Male and female not getting along - help!

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BonnieBear99
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Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by BonnieBear99 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:12 pm

Having trouble with two of our cats at the moment and I was wondering if anyone could help...

We've had our female cat Sophie for two years now. She's roughly 4 years old, although we don't know for definite, and has always been more skittish and shy, but has come out of her shell so wonderfully since we got her. Last summer, we were somewhat forced to introduce two tomcats in our household as they were being awfully neglected and had no place to go. They are two brothers, both quite a bit older than Sophie at around 10 or so and are so loving and trusting. All are spayed/neutered.

Murphy (as we called him) was introduced to Sophie first after being kept separate for a while as he adjusted. There were a few trials throughout the process but they can both live alongside one another now - she still hisses at him for doing absolutely nothing, but he's so patient and just ignores her.

The other brother Bon, however, is not getting along with Sophie very well at all. We have a three storey house and the bottom floor is very much his territory (although he shares with his brother with no trouble at all) but he's desperate to come further up and understandably so!

He doesn't have the same patience as Murphy and has chased/lunged at Sophie at least eight times now. He's allowed up under supervision and we've made some progress as he can sleep peacefully in the same room as her. He's also used her litter tray multiple times, so clearly has no problem with her smell.

We think the problem arises when neither of them expects the other to be around a corner. Sophie used to try and approach him, which was what used to cause the chase as he didn't want her near, but now she usually just runs and sets him off and he follows. We think Bon may have some problems with his eyesight too, so maybe he can't always see her.

Sophie's never been hurt, just sometimes a little shaken if the chase has been particularly bad, and apart from being slightly put off from approaching him, doesn't seem traumatised at all. In fact, you can tell she's desperate to be close to him and get to know him.

We're at a complete loss at what to do because we love them both so dearly and he’s perfectly behaved in every other way!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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Kay
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Re: Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by Kay » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:29 pm

do either of them growl and raise their hackles, showing real aggression? does Bon ever catch Sophie, and if so, what does he do to her?

cats can seem to be not getting along to us when in fact they are playing out natural cat behaviour with each other, and both understand the rules of the game - and from what you say neither is getting hurt or unduly distressed

I'd be inclined to let them get on with it and play the role of interpreter of cat speak for a while, unless blood is drawn

BonnieBear99
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Re: Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by BonnieBear99 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:48 am

I don't think either has ever growled at one another - Sophie may have hissed once or twice. She certainly hisses at Murphy more, even though he's never chased her like Bon. After the first few chases, she was a little fluffed up but always recovered very quickly and never seemed very traumatised! I don't think I've ever seen Bon with his hackles raised. It seems like they both just freeze, and then run suddenly without warning...

They usually collide and both kind of stand up like hares boxing, if that makes sense, then both breakup seconds later and run in opposite directions. The first few chases were a bit longer but more recently they've not lasted as long at all. We've always managed to stop it before anyone has gotten hurt.

There was some progress yesterday evening, typical seeing as I'd just posted on here! Sophie was sat in the kitchen doorway and Bon was lying very relaxed on the other side of the room. They were both just staring at each other, Sophie squinting at him occasionally, and Bon made no move to get up at all. She eventually came in, ate a little bit of food and then left.

It was very reminiscent of one time when Bon was sat on one of the kitchen chairs with his tail dangling down. Sophie wandered in very leisurely and sniffed his tail for a good five seconds and he did absolutely nothing, which is why I feel that it's the surprise element that sets them both off...

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Re: Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by Mollycat » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:36 pm

Squinting is a GOOD sign, part of the slow-blink thing, so that's very positive. Sniffing and/or being sniffed is also a good sign.

I would say boxing isn't all bad either, and chasing depends whether it's a nasty flat-out chase or a playful run that ends with one hiding and the other stops and relaxes, then maybe they come back with the chased chasing. Very different. Hissing is very normal and as long as there is no lashing out with it, it's just about saying this is my space, respect it. If chases are getting shorter I would say that sounds like they are still testing boundaries and establishing their relationship. My established boy and new girl got on better with getting to know each other when I wasn't home, every time I left them I would come home to find they were closer and minor differences resolved without my anxious watching.

I was told and from the only two boys I've had I would say it's true, that boys are more social than girls (unless they have been brought up together) so with Sophie having been the established cat it's bound to be a bit tricky for a while.

Are the boys actually toms or have they been neutered?

Cat relationships are much more complex than dogs, there is no dominant or submissive generally but each cat in a household settles into its role. One may have the job of greeting visitors, another may have the role of defending the territory from threats and invaders, and so on.

One bad sign that's easy to miss is if one often lies down not on its back but belly slightly exposed maybe in a half roll and ears slightly back making a point of ignoring the other, while the other sits a little distance away very still. Also blocking - sitting in a position where the other can't get past. These are quite threatening but silent and innocent-looking if you don't know what to look for.

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Kay
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Re: Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by Kay » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:31 pm

shadow boxing is a part of cat play, I think, as it precludes any attempt to bite which is what cats do if they mean harm

I really do suspect from what you say that they are both enjoying themselves for the most part, which doesn't mean it can't get a bit rough for one or other of them, but they will sort out each other's boundaries eventually

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Re: Male and female not getting along - help!

Post by BonnieBear99 » Mon May 27, 2019 10:59 am

Hi all, sorry for the lack of update - Bon decided to go walkabout for 3 weeks. He came back very thin, very hungry and very tired. Goodness knows what happened to him.

He's since been allowed anywhere in the house. He now spends most of his time in the kitchen/hallway and both him and his brother are fed there. He's just started to come upstairs to our bedrooms in the morning to pester us for his breakfast.

Sophie used to be fed in the kitchen but has had to be moved upstairs to the landing - she wouldn't come down to eat or use the litter tray even when she was desperate so we moved everything she needs upstairs. Not sure if that was the right thing to do but we couldn't exactly let her starve herself.

Initially, Bon was too lethargic to chase her, but as he's gained more weight and strength, there have been a few. One morning he waited at the bottom of the stairs listening as she ate her breakfast, then ran up as he heard the tinkle of her collar. Another time he was lying on my bed, got up, saw Sophie eating her food and ran at her. We always jump up to stop them and generally they both shoot in opposite directions as soon as we get involved.

Sophie seems to have started to stand up for herself and growls and hisses at him - not that he pays any attention, it seems. Again, she never seems really shaken by any of the chases and recovers fairly quickly, although she's not quite as curious about him as she was before (understandably so!)

We thought that maybe they were just testing boundaries and were just going to give it time until this morning. We were sat in the garden so couldn't hear anything happening inside the house. We'd left Sophie upstairs sleeping on one of the beds and Bon lying in the hallway I think. My sister came inside and went upstairs to find the two fighting under her bed. She broke it up, Sophie hid under another bed and Bon went all the way downstairs into the garden knowing that he'd been naughty. My sister came down to fetch us and we went to check on Sophie. It was the most intense fight so far as there were tufts of Sophie's hair on the floor and she has a scratch on her nose. This is the first time any blood has been drawn.

We wanted to check her out for any other injuries but couldn't coax her out so we left her to come out in her own time. She did about 5-10 minutes later and seems perfectly fine aside from the scratch. She's now curled up in front of me on my bed after giving herself a little clean. Bon is lying in the garden and seems fine too, although we'll keep a close eye on both of course.

Again, Sophie didn't seem really scared - she was actually under the bed squinting at us as we talked to her. Her breathing wasn't super fast or erratic. She sniffed my hand when I put it out to her and let me stroke her - all within less than 5 minutes after the fight had happened.

Any help would be SO appreciated as we really don't know what to do. We don't want to live without either of them - we were distraught when Bon went missing - but it's not fair for Sophie to be pushed further and further upstairs!

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