Cat Problems - Adopting a Stray

by Cheryl
(Walters Falls ON Canada)

We were recently adopted by a 2 yr old unfixed male stray. We named him Snoopy because he kept looking in the door. I think he belonged to someone, he is tooo friendly to be feral.

Anyway after chasing him away 3 nights in a row he just stayed. After handling Snoopy we went about our business and not thinking went to pet our 10 yr old spayed female, Jennie (not friendly) and all hell broke out. She attacked us, hissed and growled at us for having the scent of the other cat on us. So the stray stayed outside for a few more nights. We tried petting Jennie again and again she attacked us.

We then put Snoopy in a large carrier and brought him in the house. After a few more days we let Snoopy out of the carrier and everything was fine for about 1/2 hour and then out of the blue he attacked Jennie while she was resting in her chair and chased her through the house and just ripped the fur out of her. The noise was so horrible even the dog hid! The phrase "fur will fly"..well it does!!!! Would you say he is a "Tom"(what is a tom?)

We still have Snoopy (shelters are full and won't take him) so he is now neutered but still meows for her and makes moves like he wants to get at her. How long will it take for him to settle down. He has his own room at night and a cage in the living area during the day, just to let her know he is there, while Jennie has the run of the house. She really does not like him. She sits or lays about 2-3 feet from the cage and hisses and growls at him or she walks in slow motion while passing within 2-3 feet of the cage and he only lays on his tummy or sits and flips his tail while staring at her. Most of the time she avoids the area completely which I think is defeating the purpose. But when Jennie comes back to the main living area, Snoopy starts into the meowing and scratching his litter and meowing and sometimes it is long and drawn out meows.

How long will it take to get them to accept each other. We've had him for at least a month now.
Do you think it is wise to put both in the same room, but leave him in the cage so they are in constant proximity without being able to hurt each other?

Reply from Liz (Editor): This is a common cat problem when a new cat comes into the house, but I know how difficult and stressful it can be.

I think you're right about Snoopy not being feral - he must have been used to humans at some stage. The fact he's not been neutered until late means he's been used to displaying male cat behavior associated with un-neutered Tom cats, which includes aggression towards other cats and a very high sex drive. If you've only just had him neutered it will take a few weeks for the testosterone levels in his body to reduce. Hopefully once they do you should see an improvement in his behavior towards Jennie.

The aggression between them is horrible to watch but it is normal and in time I'm absolutely sure it will improve. The two cats may never become best buddies but they should get to a point where they at least tolerate each other. They will do this in their own time and trying to accelerate it generally doesn't work. However I do think your idea of putting them in a room with Snoopy in a box is a good idea. I'd do it for relatively short lengths of time at first (maybe 30 minutes, then when they start to look more settled with it increase the time to an hour, then two hours etc.)

The other thing that may help is a Feliway diffuser. Feliway is a man-made imitation of a cat pheromone that has a calming, de-stressing effect on many cats. I'd suggest plugging the diffuser into the room where you're putting them together. Feliway doesn't have an instant effect and it may take any time from a few days to a month before it really starts to work, but I think it would be worth a try.

Best of luck - I really hope things settle down for you soon.

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