Cat Lady, Daily Life

How To Socialise Two Cats

November 8, 2016

I have not yet written about our experience introducing the serial killer  Sasha to our newest family member, little Piper. It was HARD WORK, I am not going to lie and it took a long time. People cannot believe that my white princess has somehow accepted her new ginger sister, but we certainly did not rush things, and it did take us some work. I hope this post might help you socialising two cats, or even a cat with a dog.  My big tip is GO SLOW, and repeat a previous step if needed. For those of you who do not know Sasha, (the white one), she is a strange rescue cat who hides from the vacuum cleaner and hisses at delivery men. (I’m basically dealing with a feline psychopath.) But she is very social, with us. She would sing the song of her people at 5am in the morning, meowing for playtime and walks, ALL THE TIME, and generally give us the shits. We thought boredom would be it, and so… this happened…

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Without much planning, The Ginger Hunk fell in love with this little girl at the RSPCA, and so we brought her home. (Apparently we would have had better luck putting a male cat with Sasha, but it was too late to intervene, The Ginger Hunk had fallen, deep and hard.)

Day One – Separate Rooms 

After watching Jackson Galaxy videos, we put the kitten in one room, and let the main cat have the run of the house. This is what we did for the first day. Piper was happy exploring the new world of The Ginger Hunk’s office, and Sasha was happy knowing that whatever was in there, couldn’t get her. We set up each cat with their own stuff, food, litter and bedding and keep them separated, while giving them both attention.

Day 2 – 7 – Smell Swapping

This part of the phase involved swapping smells only, and it was HARD. We kept the cats separated and swapped their rooms, bedding and smells. The Ginger Hunk’s office was Pipers “bedroom” but when she went to sleep for example in our bedroom, we would leave the door open so Sasha could go in and out of the office. At this stage Sasha was one territorial kitty and would even hiss when she smelt Piper. We would add in cat treats when Sasha went into Piper’s room, so she could learn the smell was associated with good things. Feliway, a cat diffuser, helped us a lot in this stage (and still does!)

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Day 7 – 14 – Saying Hello Through The Door

This is the stage when you’re meant to let them see each other, but don’t let them out with each other, until there are no signs of aggression. During this stage, we tried to keep Sasha’s routine fairly normal. If she was out on the balcony, then we would let Piper run about the house and she could watch behind the glass. If The Ginger Hunk was in his office with Piper, then they wedged the door ajar a little and the cats could swipe and hiss at each other through the door. Don’t be afraid to let them meow, hiss and cuss at each other, they are just working out who is the boss. You only need to separate them if one cat is going absolutely bat shit crazy.

Day 14 – 21 – Supervised Play 

By this time we were well and truly OVER keeping the cats separated. They were desperate to be out and about with each other. Sasha would be meowing when Piper was in a room and vice versa. (Don’t be fooled this was out of curiosity rather than friendship.) So one evening, we opened all the doors, sat down with a bottle of wine, and let the cat show run. There was lots of chasing, galloping, hissing and running very fast from one room to another. At one point they sat opposite each other, and Piper flopped on the floor in front of Sasha, deciding to submit. Sasha looked at her, meowed and rolled over on her back as well. It was then we knew that this Lion sign meant that they were signalling to each other that they were not a threat. We stayed in this phase for a few days before we let them both around all the time.

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6 Months On

I believe what we have grown is a relationship of tolerance rather than love. I’m sure Piper loves Sasha, but Sasha I think tolerates her (but maybe secretly loves her a little.) They play hide and seek with each other in the mornings, and retire to the bedroom together during the day before uniting forces to hunt bugs on the balcony at night. My Sasha will never be a snuggled (even with us), so they don’t yet groom each other.  There is the occasional hiss around food times and when we both get home, (it’s a jealously thing.)Being three years older than Piper, sometimes poor Sasha looks so EXHAUSTED, like Piper has worn her out. At these times, we put Sasha in the bedroom for some R & R.

But really, it has worked out better than I ever imagined, for us all and our girls.

Have you socialised any animals? 

Have I missed any tips? 

Much Love, Ashleigh 

Kylie for IBOT

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  • Naww…I think mine sort of tolerate each other too but at the same time, I do think Pebbles loves Buttons a whole lot more. She grooms him way more than he grooms her. That was a long period you guys went through introducing them to one another. I was over it after 5 days! Glad though they get along well…love the pics of both Piper and Sasha! 🙂

    • I like to think they secretly lick each other when we are asleep.

  • We have 3 cats, recently introduced the youngest one in the last 6 months and now they tolerate him but certainly don’t love him. They still whack each other as they walk past each other {mainly because he’s still in kitten stage and initiates shit every chance he can get}. I totally agree with all your points. He slept in our bathroom for almost 2 weeks so they were separated {especially at night} while they worked each other out and it seemed to work well. Of course now we are having issues with him spraying everywhere as he needs to get desexed which is a whole other can of worms O.o Can you write a post about how to fix that {short of desexing which we’ll do in a few months hopefully} #teamIBOT

    • Ohhh thankfully we have girl cats, so no spraying in our house. I did have a boy cat that did it as he aged, but could never work out why. The desexing should help.

  • It took forever for our cats to decide that they would like each other, out older cat was so scared of the new kitten. They get along really well now, thank goodness. I have been thinking of teaching the cats to walk on a lead, is that something you have done?

    • No lead in our place, we do take the white one for an apartment loop once a day, she just follows me around and doesn’t run away. We tried a lead and she just flopped on the floor! I think it is best to start when they are little.

  • Hugzilla

    Oh hahahhahhha those pics of Sasha staring her down!! Glad you guys have managed to reach some sort of harmony, and I’m sure these two will grow even closer over time. Gorgeous photos too, BTW.

  • It has been a really long hard road for us as well. Seth has been with us now for a bit over 4 months, and as recently as 3 weeks ago we were ready to ring the pound to ask if we could surrender him (which you can’t do straight away, you have to wait for a vacancy). Every time things would improve and I would breathe a sigh of relief, things would go backwards again and Seth would start spraying again, or attacking Fleur, or something. Feliway spray has definitely helped. Also, in the end I relented and let Seth go out in the back yard for an hour or two each morning and afternoon for play time; it has really made a difference and Fleur enjoys being top cat inside while he is snoozing on the pergola or chasing lizards. Mr 22 has really bonded with Seth, and now allows him to come sleep in his room (he didn’t want any cats in there before) which has made an amazing difference – to the point where I’ve told Mr 22 that when he moves out he’d better take Seth with him! No licking each other here either but they do sometimes play together or lie near each other.

  • We recently adopted a neighbours Ragdoll cat following her move interstate. He use to live with his brother and we moved house soon after. He was attacked just prior to moving and has gone from being a cat that was allowed to roam the streets and come and go, to hardly wanting to leave the house at all. I’ve been thinking a second cat might help but not so sure.

    Our new neighbours have just purchased a kitten and it has been interesting watching the two interact. I was slightly concerned with the play fighting because our cat is 8 years old but they seem to be working it out between them.

    • I think they do eventually work it out between them, as long as they are not hissing their heads off.

  • Ahh yes this was a hectic time, I still can’t believe it when I see them hang out together. Also we trimmed their claws!! Very important, like taking knives off a serial killer.