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Is This Situation Hopeless?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We adopted a 2-year old female cat from the local shelter this past January. At home we had an 11-year old female. After 9 months of trying and failing to get them to accept each other — I'm at my wit's end.

New cat has taken over the entire house and back yard as her territory and chases and attacks Old cat if OC so much as steps foot in "her" territory. This attacking is dangerous, as New cat weighs 13 pounds compared to Old cat's 7 pounds!

Old cat is pretty much confined to a sunroom with a glass door to the house and the front yard. OC loathes New cat and growls at the mere sight of her.

We spend more time than we want making sure that the cats are separated, doors are shut, 2 sets of food/water dishes are clean and full etc., etc.

With winter coming on, I see more problems arising with them being in the house more often.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 12
Hi Tracer!

Welcome, there are a lot of people here who can help you. I don't really have any advice but I do know that the members who can help will need to know how you introduced the two to begin with. Good Luck!
post #3 of 12

Did you just throw them together or gradually introduce them? Sometimes you will get a Alpha cat that literally takes over. Or a pariah cat that everyone else picks on. I'm not sure which you've got. I had a cat that all my cats picked on. I did everything right, by slowly introducing them, etc. Nothing worked. I finally had to find a new home for her where she was the only cat.

Maybe someone else can give you more advice than I can.

Good luck.

post #4 of 12
We had a similar experience. We adopted a one year old male and brought him into a house of 4 eight to ten year old cats. Although we did the careful introductions, we did it too quickly and the new cat was extremely aggressive to the old cats.

We even hired an animal behaviorist to help. She said that she could give us some suggestions but that it could take 6 months or more of intense behavior modification to decrease his aggression and that it might not work. She then asked whether we thought it was fair to the old cats to have to face these attacks.

Well...my husband and I had many long talks and we shed many tears, because we loved the new cat, but we finally decided it was selfish of us to keep him....he obviously wasn't happy and our old cats were living their middle-age years in terror.

We put an ad in the paper and then very carefully screened all of the callers. The new cat now lives with an older woman whose husband just died. She loves the cat tremendously and calls about once a month to update us on his life. Her son, a photographer, has made a book of his photos and the cat is a favorite of the kids the lady babysits. And....my old cats are soooo happy because they aren't attacked every time they walk through the house.

So...even though it was an extremely painful decision, everyone (including the cat who went to a new home) is much happier now that he has a new home.

My story may not apply to your situation and I am not suggesting that you do what we did. I share my sad story to help you realize that sometimes the hardest thing to do is the best thing to do.
post #5 of 12
Dear Tracer & Lotsocats :angel2:'s

Tracer, I think Lotsocats has a very good point because I am going through a similar problem. I think I must find a home for my little girl and I'm very upset about it. None of the cats really like her, but she's brought it on herself and I don't understand why. Maybe because she had kittens and now she hates males (but that was a while ago)???????? I don't know, it may sound like a funny thought, but it may be true. All I know is when I read your post Lotsocats, I felt this terrible pain when you know the answer to the question, but don't want to accept it. I've had her for over two years now; it seems like such a torturous thought to do this. She is such a gorgeous cat in so many ways and I'm sure many people would love to have her. It's the screening process that I'm so scared of and the possibility remains that I may give her to the wrong person. She is so miserable and it's so sad. It's so painful to see her so scared. My Sharky looks like he wants to kill her. I just posted a thread regarding that a couple of days ago. I hate seeing her live the rest of her life so unhappy like this.

So, any guidance as to the screening process would be welcomed. Thank you

Tracer, I do hope that your situation mends itself without having to go through this.

Love, Peace &
post #6 of 12
I just came along this site and just thought I'd post in on this posting too. There seems to be a lot of in-house wars going on for some reason....????????????????? Jeeeeeeeeeez!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.

Catarina — I read your link and see that Old cat has "lost" her territory by being much less aggressive than New cat. Old cat is the one with more difficulty with acceptance than New cat. When they are on either side of the glass doors of the sunroom, OC will sit there and growl, while NC will drop down in a submissive pose and meow. However, if the doors are open (rarely!!), NC will attempt to creep in for the sneak attack.

We will continue to try to acclimatize these 2 because, of course, we love OC — but NC is the funniest, most loving, talkative, affectionate cat we've ever owned — and we've had plenty over the years.
post #8 of 12

Dear Tracer,

Boy, it's so frustrating !! I can relate so well, I wish I had the answer, trust me. For now, I'm stil hanging on to Ninya. I can't bear the thought of losing her. If this continues for another month...then I will have no alternative, otherwise, I'll see if there is some type of reasonable method of training them to stop this madness! It's so stressful. I've began trying not to react so erratic myself, I think they are sensing this and feeding off of it. So, tonite, I just walked over to them with a squirt bottle and they both know that's not good news...so, this is what I'm trying now. Maybe this will work (I hope, I hope, I hope).

Keep us posted

post #9 of 12
It broke our hearts to give away Snowball because he too was one of the funniest, loviest, goofiest, sweetest cats we had ever lived with. We loved him so much. But, the other cats were so very unhappy and my husband and I were always tense and unhappy because there was so much hostility and fear in the house. It was impossible to be happy because all of the cats were so miserable.

If you want to keep both cats I would highly recommend seeking the advice of an animal behaviorist. These people are trained to help end behavior problems in dogs and cats and can give you much better advice than anyone who doesn't have such intensive training and experience.

Catarina, if you decide to find a new home for your cat, you might ask Hissy for ideas on screening interested adopters. In other posts she has talked about her rigorous screening process, which I'm sure will guarantee a good home for your sweet kitty.

But...if you don't want to find a new home I completely understand why. It really ripped my heart to shreds to give away Snowball...I felt like a failure and like a bad mom. But, I realize (now that I'm a bit more distant from the situation) that my finding a new home for him (in my case....not anyone else's) was proof that I love Snowball and the other cats and that I wanted what was best for them all....pretty good evidence of my being a good rather than bad mom!

My heart goes out to anyone in this awful situation.
post #10 of 12
Thanks so much for your reply Lotsocats ...I think I will get an animal behaviouralist involved here. I do think you are a great Mommy, I know in the long run your kitty is so much happier as well as your other kitties

I think it's worth that I look into that just as you suggested and then decide what to do afterwards... I do think that's the best decision...thanks again!

Love, Peace &
post #11 of 12
Dear Tracer,

Oh my! YOur situation reminds me of one of my mother's friends several years ago. She had 4 cats, all brought in at different times. Each time a new cat arrived, things would work out. Then #5 came in. For some reason, not 1, but all 4 other cats refused to accept this newest one. They would terrorize her. All 4 of them would lay in wait in different parts of the house waiting to attack the newest one. They wouldn't even allow her to get to her food dish! Finally, my mom's friend had to get rid of #5. It was a tough decision, but the poor cat was miserable!
post #12 of 12
This is an endemic problem. I take in strays and ferals, and at any given time there are around 2-5 cats in the house, and in the winter, they are all in at the same time -- from 12 to 18 at a time, plus the dogs (not 5). There are always disputes over territory, who gets to the water bowls first, who gets to share the bed (daytimes only) with specific dog friends, or just who is walking across whose path in clear provocation. There was my old lady, who hated all the newcomers and let them know it for over 2 years, and a runt who grew up to be one of the biggest and toughest of all, who several of the ferals just because he didn't like their looks. My newest "find," whom I have called Prince Charming because he manages to bring most of the menagerie around his paw, has it in for my grown up runt and the old lady (although he has lately taken to ignoring her in a polite way), and also for another male cat who doesn't bow to anyone.

I don't have the alternative of giving away an older cat to anyone. So we make do with a certain amount of strife. But my relationship is such that I can generally pick up any cat, if the fight hasn't gotten out of hand, and just move the instigator into the bathroom for quiet time. Clapping hands, my quiet time stategy, and gong to stand between the cats and talking to them about the household peace policy all seem to have some effect. At last the fights don't usually get bloody. And every cat in my house is neutered or spayed (as well as the dogs)! So much for neutering to kill that fighting instinct.

We just tough it out because there isn't anywhere else for the cats to go. But slowly my cats get the idea that there is constant turnover and that I am really not going to permit bloodshed in the house or grounds. The ones that don't figure this out, go and eat next door. I miss them, but I understand about personal freedom. And I go next door and sit down with my a.w.o.l. babies and pet and play with them whenever I get a chance.

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