You'll notice I didn't say "introduce a second cat", for which there are any number of sites giving hints... My current problem is one that has crept up on me unawares - if I had been planning to introduce a second cat, I'd have done it the sensible way. But it's too late for that.

The situation is this: Aslan (who is female - don't ask; she's spayed, of course) has been a spoiled only cat in my house for 7 years now. She does go outdoors, but never for long, and in the past year or two she's spent more and more time indoors.
I almost always have the door open when I'm home, and three of the neighbourhood cats are regular visitors - Aslan is very used to this, and tends to just ignore them. Every so often one accidentally stays the night (e.g. if I don't realise they're inside when I shut the door before going to bed - I find them patiently waiting to get out in the morning). They eat from Aslan's dishes, and use her litter tray if they're shut in the house for a while, and there's no problem - Aslan still eats normally, and will still use the litter tray after one of the others has; there is no soiling elsewhere.

Two of these cats are from next door, and are very well looked after. They've been coming in for years. The third, however, is a relative newcomer. I don't know her name - I call her Angel (long story as to why). The people next door don't know who she belongs to either, but last time I spoke to them they said she'd been going in their house all the time too.
I think Angel has been mistreated. She was (until recently) extremely timid, and would lash out if I tried to stroke her, or indeed go near to her at all. Often I'd find her waiting at the door to be let in when I got up, on many occasions when there was snow on the ground outside. And there are many times I've not known she was in the house, but found her asleep in an armchair when I went downstairs in the morning.All well and good, so far. But things have changed in the past week or two. Angel seems to have decided this is her home. She hardly ever leaves - if she does, she's soon back. And she follows me round the house everywhere I go. But at the same time she has started to be much more aggressive towards Aslan, and Aslan appears to be terrified. If Aslan goes out, and when she returns Angel is in the room, Aslan won't come through the door - she jumps onto the windowsill and miaows at the window until I let her in that way (she's never done that before).

When she *is* inside, she hides behind an armchair and won't come out. Angel ignores her for a while, but eventually wanders over to investigate - and when Aslan sticks her nose out, Angel chases her upstairs and she hides behind an armchair in my bedroom.

I've been worried for the past day or so that Aslan's not eating because she's scared, so a few times I've put Angel outside for a bit and shut the door, but even then I've had to pick Aslan up and take her to the food - she takes a very long time to emerge from hiding places when she's scared. I've also tried, a few times, shutting an interior door so as to divide the house in two - but this isn't practical all the time. Also, it means one or the other of them can't get to the food or litter tray. (I suppose I could get an extra food and litter tray, but they have happily used the same one for ages...)
Aslan has still been sleeping on my bed most nights as she always has, and Angel has slept elsewhere - but last night I was awakened by the two of them apparently chasing each other across my face! When I woke up properly, Angel was asleep on the end of the bed (not Aslan's spot, but still...) and Aslan was hiding behind the armchair.
I'm quite happy to take on Angel as my own (obviously I'll take her to the vet and have her checked over and jabbed, and see if she's microchipped) but not at the expense of Aslan. But I'd feel incredibly cruel rejecting Angel now - she's really latched on to me. And they can get on - at this very moment all 4 cats are in the house, and all is peaceful. But I think it's the calm before the storm...
The obvious thing to do, I guess, is to try an amended version of the "introducing a new cat" strategy, i.e. keep Angel in one room for a while and introduce her into the rest of the house gradually. But I wonder how well this would work, given that her scent is already all over the house and Aslan is already scared, and in any case both of them always kick up a huge fuss if there is a closed door...
Any thoughts?

'He stands not alone,' said Legolas, bending his bow and fitting an arrow with hands that moved quicker than sight. 'You would die before your stroke fell.'
1 2
Yes, I would re introduce them by restricting Angel to one room and gradually exposing them to each other. You need to have at least two litter boxes and more feed water dishes. They should not have to share these. I think in time they will work it out. It is positive that neither is drawing blood.
Gail
Gail
Yes, I would re introduce them by restricting Angel to one room and gradually exposing them to each other. You ... to share these. I think in time they will work it out. It is positive that neither is drawing blood.

Thanks for the reassurance :-)

Buffy : I told you. I said end of the world and you¹re like 'poo-poo southern California, poo-poo!'
Giles : I¹m so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse.
... if I had been planning to introduce a second cat, I'd have done it the sensible way. But it's too late for that.

Same here. My two nuetered males have had their space invaded by a female who has adopted us and moved in. She wasn't exactly a stranger as we have been feeding her for several months, thinking she lived nearby. But when she moved in we took a picture of her and asked around the neighborhood and nobody knew her.
She was obviously somebody's pet as she loves to be petted, purrs a lot, uses the litter box, and sleeps with us on our bed. The other guys have their own favorite sleeping spots so there's no conflict there.

All three of them are working out the territorial/dominance issues and we ocassionally have some yowling, chasing, peeing, and spraying problems. But we show them all lots of attention and affection and things are getting better.
... if I had been planning to introduce a second cat, I'd have done it the sensible way. But it's too late for that.

Same here. My two nuetered males have had their space invaded by a female who has adopted us and moved ... chasing, peeing, and spraying problems. But we show them all lots of attention and affection and things are getting better.

Glad to know it's not just me!
Also glad to hear that the situation has been known to end well. Thanks.

They said there¹d be snow at Christmas.
They said there¹d be peace on Earth.
Alleluia, Noël, be it Heaven or Hell -
The Christmas we get, we deserve.
Yes, I would re introduce them by restricting Angel to one room and gradually exposing them to each other. You need to have at least two litter boxes and more feed water dishes.

I agree. Even though my cats get along, the girls often prefer to use their own box while Jeffrey primarily uses the other. Also, sharing a litterbox takes on a whole new meaning to a cat when the territory is no longer "theirs" and becomes "mine".
Jeffrey was initially submissive to both girls. He has gotten much more dominant over time; though he still remains submissive to Rowan, he pushes her a lot more and she even sometimes gives in now. He is completely dominant over Isis. He will probably be the dominant cat in another year. As his dominance increases, the girls use "his" box less and less. And they never use it if he has defecated in it and I haven't scooped.
It is positive that neither is drawing blood.

Agreed. It is much easier to work with them when they aren't trying to seriously hurt each other (less stalking behavior, etc). If they aren't drawing blood, it is, IME, much easier to handle for both cats and humans.

~kaeli~
A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day.
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace
You can always try good old Feliway.
I put my aggressive cat into a time out when she becomes too awful. She expects it, now. She's so smart I hope she will eventually learn to be nice all the time.

Barb
I can only please one person a day.
Today is not your day.
Tomorrow doesn't look good either.
Yes, I would re introduce them by restricting Angel to ... at least two litter boxes and more feed water dishes.

I agree. Even though my cats get along, the girls often prefer to use their own box while Jeffrey primarily ... litterbox takes on a whole new meaning to a cat when the territory is no longer "theirs" and becomes "mine".

Right, am off out shopping later to buy extra cat facilities :-)

Oddly enough they seem different with each other today. In fact, if anything Aslan is the dominant one today. But still.

Josh: Could you possibly get us some dried leaves? Donna: Yeah, I'll just run out to the forest and be right back. Sam: You know what?
Josh: You think she's being sarcastic?
Sam: Yeah, I don't think she's getting the leaves.
(in message ):
You can always try good old Feliway.

Huh. I'd never heard of Feliway. But I just looked it up, and now I know what it is... Not sure if it's available in the UK though.

Buffy: Oh! I know this one: "Slaying entails certain sacrifices... blah blah bitty blah. I'm so stuffy, give me a scone."
Giles: It's as if you know me.
Show more