Resident Cat rejecting new cats and attacking me!

Brice53

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I am having issues with my one cat named Ghost.

Backstory:

My wife and I had one cat(named Badger) and we added a second cat two years ago(named Ghost). Badger would attack and hurt Ghost repeatedly but slowly stopped over the past year. They are usually fine when we are around but we still keep them separate, one upstairs and one downstairs when we are not home.

We recently brought in three stray litter mates that are around a year old. We kept them separate from Ghost by having them in spare bedroom while Ghost could roam rest of the upstairs. During that time Ghost began crying loudly when he was upstairs at all times of night until we decided to let him spend his nights downstairs and moved Badger upstairs.
We’ve tried to introduce Ghost to the new arrivals for the last four months. The one younger cat has tried to attack him several times but is slowly being less aggressive towards Ghost.
Ghost is usually happy when he is downstairs now, he snuggles with us, rubs against us, plays,etc. But he now refuses to go upstairs. When we leave for work we have to pick him up and put him upstairs. He now hisses and attacks our arms when we pick him up. If one of us is upstairs with him he is constantly growling and hissing as he moves around. He has attacked me several times while I’ve been upstairs with him. I’m generally scared to pick him up or even look at him when I’m upstairs. When we go down the stairs he will corner us and will attack us when we try to open the door to let him downstairs. Like I said he is way better when he is downstairs but his behavior has changed since the new arrivals.

He will:
Chase and attack Badger more than before
Attack our feet if we accidentally get too close
He yowls at us when we talk to him
He hisses and attacks the two other new cats that are not bothering him at all

I’m wondering if anyone has any advice or could share any encouraging stories related to our current problem. We learned with Badger attacking Ghost that sometimes cats need a lot of time to improve but it seems like Ghost keeps getting worse not better. Some nights we are bordering on tears with this situation. I’ve attached a picture of our dear boy Ghost.
 

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Furballsmom

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Hi!
Can you let him have a room downstairs, or get a big multi level cage for him so he doesn't have to go upstairs?

He's trying in every way possible to keep from going upstairs. If you can, figure out a way to accommodate him, and then you'll have an easier time working out the other issues of getting the cats to live together :)
 
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Brice53

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Hi!
Can you let him have a room downstairs, or get a big multi level cage for him so he doesn't have to go upstairs?

He's trying in every way possible to keep from going upstairs. If you can, figure out a way to accommodate him, and then you'll have an easier time working out the other issues of getting the cats to live together :)
Our downstairs is basically one giant room so I guess we could just always keep him there and leave all other cats upstairs when we are gone. Is there anything else we can do when he is aggressive towards us or other cats when he is downstairs? Do you think being trapped upstairs could be a main reason why he’s changed?
 

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I don't think cats usually improve if they are actually hurting each other. If they growl, hiss, even defensive swat, they can improve. But if they are actually hurting each other, we usually recommend a reintroduction process with a lengthy total separation.

I think these cats just aren't ready to be together, and there is a lot of stress in the air.
 

Mamanyt1953

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And added to that, there is a certain Point of No Return with adding cats to a mix...and you don't know what that point is in any group until you try to add just one cat too many. At that point, everything can break down, entirely. For some groups, it can be 40 or more...in my house, two would do it!

However...we shall try. These articles MAY have something new for you to try!

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles
How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – Cat Articles
 
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Brice53

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Thank you for the information!

I should clarify from earlier post that Ghost usually chases, hisses or defensively swats at the new cats more than he aims to hurt them. He's mostly turning aggressive at my wife and I in certain situations.

It's frustrating because we thought we took our time with introductions nice and slow over the course of three months only to have Ghost turn into this monster sometimes.

After reading the resources I think we plan to completely separate the three new additions from Ghost for awhile longer and also keep him downstairs at all times. Does that sound like a good plan? Any products you would recommend to further relieve stress? I did get positive results from Feliway when our two resident cats weren't getting along but it hasn't seemed to help this time at all.
 

Furballsmom

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Does that sound like a good plan?
I think it does, yes.

I've found that feliway, when it doesn't work, can exacerbate issues.

There might be something here;

Only Natural Pet has a calming product called Just Relax Calming spray with essential oil (catnip oil).

There's this one, be sure and scroll all the way down the page;
Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy Pets Dogs Cats Horses Birds

Also, there is ThunderWunders calming chews, Naturevet Hemp, Richards Organic Pet Calm, HomeoPet Anxiety Relief, Head to Tail Calming, Relaxivet Quiet Moments Cat treats, GNC Calming formula, and there is Calm-o-mile, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy - UK (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-eze, Pet Organics No Stress, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has other calming products, Pet Naturals also has one I believe, and there are others.

Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course chewy, also there's Petwishpros, animaleo, 1-800-petmeds, Petco and PetSmart, and other pet stores.

There is also a product called a lickimat which could be helpful, as cats can be calmed by the process of licking. The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

This post talks about some other products;
Calming Treats For A Very Picky Cat
 
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Brice53

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I did not know that about Feliway. Good to know!

I will definitely be giving some of these products a try.

Now there is a door at the bottom of our stairs. If I let the new cats roam the upstairs they often hang out at the door to try and come downstairs and hang out with us. Ghost will sometimes hear them and hiss at the door. Should I restrict them to a bedroom so it's complete separation or is it okay to give them freedom upstairs?
 

Furballsmom

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Should I restrict them to a bedroom so it's complete separation or is it okay to give them freedom upstairs?
If it were me, I'd restrict them for a day or so, and then test things. If, hopefully, Ghost is no longer hissing at the door then they can roam.
 
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Brice53

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That makes sense. I'll feel guilty and sad that they are stuck in their bedroom but in the long run it will be for the best! I am planning on posting updates. Hopefully I will have positive news to share!
 
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Brice53

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OH! We've had some members who have had good results with the Jackson Galaxy Solutions, and I can tell you that their customer service reps are wonderful.
We just ordered Peacemaker and Stress Stopper from Jackson Galaxy. I also picked up some Naturevet Hemp. Should I only use on of these products at a time or can I mix?

We’ve kept Ghost on the first floor every day this week during the day. At night we’ve kept the door open to go upstairs while one of us sleeps downstairs to make sure Badger and Ghost do not get into a fight that we don’t hear or stop. We’ve also been feeding Ghost his wet food meals on the stairs so he can get positive experiences going upstairs.

We’ve noticed he is acting happier and has only had a few instances of lashing out at us. For instance he was on the arm rest of the couch and my wife moved her leg and he hissed and swatted at my wife for a few seconds. He’s also jumped up on couch twice when Badger has been sleeping on my lap and smacked him really hard on the head and then run away. One of the new cats got loose last night and when Ghost say him he did not hiss or chase like he had in past.
 

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I would try them one at a time. That way, if one had an adverse reaction (and that depends more on the individual cat than the product), you know exactly which one is causing problems!
 
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Brice53

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Ghost is nearly back to normal! He has been so happy recently and hasn't been aggressive towards my wife or I at all. He now will sometimes go upstairs on his own and explore.

I have swapped the blankets from the new cats room with Ghost's blankets on his cat bed. He hissed the first time he smelled the blanket but since then he has been sleeping like normal in his cat bed. Sometimes I'll feed him some food upstairs and he will hear the new cats down the hall in their room and he will start ignoring his food from that point on until I take it downstairs. Is that a sign of anything?

The only problem we keep having is that when our other cat Badger is sleeping or laying on one of our laps Ghost will come flying in and smack Badger and then stand up really tall and then away. Sometimes he will do this five to six times. He will also try and do like a half tackle on Badger which makes Badger whine or cower behind one of us. Once in awhile Badger will have enough and then go after Ghost.
Ghost didn't do this at all before we took in the new cats but Badger and Ghost have also been getting along better recently.
Is Ghost trying to play? Or is he being aggressive for some reason?
 
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Brice53

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It's been awhile since I updated Ghost's progress. We decided to permanently keep him as the downstairs cat when we are away or at night and let him go upstairs when he wants to.

I'm still having some challenges introducing Ghost to the three younger cats I brought in about six months ago. The three cats are one male (Mooch) and two females (Scoot and Pumpkin). Ghost does not really like Mooch or Pumpkin and will chase them out of rooms and will sometimes take swipes at them but they have gotten used to him and just keep their distance. Scoot on the other hand is the problem. Whenever Ghost sees Scoot he will start growling and hissing at her while he puts himself in a corner. Scoot often will just ignore him but every once in awhile she will lock onto him and tries to go after him. If I don't step in right away it usually results in lots of hissing by both and defensive swatting with very little actual contact made by either. The interesting thing is that if I notice Scoot planning her attach and I talk or pet to her she suddenly turns into the most lovey cat and starts rubbing against me. It's like she's manipulating me to think she's fine so I'll look away just in time for her to make her move on Ghost. I've seen improvement with Scoot (less attempts at attacking Ghost, less misplaced aggression towards me) and I know cats have their own timing and it sometimes takes a long time. Is there anything I can do differently? I've already tried re-introducing them three times since we brought in the new additions.
 
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