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Introducing new neighbor cats; any help?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

We live in a building with two apartments on each floor; and the two doors are right next to each other. Our cat is very happy to roam outside all night and each morning he waits patiently for us to let him back in. Our cat looks most like an asian tabby, and he is altered. His name is Irving

Recently a neighbor moved in with an altered male siamese cat named Dino. Irvine and Dino first saw each other outside in our large garden/courtyard. They both looked uncomfortable and my wife was standing between them. Both cats seemed to relax after a bit, when suddenly, Dino ran aggresively toward Irving and Irving ran for his life. Since that moment, Irving has been terrified of Dino. If they run into each other in the hall, Dino seems calm and approachable, but Irving Immediatley runs for his life, if possible, or hisses and arches his back if an escape isn't available.

The big problem is that now, Irving is always very nervous about going down the stairs to the outside door, and sometimes he disappears for up to 3 days, presumedly because he sees Dino and is afraid to hang around or some such. When he returns from such an absence, Irving tends to be kind of freaked out for a whole day or so. He acts very strange, like he wants something, but nothing we do satisfies him, and he will occasionally get upset for no reason and nip at us or let us know in no uncertain terms that we're not understanding what he's asking for. He also is undoubtedly being fed by others when he's away, and suddenly wants people food and wet food, where he had always been very satisfied with his dry food previously.

We really have no idea what to do. Any articles I've found have to do with introducing a new cat to the household, and most of the strategies really don't seem to apply to our situation.

Does anybody have any solutions for this one? We're really beside ourselves.

Thanks in advance!

--k
post #2 of 10
Hey K....first of all..I do hope your cat is fixed. Secondly...I do hope your cat is wearing an id and is microchipped. There are many hazards that cats can face being outdoors....fighting, poisoning, getting run over....so it would really be beneficial if you could turn your cat into an indoor only cat. Other than that...my second best recommendation would be to provide your cat with an enclosed area....that way he can enjoy the outdoors but not get into any scary situations. I would also highly recommend you provide within that enclosure a place where your cat can "hide" (ie an igloo house).

What you describe of his behaviors when he gets back are probably from his encounters with other cats outdoors. There will not be a way for you to find out who has been feeding him...so again...best to turn your cat into an indoor cat or provide him a way to enjoy the outdoors without leaving your property.

Katie
post #3 of 10
I agree that some type of outdoor enclosure would be best for your boy. Otherwise, keeping him inside might be the only solution.

However, you might be able to work out an agreement with your neighbor so that they let Dino out from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and you let Irvine out from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. or some such arrangement. You could even work out some sort of flag system so that they put out some signal when Dino is inside and you do the same when Irvine comes inside so that the two will never meet.

Good luck!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...

Well, thanks for your suggestions, but there really isn't a good way to implement a private playground outside. Since he ordinarily enjoys being outside all night, I'm not sure it's his encounters with other cats that is responsible for his behaviour. I'm thinking it's more like a huge disruption to his routine. Not unlike if we go on vacation and have a friend come over twice a day to feed him and keep him company.

Surely someone must know a way to help neighbor cats come to tolerate each other and perhaps even accept each other. Anyone?
post #5 of 10
kaliban..over time, they may work it out...but again...cats are territorial...and Dino is now in Irving's turf and it is obviously upsetting him. You would have to do "slow" introductions..not unlike what cats who are introduced indoors have to go through. It may not be a bad idea to have your neighbor put Dino in his crate and allow Irving to sniff his scents..you could see their interactions while Dino is crated. Then slowly bring Dino outside..perhaps have both cats on leashes just in case Irving wants to run for it. Start the periods with 15 minutes of being in each other's presence and expand upon it as you see them getting along. It may take a while before these cats are able to be outdoors at night at the same time and for several hours unsupervised.

Quote:
I'm not sure it's his encounters with other cats that is responsible for his behaviour.
But you said he goes away for a period of time..since you do not know how far he travels..he could run into other cats...he could also still be reacting to his interaction with Dino.

You never did answer my question of whether Irving is fixed....if he isn't..he could be travelling to find females in heat.

Katie
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
But you said he goes away for a period of time..since you do not know how far he travels..he could run into other cats...he could also still be reacting to his interaction with Dino.
Well, that's true, but he has been staying out all night every night for a year with no such problems. This only happens when he suddenly disappears for all the next day, and occasionally longer. Several of those times we've found him at 2 different houses nearby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
You never did answer my question of whether Irving is fixed....
Actually, my original post indicates that he is fixed...
"Our cat looks most like an asian tabby, and he is altered."


Thanks for your help

-k
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Well, that's true, but he has been staying out all night every night for a year with no such problems. This only happens when he suddenly disappears for all the next day, and occasionally longer. Several of those times we've found him at 2 different houses nearby.
We only have limited information that you have provided, so we can only give you are best "guesses" as each situation is unique. Something has obviously "changed" and it may or may not solely be the presence of Dino.

There is no way to guarentee that these cats will get along..but if you do the slow introductions..it should help. Also..if Irving is now hestitant to go outside...perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for now to ask your neighbor to keep their cat indoors.

Katie
post #8 of 10
Some cats take to each other right away - some cats don't. The only way to ensure that they will tolerate each other's presence is via slow introductions. With cats outside, that is next to impossible.

Since Irving had a bad experience with and does not like Dino, my guess is that he roams at night - and has found other people to pamper him in yards where there is no threatening Dino.

There are several solutions.

1) Keep him indoors. While he may not be happy at first, if properly stimulated, indoor-only cats can lead very happy lives. We have five feral rescues, we live in an Rv, which is a really small space, and yet our gang of cats is active, get a lot of exercise, don't fight, play with each other, and exhibit characteristics that to me say they're really happy here.

2) Discuss the problem with your neighbor, and invest a lot of time in making outside "re-introductions," as Katie (TNR1) has suggested.

3) As lotsocats has suggested, talk to the building about putting up an enclosure and set up a schedule whereby Dino and Irving share it on different hours.

4) If Irving is being fed food he likes better elsewhere, he will not be satisfied with his dry food and he will continue to go elsewhere if offered the opportunity. The final solution is to let him lead a double-life whereby he has others that care about him but you're his final sanctuary and you take care of his medical needs.

I'm so sorry - but those are really the only solutions. Especially once cats have gotten off to a nasty introduction, there's not much to do, and the only option for getting cats to tolerate each other is via slow introductions. That's why there's information about how to do it inside, but not outside. The problem with outside introductions is that the cat always has a choice - to run away. If there were a way to confine them to a porch, a stand-alone garage or a large pen, then essentially the same steps for inside cats can be used for outside cats. But if they're free to roam, then there are no options because you have no control.

And if Irving is not happy with his dry food and is turning up at neighbors where they're obviously feeding him other stuff - you can either speak to them and ask them not to feed him anything and to call you as soon as they see him - which is a pretty big imposition. Or you can keep him inside. The only way to prevent him having access to stuff he likes better and a Dino-free yard are to not let him out. Again - I'm sorry, but the facts are what they are.

Irving is fortunate that so far he's only encoutered people that like cats. The day he encounters one that doesn't is the day he may never come home, or the day he may try to come home, but is too injured to get there.

I know he's used to being outside, but given the change in his living circumstances, now may be the time to consider a change in how he lives with you.

Of course, you can always consider moving if it's that important to you that he not be confined indoors, and yet also not become attached to others and the human food they're feeding him.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. Hopefully we can concoct a way to do more of a slow introduction inside, since we do have the common stairwell, and Dino is often out there wishing he could get into his own place. We'll also talk it over with the neighbors and see what they think.

I can't imagine how we could convince Irving to stay inside. He gets very persistant about going out.

Thanks again,

-k
post #10 of 10

We are having the same problem you are having - 9 yrs ago we adopted a stray that wandered into our yard and have kept him as our outside cat that whole time - my husband made him a heated house on our back deck for the winter so he is warm outside all winter long.  Then a couple of months ago our neighbor brought home a stray that her friend had found and that cat is trying to take over our cat's territory and is very aggressive toward him.  I found your message while researching what to do for our situation.  We have tried squirting a spray bottle or hose at the aggressor when he attacks the other but you need to be there each time and be consistent with the punishment.  I'm also wondering if some type of reward system would work better but I think it would be hard to implement.  I will keep searching and will come back and let you know if I find anything helpful.

 

On another note, I noticed you said your cat was previously happy with dry food.  We fed our cat just dry food for the first 8 yrs we had him and last summer he came down with diabetes (he lost weight and developed neuropathy where his muscles became weak, his back got crooked and he walked down on his haunches) which the vet told me was from a diet of just dry food which is mostly carbs.  It turns out cats' digestive systems are made to handle protein much better than carbs.  Over the next three months, however, we were able to reverse the diabetes with insulin injections and liquid vitamin B12.  Also, we changed him to Fancy Feast "Flaked" canned food (which is low carb - anything with gravy has carbs which are bad for them) and special high-protein dry food from the vet.  I just want to mention this because we had never heard that a diet of just dry food could do that to a cat and hopefully getting the news out could save someone else (and their cat) from going through what we went through.

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