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How to Help Your Cats Get Along
06-04-2013, 11:34 PM,
#1
Babble64 Offline
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How to Help Your Cats Get Along
We have two cats in our home. "Mine" (Tia) grew up here and is 15 years old. She's a sweet cat when loved on her own terms, but somewhat temperamental. She had a dog for a companion for her first several years of life and they were good friends. Since then she's been living with only humans until a year ago. I got remarried last May and my hubby came with a lovely apple head Siamese. Wooly is a loving cat, curious and wants lots of attention. She lived in a house with dogs and cats over her 11 years and was always the Alpha female. The two are pretty much opposite of each other in personality, but we love them both. My hubby and I have both been through a lot and our pets have been invaluable friends along the way, offering love and companionship.

The trouble is....our girls don't get a long. It's way better than it was, but it's still not great. Tia hisses and growls at Wooly when she gets too close and occasionally Wooly will chase her in retaliation and that escalates Tia's anger. We have way more peace that we did a year ago but, oh, how I'd love to have this situation evaporate!

We did use Feliway spray for a couple of months last year...and it seemed to help (although was it just time that helped them get along better?) Are we destined to just have this discord forever? Or is there something we can do to help our friends?
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06-05-2013, 07:06 AM,
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maelstrom Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Hm. Sounds like you have quite the bad situation. I did some researcher on this a few years ago, and from what I can remember some cats are just too different personality-wise and will never get along. That may be what's going on here. Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of saying is that they'll have to learn how to tolerate one another.

That being said, I'm just a high-school senior, so there's a good chance I'm wrong, and would love for someone else's insight on my conclusion.
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06-05-2013, 02:37 PM,
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Jpix Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
I think that time is really one of the main things to help out in this situation. I've learned that you just can't make cat's like each other and some cat's just never will. But maybe you have some luck if they have gotten better over time, I wish you lots of luck! Do they like catnip? The last two cat's I had hated each other and I brought out some catnip, placed it on the floor and let them go at it. There was a little bit of growling from one of them at first but nothing got serious and eventually they started at the catnip together, I guess forgetting about the hate for a moment. We started doing this every day and things got a little better, but they still always hated each other.
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06-05-2013, 11:51 PM,
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Babble64 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Thank you both for your comments! I had been told that it may just be that they won't ever really get along, and I'm okay with that....things are tolerable at the moment, as I said. (It was awful at first....as they learned who was going to be "owner" of what room, etc....nastiness and chasing every day, even though we'd done several things to introduce them to each other gently.) And I finally decided, like I had to with my own children, that I'm not going to be put in the middle of it/take sides or interfere as they work it out. I think that was making things worse, or at least keeping them at a stand still.

Jpix, I do like the idea of the catnip and I think I will give that a try! They do both like it so maybe....gosh, if it even gets them a little closer for the moment. I really think if my kitty would relax and realize the other one ISN'T trying to kill her we'd be okay....but I can't seem to make her understand that. Sad
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06-05-2013, 11:57 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-06-2013, 12:40 AM by ReneLeBeau.)
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ReneLeBeau Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Getting a new animal into the house can be tricky. When I got my second kitten, my fist cat was over a year old, and she never lived with another animal of any kind. She's normally a bit unfriendly to new people, and she's really easily startled, so I was really worried how she's going to react to a very lively kitten. And, it was pretty much what I expected, there was hissing and arched backs when they first saw each other. So, I read all I could about it on internet, and started introducing them as slowly as possible. They were kept in separate rooms, and for a few weeks just sniffed each other through the door. It was very inconvenient for me, but I just couldn't risk it. In the meantime, I would carry toys and other object from one room to the other, since people suggest that mixing their smells helps. After that, I would place the kitten in the carrier, and let her in his room. I let her sniff the carrier, poke at it and sit on it until the kitten asked to get out. I did this for a week or two. Then I let them be together but only when supervised, they were still a bit rough with each other (especially the kitten, who was bigger then and was going through a biting phase). After a while, it was OK for me to leave them together. They don't cuddle together like I would want to, but they have no problems. So, I think that the best way to introduce them to each other is slowly, step by step. I can't really offer you any good advice, unfortunately, since your cats have already been living together for a while. One thing I've heard that helps when introducing a new cat, and might help in your case, is rubbing one cat with a towel, then rubbing the other cat with the same towel, then the first one again. That way you mix their smells together. If you haven't tried something like that before, it might be worth a shot.
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06-07-2013, 08:49 AM,
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Babble64 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
I think part of our trouble is that we didn't bring the girls together gradually enough. We did try taking clothing back and forth and we had a blanket we used this way and each girl would sleep on it while it was at her house. Then we brought my hubby-to-be's girl over here in her carrier and introduced them that way before having her spend time here out of her carrier. And of course, we can't roll back time and do it again.

There is, of course, the possibility that they wouldn't have gotten along anyway. Someone told us they either will or they won't. I guess since things have calmed down as much as they have I'll be grateful for that. At least we don't have daily sessions of hair-raising, someone-sounds-like-she's-dying anymore.
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06-20-2013, 09:07 AM,
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Babble64 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Last week the "unthinkable" happened. In the midst of this discord between our girls Tia always had a safe zone...a favorite chair...to which she'd retreat whenever things got too uncomfortable for her. I told my husband I was going to let the two of them work things out without interference as long as Wooly didn't try to get into that chair! She'd eyed it a few times and I'd warned her off. Well, last week I came home to find her in the chair. Despite my earlier threats I let her be. Tia has found a level of comfort several other places in the house and as long as she has those I'm okay with Wooly using the chair. (I haven't seen Tia in it since.) I do think, though, that it rather solidifies the idea that Wooly's the alpha cat. I can't say that doesn't make me a bit sad.
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07-21-2013, 07:34 AM,
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Jezebella Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
You may want to consider making more verticle space. Cats love to "own" their territory, and you can make a lot more of it with shelves and such without it taking over your own space. They also make these awesome trays that you can attach to your window and create a feline window seat. Try getting them to play hard. A great toy is any toy with something on a string hanging off a stick. It lets them feel like they are hunting and winning. It makes them feel more secure, and less likely to need to defend their space.
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07-25-2013, 04:21 AM,
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edimzy Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Never let the cats “fight it out.” Cats don’t resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands, spray from a water gun or a burst of compressed air (no noise).
Neuter the cats. Intact males are particularly prone to aggressive behavior.
Separate their resources. Reduce competition between the cats by providing multiple, identical food bowls, beds and litter boxes in different areas of your house.
Provide additional perches. More hiding spots and perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer.
Don’t try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat, just leave her alone and give her space. If you come close, she could turn and redirect her aggression toward you.
Reward desired behavior. Praise or toss treats to reward your cats when you see them interacting in a friendly manner.
Try pheromones. FeliwayTM, a product that mimics a natural cat odor (which humans can’t smell), may reduce tensions. Use a diffuser while the aggression issue is being resolved.
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08-25-2013, 04:48 AM,
#10
ohiotom76 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
We've had both of our cats for three years now, and they still don't get along. I don't think there is much that we can do to change them at this point, so we just let it be. I think the biggest issue is that they have two very different personalities. The one is very finicky and doesn't like to be messed around with much at all - she's skittish about everything. The other one is a goofball that likes to play around a lot, and she drives my other cat nuts with her antics.
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08-28-2013, 07:24 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-28-2013, 07:27 AM by Babble64.)
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Babble64 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
(07-25-2013, 04:21 AM)edimzy Wrote: Never let the cats “fight it out.” Cats don’t resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands, spray from a water gun or a burst of compressed air (no noise).
Neuter the cats. Intact males are particularly prone to aggressive behavior.
Separate their resources. Reduce competition between the cats by providing multiple, identical food bowls, beds and litter boxes in different areas of your house.
Provide additional perches. More hiding spots and perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer.
Don’t try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat, just leave her alone and give her space. If you come close, she could turn and redirect her aggression toward you.
Reward desired behavior. Praise or toss treats to reward your cats when you see them interacting in a friendly manner.
Try pheromones. FeliwayTM, a product that mimics a natural cat odor (which humans can’t smell), may reduce tensions. Use a diffuser while the aggression issue is being resolved.

Thanks for your involved responses, edimzy. We did try some of these approaches, and I think they each had a degree of success. The Feliway spray certainly seemed to settle things down dramatically, if not completely. We learned early on that trying to soothe our girl who was angry only caused her more discomfort, and, as you said, she often simply saw us as part of the threat. "Giving her her space" was a must at that point. We never got in the way of the chasing but did interfere/cut off access when "my" girl reached a safe zone.

I'm happy to say that at this point life here has settled down to a passable peace. I still am unsure if the Siamese is trying to make friends with the Calico or if she's taunting (she gets near, then lies down in a vulnerable position) Whichever it is, the Calico just can't accept a friendship if that's what's being offered. But there is no longer any chasing. We still have the occasional hiss when they are close but they have managed to work it out so that they just give each other about 2-3 feet of space to change positions so they can carry on. All in all, I'm quite pleased.

(08-25-2013, 04:48 AM)ohiotom76 Wrote: We've had both of our cats for three years now, and they still don't get along. I don't think there is much that we can do to change them at this point, so we just let it be. I think the biggest issue is that they have two very different personalities. The one is very finicky and doesn't like to be messed around with much at all - she's skittish about everything. The other one is a goofball that likes to play around a lot, and she drives my other cat nuts with her antics.

This sounds a lot like our situation, ohiotom. They are "polar opposites"...a scaredy cat and curiosity killed the cat; elusive and a cuddler; quiet and noisy, etc. I just think the Siamese is too much "out there" for the Calico and the latter just wants to be left alone...even by humans to a large degree. Even by me, except when she asks for attention and I am far and away her favorite. (I'm "hers" as much as she's mine, as it were)

I still wonder, occasionally, if they'll ever be friends, but I don't dwell on it, because it doesn't really matter. I'm so thankful that they've worked things to the point that they have, if it never gets any better than this, I'm a happy Mom!
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10-16-2013, 05:05 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-16-2013, 05:08 AM by Lilly.)
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Lilly Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
Can't blame Tia for not welcoming someone new to "her" abode. My senior cat let every "new" cat and dog that arrived after him know that they were not welcome. Fortunately, they all accepted that he was in charge and peace reigned for several years until he passed away. Then there was some jostling for position and now the second set of cats and dog have reached that vulnerable age, the youngster (7) is annoying everyone. I got him a cat tree which no one else tries to climb. He looks down on all of us. When he is bored, he searches out the aloof female and stares at her or pounces on her. My vet says he is trying to cross the boundary that she set up because "she's the queen" and that she expects I will find them curled up together one day. (He's already crossed everyone else's boundary.) For the moment, she hisses at him and stalks away. The vet says female cats are all divas and more likely not to get along than males. She only wants to be with me.
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11-07-2013, 11:50 AM,
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Delle LeClair Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
I have multiple cats in my household, and for the most part they all get along, however, there are a few who, since birth, have just had mad squabbles. The odd time they are civil, but then out of nowhere, they will stare each other down and jump at each other. It usually only happens in one or two spurts, I get the water bottle that I use to break them up and they move on with their day. Does anyone know of any ways that I can 'mediate' the ones who don't get along and try and get them to be friends? They are all in the same family. They are brothers. Sibling rivalry at it's finest!
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01-05-2014, 06:40 AM,
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tierapatt50 Offline
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RE: How to Help Your Cats Get Along
You would want to research this very intensely and of course tailor what you find according to what kind of cat you have (meaning their personality and traits), the internet is definitely your friend in this situation.
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