Stalking issues.

PoeJunk

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Hello all!

I have two cats: Persephone, a main coon mix who I have had for 6+ years, and Billy the Cat: a Siamese mix who I adopted about 2 months ago.

Persephone has endless energy, and as I play with her she tends to ultimately want to play with Billy by stalking and chasing her. Billy is not a fan, and neither am I.

Persephone has lots of interactive toys but doesn't really care for them. She mostly prefers to play with a bird wand toy with a human on the other end. I have played with her for over 40 minutes non stop and she still wants to go more. Also, now that I have this second cat, she will often disengage with the interactive play to try and get Billy.

Any and all thoughts and recommendations are welcome and needed at this point: How to I get Persephone to play in healthy ways?
 

ArtNJ

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How old is Billy? What is the size difference? It is quite possible that Billy will become more willing to play in time. His reluctance is one of three things: (1) general anxiety, because he is new to the home and/or new to Persephone; (2) the size difference, either because he is a kitten, because she is a Main Coon mix or just because cats come in different sizes; or (3) a difference in activity level.

I would also like to know more about how things go, generally and also when Peresphone is in a chill mood.

P.S. I wouldnt use the term "unhealthy" to describe stalking. Cats are predators, and like all predators play by simulating hunting behaviors. Totally normally and healthy. Its just that when one of the three issues I mentioned is in place, one cat may have an unequal desire to play and/or get stressed about it. Also, when there is a big size difference, rough play can get a little uncomfortable for the smaller one at times.
 
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PoeJunk

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Info about Billy: She is 9, moderate energy, and gets over stimulated very easily. Billy is 10 pounds, and is much smaller than Persephone, since Persephone is just a very big lady. Billy is easily anxious and stressed, but when is the two cats are seperated she has become much more relaxed and secure than she was before. She also has an issue with her back legs, where it seems they give out from time to time. She is currently on muscle relaxers which are helping a lot - I am currently working with a vet to get this taken care of.

Billy has many issues/questions that maybe I should have said in the start. When I adopted her she was extremely skittish and scared, and had come from some kind of bad situation. I heard both that she was a rescue from a hording situation, or that her prior owner became unable to take care of her due to the owners age, and maybe it was both. The shelter was not very specific.

It has been a very long very slow introduction, and they are still separated unless I am giving them both supervision. Billy has (finally) stopped growling at Persephone for no reason, which is great!, but when Persephone chases Billy she is absolutely terrified and yowls and hides and clearly is extremely stressed by this.
 
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PoeJunk

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Persephone tends to always try and follow Billy even when chill, and at best will try and chill a few feet away and at worst actively bother her.
 

ArtNJ

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Well, this isn't a great situation, but at the same time, you haven't described the severe anxiety that some cats get, so hopefully it isn't so terrible in the scheme of these things. What is going on is most likely the confidence, size and activity difference. Introduction processes doesn't necessarily solve that, although it can help some by making the new cat a little calmer at the start. However, given that its a difficult situation, its good to know you did what you could. How long was your introduction process and how did you go about it?

Time does tend to improve these things some. If the smaller cat is eating, using the box and not hiding all day, you can mostly let them be. Good to give the smaller cat some closed door petting sessions of course, and if there are particular problem areas/times like the litter boxes or food dish, those can be separately addressed. But I don't believe you can teach a cat to play nice -- stalking, pouncing and wrestling are normal, and many cats ignore social cues from the other cat and don't take no for an answer. Its a little unusual that a 6 year old is doing this, young cats are usually the offenders, but having an active 6 year old is normally a good thing.

Some people say to get a kitten to give the active one a playmate and relieve the demand on the inactive one. Some have stories of that working. I personally think its a bit risky, with a chance of backfiring.

I don't think Felliway or any of that stuff really does anything, but if you want to try some of that stuff, we have folks that will talk about the options with you. Certainly some of the herbal stuff is pharmacologically active and does something, but even there, its not going to be for a lot of hours per day so I dunno.
 
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PoeJunk

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First of all, thank you so much for your replies!

The introduction process was about a month and a half, with one cat staying in one half the apartment and the other in the other half. I would switch where they were, have feeding times by the door that divided them, slowly allowed line of sight for short periods, with food. Then I would allow them to have a line of sight more often, which led to ultimately taking the screen door out for a bit while playing with one of them to distract the other. Once both cats seemed comfortable with both rooms and each other, I would take down the screen and look over the two.

At this point, I still switch the cats from room to room, and only have them have 'free range' of the house if I can watch and make sure there are no tussles. They at some points ignore each other and take naps, or walk past with no problem, but Persephone does still want to play hard.

Persephone is also at least 9, her original owner had her for 3 years, and said she was "young" when they got her.

I have a very small apartment, I couldn't have another cat even if I wanted to. I have lots of cat shelves and up space to compensate, but still.

I've tried Feliway and it didn't do anything as far as I could tell.

At this point, I just want to figure out how to tire out Persephone. She has more stamina than me and I do want her to feel content and happy with the level of play she gets. I prior lived in a very large place with 4 roommates. We would all play with her and she would run up and down the stairs very often. Its crummy enough going from a great place to a tiny apartment without my cat suffering from it.
 

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I’m guessing (and hoping) Billy the Cat is smaller which should help you give her some safe options where she could retrieve, away from Persephone: either high shelf or a box with small opening that would only fit Billy; my smaller cat particularly likes high spaces she can run to from rough playing bigger cats, as she’s more agile; she looks so proud on the mantelpiece or high in the closet with bigger cat unable to get to her; see if you can find spots like this and show them to Billy, they can increase her confidence;
As for Persephone, I agree it’s totally normal and somewhat desirable and healthy to be an active cat, it does seem they are simply mismatched to live together at this point; but given they’ve known each other only for 2 months, their relationship still develops and she may decide to give Billy a break due to lack of responsiveness. Persephone seems to be very excited with her new friend but the excitement level hopefully will drop when she will get used to her more.
I’d play with Persephone more; I have an active cat and an hour in the morning and in the evening is absolute minimum to keep her happy. Regularity is also important, and variety, I need to change toys during play session. I’d keep Billy away to make sure she won’t be bothered by Persephone overexcited from play.
 

ArtNJ

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Sounds like you did a good introduction process. Sometimes that just isn't the issue. I agree with She's a witch She's a witch - time doesn't heal all wounds, but it almost always helps to some degree with these issues, and also, totally true that 2 months isn't long given that most of that was during the intro. They haven't had a lot of time together at all. Its totally possible that she will calm down a lot, and it should at least get better.

As far as tiring her out, I dunno, sometimes with active cats its like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble. But it can't hurt to keep trying. Good luck!
 

She's a witch

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As far as tiring her out, I dunno, sometimes with active cats its like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble.
In our case regularity does the trick, everyday at the same time, with the same starting rituals; for us it’s important not to play when she wants it (well, which is all the time...) but when it’s time to play. Otherwise she would beg us all the time (as she did until we were religious about the playing routine). It certainly does tire her out and she is somewhat calmer for the rest of the day, she stopped whining for play and trying to jump on the ceiling.
 

Susan Jeffries

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Hello all!

I have two cats: Persephone, a main coon mix who I have had for 6+ years, and Billy the Cat: a Siamese mix who I adopted about 2 months ago.

Persephone has endless energy, and as I play with her she tends to ultimately want to play with Billy by stalking and chasing her. Billy is not a fan, and neither am I.

Persephone has lots of interactive toys but doesn't really care for them. She mostly prefers to play with a bird wand toy with a human on the other end. I have played with her for over 40 minutes non stop and she still wants to go more. Also, now that I have this second cat, she will often disengage with the interactive play to try and get Billy.


Any and all thoughts and recommendations are welcome and needed at this point: How to I get Persephone to play in healthy ways?
We have tried everything that has been mentioned in your previous reply posts even 'Boar Mate', as suggested by the experts on google, we have a little female Bengal 5 years old and an introduced male Bengal former breeding Tom of 3 years old, he has been neutered for a year..it can be bedlam in our cottage..but we keep them apart most of the time, we take them for walks on a lead, separately, round the garden, and play with them, and distract them.....the Boy, Sultan Boy, jumps on top of little Princess Sansa 🙀 and pins her to the ground, we think its play and dominance issues......finally, Boy is responding to a very serious 'NO' ......my opinion is, it takes a long long long time and hooman patience for two mismatched cats to eventually tolerate each other.
 

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I have a 7 month old kitten, and two one year and 7 month old cats. The boys like to chase and play rough so she hisses and gets upset. Once I put in the feliway multicat it has helped lessen the hissing I have found. She still does it time to time but not as bad as it was. She does always cuddle and sleep with them, but she just doesnt like playing on the bottom lol. You said you tried feliway but did you try feliway multi cat? Also have you tried interactive feeders? There is a mouse one that you put some treats in and hide around the house which can be fun for some cats :) I found the interactive feeder was a lot of fun and does burn off energy. Basically the more energy you burn off the better it will be.
 

Susan Jeffries

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I have a 7 month old kitten, and two one year and 7 month old cats. The boys like to chase and play rough so she hisses and gets upset. Once I put in the feliway multicat it has helped lessen the hissing I have found. She still does it time to time but not as bad as it was. She does always cuddle and sleep with them, but she just doesnt like playing on the bottom lol. You said you tried feliway but did you try feliway multi cat? Also have you tried interactive feeders? There is a mouse one that you put some treats in and hide around the house which can be fun for some cats :) I found the interactive feeder was a lot of fun and does burn off energy. Basically the more energy you burn off the better it will be.
Yes we tried all the feliway products and others and we have treat balls, we also have 2 separate catios with real tree trunks and platforms, both have cat flaps into the house, so they have one each, spoilt cats...we have accepted they will never be buddies but we will be happy when they tolerate each other...
 
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