Cats not getting along

DMitchell22

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I got a kitten, Dusk, in September 2020, he was maybe a month old. I had always intended to get a second cat and in June 2021 I saw an ad at the local shelter for Eva who was, like Dusk, a black cat with a bad eye (Dusk with enucleation before he came to me and Eva with whatever you call a ghost eye) so I had to bring her home.

Only thing is she was 15 at the time, technically geriatric. Immediately Dusk attacks her whenever she is on the ground. Any time he sees her and she's on the floor, he like hunts her. He wont touch her once she reaches a chair or couch or bed or anything that isnt the floor. It seems like play on his part with an unclear amount of legitimate agression but it won't stop. It's see the cat, attack the cat and to this day that hasn't changed no matter what the discipline I try or influencing to keep a distance there is just no getting through to him.

At one point I even put Eva on rehoming sites but probably due to her age there was never a single inquiry even. No one was even curious. Just me I guess. And I won't take her back to the shelter, that's no place to end your life. So without other options i settled on adding a younger cat to maybe take the attention off Eva and give him someone to maybe reciprocate his energy.

So in September of 2021, I brought home Elsa, a 6 year old cat that I saw at the shelter and fell in love with. She was surrendered because of a divorce (so sad) and had been good with other cats and showed energy and alertness. I knew it was still a gamble and sure enough it's been unsuccessful. He doesn't go after her with the same tenacity, frequency, and complete devotion that he does with Eva but he still shows the aggressive behavior with her and it is definitely unwanted. It's like he doesn't understand and or care one bit about antisocial queues. Hissing and defensive body language mean absolutely nothing to him. He is the most unwaveringly persistent creature I've ever seen.

There have been minuscule improvements. In the beginning there were all out fights but that rarely happens now if at all, but the aggressive attacking and stalking hasn't gotten better. And on extremely rare occasions, maybe 2 or 3 times total now, I've seen Dusk and Elsa peacefully yet apprehensively touch noses. Incidently, Eva and Elsa don't interact at all, they are completely indifferent to each other.

The biggest problem is because of the basic layout and lack of physical doors within my home, there's not any way to separate any of them at all. I have put Dusk in time out in the carrier when altercations are particularly bad because it's the only method of isolation I have but it seems to have zero effect on behavior. Will he ever grow out of this? I don't need them like cuddling and best buds but just stopping the attacking would be 100% better.

I mean Elsa and Dusk both independently love to play, there's gotta be some tiny possibility they could enjoy playing together but the current trajectory isn't optimistic. Is this just going to be the permanent dynamic in this home? What do? Help.

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FeebysOwner

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Hi. I don't have much to offer, but have you tried distraction tactics with Dusk? Throwing a kickeroo toy his way when he is about to pounce, or otherwise interrupting his planned attack with interactive play between the two of you? Also, before placing him in the carrier, I would pick him up and either say a firm 'No' or hiss in his face - each and every time. Since no 'time out' should last longer than a minute or two, place the carrier in the bathroom with the door closed, or just place him in the bathroom and close the door. Any 'time out' lasting longer than that defeats the purpose because by the time you let him out, he has already forgotten why he was in there in the first place. Whatever tactics you use should be done each and every time in order for them to eventually be effective.

What do you do when you are not home? You probably should find a way to separate them when you can't watch them. There are makeshift gates that might work if you have entryways between rooms. One such gate is crafted from storage shelving you can buy at most any home improvement store. You set them on their side and attach each piece with zip ties - to make an accordion type of door than can be easily opened and closed over an entryway between two rooms for convenience. The bigger the entryway, the more pieces you can zip tie together. It could also be used for Dusk's 'time outs'. A lot of the shelving can also be cut to size so that it is as tall as you need it to be. I've included a pic below of an example because I am sure my description isn't the best.

I've also included a link to another TCS articles about behavior problems in case there are any tips for you to try in it!
Cat Behavior Problems [What to do and what not to do] – TheCatSite Articles

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Tobermory

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You could also try Feliway Multicat plug-in diffusers. It's an artificial feline pheromone that's supposed to "reduce common signs of tension and conflict between cats at home such as fighting, chasing and blocking." (From the Feliway website.) I've used it successfully in the past when I've introduced new cats to our current cat residents. My previous vet and my current vet both have Feliway diffusers in their exam rooms. And the shelter where I used to volunteer used it in the two common areas where the cats were allowed to mingle. Not all cats are affected by it, though, so you'll see that some people say it didn't work for their cats. It's kind of like catnip: Not all cats react to it.

They also have a new one called Optimum which I've never used. According to the Feliway site, it has an even better track record.

Might be worth a try!
 

DB89014

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is there any opening in your home that you could stack expandable gates on top of each other to keep them separated but still see each other? when i was first introducing my cats i used 3 gates all stacked on top of each other and the bottom one had a "people gate" so i only had to take down the middle one if i wanted to get through. then maybe you can start from the beginning with the gradual introductions using the calming phermones and maybe any antianxiety remedy in their food? dont give up my first cat acted like he needed an exorcism when i first brought in my newer cats and it took a long time but he eventually came around.
 

DillandAnnie

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We have a similar dynamic between our 2 cats at home. Our younger one is aggressive/territorial towards our older cat and will stalk him. We think it’s playful, but she’s relentless and doesn’t pick up on his cues that he’s not interested and it escalates. This has been getting worse over the last 2.5 years.

For separating them, we ran into the same problem with having no doors in our house. We have tried several solutions, but the best has been something called a Zip Wall (ZipDoor® Standard Door Kit - ZipWall Dust Barrier System). It’s a clear, heavy duty plastic sheet that you can tape to a door frame and unzip/roll up when you don’t need it. We’ve had ours up for several months and it’s still pretty sturdy. Sometimes the cats crawl underneath, so we just put something heavy on the bottom to stop them. It’s not the prettiest, but it has helped to separate them during mealtimes, etc.

We also decided to start our younger cat on medication. Our older cat was diagnosed with disk disease and we were worried she would possibly hurt his back with her rough play. She went through a couple of meds before we settled on Prozac. The meds have greatly reduced her fixation on him and her anxiety over food and other resources. I know some people are hesitant to try medication, but it could be an option if nothing else is working.

I hope things start to turn around. I know it’s stressful when our cats don’t get along 😔
 

Robyn5678

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I have a similar situation. I have a 17 year old female cat and this winter I took on 3 kittens (2 boys 1 girl).

the kittens don’t bother her much, one likes to follow her. The 2 boys she will growl and hiss at and chase but never fights. The girl tho, she will full out attack her. I bought a gate to separate them. I feed them on each side gradually moving the bowls closer to the gate. I’m hoping at some point they can coexist peacefully.


Your pet will love this Frisco Steel Extra Tall Auto-Close Dog Gate, 41-in, Black:
https://app.chewy.com/xnDjNrlTVpb
 

japam

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Hi, watch jackson galaxy season 3 episode 1 'cat fight'.

"""
Emile and Mike can't leave their two cats alone as one will viciously attack the other.
Justin and Susanne can't agree on how to handle their energetic Bengal cat who constantly attacks Susan
"""

The jist or solution was slow feed bowl for the aggressor and creating options for the prey to escape vertically, i.e wall shelves, so they can't be cornered, once the foundations are in place, then move onto play sessions together.

Cats don't discipline other cats with time outs.
 

maggie101

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2 of my cats adore each other-on the couch
Maggie no one likes is on the tower. Coco is afraid of her,Peaches does what she wants,when she wants. So Maggie tries to platy with her but peaches growls. Coco never defends herself so she mostly stays on the couch. I think because Coco acts defenseless is one reason Maggie doesn't like her. Maggie is also very territorial. A tower would be help ful. All females 7,8,9 yrs old.
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ArtNJ

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Hi, watch jackson galaxy season 3 episode 1 'cat fight'.

"""
Emile and Mike can't leave their two cats alone as one will viciously attack the other.
Justin and Susanne can't agree on how to handle their energetic Bengal cat who constantly attacks Susan
"""

The jist or solution was slow feed bowl for the aggressor and creating options for the prey to escape vertically, i.e wall shelves, so they can't be cornered, once the foundations are in place, then move onto play sessions together.

Cats don't discipline other cats with time outs.
His solution for almost everything is to build stuff. I'm not saying that stuff is irrelevant -- I've seen the increased confidence elevated spaces bring, its a real thing -- but it just seems like careful editting when he recommends that for every single problem, and then shows things magically working out later in the episode. I'm imagining what happens when a couple says "Jackson we spent $3,000 building stuff on top of your fees, and its still a murder house here, what do we do" and he says "I have some new sprays and calming collars!" That one, they don't show on tv...
 
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