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Help please?

Katy

Savannah Kitten
Guys, i could really use some advice please.

I posted in another thread yesterday about Bob's behaviour towards our other cat - she's 12, neutered, and very self confident, but presently she's the only one to go outside as we've not yet successfully managed to teach him about the catflap.

Bob's been with us a few months now and in almost all respects he's a fabulous cat - we've done well with his socialisation, he's much less skittish and is really coming out of his shell. However that seems to be coming at a price. Whenever Piglet (our other cat) is in the house, or he hears her come in, he starts yowling and yelling, and has started to "rush" at her. (as a bit of background, we originally had 4 cats (an Abyssinian, and three mogs), and Piglet is the last remaining mog.) We rescued Bob because we thought she might be a bit lonely, but it seems to be backfiring.

As the older, existing female, we expected her to assert her dominance, but she never did - she really doesn't seem to care one way or another about him most of the time. But this yowling and aggression is seeing her coming into the house less and less, and I'm starting to get a bit concerned. She's always been an outdoorsy-type cat - a proper farm mog - so i'm probably reading more into her being outside than I should, but does anyone have any thoughts as to how I can manage this?

I've managed to have them eating treats less than a foot apart, with no bother - he seems to be "treat driven" - but as soon as that is over, he goes back to yelling.

Any advice gratefully received.

Thanks!

Katy
 

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
I am guessing that Bob sees Piglet as an intruder, given that he has the whole house to himself. Many cats will get very upset when they see a cat outside, whether it is one of your own or a stray, and react like Bob seems to be doing, and you are letting the outdoor intruder into HIS home (in his eyes). With Piglet mostly outside in her "domain", she probably will not exert any dominance over Bob in his indoor domain and she is an older cat as well....and Bob is probably quite a bit younger and larger than she is, correct?

I'd continue with the treats as that seems to be working somewhat. It may take more time...maybe even many more months...I am concerned that you say you can't get Bob to understand what the cat flap to the outside is? I thought he came to you as a stray, wandering cat, so I don't know why you would want him to venture outside. Can you keep Piglet inside? Or build an outdoor enclosure of sorts for them? I would be very careful with them together until they seem to reach a truce and not leave them alone together for now....Bob may attack her in defense of "his" home. Are you able to put a walking jacket or harness on him for the meetings between the two?
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
I would have to agree with Pam, it sounds like there was never any process in place to properly introduce the two cats and now Bob sees Piglet as an intruder. Is there a reason your cats are allowed outdoors? Do they exit into an enclosure or other safe environment? If not, I would keep both cats inside, keep them separate to start with unless supervising them. Offer them treats as you are already doing, also try having them play side by side using a separate wand toy for each. After a few days switch out bedding - so put Piglet's bedding in Bob's room and vice versa. I think if you keep working with them in this way you will be able to bring them around, if you do it slowly and on their terms.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
Not sure what info you've posted elsewhere (it's easy to mix stories up if you don't give the link to the other threads or give a recap)... it does sound like Bob and Piglet needed to be properly introduced and now Bob simply sees Piglet as an intruder into his territory. Hopefully with some work you can backtrack and take it gradually so that they can at least tolerate each other's presence.
 

Katy

Savannah Kitten
Thanks for all your replies.

I should clarify a few things, I wasn't terribly clear in my first post, I apologise.

Bob is a 2yo rescue cat, who came from a cat hoarder with 60+ cats in a small house. We know nothing more than that and so have assumed "worst case scenario" ie no outside access, not much human contact etc. He escaped through an open window almost immediately, and went feral for nearly three months - we live on a farm, and have acres and acres of woodland around us. Although i think "escape" is actually more like "is a nosey parker and couldn't figure out how to get back inside".

Having recaptured him, we did introduce him properly - two weeks in a very quiet room, regular quiet human interaction (sitting and reading etc). we then brought the crate downstairs and kept him quiet for another week or so, bringing Piglet in to sniff and get used to the idea. But she really isn't interested, one way or another. He since escaped again, but only for a week or so this time. We didn't need to keep him quiet this time, he settled right back into the normal routine. At this point, he wasn't particularly bothered by Piglet either.

The whole thing is just weird. She sleeps on our bed all day, and he mooches about, sometimes in his radiator hammock, sometimes under the bed, or on the floor by the radiator - in the same room as Piglet. She's getting on in years and now spends a lot of the night on the bed too - again, he'll come up in the middle of the night and spend the night with us.

They'll eat together, though there's a lot of yowling before he gets down to business. Last night he made a very tentative move on her bowl but she just hissed and him and he thought better of it.

I want to let him out because i genuinely don't believe it's fair to keep him in. And it's absolutely not fair to keep her in, she's 12 and has never been shut up in the house.

As mentioned above, we've lots of land around us, he's not likely to get stolen, and he's got a very fetching Loc8tor tag on his collar should he go AWOL again. I realise he might not take to it, and that's fair enough, but i'd like to give him the opportunity. I also want him to understand how to get back in the house - if he decides the outdoors isn't for him, that's fair enough, but he's got a record of bunking out of open windows and I can't keep the house shut up all year round. He needs to know how to get in again.

I'm starting to wonder whether in fact he wants to play with her? The more I think about it, his posturing isn't terribly aggressive. We'll carry on as we are with treats and playing and see if we can't get a handle on it - i'm not worried about him attacking her in the house - he doesn't go stalking her when she comes in, and he knows she's on the bed, but isn't remotely fussed about that. it seems to be just when she comes in the catflap.

Thanks for all your help.

K
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
You will find that many on here will heartily disagree that it is "not fair" to keep a cat indoors only. That is kinda old school thinking, and really is it fair that cats that are allowed to go outdoors freely only live HALF the lifespan of an indoor only cat? The key with having happy indoor only cats is to give them an enriched environment in your home, giving them cat trees, shelving, toys etc that mean that indoors is just as fun. Giving them a secure outdoor enclosure off a door or window can let them have that "fresh air and sunshine" in a safe manner. One can secure window screens to open windows safely too. It just takes a little more work. And outdoor kitties can and do adapt to indoor living, especially when more sedate in their elder years.

Especially with a high energy somewhat-ADHD breed such as the Savannah. I'm guessing if Bob was from a hoarder then he is not a Savannah? I don't remember any breeder situations in Rescue... But high energy breeds tend not to be great as indoor/outdoor cats. They go outside chasing one thing intently, then another and another...and hours later look around to realize they are miles from home with no idea which direction that is. Not sure the Loc8tor reaches that far, the Tagg collar does but it's very bulky.

In any case, you may be right and he might be clumsily trying to play with her when she comes in the cat door and it's being misinterpreted. They may work it out in time as they come to know each other more... and it sounds like Piglet is still spending time in the house. Maybe it is just a matter of time to come to a compromise between them...after all, not all cats are destined to be best friends, what we aim for is tolerance at a minimum :)
 
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