I’m in need of help with my cats. To preface, I’d like to consider myself one who knows a great deal about cats and behavior. I’ve read a number of books and have searched webs and watched many videos. I felt like I could answer a great deal of issues; however, until my issue finally arrived.

I have three cats. Nimbus, male, age 6, neutered, adopted at the age of 3 and he’s 6 now. He is the sweetest boy. Short hair cat. He’s very special. My fiancée and I would almost think he has some special needs, mentally. He loves chatting to himself as he walks around and pets the walls and does other odd behavior. But he’s always been so timid. Not around humans, just around sudden movements or sounds.

We added Zora, female long haired, age 4, spayed, adopted at age 4 and introduced the two in January of 2019. The introduction was rough. We did the classic introduction process, and found that when we finally allowed them to live together, she would always hiss and growl when he was around. No fights or swings. Just growls and hiss. Nimbus would run away in fright and that would be the end of it. Zora was always sweet to my fiancée and I immediately after too. We ended up moving and we think that the change of scenery helped them. They were almost inquisitive and timid together. They would search the new house together and she would hiss and growl only occasionally. By mid February, they were sitting in the window together, sunbathing and nimbus would be grooming her head. She would hiss every now and again but February was great for them.

Then, I presume the problem, was February 27, we added a 7 week old kitten, Pippin. Male, now 14 weeks, not neutered, not spraying yet (too young), adopted from the pound. He was so little. When we added him, Zora went back to territorial hissing and growling. She would growl and hiss at anyone again. Pip didn’t really understand, and just sat there. Nimbus would run. Zora continued to growl and hiss at Nimbus, when when Pip wasn’t around.

I read Jackson Galaxys book, Cat Mojo, where I learned to switch them to a raw food diet (which they have been on a commercial raw diet for 7 weeks now), we play with them before meals, and we have gotten an additional cat tree (2 total), 3 litter boxes (spread throughout home and in social areas) and allowed vertical space. Zora gravitates to the vertical space. Nimbus is a ground dweller, except for the top spot on our first cat tree, which Zora never touches. Pip tends to cuddle with us and tends to stay away from Zora. Pip and Nimbus do play together. Nimbus also grooms pip a couple times a day. Sometimes he will do a little cute hiss when he’s annoyed, but it generally turns into Pip getting groomed anyway. They’ve been cuddling more and more as well. At first Nimbus was timid.

Well, after instilling these tactics above, Nimbus has perhaps gotten too confident? I’m not quite sure but several times a day he will go after Zora. Though, it seems completely harmless. He never growls, he never bites, never scratches or even uses his claws. Hell just get close to her and she’ll start growling and hissing and then she’ll walk away to a window, and then nimbus will slowly follow, and slowly try to touch her with his paw, all the while ears straight up. It’s almost as if he’s missing the social cues of Zora’s hisses. He will get bossed and growled and sometimes screamed at and he just kind of takes a step back, looks shocked, and then either walked away or backs into the wall. But in the end he often goes right back to seemingly antagonize her. But I promise it’s not malicious. It’s like a little boy who doesn’t understand. It’s been getting increasingly worse.

Today. I witnessed Zora sitting on the ground like a loaf, and I heard screaming from Zora. I looked back and saw nimbus almost mounting her as she was screaming and running away. It looked like a sexual position but didn’t seem sexual in nimbus’ demeanor. I also couldn’t possibly think of him doing it just to be “dominate.”

All cats share the three litter boxes, no accidents outside or any spraying. There are stray cats around Fort Benning but very very few, and I don’t believe my cats have even seen them.

Lastly, Zora, being a long haired cat, tends to groom. Perhaps over groom. After hissing she will stop and groom for a few seconds. During play, she will stop suddenly and groom for a few seconds. We’ll be petting her (softly, on the head) and she will start to get her swishy tail. She’ll head butt my hand and I’ll keep going but she might do a little love bite. No pressure. I’ll keep going and then sometimes it might be a hard bite (not puncture skin or mark) and she’ll bring her two hands to grab my hand. And then she’ll go to loaf position and turn away, then of course groom for a few seconds. She’s happy in the sun, away from the others, and of course when she’s eating.

Which brings me to the last wrench in the issue. Zora and Pippin are crazy over food. When cooking, Zora will be on the counters (which we’ve recently added Sticky Paws to deter) trying to get our food. Pippin will be on the ground meowing, begging for food. We only fear the day he can jump onto the counters. Sometimes he’ll jump and cling to pants and climb up to try and get food. We feed them all twice a day. They are a healthy weight. When preparing their food, they go nuts. Zora will be singing and Pippin will be screaming. When the food is ready, they will sprint to where we feed them and it’s impossible to put one dish down at a time. Both Zora and Pippin will be doing everything they can to get to the dish. Nimbus never begs and is fairly quiet. He’s very patient. When we do manage to get the dishes down, Zora and Pippin eat unbelievably fast. Nimbus very slow and gentle. Pippin literally vacuum sucks his food. But he has never puked it up. Zora normally finishes moments after. I always stand and watch to make sure everyone eats their own and only their own. Once the plates are pretty much clean, I let them go to each other’s empty dishes to lick them. Zora will be at one dish and Pippin will come over and join. This is the strangest part of all, she doesn’t growl, or hiss. She normally lets him take it and she’ll quietly go to another. Sometimes she’ll do a vocalization when he butts his little kitten head in, but she’ll just walk away.

Lastly, I will say Zora never uses her claws on Pippin or Nimbus. Sometimes she’ll swat at them (not the play swat) and try to get Nimbus to go away or Pippin to get away from her when he sometimes gets caught under her. It’s never seemingly harmful to the cats.

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Zora is probably stressed out. Grooming can be for stress relief. If she's doing it right after hissing at the other cats, that's almost certainly the reason.

I think Zora might need a break. I would suggest separating her from the other cats for a while, maybe a week, and then doing a gradual re-introduction, as if you were introducing them the first time. That is, letting them be in contact for each other for gradually increasing amounts of time over a slow period, say another week.

I think also you should be tiring out Nimbus and Pippin more. If they're tired from playing with you, they'll not want to bother Zora as much.

I would also suggest to supervise the cats more. If you see them looking like they're going to bother Zora, try to distract them by playing with them.

It may also make sense to keep them separated for those periods where you can't supervise them for a long time, like at night. Cats often get bored at night and get up to mischief.


Normal cats ;-) What is the complex problem? I don't get it. Hissing between cats is just a way to say "STOP IT, NOW!" I have two cats - sisters. We are together 8 years now. They communicate with hissing almost every day then sleep embracing, hiss again, and one would jump out of place - never bite or scratch each other, but pretend to be tough all time.

  • I feel like Zora is in constant fear. They don’t get along anymore at all. She can’t be in eyesight of Nimbus without growling at him or hissing at him. Nimbus is always trying to either play ‘bap’ her, or even grab her with both hands, or jump on her. I believe, all in play. But Zora just screams so loud in fear and she can’t escape it. All day he is going after her. – Cat Drogo Apr 12 '19 at 14:48

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