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Just looking for any tips or insight here, my partner and I have four cats (more details shortly) and multiple different issues for their socialization. All the cats were fixed at a young age and all have always been indoor-only. There are no other pets or people in the household.

The story starts when I got my first cat, T (I'm just going to use initials) right when I moved out on my own. He was a pretty typical cat, sometimes playful, sometimes lazy. He's also big, nearly 20 pounds. He's nearly 11 years old now, though, and while he has no problems moving around, he prefers mostly to sit and plays very little. Fine by me.

Meanwhile, my partner was on her own, obtaining her own cats. You have G (the oldest at 5 years old, prissy, but also the meanest when playing), M (an extremely friendly and playful boy, 4 years old, behaves like a dog a lot of the time), and Z (the baby at 3 years old, smallest of the group, least playful and most sensitive to new people). They have a pretty good working relationship, which is that G is the dominant one, Z is her frenemy, and M (the only boy in the group) stirs up trouble (but ultimately would never hurt either of them).

The problems started when we moved in together about a year and a half ago. We followed all the instructions about keeping the cats separate for a while until they all learned about each others scents, and then we tried slowly introducing them. Things initially seemed ok, but then T (my cat, the biggest and the oldest) started being aggressive towards G and Z (especially Z, my guess because of her size and temperament). This was strange because he was never aggressive in pretty much any other situation, but as soon as he saw either of them he wanted nothing more than to chase them. He was ok with M for a while, but then M started turning the tables on T - now M likes to bully and chase T around, despite the size difference. I think M is only playing, as he's very playful, but T doesn't want to play and he went most of his life without ever having other cats around to play with, so I don't know if he understands; it's also possible that M is defending his sisters from past aggression, even though they aren't around him at the time. T generally doesn't fight back, he just runs away and tries to hide unless he has no other options (which I think encourages M to chase more). I separate them as soon as I see it happening, but it keeps happening.

So now we're at the point of eternal separation - T is locked in a bedroom for half the day and my partner's cats are locked in a different bedroom for the other half of the day. Periodically I let M in to see T (because he cries at the door and some part of me hopes maybe it'll be different this time) but within a few minutes he's always attacking. And now G and Z get scared whenever they so much as see T, they'll run away and hiss at him, even when he's being held and they're completely safe. Things are worse now than when they first met.

And this isn't an awful arrangement, I'm honestly used to it these days because it's been like this for over a year, but I really do wish I wouldn't have to keep them like this for the rest of their lives (or let's be honest, the rest of T's life since he's the oldest) or else fear bodily harm. I just don't know if there's anything I can do or if the damage has been done.

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    how is the situation with the rooms? Were they new for all cats, or did cat(s) moved into the rooms of other cat(s)? (Did you moved to your partner, or other way around, or did both of you moved into a new home?) Feb 4 at 13:56
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    We moved into a new place together, so it wasn't like one cat was shoehorning in on the others' established territory. We've also moved again since then and nothing has changed since then. At this point everyone has some parts that are established territories, but also most of the house is common area (at different times). Feb 5 at 5:19
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We had a similar situation a little over a year ago. We had our boy Scout who is now 4 years old. We used to feed a stray cat and then eventually took her in. They did not get along. Also Misu the stray was a temperamental cat (but has mellowed down since). She would bully Scout the moment they saw each other. She was used to guarding her territory and she would do it ferociously. We used to separate them for almost 6 mos.

We then heard about a boarding place where the owner was a behavioural specialist. We boarded them with her for two weeks. In those two weeks they bonded and would stay in the same space without fighting. However once they came back home they eventually started fighting again but not to the extent they had earlier. They could share the same space without biting each other’s heads off. That’s when we stopped separating them. So progress... in a way.

We then moved houses. They don’t fight anymore but are wary of each other’s company. They’ve learned to live in each other’s space.

The point of telling you this was that even if they are fighting now they will eventually get past it and find their comfort zones. I know it seems harsh not to intervene and them slug it out but for us keeping them in a controlled environment helped.

The specialist also told us that cats are sensitive to our feelings. Our anxiety easily rubs off on them. Hence when they were boarding with her, they learned something about each other without our anxieties interfering.

If you can find such a place do considering boarding them for sometime. I hope you find a solution soon. Good luck!

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I know it is difficult if these cute cuddly creatures don't get along. Cats are much different than dogs. Dogs love to play with one another, even with cats. Cats, even big wild cats like pumas, jaguars and cheetahs are usually more independent, and can be territorial. I have had two cats from the same litter, in three pairs. I keep thinking that litter mates would be great friends. From our experience one cat, would soon claim the best places to sleep and play and was pushy about being fed first, even eating the other cats food. The other cat always seemed to let her take the role of leader. The cats I have now are two Siberians, at first they played together, slept together and seemed to follow each other around. This only lasted during the first year. One has longer fur and is larger. She is the alpha cat. They usually prefer to be in separate rooms or separate sides of the same room, except at bedtime. You might guess which one gets to sleep on the bed. There isn't any "fighting" for the most part, a little chasing, but it is mostly a non-verbal understanding. Try two cat trees, two different places to eat/drink and play with each separately. With our first pair, in our first house the hall was only 2.5 feet wide and they would pass each other by walking right next to the wall. Cats usually work out an acceptable pattern for themselves, they move around during the day and check out certain places where they leave their scent. Cats are much more mellow as they age. If your kitties don't work it out together, you might want to try keep them separated some of the time for a while, for example two cat trees, two different places to eat and play. An odd thing happened with our last pair, when the more dominant cat unfortunately passed away, the shy cat became much more affectionate, played with both of us and seemed more calm and happy.

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