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my new cat is aggressive towards our resident cat! Any tips?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,
I recently posted my concerns about introducing my new cat Tomoe to my resident cat Honzo. Now that I've observed the situation further, I have a better handle on the dynamic between the 2 cats. Unfortunately as it turns out, Tomoe is kind of aggressive and she's no longer afraid of Honzo.

Quick background--Honzo is a 6-year old male and is neutered. He has lived with us as a solo cat since he was a kitten. Tomoe is a 4-year old spayed female. We believe she was abandoned by her original owner--she was found, outside and starving, by a wonderful cat owner who took her in and had her checked out by the vet. We adopted her from this woman, her unofficial foster mom. Tomoe has been with us for 2 weeks, and has been exposed to Honzo for one week.

I realize it is still way too early to expect Tomoe and Honzo to be adjusted, but I would still appreciate any advice. After a few days of supervised visits with Honzo, it appears that Tomoe is quite comfortable around him. But Honzo is not yet comfortable around her. Honzo generally responds to Tomoe's presence by either hiding under the dining room table or sitting on the top step to the basement (where his food is). He will hiss and sometimes growl at her. She doesn't hiss or growl. She usually gives him his space, but will sometimes approach him quickly (especially when he sits on the basement step--that makes her really want to go down there!) and has tried to pounce on him. They've had two fights (thankfully with no injuries, but lots of noise), but I didn't see how they began because I wasn't supervising them closely enough. (I'm trying to do better now!) I would suspect that Tomoe initiated the fights because of her aggressive tendencies.

So how can I best handle this? I've read the aggression thread on this site and several articles, but would still like any advice. I have gotten Feliway diffusers (just this weekend), so I hope that helps. I try to break up any tense situations. I keep them separated when we are sleeping and when no one is home. Should I be also giving time outs to the aggressor cat?

I've wondered if Tomoe's aggression might be play-related, because we can usually distract her from stalking Honzo with some active play. But I also worry that being cooped up in her safe room all day gives her more pent up aggression to work out in the evenings. She doesn't complain about being cooped up, but she's always eager to be let out. I don't know--is that even possible?

post #2 of 5
This is gonna be IMO, but I would try to get Honzo more used to Tomoe's smell. Have you tried the vanilla trick?

Otherwise, I'd try laying blankets where Honzo likes to sleep that smell like Tomoe. That is the only thing I can think of right now!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I will definitely try that with the blankets. I have one that Tomoe's been sleeping on since she lived with her foster mom that might work.

I've heard about the vanilla trick, but can you explain it again? So I need to dab a small amount of vanilla extract at the base of the tail and somewhere else (I forget where) on both cats, right?
post #4 of 5
A small dab of vanilla on the top of their heads & at the base of their tail.
post #5 of 5
Could you explain how that works and why????
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