Original Question: "Hi! About 3 weeks ago I brought home my third cat (my other two; male and female are about 9 to 10 years old). So this third cat (13 year old male) was put in a separate room with a litter box, water, and food. He stayed in there for a week and a half then got out. He has since been hiding in our basement (litter boxes are down there) and he comes up for his food and one time he actually came into our bedroom in the middle of the night. Our 1 cat of 2 sleeps on our bed (female) and she really didn’t care that the new cat was there too but it’s our resident male that is not the friendliest to our new one. I bring the new one down in my arms and they BOTH start hissing and growling. Our resident male cat wants to chase the new one and he does so occasionally when the new one comes up from the basement. I usually get to the safe room before resident cat so all the cats are safe. So my questions are: 1) Do I put the food and water down into the basement? Or should I keep the food/water upstairs in the original safe room so the new cat has to come up? I just don’t want the new one to think he lives in the basement. 2) How should I re-introduce the two males? I’m just not sure what to do. This poor 13-year-old came from a good home except for the last few months as they put him in a shelter outside and I couldn’t have that so I took him in, he’s a beautiful kitty. Thank you so much for your time, sorry it’s so long!"
Anytime you add a new cat to a home, it can be stressful for everyone (human and feline). There are very likely some territorial concerns going on in the house. As a general rule, I don't recommend leaving food out and prefer meal feeding. By controlling when food is out and feeding each cat in a separate location, you can direct each one to their own space and at the same time, help eliminate competition for resources (food). It is also suggested to have 1 litter box per cat PLUS 1, so you should have 4 and they should be in different locations including different floors. This may help the new cat realize that he doesn't always have to go to the basement. As far as reintroducing them, something that may help is a product called Feliway Friends (you can find more info at feliway.com). You have already done well to give the newer cat some time to adjust in his own room. It may take more time but it's important to use positive reinforcement and still spend time with the previous residents so they feel they are not being replaced.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Ryan Llera
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