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Matchmaker, matchmaker....

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Well, I have two cats, and both of 'em are rescues. They're at each other's throats and I'm in the middle, trying to make peace!

Both cats are 9-month-old DSH tabbies. They may be siblings, but if so, they're long-lost.

Baby Girl is the neighbor's neglected cat, a spayed female. She's the newcomer, by three weeks, to the house. She doesn't play a lot, but she constantly insists on my company, mewing loudly to call me to her. When she's calm, she chirps and trills. She loves her food and likes to sit in high places. I've only just barely gotten rid of about 100 fleas from her skinny (but energetic) little body.

Tiny is a stray I took in, a male, not yet neutered. He's more calm than Baby, but when he gets in the mood, or when he has nervous energy, he can be vicious. Redirecting his energy to toys instead of my ankles is just barely starting to be successful. In general, he's content to live and let live--not a lap cat, but the sort who sits next to you. Tiny will pounce on anything that moves, if he's in the right mood.

The problem is that Baby Girl tends to move. A lot.

Common situation: Tiny tries to pounce on Baby Girl. She hisses, spits, and scratches. He scratches back.

Common situation: Baby is sitting in one of her high places--a table or a stack of totes--and Tiny "guards" her, by sitting on the floor next to her. She's always the first to become annoyed in these situations.

The typical fight has Tiny as the aggressor, Baby as the defender. She's sideways to him, ears back in fear, trying to look larger. He's got his ears up and alert, and he's facing her. Eventually his fur stands on end, but not at first. Tiny starts it by looking at her; Baby begins to growl and yowl; Tiny puts his paws up on whatever table she's on; and she backs up, turns sideways, and flattens her ears. Then her yowl becomes a scream and she starts to bat at him. Eventually he bats back. The fight ends when she runs, he chases, and eventually she loses him (or else, it ends when I grab one of them and pop him or her into the bathroom).

I think the problem is Tiny being socially clueless, for a cat. He doesn't see Baby's signals of "leave me alone" and "I don't want to be pounced on" until a fight has started. And Baby is too defensive to understand he's just being a big lummox rather than deliberately starting fights (which I would say he was doing, if it wasn't that he didn't adopt an aggressive posture until she'd actually started growling at him).

Aside from separating them, which is what I'm doing now, and getting Tiny neutered, which is scheduled, is there anything I can do? My budget limit is $10 or so.
post #2 of 2
IMHO getting the male neutered will probably solve the problem.
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