How in the world can I get these two kitties to get along??

By Annette

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.

Useful links
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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.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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9 Responses

  1. kylee says:

    well im really happy to report that tiger is getting along with jasmin and coming inside alot more. So i dont know how many weeks that its been. Ozzie and jasmin are best buddies and play fight all the time. Its so lovely to see the two i thought wouldnt get along to be totally playful.

  2. Dee (Florida) says:

    I can only contribute as a multicat household person.
    In my home, it isn’t mandatory that any cat likes another.
    I don’t like every person that enters my life either.
    What I expect is a tolerance between them.
    As long as there is no actually blood baths, I understand the hissing and dislike for some time.
    I’ve found that this opposition will cool eventually and a truce will emerge.

    • I am sure that your thoughts and your experiences are is typical of most households where there is more than one cat. My personal view is that ideally it is best to try and manage things so that when there’s more than one cat in the house they all like each other a lot. That is probably very hard to achieve but I believe that a new cat should be introduced to the existing cats in a household to check whether they like each other before the new cat moves in. That may be impractical. It may be impossible to arrange that but commonsense tells me that that is probably the best way to go about things. Cats that put up with each other will have have a less content life than cats who really like each other.

  3. Annette, is seems that your best bet is to try and get your 2 cats to play together and if that fails (while giving them sometime) then you might consider re-homing Libra. I don’t think re-homing a cat under these circumstances is a failure. Anyway, I would doubt that you will do this because you are probably committed to following through on making things work, which I fully understand, should that be the case. The very best of luck in any event.

  4. kylee says:

    yea i agree with what marc said as i found giving attention to both ozzie and jasmin patting them both at same time and i thik it helps letting them getting to know each other. i.e sniffing each other. Ozzie took about a week to finally get used to the idea and he accepted it. Although tiger not really confinced yet as im having to give him more time. He still comes in every night. i think he still misses cassy alot.

  5. Marc says:

    It’s very difficult. I would be on the fence for sure. Usually the way you get two cats to become friendly with eachother is by playing with them both together at the same time – and insisting its both of them being tempted to play.

    I think this is the one guaranteed way to make it work – however I don’t use the word guarantee lightly – I therefore should add that yes – it will wortk – but depending your situation it might take a while. Could take a year. But I believe all cats have playing in common. They forget eachother ad get into playing and that bonds them unquestionably – firstly and most obviously by keeping them close to eachother for a time, whilst busy i activity.

    • Thanks for your more optimistic advice, Marc. I can be a bit pessimistic. I just believe that cats like, dislike or are indifferent to other cats and it is chance as to how it works out, which is why we need to see how they get along before committing to putting them in the same home (if possible).

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    I agree with Michael, if keeping Libra is going to spoil the quality of home life Rocky had before she came along, it would be better to find her another home.
    I always look at it this way, supposing a stranger moved into our home, we had no notice of this happening, but in she came, to stay, we had no say.
    It would upset our whole household, we’d feel resentful, we might not even like her but there she was.
    Libra’s scent will be everywhere she goes in the house, everything that was Rockys, including you yourself, he suddenly had to share.
    Some cats get aggressive to the intruder, some like Rocky after the first confrontation, retreat to a ‘safe place’
    You could try grooming Libra, then using the same brush to groom Rocky, that mingles the scents, gently rub a piece of soft cloth around her whiskers area, then Rockys. Keep on doing this and the grooming a few times each day it could help Rocky accept Libra with time and patience.
    But if not I would definitely be looking to rehome Libra before Rocky sinks into depression feeling that his happy home is not his own any more.

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