View Full Version : Very sad, then happy, and now need advice about a "stray" cat!
07-17-2003, 06:38 PM
Early last month, our beloved cat of 14 years, Bear, died. Suddenly and unexpectedly. We rubbed him on the cheeks and kissed him on the top of the head one night (as we do with both cats every night) and went to bed, and when we awoke the next morning he was lying outside of the bedroom door, having passed away just an hour or so before. Both DH and I were stricken and spent several weepy and sad weeks mourning our sudden loss.
However, a very strange thing happened. The very day that Bear ( a shorthaired black cat) dies, we noticed another black, shorthaired cat hanging around the garage. I couldn't believe it at first, and thought that I was hallucinating. But after several weeks of feeding her, she has decided to adopt us. Although I see Bear almost every time I look at her (she has, eerily, a lot of his same mannerisms...) I really want to keep her. We have named her Spooky.
Here is my situation:
We have an 18-year old cat, Dusty, who has been quite lonely now. I have an appointment to take both of them to the vet tomorrow. Dusty will have her regular vaccinations, and the new cat will be tested for feline AIDS and leukemia, then vaccinated as well. We will get her spayed in the next week or two. She is under a year old, and Dusty doesn't seem bothered by her. In fact, Dusty is watching her(through the glass window, of course) right now and is nothing more than curious. How do I go about "introducing" them to each other in person? After the tests and vaccines, of course (I haven't let Dusty outside since we saw this cat). Has anyone done this? Spooky is very gentle and loving (I think that she may have been dropped off here by some unfeeling fool) and I think that they will get along. But is there something that I should do to prepare them beforehand?
I feel as though I've raised a brood of "kids" (8 cats, actually) and now have a baby to begin the process all over! A bit daunting, and I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!!!
Here's a photo of our "new one"
And, to compare (not a really good photo but black cats are hard to photograph), my wonderful little Bear (with his sister Tigger, who we lost in '95 at age 6):
07-17-2003, 06:50 PM
Wow! What a sad/happy story about your cats! (Just my humble opinion here) I'd like to believe that you were sent this new stray to help with the mourning of your beloved Bear. At least that's how I'd like to think the universe works. Anyway, I introduced a kitten to our very spoiled only cat, so I can let you know what worked for me. Do you have a place to put the new cat that the cat you already have can't get to, but so that they can still smell each other? We used a baby gate and sectioned off a room for the new cat, and then took the older cat to the gate and let her sniff around. They sniffed each other and my older cat hissed a little bit, but then I moved the gate to the hallway to give the newer cat a little more room. More sniffing and hissing, but eventually died down. (I did this for several days). Then I removed the gate all together when I knew I would be home for awhile in case a big fight broke out. All is well, and though they aren't "friends", they get along ok. I don't know if you want to be this complicated, or have access to a gate, but this is what worked for us. Good luck with the new kitty!!!!!! (And my deepest condolences on the loss of your Bear)
07-17-2003, 06:51 PM
I would ask your vet for advice. When we were thinking about getting a new kitten to add to our "family" that includes a 11 year old cat, our vet gave us a little book that explained how to introduce a new kitten to your other pets. May as well go right to the expert since you will be seeing your vet tomorrow!
Here are some helpful tips that I came across on a website:
Set up a comfortable "safe room" for New Cat. Put her food, water, litter box (not near the food), scratching post, toys, and bed or other sleeping mat there.
Expect a great deal of "hissy-spitty" behavior from both cats. This is natural and normal; they are just starting to explore their "pecking order."
Scent is very important for cats. Let each of them smell the other indirectly, by rubbing a towel on one and letting the other smell it. They will soon accept the scent as a normal part of the house.
Once or twice, switch roles. Put New Cat in the normal living quarters, and let your resident cat sniff out the new cat's Safe Room.
After a day or so, let the two cats sniff each other through a baby-gate or through a barely-opened door. Gauge the rate at which they seem to be acclimating to each other.
When you think they're ready, let them mingle under your supervision. Ignore hissing and growling, but you may have to intervene if a physical battle breaks out. Again, take this step slowly, depending on how quickly they get along. If they do seem to tolerate each other, even begrudgingly, praise both of them profusely.
Make their first activities together enjoyable ones so they will learn to associate pleasure with the presence of the other cat. Feeding (with their own separate dishes), playing, and petting. Keep up with the praise.
If things start going badly, separate them again, and then start where you left off. If one cat seems to consistently be the aggressor, give her some "time out," then try again a little bit later.
07-17-2003, 06:54 PM
Sharon and I must have been posting at the same time!! Her advice is great! I will have to look this thread up if we decide to get another cat to introduce into the family!!
P.S.. Spooky is beautiful!
07-17-2003, 07:02 PM
Thanks, Missi and Sharon! I was posting photos while you were both posting your replies.
Missi, I'd like to think that Spooky may be one of Bear's 9 lives! And Sharon, thanks tons for the advice. I'm now taking a towel that Dusty lays on out to put in Spooky's sleep area (in a small building, a "smokehouse", near our old farmhouse). I don't want to bring something of Spooky's in to Dusty until I know that she is "safe", but that will be soon enough. And I think, that if I root around in the attic, we may just have a baby gate up there (from puppy-training, of course!).
This will be fun (I hope.) :)
07-18-2003, 06:02 AM
I had all my advice ready to give you, but she said it very well indeed!
Just two things to add:
(1) She mentions a baby gate: get three of them so you can completely block the doorway but leave the door open. (Cats are very good at climbing, as you well know).
(2) Cats are smell-oriented, as she said. Pick up all your cats and fuss over them. You have their smell on you, and they have your smell on them. Now, to go Spooky and do the same. She'll get their smells on her and yours, too, and you'll have her smell on you. All smells will mingle (wish I could phrase this better... :rolleyes: ) and become familiar.
Otherwise, all she said, and it works very well.
07-18-2003, 06:41 AM
I once read that if you put one of the cats in a cat crate, it is another way to get them to smell each other without one getting hurt. Sharon and Missi have great ideas. Good luck at the vet today and let us know what the vet has to say! So glad you have Spooky, doesn't quite take away the loss but sure helps!!
07-18-2003, 06:43 AM
I don't have anything to add to the introductions of the 2 cats, but wanted to say that spooky is very cute and love the name! Condolences on the passing of bear.
07-18-2003, 09:28 AM
Victoria, your cats are so cute! here a few websites on introducing new cats to each other. Good luck
07-19-2003, 09:47 AM
We took both cats to the vet yesterday. Dusty got updated on all of her shots, plus her bloodwork was very good for an elderly cat (kidney function, etc.). whew! I always get nervous and start imagining bad things...
Anyway, Spooky's tests for leukemia and the autoimmune virus came back negative, and preventative vaccines were given. yay!
And just how bad am I at guessing the gender/sex of this cat???
Spooky, instead of being an 8-month-old female, is an approximately 8-year old neutered male!!! :o
I mean, I've had 8 cats in the past 20 years, and I was THIS rotten at guessing?!?! geez.....
07-19-2003, 05:18 PM
It's a rather rare breed (I have 2 of them), on the small side - like, 8 - 10 lbs - but heavy for their size. Big, golden eyes, very round. Fur is almost slick to feel (they are described as patent leather cats; I'd describe them as feeling like silk satin). Completely black fur (black to the roots, I mean) with black pads and, often, black gums. (The gums aren't necessary: I have a retired champion who has pink gums.) He looks like a kitten still.
Affectionate, but not as in-your-face as, say, a Siamese or a Burmese. They have slightly squeaky voices. He sure looks a heck of a lot like my Angel.
07-20-2003, 10:13 AM
What a sweetie your cat is! I don't know, though, would a rare cat such as a Bombay be a stray? I wanted to look at his fur color and pads (which I am sure are black), but Spooky is hiding under a very dense spirea and has decided to not come out for a while. His eyes, though quite large and round, are the color of seedless green grapes, not golden.
Did I mention another "spooky" thing about Spooky? Our beloved Bear would never drink out of water bowls when he was outside (we live on a 50-acre farm, so I do let them out during the day). Instead, he preferred the fish-poop water of our small goldfish pond. Spooky also refuses to use the water bowls and I see him, looking eerily like Bear, drinking from the edge of the pond. ooooOOOooo! :eek:
07-20-2003, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by VictoriaL
year[/u] old neutered male!!! :how can they tell how old a cat is? just wondering...
07-20-2003, 10:44 AM
Our vet looked at his teeth and the size of his head! She said that he's an "older cat, possibly around 8 years old" but couldn't make a more specific determination. Too bad that they don't have rings around their tails, or something to make the process easier and more accurate! ;)
07-20-2003, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by VictoriaL
Too bad that they don't have rings around their tails, or something to make the process easier and more accurate! ;) yea. just like a tree!
07-21-2003, 04:46 AM
glad to read the good news from the Vet about Spooky's health! Glad to hear about Dusty, also! When we first found Sophie, I hadn't realized that she had been neutered OR had been declawed in the front! Diana's assessment is right on the money about these cats. I think I learned from her that they were Bombays on this board:) .
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