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Please help - cats chasing and fighting

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am 3 weeks into introducing new cat (2 year old male) to old cat (8 year old female). I've read the articles on this site and have swapped bedding, litter trays, left the other one's fur in other's room. What I am doing now is putting one of them in carrier in presence of the other. My old cat will growl and hiss sporadically and new cat typically does not react aggressively to her - he will lie down in front of her, seemingly very submissive. I have now been caught out 3 times when I have thought they are able to tolerate each other. As soon as they are face to face and my old cat starts moving, new cat chases her and they end up in a fight - usually under a table so it is difficult to see what is going on, There is a lot of noise and they seem to be facing each other and clawing each other. No injuries as yet but I am worried. Why does new cat act in non-aggressive manner but then chase her. Old cat hisses and growls but does not act violently towards him until he starts to chase. I am very worried that he will hurt her. Should I keep going with keeping one in carrier? How long for each time and how often? Right now I am doing this once or twice a day for 15 minutes. My partner is already starting to say we may have to return new cat if he cannot get on with other cat. I do not want to do this. New cat had been at vet hospital for 4 months recovering from broken pelvis from road accident and I believe he deserves a bit of stability now.
post #2 of 18
I would use vanilla extract on both of them, three places, under the nose, under the chin, base of the tail. Use the feliway comfort zone room diffusers- two of them running. I would then stop the confinement in the carrier meeting- and just let them meet on their own. If their is no bloodshed, bite wounds, they don't go airborne (serious battle is done either on the floor or about three feet in the air) then they will work it out.

They have to work it out, and they will. In the world if they met, there would be no human intervention, they would meet, spit hiss snarl, attack, bluff, whatever but they are sizing each other up. Is the female spayed? My concern would only be that she could get hurt indirectly if he jumped on her, but he will jump on her because he has to say to her "Look, I am the King around here, and you better understand it." But the carrier thing, I would 86 it is going to cause the cat inside to fear the carrier, and make her feel vulnerable because there is no escape for her in there. Sure you and I know she is perfectly safe there, but she doesn't know it. When they confront each other watch the body language. How are the ears? Are they up, or do they look like airplane wings? Are they flattened and held back? You have a problem. Watch the tail, lashing is normal. Minor lashing isn't threatening, major whipping back and forth=problem. Whiskers too tell signs-as does the hair on the back of the cat. Eyes are they wide or narrowed? Have a dark blanket nearby or a wooden kitchen chair, if one cat turns on the belly be ready, war is immenient. When they lock either take the blanket and toss over them. Don't yell, don't scream it will feed their frenzy. Or take the wooden chair and carefully place it over the two cats, it will startle them and you won't get bit. You need to calm down too- don't treat this like a big deal and it won't be. They will also be taking their cues from you.If you are anxious and stressed about this, then so they will be too in a matter of seconds.

Also do NOT carry the new cat into the room, try and not and even pick her up any time the other cat is in the room. Height to cats represent power. You make her a threat if she is sitting in your lap and the male cat is nearby. Keep her on the floor and let them meet on their own terms-

Good luck!
post #3 of 18
What is the backround on the new one? Was he just neutered recently? I have taken stray male cats and had them neutered only to find out that they are cat aggressive because that is how they survived outside. They are not stupid they know when they can get to another cat and when they can't, so when he is in the kennel he knows he cannot reach her so he just bides his time. Unfortunately they may never get along with each other, I really hope they do, but the possibily is there.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you Hissy. I am using the carrier because I am scared of how they are when they meet. Neither of them seem very bothered being in it, its' when they're out of it that is problem! New cat (the younger male) has, every time, started chasing her and they end up fighting, although no blood as yet so maybe it's not as bad as it looks. The new boy cat is very playful, he chases my legs a lot. He is also keen on biting - hands, faces, anything. I assume this is palyful on his part but something I am working ob elimninating. Today he chased her downstairs and I managed to calm them down but a few minutes later, he chased her again. She is only able to escape because she can jump higher. After accident, he no longer has hip bones. She is the old cat so would you expect her to remain dominant? Which cat do you think has the biggest problem? Old cat, who hisses and growls biut never attacks unless provoked. New cat, who never hisses when they are meeting through carrier but yet runs off after her when he gets the chance? Should I leave them to get on with it, even after they have chased? I have been immediately separating them as I worry old cat will get too stressed.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
To Petnurse - I don't know history of new cat. He was found by side of road after the accident and nobody ever claimed him so not sure if he was stray or if owners not make too much effort to find him. He was badly injured and has no hip bones now. He has been through a lot recently and I hope he will calm down. With me he is either excessively affectionate (head rubbing etc) or trying to bite my face if he is bored. Obviously not the most secure cat in the world.He's neutered but not sure when.
post #6 of 18
It doesn't sound to me like you have a problem from your description. It sounds like your boy wants to play and chase is a game.My newest arrival Prowler chases all our cats, even my Alpha. They hiss and growl to drive her away but she is tenacious, and they are a cat so off they go. Finally they turn it around and chase her. If they were jumping her, pinning her, or rolling with her, I would know I have a problem. But quite honestly, from what I have read, it sounds like you think there is a problem and they are are just figuring this new balance out. Nowhere did I read that they were locked in battle, or that blood was shed. If cats are going to fight, they go at it right away. They don't plan things, but litter box ambushes. Also be sure that you feed the male first (put down his own foodbowl first) then feed the female. Don't feed them close together, but do feed them int he same room. Make sure they both have a water bowl, and their own litter pans- you should have 3

And stand at the ready with the blanket just in case, but my guess is, unless you hear snarls of pain and anger, you won't have to use it.

Good luck!
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hissy, I didn't have courage to let them have free access to each other but let them sniff through glass door. Old cat actually purred and only hissed once. New cat sniffed a bit and waited til she put her face to gap and then swiped at her face. Me and my partner then separated them. I know you have a lot of experience in this area but when you are unfamiliar with this working things out phase, it seems a real possibility that new cat could get slashed with claws in her face and be badly hurt.
they are fed in separate rooms so far so maybe I will try feeding in same room. Feed male first (new cat) - why is that, because he is the one doing all chasing? Why does he slash at her if he only chases for play? Thank you for your patience so far with an anxious owner.
post #8 of 18
No problem, and caution is always best. Claws are sharp and bite marks are nasty to deal with. Do what you are comfortable in doing. If you can, put a screen door or a couple of baby gates between them first so they can smell each other, and neither will get hurt. You can stretch the baby gates vertically to cover the doorway. I don't mean to sound nonchalant about the process. I guess I have just been doing this for so long that certain posts raise my alert flag, and others do not. My alert flag wasn't raised by yours. But you have one more thing to consider than most. One of your cats has been through a traumatic experience, and like it or not, that always changes the cat one way or the other.

I would do the vanilla extract and the plug-ins though. The extract goes on several times a day,not a lot just a bit. I wish you the best
post #9 of 18
Hi Tara!
Sounds like you have quite the household! We just adopted a jr cat ~ 8-9 mos that was out in the wild for a long time it seemed and she is very petite. Our Sasha is 12 and very gentle, so we didn't have your tense adjustment issues at the outset, but I was responding because of the body language signals you were speaking of. It certainly appears that they're adjusting and posturing to feel each other doesn't sound too ominous to me, as Saba postured with Sasha quite a bit (although he wasn't to deterred by the little pip squeak of a girl cat trying to be a diva!) and the body language was very similar...but no ears flat and no "ready to rumble" positions were ever taken. I was alarmed too, but as compared to other really bad meetings, their's was completely normal. She was so used to being confronted by bigger cats that she just assumed Sasha was a huge monster and that delayed the adjustment quite a bit until now. It's been 5 weeks and they kiss at least twice a day! I am very interested in your thread so do keep updating if you can!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
thanks hissy. i think you are right in that i need to calm down. My partner is being very negative about the situation and is very protective of our old cat. He said 'how would we feel if she loses an eye' and all this is not helping. I will try feeding them together and see what happens. thanks again.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just seen your reply Elizabeth; thanks for reassurance. I think maybe I am worrying whereas I could just accept some swiping as inevitable but it appears that my old cat is in a very precarious position. When Sasha and Saba first met face-to-fasce, what actually happened? Did they swipe at each other?
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by Tara
Just seen your reply Elizabeth; thanks for reassurance. I think maybe I am worrying whereas I could just accept some swiping as inevitable but it appears that my old cat is in a very precarious position. When Sasha and Saba first met face-to-fasce, what actually happened? Did they swipe at each other?

I had a very good teacher: Hissy! I knew that she intro'd her cats by creating a cat room upstairs just for the new arrival and it has a chicken wire gate. So Eric & I rigged up a similar thing across the upstairs den door, and Saba could stare at Sasha all she wanted. Sasha was very curious as to his new baby sister.... he had a new kitten brother about a year+ ago who later died of leukemia at just 8 mos, and he was very attached to him, so we were hoping that history would repeat itself and he would delight in having a new baby sister who desperately needed a home. After 2 days we let Saba out upstairs and she walked over to Sasha and yes, swatted him -- but she's so petite, it was only an air swipe! Sasha was unimpressed by this diva action and went over to a corner and sat down. This totally confounded Saba! She was "ready to rumble" in her little brain. But Eric & I tried to be united stress-free front and we picked up Sasha and kissed him all over....and would pick up Saba right after that and kiss her all over in plain view of each other. So she learned to identify kisses to Sasha as the same for her. We only were affectionate, never scolded.

Saba did swipe at him and caught a little fur, but this was only in the first week and yes, it happened face to face. Sasha had his ears back after that and he'd arch up -- pretty intense for mellow Mr S. -- and that was as bad as it got. When I saw that happen, I gently picked her up, kissed her, put her back down and praised her and praised him together..... one hand petting each at the same time! I was hoping that they'd both feel my soothing hand on their backs and think the other was doing it!

I think you are going to need some patience here, because your situation with the new one is coming off trauma....and chicken wire, if you can rig it up, is the best. I would sit in front of her "room" for hours at a time, reading, or just having Sasha calmly on my lap -- and reading, as the visual of "being a united loving family" is also important! Every day was a new baby step....and please know that there may be such small progress you can't really see it less hiss, one less arch of the back.....tiny things. My siutation was a bit different, but again, the body language was very telling.
I would like to hear what happens. I do no tknow if I have helped, but reading responses sometimes you'll find just a word or two that you can make work for your own situation.

P.S. - We do have a Feliway plug-in dispenser upstairs in the hallway and also downstairs in the fam room. Saba ate upstairs in her room for a long time, Sasha eats down in the kitchen (they just started eating together). Saba had an upstairs litter and Sasha is an outdoor boy, but he also has a backup donwstairs as he's in at nights due to the coyotes.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes, it does help me to read about your experiences, Elizabeth. Makes me think that my two may be able to work things out. I just fed them either side of glass door. Old cat hissed and growled a couple of times and was happy to eat. She was also purring a lot but maybe a stress-purr? new cat did not want to eat, though I know he was hungry. He sat crouched by the gap in the door- ears pricked. It could seem as if they are getting better together but last time he seemed ok and then lashed out at her. When he chases her he goes into crouch and stalk position, the same way he does with his toys, so perhaps it is more play. I think he is a very insecure and disturbed cat, though and part of me does wonder if he is too much for me to cope with. I find him quite scary sometimes and find it difficult to relax around him as he will bite out of the blue. I can sometimes pick him up but he is just as likely to go to bite me. He does not want me to stroke him when the cats are meeting so all I can do is sit next to him and talk to him. When looking for a cat to adopt, I told the person from welfare society that I wanted a cat that had proved difficult to re-home. I have been known to feel as if I might regret that optimism though.I am going to leave them apart and try again tomorrow and will let you know if there is any progress.
post #14 of 18
Tara, first off - don't give up. Ever. Not only are you re-homing a re-homed cat, so to speak, for the second or third time, but you're coming off physical trauma too. That's a double-whammy. I mean, Saba was/is a little ox when we got her. So multiply by 2 times at least! the timeframe everyone is giving you for adjustment. I think you're doing GREAT!!!! Look at how empathetic you are. And please tell your man that the less stress and negative vibes in the house you have, the sooner the good vibes will replace them, the sooner things will adjust. I sense the best thing they have going for them right now is YOU. And I can feel it through the screen, you're doing wonderful! Humans really try and project their own programming onto kitties and it just doesn't work that way. Keep happy around them, calm, talk calm, maybe keep a daily "behavior/angst journal" and see how it progresses. Sometimes you feel so bad and dejected and then the next morning - shazam!
post #15 of 18
I have similiar issues at my house... my sixteen year old does what i call the dont touch me hiss... no real fighting just a few chase your it game from the younger one..
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by hissy
If they were jumping her, pinning her, or rolling with her, I would know I have a problem.
My two will do this sometimes, jump on each other and roll around, bunny kicking each other. Does this mean I have a real problem?

Then again, right now they are curled up together sleeping... after grooming each other.

Tara don't lose hope! I know how you feel, I'm going through a similar thing as Max is a fraidy cat and my kitten Baylee is a brat and won't give him peace. Just hang in there - we'll get through it together, k?
post #17 of 18
Also don't be scared of your cat. He will feed on that and it will cause him to stress and he will attack you. If he has a habit of staring at you, when you meet his eyes, stare back by slowly, very slowly and do this a few times, blink. It takes away the threat. If you watch two cats before they fight (something I see quite a bit here outside with new strays/ferals) they stare at each other never wavering. The first one to blink allows the other cat to start to relax.If they don't blink, they launch at each other, and they go airborne, 2-3 feet. Now that is scary.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for responding. It's a new day in England and I've woken up to some very supportive and reassuring posts - and I do feel more optimistic today. New cat is still too nervous to eat when near old cat (when can't touch each other) so I feel that, for me, it is best to take things really slowly. Poor new cat, he has been through a terrible time and he's a lovely cat in many ways. I sometimes sleep in his room with him and he curls up with me and rubs all round my face. It's just that he is erratic and Hissy, I know I shouldn't be scared but it's not so easy! I do the blinking thing with him and it does work. Most of the time he attacks because of play. I was reading something Hissy wrote on another post about probs with biting ankles/hands, which is exactly what he does but it also makes sense because the people at the vets used to let him play with their hands. He would only play bite/knaw at them and they seemed to think it was great fun but not surprisingly he thinks this is ok behaviour. Today I work on providing positivity and will keep you all informed as to how things go. To those who are also having similar difficulties, I'd love to know how thongs turnn out for you and what works.
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