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Fear and loathing in the happy cat home

rjesak
February 26th, 2008, 10:58 AM
Well, it's that time. Some of you may remember my first post inspired by my mother planning to move in with me. She's on her way and will be here in a couple of days. She's bringing her two cats with her, of course, and I have six. I admit to a certain amount of terror at the prospect.:eek:

I am very glad her cats are coming to my home. My mother dearly loves her cats but is lazy about their health care and I think they'll benefit from my, perhaps, over-protective nature. :) She's taken them to the vet and gotten them dewormed (both had them which didn't surprise me even a little) and they were given otherwise clean bills of health.

We plan on introducing them very slowly but I am nervous. These two cats (who are very sweet with people) don't have the best history with other cats. When my mother originally took them in, they were itty bitty kittens and were introduced into a home with two grumpy old women cats. By the time the itty bitty kittens got less itty bitty, they were beating up the old women fairly regularly. There were no really terrible injuries but there were scratches and bites almost exclusively on the two original cats. This makes me exceedingly nervous about my current six much smaller cats.

I don't suppose that, aside from a very slow introduction, there's much we can do to avoid the arguments that might arise between them. I'm thinking I should, maybe, get some squirt guns or water bottles to help break them up should they begin to get physical. Any other ideas or suggestions?

Kashi
February 26th, 2008, 11:04 AM
Get a couple of those plug-in happy pheremone things that they make for cats ?

Good luck.

rjesak
February 26th, 2008, 11:08 AM
Plug-in happy pheremone things... I definitely want one (or two or three or four) but, well, I have no idea what you're talking about. :D I searched the web and found some articles on pheremone therapy but none of them were selling anything.

Do they have these for people? I like happy!!! :laughing:

krdahmer
February 26th, 2008, 11:36 AM
I believe they do... I think it's called Prozac... :laughing: (Now if they could put that in a diffuser we'd all be set!):laughing:

Definitely invest in the water bottles, they are great for diffusing hairy situations without being scratched silly! I have I think 8 of them from the dollar store all placed strategically so they are always handy.

Other than that... best of luck with the transition for you and the kitties! :goodvibes:

danaekitty
February 26th, 2008, 01:01 PM
Feliway is a brand name of one of the happy kitty plug-ins, you could start your research there - I think that's one of the least expensive ones.
Good luck to you... I don't think it will be too long before these kitties realize they're outnumbered!!!

sugarcatmom
February 26th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Here's a good explaination of a nice slow introduction: http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/getting_a_cat/good_introduction.html The key is to make it as positive an experience as possible, with lots of treats and toys involved. Do you have a separate room that your mom's cats can be "quarantined" to for a while?

And Feliway (http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/comfort-zone-with-feliway-plug-in-and-refills-5) can be found at PetSmart. I'd recommend a couple diffusers (one for the new cat's room and one for the residents).

Kashi
February 26th, 2008, 02:21 PM
Feliway is a brand name of one of the happy kitty plug-ins, you could start your research there - I think that's one of the least expensive ones.
Good luck to you... I don't think it will be too long before these kitties realize they're outnumbered!!!

That's the stuff I was talking about :D

Feliway Comfort Zone (http://www.petcomfortzone.com/czcats.htm)

rjesak
February 26th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Mom's going to keep the cats in her room with her until they're integrated. We figure we'll bring them out in their carriers and see how that goes for starters.

So my shopping list is water bottles and feliway. I can do that! Do the diffusers smell to us bipeds?

A Prozac diffuser would be a brilliant idea. I've a friend on Symbalta and she thinks it ought to be in the water!!! :laughing:

krdahmer
February 26th, 2008, 03:15 PM
:eek: A Brave New World.... :eek::laughing:

rjesak
February 27th, 2008, 03:54 PM
Eeep! Mom, Jessie and Cole will be here in 30 minutes. Time for the fun to start...

I'll let you all know how it's going. Thanks for all the help - I don't know what I'd've done without you (aside from panic, anyway).

sugarcatmom
February 27th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Mom's going to keep the cats in her room with her until they're integrated. We figure we'll bring them out in their carriers and see how that goes for starters.

What I'd suggest, before doing the carrier thing, is to rub them with socks (especially around their chins and cheeks) and then leave the socks in areas that the resident cats frequent (near food bowls, in sleeping areas). Do the same with the other cats in reverse. Do that a few times a day for a few days before any visual meetings.

Do the diffusers smell to us bipeds?

Nope, only the cats can smell it.

Good luck!

phoozles
February 27th, 2008, 04:54 PM
Good luck! :fingerscr
That's going to be a kitty packed household! :D

hazelrunpack
February 27th, 2008, 09:19 PM
Hows it going, rjesak? :fingerscr :goodvibes:

Frenchy
February 27th, 2008, 09:42 PM
Good luck ! Hope there's not too many rrreeerrrr !

rjesak
March 1st, 2008, 05:18 PM
Well, so far, so, relatively, good. I started by exchanging their toys and blankets so the cats could start getting used to the scents. We've started bringing the boys down in their carrier (which they seem remarkably comfortable with) - they seem not to mind being in it at all.

Mostly, at this stage, there's just a lot of looking at each other. They seem to ignore each other quite a lot. My cats look at their carrier but don't really get close to it and Jessie and Cole just sit there taking it in.

We had an impromptu introduction when Mom didn't get her door shut all the way. I hear a yowling at oh dark thirty and come downstairs to find a rather annoyed Cole (most of my cats seemed to be to in shock to display any obvious aggression though there was still a lot of distance between them). Jessie, on the other hand, is happily napping on the stairs. :laughing: Anyway, I got them back in their room without difficulty.

The biggest trouble is Zander. I came out of the room with their scent on me and it was thirty minutes before he stopped growling at everything that moved. He's one pissed off pussycat!

Anyway, I'll keep you up to date. The worst thing is that I hate keeping Cole and Jessie cooped up all the time. They don't seem to be as stressed about it as I am and I keep reminding myself that it's better to keep them cooped than have an unpleasant scene that would set the introduction back!

danaekitty
March 1st, 2008, 06:30 PM
Wow, sounds like a stressful first meeting for everyone - except your mum's cats, oddly. Keep us posted, I'm hoping in a couple of days you'll be one big family.
Zander needs to learn that first impressions are everything, and he should try to make a better one!:laughing:

rainbow
March 1st, 2008, 07:10 PM
Glad to hear everything has gone reasonably well so far. :thumbs up Good luck and, hopefully, this will be easier than first thought. :fingerscr :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

ancientgirl
March 1st, 2008, 08:13 PM
Wow, good luck to you!

I really hope you can get them all at least used to each other so taht you can all live cohesively together.

rjesak
March 3rd, 2008, 10:21 AM
Well, it's still going frustratingly slowly. Cole made another daring escape this morning but I got him back in the bedroom with a minimum of hissing (Storm and Cole both took umbrage).

My biggest problem is getting them to be around each other. We bring down the boys in their carrier for a few hours each day but it's hard to keep the resident cats near enough to them to feel like we're making any progress. I have an open floorplan so I can't really keep them in one room.

My cats have also gone off their food. Not totally, but where they used to eat six cans in the morning and evening, they're down to a total of eight. Now, I hate to complain because it's saving me money, but somehow I don't think that's the right viewpoint to be looking at it from!

I'll have to get some pix. Cole and Jessie are HUGE cats - Cole weighs in at 20 pounds and Jessie weighs in at 23. Carrying the two of them in one carrier is SERIOUSLY heavy labor!! And, believe it or not, according to the vet, Jessie is "three or four pounds" overweight and Cole is right where he should be. Anyway, I'll try to get pictures of these mammoth cats soon.

rjesak
March 17th, 2008, 08:45 AM
Well, my mother was stricken by the affectionately termed "Vomiting Virus" last weekend and was seriously considering Hara-kiri by the end of the fourth day of symptoms. She finally started feeling better (or stopped having horrible things happen to her anyway) on Monday but still couldn't make it downstairs. In any case, this definitely interfered with the integration. During that time, we just left the cats in with her (norovirus is highly contagious so I brought her ginger ale and medications and then ran away before I had to inhale again).

Anyway, now that she's up and around, we're bringing the cats out in their carrier again. Most of the cats seem interested but not particularly pissy as long as they're in the carrier but... Well, things were different when they got out of the bedroom. I didn't close the door properly and they escaped. We got upstairs and they were in the hallway and Gus was in their room. Mom, unfortunately, picked up Cole and took him into the room. I tried to stop her because Gus is still afraid of her but she was too distracted so, of course, Gus darted under the bed. Unfortunately Cole darted too. Mom and I couldn't really get to where they were so we watched the bed shudder, listened to those horrid screeches cats make and tried to split them up with a broom handle. Gus finally streaked and Mom caught Cole's tail to keep him from chasing after him. I found Gus a few hours later with only a minor scratch (my poor BABY!!!) and got him cleaned up.

We're going to have to make the move eventually but there's still an awful lot of hostility. She's been here about three weeks now. So, aside from co-playing (we have a toy tied on either side of the door so they're kind of playing with each other), visits in the cat crate, and the Feliway thingamajigs, is there anything else you would suggest?

want4rain
March 17th, 2008, 09:12 AM
she have a diffuser in her bedroom??? those guys seem to need it the most. you think Gus stood up for himself at all?? if he did, i wouldnt sweat the hostility THAT much. ours regularly beat each other up, the top cat of the house changes on a weekly basis but no one is hurt (unless you count their pride!!) terribly. some scratches on occasion but no real damage. the moments in between beatings are filled with love and affection. :laughing:

-ashley

rjesak
March 17th, 2008, 10:09 AM
It's hard to tell if Gus stood up for himself. Cole was definitely the aggressor (you know how their eyes get all pointy and electrical?) but I think Gus stood his ground a bit. He's not as afraid of other cats as he is of us two-legged big things!! :laughing: On the other hand, in the past, he's allowed himself to be pushed around even by the smaller cats. It's never been much of an issue because my cats all get along 98% of the time but it's happened three times that I've seen Gus "turn the other cheek" when another cat has shown a particular aggression towards him.

I'm just so terrified that they'll hurt each other... :cry: Eep...