How To Introduce Cats – Mr. Darcy and Sookie’s Story

| August 17, 2011 | 6 Comments
First Playtime

First Playtime

When Laura wrote about Mr. Darcy and Sookie for Ragdoll of the Week, I asked her if she would share with me how she introduced them.  So, now, since you have met them both, here is what Laura said about how to introduce cats.

When we first introduced Sookie to Darcy it was a bit of a disaster! I had read all the books which say to keep your new kitten in one room to start with, gradual introduction etc and we started with the best intentions, but i’m afraid impatience got the better of us! For a start Sookie seemed absolutely terrified of her new home and us, so hid for a good day and a half and wouldn’t come out during the day. Then at night when I’d gone to bed she would wail and scratch at the

Copy Cats

Copy Cats

door until I came down and cradled her. This did not go down well with Darcy who was not used to being shut out of any room in the house, so I’d spend half the night with Sookie and then more time with Darcy because I felt bad for him not getting any attention!

After 2 days Sookie decided she liked us and wanted to play and explore, so everytime i opened the door to check on her she’d dash through. Being so small and light it was hard to stop her! This is how she met first met Darcy. She was the size of my hand, Darcy was bear sized. Yet it was Darcy who was terrified and hissed – i’d never heard Darcy hiss before! The funniest thing (although not so much at the time) was that i then heard a really deep growl, which turned out

Darcy and Sookie

Darcy and Sookie

to be Sookie. She really does growl like a little guard dog! So we had to put Sookie back in the room which she did not like.

For the next few days we’d let Sookie into the house to explore whilst my hubby or I would play with Darcy in the garden. We also opened the door ajar a few times and let Darcy and Sookie sniff each other. This led to lots more hissing and growling. After 4 days I had a rather pathetic crying session in the garden because the point was to give Darcy a companion, but instead it was making him miserable in his own home. I really wasn’t patient at all and expected them just to get along from the get go which I now realise is not realistic.

Darcy and Sookie

Darcy and Sookie

As I mentioned, we really did try to follow the proper guidelines for introduction, but in the end i just thought lets just see what happens if we let them get on with it. So we let Sookie out. For a few more days Darcy was very skittish around Sookie and would hiss if she got too close, but Sookie seemed to have taken a shine to him so just kept coming back to try again. I kept encouraging playtime and would use their fishing toys to gradually bring them closer together without them noticing!

The eureka moment was when they both lay down on either side of a cat toy and started batting the ball back and forth to one another. I managed to record it on my cameraphone and still love watching that video! Now you don’t find one without the other close by and they chase each other all over the house, playfight and take turns to groom one another. It all worked out in the end but I wish I’d been a bit more prepared…mentally!

See how Sookie and Darcy get along on their YouTube Channel.

How did you introduce your cats?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share with readers?

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Category: Communicate With Other Ragdoll Cat Owners, Ragdoll Cat Behavior

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (6)

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  1. Susan Fox says:

    I bought a metal screen door and put it up so both cats could see each other and smell each other but couldn’t get together or get hurt. They don’t seem to hiss at each other for to long like that. I did have one cat try to climb over the top of it at that time it didn’t got all the way to the ceiling. But that was the only problem I ever had. I have used that same screen door with the fosters I had over the last 5 years. It never has been put up outside not once.

  2. Mathias says:

    Great idea Susan! 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  3. LauraC says:

    That is a great idea! We did think about installing a child gate to serve the same purpose, but Sookie was so tiny that she would have been able to slip through 🙂

  4. Lori says:

    We are in the same situation here with our new kitten and our resident cat. We’ve followed the advice on slowly introducing them too, but now it’s one week and Bella still isn’t accepting Annie. Annie doesn’t want to be contained in our room, but every time we bring her out, Bella, our other cat hisses, growls, and then hides. We too had never heard her hiss or growl before, and yes it was funny and not funny. My husband is afraid that Annie, the 1.8 oz kitten will corner Bella and that Bella may fight – although we’ve never seen aggression in her. (But then we also never heard that deep awful growl before!) I will add that Bella is a feral (but beautiful orange tabby) cat that my daughter found half dead in her garage in the farmlands of Wisconsin one extremely cold January. We’ve had her for almost 2 years now, and she loves us, but hides from anyone who comes over, and she is not a lap cat. I’ve recently read that barn cats stay frightened. We love her a lot, but I wanted a loving, lap cat and that’s why we got a Ragdoll kitten. I’m sure this will all work itself out, but in the interim, it is a bit frustrating. And, Bella doesn’t play a lot, so although I tried the ball toy between them, only Annie played with it, and Bella hid.

  5. Susan Fox says:

    I’ve now got 3 cats but for 10 years I only had 2 a male Mattie and female Ms. Mew Mew 3 years ago I rescued Tasha she was 13 at the time. Ms. Mew hissed at Tasha for 6 months at least but now they might not be the best of buddies but they do get along. oh and Ms. Mew Mew is 11 pounds Tasha was only 5 when I got her and she doesn’t have front claws got her that way but Ms. Mew does have claws and not once in all the noise they made did Ms. Mew Mew use her claws. Maybe I just got lucky. I used the screen door for 2 months and my cats were 10, 11, and 13 when I got Tasha. But it did take some time patience and lots of love be sure to always give your first cat love then the new one so that doesn’t cause a problem.

  6. Monica Diekmann says:

    We are in the process of introducing a little ragdoll (13 weeks now) to our 2 resident Russian Blues. They are brother and sister and have been together for 11 years now. Brother (Wundii) is the softy and Sister (Nicky) sometimes growls and hisses at him for no reason at all. When the little fellow (his name is Darcy too) came we tried to follow the proper procedures but the little rascal didn’t like being shut in a room and the others ‘had owned’ the house for 11 years and wouldn’t let go of a single room. Now, 13 days later, Wundii is sniffing at Darcy and passing him without hissing, sharing the same food… his sister is still hissing and growling, not a surprise since she has always done that to her brother at times. Funny thing is that the little Darcy doesn’t seem to care – he just stays where he is and tries to get in touch with the grumpy lady, so I assume that all will work out well in the end. The only bad thing is that little Darcy has Giardia causing diarhea and that is preventing him from growing, although he is eating well. We’re working hard to cure it and the little fellow seems strong enough to make it, although we have to keep a keen eye on him to make sure that he conitnues to eat and drink (eat all day, gain 60 grams of weight and lose it over night because of the diarhea… frustrating for all of us).

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