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Author Topic: Pets: How can I get my cats to get along?  (Read 5796 times)

Olivia

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How can I get my cats to get along?
« on: February 13, 2014, 02:21:31 am »
I adopted a new kitty two weeks ago and my current kitty is not happy about it. Older kitty constantly hisses and growls at new kitty and new kitty is constantly taunting older kitty. I've been trying to let them work it out themselves but I'm worried it will get physical. What can I do?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 10:09:52 am by RandallS »

MadZealot

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 02:36:08 am »
Quote from: Olivia;139694
What can I do?


Let 'em work it out.  Both kitties are strangers.  They need time to get used to each other.  
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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2014, 06:53:49 am »
Quote from: Olivia;139694
I adopted a new kitty two weeks ago and my current kitty is not happy about it. Older kitty constantly hisses and growls at new kitty and new kitty is constantly taunting older kitty. I've been trying to let them work it out themselves but I'm worried it will get physical. What can I do?

 
Does each one have a part of the house that's 'theirs', that they can go to get away from the other one when they need a break?  That was helpful when I moved home, and we were introducing my cat to my mother's.  When I first brought Fry home, we kept him confined to my room for a few days, and Rasta to Mum's room.  Once they were introduced and both had the run of the place, we tried to keep my cat out of Mum's room and Mum's cat out of mine, so each cat had their own familiar territory in the house where they could go and not be bothered by the other one.  (It did involve a heck of a lot of policing doors, though.)  These days they're used to each other, but they still don't go in each others' rooms.  (No doorman duty required any more - they just decided for themselves to do that.)

I have a friend who speaks very highly of those pheremone-dispensing things that plug in at the wall, and look like air fresheners.  But I borrowed hers for a while (that was another move - I've moved a LOT!) and it made no difference at all to my cats.  Also they get quite warm, and I'm not entirely convinced they're not a fire hazard if you leave them running constantly.

Aisling

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2014, 10:47:31 am »
Quote from: Olivia;139694
I adopted a new kitty two weeks ago and my current kitty is not happy about it. Older kitty constantly hisses and growls at new kitty and new kitty is constantly taunting older kitty. I've been trying to let them work it out themselves but I'm worried it will get physical. What can I do?

 
Introducing a new cat can be stressful for all.  Older kitty may feel like her territory is being invaded.  

There are some good tips here for introductions: Cat-to-Cat Introductions.  It might be too late to do some of the early stages, but you may be able to still do things like scent and site swapping to help ease the transition.
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beachglass

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 05:16:11 pm »
Quote from: Olivia;139694
What can I do?

 
I second some time apart for the new roomies. Most cats need to be introduced slowly. It's not too late to do this now, even if they've both had the run of the house so far.

I also recommend Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Lots of great information about how kitties interact with each other and why those interactions don't always go as we would expect.
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Olivia

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2014, 01:22:02 am »
Quote from: beachglass;139768
I second some time apart for the new roomies. Most cats need to be introduced slowly. It's not too late to do this now, even if they've both had the run of the house so far.

I also recommend Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Lots of great information about how kitties interact with each other and why those interactions don't always go as we would expect.

 
Thanks for all the advice guys! They do each have a safe space. I'm actually starting to wonder if part of older kitty's problems is that the new kitty has made her safe place the same room my departed kitty used. I had a kitty pass away a few months ago (the kitty in my avatar). Part of the reason we adopted new kitty is because the older kitty seemed to be missing the companionship. I'm going to check out the sources you guys suggested and I think I'm going to try to separate them and reintroduce them a little at a time until they get used to eachother.

veggiewolf

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2014, 02:08:14 pm »
Quote from: beachglass;139768
I second some time apart for the new roomies. Most cats need to be introduced slowly. It's not too late to do this now, even if they've both had the run of the house so far.

I also recommend Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Lots of great information about how kitties interact with each other and why those interactions don't always go as we would expect.

I second this recommendation - Cat vs. Cat is an excellent book.
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Aster Breo

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 01:29:37 am »
Quote from: Olivia;139694
I adopted a new kitty two weeks ago and my current kitty is not happy about it.

Great advice so far!

Speaking as the proud human of 18 (yes, 18) indoor cats, plus 8 semi-feral "porch cats", I can attest to the fact that introducing a new member of the household takes time, more than you'd expect.

You can't force them to get along well or be best friends, but you can teach them that fighting won't be tolerated.  At this point, since the initial intro period has past, one of the best things you can do, IMO, is make sure they know fighting is against the rules.  If you don't establish that now, you'll probably have problems with fighting forever -- unless they do decide to be best friends, which is entirely up to them.

We use squirt bottles strategically placed around the house to squirt fighting (or otherwise misbehaving) cats.  Clean water only, of course!  At the first sign of a fight (a real fight, not a play wrestle or chase), the offending cats get squirted.  Or just the aggressor, if appropriate.  For most of them, after being squirted once or twice, we only have to wave the squirt bottle at them to make the point.  ;-)

For the occasional cat who just likes to fight (we have one of those), we sometimes just have to give him a timeout by locking him alone in the bathroom for a while (with a bowl of water).

Since you've had cats before, I'm sure you know the squirt bottle technique.  So the major point I wanted to make is be sure to nip fighting in the bud now.  If they fight, and I hope they don't, the longer you wait to teach them not to, the harder it will be.

Other than that, be patient.  And make sure each cat gets personal attention and loving. Don't play favorites.

Good luck!
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Catherine

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 12:29:56 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;139907

We use squirt bottles strategically placed around the house to squirt fighting (or otherwise misbehaving) cats.  

 
Aster, do any of your cats make a game out the squirt bottle thing? Lilah seems to be doing that. She's really stubborn. The threat of water doesn't seem to bother her at all. Clawing furniture, for example. She'll run into the room, jump on the chair and claw as hard as she can until I've squirted her several times. Then she'll run away for a few seconds, then start all over again. She doesn't seem to care how wet she gets.

It's like some kind of challenge or something. Like, she's trying to see how much damage she can do to the chair before she gets hosed. It will go on until she gets bored and finally quits, on her own terms. It's maddening!

Aisling

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 03:31:24 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;139929
Aster, do any of your cats make a game out the squirt bottle thing? Lilah seems to be doing that. She's really stubborn. The threat of water doesn't seem to bother her at all. Clawing furniture, for example. She'll run into the room, jump on the chair and claw as hard as she can until I've squirted her several times. Then she'll run away for a few seconds, then start all over again. She doesn't seem to care how wet she gets.

It's like some kind of challenge or something. Like, she's trying to see how much damage she can do to the chair before she gets hosed. It will go on until she gets bored and finally quits, on her own terms. It's maddening!

Not Aster, obviously, but I had a cat like Lilah at one time... loved water and thought the spray bottle was a fun toy.  

Once we figured that out that she was behaving badly precisely because it got her sprayed, my roommate started shaking an soda can with a few pennies inside  whenever she would misbehave. She hated the noise and the bad behavior stopped fairly quickly.  Funny how cats train their humans, isn't it?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 03:32:03 pm by Aisling »
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Catherine

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 05:23:43 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;139938
Not Aster, obviously, but I had a cat like Lilah at one time... loved water and thought the spray bottle was a fun toy.  

Once we figured that out that she was behaving badly precisely because it got her sprayed, my roommate started shaking an soda can with a few pennies inside  whenever she would misbehave. She hated the noise and the bad behavior stopped fairly quickly.  Funny how cats train their humans, isn't it?

 
I'll give the coins a try!

Aster Breo

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 06:35:41 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;139929
Aster, do any of your cats make a game out the squirt bottle thing?

Yes.  What Aisling said.  ;-)

We've had so many cats over the years that I think we've probably seen most common behaviors. The trick, as Aisling implied, is to find the "kryptonite" for that particular cat.  Most of them don't like water, especially in their faces or directly under their tails. But sometimes you have to get creative. The loud, rattly noise is pretty effective -- unless they misbehave in the middle of the night -- but anything that annoys them could work.  (Note: I STRONGLY discourage hitting or any kind of infliction of pain.)  

I've also seen "corporal cuddling" work -- basically, picking the cat up and hugging and kissing him and cooing at him and being excessively "gushy".  You'd think doing that would also discourage the cat from wanting to cuddle at other times, but it doesn't seem to.

As always, though, YMMV.  All cats are unique individuals with their own personalities and tastes.
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Aeternitatis

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2014, 07:31:01 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;139941


I've also seen "corporal cuddling" work -- basically, picking the cat up and hugging and kissing him and cooing at him and being excessively "gushy".  You'd think doing that would also discourage the cat from wanting to cuddle at other times, but it doesn't seem to.

As always, though, YMMV.  All cats are unique individuals with their own personalities and tastes.

 
Corporal cuddling! I thought it was only me and my sister who called it that! Apparently I have not spent enough time on the internet.

Anyway, that is what I do to my cat, and he still loves other cuddling. And as a bonus he doesn't seem to hate me afterward, as he did when I used spray bottles. I found it also made him just accept getting messed with, so things like trimming claws, cleaning ears, and trips to the vet go very smoothly.

But like Aster said, each cat is different!

Catherine

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2014, 09:24:54 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;139941

(Note: I STRONGLY discourage hitting or any kind of infliction of pain.)  


Oh, I would never do that! Lilah, on the other hand, doesn't have any problems at all inflicting pain on me! While Max and I were split over the summer, he started hand playing with her. Now, I'm trying to teach her that I won't play that way :(
 
Quote
I've also seen "corporal cuddling"


Max does this. She won't tolerate it from me very often.

Quote
As always, though, YMMV.  All cats are unique individuals with their own personalities and tastes.


Yep. Also, I think we need to find our groove. I was gone for 4 months. She's definitely Max's cat, now. Don't get me wrong, we cuddle and play, and generally get along fine, she just seems to resent me telling her what to do.

veggiewolf

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Re: How can I get my cats to get along?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2014, 03:51:09 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;139941
...

I've also seen "corporal cuddling" work -- basically, picking the cat up and hugging and kissing him and cooing at him and being excessively "gushy".  You'd think doing that would also discourage the cat from wanting to cuddle at other times, but it doesn't seem to.

As always, though, YMMV.  All cats are unique individuals with their own personalities and tastes.

 
We do corporal cuddling with Moe, because squirting him resulted in trying to drink from the squirt bottle and/or smacking it.
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