|Purred: Tue Oct 23, '12 2:50pm PST |
|Let me just preface by saying I am not a cat person. I know I know.....but for honesty's sake they've never tripped my trigger so I haven't invested much time into learning much about them.
I ended up with a rescue (took her only because after a lengthy stay in the shelter I was volunteering at I learned she was about to get put down). I grew to love her and she was around for about 10 years before she passed. Swore I'd never get another. I cared about her deeply, but figured she was an anomaly as far as the cat world goes. A mere year or so later the rescue I got one of my dogs from contacted me desperate for homes for cats from a hoarding situation, and I relented. Enter Tao. Tao LOATHED other cats, which was no problem because I had zero intention of (once again) ever getting another one ever. I grew to love him too. He is far more like a dog in every sense. I adore him. Tao had no desire to go outside until this past summer. He started venturing out catching gophers and mice, and chasing off (read. near killing) the strays that dared wander onto the property. He'd go out for maybe an hour at a time, always supervised, never leaving the yard within our property, and come right back in the house when he was called to. One day however I had gone grocery shopping and the kids let him out. Because he always stuck around they didn't think they had to keep as close of an eye on him. He disappeared and we all were devastated. To this day I have no clue what inspired him to wander off. Fliers, phone calls, desperate searching...nothing. We live out in the boonies and thought for sure an animal had gotten him.
Again I swore I'd never get another cat. Especially because it near killed me to have no clue what had happened to Tao. I had never lost a pet before and it literally made me sick at night. However....now my husband who claimed to dislike cats as much as I did admitted Tao had grown on him. For my birthday he took me to the shelter and we ended up taking home the sweetest saddest guy there, Acorn.
Ok, so I'm done saying I'll never have cats, as that obviously just lands me with more lol
A mere week later, we are all settling in with Acorn(who is awesome) when our vet (who lives just a hop skip from our property) calls and tells us Tao just showed up at her house.........
We were a combination of beyond relieved he was still alive, and completely overwhelmed at the thought of not just having one, but now, TWO cats. Especially when we knew Tao HATED other cats and there was no way we were bringing Acorn back to the shelter.
We've given Tao a bit of time to recoup as he was super wormy, had lost quite a bit of weight and his beautiful fur was matted and thinned out. Meanwhile, not having a clue how to introduce cats we defaulted and did what we've always done with the dogs....we kept them separated by a gate, fed them side by side with the gate between, gave them lots of positive attention when they even looked at each other and swapped blankets so they got used to each others scents. Their mews would change tone when they'd look directly at each other but there was no outward signs of aggression (that we could identify anyway).
Because of that, about a week ago started letting them into the same room as each other.
To our surprise Tao didn't try to kill Acorn as he had every other cat he's ever seen. They largely ignored each other until Acorn picked up on the fact that Tao seemed almost intimidated by him and has since taken full advantage. When they happen to pass each other now Acorn will posture up, hiss and growl these God awful sounds, Tao will slink, and when he tries to retreat Acorn will pursue him and swat at his behind (he's front declawed so no damage). Tao will scoot away to avoid a confrontation. Acorn's back fur will twitch but he eventually settles back down. And then the whole thing will repeat itself 10-20 minutes later.
Last night however Tao started growling and hissing back
Is this the normal behavior of cats simply getting acclimated to each other? Is the behavior escalating (sure seems like it...), and I need to be intervening somehow? If so how? And at what point? Take things slower? Scold Acorn when he starts to get ridiculous? Offer more positive attention when they're together? Is it near impossible or even unlikely for two males (both neutered) to become friends? Is this a dominance thing and does that even exist in the cat world? If so will Acorn always pick on Tao? If they do end up in a full on fight at some point what do I do?
I feel absolutely clueless when it comes to cat behavior. I can look at a dog and tell you near exactly what he's thinking and feeling but I know NOTHING about how to tell what's going on in a cats head.
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