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aggressive behavior towards other cat

3 weeks ago I found a 7 mos. old female cat who is possibly pregnant. I found her in a parking lot. I already have a 2 1/2 yr. old, spayed female. The introduction was gradual, I kept the kitten (Ellington)  in a separate room for the first week, bringing her out to meet Gracie a few times a day--and always supervised. They exhibited normal territorial behavior: hissing, growling, skulking around each other, but mostly leaving each other alone, there was no physical contact. After 2 weeks, Ellington was completely settled into the house. She is playful and cuddly with me, but is now very aggressive towards Gracie, physically attacking and chasing her around the house. She has bitten and scratched Gracie a few times. Gracie is now terrified, and hides under the bed. She no longer plays in the house and prefers to be in the yard. Four days ago I purchased the plug-in feliway, I very sternly yell at Ellington when she looks like she's about to attack, I spray water when she does attack, but she is not backing down. Gracie is miserable.  Will Ellington's behavior mellow out after she is spayed? I would love to keep her, but I'm not willing to do so at Gracie's expense. How long should I let the two of them figure it out. What else can I do?
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It is wonderful that you have taken in a homeless kitty.  It sounds like their introduction was way too quick.  Some cats need weeks to months to be introduced.  I would put Ellington back into a separate room with everything she needs.  Allow Gracie time to settle down and get used to being back in her home without threat of being attacked.    They will be able to hear each other without fear of contact and get used to having another cat nearby.  The Feliway is good to continue.

Once Gracie is comfortable again, rub a towel over each cat and bring it to the other cat.  Once they are both comfortable with that, exchange areas (without seeing each other) so each can explore the other cat's smell.  When they are comfortable about that, offer each a treat or some cat food they really like in sight of each other without being able to interact.  As they are comfortable with that, gradually move the food closer to each other.

Whenever they are hissing at each other, it is too soon to move on in this process.  Since they have already been attacking each other, this may take a long time, months even.  Having Ellington spayed will probably help some.  As she gets used to being indoors and gets older she may settle down a little as well.  There are medications that your veterinarian may be able to prescribe to help in the situation.  These will not solve the problem but may help with the cat's interactions.

It is always good to have at least one litter box per cat, lots of places to climb and hide, and multiple food and water dishes so cats don't have to compete for their resources.

I hope this helps.  It is great that you want to help both of these cats.

Judy Karnia, DVM
Scottsdale Cat Clinic
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