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I have two cats, both declawed females, Ranko age 13 and Bella age 11. Both are great cats, I don't know what I'd do without them. Both of them have lived most of their lives inside, and have had no social interaction with other cats or dogs. I had to have a friend foster them for month or so. One of my friend's dog is very friendly and rowdy, and couldn't understand Pixie's hate. Every since then, she's been a bit grumpy. Not so much with me, but any strangers or other animals causes her to instantly grumble, growl and hiss. I wasn't much of an issue until me and my brother got a place together. Enter Pixie the Terror! Pixie is almost 2 years old and is not declawed.

It has been over nine months since we moved in together, and Pixie and Bella do not get along. We keep them separate, Bella stays in my room while Pixie & Ranko has the run of the rest of the house, or Pixie is put up in my brother's room, and Bella and Ranko are free. The few times I've tried to introduce the two cats have ended badly. If Bella hears, smells, sees Pixie, her ears go back, she growls, hisses and charges. If Pixie sees Bella first, she goes straight to her(not aggressively, just curious), then Bella reacts, then CAT FIGHT!!! Bella, being declawed, gets the worse of it. Her face gets clawed up, and now she's pissed off at everyone.

I need to know how to get these cats to at least tolerate each other. My lease is coming up, and I don't want Bella have to go through another year of being tense and scared. It'd be a hardship to move, and cause all kinds of other problems, but the option is on the table. Keeping the cats separated has stopped fights from happening, but I'd rather all of them have the run of the house.

Note: I've added litter boxes, 3 large cat trees. I feed them on opposite sides of the door. I tried the feliway scent plugin, couldn't tell an improvement. I ordered several of the galaxy scent mixes, but no positive difference. I'll try to rub a clean sock on pixie and take it to Bella, but the smell of Pixie causes Bella to hiss, growl, attack the sock and then retreat under the desk or to the closet. I've also spent more time playing with the cats individually, trying to burn off that energy, but they don't get along.

Secondary question: How to handle cats who don't get along when one has her claws and one does not?

Any suggestions or tips will earn my(and Bella's) undying gratitude.
 

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Aww, poor Bella. It's hard to rule the roost just to get some upstart youngster come in and try to tell you what to do, huh? Pixie may settle down with age, but frankly if Pixie is not going to leave poor Bella alone, and continued separation is not an option, then perhaps rehoming is an option?

If this is not an option, and you have tried all the things I would have suggested anyways there is perhaps a medical option available. I read a good book recently called The Cat who cried for help by Dr. Michael Dobson. It's on Amazon. He worked with many hyperactive, OCD and other issues with cats and used mild anxiety and other medications to take the edge off their emotions. I'm not advocating drugs as a first course of action, but you might research some of these and see if your vet agrees that one of them might help. My bottom line would be Bella's happiness since she is older, but that is just me.

Anti-anxiety Medication for Cats
 

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It seems to me the cat that's causing the issue is Bella, not Pixie...if it's Bella that's starting the fights then that's where you need to focus. Even if Pixie is the one doing damage, that might not happen if Bella didn't start the fight!
 

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Rehoming is not really an option. Lol, unless I rehome my brother too! Pixie was the runt of the litter and was a breech birth, my brother had to "help" deliver her.

I took Bella to the vet about her behavior, and of course, in the waiting room and vet's office she was super lovey and curious. Even the taking of her temp didn't phase her! He prescribed Xanex, hoping that if she was drugged, she wouldn't react to Pixie. Unfortunately, giving her a pill was unpleasant for both of us. While drugged, she just stumbled while attacking. I only tried a couple times. I just now called the vet, I think we are going to try a topical med this time. Fingers crossed.
 

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It seems to me the cat that's causing the issue is Bella, not Pixie...if it's Bella that's starting the fights then that's where you need to focus. Even if Pixie is the one doing damage, that might not happen if Bella didn't start the fight!
Agreed. I think Pixie is just curious, but once Bella starts growling and hissing, its on!
 

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Ranko can you start trimming Pixie's claws?
That would help to keep the damage to a minimum...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ranko can you start trimming Pixie's claws?
That would help to keep the damage to a minimum...
Honestly, I'm so gun shy from the last couple fights that I keep them separate all the time. The only time they see each other now is when I go through a closed door.

I'll give it a shot next time I try reintroducing them.


How often should I keep trying to introduce them? Weekly? Daily? I haven't tried in over a month.
 

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Ranko,
So it sounds like Bella and Ranko still get along...?
How is Ranko with Pixie? Do they play or ignore each other?
What is the story behind Pixie and the dog?
Is there still a dog in the mix?
If so, how do Bella and Ranko act around it?
Give as many details as possible!
So we can try and figure the dynamics, that are at work here!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ranko,
So it sounds like Bella and Ranko still get along...?
How is Ranko with Pixie? Do they play or ignore each other?
What is the story behind Pixie and the dog?
Is there still a dog in the mix?
If so, how do Bella and Ranko act around it?
Give as many details as possible!
So we can try and figure the dynamics, that are at work here!
Thank you! Its nice to be able to talk about 'em, Vet didn't have a bunch of time to get into any real specifics. And I have to limit talking about my girls, or people think I'm a weird cat guy... which I guess I am.

I have zero problems with Ranko. Not much bothers her. She gets along (maybe just tolerates?) with both Pixie and Bella, so she gets free run of the house. Sometimes Pixie will try to groom Ranko, and that'll earn her a swat, other times Pixie will ambush Ranko, and that'll get her one. But their interaction just seems playful. She'll hiss if Bella tries to sit too close behind her on the couch.

When Bella is closed off in my room, Pixie likes to hang out outside the door, just waiting for the door to open. But its Bella she wants, not the room. I don't think Pixie is malicious, I just think she sees poor Bella as the most fun toy in the house.

Sorry. Typed the wrong name in earlier post. It was Ranko and Bella that were fostered with a friend (and dog). This was before Pixie was around. There is no dog in the mix now, our house consists of me and my brother, and our three peeps.

Other info: There are lots of stray/neighborhood cats that come around the house. We feed a couple of them outside. You can see spray stains on our front door. Our cats will hang out near the door when the other cats are outside.

I will let Ranko out on the balcony with me. Shell hang out for a bit, then want to go back inside. I'll let Bella out with me too, but when its time to go back inside, she'll start hissing & slink inside, and head back to my room. And she'll be in a foul mood for a bit. The only thing I could think of, is that she hates Pixie's smell so much that wants to be in the fresh air, and HATES going back inside. But its just a guess.

I bought a large cat tree and third litter box for the living area. All three cats will use the litterbox. But only Pixie and Ranko will use the cat tree. Ranko will only get up on the 2nd floor, Pixie hangs out up on the 4th or 5th. Bella will hiss if she gets close to the tree. However, in my room, Bella stays on the top floor of the cat tree, and Ranko doesn't get on it at all. She prefers my bed.
 

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It sounds like Bella's a bit nervous over all...and I bet the spraying strays are part of your problem.

Have you tried a feliway diffuser? Quite a few members here have tried them with varying results from 'amazing' to 'no help'. Personally I had a diffuser and it did help, but I found it really expensive. I bought the little spray can and if the kitties are having a few bad days I'll spray it in each room of the house. I find that more cost effective.

I'd also suggest looking for some outdoor animal repellant and spraying that on your balcony where the strays have been spraying. It's possible that Bella is so overwhelmed by the scent of those outside cats (who likely aren't spayed/neutered) and that's effecting her overall stress level. If you can get them to go away she might de-stress enough that you could get her to accept Pixie.

I'm not going to say 'stop feeding them', but could you maybe feed them a bit father away? Set up a station in an out of the way corner? Any chance there's a group that does trap-neuter-return in your area that can help you get these cats spayed/neutered? That might make a difference too.
 

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Try giving some Composure Liquid by Vetri Science. It will help calm them. Along with the feliway. Part of reintroductions is it being a slow process and they have to figure out by themselves who is top cat. They need to establish a pecking order. Plus they each need their own space and safe places.

There is an excellent book you should read called Cat Vs Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat by Pamela Johnson-Bennett. You can pick up used copies fairly cheap.
 

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Ranko, one more question...
Were all three cats just thrown together initially? ?
No slow introduction?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Try giving some Composure Liquid by Vetri Science. It will help calm them. Along with the feliway. Part of reintroductions is it being a slow process and they have to figure out by themselves who is top cat. They need to establish a pecking order. Plus they each need their own space and safe places.

There is an excellent book you should read called Cat Vs Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat by Pamela Johnson-Bennett. You can pick up used copies fairly cheap.
Lol, a friend gave me that book for Xmas this year, very helpful. Thanks for the recommendation, I just ordered a bottle off amazon. I had tried some calming treats I found at a local pet store, but I didn't notice any changes. But I'm willing to try anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ranko, one more question...
Were all three cats just thrown together initially? ?
No slow introduction?
We didn't do it right. I can't remember how we first introduced them. I know we were cautious, because Pixie was a terror to the 2 male cats that lived with my brother's old roommate. I think we introduced her to Ranko first, mainly because nothing phases Mrs. Ranko. When we introduced Bella to Pixie, there was enough hissing and fighting that we began keeping them separate full time immediately.

One of the other things I've tried is to take Bella into my brothers/Pixie's room(when Pixie is out), to try to get her used to Pixie's scent. I only tried it once, Bella just growled and hissed until I took her out. Might of been twenty minutes.

Also put Pixie into her pet carrier and put it in the living room, thinking that Bella could see/smell her without Pixie being able to claw her. Fail. Bella just growled/hissed and charged the carrier and swatted the door. Pixie just sat inside, no reaction. This lasted half an hour before I gave up and let Pixie back out in her room.

PS: I think I'm signing the lease for another year. My goal is to let all the cats roam all around the house, but if I have to keep Pixie and Bella separate I will. I realized that me and my cats have moved every 12-18 months. That can't be easy on them. Lol, or me...
 

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Ranko, define the 'fighting'...
Was fur being pulled out?
Was there any biting?
 

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Ranko, define the 'fighting'...
Was fur being pulled out?
Was there any biting?
It starts with hissing/growling, then to swatting with their front feet, and quickly its just one big ball of cat rolling around kicking with their back legs and making awful scary noises. I haven't noticed any biting, but the fur does fly. Bella ends up having small chunks of fur pulled out, and scratches on her face/nose.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How do you get your cat to drink Composure Liquid?

I got some, but Bella won't touch it. I've tried mixing it into her can food, but no luck. I have got her to drink a little by putting it into an eye dropper, but the process is just as bad as trying to give her a pill... Any advice?
 
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