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I know this is a fairly asked question but I wonder if any unique details about our situation might make a difference.

We have a female rescue cat approximately 4 years old, fairly anxious in general and with other cats, we have another male cat desexed who is nearly 2 now, acting extremely aggressive to the female cat. He will seek her out when introduced into the common areas, normally I can break his attention and beckon him to me or distract with a toy, but if his attention laser focuses he starts to fluff up like a puffer fish and I can't break him away, in this case I have to physically remove him from the area or he will attack her.

If in the case where my attention fails and he sneaks through and he makes it to the garage, where the female is most comfortable with many elevated areas to perch on, he will attack the female to the point where she urinates herself.

It usually ends before I make it to break them up, but it is a persistent behaviour we can't seem to shake regardless of the amount of times we reintroduce them.

Before the male cat his puberty, the female would 'tolerate' him, but still not react friendly and avoid him if able. But they lived unseparately in the same areas.

Now we have the male in the 2nd floor of the house blocked out by a child gate and the female on the 1st floor.

We have tried exhausting the male with playing, the only time they seem to coexist to a degree is when we feed them both "squeezy" wet food treats. Even that is a few feet apart from each other. After the food is gone, same behaviours start back up.

We also have another 4 year old ragdoll but she has no problem with the anxious female, she understands boundaries and if the female hisses, the ragdoll will leave. But anyway the anxious female will choose not to socialise or associate with the ragdoll on purpose.

The male and the ragdoll are primarily in the 2nd floor of the house together, cohabiting fine, they will wrestle and play sometimes but mostly chill apart from each other.

We are at our wits end and would love to know if there is anything that would help, or this behaviour is going to stay for good.

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In my personal experience, this behavior will never change.

You have 2 cats with opposing personalities. The female wants to avoid any contact or interaction with other cats and the male seems to be very territorial or simply dislikes the female. Our pets have their own personalities and sympathies and dislikes and sometimes they are simply incompatible.

In order to have all cats live together peacefully, both cats would need to change their personality, but they honestly have no incentive to do so. Maybe as the male gets into his senior years, he'll get calmer, but only maybe.

I also have a very timid and sensitive cat that was chased by our younger cat. The more we tried to introduce them, the more stressed she became. She retreated into her shell and became restless, always immediately leaving the room when the other cat entered. She couldn't even calm down enough to eat or sleep, even though we have a big house with a lot of space to avoid each other. Our best solution was to separate both cats and give the timid one a room of her own where the young one isn't allowed to enter. It's been several years now and the timid cat acts much more self-assured, doesn't avoid the young cat at all cost anymore and she seems much more balanced. However, they still have occasional conflicts involving loud hissing, growling and very rarely biting. It's become less, but it will probably never end.

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  • My two, who were siblings and cuddle buddies, would still hiss at each other as warn-off occasionally occasionally. It doesn't necessarily mean anything more than "I'm not in the mood for company, leave me alone." Hazel always hissed at Harry for an hour or two after their vet visit; I don't know whether she though he smelled like vet, or she just wanted an uninterrupted sulk, or it translated as "I didn't deserve this so it must be your fault!" I trusted they'd work out, and they always did.
    – keshlam
    Nov 21, 2023 at 20:53
  • @keshlam That's good to hear and I wouldn't worry about that at all, but my cats never cuddle and barely even tolerate being in the same room peacefully. If the young cat is in a playful(?) or confrontational mood, she will stalk the timid cat, effectively bullying her out of the room. If that happens in a place the timid cat considers her territory, she will hiss and growl immediately and depending on both of their moods (and whether we can intervene quickly enough) they will bite each other and rip out fur. Separating them reduces the stress for all of us.
    – Elmy
    Nov 22, 2023 at 6:20
  • Cats have individual personalities. Not everyone likes everyone else. Sometimes you just have to accept that these two don't click, and that one of them may never be really happy about having to share the humans and territory with another cat. This is why I've hesitated to introduce a new cat after losing Harry; I think Hazel would like someone her own size to chase around the house and curl up with, but I don't know for sure and haven't quite been willing to try to arrange the experiment.
    – keshlam
    Nov 22, 2023 at 6:29

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