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Need advice about fighting cats

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello! I'm hoping someone here can help me. This is kind of long, but I want to be sure you have the whole picture.

I've had Bumblebee for three years. He's a very big orange tabby, very loving, but quite the predator. He loves to play and he can kill a mouse in seconds. Just adopted Chloe, a smaller orange tabby who is about his age. The thing is, Chloe does not like Bumblebee to come near her. When he does, she hisses at him.
I kept her in a separate room for a day and then I started letting her out for an hour or so at a time. He approached, she hissed, he backed up. By the fourth day, he ignored the hissing and started stalking her. When her back was turned, he jumped on her and started biting the back of her neck. I tried distracting him with treats and making sure to give him lots of love when she wasn't around. Still, most of the time when he sees her roaming around, he jumps on her and keeps trying to bite her neck.
There's no puffed up tails or pinned back ears, so I think he is playing, but he's heavier and bigger than she is and I'm afraid he will hurt her. When I'm not home, I separate them but I feel badly about keeping her locked up.

A little background: Chloe was rescued by my neighbor who takes care of nine cats, some indoor, some outdoor. He has them fixed and feeds them on the porch or inside. One of the strays that he has not been able to catch hated Chloe on site and tried to kill her twice. She now has a huge scar on her face from his attack, so my neighbor put her in the basement for her own safety. But she is a very loving cat who likes people and he felt guilty about not spending much time with her.

When I got her, I took her to the vet and found that she had ear mites and fleas, but was otherwise healthy. They treated her for it.

So now Chloe is locked up in the bedroom. Bumblebee is outside the door looking at her (I have an old house so the doors don't shut securely; there is about an inch and a half of space under the door so they can see and smell each other.

Bottom line: I don't want to give her back to my neighbor and have her locked up in the basement again, but I also don't want Bumblebee to hurt her with his rough play. And I feel guilty about not letting her roam around the house and getting less affection from me...but I feel guiltier when she's out and has to run away from Bumblebee all the time. Sigh.

Advice, PLEASE....
post #2 of 5
If they are both fixed (Bumblebee is neutered, right...love the name btw!) it sounds like a dominance isse. As in "this is MY house and I'm in charge" kind of thing. That is usually what biting the back of the neck means if they aren't mating. Cats that live in a colony have a pecking order, and the dominant ones still have to put the others in line.

She could also still be wary from the other attack by the stray, especially if she hasn't been around other cats since then. If they aren't puffed up, ears back, back arched, etc then it is probably just something that has to be worked out between themselves.

A few things to help though. Get some Feliway air diffusers. They are a natural calming agent for cats (you really can't smell them though). It sprays out calming pheromones that only cats are receptive to. Also, try putting a drop of vanilla on the base of their tails and on top of their noses. This will mask their scents. Rubbing them both down with the same cloth (in separate rooms) will merge their scents, making them more likely to accept each other.

Chloe has been to the vet to make sure she is healthy right? I'm guessing so since she's spayed. Some people prefer the slow introduction to the resident cats, but I've always just thrown them into the mix once they checked out ok, and let them figure it out for themselves, unless it gets REALLY nasty, of course. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Oh, welcome to TCS!!!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi there -

Thanks a bunch for your advice; it sounds right on the money. Bumblebee was fixed long ago. Chloe was fixed about a year ago and when I got her, I immediately made an appointment for the vet since she had been living in the basement. I figured she was pretty healthy because she eats like a horse and had no problem using the litterbox but I wanted to be sure since she was scratching a lot. Turned out she had earmites and fleas and the vet treated her with Revolution. Wondering how long it takes for that to work, though, because she still seems to be scratching and shaking her head, although not as often as she did a few days ago. (She went to the vet on Monday.)

I also agree about letting them work it out. As I said in the original note, I started out introducing them slowly but now that it's been a few days, I let them both roam around unless Bumblebee is particularly aggressive. Most times he'll leave her alone if she keeps hissing or fights back but sometimes he'll just keep going at her unless I clap my hands or yell at him to stop.

It's only been a week so I think it will be alright in the end but I wanted to bounce it off some of you guys who might have more experience.

I've heard good things about Feliway; I'll look into it.

post #4 of 5
How long have you had Chloe now? I'd give it more time before giving her back to your neighbour. Even if her & Bumblebee don't become the best of friends I'm sure they will at the very least learn to tolerate each other.
My cat Ripley was 3 when we decided to introduce a new friend for her. She hated the new kitten at first and would growl, spit & hiss at her. She would hide upstairs and refuse to come out. I was so upset I considered rehoming the kitten but my husband talked me out of it. Things got better after the first couple of days, then after a few weeks and a lot of patience everything calmed down. They'll never be 'cuddly' with each other and Ripley is the dominant one but they get along just fine most of the time. They still 'fight' but it's never real aggression & neither of them gets hurt (a fair bit of fur can fly though!).
Please give it more time, I'm sure thing will improve, I know it's hard when you just want them to be friends.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks -- I definitely plan to give it more time. Bumblebee is so active, I really thought it would be good for him to have a playmate and I'll admit I'm disappointed that this hasn't turned out the way I'd hoped.

Still, Chloe is a little sweetie and I can't even imagine having her go back to live in that basement. If it got really bad, I'd look for a good home for her rather than giving her to a shelter or putting her back in that basement. But I think with a little time and patience, this will work out. It's only been a week so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
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