Should I block my bed from my cat

by Katarina M.
(New York, NY)

I have a 5 yr old male cat (neutered) that I had since he was 8 wks old. He's a great cat. Lovable & whenever anybody came to my apt he'd greet them, sit with them, love to get petted & then he'd leave everyone alone to visit. We'd play & he slept with me all the time. He followed me around, sat with me, etc but also had his own personal time alone often in closets or under my bed but he would always come out in a few hours. A few months ago I noticed that he seemed lonely, always looked sad, wouldn't play, spent more time alone, but he still slept with me & was still sweet, just very sad. The vet said he was 100% healthy. So I thought he'd be happier with a companion. I got a 2 yr old female cat from a foster home. She is lovely, playful, sweet, kind, just the kind of companion I thought my cat would love. I got her home (8/6/09) & he hissed/growled at the female but also just sniffed her. The next day I took the female to get spayed (8/7). I brought her home (8/9) & the male was hissing/growling at the female (I gave her a kitty bath to get the vet smell off) but also sniffing her face & being gentle even laying on his back to show his tummy. This was the first week. The second week is like the first. The female follows male ALL the time even tho he hisses/growls but she never hisses or growls at him. Then the male smacked her on the butt/face (on 8/15) & I told the male NO. The female didn't react just jumped cuz she was surprised but didn't growl or hiss or try to hit back. On Sun (8/19; 8/20 she got her stitches out) they got into a fight (fur flew) but no one got hurt. I don't know who started cuz in was 6am but before there was LOTS of growling/hissing. I had to take a t-shirt & swat at them to separate them while yelling HEY HEY STOP STOP. Fight lasted about 2 mins. Male ran under the bed, female just hung out like nothing happened. Male stayed under bed Sun & Mon & female kept looking for him. Male came out from under bed Tues. All good for a few hours. Male went into the kitchen to look around, female followed but kept distance. As male walked past female he hissed. Female wanted to play (I think) & pounced on male & took him by surprise. He fell into his bed & she pounced again & male ran under bed. On Wed I took male to my parents house for 2 days to make him feel better. When he came home Fri (8/23) morning he hung out for a while on top of my bed but still hissed/growled at female. All of a sudden male went under bed. So we are now going into week 3/4 - male hides under bed (when I pet him he always kisses me but is always looking to see if female is coming), female hangs out & when female gets close to bed male growls/hisses. On Fri nite (8/23) I closed the door to my bedroom & brought in food/water/litter box. I slept on sofa with female & my mom slept in my room with the male. Sat (8/24) I spent time in my bedroom (mom left) & it broke my heart. The female sits outside meowing & he stares at the door on alert in case the female gets in. I coaxed the male out with treats, when he came out I "ignored" him. After 10 mins (he ate, used the litter jumped on the window) he came & rubbed up against my leg & I patted his back. I went to scoop him up & kiss him, but he ran away from me back under the bed, but came back out when he saw I wasn't going after him. He again jumped on the windowsill next to me & I was able to hug & kiss him which he allowed. He jumped down & stared at the door since female was meowing. Well the female was able to push the door open & male ran under the bed! I picked up fewmale & placed her outside saying that the male needed time. She's meowing outside the door & he's hiding unde the bed. I think I'm going to cry. My wonderful kitty seems afraid of me & of the female who is three times smaller than him. I am desperate to have them get along & for him to come out from under the bed. Please don't suggest that I give the female up - she's been thru so much in her short life that I'm amazed at what a great cat she really is. Bottom line is that they are stuck with each other for life, I just want it to be the best life possible. Any suggestions? Is this normal? Should I block off the bed & make my male face the female. How long will this take? HELP please. I love both of my cats & want to make them happy. THANK YOU.



Answer by Kate
Hi
well unfortunately you made the classic mistake in thinking that your cat needed a companion cat. Cats are naturally loners and are not pack animals like dogs. They are very territorial and unless brought up with other cats from a very small age will not take easily to other cats if at all.

WHat you have described sounds like completely natural behaviour, the cats will hiss at each other to warn the other to stay away (normal) they will have their spats (normal) and what will eventually happen is that they will find a new routine with each other, usually this involves just keeping out of each others way. Again this is normal and should be allowed to happen on there terms.

How long this will last is hard to say, but i would say that it may never settle down completely.

Now that you have both cats you should let them sort out their differences in their own way. they will find a away to cope with each other eventually.

I know this can be difficult to watch but it is ver rare that cats will really hurt each other as it is not in their best interest to do this. Often fights are just warning shots and a lot of noise.

I hope all settles down for you all soon

best wishes Kate

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