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Another Intro Thread

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey all! As some of you know, we recently added a one year old neutered male DMH to our household. Our resident cat is a 1.5 year old spayed DSH female.

For the past few days we've kept them almost entirely separated, with a few face to face meetings scattered throughout. Today we're letting them interact more.

Audrey, our resident cat, has made no move to attack him. As long as he leaves her alone she's cool as a cucumber. Once he gets too close, though, the growling and hissing start.

We realize that this is normal and aren't worried about her reaction. What we need advice on is what we should be doing with Marlon, the new cat. He is an absolute sweetheart, and wants nothing more than to play with Audrey. He hasn't displayed so much as a drop of aggression towards her.

However, he will gladly spend an hour lying several feet away from her and just watching her, which is very intimidating to Audrey. I don't think he means it as a dominance, thing, but I could certainly be wrong. Now he's started approaching her, sometimes even backing her into a corner as she tries to avoid him. Again, he's not aggressive at all, but she doesn't want anything to do with him.

So what should we do? Should we keep him in a separate room until she's ready to approach him instead of the other way around, or are they alright together so long as there's no risk of a fight (and there really doesn't seem to be, though they're still only together with supervision)?
post #2 of 14
As long as they are not really physically fighting I would think you could leave him out more often. Maybe get them both to engage in some interactive play with a laser light or string fishing toy.

Also try a little vanilla on their noses and butts to help them smell the same.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ah, it's so nice to have a cat that smells like vanilla! Hopefully it'll help Audrey relax. We've been trying to play with them together or at least near one another, but I think it's hard for her to focus on playing when he's nearby.

I'm glad it sounds like we're heading in the right direction, though. At least they're not trying to hurt each other!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Things are still moving along, but now I have another question.

Marlon still isn't eating well. We figured it would take him a few days to settle in enough to eat with us, but he's so skinny already.

He'll take a few bites a day, and that's about it. He's drinking water, which is good. Also, he uses his litter box for peeing, but we haven't seen any feces since the first night, when he failed to use the box (totally understandable).

Is this just because he's not eating? The other alternative is that he is going to the bathroom, but eating it before we can find it (he ate some the first night home).

Any suggestions on getting him to eat or to poop in his litter box. I'm going to pick up some of the food he was eating at the shelter on the way home, in case that helps (the adoption coordinator we spoke with said that they change the cats' food so often that there's no reason to wean them off it).
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Progress on all fronts!

Audrey will tolerate much closer contact with Marlon now. They'll even sniff one another. She only gets grumpy when he tries to play. I think it scares her a bit.

Marlon has started eating finally, though it's still not as much as he should be getting. I still can't get over how little he weighs, considering how big he is.

We're still keeping him in the bathroom at night because we don't quite trust him. This morning I let him out and found that he'd gotten litter on my towel, which is hung nearly 6 feet off the ground. I think he climbed it. He always manages to get litter everywhere.

Still haven't found any feces in his litter box, but at this point I'm thinking that he uses Audrey's during the day.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Okay, so now that Marlon (new cat) feels like he's got permission to approach Audrey, we've got a new issue.

I still can't tell if he's just really, really playful, or if he's actually trying to cow her, but he'll chase her down the hall and then leap on her. Doesn't use his teeth or claws. Just likes to pounce. Audrey spends the entire time growling and hissing, and runs off to find somewhere to hide.

He's not hurting her at all, and she seems pretty relaxed otherwise (still eating, still spending time with us, etc.), but it's unpleasant to see her getting harassed, even if he is just trying to play. We've been separating them a bit again to give her time to avoid him. Marlon still goes into the bathroom at night.

Any thoughts?
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Argh, it's still going on. She is willing to be near him or even touch noses without getting pissed or scared, but he just won't leave her alone.

Again, I can't tell if he's trying to establish dominance, or if he's playfighting. He'll chase her around and jump on her, or wait until she's using her scratching post and grab at her back. It really bothers Audrey. I almost wish she'd turn around and kick his butt to set him in his place, but he intimidates her because he's so big.

We don't know what to do at this point. There's no indication that they'll hurt one another, and when he's mellow she doesn't mind him at all, but as it is he's just becoming more and more assertive with jumping on her or batting at her whenever he wants, and she's upset by it.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Here's a video of the two of them in action.

I thought I was just going to record Audrey growling because she knows that Marlon wants to play, but the moment I pressed record he leaped at her. You can't really tell, but right after he takes off down the hall after her. Then we put Marlon in our bedroom so that they can both calm down a bit.

Audrey was totally fine after, and is playing fetch right now. A minute before I took the video, they were sitting just a few feet from one another, totally happy.

Video of Marlon harassing Audrey
post #9 of 14
Is that how it is normally? From the video I can reassure you that he is simply trying to play, she simply isn't having it yet and is letting him know! It sounds that he has been respecting her boundaries to his best ability since he really wants her to except him....... If she actually will sit or lie close to him, this is a signal of his presence being ok, so he is acting on that and seeing how far he can go. It did look like he backed off when she hissed and submitted. But running is a permissive signal, thats why he chases her. Keep up your watchful eye, separate them when it seems she is fed up, but I would say they are going to be of luck (not that you need it)
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yup, that's what usually happens. The only difference is that generally she'll give him a few good thwacks for his trouble before running off, but he managed to knock her off balance this time.

Thank you so much for reassuring us that we are reading the situation right. She'll actually seek him out occasionally when he isn't being a complete nutbar, and they'll lie around the kitchen near one another, or one the stairs, with one a few stairs above the other. It's just his boisterousness that she can't abide.

You're right, he does generally back off quickly, but any time she retreats to our room he'll run after her, and then expect her to chase him back. I hadn't really thought of that as being an invitation to chase, but it makes a lot of sense.

Again, thank you so much!
post #11 of 14
Absolutely!!! Another physical behavior to understand is when she gets low to the ground, especially the roll onto their backs, this is a submissive signal. It's not a sign of weakness, but simply a signal of "ok, I accept you being this close, but...." in her case the hissing and possible growl is asking him to stop instigating the play mode. She is basically reassuring her dominance by giving a little more each time, he is responding excellently to this since he still respects the basic signals!
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Phew. I'm glad it's nothing horrific that we need to worry about.

Now any ideas on how to get him to ask to be put down without biting? He just sits in your arms, totally content, and then chomps down. We're trying to learn his body language, but he really doesn't seem to give any warning on this one.

And of course we're reinforcing the behavior, because the second he bites, down he goes.

He's pretty trainable (he's already play biting less), but we really don't know how to redirect this.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to let update and let everyone know that progress is being made. Audrey is totally tolerant of Marlon's presence, so long as he behaves himself. They'll lie on the same bed, eat from the same food bowl (we're trying to break them of this, actually, because they're both pigs and we're trying to regulate their intake), etc.

Marlon is a little bit better about his playing. His new thing is to pounce on Audrey from behind, bite her neck (it looks a lot like mating behavior, but they're both altered), and then start grooming her feverishly. Audrey will accept this for a little while. I think that if he learned to groom with the grain instead of against she'd be a lot happier.

He also enjoys bowling her over and sort of tangling around her. She spends much of the time growling very softly, but frankly I think she sort of likes the grooming.

Of course, there are still at least a dozen times a day when he aims for a knock down, drag out brawl, which leaves her less than pleased, but I think she's handling it better.

Once he grows out of his adolescence I think things will go very well.
post #14 of 14
It sounds like everything is going great! Trust your instincts and keep your attentive watch. One question, when he jumps on her and bites her long does he hold her, is it quick just to stop her so he can groom? Or does he hold for a few seconds? You are correct in thinking it is mating/aggressive play....some cats just have that instinctual behavior even without the hormonal drive, but it is what you are explaining. She is reacting completely normal, the low pitch growls are very often a signal of acceptance. Basically she is telling him "This is ok but don't push it" or "a little to the left" or as you think "how about with the grain, buddy!"
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