ears are flat and the back fur is standing erect, Do Not Panic, but be alert, especially if both kitties are displaying this behavior. This is the tricky part. Mommy says, in your mind, you must be thinking positively. Believe this will go well. Expect your kitties to get along. Do Not let them see you sweat. (MOL) An exchange of swats is normal. As long as the claws are retracted, you have nothing to worry about. If kitty’s ears are flat, fur is standing on end and they begin a low rumbling growl and/or bob/lower their head or turn it slightly, remove new kitty immediately and try again later over some of those Grade A treats or a favorite toy.
As long as both kitties can get up/away from the other and they’re not greeting each other with ruffled furs and flat ears, it’s safe to leave them together. Now, we don’t mean after 5 minutes, but rather after several days of no knock down drag out fights. Remember, cats rolling around together is NOT a fight. Cats rolling around together with ears flattened, fur erect, claws out and teeth bared and gnashing at the neck of the other…That’s a fight. More often than not, these meetings will go successfully. Especially if you’ve set kitty up for success and expected it. We know that sounds silly, but remember, kitties feel your emotions and act accordingly. As long as you can remain calm, positive and expecting the best, things should go well.
Cats learn the boundaries from their mothers and littermates/housemates, so expect some biting and swatting. That’s natural and just your kitties way of determining rank. And remember, during this entire process, be sure to give resident kitty lots of extra love and reassurance. We know how easy it is to want to spend time with the new kitty, especially if new kitty is a kitten. Don’t!!! Resident kitty needs to know they’re not being replaced. Try to remember, that resident kitty’s life should be as stress free and normal as possible throughout this whole process. And lastly, sit back and enjoy, you now have two furry purrers to warm your lap and rule your house.
Well, we hope this helped. Mommy says the cases of one kitty trying to kill another or cause serious injury is actually rare. But you do want to take the time to transition successfully to avoid bad behaviors and increase the possibilities of a long and happy life together. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or send us an email. And remember, you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed in this series by clicking the links below.
Till the next time……………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty Internal Disputes
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Help Options Pt. 1
Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3
Posted on July 31, 2017, in Educational, Feline Behavior, Human Speak, Questions & Answers, Service Cats, Training and tagged #RagdollCats, #ServiceCats, #TrainingTechniques, #TrainingTips, Cat Fights, Decompression Room, Deztinee, Educational, Fighting, Human Speak, Introducing Cats, Posturing, RaenaBelle, Spats, Training. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.