You are here:

Cats/how to introduce unsocialized cats


QUESTION: So when I was living with my mom at 18 we got a kitten, mucky. But we never socialized her properly. So now she's 2. 5 years old. She becomes very mean and aggressive when strangers come into our home and when she's with us she's not too bad but she doesn't like to cuddle and doesn't purr. But we all love her.

When I moved out, my mom kept the cat. And I adopted a rescue cat, sasha. She was 3 weeks pregnant and we got her spayed. She is about 1.5 years old. Sashes likes to cuddle, and loves attention.  But when she was at the shelter, I noticed she did not like other cats and became a bit aggressive around other animals.

Now I'm moving back in with my mom. And I need to introduce these two cats. They have met each other before.. I had sasha at my moms house, in a closed door bathroom, and mucky would be curious and hiss. And also when I was leaving my moms place, s asha was in a carrier and they hissed at each other for a couple of minutes while I was putting on my shoes.

I should also mention s asha had an upper respiratory infection since November 5. Its gotten better but she still sneezes once or twice a day.

So how should I properly introduce them? And when is it safe to? I don't want mucky getting the cold

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Maggie,

This will not be easy!  Also, even though they have met each other before, they probably will not remember. No matter what, you will have to have them go through the whole "getting to know you" ritual. Also keep in mind that you have turned Sasha's world upside down by relocating her, so she really needs time to adjust to her new digs!!

As for the cold, if it is a virus, it is probably air born and Mucky has already been exposed. So, I would not worry about that.  It could also be allergies!!!

Here is a technique we have used and had our pet buyers use for introducing a cat into a household with already established pets.
Start out  Sasha in one room with a litter pan and water dish. Ideally, the one room should be a bedroom with yourself or another human resident. This accomplishes a couple of things. Sasha will not be overwhelmed by her new and, thusly, will have no problem finding the litter pan. You will feed Sasha in this room and keep the established cat out. It allows Sasha to feel more self assured having you around. Also, she will not have to compete for food or attention right away. Finally, it allows the Sasha and Mucky to sniff each other under the door and get familiar with each others' scents.

After a week or so of being in her one room, it is time to let them meet each other. Be prepared for some posturing, some spitting and hissing, and the like. IGNORE IT! After a while (weeks or months), they should begin chasing each other about and still have the occasional hiss or spit as they get accustomed to each other. Cats tend to make a whole lot of noise and even loosen up some fur.

Once they are introduced, there are a couple of things you must remember:

Do not separate them again, they should get along eventually, even if it is an uneasy truce! Do not interfere in their "discussions" as they need to sort it out amongst themselves!

It does not hurt to give the established cat treats and extra attention after Sasha is introduced (yes, cats do get jealous!).

A couple of things you may have to do are to feed them on separate dishes. Provide more than one litter pan in different areas of the household (as cats can be very territorial about litter pans).

All, in all, this method seems to have had great success in the past and makes for a fairly smooth introduction. Please remember that they may make up immediately, or it may take a few weeks or months.

Please let me know how things work out.

Best regards... Norm.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: You said to not interfere with their "discussions" But what if they start physically fighting?


Cats have very, very tough skin, and, often, what may seem like fighting turns out to be really, really rough play. Mostly what you get is lots of hissing and growling that sounds like World War III. You will often get loose fur as an outcome. So, unless someone draws blood, I would grit your teeth and ignore it. Rarely will two cats really hurt each other, especially if both are fixed.

Again, they have to find their own level of interaction somewhere between fast friends and an uneasy truce. Human interference tends to be counter productive and prolongs the "getting to know you" ritual.

Best regards... Norm.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Norman Auspitz


I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.


I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.

Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

©2017 All rights reserved.