or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Agressive behavior help needed - long
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Agressive behavior help needed - long

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I apologize for the long first post, but I really need help. I have read the articles here and most deal with agression towards people. Here's my story...

I have a 12 year old tabby, Max, that I raised from 5weeks. He has always been the only cat in the house. We moved into a new home about 10 months ago and he adjusted well. He has always been standoffish with other people. Once he gets used to you, he'll let you get in one pet and that's about it. His play with me often becomes bite-play. I never delt with it as I didn't recognize it as anythign more than him playing too rough (in hindsight I should have stopped it).

My girlfriend, Claudia, of 3 years became my Fiance' and moved in with me about 5 weeks ago. She has two 12 year old persians, Screamer & Princess (brother & sister). They are very affectionate and friendly, and have also been the only cats in thier house.

During the past 3 years Max has smelled Screamer & Princess on me and they have smelled him on Claudia.

We started by keeping them in seperate rooms and allowing each to have time to have run of the house. During the first week, I slept in Max's room. At the end of that week, we had a mishap that allowed the cats to be out at the same time. There was a lot of tension and Max was very agitated at one point and when I tried to get him back in his room he bit me on the hand. Serious enough to bleed significantly and require antibiotics. I chased him into the room very aggressively. After about 20 minutes, he did not seem concerned at about what he had just done. I started sleeping in my room after this.

We then went to stacked baby gates in the doorways. This allows for visual but not physical contact. At first there was a lot of hissing and growling from Max and none from the others. Soon, Screamer started to growl back. Claudia says he had never growled before. A couple weeks go by and we tried to allow contact a couple times, but Screamer and Max would start to get tense and we could see things begin to escalate. At one point, Max followed Screamer and when Screamer noticed, turned back and walked towards Max and Max started to get aggressive. They had fight-like contact, but not to the level of an all-out fight.

A week ago, we tried contact again. this time Max went straight for Princess (half his size) and chased her. I blocked him one way and he tried going around the other and I blocked him again. I was angry and I picked him up by the scruff. BIG MISTAKE. Another round of antibitoics and many deep wounds. I don't know what his intention was chasing Princess, but it did not look like curiosity. I think it was more my fault than his that I got bit.

All three went to Vet together for exams and shots, in carriers, all in the same exam room, last Friday. All are well. Too bad it wasn't a bonding experience for them.

The Vet suggested collective feeding, maybe in carriers. The problem here is that we free-feed and with our work schedule, they would be going to once a day. Not desireable, we think.

Another suggestion was putting Max in his carrier out in the main room with the others able to walk around him and such. We tried this when we got home from the Vet and Max got pretty pissed about being in the carrier, on the floor in the room while the others were walking around. They pretty much left him alone though.

We have asked about medication for Max, but have not heard back yet. The Vet wanted to do some research. I think she would rather not go that route.

I have tried Feliway spray, but it hasn't been very long.

They all seem to be curious about each other. When the baby gates go up for one, the other(s) will come to the door and sit for a few minutes looking in. Max will ususally growl some (less than at the beginning) when he is the one behind the gates.

So, thanks for reading my long winded post. We really need ideas here. Should we keep doing the same thing and try contact again in a couple weeks or what?

Thanks for the help.

Phil & Claudia
and Max, Screamer and Princess
post #2 of 8
It really doesn't sound like it is going that bad for them. It sounds more like it is going bad for you! They are going to growl, they are going to chase, and posture, and even scuffle, but unless they are full on rolling, rabbit-kicking and biting each other, leave them be and do not intervene. Let them settle it themselves, and NEVER pick up a cat who has just had an aggressive confrontation. Use a dark, heavy blanket and gently toss it over the cat, then gather the cat up and put it in a room for time out.

Chances are good that they are picking up on your stress about this situation and it feeds into them easily. Make sure you have a cat condo, some cat ramps and other safe places where they can get away from each other. Clip their claws prior to any meeting, and make the meeting as accidental as you can, leave the door ajar just a little bit, and act like it is no big deal. Don't stay in the room and expect a fight.

You can also neutralize their scent with either vanilla extract just a dab on their chins and the base of their tails, or you can dust them down with brewer's yeast.

If one cat is being attacked full on, and growled at the others are not, then consider the serious possibility that the cat being attacked is ill and his scent is changing slightly making him alien to the group. I don't know how many times in the past that i missed this signal when I introduced my group to a newcomer, but stress can cause a cat to become quite ill very quickly and the others not recognizing the familiar scent will attack the "stranger." Good luck and take care of those wounds, cat bites are quite serious-
post #3 of 8
Pjohnson, Hissy has some WISE points.

I too have dealt with introducing, severAL times, cats, and several REintroductions that included one kitty who had the agressive displacement issue, he would see an outside kitty, and then violently attack one of my innocent inside kitties just sort of standing there.

i agree totally with the "they pick up on your stress level". Max is having to make a BIG adjustment from being an ONLY to having some company. If you can try to not get angry and impatient with him, it will benefit you both. BELIVE me, i realize how difficult it is not to be impatience with our kitties....specially ones we have had for a long time. It feels like a let-down when they won't "play right" and be open.

Something to keep in mind is time. Don't try to rush it. Weeks, maybe months of letting them smell.

I agree that if you can just let a meeting happen, observe and see what goes on. Max might hiss and moan and make it seem like he is the devil incarnate, but as long as he doesn't jump right on onf the other kitties, that's ok.

Last thing I'll suggest. With my OWN Max (yes, I have a problem Max who is now a big sweetie), I got a kitty leash from Target. I would bring him into the room with the older kitties who were scared of him, and the leash allowed me to control his behavior, as in keep him from attacking the other kitties. He didn't mind the leash at all, he kinda liked it. That also allowed ME from feeling big stress, knowing I could control him.

Good luck with your intros. Take your time, and give Max alot of praise, love and attention, and I BET you will eventually be able to get them together....
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the suggestions/support. We are hopeful that Max will mellow out.

Our fear is that he'll go after Princess again and could hurt her. Screamer is the same size as Max (but looks a bit bigger), so we're not as concerned about him. Max seems to be slightly afraid of Screamer. I guess we could try the leash, hadn't thought of that before.

Anyone else with suggestions? We'll take all we can get.

Phil & Claudia
Max, Screamer & Princess
post #5 of 8
I think the Feliway room difuser works better than the spray...it worked wonders with my timid cat Franz...all 19 pounds of him, when I introduced a year old female to the family. All is harmonious now.
post #6 of 8
Again minimize your fear. Your cats will feed on your fear, and what you are fearing will come true. When cats are released in the wild (dumped) they usually all find each other, that is why people refer to cat colonies. Very rarely will one just live solo. If he can find a friend, he will because cats are really social animals. That being said however, does not mean that you should cram your home with cats. I wouldn't add any more cats to this mix, and make sure that they do not share anything, not bowls, not litter pans, not toys, not even a water dish. Find the alpha, the first cat to eat, the one who pushes the other off the food, or the one who claims the top of the cat post- that is your alpha. Greet that cat first, feed it first, play with it one-on-one in a separate room. That will help as well-

So will the feliway comfort zone room diffuser, but again, lower your fear factor. These cats will work it out-
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Update.... I bought Cat vs. Cat over the weekend and began reading about Max's behavior. It seems that Max thinks he's dominate over humans as well as other cats. I'm also now more in tune with all three cat's communications. To work on this issue, I pulled Max's food and now he only eats twice a day. This is to make him dependent on me. That seemed to make a instant difference. He kisses up to me a lot more now

I also managed to get a harness on him. That took 30 minutes and the use of my arm length welding gloves. He fought a lot and bit a lot, but I remained calm as I did it. After the first 15 minutes or so, he realized his biting wasn't getting any results and it got a little easier. I used Feliway spray in the room and he didn't totally freak out once the harness was on like I expected. In fact, he seemed to adjust to it in about an hour. He notices if I hold it or try to adjust it, but otherwise seems to ignore it.

Interactions have changed slightly too. He and Screamer are more curious about each other, but now it seems Screamer is the more upset one. They get almost nose to nose through the baby gates now. Max went into a fear posture once when Screamer was on the inside of the baby gates. Princess just stays out of the way, although she too has sat at the baby gates and talked to Max.

More behavior mod for Max and maybe we'll try interaction again.

post #8 of 8
I couldn't help but giggle at the thought of using welding gloves to put a harness on.

It sounds like things are getting there with the cats being clamer when approaching one another. Let the cats sort out when they do want contact. Never force it upon them, it just ends up in scratches, (often on you rather than anyone else), and a whole lot more hissing and growling.

A note about the feeding. I do free feed, however when introducing new cats to the home, this immediately stops. I make sure each cat eats their allotted meals and adjust accordingly whether they need more or less.

I leave water bowls out and note the behaviour. As hissy said, there is almost always and alpha cat that pushes the others out of the way.

Only when things calm down do I free feed again. But even then I limit the amount of dry food there is available so that when it comes to refill time, I get to wash out the container more often.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Agressive behavior help needed - long