Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

what to do??

~michelle~
April 6th, 2007, 05:55 PM
ok so i am having a problem with maggie our cat.
shes been off and on since we got her (i picked her up off the streets back in october she was starving and weighed only a few pounds, was only going to keep her for a little while but she ended up staying)
sometimes shes sweet, but alot of the time shes mean, not to me but to moe and now mia.(our other cats)

it has gotten so bad that moe has lost much of his hair due to the constant fighting and she will do alot of this unprevoked, moe or mia will be walking by and shell just attack them, definately not playing, theres teeth and claws and its very vicious. she also attacks the dogs occassionally.

she is healthy and i dont think there is a medical issue behind this

i have no idea what to do Moe is miserable lately and hes my baby... Ive had him for 3 years and i hate to see him in such distress.

please help, this is a very sensitive issue. i have never thought of re-homing an animal, but i dont know if it would make it easier for her and our other pets. does she need a home as an only pet? this is really difficult any help would be greatly appreciated.

SableCollie
April 6th, 2007, 08:28 PM
Some cats just cannot get along with other cats, you may have to rehome her. :sad:
Are all the cats spayed/neutered?
You could try separating them for a while and then slowly introducing them again, and keep them separate when no one is home to watch them. There are some cat behaviourists out there, and there have been cases of cat-aggressive cats being treated with anti-anxiety medications if you really want to go the whole route.
And if you rehome her, make sure you find her a good pet-free home, and try not to put her in a shelter, as cat-aggressive cats take forever to get adopted. (First because they don't show well in a shelter environment where there are tons of other cats in cages around them. And secondly because people tend to want more than one cat).
Sorry you are having this problem. I hope it works out.

Edgewaters
April 6th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Diablo (male, black and white) and Zotz (female, grey and white) used to be just like this when they met about 8 years ago. Now look:


http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/8651/20060617image0045eq1.jpg

Only in the past 2 years or so have they been able to do things like this and it's not common, but they don't often fight anymore. But it took about 6 years to get them to this stage.

Some female cats are very anxious about having their space invaded. To you it seems unprovoked but to them they feel frightened when the other cat comes too close. Probably alot of the spats happen in chokepoints like doorways and halls?

Head problems off by making sure she doesn't get chased and they don't violate her space. You'll never be able to fully do this but when you see one of them getting too close to her, pick him up and remove him until she passes. The fewer bad encounters they have the better they'll get along. Don't scold anyone, the goal is to reduce negative associations and increase positive ones.

If you can get them to play together in the same room without fighting, do it. If you've got a catdancer or fishing pole and they really love it, they might be so focussed on it they'll mostly forget each other. But it creates a positive association with the other cat. Make sure they are together in the same room for grooming sessions, if they enjoy being brushed. If you feed them canned food, or if they get any sort of meal that is not free fed, feed them in close proximity to one another. Just create all the positive reinforcements with each other that you can, and try to head off negative ones. In time, they will gradually get more and more tolerant of and comfortable with each other.

VERY important point is access - access to food, water, litterboxes. They should have at least two feeding stations in different parts of your home, so that nobody can block anybody off. Most important is litter because the need is more urgent. You should have 1 litter box per cat, +1. So if you have 3 cats you should have 4 litterboxes, ideally. Two, at the very minimum. These should be in different locations too. Litterbox guarding is a big problem and often the "bully" isn't who it looks like - one cat might guard the approach to the litter area and be intimidating the other cat, but all you see is the one cat (desperate to reach the litterbox and very scared) attack the other for no apparent reason, and it looks like the bully is the attacker, but it's the other way around.

Generally - when Zotz gets upset at Diablo, or our new arrival Feather (who she is now having similar difficulties with) it is very frightening and shocking, her display is quite ferocious. Her fur puffs, she lunges quickly and moves very fast, she rears up sometimes, and she makes the most awful noise, a hacking hissing spitting noise that is very loud. But the bark is worse than the bite; its an impressive display but it's not a furball. This is quite manageable.

If your boy is not a bully and the two are just having a misunderstanding, it might be even easier than our case and resolve itself alot sooner. Diablo was - still is, to some degree - quite a bully and a very persistant one. Cats bully each other in ways other than violence sometimes, sheer persistance and fearlessness can often intimidate other cats. Even now Diablo has established himself as boss of Feather (the new arrival) without ever having to so much as swat him, and even though Feather is much younger and larger. If your boy is not a bully, he will learn quickly to steer clear of her, especially if both of them can reroute to another feeding/litter area.

Lukka'sma
April 7th, 2007, 07:20 AM
I certainly understand your concerns about this. My two cats both of which I had for 18 years never got along. They could not pass within six feet of each other without some hissing and growling. Not a night went by that I didn't have to get out of bed and separate them. I also thought maybe some time would help, however until the day I lost the first one it was constant upheaval. I swore I would never attempt to have two cats live together again. I sure hope your cats are not as stubborn as mine were and you get this resolved soon.

badger
April 7th, 2007, 09:46 AM
I realize that you cannot be around your cats all the time - as I presently am - but it is important to establish yourself as the alpha, ie fighting does NOT happen in your presence. The attacker gets a huge scolding and is confined and ignored (the worst punishment for my boys) for as long as it takes. Slowly, they learn. The occasional confrontation, as long as there is no biting or clawing, I consider fairly normal.

Give your other two cats time out with just you, while Rambo cools his heels in another room. And I agree about making sure they all have unhindered access to a litterbox (litterbox ambushes are especially potent in dominance scenarios) and food. You might also add Rescue Remedy to their water.

I have seen incredible transformations. When Bird came in January, I really despaired, he attacked the others relentlessly and they turned into complete ninnies. With discipline and love (in that order), he has become the sweetest fellow. He still has a bit of an edge, but the power balance (which is what you're looking for) has been restored sufficiently so nobody has to be locked up at night (I suggest you do that with your miscreant, starting now; night activity is almost as important to cats as sleeping).

~michelle~
April 7th, 2007, 11:02 AM
thanks guys....
i know i wont make moe go through years of this... he's lost most of his fur and its constantly falling out due to the stress and looks like crap.

we'e had them separated, it doesnt work....i hate Maggie being locked up for so long. locking her up hasnt helped.

moe is actually more active during daytime hours.... he usually likes to sleep with me at night time.

its so hard to see because moe is such a loving kitty. he greets me and the dogs at the door whenever anyone comes home usually. he cuddles with the dogs, when we had all the foster kittens he was so gentle with them...
now hes been hiding under the bed.:sad:

the attacks happen everywhere, not just door ways hallways or litter or food area, maggie has seen moe just walking around and shes jumped off wherever she was sitting and gone after him.

i really want to try, but its so hard.this is the 3rd time since we got her, Moe has been this stressed out and has lost his fur. it will be fine for a couple of weeks then it starts all over again.

Please keep the suggestions coming. i can use all i can get.

Edgewaters
April 7th, 2007, 02:34 PM
its so hard to see because moe is such a loving kitty. he greets me and the dogs at the door whenever anyone comes home usually. he cuddles with the dogs, when we had all the foster kittens he was so gentle with them...

Could be a jealousy problem ... maybe Moe is getting all the attention and Maggie thinks if she can make him retreat under the bed all the time she can take his place ...

One thing that you might try in that case is to escort Moe out from under the bed and give him lots of special attention in a really visible place every time he is attacked. I know this sounds like an odd fix for jealousy! But the point is to get Maggie to associate attacking Moe, with Moe getting a whole pile of attention and finding herself ignored. If her motive is to become the center of attention and push Moe off into a corner, then making sure it backfires on her might help alot. The other thing is trying to pay lots of attention to Maggie at other times, when she is being good and not attacking Moe. Maybe she is not as good as Moe at getting it, maybe she's a little shy and you'll need to go out of your way alot to give it to her even when she doesn't seem to be demanding it.

Of course some cats just never do learn to get along. It sounds like Moe is having a really hard time, and maybe Maggie's not too thrilled with the situation either. Rehoming might be justified.

Snooky'sMom
April 7th, 2007, 05:18 PM
I had a similliar problem with a cat I got from the shelter a year and 1/2 ago. He was aggressive towards my gentle little Kali who was 14 at the time (of course she never was friendly with him either but never attacked him). I wish I could say I have the problem solved but I don't. His aggression has really toned down and now it's just a question of them having different ways to play. He loves a rough and tumble play and Kali likes to play gentle. They just can't seem to get on the same wavelengh. Kali has made gentle friendly moves toward him in just the past two months which gives me hope. If he tones down his boisterous ways then I think they can get along.

My suggestion to you is use Bach's Rescue Remedy for both cats. I gave it to both Kali and Simba initially and now only use it when there's a big upset. It helped him with his agression and her with her fear. Another thing I did is I put him in a room all by himself whenever I caught him being mean to her. I'd let him stay for a good hour. When I let him out he would be calm.

~michelle~
April 7th, 2007, 06:27 PM
whats this rescue remedy and where can i find it????

i dont think its jealousy, because maggie is super affectionate with us, she cuddles with us whenever she wants. she just hops up on us and gets all the pets she wants.

if i put maggie in a separate room everytime she aggressed for an hour she would never come out for more than 30mins a day... she is not calm when she comes out.

i feel horrible about even thinking about rehoming her, when we decided to keep her (there was some aggression but we thought it would pass) we took it as a life decision, it was not taken lightly. i feel like a horrible person and pet owner, i dont want to rehome her, but i dont know what to do if something doesnt work in the next few months

we are going to try all that we can but im not sure how long i can look at moe being unhappy, and having his health affected by this.
ive gone through this with dogs (aggression, stress, and fear) and it seemed much easier!!! braxton and logan used to not get along but now they cant live without eachother....
arrrg:sad:

Edgewaters
April 7th, 2007, 07:08 PM
i feel horrible about even thinking about rehoming her, when we decided to keep her (there was some aggression but we thought it would pass) we took it as a life decision, it was not taken lightly. i feel like a horrible person and pet owner, i dont want to rehome her, but i dont know what to do if something doesnt work in the next few months

Well ... I think you should give it some more time. But if after that it doesn't work what can you do? You shouldn't feel bad if that's what it comes down. If you manage to find her a good home all on your own without going through HS, then you've taken a cat off the street, probably fixed it etc, got it used to living with people again, and found it a home. That's a great job even if you didn't end up keeping her yourself right? I wouldn't feel bad about that at all. I'd be sad to lose her ... but I wouldn't feel that I'd failed as a pet owner in any way.

TeriM
April 7th, 2007, 07:13 PM
What about keeping a squirt bottle handy and when she goes after the other cats you can nail her and establish a "leave it" type command?

Good luck. We all know what a loving responsible owner that you are and I know that re-homing is not a decision you would make easily :) .

muskokapuss
April 8th, 2007, 01:04 PM
ok so i am having a problem with maggie our cat.
shes been off and on since we got her (i picked her up off the streets back in october she was starving and weighed only a few pounds, was only going to keep her for a little while but she ended up staying)
sometimes shes sweet, but alot of the time shes mean, not to me but to moe and now mia.(our other cats)

it has gotten so bad that moe has lost much of his hair due to the constant fighting and she will do alot of this unprevoked, moe or mia will be walking by and shell just attack them, definately not playing, theres teeth and claws and its very vicious. she also attacks the dogs occassionally.

she is healthy and i dont think there is a medical issue behind this

i have no idea what to do Moe is miserable lately and hes my baby... Ive had him for 3 years and i hate to see him in such distress.

please help, this is a very sensitive issue. i have never thought of re-homing an animal, but i dont know if it would make it easier for her and our other pets. does she need a home as an only pet? this is really difficult any help would be greatly appreciated.

It sounds like Maggie, may just be better off in a home without other pets :sad: unfortunately there are some animals that just for whatever reason, will not get along with other's no matter what you try....best of luck hon, :grouphug: :goodvibes:

puss:cat:

~michelle~
April 8th, 2007, 04:35 PM
thank you everyone for your kind words and knowing I am not someone to get rid of an animal because they're difficult. I really dont think i could get rid of her.... it was an absolute last resort to be considered if nothing else worked.. so hopefully one of your suggestions will help, we're also planning on moving to a townhome this summer giving everone a little more space and causing a little less frustration.
i am going to try all of your suggestions.
moe seems to be feeling better today.
i will keep everyone posted
they have been getting along better the past few days, so we'll see what happens.... maggie has found a hang out of her own (on top of the cabinets) where she can go and noone else has interest of bothering her there, so maybe they will eventually solve this problem on their own.