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Is there any hope for these two?

(5 Posts)
LagoDiComo Tue 23-Jan-18 12:42:28

Hi all, in summary, we have tried to integrate two adult cats and it's not working so are looking for any advice.

Cat 1 is male, about 2.5 years, a rescue, quite aloof but very gentle. Shows a lot of interest in other cats and is not aggressive with them. Was abandoned with two other cats (siblings) but well socialised and we were permitted to adopt him as a single cat and it's never been clear if he misses the companionship. We've had him a year

Cat 2 is also male, of unknown age, a stray, we thought he was about 1 (we wanted one younger than Cat 1) but now the vet is saying he could be anything up to five. He's skittish with humans and is clearly still adjusting to life off the streets (he's lost two teeth, been neutered, eye infection). We've had him a month. We got him mainly as company for Cat 1 as we are out at work most days.

Cat 2 is aggressively bullying Cat 1. We expected it to be the other way round, that Cat 1 would exert dominance over the territory. We now think we made a mistake with our choice of Cat 2, who is essentially a Tomcat fighting for dominance. We were advised by Cats Protection to get a young(er) male cat. Cat 1 is fearful, terrorised, grumpy (with us). He's quite a confident cat in many ways but is clearly stressed (more fur coming off him than usual) and doesn't want to pass the door where Cat 2 is. He doesn't want to fight (back) - several people have suggested just letting them duke it out. They are similar in size/weight.

We did all the usual intro stuff, and initially it wasn't too bad, they sniffed noses and didn't show any reaction to the other's scents. Now we can't leave them together unsupervised (we never have been able to) and so Cat 2 gets locked in a room all day whilst we are work. This is still better than him being on the streets, at this time of year, but it doesn't seem much fun for him.

We are on the verge of admitting defeat and trying rehome Cat 2. We like Cat 2 who is much cuddlier than Cat 1 but clearly Cat 1's needs must be prioritised.

I feel like if an animal behaviourist was watching us, they might be able to pinpoint what we are doing wrong, e.g. giving the wrong cat affection or something. We have tried Feliway and Feliway friends, neither of which seems to have had any effect. They are fed away from each other (except when we tried showing them they were both getting food at the same time) and Cat 1 doesn't use a litter tray so there's no sharing of that.

How do we know when to call time on this, as we don't want to think we gave in too early? We don't want two cats that just 'tolerate' each other; if that is the best case scenario we would prefer to rehome Cat 2 (we have a family member who may be interested)

OP’s posts: |
StormTreader Tue 23-Jan-18 12:48:35

Theres usually a "top cat", with their backgrounds and history that was always going to be Cat 2 out of the two of them.
Sounds to me like Cat 2 is going bonkers knowing that Cat 1 is swanning about all over "his" territory when youre out and hes shut in one room, so every day is a bit of a fight to reclaim it all as top cat.

What happens if they have a few days of both being out in the house, do they mostly settle?

LagoDiComo Tue 23-Jan-18 13:04:29

Thanks for the reply smile That does make sense re Cat 2.
We haven't let Cat 2 out yet. Partly because he is taking ages to settle down, he sometimes hisses at us when we go into his room and still hides under the sofa in the room. So he hasn't shown any particular signs of wanting to go out.
Partly because we thought it was perhaps good that Cat 1 at least knew he had refuge outside (he loves going outside).
I tried to put a harness on Cat 2 but he was too skittish. We trained Cat 1 with a harness as our garden set up is a bit unusual, small patio garden, then loads of communal land/gardens so you can't see them once they jump over the back wall.
We also weren't sure if it was worth getting Cat 2 used to the outside if he was going to have to be rehomed.

OP’s posts: |
LagoDiComo Tue 23-Jan-18 13:07:07

Cat 2 also clearly doesn't know how to use a cat flap, not even when he is chasing Cat 1 out

OP’s posts: |
Weedsnseeds1 Tue 23-Jan-18 23:54:27

If you've had cat 2 for a month and he's permanently indoors, locked in a room when you are out, I can understand him feeling put out.
Post him through the cat flap a few times, or peg it open and let him go out.
You might find the chance to wander around and check out the area will improve his temper.

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