Newly introduced cats: attack or rough play incident?

cat nap

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Thanks so much for celebrating with me!! :celebrate: I couldn't have gotten here without your and Xena44 Xena44
's awesome advice and support! Yay! You all rock. :heartshape:
Sure. Anytime. We have to celebrate the small victories...around cats...because other days...they will lead us to question, "huh? why?...just why?".:lol:. :nono::whistle::jive: .It's all in the fun of living with these small amazing creatures. They totally make life, ...way more interesting...and eventually peaceful and relaxing, too. :cloud9: :catrub:

Oh, and you also rock, too. :rock:...along with Baguette and Freddie...of course.
The cats are the stars of the show...us humans are just along for the adventure.:lovecat: :coolcat: :clover:
Yes it does seem like Freddie really likes to nip Baguette! I didn't realize that was happening until I rewatched the video at the slowest setting. Is that a normal type of move in cat play? I also wonder if her hormones are also still present, but winding down, and it's some kind of mating behavior? It's been about 6 weeks since she was spayed now. Either way like you said, she's gonna teach him to stop :evilgrin:
Yes, I also had to watch it at the slowest setting to actually see stuff that I missed, too.

I think you are right...and that Baguette's Scent might still be giving off some mating pheromones...but that they are winding down.
Right in the beginning of the video...Freddie still looks 'slightly activated' by her Scent. (I think you used the word, 'activated' before,..and it's so appropriate...in what we are seeing.)

Biting does happen a lot when kittens are playing.
They learn from each other...when the biting gets to be too rough or painful...they definitely cry out, growl, hiss, yowl...and the playfight becomes a bit more intense...but usually it does end...since each cat does not want to get hurt...but rather..play again some more...later on.
With mating...I'm not too sure...since I always thought that the male bites the female on the top of the neck/scruff..and holds her there...so I don't really know why he would want to bite the flank...or body.

Some more things that I noticed in the video:
0:07 mark...we see Baggie's paw on top of the couch. I find that so cute...since it looks like they are playing a game of paws, there.
0:14 mark...he either goes in...to bite at her...or sniff her...but whatever he does...it totally annoys and aggravates Baguette...so it looks like she uses...her left paw...to backhand his face. (I'm not sure why...but that backhand paw move...is thoroughly interesting to me...since I don't know if I've seen that before. Because cat strikes are so fast...I always thought they were full paw out...with claws...but that one did not look like that. anyhow, it was just interesting to see...that it was a backhand paw move.)
Freddie does use his left paw..and seems to clip her on the ear. But she gets him back, by a paw to his arm.

At the 0:20 mark....it looks like he goes to bite her again.
Bad move...since she has enough. She swipes him with her paw
0:21 mark...it looks like Baggie yells at him, hisses, ears flat...she moves back.
0:24 mark...Baggie is still so angry...but Freddie looks away.
What is amazing about this part...is that if Baguette really wanted to ...she could have attacked Freddie...right there when he looked away...but she does not.:greenpaw:

At 0:30 mark ...Freddie goes away...and at 0:31 mark...we see Baggie's ear pop back up.
0:32 mark...Freddie looks to come back and look at her...but decides to approach from a bit further away.
Then he just kind of moves away. And he totally listens to your voice at the 0:39 mark.

I totally missed the part where you gave Baguette some treats, too. :hellocat:
That was really good. :)

My favourite part of the video...is at 1:08 mark...where Baguette is seen peeking up from the back of the couch...and licking her lips.:biggrin:
That's my all time favorite.
I just love the look that she gives Freddie with her eyes.:evilgrin: :lol:
I have no idea what that look is...but it does look like she's telling him..."yeah, I'm watching you."..."don't think you're getting all the treats, big guy".

(Remember, too,...that these are merely seconds...taken out of the big picture...of how they're interactions went.
Focusing on these seconds ...might not even be too fair...for our cats...because I think you are right...that cats don't see fighting...or actual playfighting ...quite the same way that humans do.
But I do believe that what happens afterwards...and how the cats act afterwards....that tells us a lot of how they are feeling.
Somehow, I also find by looking at the videos closely...it spurs some more ideas...that we might not really have noticed...if we just did an overview. (Idk...maybe that's just me...but I enjoy the break down, analysis. I find cat behaviour quite interesting.)

Things like:
How the cats regroup, unwind, relax...time it takes them to relax...and how...differently they act around each other...after each time they meet...or play again. :bluepaw::greenpaw:

Play can easily turn into aggressive play-fights...and even real fights...but I think it matters...on the levels of aggression...that are seen,...so that you can try to find ways ...to implement less intensity...and less aggression ...in their play...with each other.
Finding ways to do this, is the difficult part.
Usually it's always through...more individual Play, Distraction, Food/treats....interactive toys, mental stimulation with food puzzles...and some members even do 'clicker training'...to keep their cat's mind's stimulated...so more cat energy is released.

Not sure if I linked to this website...on food puzzles...but some are very easy to try...and make yourself.
Homemade Puzzles - Food Puzzles for Cats
(my cats are not too keen or smart on some of the ones I've tried...or maybe on second thought...they are ultra smart...and just want me to constantly be showing them ...how to get the treat out of the diy container. haha. I can just see my cats laughing inwardly at me. lol.)
So, I do have one question about escape routes: is an escape route a "highway" for the cat to escape on, or rather a safe "destination"?

I ask because when Baguette is afraid of something
or Freddie lunges at her, her go-to spot/trajectory is usually under the bed. And I have feeling that she might end up cornered there in the future because she chooses to go there instead of up her cat tree for example. idk she might surprise me but...just curious if that is acceptable as an "escape route" or "escape destination"?
I love your questions...because they really bring out both the 'theory' and the 'practicality'...of the things we all have read about.
For escape routes...they totally are the paths that a cat takes to 'escape' from another cat...and it could be anything really...from walking on chairs, under chairs, around plants, obstacles, boxes, those tunnel toys, side tables, around furniture, up and over furniture,...really basically any route...that gives a cat quick access...to run to another place.

But yes, you are right...it's still useful for a cat to have an 'escape destination'.
I always seem to think of the 'destination'...as an actual 'safe room' ...or 'safe space'....which is away from the other cat...and allows the cat to thoroughly relax.

I don't see anything wrong with cats who want to run under beds...and feel safe there...since their backs are still protected...and the approaching cat will have to choose one entry point...while the cat underneath the bed could defend it's position and herself..but could also choose to run and hide, too.
(If the bed is up against a wall, then it might be a bit harder to escape from...when underneath...but it's still a good position to defend from...since the approaching cat...has to enter face first.)

I think the basic idea is just to not have any spaces...where things are blocked off...where there is only one way to exit...for a cat.

(But really my cats...especially Tepaul...puts herself into corners all the time. She just backs up into them, and then defends herself, from there. Then she gets really loud, vocal, and watches for a split second chance to run by Tripp. If she does it while running into the room I am in...then she kind of knows that I will get up...and move towards Tripp, clap my hands...or throw a pillow in their general direction to break them up. Tripp has learned that he has to back down and run away, at this point.)
I think your Freddie will learn things from the cues you do, too. Clapping, saying "noo and his/her name", throwing a toy, pillow, whatever is at hand...is good, too.
Also I live in a one bedroom apartment, and I have one cat tree in the living room and one in the bedroom (Baggie's room), but I don't have cat shelving or a "cat superhighway" where they have an elevated "circuit" necessarily.

I probably need to check with my landlord about installing shelves...but I'm curious if you have thoughts around other catification or escape route tips I might be able to set up as a renter. It seems like Baguette might be more of a "low to the ground cat" anyway so I definitely want to makes sure she has escape accommodations...or maybe hiding under the bed is fine...!
I don't think you necessarily need cat shelving or a 'cat superhighway'.
Your furniture, chairs, plants, beanbag chair...and any other side tables ...are easily accessible to the cats.
Anything really that slows down one cat...from full on pursuing another cat...is a good option.

Since you rent...then maybe looking into those modular shelving units or cube shelves...like they used to sell at ikea, perhaps homedepot, or even walmart...would be okay.
Cubbies and Cube Storage - Cube Storage - Storage & Organization - The Home Depot
Members have also used plastic milk crates, or wooden wine crates,...and glued remnant carpet pieces to them...and even made their own play trees from boxes, too.
Re-purposing old furniture...might also be useful...if you are into DIY.

(If you can make a side table using 2x4s, some flat wood for the top, and drills, screws, and place it in front of their favorite window perches...then this may be suitable spots for the cats to sleep on, too.)
Though, I think those window sill perches...shown...at the end of your video...look to be perfect, in every way already.
Both cats look very relaxed and comfy. :clover: :cloud9:

Maybe you should create another thread...specifically asking about
"renter friendly 'catification' ideas for apartments". :idea:
I'm sure that other members would have way more ideas than I've come up with. :agree:
 
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heybeanbag

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Howdy, I hope you are all doing well! :bluepaw: :kneading:
I haven't had much time lately to sit down and post a thoughtful update until now...! But things are going well :)

I've had Baggie and Freddie spend a lot more time together over the last week, both with Freddie harnessed, as well as unharnessed. As I suspected, especially earlier on in the week, a lot of their unharnessed interactions ended up under the bed, with Baggie hiding and fending off a very eager Freddie. Had to do a lot of "refereeing" and breaks!

Baggie still ends up under the bed at some point in most of their meetings - she definitely "owns" that area and has the advantage. But the ratio of her hiding under the bed vs her holding her ground/Freddie leaving her alone is definitely turning!

Every day I'm noticing great improvements in Freddie's ability to be more gentle with her, get bored and walk away, or retreat when she's telling him to back off.

And Baggie is really becoming more confident in holding her ground, or really making him run around and chase her at least! Thanks so much for your explanation of "escape routes", cat nap cat nap ! I am definitely seeing her take advantage of them in real time! Sometimes, instead of running directly under the bed, she'll jump on top of the bed, run across, go onto the night stand, onto the cat tree, window sill, etc. Giving Freddie the ol' run around. It's kind of interesting - I've seen her use a lot more furniture and surfaces that Freddie has never before touched! :blush: She's crafty!

In the last day or two as well, Baggie's started to hold her ground more in the main living areas of the apartment, and I've seen her defend her right to a sunny windowsill, which Freddie respected! Every day I'm noticing more and more "concessions" made by Freddie to Baguette, sometimes these moments of tolerance don't last incredibly long before he decides to touch her or chase her again, but I'm noticing the peaceful moments becoming more frequent and longer-lasting :)

The other day, they also had a true play session! For about 30 mins they played in the laundry I had hanging up and also in the tunnel/under the bed. There was little to no hissing, and def very playful body language. They were very engaged with each other. I haven't quite seen that level of engagement in mutual play again, but it warmed my heart!! Here is little highlight reel of some footage I was able to get of that interaction:


I'm also starting to think that when they get in wrestling matches, Baguette's hissing and growling (which is becoming less frequent) might be partially "for show" :lol: I think she truly is telling him to "back off," but it's not as "serious" as I thought it was. Reason why I think this is because she still recovers so quickly from interactions that seem "gnarly to me". Also, when it happens, I've been trying to take observe more closely, and I realized not much damage is actually being done even though there is a lot of vocalization. I think she also might somewhat enjoy being chased? I'm sure she gets sick of it after a while, and I do give them plenty of breaks so that she doesn't get stressed, but I feel like it might be their "style" of playing right now.

Actually as I'm typing this, I'm watching the two of them on the bedroom cat cam (I'm in the other room working) and Freddie is playing with a feather toy while Baguette observes from her hammock :blush: Yay!

One thing that might also be helping, is a few days ago I replaced the actual electric plug part of the diffuser for the Feliway plugins. I didn't realize that they need to be replaced after 6 months and mine were pretty old. So I'm not sure if having fresh plugs may be helping the "friendly pheromones" diffuse better!

Today I also received a Sentry calming collar in the mail that I'm going to try using on Freddie. I saw a hack where you can cut off a piece and attach it to a breakaway collar, so that way it's safer (less of a choking hazard) and you can get more uses out of a single collar. I don't see this as a permanent thing for Freddie, but I'm curious if it'll help him not chase her as much. I think they are making great progress, though! I gotta say, when you guys first said to not worry about leaving town at the end of June, I was skeptical! :lol: But now I am feeling really hopeful and positive!

Thanks so much for sticking along for the ride so far :)
 

Xena44

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Howdy, I hope you are all doing well! :bluepaw: :kneading:
I haven't had much time lately to sit down and post a thoughtful update until now...! But things are going well :)

I've had Baggie and Freddie spend a lot more time together over the last week, both with Freddie harnessed, as well as unharnessed. As I suspected, especially earlier on in the week, a lot of their unharnessed interactions ended up under the bed, with Baggie hiding and fending off a very eager Freddie. Had to do a lot of "refereeing" and breaks!

Baggie still ends up under the bed at some point in most of their meetings - she definitely "owns" that area and has the advantage. But the ratio of her hiding under the bed vs her holding her ground/Freddie leaving her alone is definitely turning!

Every day I'm noticing great improvements in Freddie's ability to be more gentle with her, get bored and walk away, or retreat when she's telling him to back off.

And Baggie is really becoming more confident in holding her ground, or really making him run around and chase her at least! Thanks so much for your explanation of "escape routes", cat nap cat nap ! I am definitely seeing her take advantage of them in real time! Sometimes, instead of running directly under the bed, she'll jump on top of the bed, run across, go onto the night stand, onto the cat tree, window sill, etc. Giving Freddie the ol' run around. It's kind of interesting - I've seen her use a lot more furniture and surfaces that Freddie has never before touched! :blush: She's crafty!

In the last day or two as well, Baggie's started to hold her ground more in the main living areas of the apartment, and I've seen her defend her right to a sunny windowsill, which Freddie respected! Every day I'm noticing more and more "concessions" made by Freddie to Baguette, sometimes these moments of tolerance don't last incredibly long before he decides to touch her or chase her again, but I'm noticing the peaceful moments becoming more frequent and longer-lasting :)

The other day, they also had a true play session! For about 30 mins they played in the laundry I had hanging up and also in the tunnel/under the bed. There was little to no hissing, and def very playful body language. They were very engaged with each other. I haven't quite seen that level of engagement in mutual play again, but it warmed my heart!! Here is little highlight reel of some footage I was able to get of that interaction:


I'm also starting to think that when they get in wrestling matches, Baguette's hissing and growling (which is becoming less frequent) might be partially "for show" :lol: I think she truly is telling him to "back off," but it's not as "serious" as I thought it was. Reason why I think this is because she still recovers so quickly from interactions that seem "gnarly to me". Also, when it happens, I've been trying to take observe more closely, and I realized not much damage is actually being done even though there is a lot of vocalization. I think she also might somewhat enjoy being chased? I'm sure she gets sick of it after a while, and I do give them plenty of breaks so that she doesn't get stressed, but I feel like it might be their "style" of playing right now.

Actually as I'm typing this, I'm watching the two of them on the bedroom cat cam (I'm in the other room working) and Freddie is playing with a feather toy while Baguette observes from her hammock :blush: Yay!

One thing that might also be helping, is a few days ago I replaced the actual electric plug part of the diffuser for the Feliway plugins. I didn't realize that they need to be replaced after 6 months and mine were pretty old. So I'm not sure if having fresh plugs may be helping the "friendly pheromones" diffuse better!

Today I also received a Sentry calming collar in the mail that I'm going to try using on Freddie. I saw a hack where you can cut off a piece and attach it to a breakaway collar, so that way it's safer (less of a choking hazard) and you can get more uses out of a single collar. I don't see this as a permanent thing for Freddie, but I'm curious if it'll help him not chase her as much. I think they are making great progress, though! I gotta say, when you guys first said to not worry about leaving town at the end of June, I was skeptical! :lol: But now I am feeling really hopeful and positive!

Thanks so much for sticking along for the ride so far :)
That was amaaaazing!!!!! 😻😻😻😻ya done good girl. Real good!!!!!
 

Furmama22

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Hi there! You don't know me - I'm over at the thread "Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost" and I just wanted to quickly say that I'm finding your posts really helpful to read, along with all of the great advice, and it's nice to see (well, not nice, but you know what I mean) that there are other caring, loving cat people out there also struggling to get their cats intro'd. :)

And I wanted to say, in case you ever feel discouraged about it (which I do, sometimes), it sounds like you're doing great work and that you are a very conscientious, thoughtful cat parent! So keep up it! :)
 
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heybeanbag

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Hi there! You don't know me - I'm over at the thread "Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost" and I just wanted to quickly say that I'm finding your posts really helpful to read, along with all of the great advice, and it's nice to see (well, not nice, but you know what I mean) that there are other caring, loving cat people out there also struggling to get their cats intro'd. :)

And I wanted to say, in case you ever feel discouraged about it (which I do, sometimes), it sounds like you're doing great work and that you are a very conscientious, thoughtful cat parent! So keep up it! :)
Hi F Furmama22 so great to meet you! Thanks for reaching out. I'm glad you are finding the discussion here helpful! I have definitely checked your thread a number of times too :) It also seems like you are doing a great job and that you are so, so patient. My heart totally goes out to you as a fellow cat intro-ing parent! It can be a uniquely stressful situation not many relate to. I'm similarly grateful to know that folks like you are also out there. This community has been amazing as well, idk how I would've gotten through so far without everyone's kindness and support, truly! Wishing you all the best and happy to keep in touch for help/moral support :lol: you got this!
 

Furmama22

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Thanks for your kind words! I appreciate it! Your kitties are beautiful - so silky looking! I agree - I don't know what I would be doing without this community! The ongoing support and positivity has helped me get through.

Also, random question: where did you get that fun looking three-way tunnel? I have a long one-way tunnel that my one kitty Florence loves but I sense she would enjoy that one too.

Last thing (and I promise, I didn't just post here so I could start asking you questions, hahah), how did you find the harness experience? Did your kitty adjust smoothly? I sense my cat Hawthorne would kick up a serious fuss but I do have a harness for him. It's supposed to be both harness and calming anxiety vest in one. :)
 
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heybeanbag

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Thanks for your kind words! I appreciate it! Your kitties are beautiful - so silky looking! I agree - I don't know what I would be doing without this community! The ongoing support and positivity has helped me get through.

Also, random question: where did you get that fun looking three-way tunnel? I have a long one-way tunnel that my one kitty Florence loves but I sense she would enjoy that one too.

Last thing (and I promise, I didn't just post here so I could start asking you questions, hahah), how did you find the harness experience? Did your kitty adjust smoothly? I sense my cat Hawthorne would kick up a serious fuss but I do have a harness for him. It's supposed to be both harness and calming anxiety vest in one. :)
Hi F Furmama22 - definitely don't hesitate to ask questions! I want to help as much as I can :lol:

The tunnel is from Chewy - Frisco Peek-a-Boo Cat Chute Cat Toy, Colorful Tri-Tunnel!

Ooo a harness/anxiety vest all-in-one sounds super helpful.

For my intro'ing situation, harnessing Freddie helped a lot! It allowed Baguette to come out and explore in his presence while allowing me to have control of him. Baguette also gained more confidence because she was able to scope him out better without worrying about being pounced. For our situation I think she had to get some "positive Freddie experiences" (aka not being chased) under her belt, and the harness allowed for that.

Luckily with Freddie, he doesn't mind getting the harness on. I didn't have to train him into it, he just stands there and accepts it, which is really fortunate. The first several times wearing it in Baggie's presence though, he would really strain himself or end up jerking himself beyond the reach of the leash to try and reach/chase her. I don't think it hurt him, but he was eager and did not enjoy the restraint. However, he eventually learned that he had a limited range/reach and stopped trying to struggle so much against at the sight of her. And now, it honestly seems like it does calm him down if he wears even just the harness vest.

I noticed that after the first few meeting sessions with him on the leash, if he was calm enough, I could detach the leash and he would pretty much behave just wearing the harness vest. And this week I've noticed that if he's harassing Baguette or playing with her too rough, I can put the harness vest on him and he seems to chill out a bit? So I think it can be a really effective intervention to calm the vibes down! But I am hoping it's more of a "learning tool" and not so much a long term thing I'll have to do every time he gets wild :lol:

Hopefully this was helpful - this was just what worked for me, but luckily Freddie is very easy going about being handled etc. Maybe with your Hawthorne it would have the same effect after he gets used to putting it on? :) Not sure if that is the issue or if he would be fussy once it is already on?
 

Xena44

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Hi F Furmama22 - definitely don't hesitate to ask questions! I want to help as much as I can :lol:

The tunnel is from Chewy - Frisco Peek-a-Boo Cat Chute Cat Toy, Colorful Tri-Tunnel!

Ooo a harness/anxiety vest all-in-one sounds super helpful.

For my intro'ing situation, harnessing Freddie helped a lot! It allowed Baguette to come out and explore in his presence while allowing me to have control of him. Baguette also gained more confidence because she was able to scope him out better without worrying about being pounced. For our situation I think she had to get some "positive Freddie experiences" (aka not being chased) under her belt, and the harness allowed for that.

Luckily with Freddie, he doesn't mind getting the harness on. I didn't have to train him into it, he just stands there and accepts it, which is really fortunate. The first several times wearing it in Baggie's presence though, he would really strain himself or end up jerking himself beyond the reach of the leash to try and reach/chase her. I don't think it hurt him, but he was eager and did not enjoy the restraint. However, he eventually learned that he had a limited range/reach and stopped trying to struggle so much against at the sight of her. And now, it honestly seems like it does calm him down if he wears even just the harness vest.

I noticed that after the first few meeting sessions with him on the leash, if he was calm enough, I could detach the leash and he would pretty much behave just wearing the harness vest. And this week I've noticed that if he's harassing Baguette or playing with her too rough, I can put the harness vest on him and he seems to chill out a bit? So I think it can be a really effective intervention to calm the vibes down! But I am hoping it's more of a "learning tool" and not so much a long term thing I'll have to do every time he gets wild :lol:

Hopefully this was helpful - this was just what worked for me, but luckily Freddie is very easy going about being handled etc. Maybe with your Hawthorne it would have the same effect after he gets used to putting it on? :) Not sure if that is the issue or if he would be fussy once it is already on?
HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?! ❤😻❤😻❤😻❤😻❤😻
 

Furmama22

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This is wonderful! They love each other!

And thank you for the harness feedback! Hawthorne is a more insecure/anxious/aggressive if afraid cat, so I think I would need to try the harness slowly. Then again, sometimes he is surprising. :)

Love those videos of them sleeping in the window seat! Gives me hope for the future. :)
 
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heybeanbag

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This is wonderful! They love each other!

And thank you for the harness feedback! Hawthorne is a more insecure/anxious/aggressive if afraid cat, so I think I would need to try the harness slowly. Then again, sometimes he is surprising. :)

Love those videos of them sleeping in the window seat! Gives me hope for the future. :)
Thank you!! I was so happy to see it :) I'm sure this will be your cats very soon!

Also FWIW, I attached part of that Sentry collar to Freddie's collar a couple of days ago and I think it's helping him relax/calm down a bit. Maybe that could help Hawthorne if he's tolerant of collars? Perhaps it could help him feel more at ease in general, and then help him with the transition into harness training?

Here's the video I watched on how to attach part of a Sentry collar to a breakaway collar. Freddie can get a regular breakaway collar off in 2 seconds, so I attached his to a Beastie Bands collar (still can breakaway/slip off in emergency but is Velcro fastened).

Best of luck!!
 
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