Just going to start with the basic info:
Cat 1: Pancake (female, spayed)
- 2 years old
- lived with us for 1.5 years
- came from shelter, abandoned at birth
- very anxious, scared of everything
Cat 2: Bean (male, neutered)
- 1.5 years old
- also came from shelter, lived with siblings & mother there until adoption
- lived with us for about 3 weeks
- very passive and outgoing, just wants to play, shows no aggressive behaviour
We brought home Bean, our new cat, in a cat carrier and gave Pancake, our existing cat, a chance to smell him and say hi. The initial meeting did not go well because it took a long time for Pancake to realize there was another cat in the carrier, got close to the carrier, and freaked out when she realized what was going on.
For the next 5 days we kept Bean in the office with his own essentials, and Pancake got the rest of the house. I started by putting their food bowls next to the door so they could come together to eat and smell each other under the door, but Pancake refused to eat unless I moved it far away. We slowly started swapping their spaces to let Pancake become accustomed to his smell.
Since then we've started bringing them together with treats and toys involved. Bean is content playing with toys and having treats, but Pancake just keeps staring Bean down and hissing. So far that's the only aggressive behaviour we've seen from Pancake - there has been no back arching, no tail-poofing and no ears-back snarling.
Bean is extremely passive and just watches her, which I think makes Pancake even more anxious. He definitely wants to play but keeps his distance based on her behaviour, he seems very well-mannered and socialized.
Today, we've reached just over 3 weeks since bringing home Bean. Pancake is acting super strange and I'm not sure how to proceed.
Pancake wants to follow Bean around, get close to him, then snarl and hiss and run away. When they're together, Bean seems pretty much unbothered by her presence, but Pancake can't focus on anything else (treats, toys, pets), and when we try to pet her, she hisses and snarls at us. Keep in mind that Pancake has some pretty severe kitty anxiety and will sometimes hiss/snarl at me if I walk into a room and take her by surprise. We've used cat calming spray to surprisingly great effect in the past and have been using it liberally here!
If we put Bean back in the office away from Pancake, she immediately starts scratching at the door and wants in. So I let her in, and she starts hissing and snarling, then runs away. Rinse and repeat.
I'm not sure how to proceed because her behaviour is so confusing to me. She seems keen on being near him/keeping tabs on him, but gets very angry when they come together. Duality of cat?
My question is: should I keep them separated for the timing being, or let them hang out more despite the hissing? How much hissing should I tolerate before I separate them? I don't want to establish a dynamic of violence between them, but I also don't want to keep them separated forever.