How we Blended Cat Families

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It has been two weeks since we introduced my fat black cat Salem, to Travis's old curmudgeon Rudy. Salem is FIV+ and has a bit of a mean streak to him. He'll randomly attack me out of nowhere at least once a week, biting my ankles hard enough to draw a teeny bit of blood. He also hates heavy breathing, crying, loud laughter and baritone voices. I am being so serious right now. He's a nut.

Rudy is 14 years old, missing his top canine teeth and fully declawed (Salem has all of his.) Rudy is also part bengal which means he screams sings to us nightly with his best performances occurring somewhere in the 1-3 a.m. time frame.

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Rudy has the best cat mustache ever!IMG_8104We were both expecting Salem to be the trouble maker but surprisingly he's been extremely submissive to Rudy! We loosely followed the Humane Society's guidelines for introducing cats to one another.

Rudy was kept in the mancave for a few days while Salem had the run of the house. After two days we started slowly exposing them to one another. The first day was just for an hour or two. The next day it was for a few hours, and by day 4 or 5 they were around each other 24/7. They do get into little catfights, which breaks my heart to hear them crying, but within a few seconds it's over and they've run off to separate corners of the house. IMG_8108Salem is the inquisitive one, trying to go up to Rudy to play or irritate him, and Rudy is the first to slap him. Literally slap him across the face. Since he's declawed he's not actually hurting him, and we've yet to see Salem act aggressive at all toward Rudy, so we are both extremely happy with how well they are adjusting!

Since Salem is FIV+ Travis is pretty worried about Rudy catching it (or his other cat Smokey who will be joining us in two weeks) but everything I've read online said they should be fine unless Salem really bites down on Rudy hard. Hard in a way that only non-neutered male cats tend to bite when fighting with other outdoor cats. I figured we can't expect them to be BFF's, so the best we could hope for is them not really fighting.

Then, I saw this yesterday and my little Grinch heart grew 10x bigger. IMG_8143This was originally Salems bed, but Rudy has claimed it as his own for the last few days. After they get breakfast they usually chase each other around for a bit, and then both settle in to nap the rest of the day. Rudy in this cat bed and Salem on a chair in the dining room. Well, Salem beat Rudy to his spot yesterday and Rudy was not happy! He was wandering around crying most of the morning, and at one point I saw Rudy jump up on the bookshelf where the bed is at and slap Salem a few times in the face. Salem just laid there still like nothing was happening. Rudy jumped down and within 20 minutes I looked back and there they were together. I must have snapped 100 photos. IMG_8162

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IMG_8169A few tips if you have cats you'd like to introduce:

  • Follow the Humane Society guidelines and expose them slowly to each other!
  • Give them treats or wet food from the same plate (this was the one thing that actually got them close to each other without growling the first time)
  • Find a toy that they can both play with. We have a little catnip toy that they both went crazy for that (1) brought them together and (2) got them high and cuddling together later that day

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Have you ever had to blend pet families?