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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Smile New here -- hello! - need help with fighting cats

Hello! So happy to find a forum such as this to chat about the two loves of my life...my cats.

A little about them: both were strays when I found them. The one that I've had for about eight years was a stray and I received him through another owner who found him. This particular cat ran away two years ago and I searched and searched and during a night out of searching my neighborhood, another stray followed me home. Haha I ended up putting food out for him on the porch and he kept returning. Then, I decided to take him in. My first cat had been misding for three weeks by this point. I didn't think he was ever to return.

Then, one day about a day or so after I took the second cat in, my first cat showed up at my neighbors house and they knew he had run away. They called me and I rushed over, so happy to have him back!

Well...these two cats fight every single day, for two years. I've grown to accept that it will never change. Both have been neutered and both are males.

The older cat (first one) ...he is usually the starter of all fights.

Is it jealousy? I sometimes wish I didn't take the second cat in because he is probably offended or hurt. I don't know.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for having me!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 02:49 PM
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I know you are stressing about this, I have a horrible situation with a fighting/bully cat. She is the oldest in the group, Beep, and was the only cat for 5 years (she was a stray), before I took in Taffy, my second stray. From the get go, Beep went after Taffy with a rage like nothing that I have ever seen. She goes straight for him, jumps on his back, teeth into his neck, every single time. We tried everything, but decided the best thing for us is to keep them separated. So we have an insane rotation schedule so that everyone has equal times out. A new stray found us a little over a year ago (Stephano) and he gets along great with Taffy, so at least those two have companionship and play great together.

Do your cats fight constantly when they are out together? Or do they have times where they are indifferent to each other? I think if they are just occasionally taking a whack at each other and then going their separate ways....that is not as bad as you think. I would take that in a minute over the constant relentlessness that Beep has for Taffy. If that is what is going on, and there is no blood shed or injuries, I would just ignore it and let them work it out. However, if they are resorting to injuries and bloodshed, then that may not be possible. So what do they do when they fight? Is it quick and then it's over, or is it constant where they can't just go their own way afterwards?

I can tell you one thing, and this was HUGE with me messing up my cats. You need to be cool in the situation when they are fighting. Don't let them see you lose your cool and dont take sides. I would absolutely freak out, scream, yell at Beep and I made the situation 100 times worse. They pick up on your emotions SO much. I wish I had known that, it may have made a difference with my cats.

I know how stressful this is. Hopefully you can figure something out soon.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I appreciate your sentiments!

To answer your question, the older cat 'stalks' (literally) the younger one. I open the porch door for them to go onto the screened lanai,and the older cat does everything he can to intimidate the younger one, when the younger one is trying to get out. Hissing ensues. lol I'm forced to get up and clap my hands, then the older one goes running.

It is like this all day long, when I'm home. Who knows what goes on in my absence! 0.o lol

I have said to the older one...'dude, you need to get over this. 'C' is here to stay.' He just looks at me. The younger cat is a cuddly, wonderful cat. I hate to say this, but I'm growing weary of the older cat. I love him certainly, and show him as much attention...but he hates being held, the younger cat loves it. The older one still bites me if I touch his tail for a moment too long, etc! It's like really?? You still don't trust me?

The older cat will also eat the younger cat's food, when the younger cat walks away. I need a 911 cat nanny or something. lol

So, to answer your question, the actual fighting isn't ongoing ...it's more a constant stalking and hissing...that tends to go on ...off and on throughout the course of a day. The younger cat is afraid to walk past the older one...because the older one will swat at him and then they go at it.

I don't always react. Sometimes, I just ignore it, and it breaks up quickly. Other times, I clap loudly. lol Other times, I take a squirt bottle and break it up. Other times, I yell. I have tried separating them, and it feels like I'm punishing the younger cat, when he's done nothing at all wrong. You know?

Last edited by marie73; 02-15-2014 at 04:31 PM. Reason: removed quote
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 10:12 PM
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Lol, I don't think that saying 'Dude you need to get over this' is going to be effective - although it would be nice if it were that easy. Your older cat likely felt displaced by coming home to find the new cat already there. Did you separate them in the beginning or did you just put them together right away?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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lol I know, he just stares up at me whenever I say it

In the beginning, yes I kept them separate. I had a gate and kept them separated that way and at night, the younger cat stayed in my bedroom. The older one never liked sleeping with me so it wasn't an issue. But, at the suggestion of others who have mingled their cats without issue, I decided to let them share the house together. I will say it's nowhere near as bad as when they first started mingling but to me? They should be further along than they are. I hear you, he felt replaced. I felt bad and still do but now I have both of them and honestly, the younger cat is a dream boat. He just is so lovable and sweet and meows to you as though he is wanting to chat. Just a darling cat. The older one, he has changed so much it's like he is always angry, and food obsessed. Doesn't like to be held, etc...

He was never a cuddly type but I'm thinking that adding the younger cat into the home just caused him great anxiety ...he is better but I just think he will never be ok with this cat sharing "his" house.

I wouldn't have taken that stray in had I known the older cat would be returning.
No easy answer, I guess. :/

Last edited by marie73; 02-16-2014 at 02:19 AM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:15 AM
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I'm glad this thread got started. I just today started to have an issue with my new girl Coco laying in to our girl Lacey with teeth and claws. Coco is 6, rescued from a shelter I volunteer at and Lacey ( we have had for a year, also a rescue.

The bigger issue is that Lacey has a bad heart and failing kidneys and is declawed (came that way) while Coco is not. Lacey is not in good health and I feel I have an obligation to protect Lacey from the younger, stronger, much more active Coco.

We've had Coco for 3 weeks now and she has been an angel up until this with the other cats. I'm more afraid that she will also start to pick on Missy our 18 yo, almost blind girl. I'm hoping for more people to chime in with your problem.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 10:43 AM
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Oh Marcia, I'm sorry to hear that you're going through that. Little Coco gave you a honeymoon period apparently and now is maybe trying to establish herself in the pecking order. Either way, it's no fun and I don't blame you for being worried about Lacey and Missy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deidre View Post
he is better but I just think he will never be ok with this cat sharing "his" house. /
No, you're right there's truly no easy answer, at least from reading these threads there doesn't always seem to be. I'm not saying this is definitely true for your cat, but some cats do need to be the only cat in a household - either that or to have another cat that doesn't challenge them at all.

I have been really lucky with the two cats I just recently added to my household, one in October and one in December. My resident cat who is 8 and who had been completely bonded to our other cat that we lost, was not impressed with the additions initially. She hissed right in their faces and would swat at them if they got anywhere near her. She wanted nothing to do with them. But the good thing was that both new cats (in turn) backed right off from her whenever she would do that and would just walk away. Neither one of them challenged her, which is what I think has allowed her to get used to them without feeling threatened. She is now much better and actually plays chasing games with my male cat Sunny. She hasn't hissed at either cat in quite a while now.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:33 PM
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Deidre, I would suggest spending more one on one time with your oldest 'first' boy, extra play time, etc...
I know the second one is very cuddly and hard to resist!
First boy still needs to know he comes first!
Tire him out with some play, then add your younger cat in for some joint play, when both are tired, give each something yummy, that they normally do not get.
And tho' its hard to ignore hissing and growling, it really is best to let them 'sort' it out!
As long as there is no blood being drawn or serious biting (deep bites)
Or heavy fur pulling out...
Leave them to settle it!
One thing about cats, is they can sound like they're getting killed, when all that's really going on is a lot of vocal posturing!
It can sound very hair raising to the uninitiated cat owner when it happens!

I have a female who loves to play with one of my males...she is also a bit of a princess...every now and then you would think the male must be trying to kill her from all the noise/crys she makes, but no, she goes right back to playing with him!
She hasn't been hurt at all, well....maybe her dignity!!

If you haven't tried it yet, get a laser toy and see if your cats will chase the 'red bug'!
Feather toys on sticks/wands...
Catnip or honeysuckle...

You need to be calm! Cats pick up our emotions like crazy!
So even if you're 'Edgey' they Will pick that up and it will add to whatever they are already feeling!
Breathe, Breathe, Breathe!!:p

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10cats2dogs View Post
Deidre, I would suggest spending more one on one time with your oldest 'first' boy, extra play time, etc...
I know the second one is very cuddly and hard to resist!
First boy still needs to know he comes first!
Tire him out with some play, then add your younger cat in for some joint play, when both are tired, give each something yummy, that they normally do not get.
And tho' its hard to ignore hissing and growling, it really is best to let them 'sort' it out!
As long as there is no blood being drawn or serious biting (deep bites)
Or heavy fur pulling out...
Leave them to settle it!
One thing about cats, is they can sound like they're getting killed, when all that's really going on is a lot of vocal posturing!
It can sound very hair raising to the uninitiated cat owner when it happens!

I have a female who loves to play with one of my males...she is also a bit of a princess...every now and then you would think the male must be trying to kill her from all the noise/crys she makes, but no, she goes right back to playing with him!
She hasn't been hurt at all, well....maybe her dignity!!

If you haven't tried it yet, get a laser toy and see if your cats will chase the 'red bug'!
Feather toys on sticks/wands...
Catnip or honeysuckle...

You need to be calm! Cats pick up our emotions like crazy!
So even if you're 'Edgey' they Will pick that up and it will add to whatever they are already feeling!
Breathe, Breathe, Breathe!!:p
LOL YES BREATHE!

I appreciate your advice here. The last few days, I've taken some 'extra' time to pay attention to the older cat, and I swear, this is making a difference! He is stalking the younger cat less, and less fighting overall. I don't know if there's something to it, but there must be. He doesn't like to be picked up, but I did anyway, and he kept turning his head around to look at the other cat as if to say...haha see? she loves me more. LOL

It's really a territorial battle, especially with male cats. So, I will have to begin to think like a cat in order to understand them.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 02:17 PM
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There's a few things I'll mention that have helped for us. But first, a tiny bit of background:

Our 'problem' initially was Jitzu refusing to accept Torri. Now, with Jitzu being older and not particularly healthy she simply doesn't have the energy to be a jerk to Torri. (Not something I'm completely happy about, since it took chronic illness...but I'll take the silver lining on this particular cloud.)

Unfortunately, Jitzu's bullying led to Torri becoming very shy, reserved, and anxious. this makes her a target or the boys.

She's 6 years old now, and things have improved significantly in the past 3 years. I still don't think she'll ever 'like' the other cats, but they're getting much closer and there are days when she'll even play with the boys! (and there play is getting longer and less combative )

Mainly, we gave Torri her own safe space and kept her there to build her confidence. For about 6 months solid she was only in one room (ours) with everything she needed. IMO this isn't cruel, because the option was re homing an extremely anxious cat...That works best in some situations, but not for us. After 6 months she'd had a huge change in personality with myself and my bf; she was sweet, snuggley, playful, and much happier.

As time progressed and we began letting her out while we were home we worked on her confidence out of the room. Having 'family treat time' every night was a HUGE help. Torri sat on the table and got her treats there, the other cats got theirs on the floor. Now, Torri will sit right next to any of the other cats to get her treats, but it took 6 months or so to have her feel confident enough not to run away and hide. (I do an alternating pattern, each kitty gets one treat, then we start over and eah kitty gets another treat, ect. So they need to wait their turn.)

Making sure the boys get enough exercise is another big part of things. If they're full of energy and mischief they just can't help but tease her, if they've just have a big run then they're over all calmer and better able to have good manners.

So, basically, I'd try two things. It doesn't sound to me like you need to separate your boys, but I WOULD do daily play times, focusing on the older guy. Also, try doing treat sessions twice a day or so, you don't need to give them tons of treats every time, and it doesn't need to be 'cat treats' from a baggie either! I use tiny bites of cheese, chicken, beef, chicken pure bites, and cat kibble mainly. But I've used a zillion different things in the past year, lol. The only thing that matters is that they like it! Since they're only getting 3-4 bites it doesn't really matter what it is, as long as it's not always lunch meat or tuna, lol.

Giving your older boy attention is a good idea too...but I'm more of a fan of 'who ever is behaving best gets attention' than 'you were here first so I love you more' brands of cuddling. If you've had both boys for 2 years it's not like you're less attached to the younger one, and coming second doesn't make him a lesser citizen! (certainly not at this point anyways!)

I give all my cats equal amounts of attention, in different ways and when they're behaving. (Ie don't' give the cat who's scratching up your couch a snuggle right that moment).

I see it like having kids. Do you pay more attention to the first one once you've got a second? Nope. Not fair.

You also need to be careful how often you yell at the older guy for chasing the young kitty. If he's always getting yelled at when the younger cat is around it can actually make things worse! "I always get yelled at when that darn younger cat is around. I HATE that guy!" Cats don't always link their actions with consequences. Make a point of talking nicely to the older boy, and using your voice to (positively) distract him from stalking the younger one.

The more positive things you can connect between the two cats the smoother their relationship will become. " When that young guy is around Mum seems really happy and I get loads of treats and cuddles! I like that guy!"
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