TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Do I just let them fight it out...no matter how bad it gets?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do I just let them fight it out...no matter how bad it gets?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just wondering, Ophelia still hates/dislikes Lily. Lily runs & Ophelia chases. Do I just let them fight it out? Or is there a point where I should stop them? This is getting ridiculous...Ophelia is miserable in the basement, but I can't have her upstairs as she doesn't get along with Lily. I hate seeing her sad & alone in the basement while I have Damita & Chico upstairs.

I've tried many different things. Lily's ears go back &/or she hisses when she sees Ophelia. Ophelia being deaf, doesn't always notice right away, or sometimes at all. It's not even the hissing/ears laid back that sets Ophelia off. There doesn't seem to be a definite trigger. I dunno...maybe she's just trying to play(she doesn't play well with other kitties...she doesn't know how)?
post #2 of 16
Thats a hard question to answer for me, anyway. There is a fine line of when it will get violent, but really only you know your kitties well enough to know when that line is near. They will have to scuffle a little to work things out , tho.

Im in a very similar situation with Tino and Ducky and I have kept them separated because of that fine line.

You can always have towels out to throw on ONE of them, if a fight starts, to distract while you get them separated.

Good Luck !!! I know I will be facing this, too ..... but Im not ready yet.
post #3 of 16
I have a cat that does that too, he chases after the others if they run away or hiss at him. He actually ended up attacking and hurting one of my other cats so now he is locked in his own room. As long as there is no blood shed and no injuries and not an actuall full on fight you should be ok, but make sure to supervise them together at all times till it gets better.

Maybe when no one is home you can keep the one cat in the basement and when someone is home to supervise you can let them all out together. Just watch and listen for signs of fighting. I also like to keep a squirt bottle nearby incase of a fight, then it might make it easier to break up if that were to actually happen.

Some cats need more time then others to adjust. So just give them more time, let them be together so they can sort everything out, just keep them supervised. Hopefully they will be friends or at least tolerant of eachother soon. Goodluck.
post #4 of 16
I wish I could help you!! We're in kind of a similar situation over here. We have two kittens that we're trying to allow into our household but Maui is just not having it!

They start of playing (or what I think Maui thinks is playing!) and then it turns into a fight and I break it up and put the kittens back in their cage and they cry to come back out... Seeing those sad little faces really does a number on ya!

I have the same problem too- we've had some bad fights here (in my opinion) that I've broken up but I wonder if maybe I should've just let it go and see what happens...

Anyway- I hope you can get more help/suggestions than I'm getting with my question!
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've only seen bloodshed once. Mostly, the fur just flies. I wouldn't be so discouraged if this hadn't been going on for 8 months.

See, now, Twitch just looked at Ophelia & Ophelia layed down on the ground all submissive. No fighting between them.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I've only seen bloodshed once. Mostly, the fur just flies. I wouldn't be so discouraged if this hadn't been going on for 8 months.

See, now, Twitch just looked at Ophelia & Ophelia layed down on the ground all submissive. No fighting between them.

Watch the laying on the ground looking submissive. For cats who generally havent worked out a balance yet, the laying on the ground looking submissive trick is really saying, " I really dont want to fight you, but if I have to I have all 4's out to take you down "
post #7 of 16
I wouldn't let them fight it out. Not just because there may be serious injuries, but any hope of repairing their relationship could be permanently damaged and it will take that much more time to restore peace.
I've been through this a few times with my three cats and have gone through the reintroduction route each time. Keep them separated and if practical, use food as a "carrot" to good behavior. Feed them or give them treats while they're within sight of one another and very, very slowly test how close they can eat together and remain calm. I'm convinced using food elicits happy feelings which will be associated with the other cat(s).

Also, try the Feliway diffuser, which I swear by. It has really calmed things down in my house and I use them all the time.

One thing I was doing wrong was reinforcing bad behavior by cooing and babying the aggressor to calm him down. Now, the "bad" cat is immediately removed to the least desirable place in the house for his "time out".

I know how upsetting it can be: one minute all's well and then ka-boom! Take things slow and easy; the goal is to associate happy thoughts (food) while they're together which should ease the tension and reduce the threatening body language which seems to set them off.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clpeters23 View Post
I wouldn't let them fight it out. Not just because there may be serious injuries, but any hope of repairing their relationship could be permanently damaged and it will take that much more time to restore peace.
I've been through this a few times with my three cats and have gone through the reintroduction route each time. Keep them separated and if practical, use food as a "carrot" to good behavior. Feed them or give them treats while they're within sight of one another and very, very slowly test how close they can eat together and remain calm. I'm convinced using food elicits happy feelings which will be associated with the other cat(s).

Also, try the Feliway diffuser, which I swear by. It has really calmed things down in my house and I use them all the time.

One thing I was doing wrong was reinforcing bad behavior by cooing and babying the aggressor to calm him down. Now, the "bad" cat is immediately removed to the least desirable place in the house for his "time out".

I know how upsetting it can be: one minute all's well and then ka-boom! Take things slow and easy; the goal is to associate happy thoughts (food) while they're together which should ease the tension and reduce the threatening body language which seems to set them off.
The Feliway worked on Ophelia when she had crystals & was urinating outside the box, but has no effect for the aggression.

I like your advice, but I have to now get them in the same room together without me getting hurt. Apparently, when I was gone on Saturday, Lily got shut downstairs with Damita, Chico, & Ophelia for 3 hours!!! Poor kid was scared outta her mind, but was hiding under the recliner when I found her. Ophelia was right there & they were both hissing, but they seemed rather calm.... I still think that they need a week apart to calm down. Then I'll try reintrodcutions.

Pami, thankfully, Ophelia seems to have completely accepted Twitch as dominant. So they get along pretty decent now(both being deaf, they scared the daylights outta each other this morning).
post #9 of 16
I have gone through this many times. As long as there is no blood shed they HAVE to work it out and figure out heirarchy in the house at some point. Keep a large towel nearby to throw over them if things get ugly but otherwise, let them be together and work it out on their own. Obviously don't leave them alone togehter without supervision at first. Hissing, growling, and swatting, clawing, "fighting" is all normal and has to happen at some point.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
I have gone through this many times. As long as there is no blood shed they HAVE to work it out and figure out heirarchy in the house at some point. Keep a large towel nearby to throw over them if things get ugly but otherwise, let them be together and work it out on their own. Obviously don't leave them alone togehter without supervision at first. Hissing, growling, and swatting, clawing, "fighting" is all normal and has to happen at some point.
I totally agree with "they have to work it out", but only when there's nothing worse than hissing, running, etc. Two of my cats are not best buddies, but they can coexist without fighting, so I let them work out their heirarchy, or whatever issues they have, which is a natural part of coexistence.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
I have gone through this many times. As long as there is no blood shed they HAVE to work it out and figure out heirarchy in the house at some point. Keep a large towel nearby to throw over them if things get ugly but otherwise, let them be together and work it out on their own. Obviously don't leave them alone togehter without supervision at first. Hissing, growling, and swatting, clawing, "fighting" is all normal and has to happen at some point.
OK, so if fur literally starts to fly, should I seperate them? Do I just let Ophelia chase LIly all over the house as long as no blood is shed?

I put nail caps on both Ophelia & Lily's front paws(not because of the fighting, I just got my order in & they both scratch the furniture). Lily liked meetin new cats until Ophelia attacked her months ago.
post #12 of 16
I received this from a Feline Care site: (It's Long)

Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., CAAB,

The Basics of Feline Social Behavior

The domestic cat is somewhat of an enigma. The cat is a relatively recent domesticate, having been domesticated for only about 4,000 years. In many respects, the domestic cat has changed little from his wild ancestors, especially in comparison to the dog. Shamefully few studies have been done to better understand the cat’s social behavior, and the gaps in our knowledge about normal cat behavior affect our ability to understand, prevent, and modify problem behaviors.

Cats are not small dogs. Their domestication history, social behavior and social structure are very different from canids. Before discussing how we can best help cats in a multi-cat household live as peaceably as possible, we must be familiar with some basic feline social behavior.

Cats have been described as solitary, a term that describes animals who form no lasting groups or pair bonds, but live most of their lives alone. Males and females only come together for mating. Many species of wild felids do indeed fit this description. However, more recent research on the social behavior of domestic cats seems to indicate that "flexible" is a more accurate way to describe their social system.

Cats Have Flexible Social Systems

Some cats likely do prefer to live mostly solitary lives. They do best in single cat homes, and while they may be affectionate to their owners, still retain the stereotypical ‘aloof’ personality. Other individuals seem to be much more social and display evidence of strong social bond formation with other family cats. These cats seem to be ‘best buddies’ – playing together, sleeping together, and spending much of their time in proximity to each other without conflict. However, within the same household, an individual cat may form a friendly relationship with another individual, and an adversarial one with yet another. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict what will happen when a new cat brought into a family with resident cats. The factors that go into determining feline relationships are complex and poorly understood.

Helpful Hint #1 – Is Another Cat a Good Idea?

Assess the social tendencies of your resident cat. What is the cat’s socialization history with other cats? Does the cat have a prior history of living peaceably with another cat? In general, how social does the cat seem to be? Does he enjoy interactive play? Is he friendly toward human visitors? How does he react if he encounters another cat outside, or sees one through the window? How resilient does the cat seem to be in response to changes in his environment? If the cat seems to be easily stressed, has no history of being socialized to other cats, and doesn’t exhibit tendencies for social interaction, a second cat may not be a good idea. Such a cat may be perfectly content to remain the sole cat in the family.

Structuring the Environment for A Multiple Cat Household

There are a number of important considerations when it comes to meeting the behavioral needs of multiple cats that can help minimize stress and help cats live peaceably together.

Helpful Hint # 3 – Minimize Competition

Structure the environment to decrease competition among the cats. No cat should have to face harassment and threats from another cat while attempting to meet his basic physical needs.

There should be multiple locations, or stations, for all the important things in life. Multiple feeding stations should be provided, so that the cats don’t have to jockey for position at one food bowl.

Lining up several food bowls right next to each other isn’t sufficient – food bowls should be at several different spatial locations, depending on the number of cats and the degree of conflict between them.

Similarly, multiple litterboxes should be provided, in numbers at least equal to the number of cats, perhaps even a one or two more. These boxes should be in different rooms, and even different floors in a multi-level house.

Multiple objects for scratching are also important. Each cat may have individual preferences as to the location and texture of the object she likes to scratch, and these factors should also be taken into consideration. Scratching objects need to be easily accessible, and in areas where cats prefer to scratch. Locating one in the corner of the basement is probably not going to be helpful.

You should also provide multiple cat perches, which allow the cats to use the vertical space to their advantage. Multiple resting places at different heights in various locations should be provided, in numbers relevant to the number of cats in the household.

Cats also need hiding places. Some are provided naturally, such as under the bed, but some rooms may lack them. Putting an upside down cardboard box with one side cut away behind the couch, a small decorative cat screen across the corner of a room, are examples of ways to create hiding places in rooms which have few, or none.

Introducing Cats to One Another

It is never, ever a good idea to just put cats together and "let them fight it out". Because of their lack of submissive behavior, flexible social systems, long arousal times, territorial nature and great individual variation in sociability, such a strategy presents serious initial risks for injury and sets the stage for prolonged, if not permanent social conflicts among the cats. First impressions are extremely important for cats, and an overly ambitious introduction can sometimes require months of behavior modification to recover from.

Introductions cannot progress too slowly. It is always better to error on the side of caution, and assume that the cats may require as much as several months before they can freely be in each other’s presence. Certainly many introductions are successfully accomplished much more quickly, but when owners have an expectation of a more prolonged time frame, they may be less likely to rush things.

In addition to understanding that introductions can be a slow process, you should be prepared for a variety of outcomes. The cats may become best of friends, they may exist with mutual tolerance, they may actively avoid one another with occasional skirmishes, or one or both may be so intolerant of the other that fights are frequent. There are some cases in which the quality of life of one cat is being so negatively impacted by constant harassment from another cat, that finding one of the cats another home may have to be considered. Hopefully, appropriate introductions can help prevent this unfortunate outcome. A protocol for a cat to cat introduction follows.

Helpful Hint # 4 – Cat Introductions

At first, the cats should only be allowed to smell and hear each other, not see or touch each other.
This can be done by confining the new cat to a small section or one room of the house with all the necessities (litterbox, food, water, toys, bed, etc.).
Place towels with the scent of the other cat underneath each cat’s food dish, and on resting places. Rub the cat toys with the scent of the new cat. The goal is to have this scent be associated with ‘good things’.
After the new addition is comfortable in her room (anywhere from several hours to several days), confine the resident cat in this area and allow the new animal to explore the house, under supervision. This allows each cat to become more familiar with each other’s scent.
Feed, or offer both cats treats close to the door to this room (one on each side). This helps each to associate "good things" with the other’s presence. Use "to die for" treats, such as small pieces of tuna, chicken or salmon.
Try slipping one end of a toy underneath the door to encourage the cats to paw at it or each other in a playful way.
Repeat these procedures until there are no aggressive or fearful responses, and both cats begin to show some curiosity about the cat who is on the other side of the door.
Next, wedge the door open, from both sides, about an inch, with doorstops. This allows the cats to peek at each other, paw if they want to, but not have complete access to each other for things to go wrong. Do not progress past this step until the cats can see each other without fearful or aggressive responses. Continue to use toys, food and petting as long as the cats aren’t threatening. Touching an agitated cat may result in a bite.
Next, wedge the door open a little farther, but not so much that the cats can get to one another. Repeat the previous step.
An ideal next step is to give the cats full view of one another behind a screen or glass door before being allowed together.
When the cats are first together, keep the session brief, and continue to offer enjoyable things – food, toys, petting.
If the cats are threatening or fearful when close to either side of the door to the confinement room, offer the tidbits at a greater distance from the door, where both cats can be calm.
Do not move the introduction along too quickly. The cats should be tolerating each other well at each step before progressing to the next. One bout of fighting may set the introduction back for months.
During initial time together, if any hissing or conflicts occur, try to distract the cats into another activity – dangle a toy, get the resident cat into the kitchen with the sound of food preparations, etc. If these reactions continue, back up a few steps in the introduction process.
Avoid having the cats together in a small space, such as a car, until they have become comfortable with each other.
Supervise interactions at home, and do not allow the cats to be alone together until they are consistently demonstrating friendly behaviors with each other for at least a week.
Punishment is rarely helpful with cat introductions as it is counter productive in creating the association of "good things" with each other’s presence.
If a fight does occur, try a loud noise such as an airhorn or ultrasonic device, or a water gun to break it up before either cat is injured. This should be used to interrupt the current interaction, not as a repeated procedure.
Don’t try to pull the cats apart or use interactive punishment. If interactions consistently result in fearful, threatening or aggressive behavior, either the introduction was too abrupt, or this is not a problem prevention situation but instead requires problem resolution.
Keep the resident cat(s)' routine as much the same as possible by keeping feeding, play, and sleeping times and locations the same as before the new cat arrived.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
OK, so if fur literally starts to fly, should I seperate them? Do I just let Ophelia chase LIly all over the house as long as no blood is shed?

I put nail caps on both Ophelia & Lily's front paws(not because of the fighting, I just got my order in & they both scratch the furniture). Lily liked meetin new cats until Ophelia attacked her months ago.
If it happens once or very rarely then I wouldn't worry too much, maybe just make a noise to distract them. If you notice that every single time they are together they never leave each other alone and it is constantly one particular cat going after the other, the cat can never get any peace whatsoever because the other one constantly jumps on him then yes you need to seperate them and start over from the beginning. This sort of thing will happen occationally with mine who have been together for 3 years.

Sometimes they have a bad day and want to be left alone like people do. But if you sometimes see them sleeping peacefully in the same area and other times they seem to be playing rough, clip their claws or put soft claws on them and let them be. But if you are still uneasy about it then seperate them at night.
post #14 of 16
Thank You so much for this very enlightening read,.....TLEA
post #15 of 16
Aparently many people are having the same problem, including me. Angel is my new rescue, and she seems not to want to get along with anybody. My 3 dogs are fine with her. Blueberry, being a Ragdoll, and very laid back, is fine with her. Hobbs is cautious and hisses but he is just scared. But Angel just hisses and growls ferociously at all of them. Ive fought this battle before with my other cats but always won. I dont want the cats to hurt each other, so Im just continuing to try to get them used to each other slowly, and let them smell each other's scent on towels and the like. It is just taking a very long time. Good luck to you and evryone else.
post #16 of 16
My two cats are also having this same problem at the moment.

Samuel, my one year old, grabs Bob, my two year old rescue, by the neck and holds him up in the air. He has been after Bob constantly for the past 3 days. I have had Bob 4 months and they had been getting along just fine and even playing together. The past few days has been scary, but there has been no blood.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Do I just let them fight it out...no matter how bad it gets?