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My boyfriend and I moved in together a year ago, each bringing one cat. The older cat moved with me on moving day and the younger one arrived a few days later.

One cat is an eight-year-old female. She's pretty calm and quiet, doesn't like playing so much, and doesn't even climb up the furniture or the tables. The other cat is a three-year-old male; he likes to play aggressively (biting, scratching, hunting) and is very loud. We may have presented the cats to each other poorly, as it seems that they simply hate each other. Both cats are neutered.

The problem is that the younger cat likes to hunt the older one and corner her. He sometimes slaps her when she's walking near him. When she's cornered, she starts to hiss and growl. Frequently, this "game" becomes dangerous if I do not stop them. When I come back home from work, I often see scratches on the noses or eyelids of both cats. They fight this way several times a day.

We've already tried Feliway (more than once), spray water, and confinement. Nothing works. It's been a year since this started, and the behavior is the same. I read "How to get cats to coexist in peace?", and tried the suggestions. When I leave home in the morning, I move each cat to a separate room, with a door separating them. We've been doing this for two months, and still no success: when we leave them free with minor supervision, they eventually start "playing" again.

They have a lot of toys in the house. They have cardboard castles with holes, and I play with them every day, with toys (including a kinder surprise inside egg); we try to give them variety.

I do not know if the younger cat is acting aggressively due to jealousy, a mean streak, or is just simply being playful. I'm scared because of the scratches, and I fear that any day one of the cats will lose an eye or worse.

How can we handle this situation?

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How often do they fight? Several times a day? A couple times a week? On a rating of 1 to 10 how angry do they seem when fighting? (10 being screaming, snarling, biting, clawing and really trying to hurt the other cat.) –  Beo Apr 9 at 15:47
    
Yes, they fight several times during a day. Two or three times in "soft" days, and every ten minutes in "hard" days. For the rating, it depends the day. It varies from 5 to 10. When they believe we don't see them, the angry goes to 10 easy (the scars are bleeding scars, I don't know how to say it in english properly.... there are deep scars, taking to heal about two or three weeks), and also the angry goes up to 10 at nights. –  Arkana Apr 9 at 15:56
    
You should probably try keeping them separated for a longer time - keeping the less active cat confined in a room that she's comfortable with would be my suggestion, and keep them there for at least a week (with frequent visits to play with the confined cat). –  Kate Paulk Apr 9 at 16:23
    
OK your cats are very angry with each other. It is not playful. Cats are normally very territorial so putting two strange cats together will usually mean there will be a lot of conflict. Which cat is the new cat to the home, or is it a new home for both cats? Also how long have they been together? –  Beo Apr 9 at 16:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The first problem that you need to solve is to take stock of the locations in the house where the older cat is getting cornered and stop that from happening. The older cat should always have the option to escape rather than fight.

This may mean clearing clutter, or installing wall shelves, or rearranging your own furniture. Jackson Galaxy's Catification Gallery has tons of pictures to use as an example.

Second you need to keep them separate unless something good is happening, so that they associate the presence of the other cat with the good thing. For example, if you're keeping them in separate rooms, feed them near the door so they can hear/smell the other cat. Gradually (over the course of several weeks) open the door so they can see each other at meal times. If they show more interest in each other, be ready with a blanket or piece of cardboard to break eye contact, but as long as they ignore each other and just eat together, don't interfere.

Make sure when you're playing with the younger cat that you use the hunt-eat-groom-sleep cycle. Play until he's tired, then feed him. He should then groom and sleep. During the sleep part of the cycle is a good time to introduce the other cat, as the younger cat should be too tired to want to play.

Also keep in mind that some cats are bullies and some are perpetual "victims" and you may never let these cats be together in your home unsupervised. Our Ginger feels cornered and lashes out when she's in the middle of the living room and can run in any direction. We keep her locked in the bedroom when we aren't home and she seems more peaceful than when we left her with the other cats all of the time.

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I like your answer so much :) I'll try your suggestions. Hopefully, with a little patience and time, the situation will become better. –  Arkana Apr 10 at 17:27

You either need to wear out the younger cat a lot more than you are, or reintroduce them and get some new house rules it order. Neither is going to be easy.

One thing you might consider is to get a third cat, matched in energy to the younger one. They can wear each other out, and the older can watch or join in. I have a 17 and 12 year old cat and recently adopted 2 kittens to reduce the issues of young cat playing with old cat. The kittens wrestle and chase and the old fellows watch from the sides or sit closer when the kittens are worn out.

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Sorry, as a general rule I never recommend "get another cat" to households that are struggling with their current cats –  Zaralynda Apr 9 at 17:26

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