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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:23 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:06 pm
Posts: 1
We have a 4 year old fixed female domestic shorthair polydactyl named Mittins (she was adopted from a shelter so we don't actually know her breed...she has a lot of the characteristics of a Chartreux we think?). In November 2016, we adopted a 7 month old fixed male possible Bengal mix from the shelter and named him Dobby. It's been slow going in getting Mittins to even humor the idea of him being in the house (contained by a door to the second floor of the house). We did the swapping smells, a crack in the door, and now we have the doorway gated off so they can fully see each other and paw at each other through the gate. We also have them eat right next to the gate to try and associate food with friend.

We've had small successes with having them roam the main floor together in short spurts, but this past week has been terrible. First Dobby chased Mittins into the kitchen and pounced on her - so we broke them up and separated them. They then proceeded to stare and growl at one another through the gate. Then, two nights ago, they were doing great (tolerating each other while out and about) when out of nowhere Dobby attacks Mittins, cat screaming, fur flying, the whole bit. So we are now thinking the little fights are not just him trying to play, but real fighting and they are just not going to get along and we're going to have to take him back to the shelter - which is breaking my heart, as he is a total sweetheart when he's with just us humans.

Does it sound like there's no hope here? Any tips would be great. (And I've added a link to a picture of him to try and see if he actually is part bengal)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sgzpcwkgbea2d ... .jpeg?dl=0


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:04 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8150
Welcome to our forum. Dobby is beautiful! The markings aren't very clear, but it's possible he has some bengal in him somewhere.

As for your problem -- it appears you've tried to do things by the book. There is just one problem -- the cats go at their own pace, not ours. Obviously nearly three months should be long enough for the two cats to at least get used to the smells of the other cat. Male cats can be highly territorial -- even at a younger age. There are a couple of things I would recommend:

1. Get some Feliway diffusers and plug them in the rooms the cats inhabit. The Feliway is supposed to have a calming effect. There is also spray that you can use to spray areas like cat beds, etc. It's not cheap, but I have a dispenser in my bedroom and I have only one cat who likes to spray in that room.

2. Try to engage the cats in play together. This means, bring out the wand toys and entice them to enjoy them where their attention is on the toy and not the other cat. From the photo, I see other cat things in the room that should suffice for the two cats.

3. Jackson Galaxy sells Spirit Essences http://www.spiritessences.com which are holistic remedies for various behavioral situations. Some people swear by them, some think they do not work at all.

Unfortunately, even the BEST of friends (cats) can still fight. It's just like children -- brothers and sisters fight as well. But, you have to get both of yours to where they are accepting and tolerating of each other. Make sure each cat has its own space and area -- this may mean multiple cat trees. Make sure you are spending time on the situation .... putting the cats together and petting them. Giving them treats together.

Most of all, you need patience and you need to give the cats time. Most of them will work things out eventually -- but the time frame is different for each and every cat. When we have members come and post asking whether they should get a second cat -- we usually are hesitant to recommend it. In most cases, things will go well, eventually. But in some cases, it's just not going to happen and you have stressed out cats and stressed out owners. Every cat deserves a peaceful environment where they can thrive and feel confident. Hopefully, there will be no rehoming of any of your kitties. You've got to handle the situation as best you can and make it as easy on the cats as possible to get along.

Hope you will continue to update us on any progress that you make.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:23 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4145
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
I think you've chosen a very challenging and ambitious pairing. What made you think that what Mittens needed was a large high-energy male "teenager"?

You've been trying it for 3 months now, and it sounds like there really hasn't been much progress. Given that there is fighting and your cat is getting hurt (fur flying) maybe even gotten worse. So I think re-homing Dobby should definitely be on the table. It's not fair to Mittins to have to live in fear and keep getting beaten up.

That said, there are resources out there. There is a book called "Cat Vs Cat" that has really good discussion and suggestions for a case like this. This problem is obviously a common one, so you can contact a cat behaviorist for help, knowing that they've no doubt dealt with this kind of thing over and over. Also the tv show "My Cat From Hell" deals with cases like this, probably every other show. So lots and lots of examples of how problems like this were solved.

The common approach to solving this type of problem though are:

1. You work on making sure that you build up a big "positive balance" in terms of how each cat associates good things with being with the other cat (sounds like you are doing some of that).
2. Managing the aggression of the attacking cat. This usually means that *you* take a really active role in playing games, every day, that tire out and satisfy the play needs of your turbo-kitty. This usually is done with interactive toys like dabird that simulate hunting behaviors.
3. Managing the confidence of the picked-on cat. Catification is a big part of that. Making sure the picked on kitty has easily-defensible perches she can use to get off the floor (out of the "splash zone"), while at the same time being out there and a part of the family and "owning territory" as opposed to cowering and hiding to get away from the tormentor. Jackson Galaxy has 2 books on Catification, and you can also google things like "cat shelves" to easily find such products.

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