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Intro not going smooth

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My cat introduction may not be going as smoothly as hoped, so I'm seeking advice and insight. I have read "Introducing a new cat to your old cat" and the Mary Anne Miller article. I also read "Cat vs. Cat."

Some background on the cats. The resident cat is a 1 year 5 month old neutered male. The new cat is estimated to be 3 years old or so, also neutered male.

The resident cat might have serious dominant aggressive issues. He is completely unable to restrain himself from charging at another cat and jumping on their neck, as if he were a kitten doing this to one his litter mates. There is some more background to this if anyone needs to hear it. He has never been in a real fight, and doesn't hiss or growl. He is a slightly nervous and jumpy cat.

The new cat is very calm and self assured. He immediately adapted well to his sanctuary room, set up in our master bathroom. He made himself at home right away, and quickly expanded his territory to include the bedroom, marking things with the side of his face as he went along. He has also never been in a real fight, doesn't hiss or growl, and was raised at various times with dogs and other cats. He took to us right away and seems to want to be where ever people are.

Both cats were given time to adjust before introducing them by scent, sight, and finally nose to nose through a slightly open door. Treats were given each time.

About 7 minutes into their second supervised meeting, the resident cat jumped on the new cat's neck as he was lying down on top of a chair. The new cat was calm for a second or two before pushing the resident cat off. This was followed by several more attempts by the resident cat until he was able to land on top of the new cat and grab him around the neck again. The new cat immediately got up and ran toward the door, turning back and forth as he realized the door was closed and obviously distressed. End of session.

The rest of their meetings have been marked by the same aggressiveness, instigated 90% of the time by the resident cat, and 10% of the time by the new cat. The new cat instigates things by pawing at the resident cat, while the resident cat goes straight for jumping on the neck.

They also appear to be working out their territorial and boundry issues with the same rough play. Most of the time the new cat will run away. If I let this go on, he will eventually try to stay away and watch the resident cat warily. Sometimes this stare provokes the resident cat to charge him again.

I am worried that that their level of aggressive interaction will lead to a real fight. So far I am unable to deter or distract the resident cat from his neck jumping, except to put it off for another minute or two when he gets into that excited mood. Food and toys do not distract him. I will be around to answer any additional questions. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
So I bought a Feliway diffuser for the sanctuary room. Their supervised meetings are limited to the sanctuary room where the new cat seems to feel the most confident. I try to keep their meetings brief and positive, though without much luck.

Usually, the new cat goes straight for resident cat, following and pawing from behind. Sometimes they go straight into a tussle. Usually the resident cat will show more interest in exploring the room at first, with the new cat initiating all of the "attacks". The Feliway doesn't seem to make a difference in either cat.

Is it normal for two adult neutered male cats to just constantly lock horns? Is there a danger in letting them continue longer? The resident cat seems to have a huge advantage in endurance and motivation, leaving the new cat looking stressed and tail-tucked after a few minutes.
post #3 of 11
It doesnt sound like they are being aggressive to me. The grabbing of the neck is usually just a way to show dominance. My cats do that here, but it usually results in a lick down afterwards.

Since cats really go by scents ..... you can put a little vanilla under both of their chins, so they will smell vanilla and not other kitty for a bit.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the reply. I really envy your cats, who are all beautiful by the way. I think you're right, aggression isn't quite the right word. It looks like a dominance thing.

Their "play" appears to be having a stressful effect on the new cat. He has gone from super calm to jumpy and nervous when the resident cat is around, especially outside of his sanctuary room.

I really have to characterize the difference in how the two cats scuffle. When the new cat tries to assert his dominance, he is usually calm and minimally aggressive.

When the resident cat tries to assert his dominance, he literally charges at full speed, knocking the new cat off his feet, then biting at his neck. In the span of a few minutes, he will if allowed to, do this several more times to the new cat in rapid succession. If the new cat attempts to run away, he starts chasing him. So far we've stepped in at this point. Usually it is the new cat who calms down right away after they are separated. The resident cat often takes 30 minutes or so to wind down.

He is not trying to injure the new cat, but his "play" often reaches mania levels of excitement. Even with his interactive toys, he usually plays with them at full speed and energy, to the point where we can hear him panting from across the room.

In their dominance play, he never wants to stop. Even as a kitten playing with his mother, we use to marvel at his persistence and stubbornness. She too would often give up and run after pinning him down a half-dozen times.

We are concerned that he will either trigger real aggression in the new cat, or the new cat will become unhappy and fearful every time he is around.

I will try the vanilla trick. Thanks again and please wish me luck.
post #5 of 11
Thank you. Oh definitely good luck ......... Im going to forward this to some other members and see if they have any insight and/or ideas to help you with these two babies.
post #6 of 11
Hi there!!
First, good luck!!
Second, a couple of things....

The Feliway is in the wrong place...it needs to be moved to where the most aggressive/stressed out cat is, and that is the resident cat - so, where does he spend most of his time, and where most of these encounters take place?
If it is in the living room, that is where the feliway should go...

Secondly, the quicker they work out their hierarchy, the sooner this issue will end, so these "fights" or play fights need to happen, in a way - Pami is right, the residence cat is showing his dominance, and you need to allow him to do so... As long as there is no screaming, blood or fur flying, they are fine - even though you thing they might be fighting... it is normal...

Third... Think like a cat: you need to help your resident cat to know that he is still the leader of the pack, and hasn't lost you... Only when he is secure of that, he will accept his little buddy.
He is now seeing this guy as an invader - taking his territory, his best friend, his food source... he is a threat, and he is just protecting his territory... So here is how you can help him:

Food time:
1- Always feed them in different places, and in different plates, of course.
2- Always serve first the resident cat - wait until he starts eating, then serve the new cat.

Petting - if both of the cats are in front of you at the same time, always pet the resident cat first, then, the newcomer.

Play time: star playing with resident cat first, then join with new kitty.

You will need to give lots of love and TLC to the resident cat, for him to know that he is number one... You need to make that very clear to him. Once they become pals, this will end, and both of them will be on the same level - you won't need to do this forever... But It will help you a lot - it did help me with all of my additions, especially with my last one, Hope.
I still feed Bugsy before I feed Hope, to this day - this is the only thing I kept going, as I see there is still a little competition in between them...

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi carolinalima!

Thank you so much for the reply. Lots of great suggestions! Right now the new cat is sequestered in the master bedroom, so feeding has always been separate. I'll try to implement the rest of your suggestions.

Right now all their meetings are held in the master bedroom, where the Feliway is located. The new cat seems most confident there, and the downstairs family room, kitchen, and living room are all open, making it harder to keep the cats within a reasonable amount of space.

The vanilla trick seems to be having an affect. So far, all their play sessions have been far more gentle, with far less actual contact. Mostly they just chase each other around now, with fewer scuffles in between. I really wish I had tried the vanilla trick earlier. Am I suppose to keep applying it? If so, for how long?

Today they laid down together to watch the birds outside the screen door. It was wonderful.

Thank you both so much for your help and suggestions.
post #8 of 11
Good deal Lemmkit!
I would seriously move the feliway though - the new kitty is fine.... He is good and confident... Either that... or if you can afford to add another one... But where it is really needed is for the resident cat - put it where he spends most of his time...
Good luck again!
post #9 of 11
Thats great that things are coming along ........ I would add more vanilla once daily until they adjust to one another.

I aree with Carolina, moving the feliway to the cat who is less calm.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
I moved the Feliway to the Family Room where the resident cat spends much of his day. I continue to vanilla them with a tiny smudge on the base of their tail and just above their noses. I don't know why the thought of this makes me so gleeful.

They still jump on each other and wrestle occasionally, but with far less intensity than before. Most of their action is just bluff charges followed by one or the other cat scampering away in a manner that looks more like galloping than running in fear.

The new cat gets to explore the rest of the house now. When he has enough of the resident cat, he usually heads back to his room.

Once again, thank you all for the wonderful help and suggestions.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Of course right after I posted that, the resident cat started up again chasing the new cat around the house at full speed, tackling him whenever he could.

I guess a fairy tale ending was just too much to ask for.
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