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May have found answer (at least partial) to chasing problem

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just now it dawned on me that of the four times I've seen Aspen chase Pumpkin, three of them were when Pumpkin had just come in from outside. Aspen doesn't go outside. Could it be that when Pumpkin comes in he smells foreign to Aspen so she chases him? If so, any suggestions on what to do about it? Pumpkin just came in and I took the towel that I've been using to exchange their scents with and rubbed him down with it to try to get the outside smells off and put the inside smells back on. The fourth time she chased him was after Aspen had an encounter with another cat, Hobbs, through the screen porch screen and was very worked up so she chased Pumpkin a little.

I sure hope this is at the base of the problem and that rubbing him down when he comes in will help.
post #2 of 8
Yes cats can have foreign smells on them from being outside.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately I have now realized that she sometimes chases him even when he hasn't been outside....oh well.
post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by Ethiope View Post
Unfortunately I have now realized that she sometimes chases him even when he hasn't been outside....oh well.
Are you convinced that she isn't just playing?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
You know, I must not be because even though I'm going to look at other cats tomorrow (very excited to me going too - man, the things that excite me) I'm still holding out that things will turn around with these two in time. I ordered the Feliway diffuser from Amazon and just got an e-mail today that it's been shipped, so I'm gonna see what that does. I talked to a vet that has expertise in animal behavior and she said I should re-introduce them by keeping her in a separate room when I'm away and in a large cage (like they have for big dogs) when I'm home so she's around us but Pumpkin can feel more comfortable and she can realize that this was his house first and she can't be chasing him away. I haven't done this yet because I feel so bad confining her since she's already had full run of the house and seems so happy on the screen porch where she spends 90% of her time. I'm such a wuse (? sp).

After the initial 3 days of hissing they were fine for about 5 days before this chasing started, so I think she's starting to actually feel like this is home and wants to lay claim to some of it. She only seems to chase him on the screen porch (usually when he's scratching on his cardboard scratcher - a behavior that I read can be dominance related and perhaps she sees it that way and is challenging his dominance or when he smells around the kitty condo and bed that's on the other side of the screen porch from his) and when he's in the great room. Interestingly, when I'm in my bedroom with him or in my study, she will barely come in the rooms going as far as to sit at the door and meow at me to come out and scratching on the door jams. This morning when I'd let Pumpkin out for a couple minutes and was in my bedroom getting dressed she came in and hung out with me. It's like she doesn't want to be around him and has claimed the screen porch (except his bed where I've never seen her bother him) and the great room as her own but she's giving him the bedroom and study). Because the great room is a common area and kinda hard for Pumpkin to avoid, this really isn't a workable division of territory. I've even called on divine intervention praying that this will pass and they'll get along peacefully eventually. I've also considered whether her age may be a factor and she'll get better as she gets older. Her record says she's 2 1/2 but the vet thinks she's probably only 18 months. I'm trying to calm my own nerves about this thing because I'm aware that some of the problem is that it bothers ME so much and maybe a change in perspective on my part may make a difference.

Now, I've also considered the possibility that Pumpkin's not completely innocent. I don't know what he does when I'm not around, and maybe he has harrassed her at times. He does like to follow her (although I can tell he's starting to get over it) so maybe he's been doing that and she sees it as aggressive on his part. Whenever I've seen him do this it totally looks like he's being friendly and he never hisses (I've only heard Pumpkin hiss once in 7 years) or hits at her.

If only I could just talk to her and tell her to stop and have her understand (and obey).

These cats sure are something.

And, sorry this is so long. I'm so verbose!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I tentatively think I may have some good news tonight. I got home at about 5:00 and now it's 10:30 and I haven't seen Aspen chase Pumpkin all night. I've been trying to really positively reinforce her when he comes near and she doesn't chase him. Also, Pumpkin started to approach her in his normal straight forward, overly eager/curious way and I was watching just waiting for her to lunge at him because that's when she usually does it. Well, this time she didn't and he ducked under one of my screen porch chairs and started batting (playfully) at her from under there. She didn't really play back, but at least she didn't lunge at him or act aggressive. Then when she walked away, he darted out from under the chair and batted at her tail, albeit halfheartedly. She kept walking (not sure she even knew he was doing it) and that was that. No aggression or lunging. I really wish he would go after her with the playing with her tail a bit more confidently, but I guess that's just not his personality. I think this would send a message to her to back off on the aggression thing. Anyone know how to make a cat more confident?
post #7 of 8
They get more confident with play therapy. So if you can get him to bat at a string while you are slowly pulling it away from him and under a newspaper, and urge him to "get the string, Pumpkin! Get it!" that would be a good way to build his confidence.

But I think you said he is not into toys. My boy cat will not play if the other cats are playing except in some situations where I call them by name. But if it is just him and me, he will play.

I'm glad to hear things may be improving with these kitties.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Pumpkin will play with toys by himself. For instance he was rolling around backleg kicking a crochet ball this morning as well as the rolling mouse toy I bought them. He just won't play with me. And, I don't think I'm being too overzealous in my playing.
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