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New cat becoming aggressive

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm new here and have enjoyed reading the great advice given by many wise cat owners, I hope someone can help me in my situation.

I had two cats, Oliver and Sasha (boy & girl) about 5 years old. They get along ok, Oliver's a bit of a bully but she tolerates him, he does the dominance thing (jumps on her but doesn't bite or hurt her).

In September we fostered another girl Casey (also about 5) but ended up adopting her. We SLOWLY introduced her to both cats (she was in a separate room for a few weeks) and things seemed to be going well. Sasha and Casey (both girls) play "nice", they chase each other but are never aggressive.

Oliver did his dominance thing with Casey which she hated and she hissed and swatted more than Sasha ever did. Well now Casey has turned the tables on Oliver and has become very aggressive towards him. She stalks him and initiates scuffles, she hisses and growls and jumps at him. He's never noisy when he does his jumping and he doesn't do it very often.

Are they just working out who will be top cat? Oliver has never hurt the other cats but with Casey's aggression I'm afraid she will hurt him and he in turn will become more aggressive. Will they come to some understanding on their own? She still gets along great with Sasha, it's just Oliver she's attacking. BTW all are spayed/neutered. Any advice would be appreciated!
post #2 of 5
Hi Welcome to TCS and Happy Holidays!
Maybe Casey finally feels secure enough with her surroundings that she is demanding boundaries and respect. Without knowing any more details of Casey's past as well as Oliver's and Sasha's, it is hard to say why or what. I would definitely keep an eye on all and interfere whenever you feel it is about to be aggressive in any way. Also watch Casey for other sudden behavioral changes that could be symptomatic.
post #3 of 5
Im thinking that maybe she is asserting her dominence! There is always a head cat on campus and she wants it to be her instead of him! Thats just what I was thinking though. They are all fixed aren't they? I have never had good luck with adopting an older cat when I already have an older cat. I always get my cats in twos also. That way they have their own friends! Normally though, when I get a new cat I try to make sure its younger because BooBoo is a jerk sometimes and makes his presence well known! He is the dominant male and will not settle for less! I dont think if they're actually hurting each other it should be a problem. Maybe he's just jealous because she took his friend! Good luck and keep us posted!
post #4 of 5
If it's growling, hissing, jumping and just batting, then it's a territory thing. Watch the body language - if it's a ridged back, ears back, and tail VERY agitated, then it could get ugly. If you need to interfere, don't ever do it physically. Keep an empty can with coins in it around, and rattle those coins loudly. The loud noise will startle them out of the confrontation.

To help your kitties be a little calmer about territory and who's going to be alpha and such, you may want to consider investing in some Feliway. It is a synthetic hormone that mimics the friendly markers in cats' cheeks. It comes in a spray bottle or as a plug-in - like a room air freshener that we can't smell.

One of our kitties takes about six months before she stops hissing and batting at newbies, and a full year before there's peace and harmony with everyone keeping the proper distance and space - and even then, there's still batting and hissing and puffed tails from time to time. If Spook were the last one we rescued instead of one of the first, it would be very much like the situation you're experiencing, I think. Cats have their own time table.

However, there is something else you can do to help Casey's relationship with Oliver. Take several small clothes, towels or rags, and rub Casey all over with one, and rub Oliver all over with two. Put "Oliver" scented rags down under whatever food bowl(s) Casey eats out of. Give each kitty about 10 minutes of alone play time every day (even if it means taking them into a room and closing the door) - and when you're done with Casey's play time, before you open the door, put treats down for her on one of the rags that smells like Oliver. "Refresh" the kitty smell on the rags every few days, and keep it up for a month (or more, if necessary). ...and when you're done with Oliver's play time, put the Casey scented rag down with treats on it for him. This will help the kitties come to associate good things with each other's scents.

Another good idea is any time you see Casey let Oliver pass by her with out a fuss, or any time she plays well with him, praise both of them, but especially Casey, to high heaven. "SUCH good kitties!" "SUCH a GOOD girl!" with loads of smiles. This will help her understand what behavior pleases you.

Hope these ideas help. Just remember - the most important ingredient is going to be time,

post #5 of 5
Squirt bottles full of water can also help to lay down the law. Worked when we had two kitties that had 'tudes at the same time.
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