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let them work it out?

1431 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  KMK83
I'm sorry for all the questions lately, but I don't know any other cat owners, and this forum has been really helpful :)

We have a 1.5 year old female and introduced an approximately 1 year old male a week and a half ago. They are both fixed. We kept the new guy in a spare bedroom for a while, swapped scents etc.

There were absolutely no signs of aggression at all, and it became apparent that they wanted to meet, so we let them meet last week. They touched noses and played together a little. We've been letting them have supervised visits and have been stretching the time out a little each day. All of the interactions were incredibly positive up until a few days ago.

The problem is that the last few days they have started to hiss and growl at each other and there have been squabbles where it sure doesn't seem like they are playing. It seems like the new guy is getting very territorial about his isolation room all of a sudden... and that seems to be the only place our resident female wants to go. When we first open the door they touch noses and are friendly, then it sort of goes downhill.

I am a little upset because things were going unbelievably well, and we seem to have taken a step back... but I understand that they might be trying to establish who is top cat, and squabbles like these are inevitable. But, at this point, should we just let them work it out, or should we separate them when they start hissing? Should we decrease the amount of time we let them interact?
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Do you have a baby gate you could use for a while so they could get used to seeing each other without contact? I stacked 3 on top of each other (cheap Walmart ones).
We don't have baby gates, but whenever we prop the door, they are very friendly and touch noses, etc. They are fine most of the time, but sometimes they chase each other and it ends in hisses and growls that don't seem like play... but I'm not too sure. We're trying to decide if we should separate them whenever we hear hissing or if we should actually increase their time together to let them work out it out.
If it's just hisses and growls, I'd let them work it out, but only when you're watching. If it starts to get more serious, instead of interferring, try distracting one of them with a toy or tossing them treats. This way, they'll learn that being together can be a good thing.
I am no expert but I have two cats that do not always get along. They have lived together for almost eight years and hissing is not unusual. But even though they are not the best of friends. they frequently end up sharing the sofa, bed... If neither of your cats is acting fearful I wouldn't worry too much about hissing. If it escalates to a nasty fight then you should intervene. And I would swap the cats. Put the female in the spare bedroom and let the male out. Even though my boys have gotten into some very nasty sounding squabbles, neither has ever suffered more than a small scratch. So don't worry too much. It's best if you are calm and let them know that you are the top cat.
Thanks for the responses. They do fine most of the time, but then one of them will start up and it usually ends with one of them hissing or growling. They don't actively avoid each other and no one hides. I think I'll take the advice and only intervene if it's serious.
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