Gransnet forums


Help needed please with integrating two adult cats into an already 3 cat house

(13 Posts)
Alima Sun 02-Aug-20 14:17:03

Briefly, DDs two adult cats joined our household 4 weeks ago tomorrow. They were placed in the (converted) loft at first to get them used to our house. The door to the loft has been left wide open for over 3 weeks now. The cats are eating well, love a bit of attention and all seems fine apart from the fact they won’t come anywhere nearer the rest of the house than the loft stairs.
I often spend the night up there to keep them company, our youngest long time resident cat frequently joins me, the two “lodgers” will growl at him but he doesn’t answer back and to date there has been no punch-up. Our two older females have seen/heard the new interlopers and have since stayed away from the loft. They are not aggressive cats at all.
We are now worried that the two loft cats will never come downstairs and get to go outside again. We did try and force the issue a few nights ago by bringing them down to the living room and letting them have it to themselves overnight. Although they seemed fine down there the next day they made their way straight back to the loft and stayed in their safe spots all day. They have always been quite shy of new people at first but do come round when they know someone.
Does anyone know if there’s something else we should be trying to help them settle? We are willing to try as long as it takes. Apologies for rambling.

SueDonim Sun 02-Aug-20 14:33:10

That sounds a complex situation and I’m not sure of the mechanics of tackling it, but have you tried Feliway? It’s a pheromone diffuser and it helps calm cats. You could put some round the house.

Other sellers are available but this link is to Amazon.

maddyone Sun 02-Aug-20 14:44:00

You could try taking some of the resident cats bedding up to the loft and letting them get used to the smell. Likewise bring some of their bedding down so your cats can get used to their smell.
Try feeding them on the landing to coax them out of the loft.
Not sure if any of it will work. Good luck.

Sparklefizz Sun 02-Aug-20 14:49:02

I expect the 2 "loft cats" recognise that the downstairs is the territory of your resident cats, and maybe they haven't yet sussed out whether they will be tolerated in that space.

As the 2 loft cats growl if one of your resident cats goes up into what they see as their space, I think it will take time for all of them to mingle.

My daughter has got 6 cats, 4 who are half-brothers and sisters, and 2 "outsiders", and the 2 outsiders have never integrated even after 3 years, and tend to have their own favourite places in the house which they defend as theirs.

Feliway sometimes works so you could try that, but otherwise I think it will just take time. As long as the 2 newbies feel safe in the loft space, that is the main thing.

sharon103 Sun 02-Aug-20 14:49:40

I have 2 cats and adopted a 12 year old cat after her owner died. Life was just her and her owner. A family member. She decided to stay upstairs mainly in my bedroom.
In time she ventured a little at a time down the stairs and poked her head through the slats.
At first she had her litter tray, food and water upstairs and realised that while she had everything taken to her she would be quite happy to stay where she was.
I started to leave her food etc at the bottom of the stairs so she had to come down when she was hungry.
When she got used to that I moved her food further down the hallway and all went well after that.
She was never a great fan of our 2 cats but tolerated them.
Sadly we had her for only 2 years and at the age of 14 had to have her put to sleep.
Your daughter's cats will come down when they feel comfortable but while you keep going up to the loft to be with them, and feeding up there I think that's where they will stay
You could try playing on the stairs with what we call ' a thing on a stick' a mouse, feather's attached to a long stick, or a cat laser light. They will watch at first and then perhaps gain some confidence to play with you.
They will come down when they're ready don't keep going up to them.
Good luck.

MaizieD Sun 02-Aug-20 14:58:31

Move the litter tray down a floor? Being such clean creatures I think that they would venture out and down to use it rather than look for an alternative place in the loft.

But I think I'd just leave them to accustom themselves to their new surroundings in their own way. I'm sure they won't stay in the loft for ever. They'll eventually want to explore a bit further.

Panic when they've been holed up there for a year grin

I do think three 'strange' cats to get used to is a big ask and it will take some time. There's bound to be some confrontations from time to time. You don't say what sex the newcomers are, but I've always found that it's easier to introduce a male and a female to each other than it is two males. (but I've never had five cats to integrate...shock )

Alima Sun 02-Aug-20 15:01:48

Thank you, some good advice here. We will move their food out onto the top landing, that may help. Maybe after a few days move it down to the bottom of the loft stairs. Luckily both sets of cats aren’t keen on the others’ food. I will stop going up overnight to see if that helps too. We have got a Feliway diffuser thingy in the loft. They do like a play, with some of the resident cat’s toys and a laser light/ping pong balls.

Ellianne Sun 02-Aug-20 15:09:30

We are about to face the same predicament in a week or two when our daughter's menagerie of 2 cats, 1 dog moves into our 2 cats, 1 dog home for a while. They have met before, but not in this house. I'm thinking of keeping the new cats in the integral garage, but it won't be long before our terrors find their way in there. I've always taken the attitude that the pecking order will establish itself pretty quickly without my intervention and that no one will come to any harm. Hopefully they have all mellowed with age. Our two brothers, now 16, saw off wild boar in France and later urban foxes in London, so I know who I have my money on.
Good luck with the suggestions above, it will happen eventually.

quizqueen Sun 02-Aug-20 15:11:51

Is there a loft window which could be opened to see if they will go out on the roof? Since I've had an extension with a sloping roof, my cats ( my daughter's cat has been here over lockdown too) love jumping in and out of my bedroom window and will often venture up on the house roof too.

I think they chase birds. They haven't fallen off yet!! They don't like each other very much either even after knowing each other and regular visits between houses for 2 years.

Ellianne Sun 02-Aug-20 15:12:13

Newcomers, better beware!

seacliff Sun 02-Aug-20 15:33:17

One thing to try. Can you put a mesh screen up near the new cats "area", so they can see and smell each other, but not touch. Then put some food treats both sides, not too close at first.

If one of you can be each side supervising and fussing them.

So both sets of cats will gradually be tempted to come and have some food, or maybe just treats, at the same time. Gradually move the treats closer to the division. If you did this at least once a day, they would hopefully get to know each other. It will take a while and there may be the odd tiff.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 03-Aug-20 12:43:00

As we are talking about adult cats here, I don't think four weeks is very long. I would be tempted to leave them to sort things out for themselves a little longer.

Your daughter's two cats know they are in the minority, as you have three cats and they are two.

They have met your male cat and growl at him - probably the first step to becoming friends. Are the two newcomers male or female?

Whichever the case, they are likely to be more nervous about a strange cat of the same sex than of the opposite.

As your females are wisely staying away from the loft, I imagine curiousity will get the better of the loft cats and they will walk downstairs when it suits them.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 03-Aug-20 12:48:35

Dear MazieD, the fun starts when you introduce two females to each other, especially if yours love your DH and regards him as her property!

Introducing two male cats to each other is a doddle in comparison - they behave like boys in a school playground, once they have fought each other, they become the best of friends.

Remember how long it took a new girl to fit into a class in junior school? Cats behave the same way.