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Aggressive behavior with other cats after cat fight

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Paul0, Jun 18, 2017.


  1. Paul0

    Paul0 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there,

    I have a female cat that started going outside a couple of months ago. She's very nice and social with people. The first time she had contact with other cats was outside but always showed curiosity and tried to approach them cautiously. Recently she was attacked by a cat that lives somewhere in the surrounding area. Nothing serious, she just had a small cut on her ear. I was at home so when I heard the fight I was able to spot them, scare the other cat away and bring my cat back home. I see this cat quite often near our house (on the street and on the neighbors' garden) and I've seen him trying to get inside our garden to harass our cat (when I saw him lurking at the gate preparing to jump inside I was able to scare him off again preventing another possible attack).

    So... There's a bully cat in my neighborhood that has got me thinking about how to deal with him. But that's not really the reason why I'm writing. The reason why I'm writing is because I'm thinking about getting another cat but the problem is that now my cat is very scared of other cats. I've realized this because my neighbor has two cats that are always indoors and recently I've tried to bring my cat over to see how she behaves with other cats (after the incident) and she started immediately hissing and growling even though these cats are the most docile cats I've ever met... They didn't hiss nor growl back at her so I'm sure it wasn't a question of reaction to a hostile attitude from these other cats. This leads me to think that she somehow got traumatized by the other cat that attacked her and now can't distinguish friend from foe. What can I do?

    Thank you and sorry for the long post.
    Cheers,
    Paulo
     
  2. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Cats are not like dogs unfortunately. They have very close knit and complex social groups, which means they are generally averse to socialising with stranger cats. Her reaction to your neighbours' cats is completely normal, even from a cat who hasn't been upset. It's not an indicator that she's feeling traumatised. The hissing and growling is her way of vocalising that she is unsure, feels wary, and wants them to give her space. My cats are the most docile breed going, but bring a new kitten or cat home, and for the first few days there's hissing and growling all round.
     
  3. Paul0

    Paul0 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Carly,

    Thank you for the explanation. Makes sense but I still can't understand why she didn't hiss or growl at the first cats she got in touch with...
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    As I understand you, you took your cat over to the neighbour's house to meet the neighbour's two indoor cats. The cats are strangers to her and so is the territory. Your cat has never been in the neighbour's house before and she suddenly found herself in a place with lots of alien scents, especially the scents of the cats who live there, and also new sights and strange sounds. No wonder she was upset! :( The experience would have made most cats very anxious and defensive indeed.

    On top of that the neighbour's cats would not have liked a strange cat coming into their home, and no doubt they were giving off hostile or fearful signals . Even if you couldn't see these, I have no doubt your cat could.

    As she has had a nasty fight with a local cat I expect she will be wary of all cats she sees outdoors from now on. She may not necessarily dislike sharing her home with another cat but you would have to go about the introductions very slowly, keeping both cats apart and letting your own cat dictate the pace.

    You must not do anything to upset your cat and it could take weeks or months to integrate another cat in your home. It took me 4 months to successfully introduce 2 female kittens to my resident cats. You would have to put the time, effort and patience in at the beginning, or there is a risk the cats will never get along.

    I use the screen door method as I have found it works best. This involves putting the new cat in a safe room (not a bathroom but a room of a decent size with a window they can see out of). I fit an inexpensive full height screen door in the doorway, having it open outwards, the opposite way to how the wooden door opens. The new cat has all they need in their room, water, food, litter trays, bed, toys, scratch post etc.

    You then allow the two cats to see each other through the screen door for short periods, and if there is any growling or spitting you close the wooden door until next day. You gradually increase the exposure through the screen door, bit by bit, day by day, until the two cats can see each other without any negative reaction. This could take a few weeks or a lot longer. Persevere.

    Next step is to allow the new cat out of their room for short periods, always under your supervision until such time as you know both cats are OK with each other all the time. Any negative reaction (apart from the odd hiss) and you must put the new cat back in their safe room. Continue next day with short periods together under your supervision, and so on.

    Down the line once you have the two cats sharing the same space, you must ensure they both have their own feeding stations, out of sight of each other and do not allow them to share bowls or steal food from each other.

    Litter trays for 2 cats - at least 3, Water bowls - several. Cat scratch posts - several in every room.
     
  5. Paul0

    Paul0 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Chillminx,

    Sorry, I jumped over some (apparently important) details:

    I didn't actually bring the cat to my neighbor's house. I live in a building and at the roof of my building there's a common terrace, where both my cat and my neighbor's cats have been several times before (never at the same time though). So the other day, seeing that my neighbor's cats were at the terrace and knowing how docile they are, I brought my cat over to let them meet each other (I did this only because I've seen my cat going along with other cats on the street so I never expected her to hiss and growl). The other two cats were really chilled and approached without any hurries nor worries. As soon as my cat started hissing and growling they respected her space and stopped getting near her. At this point I grabbed her in my arms to make her feel safe and then I got near one of the two cats, just close enough to cuddle him, trying to show my cat that they were not going to attack her. You could see that she was less defensive while in my arms but still hissed and growled so at a certain point I just took her home.

    I don't know if I did the right thing or not, or if I misinterpreted the situation at the terrace... In any case, all I wanted to understand was if she behaved like this because of still being "traumatized" by the other cat that harassed/harasses her on the street. Are cats really that unfriendly with other cats? Is it always hard to introduce a new cat to the house? Aren't there any cats that simply accept new cats in their homes without giving trouble?

    Thank you!
     
  6. Paul0

    Paul0 PetForums Newbie

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    Plus, my cat sees my neighbor's cats very very often since my balcony is right next to hers. Every time my cat sees them from our balcony or vice-versa none of the hisses nor growls. Which makes me think that by now she should be used to them and to their scent since they hang around often in the building's terrace.
     
  7. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Paul0 -

    Cats are very territorial animals. They are solitary hunters so they instinctively need to protect their territory from other cats.

    Being "used" to another cat's scents e.g. on the balcony, does not necessarily mean your cat accepts or likes the neighbour's cats. Cats are able to time-share common areas outdoors as long as they do not come face to face and as long as the strange cats do not intrude into the resident cat's home.

    You took a risk picking up your cat and taking her close to the neighbour's cats. :( . Not a good idea at all. In such a situation some cats would have fought like mad to get away and you would have been scratched to pieces. :(

    There are some pedigree breeds who have been specifically bred to be sociable, and their sociability can extend to other cats as well as humans. Nothing is ever guaranteed though, as cats are individuals.

    With moggies I have never yet come across one who happily accepted a strange cat moving into their home. I suppose there must be the occasional one here or there. But to be frank I would worry there was something wrong with a cat who did not bother to defend their home against newcomers. It would be un-cat like behaviour not to mind. Some nervous, timid cats might hide and avoid a newcomer instead of chasing them away or growling. But that is hardly to be recommended! :( . No-one wants their cat upset.
     
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