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2 new cats...not getting along

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yikes! I wrote in a couple of days ago...two new adult cats, one hissing and growling incessantly which has caused the other (less abrasive) cat to become a "bully"...he is trying to guard resources, intervenes when the other cat is getting attention (which only causes more hissing and growling because she wants him nowhere near her), and now we have a major problem. It seems that Ed (the quieter, more discreet cat) is trying to go after Tootsie (aka Hissy) when we aren't looking. The result (2 days in a row) has been an all out browl leading to Tootsie peeing all over herself and the floor. Long story short, I've tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! I've researched and done everything proper to try to introduce and socialize them, but I think all of Tootsie's hissing and growling (anxiety from being an only cat for so long) just got to Ed, and he now wants to establish dominance...Ed is the cat that actually got along well with other cats at the shelter! I fear this will not work! It's been 3 weeks...there was some progress, then as Tootsie started to become more settled, Ed started this sneaky business! I don't know who should be going into the "safe room", who should be sleeping where, who should get run of the house, or if it would be best to rehome. Suggestions, anyone, please?!? I love them both so much already!! What am I going to do?
post #2 of 8
Hi brivera,

Oh dear. As far as I can see you've done everything right but evidently it doesn't seem to be working out and the feliway you bought isn't helping either.

What really concerns me is that Tootsie is peeing over herself and that this is happening repeatedly- this sounds like she's really scared and stressed out and you may have to think about re-homing one of them as this can't continue.

Tootsie may also be peeing all over the floor because Ed doesn not allow her to go to the litter box. Have you seen him blocking her way to the box?

I'd alternate them with the safe room on a daily basis for now. You should get in touch with the shelter and ask them for advice or if they can tell you the number of a good cat behaviourist in your area.

This must be very hard on you


post #3 of 8
I was thinking the same thing about the litter box. Make sure you have one for each cat plus an extra. You may not have to have this setup forever but it sure beats your poor cat peeing herself right? He may be blocking her from using it, or she may be too scared to try. He can't guard them all at once!!

I don't necessarily agree with the safe room..maybe I am wrong? But I am wondering if it will make the one left out of the room even more territorial and cause probelms once you try to get them to live together again.

Do they each have their own litter boxes, food bowls, beds, windowsills? Making sure they each have their own space is important. If you are going to confine one I would confine the new guy. He needs to chill out and Tootsie is the resident cat and deserves the run of the house.

I wouldn't rehome yet. I think some more time and trying a few more things before you do that. It could work out okay.
post #4 of 8
BTW: Fiona STILL smacks Rocko on the head every chance she gets! and hisses at him! She's such a princess. He luckily ignores her, sometimes he gets his back up and goes after her and she SCREAMS like he is killing her. But he is I ignore it. She needs to be knocked down a few pegs once in a while.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
We have set up 3 cat boxes, all in different areas of the house, and I haven't seen Ed blocking them. It could be that Tootsie is anxious to use the box. The feliway seems to be helping a little bit...not much though. I've been hesitant about keeping Ed in the safe room. I feel like it's making him more upset with Tootsie (resentful). But, when I see him eyeing her down or slinking around her, I call him out on it...and he KNOWS!! He looks me right in my eyes and slinks away quite shamefully. Poor little guy. I try to reprimand both in a non-threatening they can see that the other gets in trouble too, and they can hear that I'm not pleased with the behavior. I don't know if they get it...Ed seems to, but Tootsie is crazy. I tried switching them in and out of the safe room because Tootsie was only in the house for 2 days prior to Ed...I didn't want to treat her like the resident cat...wanted her to feel more like an equal. However, seeing how anxious she was, and how dominant he was becoming when he got run of the house, I figured Tootsie needed to build up her confidence and feel like it's her house. Ed now stays in the safe room (over night and when we aren't home), and when we are home, we let him out. We watch them the whole time they are out, give them lots of love, and play with them. However, Tootsie loses her loving, playful, and energetic personality when he's out of the room...she fixates on him and hisses and growls whenever he is near her. When we give Tootsie, Ed comes running over for some, and the cycle continues. I don't want to rehome, but I can't help but wonder if we are better off that way. It's only been 3 weeks though... is there hope? I feel terrible putting Ed in the room because he is a total love bug. But, I don't think switching them out has helped. Tootsie retreats and feels like she doesn't have a place and Ed feels like he's in charge. Oh dear... what to do?
post #6 of 8
If she's peeing on herself, I think it's fear based, not a litter box problem per se.

Actually, at this point, I'd put Tootsie in the safe room and let her make that her territory, since it hasn't seemed to work the other way around. If you can, I would replace the door on the safe room with a screen door. Are there windows? Is it ground level? Can you put out bird feeders? (There are suction cup feeders that stick on the window, if you can make that work). Window sills for lounging? If not, can you afford those cat seats that make a window sill equivalent? Or just put something in front of it so there's a perch for her to sit at that height. Squirrel and bird activity are great Cat TV.

She needs a break, she needs to de-stress, and she needs safe space.

Let them both de-stress and not worry about interacting with each other.

Make sure you spend lots of time in Tootsie's area and out and about in what would be Ed's area. Make sure she's got a couple of cat beds in her room, and he's got a couple of cat beds somewhere.

Do you have a lot of vertical space? If you can, buy or build cat trees. You can build quick and easy ones out of rubber maid type containers - "pyramid" them up against a wall, cut holes in them, put in cat beds, scratch mats, etc. Also, if you're handy or know anyone who is, these aren't too hard to build on your own:

Play a lot with both of them. Play really helps de-stress kitties.

After everyone calms down after a couple of weeks or a month, then begin to treat Tootsie like the intro. That said... the meantime, rub Tootsie all over with a couple of clean rags (or cheap wash clothes or whatever) washed with no fabric softener. Do the same on Ed. Put an Ed-scented rag under Tootsie's food dish. Put a Tootsie-scented rag under Ed's food dish.

After a vigorous play time with Tootsie, put treats down on an Ed-scented rag. Same thing for him. After a week of them being separated, switch the cat beds on them. Put his in place of hers, and put hers in place of his. The idea here is to get them associating good things, things they love, with each other's scent.

When beginning the actual reintroduction, I'd do it by bringing Ed into Tootsie's room for a few minutes. I would also put vanilla on each of them. Get real vanilla, not the synthetic stuff that's mostly alcohol. Dab it on their butts, at the base of the tail, behind their ears, and most importantly, generously under their chins (wafts up to the nose!). TELL Tootsie you're going to bring Ed in. If everyone seems calm, praise him first and then her to high heaven, tell them WHAT good kitties they are, and don't push it. And use LOTS of treats, especially baby food (Gerber's chicken is easy on a kitty tummy and they LOVE it). Cats are SO food motivated (generally), so lots of positive reinforcement for non-aggressive behavior on Ed's part - you know - not so much his being nice to Tootsie as even just his not being mean to her.

After a few days of this, bring him into her room, and bring her out. Give her play time somewhere - wherever Ed hangs out the most, the living room, the bedroom, I don't know. But give it a half an hour, an hour - use your judgement, see how it goes.

But this way you're giving everyone a break, you're letting the entire place de-stress, and then you can refocus on an introduction that is based on positive reinforcement.


In the meantime, if you don't have a black light, get one:

If you don't already have an enzyme cleaner, get one (available at most pet stores. This one I've only found online, but this is what we use and it's, IMO, great, whereas Nature's Miracle, the most common one, isn't so great: ). Wherever poor Tootsie has peed, you MUST clean the area and anything affected with an enzyme cleaner if you haven't already (and consider doing it again, just to make sure). But go through your home with the black light to MAKE SURE you haven't missed anywhere she's peed that you didn't catch. (At night it will turn up as an orange splotch with the lights off and the black light on).

All of this assumes that Tootsie won't stress out being in the safe room. We didn't have intro/bully problems, but our Spooky stressed about we-still-don't know-what, and we tried everything to no avail, then confined her to a smaller room for litter box retraining. She started over grooming. So that was a whole different can of worms. But if Tootsie gets enough stimulation, she should be OK.

for not wanting to give up.

post #7 of 8
OK. I went back and read the first thread. If you want to make your bedroom the safe room, that's something to consider. Then she's not alone for the night. I'd consider going this route if Ed doesn't sleep with you.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm glad to report that there HAS been progress. I basically kept Ed in the safe room whenever we were not present in the home to supervise them or when we were sleeping. The room included a kitty condo near a window, food, and some toys (amongst other comfy items). Tootsie got run of the house (which she needed in order to establish security). I bought the Feliway spray because the diffusers were not available. I would spray that around the house so she would feel settled while traveling around the house. Once a day I would do that, and we would also do one play session that included catnip per day. That didn't seem to help Tootsie. She would come close enough to smell/eat the catnip, but it seemed to make her more growly. I would treat them (Tuna and Treats) each time I saw them hanging out remotely close without issues. Tootsie is still hissing and growling some, but it has lessened significantly. We did all of the above for the last three days, and last night was the first night that I let Ed out for the night. There were no fights or problems until about 5am...Tootsie made a loud meowing/fighting sound. Fortunately, I was able to see her...she made a very big scene about walking past him and into our bedroom. He wasn't doing anything in the way of attacking her...might've been stading in our doorway and she did what she had to do to get by. I can't help but wonder how many times she has made a scene when he really WASN'T going after her. I'm so glad to say that they aren't completely fixated on one another and we can now start allowing them to sleep and roam with open doors. What a pain this has been! I would advise against getting two adult cats that weren't already's sooooo much work, and ultimately, they may never be the cuddle buddy companions you're hoping they will be. Crazy!
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