Hello. I have a rescued cat that I’ve had a little over a year (ROCKY). He is an older, neutered, male cat, and has always been the only pet & the spoiled king of the house, I might add.
Around 2 weeks ago, I brought another rescue home, but this time being about a year old , female (LIBRA). Upon them 1st meeting, they hissed and meowed and chased each other. So, I separated them.
At first, I kept Libra in my spare bedroom with everything she needed, food, water, litter box, and a nice fluffy blanket to relax on. Rocky had the run of the house so his food was in the kitchen and his litter box was always in my bedroom. I’d let Libra out once a day and put her back in the spare bedroom at night.
Whenever Libra was out of the room, Rocky would just hide in my bedroom, in his safe box. When Libra went back in the spare room, Rocky would come back out. I did this for about 3-4 days and Rocky had the same reaction every time.
One day, I let Libra out and thought maybe they’ll learn to get along, and just left the door open in the spare bedroom. Well, it’s been about a week and for that whole week Rocky just chills in his safe box all day and won’t come out of my bedroom at all. He even has a huge cat tree that’s located in my living room, that he absolutely loves and always used to sleep on. And I feel bad that he confines himself and is missing out on his awesome cat tree and tv time with me.
I was scared he wasn’t going to eat so I put his food and water in my bedroom. How in the world can I get these two kitties to get along???? Libra also might be pregnant, given I found her outside. She has seen the vet, got her shots, and was checked out. Do you have any advice to give? Will my poor Rocky isolate himself forever?
Hello Annette. Thank you for asking this question. It is quite a commonplace question actually which is why I published your comment as an article. It is an actual case where two cats do not get along. I had a similar problem myself, by the way. I cared for my cat, Binnie, almost all of her life. When she was about 17 or 18 years of age my mother died and I took on her cat whose name is Charlie. I have to say that Binnie never really settled and never really got on in a way that I would like with Charlie. This upset me although in the end she accepted him fairly well. But there was never a friendship. In the beginning she would, for example, spend some time sleeping on her litter tray which smelled friendly and familiar.
Would I have done the same thing again? That is of a difficult question. However, on balance, if I’m honest I probably would not have taken on Charlie for the sake of Binnie. She was an old cat at that time in any case, well established and settled and becoming fragile emotionally so I owed it to her, to leave her in peace, to leave her lifestyle undisturbed. That is the way I look at it now in retrospect. It is, though, far from a black-and-white decision, obviously.
I don’t think a lot of research has been done on this or this situation because it is about feline emotions and friendships, likes and dislikes between the domestic cat. This is an area of knowledge that is rather a black hole for humans. A lot of people still don’t understand that the domestic cat does have emotions and makes friendships with other cats.
In multi-cat households my understanding is that a person cannot assume that the new cat, introduced into the household, will be accepted and get along with all the other cats automatically. A lot of people ignore this (you are not included in that group). Moreover, sometimes I believe that a couple of individual cats may never really get along well. Sometimes, at best a couple of cats may learn to accept each other and get along whereas in other cases a couple of cats may form a very close friendship.
If the domestic cat is able to form friendships as we are, and I believe that they can, then we know that on occasions a couple of cats may never really get along properly as is the case with people. I am painting a rather negative picture, I admit. The ideal situation, I believe, is that an existing cat living in a home should have the opportunity to accept or reject an incoming new cat and if he or she does not feel able to be friendly towards the new cat then the new cat should not be introduced into the household. This is because it is unfair on the existing cat to have his or her territory and lifestyle disrupted, which I know is what you feel as well, judging by your words.
The bottom line of this situation is, in my opinion, that you may have to consider re-homing Libra. I hate to say that. I have a feeling that they will get along eventually. Rocky will learn to get along with Libra. But is that the kind of situation you could accept? Do you want them to like each other and become close friends?
These are simply my ideas and thoughts based upon my experience and reading about the behaviour of the domestic cat. Importantly, though, as mentioned, this is an area where more work is required by way of a study carried out by scientists.