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Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Sash1709, Sep 29, 2013.


  1. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    We have a 4 year old rescue cat Sasha and on Friday we adopted a 1 year old rescue called Dizzy, also a female.
    We kept them apart initially but now they are seeing each other under supervision.
    Dizzy has no issues with Sasha, she wants to be her friend but Sasha is hostile. She is ok unless Dizzy gets too close and then she hisses and growls (understandable I know). She has also swiped at her a few times.
    If she keeps her distance then Sasha doesn't seem to mind.
    Obviously if we are going out we will keep them isolated from each other for now.
    I know its very early days but I just wanted to make sure I am doing everything that I can to smooth things along and I know lots of you have been through this so any tips or advice welcome please !
    Thank you :)
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi there:) The best advice for integrating a new cat with a resident cat can be found at this excellent website:

    Integrating Cats

    I would just emphasise, above all else do not rush things - take things at a gentle/slow pace. Cats need time to adjust to change.

    Give Dizzy a safe room, and make sure Sasha knows she is still No.1 cat!!:)

    Good Luck!:)
     
  3. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for your reply chillminx. Am trying to be patient. Dizzy is such a little sweetheart, very gentle and still quite kittenish and she so much wants to be friends with Sasha :(
    Hopefully in time Sasha will mellow ! :)
     
  4. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Things have gone down hill in the last week or so. Sasha had seemed to be accepting Dizzy, the hissing and growling had stopped and there was just the odd swipe.
    Now though she is chasing her and attacking her for no reason. It's not just when Dizzy gets too close, she just goes after her.
    On the other hand they can eat their food together almost side by side with no issues.
    Dizzy tends to just run away to escape Sasha, she doesn't fight back and I feel sorry for her that she is being bullied like this.
    How do I deal with Sasha when she does this ? Do I shout/scold her or ignore her ?
    I find it all very stressful and I know it's early days but I can't let this go on for months. I really don't want to have Dizzy rehomed as she has had a lot of turbulence in her life :mad:
    Any advice appreciated :confused:
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi again Sash:) I really wonder how much of Sasha's worsening behaviour towards Dizzy is likely due to stress from being attacked or chased by the local bully cat Torres? These things have such a huge knock-on effect with cats, as I know only too well from my own situation. :(

    Cats often internalise stress and anxiety caused from one source (e.g. Torres) and then act it out on a more timid cat who is innocent of causing them any harm (e.g. Dizzy). Or they act it out on their human companions, suddenly becoming stroppy for no *apparent* reason (as far as the human can see).

    However until the situation with Torres is resolved, you need to deal with the problem being caused for Dizzy. Sasha cannot be allowed to keep bullying her because in time Dizzy will lose all her self confidence and may develop stress related behavioural problems such as toiletting issues, which could be a nightmare to sort out.

    Sasha and Dizzy need to spend some part of the day apart in different areas of the house with no access to each other during that period. Maybe 3 or 4 hours. Perhaps one upstairs and one downstairs, with a closed door between them. I would also separate them at night.

    By giving each cat an area of their own you will instil more of a feeling of security in each of them. It is to do with each cat knowing they have a bit of territory to call their own where no other cat can intrude at that time.

    This is especially important for Sasha because she was there before Dizzy and she is feeling threatened and invaded by Dizzy, even though she is doing her best to get along with her. (when it comes to feelings, nothing is ever black and white, even for cats:))

    On top of that Sasha is trying to cope with the threat to her outside territory from Torres the local bully cat. It is an awful lot for her to cope with and I think it sounds as though she is coping quite well for the most part, all things considered, bless her.

    When you bring the cats together (perhaps in the evenings ) make it be under your supervision for the moment. If Sasha goes to attack Dizzy
    intervene swiftly and calmly without making a big issue if it. Pick up either cat and remove them from the confrontation, then immediately use distraction techniques to take the heat out of the situation e.g. either a Da Bird type toy, or feed both cats some treats. This is so that Sasha ceases to see Dizzy as a threat and comes to associate her with *good things*.

    You will need patience, as improvement won;t happen overnight, but I am very hopeful of a good outcome eventually as you have said there are times when Sasha and Dizzy get along fine together. If Sasha always attacked her it might be different.

    When you feel Sasha can be trusted to be with Dizzy without your supervision, then you could start leaving them alone together. But I would still continue with their time alone in separate parts of the house for a good while. Certainly at night. It is not a punishment, but a safety net for them.

    I would also give both your cats a course of Zylkene supplement, as it is good at calming cats who are stressed/anxious over territorial issues, as yours are. You need to give it for a month to see any benefit, as it has a gentle gradual effect. You open the capsule and mix the powder with their food.

    Zylkene Capsules - Priced Per Tablet - 75mg - Animed Direct

    The 450 mg ones intended for dogs contain exactly the same product as the one for cats, just in larger doses, so it is worth buying the dog capsules and dividing up the powder to make 6 doses for cats. (75 mg dose per day for each cat = enough powder for 3 days). This will save you ££s in the long run.

    Incidentally I expect there may be some posts after mine from people who recommend just putting your 2 cats together and letting them get on with it.
    I do not advocate that in situations where one cat is being bullied, as Dizzy is. It does NOT work, and the bullied cat can end up (as mentioned earlier) with chronic stress related behavioural problems.

    Best of luck Sash. Let us know how things go eh?:)
     
  6. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you again chillminx for taking the time to post.
    Poor Dizzy got it in the neck again this morning from yet another tom cat (not Torres this time but his arch rival Barry). I was watching from my bedroom window and heard some screeching and saw Dizzy in next doors garden crouched down in the grass with Big Bad Barry standing over her. I ran out to shoo him away so she made a run for it back to our garden but he got her and there was a tussle. She managed to escape and seems unhurt but bless the poor little thing, she is having such a hard time.
    Sasha was sitting high up on a fence watching all this happen so you make a valid point that this may also be causing her anxiety.
    Anyway, aside from the tom cat issues, I will give my girls some time apart from each other and see if that helps. I had done that in the earlier weeks and then stopped doing it as things were going quite well.
    I will try those capsules too as I really want this to work.
    Dizzy is the innocent one in all this and I don't want her to be living in fear all the time as she is a very spirited little thing and I would hate that to change.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
    #6 Sash1709, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  7. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Hi :)
    There seems to be two separate issues here. Firstly getting Sasha and Dizzy accustomed to eachother. Secondly dealing with the bully cats outside ;)
    Is there any way you can keep your girls indoors until they are friends? Then when they are best buddies and you let them out, they can look after each other - allies against the bullies - I wonder if this would help at all? :)
    Em
     
  8. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Hi :)
    There seems to be two separate issues here. Firstly getting Sasha and Dizzy accustomed to eachother. Secondly dealing with the bully cats outside ;)
    Is there any way you can keep your girls indoors until they are friends? Then when they are best buddies and you let them out, they can look after each other - allies against the bullies - I wonder if this would help at all? :)
    Em
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Sash, your girls are real beauties!:001_wub::001_wub::001_wub: Gorgeous!:)

    Moggie14 makes a good point - perhaps it would be better to keep them both indoors until they are more comfortable with each other. At least Sasha would not be feeling so threatened then by outside sources.
     
  10. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you :)

    And thank you both for your replies. Sasha doesn't go out much and wouldn't really care if she never went out again so it's not a problem keeping her in.
    Dizzy likes her little adventures but I'm only letting her out for short periods when I'm here to keep an eye on things so I can nail those toms with a water pistol if I see them :D
     
  11. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Hi, just a quick update on my girls and yet another dilemma ! :confused:
    Firstly, Sasha is much more accepting of Dizzy now and hits out at her far less so things are much better. Today we even saw them washing each others face !
    :)
    My dilemma is that I will be away over Christmas and I have booked a cat sitter who I have used before. The problem is that Dizzy is very greedy. She wolfs down her food while Sasha slowly grazes and and then Dizzy tries to eat Sasha's.
    Obviously I can police this situation when I'm here but the cat sitter wont be able to do that as she will be just calling in once a day. Also Sasha is very nervous and scared of strangers and I know she hides upstairs when the sitter comes so that means Dizzy would have free rein on the food until the sitter went.
    I don't want Sasha going hungry so has anyone got any suggestions ?
    Would automatic cat feeders be any good ? So the sitter puts one lot of food down and then the feeder maybe comes on later in the day so Sasha gets a second chance ? Though I don't know how many days you can program them for ?
    Last resort is putting Dizzy in a cattery but I'd rather keep them together if possible.
     
  12. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Most cat sitters I know of are happy to call in twice a day, and maybe if yours could do this at least there would be a chance of both cats getting something to eat. Otherwise, as you say, there is a real risk Sasha will get almost nothing to eat all week.:(

    The only way I can see an autofeeder working in your circumstances would be for the sitter to fill it and set it to open about an hour later after she has visited. Then at least there would be a chance that Dizzy would not be hungry again by then, and Sasha would get a look in. But the autofeeder would need filling, and re-setting every day.

    Other suggestions are, that your pet sitter takes one dish of food upstairs and leaves it near the door of the room where Sasha hides, and feeds Dizzy downstairs.

    Or ask the sitter to put out twice as much food for them both as you would normally feed. More than Dizzy could possibly eat in one meal. You may come back to a slightly overweight Dizzy, but again at least Sasha might get a few mouthfuls.
     
  13. Sash1709

    Sash1709 PetForums Junior

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    Thanks chillminx. I think I will probably ask the sitter to put out more food than normal. Surely there is only so much that Dizzy can eat ! :eek:
    I'm in the process of trying a higher quality cat food which may make her less frantic and greedy for food.
     
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