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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Socializing issues

Wanted to share some socializing experiences, and get some thoughts and feedback.

Our 8 year old Siamese/Bengal mix Phoebe Jean and our almost 6 month old Bengal brothers, Phineas and Phaelan, have been together in our home for 2 1/2 months. The boys have no fear of Phoebe Jean, but she does not want anything to do with them.

If they keep a 10-15 foot berth from her, she is fine...when they get anywhere near her, she growls, yowls, and runs away. Sometimes they chase her.

They are all out in the house together except at night, when we put the boys in a room. When they go up, Phoebe Jean is affectionate with us, and content. Also, all three cats are using the same litter boxes, no elimination issues.

For those who have introduced new cats and seen acceptance take time, how does our situation sound?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 12:16 PM
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It sounds as if your Bengal boys enjoy ganging up and bullying your girl, and it's "boys will be boys" behavior. Because of their Asian Wild Cat genes in their background, Bengals are pretty prey-driven. At 6 mos., the boys are in their teenage years, and will likely get more aggressive as they get older. You're doing the right thing by giving her separate time away from them to de-stress and feel safe to be affectionate with you. Phoebe Jean is afraid of them and does not trust them, otherwise she would not be hissing and growling when they come within 10 ft. of her and would not be running away from them. They are likely bigger than she is and she feels overwhelmed and outnumbered. If you feed them all together, does she run away then? or refuse to eat in the same room or near them? You could try doing a slow reintroduction again, but I suspect it won't make too much difference as your boys are enjoying the chase too much. You can try to teach your Bengal boys to focus on you, either with clicker training, or a special noise you can make (pssst, psssst), and teach them to "come". Offer treats as rewards. When either one starts to lock on and focus on Phoebe, direct their focus to you, and offer them a treat or throw a toy as a distraction. If they ignore you and just go after her, go after the instigator(s) with stomping feet and a hard stare and say a stern "No!". Whenever, you can not be there to supervise their behavior, put Phoebe in a separate room. Reward your boys with treats or affection when they are behaving well in Phoebe's presence. Cats that are under a lot of stress from being bullied can develop inappropriate litter behavior, health problems. You want to avoid that at all cost $$$.

Last edited by catloverami; 02-01-2011 at 12:19 PM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 12:20 PM
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If your Bengal boys are not yet neutered, they should be as soon as possible (as should Phoebe if she is not yet spayed).
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 02:27 PM
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After 2.5 months, it's not as good as it could be, but not as bad as it could be either. Phoebe is still exhibiting fear, or at least lack of acceptance, perhaps because they're more rambunctious and playful given their age. I don't think what you're seeing is cause for too much worry or suggests a need for radical changes. However, I would do what I could to discourage the boys from chasing Phoebe. The more they chase, the more she will continue to feel they're something to be feared. So, I'd try to distract them whenever they start to chase her or look like they're about to start. I'd also try to do a few things to see if you can facilitate Phoebe's acceptance of the boys. Playing with all three a few times a day, even if only for 10 minutes at a time (and even if Phoebe primarily watches) is one option, although one you're likely already doing. You might also try doing a play session with Phoebe and just one of the boys...and then alternating the next time...to see if she might react better in a one-on-one situation.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 02:45 PM
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raecarrow, or other Bengal owners may have some suggestions.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 03:08 PM
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you might try keeping the interactions to a one on one situation periods of time, that way she only has one of the boys to watch and may not feel as threatened (frearfull) It just might be that there is to much going on for her to take charge.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 05:06 PM
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Sparky, my older cat, wants nothing to do with my Norwegian babies either. Never has, probably never will. Part of my thinking in getting 2 kittens was so they'd play with each other and leave old Sparks alone. He growls when they go near, or look at him funny. We just call him Grumpy Grandad and make sure he gets his own cuddles and grooming time. He's quite secure in his place in the household, he'll eat with the others, just doesn't want to play or even have to look at them. The kittens tried to chase him, and were met with a swift clip round the ear. We just accept that they're never going to be friends, but neither will they attack. All three are neutered, and even though the 8 month old Weegies dwarf him, Sparky is still top cat around here, and a warning growl has them looking for somewhere else to play.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 06:30 PM
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Coyote: I don't see any problems in your situation, since Grumpy Grandad (love the nickname!) simply puts the kittens in their place. That's more normal behavior, given that mature cats are territorial whereas kittens are not.

David: As I understand it, Phoebe is not doing that...she's not putting the kittens in their place. Rather, she's running away and exhibiting signs of fear. That's not a cause for huge concern, but it would be helpful if she could learn to stand her ground with the kittens (the way Coyote's Sparks does). If she doesn't, you potentially could have problems later on, once the kittens are older and start to become territorial (which will happen at or around the age of 2). Also, once Phoebe gets over her fear of the boys, they will all have a greater chance of being friends.

That was the problem I had with Muffs. At first, she was terrified of Abby (even though Muffs was three times Abby's size). Once Muffs learned to stand her ground, she and Abby got along much better and they're now best friends.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for some great feedback! To give a little more information, the boys are neutered. And we do not let them all eat together, we put the boys in their room when Phoebe Jean gets dinner (we don't leave food out to graze), and they are still in their room when she eats in the morning.

I am concerned about the fact that she runs, and does not stand her ground. We will try the suggestion of some "one on one" with a boy, and see how that goes. I have noticed that if one of us is around, she is braver.

We got the two of them for the same reason Coyote did...figured that the two of them could amuse themselves, and wouldn't harrass her as much. That probably holds true, but nevertheless they still try to "play" with her, and that doesn't go over well.

To be continued...thanks again for the suggestions!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David C View Post
And we do not let them all eat together, we put the boys in their room when Phoebe Jean gets dinner (we don't leave food out to graze), and they are still in their room when she eats in the morning.
You might consider letting them eat together. I went through a very difficult integration with my girls, primarily because Muffs was terrified of Abby. I ended up hiring a behaviorist to assist with their introduction. One of the things (indeed, the main thing) he recommended was to have as many good things as possible happen in each other's company (feeding, treats, playtime, etc.) so that Muffs started to associate good things with Abby. Over time that technique worked. So, I would take every opportunity to have Phoebe experience something pleasurable in the company of the boys, and feeding is one such opportunity. Perhaps start by feeding them a distance apart, so Phoebe is still comfortable...and then move their bowls closer as time goes on. Just a thought. Good luck.
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