Sparky, a three-year-old domestic shorthair female, had it easy. She was the family’s lone pet, and her guardian, Louis, treated her like a queen.
That is, until Louis presented her with Sol, a four-month-old domestic shorthair, as a feline friend.
Sparky’s tranquil, pleasant home had to be shared with a rowdy, riotous adolescent. Sol came home from the shelter anxious to play with his new pal. Sparky, the resident-cat-turned-roommate, began pestering the newcomer because he had no say in the issue. She also put tuna juice on their heads to get them to groom each other. She was distraught since she couldn’t bear giving up either cat and was desperate for a solution.
When Louis initially brought Sol home, Sparky could barely stand him. Sparky began following Sol around the apartment and preventing him from contacting Louis as soon as he reached six months of age and became more animated. She would charge him if he tried to enter Louis’s bedroom. He was kept in the covered litter box until he began urinating on the floor. Sparky tormented and assaulted Sol so regularly that he spent most of his days and nights hiding in a kitchen closet, and the cats could only be together after breakfast, when Sol was sleeping. Sparky would then – and only then – wash his face next him. If he awoke in the middle of grooming, she would attack him.
Sparky, who was inherently anxious and timid, was startled and hid beneath the bedcovers at even the smallest disturbance, such as the elevator door opening and closing. Sparky seems to be experiencing both defensive and territorial hostility. As Sol grew in size and became more mischievous, he became too terrible for Sparky to bear. Sparky enjoyed grooming Sol when he was sleepy and lazy since he posed no danger to her.
Louis had to rearrange her living quarters to accommodate both cats. Initially, the cats were kept in separate rooms and trained to play “paws” under the doors. Louis also assisted Sparky in associating Sol’s presence with pleasant things such as snacks and toys, lessening unfavorable interactions between the cats. The cats were herded together and separated by wire mesh for their food.
Louis eventually permitted them to mingle more regularly, primarily after meals, when the cats were most relaxed and satisfied. Louis had exhausted Sol with intense play before they were ready for more direct touch, so he’d be more subdued for his meeting with Sparky. That’s when Louis approached me for help. She set up kitty condos with multiple high ledges so the cats could easily escape from each other, as well as extra litter boxes and removed the covers so Sol wouldn’t be caught while he was vulnerable.
It’s Difficult to Make Up
Louis observed a reduction in cat aggressiveness. Sparky took one of the condominiums as her own, allowing Sol to walk freely around the apartment. Problems arose only when Sol startled Sparky or became overly active. Everything seemed to be going well. After the cats began fighting again two months later, Sparky’s doctor suggested a low-dose diazepam (Valium®).
They sleep and groom each other frequently, but they live completely distinct lives. Fights are nearly non-existent, but the cats still hiss and spit from time to time. Louis claims the cats had built a friendship a year later. Sparky appeared much calmer after taking the medication and let Sol approach her again. Louis was able to wean Sparky off the Valium after a few months.
It can be difficult to resolve resident cat conflict. Mature lonely cats may find it difficult to adjust to the addition of a lively young kitten. While the owner’s desire is usually for the cats to become good companions, the best that can be achieved with fighting cats is calm cohabitation with little or no interaction.
If this condition is unavoidable, I usually recommend rehoming one cat to ensure the well-being of both animals. Fortunately, Louis was able to maintain both of her companion animals, albeit it took a lot of patience and effort.
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