Cats/male cat interaction: king of the jungle?
My boyfriend and I have adopted two male cats from my sister. Merlot is 6
months old while Mango is at least 1 yr. Mango was abandoned before my
sister took him in and probably didn't receive much attention because my
sister also has two small boys and a household to run. Sooo, we have
noticed that Mango is starting to trust my boyfriend and I. We interact and
talk with the "boys" all the time and know that the boys love us as much as
we love them. My issue right now is this. There is a stray male cat that is
very friendly and looking for a home. He approaches our back deck often.
He shows himself to Mango and Merlot. The boys will have long standing
meows and some hissing, but no fighting (thank goodness). The stray
remains calm and does not vocalize or move, almost like he is showing the
boys that he just wants to be a part of our family and is not threatening.
But, Mango shows signs of being frightened almost, ears back, hissing, but
belly to the ground and sleeking movements as though he is frightened to
move. He is truly agitated. We would like to adopt the kind stray, however
do not want to ruin the progress we have made with Mango. Is there some
advice you can give, I would like to understand Mango and his feelings.
Could this behavior indicate that Mango is unwilling to share my boyfriend
and I, that Mango is feeling that this is his home and not welcoming
"competition"? Thank you so much for any input.
Hi the behaviour your two cats are showing is completely normal. After all this is their territory and the other cat is a stranger. So they are giving him warning signals, this is normal.
Normally when new cats are introduced to other existing pets there is a process of gradual introduction that takes place under supervision. It is all about swapping scents and getting used to the presence of another cat. I have written a page about the process here /introducing-cats.html if you do decide to adopt this other cat you have to realise that cats can get used to new arrivals but there are never any guarantees that they will be best friends or that there won't be the occasional scrap. This is normal.
Usually cats give each other a wide berth rather than have a full on fight as it is not to their benefit to get injured, all the hissing etc is just show. You could try spreading the new cats scent around your home first so that your own cats get use to the scent. This is always a good first step, but do it slowly as it may cause the cats to urinate in those areas if there is too much. It can be a delicate balance. The secret is to go slow.
It may well be that you sort of half adopt the new cat i.e. feed it and provide care for it including vet trips etc but that it is more of an outside cat that your original too, it depends on the cat really and how he chooses to be with you. Don't worry your cats won't hate you or get jealous it's not in their nature, they are more concerned with territory and getting fed etc.
best wishes Kate