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I posted back in May - http://www.catforum.com/forum/37-behavior/154287-our-two-cats-arent-getting-along.html - about the fact that our male cat named Chompers was constantly harassing our female cat named Cassie.

Since then, we've tried all sorts of techniques, to no avail.

To briefly summarize the cats, who are both from local shelters:
Chompers - 1 year old, gray DSH with tiger stripes, medium size (much larger than Cassie and very proud of that)
Cassie - 1.5 years old, muted tortoiseshell DSH, small

The main problems:

- Chompers loves to attack and dominate Cassie countless times every day. Often it gets so bad that we have to separate them by putting one upstairs, and that's usually what we do at night or while we're out of the house too (so we keep another litter box and food bowl up there). However, the last couple weeks, they started urinating territorially up there, so now we're going back to having them in the same space 100% of the time. That has been, predictably, a nightmare so far. Cassie is a calm and sweet cat, and we feel horrible that she's so stressed about him all the time. She knows that whenever she moves around, that tempts him even more to attack, so she spends most of the day stationary on a chair or cat tower where she feels slightly safer. Thus, she gets almost no exercise with him around, except for the times she's running for her life.

- Chompers also knows no boundaries...whether it's ripping food out of the garbage, getting on the kitchen counter, going behind the TV to scare us by chewing wires...no matter what we try (yelling, spray bottles, noisemakers, putting him upstairs as punishment) he never learns, and seems to even find the negative attention amusing. You can get him to stop a bad behavior if you try hard enough, but he will go right back to it five seconds later, even while you're looking right at him.

In spite of all this, we still love Chompers and can't imagine giving him up. We are determined to fix this somehow. If you have any ideas please let me know. Thank you
 

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Could you keep one permanently upstairs (the same one, not alternating) and the other permanently downstairs? Are they both fixed?
 

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Well. i don't know much as far as the getting Chompers to stop being a pain towards Cassie. Besides maybe getting some fun interesting cat toys for him to focus on instead. It might help :)
But as far as the chewing wires.. Go to a sports store, Walmart might have it, not sure, get a thing called Pine Tar. Its perfectly safe for animals, I've used it multiple times for a dog to stop chewing (it does work) They have a crayon type to rub in and also a spray type.
Put some on the wires he usually tries to chew, it'll give a nasty surprise for him, and it should stop soon enough to where he won't want to chew them again.
 

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I think Chompers going after Cassie is part of the bigger issues, so I'm going to address this as a whole rather than peice by peice.

"...no matter what we try (yelling, spray bottles, noisemakers, putting him upstairs as punishment) he never learns, and seems to even find the negative attention amusing."

This sentance sums it up for me. Chompers has learned to seek out attention of any sort, he doesn't care if it's negative or positive. Because he's been seeking out negative attention, you need to change your way of dealing with him and reacting to him. This change needs to come in a few different parts.

1) Stop giving him negative attention. I know this seems counter productive, but look at it this way. He knockes over a plant, you scold him and he thinks "AWESOME! She's talking to me! WIN!" So...that not only didn't stop the problem or teach him anything, it actually rewarded him for knocking your plant over! If you stop giving him that attention you're taking away the 'fun' part of the equation.

I'm not saying that this is easy, it's one of the most irritating and frustrating things ever about owning smart animals. But it does work, slowly and over time. If he does something bad like knocking things over simply ignore him entirely and just clean it up.

My personal mantra is "I am more stubborn than my pets. I AM more stubborn than my pets. I am MORE stubborn than my pets." Ect. That sort of time is when I break it out.

Another part of this is reducing the amount of chances he has to do a naughty behavior that you MUST react to, like chomping on Cassie or jumping onto a hot stove. If you're going to cook, put him in the bathroom. When the stove isn't hot, take him out.

What this means for Cassie is very important. If she doesn't feel safe then your first step with her is to change that. I'd personally suggest seperating them entirely, so that once you've improved Chomper's overall behavior you can reintroduce them all over without all the current negativity that's between them. Clearly the room you were using before isn't an option, but consider turning a room into Cassie's room.

In our house Torri has her own room, she's the onyl cat allowed into our bedroom. She has her own scratchers, toys, water and food, litter box, and everything. She LOVES her room and often refuses to come out simply because she already has everything she wants. She feels safe in her room, and since Torri is also a very nervous cat that's very important for her.

Your poor Cassie must be stressed to the max. She can't ever get away from this bully! Giving her a month or so in a room that is completely Chomper free might do wonders for their long term relationship and will will prevent Chomper from hunting her.

Keep in mind that the more often he does a certain thing the more likely he is to do it again! If he can't chase Cassie because she's in her own space you're taking away the option. After long enough you can try and rebuild different habits around her.

2) Reward him for doing things that aren't bad. Cats do a lot of things that aren't bad, we just tend to ignore them because the human brain is set on "If it ain't broke (aka being bad) don't fix it (aka give attention). The problem with this mindset is that many smart animals quickly learn that the best way to get our attention is to be 'naughty'. If you flip that on it's head and start praising him and rewarding him for just NOT being bad it will confuse him.

Ex: Chomper is having a nap in the sun. This isn't bad, and in fact it's a good thing. Go up to him and have a nice gentle petting session, telling him what a good sweet kitty he is.

Ex: Chomper walks into a room. He hasn't done anything bad! Awesome. Call him over for a play time with a favorite toy.

Ex: Chomper is sitting on the couch, watching Cassie without jumping up and attacking her. Great! He hasn't been bad (yet), catch him before he is and tell him what a good kitty he is for sitting nicely on the couch.

These surprise cuddles when he's not doing anything bad will gradually teach him that he DOES get attention when he's good, and since he isn't getting attention for being bad anymore he'll start trying to seek out your attention in other ways.

3) Teach him ways to get your attention that are good and acceptable. The catch here is that it has to work. If you teach him to do something cute, like bring you a toy, and then whenever he brings you a toy you pretend like he doesn't exist then he'll go back to breaking things. So this is dependant on you making sure that the 'easy' way works!

An easy thing to teach him is touch or sit. Teach him to sit, and then if you're reading/cleaning/what ever and he comes near you and sits you drop everything and give him lots of love and play time. The more you do this the more he'll offer a sit instead of breaking something. This will gradually change the way he reacts to you, and the way you react to him.

This is actually the most important step. He started doing 'bad' things because he WANTED YOUR ATTENTION. Think about that for a second. He want's to communicate with you and the only way that has worked is by doing things that are 'bad'. It is up to you, as the adult and the human, to give him over ways to communicate and interact with you.

If you do these three things you will see changes in him.

Of course along with this you need to work on burning off some of that crazy energy kittens have. He is still young and he needs to play! I'd start with 10-15 minutes once a day, if he's stiull crazy and rambunctious then try playing with him twice a day. Remind yourself that every minute you're playing with him you're preventing him from using that energy to do bad things.

PS, we'd love some pictures! :)
 

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Thanks everyone so much for replying. Sorry, as I thought I was set up for an email subscription to the thread but apparently not, and didn't realize until now that someone had responded already.

Especially librarychick, thanks for taking the time to give all the good advice. My wife and I will talk about what you've said and try to come up with some plans.

Just a brief update, since Chompers and Cassie have been in "permanent together time" for about a week now...at least they've been coexisting alright for the majority of the time in any given day.

However, Chompers still attacks her at random times (I'd estimate between 5 and 10 times a day), so Cassie still feels ill at ease, and doesn't move around much for fear of attracting his attention.

Chompers is still, of course, also still doing his bad behaviors (trying to steal food from right in front of our party guests last night, for instance). We actually give both cats a lot of love and attention every day, so negative attention isn't all he gets. But Chompers definitely likes the fact we're 100% focused on him (rather than Cassie, of whom he gets jealous) when he's bad.
 

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If you said it I apologize for missing it, but is Chompers neutered? Neutering often calms down male cats and cuts down on territorial/aggressive behavior. Of course, since you got him from a shelter, I'm guessing he's already been fixed. :-/
 

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If you said it I apologize for missing it, but is Chompers neutered? Neutering often calms down male cats and cuts down on territorial/aggressive behavior. Of course, since you got him from a shelter, I'm guessing he's already been fixed. :-/
You assume correctly. Both being from shelters, they were both fixed before we adopted.

He's just got really wild mood swings. He can go a couple hours straight where, even just a few feet away from Cassie, he leaves her alone or interacts in more playful fashion. Then he'll snap and spend 5 or 10 minutes trying to murder her.
 

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Hmm, not joking, it sounds like the kitty version of Bipolar disorder... poor Cassie! Have you tried giving him treats when he's interacting nicely with Cassie? I don't mean a ton of treats, as you don't want him to get fat, but it would give him something positive to associate with her presence.
 

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Hmm, not joking, it sounds like the kitty version of Bipolar disorder... poor Cassie! Have you tried giving him treats when he's interacting nicely with Cassie? I don't mean a ton of treats, as you don't want him to get fat, but it would give him something positive to associate with her presence.
Yeah my wife and I always tell people he's schizophrenic or bipolar or something. Like I said, we love him very much anyway because our cats are like our kids.

We've tried the treats thing...we consistently reward both of them when they are calm or happy, especially when the two of them have occupied the same space peacefully for a while.

Usually when Chompers has something else he can focus on, he leaves her alone. But we can't spend every waking moment watching or distracting him so he needs to get over his issues somehow.
 

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He isn't bipolar and it isn't mood swings. This is normal (but not any fun) between cats who don't like each other. Jitzu is like this to Torri.

Now they do ok, I've done a lot of work with both of them. I can usually convince Jitzu to leave Torri alone, and Torri doesn't get as upset as she used to. But the best I can hope for is that they tolerate each other. This is a risk of having more than one cat.

I know his 'attacks' feel random, but he thinks he has a reason. This is an important distinction because it isn't 'out of the blue'. There ARE signs before it happens, you just need to learn what they are and howto watch for them.

TBH the easiest way to reduce these problems is by giving Chompers more play time. The more you play with him the less energy he'll have to pester Cassie. It works great.
 

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Playing with him does help, but mostly just for the temporary distraction.

He has a ridiculous amount of energy, so it's almost impossible to actually tire him enough that he won't go right back to bad behavior in five minutes.

Even if we do manage to exhaust the maniacal energy, Cassie still has to contend with him at night and when we're at work.

I just hope that as he gets a little older (since he's still somewhat of a kitten as far as mental maturity) he will get nicer or at least calmer. In the meantime I wish we had some way of stopping the worst behaviors...he does whatever the heck he feels like at all hours of the day and night.

The good news is that in their new "together 100% of the time" phase he hasn't killed or seriously injured Cassie and I feel fairly confident that he never would go that far. It would just be nice for her to have more peace to do her own thing without him jumping her. She still can't play at all without Chompers getting really angry about it, so she spends almost the entire day sleeping in a chair to avoid him.
 

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Have you tried using Feliway diffusers?

They plug into any electrical outlet, and I can attest to the effectiveness of the product.

FELIWAY - Official Site
Amazon.com: Feliway Plug-In Diffuser with bottle, 48 Milliliters: Pet Supplies


It really does work! They're a bit expensive, but IMO, they're worth it.


Also - since you and your wife are getting clawed by Chompers as collateral damage, you might want to consider clipping his claws (and Cassie's) or getting Soft Paws:

http://www.softpaws.com/
 

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We've tried the Feliway diffuser upon recommendation of our vet...unfortunately it did no good for our situation.

We probably do need to get their claws trimmed back a bit, it's been a little while and he does like to use his when he's in the wrong mood.
 
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