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Old 12-30-2012, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2 feuding cats: tiny apartment

I live in a two-story loft apartment. There are no inner doors except to a bathroom and 2 closets. Toby, a 2 year-old neutered tom, and I have lived together for 2.5 years now. Three months ago Blakesley, a neighbor's loving spayed queen of the same age, came to live with us. She couldn't get a room of her own as she got used to my place but I've watched both cats very carefully to see that Toby didn't attack her.

While he's never shown any agression Blake has turned into a terror. She hates even the sound of Toby's footsteps. The other night she woke me up by cuddling near my face. Toby came upstairs as I drifted back to sleep. At his mere footfalls, even before she could see him, she hissed and leapt away. She scratched my eyes in the process.

She hisses and yowls at the mere sight of him, lashing out with claws if he gets too close. He doesn't want to, but if she's at a traffic choke point in the apartment he has little choice. Blakesley used to spend most of her time in "her corner" upstairs where my office also is. Now she's coming out more and more. On the one hand this is good to see, but on the other hand she's terrorizing Toby so that he's afraid to come over and spend time with me the way he used to. My office area is one of his favorite places in the apartment and it's been days since he's come over. Instead, he's been cowering in his "man cave" downstairs all day long for several days.

When Toby came to live with me, he didn't know what mistreatment was. He was open and loving and knew no fear. Now he's nervous, jumpy, and lonely in his man cave because I have to spend more time at work in the 'office' than near his man cave. What can I do about this?

I"m willing to do anything because I'm certain that the SPCA would euthanize Blake if she went but I can't let these two cats live in such fear of each other. I'd be so grateful for any help!
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've never used it, but I see a lot of people recommending Feliway (What is Feliway?) in situations like this. I guess it's supposed to make cats calmer, sort of the opposite of catnip.

It may be the reality that these two cats just don't get along. If that's the case, I'd recommend either trying to find a no-kill rescue to take Blake and try to find a home for her, or if you feel up to it, trying to re-home her (carefully) yourself.

It's my impression that in most cases most cats can learn to at least tolerate one another peacefully, but sometimes this just isn't the case, the same way sometimes two people just can't get along or live together peacefully.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry that Blake is making your Toby so anxious. My vet gave me pheromone collars called nurturecalm. I haven't tried them, because it's always a struggle to get anything around my kitties' necks, and they're not bugging each other now anyway, but the vet said they have worked for every client except one in the many years that she's been recommending them.

Without any doors in your apartment, following the recommended steps for introduction doesn't seem feasible, but maybe you can adapt it by getting some kind of enclosure or screen to give one of them their own space.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Perhaps a cat tree in your office for Blake in "her corner", and another smaller one near your desk would satisfy each of them for their specific space. You may have to play policeman if there are disputes, but rub catnip in the cat trees, and give them treats only on their own post. Discourage Blake from taking over Toby's cat tree. Good luck.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I really appreciate them. What if I put Blake in an extra-large dog crate covered with wire-cloth and kept it near where Toby passes so they could get used to each other's presence without being able to harm each other? Would it be cruel to keep her in that for a couple of weeks as long as I was careful to pay lots of attention to her?
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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For what it's worth, my sister in law (an avid shelter volunteer and cat lover) adopted a cat from her shelter - Smokey. At the kennel the cat was fine and seemed to get along with everyone. After over a year, it was evident that Smokey was just going to continue to terrorize the resident cat, Cally. With a heavy heart she returned Smokey to the shelter for a better family fit. I'm offering this story because not every cat is the right fit for every home and sometimes we have to consider that alternatives like this might be better for everyone. Best wishes for a happy ending for everyone!
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lngrid View Post
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I really appreciate them. What if I put Blake in an extra-large dog crate covered with wire-cloth and kept it near where Toby passes so they could get used to each other's presence without being able to harm each other? Would it be cruel to keep her in that for a couple of weeks as long as I was careful to pay lots of attention to her?
Given your circumstances and your options, I don't think that would be cruel as a temporary measure. I mean, hypothetically, if you were able to return Blake to a no-kill shelter, she'd essentially end up in the same type of crate that you're describing.

Another option would be to use your bathroom as a safe room to do a "normal" introduction, although I appreciate that would require a bit of cat guarding each time you needed to use the bathroom. Others here have use a bathroom for cat intros when they had no other alternatives. I wish you luck!
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have just bought some feliway today to help my new cat settle in a bit better with the existing two who are still hissing at him when he walks past, the occasional swipe too when he goes near. Will let u know if it's worked for our cars


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Old 01-13-2013, 07:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The feliway doesn't seem to have had any effect after a week


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