Cat Bully?

Real_Tortitude

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Hi everyone! I'm new to the site, and I'm looking for a bit of help.

We adopted a new cat (Theo) a few months ago. We have a resident cat (Zoe) and there is some serious bully behavior going on from Theo.

A bit of background, we kept them completely separate for a few weeks. Theo had her own room, and we did a lot of scent swapping. Both cats were able to eat close to each other with the door separating them, the build up seemed like it was going well.

Then the time came for a face to face and everything went sideways. We tried to have them start on opposite sides of the room with me and my GF taking a cat and playing with them in a corner. Eventually they got curious and got close to each other. There was hissing and posturing (all things we were prepared for) but after a while Theo began hunting Zoe, and that's how the relationship has been 2 months in.

We let Theo roam the house with Zoe, but Theo will run up the her, back arched and tail puffed, and will not allow Zoe to move. As soon as Zoe gets up to walk Theo chases her until Zoe finds a hiding spot.

The behavior doesn't seem to be slowing down, and Zoe is now scared whether or not Theo is around. Any help with a good way to help curb this bullying would be very helpful
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
There is hopefully something in these articles that will help;
How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide

If this were me I'd give Zoe her own space in a room with just her things so that she can get a break from Theo. This much stress that you're describing is hard on a cat and can cause health issues. Give her cat music, and love on her a lot - there's spotify, youtube, RelaxMyCat and MusicForCats as sources to consider.
 

ArtNJ

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I think what can mainly be gleaned from those articles would be, try backing up and doing a longer slower introduction process (with some step by step guidance). That would be a normal recommendation and is probably correct. However, Theo's behavior does sound a bit odd; I haven't seen things go quite like its described if I'm reading it correctly. What are the ages of the cats, and are you able to post a video? I can't help but feel I might be missing/misunderstanding something, and the ages and a video might help!
 
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Real_Tortitude

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Hi, thanks for the advice. We figured a reintroduction might be needed (and we don't want Zoe to be stressed!!!).

The cats are around the same age, about a year old.

Theo on her own isn't super aggressive, but once she lays eyes on Zoe she goes into a hunting mode, stalking, staring, testing boundaries (all the time puffing out her tail as much as she can). After a little while she'll walk away for a minute and then come right and star the process all over again. And if Zoe tries to move (to use the litter box or get food) she chases her until Zoe hides under something. Sometimes she'll even follow her into the hiding spot.
 

ArtNJ

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Is there still hissing? I'm thinking Theo might be playing. That doesn't necessarily change much, since whatever it is, its badly stressing the other cat and not improving months in, but I think its helpful to be precise.

(Reasoning: a puffy tail and arched back are not necessarily inconsistent with play. And this is a one year old cat, the most playful age. If there is no hissing, I'm pretty sure its play.)
 
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Real_Tortitude

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Theo dosen't hiss, but Zoe does as well as yowling and once what sounded like a human scream. My gut says it's play, but I also feel like Theo's trying to assert some kind of dominance. Especially because of how she tries to keep Zoe in one place and chases her at any movement.
 

ArtNJ

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Eh, whether one uses the term dominance or not (I don't) the simple truth is that many kittens through at least one year olds can be real PITAs with their excessive enthusiasm for play and their complete disregard for the wishes of the other cat. It is just a real common thing, and its often a huge problem, especially when the other cat is older. The issue is why is Zoe taking it so hard. Normally within a couple of months you can see at least some slow progress towards toleration even with a tough case. Not to mention, two one year olds have like a 95%+ chance to be friends. I guess my recommendation is still the same, try a reintroduction process.

Is Zoe very skittish generally? If so, you might think about talking to the vet about medication to help when you put them together again. If she isn't skittish generally, maybe Theo accidentally hurt her or something and the reintroduction will fix things.

At bottom, these are still two one year old cats. I'm going to bet they will get there and be friends with a little help. Good luck!
 
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