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New Cat's Playfulness Mistaken for Aggression

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
After a week's separation and typical introductory exercises, I recently introduced a new cat to my seven-year-old male cat and it is not going well. The older cat, Smoochy, is a large and lazy orange tabby who in another living situation, had been a beta male who made friends easily with a younger, smaller and more active male. Consequently, I chose what appeared to be a sweet, petite two-year-old neutered male as a companion.

The new cat had no hesitation about approaching Smoochy, rolling over to show his tummy and making chirpy noises. Smoochy responded by growling and running away, as one might expect. This has proven to be how most of their encounters go. Unfortunately, Smoochy has become increasingly defensive, hissing and batting at the new cat whenever he approaches, due to the new cat's unfortunate attempts at playing, primarily via dive-bombing him from above or suddenly running up to Smoochy unsuspected.

These attacks don't involve any sort of growls or predatory noises on the new cat's part, generally occur when he has a case of the "crazies," and the moment Smoochy responds negatively, the new cat retreats, ears back. Consequently, I'm pretty sure this is just a case of premature and overly aggressive playfulness...Smoochy, however, is less convinced.

I've responded by upping the new cat's playtime, keeping him in a separate room when unsupervised, and trying to cut off attacks by shaking a can noisy can whenever he seems about to pounce. The problem is, they're so sudden I generally catch them after the fact. Meanwhile, Smoochy is becoming increasingly defensive even to the new cat's less aggressive overtures.

Has anyone ever resolved this sort of mismatch? Feliway seems to be brought up a lot in these forums, could it be useful here?
post #2 of 4
I hate to suggest this (sorta) but I think you need a third cat as a playmate for the younger one. Male cats are easier (IMO) to integrate, but I think the age difference is just too great. Sorry I don't have a better suggestion.
post #3 of 4
I completely disagree with a third kitty suggestion, it would be unfair to try to introduce another in an unbalanced environment. It sounds to me that your older male kitty was surprised by the new intro and not ready to except him. I applaud you for giving the younger play time individually, that is the first suggestion I would make. Maybe he needs a bit more even, and even interactive play between the two with a toy that interests both, this way they have a common interest. Most of us can't walk our cats as our dogs, but in a similar way some kitties need atleast up to one hour morning and evening play time to help excise aggressive or curious behavior. I do highly suggest trying to find a common interest between the two to encourage a positive relationship.
post #4 of 4
Tiny and Baby are doing the exact same thing. Tiny wants to play; Baby doesn't. She hisses when he approaches.

At first it used to be that she'd hiss whenever he was anywhere near; now, she only hisses when he backs her into a corner or approaches one of "her" spots or pounces on her. And they've started sniffing each other's noses in an equitable fashion.

What I've been doing: Giving Tiny extra playtime, telling him to back off when he's making her uncomfortable, and separating them when I'm out.

With my two, time seems to be doing wonders. It's taken a month and a half to get to this point, though. Hopefully they'll eventually get to the "snuggle" point--especially once Tiny's been neutered. (Don't worry; she's spayed. No kittens possible.)
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