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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Two cats not getting along.

I know that this topic has been revisited quite a bit here, but I need a bit more personal advice for my situation. I'll try to be brief, but I'm also going to add as much detail as possible.

My resident cat, Maple, is a 6 1/2 year old spayed female. About six weeks ago, I adopted Mahli, a 1 to 4 year old spayed female. I was doing the usual introduction: putting Mahli in a room by herself, letting the cats smell, then see but not touch each other. I gave Mahli as much attention as possible but after only two days of this she gave me the slip and ran into my bedroom, which is Maple's home turf, and hid under the bed.

She came out from under the bed a short time later, and I snatched her up and put her back in her room. Mahli cries when she is alone, and craves affection. As we all know, cats can be slippery little things, and the next day she once again bolted into my room and hid under the bed. Maple seemed surprisingly calm about this, and I didn't want Mahli to begin to avoid me thinking all I wanted was to continue to put her in a room alone, so I let her stay under close supervision.

Fast forward to today, and it's been a bit of a bumpy ride. Maple and Mahli have never really fought, but Maple definitely keeps Mahli under her thumb. One second they are within a couple feet from each other getting petted, the next second Maple has chased Mahli under the bed while swatting at her. Maple never hisses anymore, but Mahli will growl and hiss if Maple looks at her the wrong way.

To further complicate things, I'm moving this Sunday. I'm only moving a couple minutes away from my current apartment into a bigger one, but it's another stress added to them. I desperately want them to be friends, or at least live side-by-side without fear or aggression.

Once I move, should I begin the introduction all over again? If so, how can I keep Mahli from being so lonely and crying the second I leave her? Should I intervene when Maple chases and swats at Mahli, or let them work it out themselves as long as no one is getting hurt? I've heard of Feliway from reading these forums, should I buy a diffuser and pre-treat the new apartment before moving the girls over?

Other notes that may help: They both have their own litter boxes, food dishes, and water dishes. Both of them use both litter boxes and eat and drink from whichever bowl they feel like. Maple will watch Mahli eat and drink without a care in the world, the chasing usually happens after I pet Mahli too much for Maple's liking. They will sleep about two feet from each other on my bed with me in between them. Maple has been an only cat for about two years, after the death of my older cat that Maple bonded closely with.

Any help at all will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 11:21 PM
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It sounds like they're slowly getting used to each other. When you move, I would separate them initially and do a "mini" re-introduction, simply because they will likely be stressed due to the move, so I'd play it safe for the first few days. After a few days, you might even find things actually improve at your new place, since it will be neutral ground (i.e., no longer Maple's territory). Let's hope!

Once they're settled in your new place, I wouldn't interfere too much (let them "work it out"), provided you're not seeing anything other than the odd hiss or growl, and there's no real fighting involved.

You can try Feliway. It works wonders on some cats, not at all on others...but it's worth a shot. You needn't "pre-treat" the apartment. Just plug a diffuser in once you get there. If you will keep the two cats in separate rooms at first, then you might buy two diffusers, one for each room (assuming your budget allows).

All in all, things don't sound too bad, considering they've only been together for six weeks. Good luck with your move!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice, Susan! I'll definitely do a mini-introduction once we're moved in. In my current apartment I had to put Mahli in a small bathroom for the introduction, but at the new apartment she'll have a bedroom full of boxes and toys to explore, so hopefully she won't be so desperate for love all the time. I do want to give her all the petting and playtime she wants, but I'll be pretty busy unpacking. I'll also look at Feliway and similar products at Petsmart before I move.

I know it could be a lot worse, I was just worried because they made big strides in their relationship in the first week or so after meeting, then it plateaued into the chasing and swatting. That's been going on for about a month now and I didn't want my girls living in fear or discomfort.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 10:42 PM
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Being in a new home could be good for these two, as it will be on neutral grounds, and they may each depend on the other more for company. Do you know if your new place had cats there? The scent of new cats could be upsetting to them both. On the other hand if there have been no cats there, your cats could be curious about their new place. Usually it takes a few weeks for cats to adjust to a new territory. You say they have been used to sleeping with you, and I would continue with that without separating them.....at least this would be familiar to them both and be a comfort in a strange place. But if there are bad fights between them (which I doubt would happen), then separate them and do a re-intro. Give them some new catnip toys or catnip to make them feel at ease, and lots of treats together, and lots of pets and soothing words. Good luck on your move!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 09:06 AM
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Being in a new home could be good for these two, as it will be on neutral grounds
^ +1

Cats have unique and strong senses of territory and hierarchy. Going to a new place where neither has preexisting "dibs" could be beneficial.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catloverami View Post
Being in a new home could be good for these two, as it will be on neutral grounds, and they may each depend on the other more for company. Do you know if your new place had cats there? The scent of new cats could be upsetting to them both. On the other hand if there have been no cats there, your cats could be curious about their new place.
I hope that my girls will calm a bit after moving. I don't know if there were cats in there before, but the building I'm moving into has been renovated recently with all new appliances, paint, counters, floors, and carpets (basically everything) in all the units. So if there were any cats before I can't imagine that any scents would still linger.

Here's what I plan to do so far once I move:

I plan to stack two baby gates in the central hallway, putting Maple in one area and Mahli in the other. Basically each kitty will have half the apartment to explore, and each will have a litter box, food, water, toys, etc. As I unpack and arrange my belongings I'll mostly ignore the girls and let them explore, unless they approach me. Periodically they'll get treats and some petting to reassure them everything is okay. After a while, I'll switch them and allow them to explore the other half of the apartment.

If there is no hissing or swatting through the gates I'll take the gates down so they can both sleep with me as usual. If the aggression continues I'll put Mahli in the second bedroom for the night and continue the introduction gradually.

Does that seem like a good plan or does anyone have any concerns or suggestions? I definitely want this to be as painless as possible for my girls.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 07:17 PM
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Sounds like an excellent plan. Nothing else to say, other than keep them locked up when the actual moving is going on...unless they will arrive last, once all the furniture and boxes have been moved in.

A newly-renovated apartment sounds like fun!
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