Advice: Separating bonded cats, less than a year old

BBee

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I have two cats (9 month male and 11 month female) that have been together for 6 months and they seem to be bonded. The female cat and my wife do not get along and it has created quite some tension in the household. I really want to keep both but that isn’t option with my wife. So we decided to see if we can re-home the female cat while keeping the male.

I want to know if it will really affect the male cat? Is it already too late to separate them?

Another piece of info is that the male cat has never been alone. He was in foster care with his litter mates until we adopted him where he was home with the female cat while my wife and I were at work, and now with quarantine we are all home all the time.
 

cataholic07

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Its normal for cats to be different because you are home all the time. Some cats arent too happy because people can be quite needy lol. Have you tried having you wife be the only one to feed her, play with her and give her treats? That can help the female cat see her as a good thing. It will take time but it can help, the main thing is your wife cant be angry with her.
 
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BBee

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Its normal for cats to be different because you are home all the time. Some cats arent too happy because people can be quite needy lol. Have you tried having you wife be the only one to feed her, play with her and give her treats? That can help the female cat see her as a good thing. It will take time but it can help, the main thing is your wife cant be angry with her.
Thank you for taking the to help us out. Yes my wife has been the only one to feed, play, and give treats for the past 2 months. Now I’m stuck with trimming nails and brushing teeth lol. She even started clicker training with the female cat because we heard that can strengthen the bond. But no changes yet. I know these changes can take a long time but we also don’t want to miss the “adoption window” while the cat is still young. I fear if we keep trying to fix this and in a year or so it doesn’t work out it’ll be much harder to find a new home and could be more emotionally detrimental for both cats to be split up. Maybe sooner would be better than later?
 

danteshuman

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Get rid of the wife? I suggest marriage counseling & that your wife works to build a relationship with the cat. Things are often not about the thing a couple is arguing about. Also you should not live your life under the threat of doom this if I’m gone.’

Cats are not accessories! You adopted two thinking, feeling beings! Older/adult sized cats rarely get adopted.... So you would be sentencing that poor cat to live in a shelter or loose everything she knows?!? Why because she dislikes your wife? Would you give up your child because they dislike your wife? Look I will be honest, for 3 years my x-husband absolutely HATED my cat! Then I had a bad MS attack that crippled me & a year later my x and once’s me to go live with his mistress! I kid you not. That cat that he hated, was an angel that got me through my darkest times!

Your wife should take up all the feeding of both cats. She should also play with both of them, once a day for 20 minutes. If the female cat won’t play, she should play with the male in front of her. Look of the video clips of Jackson Galaxy showing how to do the Passover .... where one person starts petting a cat & then the other person takes over.


There’s boys are a bonded pair. So every weekend I spend 1 night at my mom’s so they can be together. After Nick lost half his tail & none of the cats would let him near .... then his visiting brother came close. You could see Nick’s relief as Jackie got close. A bonded pair is a magical thing. If you rehome them (which I REALLY hope you do not rehome them!) please at least rehome them together!
300BAB78-D240-4F45-87D6-0FB922ABEB1E.jpeg

included are some snapshots of the hundreds of pictures I have of this bonded pair together, so you can see how special it is. I’m sure you have hundreds of pictures of your two cats together.
 

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danteshuman

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I saw that your wife is trying. (Which is great news! So maybe marriage counciling I isn’t needed!) Sadly you passed the adoption window when they hit 5-6 months. 😿

When you say the cat doesn’t like her, what do you mean? Jackie likes other people but I am his human, so the bond is different.

Perhaps your wife should get a (3rd) cat that is/wants to bond to her? I clicker train my part siamese cat to. 😸
 

ArtNJ

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Yeah, what is the issue with the wife and this cat, maybe we can help.

Cats do grieve when a pet they are friends with dies or leaves, and there behavior can change in surprising ways. Not to mention, 1 years old is like the peak of young adult activity, a time when many people basically lose their minds because their hyper 1 year old is destroying their house. Losing a playmate now is like the worst possible time, and is going to leave the cat with so much more energy and no way to get it out. The remaining cat will likely cause more trouble and be a lot more demanding as well. Cats are very adaptable and I dont want to over exaggerate anything, but it is definitely true that there will likely be some real issues if you proceed.
 
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BBee

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I saw that your wife is trying. (Which is great news! So maybe marriage counciling I isn’t needed!) Sadly you passed the adoption window when they hit 5-6 months. 😿

When you say the cat doesn’t like her, what do you mean? Jackie likes other people but I am his human, so the bond is different.

Perhaps your wife should get a (3rd) cat that is/wants to bond to her? I clicker train my part siamese cat to. 😸
What I mean when I say the doesn’t like her is that the cat will sleep with me, groom me, rub her head on me, and let me pet her but won’t do any of that stuff with my wife. Even when my wife tries to pet her she dodges the hand. She’s even tried to pet the same way I do (which I don’t think is anything special) but the cat still dodge. The cat basically wants nothing to do with my wife.
And yes my wife is trying very hard and loves the cat which is why she has working on it but I can tell it’s taking a toll after trying for months and getting nowhere.
 
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BBee

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Yeah, what is the issue with the wife and this cat, maybe we can help.

Cats do grieve when a pet they are friends with dies or leaves, and there behavior can change in surprising ways. Not to mention, 1 years old is like the peak of young adult activity, a time when many people basically lose their minds because their hyper 1 year old is destroying their house. Losing a playmate now is like the worst possible time, and is going to leave the cat with so much more energy and no way to get it out. The remaining cat will likely cause more trouble and be a lot more demanding as well. Cats are very adaptable and I dont want to over exaggerate anything, but it is definitely true that there will likely be some real issues if you proceed.
I didn’t think about the cat to human age conversion. I totally agree that she’s going into her teens and it would be hard to loose that close friend. Also the possible repercussions to the male cats behavior. Thanks for your input, I’ll for sure take this into consideration too
 

Neko-chan's mama

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Maybe your wife is loving on the cat too hard? Sometimes ignoring a cat will make them like you more. Besides that, if you must rehome please rehome them together. It is heartbreaking to see a cat grieve the loss of a companion. Trust me, you do not want to see that.
 

Lari

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It's not the same situation, but my husband and I each brought a cat into our household when we moved in together, and my girl spent a year acting like she was afraid of my husband, dodging him and running away. I do think he tried to force petting too soon, as she's rather skittish and it's better to let her come to you, which was opposite to how his cat operates.

Anyway, point being that now she accepts him and while she's more loving with me, they've been able to bond. So it might just take more time.

(One thing I noticed Lelia did before she allowed touching was that she would roll around in clothes my husband left on the floor. I kept pointing out that meant she liked his scent and therefore him, but it still took a while for him to see it)
 

danteshuman

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Sadly most people adopt baby kittens. So once they hit 4-6 months old and look full grown, people will not adopt them! 😢 (even though they are not fully grown until they are 2 years old.)

Also moving is extremely stressful to a cat. Imagine your house burning down and you loose everything ..... then you have to move to a different state, surrounded by strangers.

If you decide to rehome them, we can tell you what they should take with them, so it is less stressful.

⭐Has your wife tried not touching her for at least a month, doing slow blinks & sitting in the same room as the reluctant kitty & reading outloud for 30-60 minutes a day? Even if she isn’t talking the full hour, just sitting & calmly being in the same room as her, every day should help.

⭐cats view direct eye contact as a threat. Like someone yelling “I will f*** you up!” Or “come at me bro!” A slow blink is a kitty hug. Looking (indirectly) at your cat and closing your eyes for 1-2 seconds, repeat 2-5 times. I noticed my cat likes it when he isn’t in mydirect line of sight but off to the side of my vision. Maybe try practicing a slow blink with your cats and then teaching it to your wife? The goal is to get a slow blink back from your cats.

⭐does your wife speak/know cat body language? The reformed feral gets hyper sensitive from to much petting. His only warning is the tip of his tail twitches (instead of the whole tail.) Some cats body language is more subtle.
 

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Does your wife wear perfume or other scents that you don't? Maybe she doesn't smell right?
 
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BBee

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My wife doesn’t really wear perfume (especially since quarantine) so I don’t think it’s a smell thing, unless the cat doesn’t like my wife’s natural smell. And we both understand cat communication, like dont stare and do slow blinks.
Just like what Nemo-Chan’s mama said above maybe she is loving the cat too much, like trying to pet and cuddle. And the cat was feral when brought to the shelter. She along with her litter mate was from a hoarding house and were treated very poorly. My wife always goes to the cat so now she is only going to pet the cat if the cat walks up to her. Hopefully this along with all the other suggestions things will get better.
 

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It might have nothing to do with you wife.

We have two male cats from the same litter.

Arnold is very friendly to me. He sleeps with me almost every night I am home. He cuddles with me BIG time, when we are in bed or watching tv. He is my buddy and sees me as his property. Arnold will not allow Greg, the other cat, in the bedroom with me, nor is he all
owed to watch tv with me. Arnold will stare greg down and has even chased him from the room I am in.

As a result greg has never bonded with me. In his mind I am off limits. On the other hand, he has strongly bonded with my wife.

Arnold will tolerate my wife, but does do the "ducking away" motion sometimes if she tries to pet him.

I accept that I likely wont ever have a close relationship with greg.

My wife accepts that i am arnolds favorite.


When I first met my wife, she had two cats. One was a big orange male named Skitter. He put up with me but his love and loyalty always remained with my wife......I respected him for that.

Thats the price of sharing your life with a cat. They arent dogs.

If you are looking for two cats that are equally affectionate to both you and your wife..........you might be going thru a lot of cats.

My suggestion. Put your feet up and just enjoy the ride.
 

fionasmom

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This sounds like a case of a cat liking one person better than the other. I had thought for a minute that the cat had possibly done something aggressive to your wife which resulted in an injury or was exhibiting very bad behavior like spraying the whole house.

We have one male cat, Jamie, who is very bonded to my husband which is great. He is also bonded to me. Elise, a young female of about 2 is warming up to DH ( she just became an indoor cat three months ago) and he is desperate for her to decide that she likes him. The other three cats could care less about my husband and always walk away from him despite the fact that he has never done anything to them. Two of the cats really only see me as a source of food for that matter.

I could go on and on with stories of cats who are bonded to one family member or another but ignore the remaining humans. It is unfortunately the nature of cats, or maybe not unfortunately. You don't always get the guaranteed bond that you do with 99% of dogs.

I agree that this is not a great age to rehome an adult cat and you might break your boy's heart when she leaves....which goes into the whole grieving cat discussion which is also on the site in other places.
 

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Worse than gieving....if the loney male is upset, he might start acting up......."spraying", or his health may be affected.
 

Krienze

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Is the cat attacking your wife? If the cat just seems to dislike her, I don't think that's a reason to rehome. Sometimes cats just don't bond with certain people, but so long as the cat isn't attacking and just repassing with her, maybe taking the time to form a bond is something you can do. I don't think it happens over night. We've had Jasper and Mia for 5 months now and they are only just now starting to tolerate my step dad
 

Docs Mom

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Every cat chooses his person. Some of my cats own me.... and some own my husband. We even have one, Moon a former feral, that I cannot ever interact with. Just Bill, he is a totally different cat when I am not around.

My point being, they are bonded to each other. Let them choose their favorite human. Explain to your wife NOT to take it personally. Maybe when she accepts that and stops pursuing the female.
Things just might change, and maybe they won't...


In the words of the BEATLES " just let it be..." and keep them both !!!
 
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