Cat Crisis

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Didoe, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Didoe

    Didoe New Member

    I have 2 cats as some of you may remember.
    One came first, grew quickly and bonded instantly when taken from his shelter cage. After 5 months, I thought he might want a companion little brother as I work long hours. My cat that lived w/me about 18 years was a solitary soul, didnt like being held, even near death she found a spot, meowed crying out her pain until put down. I didnt want another animal to be so alone.

    It seems this thinking was a mistake.
    My first cat spends every night hissing and growling at the smaller cat to keep him from my bed. He is like a guard dog. I've woken up the crashing as he chases the kitten into the kitchen cornering him.

    I come home and the smaller cat shadows me, wants cuddling, company and has developed chronic bowel problems we think is a result of stress.

    At food time I'm singing and talking to them, we go into the room where they eat and if the older one doesnt have his dish placed down for him first, or the kitten dives in before I catch him, he walks away, tail in the air, refusing to eat. Kitten comes to lay near him, he gets up in a huff...goes into the other room.

    I finally gave in today and called the vet's office where I adopted both of them to ask for advice. The only solution I see in front of us is that one will have to leave to save both from this kind of stress.

    It's hard to explain what this is doing to me, this is a constant strain from broken sleep, I wont get into special foods, meds and vet visits other than the compulsory 6 months check ups. I adore both of them and pray I am not forced to make a choice, I dont think its possible. Just hoping vet has some kind of solution...other than me moving in a house with more room so they could each have their own 'space'--the lack of hiding places and privacy seems be at the core of their fights....other than fighting over my underwear drawer and who plays with which bra.
  2. jmq

    jmq New Member

    this is so upsetting. Mr Boo was so good to him in the beginning. I guess he thought it was many young only children react when thier new baby brother or sister comes home...awwwwwe how cute...kiss the baby....and then they ask....when does it leave mommy?

    I have NO experience into cats and thier behaviour. I hope they just need more time together!!???? I know how much you love them both. I also know how much you need your sleep!

    Maybe some cat experts are on the board!!!! HELP my DIDOE!


  3. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    And they seem to get along so well at first!

    I've been enjoying your other writings, but have been wondering about boo and boo too. Thought maybe I'd missed a post.....I tend to miss quite a few, can't keep up sometimes.

    Somehow, seems like training a tiger would be easier than training an ordinary housecat:)

    My thought is to remove cat #1 from house for a week.

    See what happens while it is gone, and what happens when it returns. Maybe it would lose some of it "me here first" qualities. I do not really know. Could make things worse.

    Oh, I finally got rid of John Cheever stories. The finally Sign was when I spilled some chlorox both on a throw rug in the bathroom and on the Cheever book......the rug was spotted white from bleech.....and the Cheever book was undamaged. Too weird!

    Cheers, and good luck with the boo's, Your Mr Bill
    [This Message was Edited on 09/10/2008]
  4. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    some cats just will NOT accept another one into the family no matter what you do.

    My old Rosie came into a family of two but they were older than her so that was fine.

    I took in a stray kitten and Rosie refused to eat - she was a big fat cat who loved and needed her food - and refused to 'talk' to me. She was wilting away so I had to find the kitty another home.

    Cats can be very possessive and very jealous to the point of becoming ill.

    I think 'first' cat comes 'first'.

    Good luck.

  5. 4everkid

    4everkid New Member

    I have a lot of experience with multi cat households and cat hierarchy. Yes, there is a cat hierarchy, and your older cat will need to establish that he is the top cat. This may include bullying, pinning the new cat down, and some hissing and growling. Your older cat will have territories he considers his own, and will not allow the younger cat to be there. Like your bed - that's HIS. He will expect to eat first and will even want to sit in a higher position, literally looking down on the lowly newcomer.

    From his point of view, all the things that were once his alone, and all the people who he loves, now have to be shared with this intruder.

    He needs to be allowed to establish his place in the hierarchy. I just went through this with Scotty & Frankie, so it's fresh in my mind. The cat will pin the kitten down and bite his neck. His goal is to make the kitten still and submissive. In essence, he wants the kitten to recognize that he is the boss. It looks rough, but you have to let #1 establish his position - to a point. When I felt Scotty was getting too rough or forceful, to the point of actually hurting Frankie, I would verbally scold him. (You don't want to humiliate him in front of the underling though.) I WAS squirting him with a spray bottle till I realized I was humiliating him.

    If you have ever had multiple dogs, you have probably seen this pinning and neck biting procedure by the pack leader. Once the kitten gets who's boss, the behavior will subside.

    You are in a tough position. The older cat needs pampering, and reminders that he is still your favorite. But the new kitten needs affection and love too. It's a tricky balancing act.

    When you greet them, pet the cat first, before the kitten. You want #1 to think he is the favorite and most important.

    Let cat #1 eat first. It's his right as top cat. Put the food down for him first. Hold the kitten and give #1 a head start.

    Give them separate bowls, & beds & possibly even litter boxes (if necessary). Don't force them to share.

    Fix a secret hiding place for the kitten. A piece of furniture only he can fit behind, or a secluded closet retreat. Maybe a cardboard box, taped shut with a small hole for only the kitten to fit through. He needs to be able to escape if the older cat is getting too rough.

    Mix scents. Pet cat 1 and get his scent on you. Pet cat 2, rubbing cat 1's scent on him. Pet #1 again, getting cat 2's scent on him. Do this back and forth, and do it often. You are mixing the scents so that you don't have 2 distinct scents, but one common household scent or family smell. (this works with cats/dogs too.)

    Cats are very territorial. There are levels of territory. The whole territory was once the older cats, so it will take some time for him to accept a new kid in. The outer circle is the area where if another cat enters, they will be watched and monitored. If they cross into the next level, they will be warned. Further in - chased. And if they dare cross into the inner sanctum, the intruder will be battled. In your house, it sounds like the inner sanctum is your bed.

    I don't know if you have other family members in the house or not. If so, have the kitten sleep with someone else. If not, you will have to get creative.

    I went to the fabric store and bought some plush, cuddly micro-fleece and made kitty blankets for my boys. Blue for Scotty and yellow for Frankie. I basically made it like a big pillow without stuffing (sewed wrong-side-out, then flipped right-side out.) Rub the corresponding blanket on the cat it belongs to, so it has ONLY their scent. Now, place these blankets on the bed, far apart from each other, and train the cats to sleep in their own space. Don't allow them to touch each others blankets.

    By doing this, you are tightening the inner sanctum to a smaller area. Cat #1 still has his prime spot on the bed, and the kitten has his, on the far side. If you are between them, they both think they get to sleep next to you.

    You mentioned you had a single cat for 18 years. Keep in mind that cat play looks like fighting sometimes. Chasing, rolling, tumbling and mock battle is part of the game they play. Hissing and growling is not play.

    I recently learned that cats are either introverts or extroverts. They either prefer to be solitary, or they enjoy companionship with other cats. Suddenly the pair I had for 16 years, who never got past hating each other, made sense. They learned to coexist, and had their own territories within the house. Sally ruled the bedrooms upstairs and Skippy ruled the entire first floor. When they crossed paths, they hissed and sometimes rumbled, but usually just avoided each other.

    I knew Scotty was an extrovert and loved having a buddy, and put a lot of thought into choosing an extrovert kitten for him. It worked out well for all. After the initial pack leader exercises, in which Scotty established his position of power, they became best buds.

    But some cats never adjust to a companion. They truly prefer to be alone. But if this is the case, they will eventually establish their own territories and learn to coexist.

    In case you have never been there, this is a great site for cat info. Lots of interesting behavioral stuff:

    Good luck!

  6. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I think it was on TLC. It was about a one-cat household that suddenly adopted another cat. Horrible behavior ensued. I was really impressed with the way it was handled -- the post before mine (4everkid?) touched on a lot of the topics. If I'm remembering right, the whole re-introduction took about a week. At the end of the show, both cats were in the same room (and on two laps) without any fuss.

    I'll see if I can find the show info for you.

    Update -- Oops, it was on Animal Planet, a show called "Barking Mad", with the episode entitled "Polly & Max".

    Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there will be any repeats this week. I looked on YouTube to see if anyone posted it, but also no luck there.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/11/2008]
  7. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Barking Mad is a great show and has a ton of ideas.

    Something else you can do is to put them both into carriers facing each other and give them each yummy treats. That way they will slowly associate seeing each other and getting yummy treats. Also, mine are brother and sister, but the sister started out a bit territorial. You can rub the blankets, cloth from under their food, or whatever on both cats to mix their scents to stop the territorial behavior. So now both of mine share beds, blankets, my bed, carpeted car furnitue to climb on, and both have to take turns to use my electric scooter basket when we go out, as well as the doggie seat in the car. In the morning, they both get my attention when I am in my bed to avoid any jealousy.

    In my household, I've worked hard to get things organized so the cats can help me out. So I won't tolerate fighting. The biggest problem with letting any fight go on is that rarely, but it can happen, eyes can get scratched and even damaged to the point that it may have to be removed. Once their eye is done, you'll feel really guilty. Take care and many hugs
  8. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Here's an article to help.
  9. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    I thought they were getting along so well. I hope that they will get back to their playful, crazy selves. There were some good info there to help you.

    Let us know how it works out. Gotta go and get ready for Hurricane IKE !!! Yikes.

    Hope all works out for them both and you too. Patience !! Do cats have any ?? robably not !


  10. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    that was talking about making sure you rub the scent of one cat onto the other.

    I have five cats and this always works.

    Just use two socks and rub each cat and then switch so you are rubbing the scent onto the other cat. Do this at least 3 times a day or more. It will help things settle down.

    You really got a lot of great advice here and even a few things I learned.

    Don't give up --- they will be friends soon. It just sounds like your older cat wants things the way they were and he isn't doing great with the intruder.

    PS: I have two cats that absolutely hate each other. But they are living in harmony even though they may have little spats.
  11. kellygirl

    kellygirl Member

    We had a mixed-siamese once that had such an attitude, he was great!

    We always had a multi-cat household with one dog. He would bat the others on the head in passing just to let them know he was king.

    If he jumped on your lap, you dare not move or get a growl from him.

    He would sit on his perch on the stairway railing and look down at us. I didn't know this was dominance til I read 4everkid's post.

    We miss him so much......he passed after 16 years from a tumor. The Cats play on Broadway reminded me of him as the old cat went up the staicase to Heaven in the play. It brought tears to my eyes. I am crying now as I think of him.

  12. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Oh dear, I can relate. I have a similiar situation which I've mentioned here before. We have the added challenge of my first cat, Sophie, being allergic to many proteins so they can't eat the same food. This means one of them, usually Sophie, must be tricked to believe that eating on the screened porch is a picnic. That may not fly in January when there's snow out there.

    I never thought I'd say it but I must agree with the person who wrote that some cats just will not accept other cats. I, too, thought Sophie must be lonely so when I found Honey at my door, I jumped through emotional hoops to keep her here. Actually it's US who are lonely....

    What you've also found is that this is a very stressful situation for the human involved. We want everyone to just get along! Unlike you, I am home most of the time so I can tell you to be glad you're not.

    Some tell me that, in time, Sophie will settle into a grudging acceptance. Not like, but allow. Thing is, I think Honey deserves better. She does very much want a pal because she tries to get Sophie to be nicer. Honey has gently touched her with her paw and Sophie swats her.

    And I agree, like it or not, the first cat must come first.

    Booooooooooooo hoooooooooooo!

  13. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I found this on our local animal shelter's website. This sounds like a lot of work. Good luck!! Hope I have not duplicated other's ideas!!


    Cat to Cat Introductions

    Research has shown that a single hostile encounter between two unfamiliar cats can set the tone for their relationship for a long time to come. So to prevent your new cat from getting off on the wrong foot with your resident cat, plan to introduce them gradually.

    Generally speaking, it is easier to introduce a kitten to an adult than to introduce two adults. Adults that grew up around other cats usually adjust more easily to a new feline housemate. If you are adopting from CCHS, try to match the personality of your new cat to that of your resident cat. Remember to spend plenty of quality time alone with your resident cat in order to minimize jealousy.

    At first, do not allow face-to-face contact between the two cats. Instead, follow these steps:

    1. Confine the resident cat to a room (door closed) while the new cat explores the rest of the house. Then switch their places. This allows them to become familiar with each other's scent.

    2. Keep the cats in separate but adjoining rooms for several days, continuing to switch places every day. You'll need separate litter boxes at this stage, and depending on the cats' preferences, you may want to continue to maintain two litter boxes for them after the introduction is completed.

    3. After a few days, crack open the door separating the two cats. Prop it open a couple inches so they can see one another but can't make full contact. Once they tolerate this limited contact, open the door a bit wider. If they start to backslide, go back to step 2.

    4. When the two cats seem comfortable with limited exposure, try feeding them on opposite sides of the same room. Then return them to their separate quarters. After a few days of common mealtimes, they may be ready to share the same living space. Remember to let them set their own pace and never force them to be together. Keep them separated when you are not home to supervise until you're certain they can tolerate each toher's presence. It may take 2 or 3 months before they reach this stage.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/19/2008]