December 17th, 2009, 10:21 PM
Hi Everyone! I'm so happy to find a forum like this! I have a great family with myself, my partner and our 2 beautiful cats, Charlie (neutered male, 8 years old) and Gracie (female, 2 years old). Charlie is the most docile little guy I have ever met... :angel2:so passive and gentile. We quickly learned after bringing home our little girl, that she was :cool:The Boss! Whether it`s treat time, or wet food day, if Charlie is in the way, Gracie gives him a little swat, and Charlie gracefully moseys along... Very recently we saw a stray in our driveway and being as it was so cold out, we instantly brought him into our home and nicknamed him Ollie. Ollie looked to be under a year old, and not neutered. He was a joy around the humans in our family, my 14 month old niece especially took to him.... but he was such a :evil:trouble maker with the other cats. Charlie was very quickly the target of Ollie`s attacks, resulting in many scratches and scars. We very regrettably found our Ollie a new home with no other kitties to torment, however since his departure, our Gracie has turned on Charlie so severely, we have had to keep them separated, and have started to consider finding a new home for her as well. We adore Gracie and want to help her through whatever it is that`s going on in her life, but I feel it`s so unfair to place Charlie in harmís way, when he doesn`t do a thing to protect himself other than scream and try to run away. They used to be so content with one another! I can't seem to understand why little Ollie would have put such an insane damper on their relationship. We need help to keep our family together! Please help us to understand how to help our little Gracie!
December 18th, 2009, 06:55 AM
When was the last time you have had blood work done on both the cats?
Is Gracie spayed?
Is it when Gracie is hungry that she goes after Charlie? Was she ever a stray?
December 18th, 2009, 08:38 AM
I believe your problems stem from bringing Ollie in. If there was peace in the household before and after he was brought in there wasn't that is almost certainly the issue.
When you brought him in did you do a proper introduction? As in, keeping them separated from a week or more, getting them accustomed to each other's smells by exchanging sleeping blankets, exchanging rooms after a week or more, etc.
If you just threw him into the mix expecting the kitties to find their own place it doesn't work that way. I have found that out through trial and error myself.
Ollie being used to fend for himself outside had learned how to fight and fight well. Gracie watched Ollie dominating Charlie and now figures it's ok to do it herself.
And, as L4 mentioned, it would be a good idea to take Charlie in for a full checkup to rule out him being sick. Sometimes if a cat is sick other cats can sense it and react by attacking the weaker cat. It would not be a bad idea to take Gracie as well as she could be under the weather herself and protecting herself by being aggressive. Is she spayed? If not why not make the appt to get her spayed too. Her hormones could be all over the map going through heats, etc.
My suggestion is to do a reintroduction and see if that helps. Separate them completely for as long as it takes. No seeing each other at all. Give Charlie a safe room where he does not have to worry about being bombarded by Gracie. If he has a litter box, his food and water, a bed and a window to look out of he will do just fine.
This is my favourite site for instructions on how to introduce cats. This lady didn't just write an article. She walks the walk. :thumbs up
Just for my nosiness......... you mentioned "wet food day". Does that mean they only get wet food one day a week? Not that is has a lot of bearing on the fighting (although if Charlie is indeed not well it could have in a roundabout way) but a good quality canned food is tons healthier for them than dry food. Cats are meat eaters. They do not do well on a diet of corn and grains which is what dry food is. Humans can't digest corn. I don't know why the pet food companies feel cats can.
A great site for doing some research into that issue is:
Good quality foods are any that are corn and grain free. Also with no by products. Wellness, Natures' Variety, Evo, Natural Balance are just some of the great wet foods you can look for.
December 18th, 2009, 11:29 AM
Thanks for your reply love4himies. They both had their appointments about 2 weeks ago, only resulting in a rescheduled spay. We have yet to have good timing when we try to bring Gracie in when she isn't in heat. Other than the usual talk of spaying Gracie, their appointment went without a hitch (although that was a few days before we found Ollie).
Gracie we got from a co-worker, whose daughter was a little too rough with their kittens (they had two sisters). Charlie was actually a stray that was brought into the vet where I worked at the time to be euthanized, however the vets and myself fell in love with him; we therefore took the money given to us from the pound and used it towards his needles and neuter.
The fights have now escalated to everytime Gracie lays eyes on Charlie; food isn't a factor. Charlie will be sound asleep and she sneaks up and attacks him. It is almost as if she's possessed... not the little girl we have known this whole time.
December 18th, 2009, 11:50 AM
Thanks for your response 14+kitties; I am going to read up on that website immediately! This situation was most disheartening because Charlie and Gracie have been together for a year and a half now, and no special introductions were made with them at the beginning. I do agree with what you said about it being Ollie that upset the mixture, which was pretty obvious. Our biggest concern though is getting our peaceful home back!
I worked in a vet's office for the better part of 2 years, and because of that, I do know the importance of good quality food for them. They are balanced between vet grade dry and wet food (as too much wet food tends to give Charlie the runs). Even though they get wet food as frequently as every other day, wet food in our house is something we celebrate!! Gracie’s actions are not triggered by anything other than laying eyes on Charlie; food has never been in the middle of it.
Charlie went for his check-up about 2 weeks ago and came out with a clean bill of health and as Ollie was only with us for a total of 10 days or so, I obviously didn't do "proper" introductions with the 3 of them. I feel awful that all of this may have been avoided.
I’m sorry I’m all over the place with these posts; I want to give you as much info as possible to try and get our Gracie back to the way she was previously. I hope that with our trying to give Ollie a warm place to sleep and some good food, we haven’t torn apart our family...
December 18th, 2009, 12:46 PM
I worked in a vet's office for the better part of 2 years, and because of that, I do know the importance of good quality food for them. They are balanced between vet grade dry and wet food (as too much wet food tends to give Charlie the runs). .
Sorry to tell you this, but "vet grade" food is about the worst on the planet. Take a look at the ingredients and ask yourself what in there is appropriate for an obligate carnivore. Corn gluten meal? Powdered cellulose (aka sawdust)? Brewer's rice? Come on! Cats need meat, not agriculture waste products. Prescription pet food is the biggest scam going and I urge you to read the catinfo link that 14+ posted. Has a wealth of real info on feline nutrition.
December 18th, 2009, 04:21 PM
If you can't observe Charlie & Gracie all the time, I would keep them separated for Charlie's peace of mind and yours! Get her spayed as soon as possible. Have a spray bottle handy and the minute Gracie even looks intently at Charlie, say "No" and distract her by throwing a toy. If she actually attacks him, immediately spray her, and say "Bad girl!". You want to get across to her that this behavior you do not want and it displeases you. Does she come to you when you ask her? If not, teach her to come by giving the command and give her a treat...piece of cheese or cat treat. Tell her "good girl!". Once you get her coming freely on command, if she starts staring at Charlie as if she's going to attack, ask her to come to you, give her a treat or make a big fuss over her. Don't neglect giving attention to Charlie, just do it another time, out of her sight and hearing in another room. Her hormones are at work here, and having Ollie, even tho he was under a year, most males sexually mature at 8 mos. and she knew it. It really did set her off. Hopefully after she's spayed you can get her settled down, and back to how things were before Ollie threw a monkey wrench into the household. I would keep them separated completely after the spaying, and when she's back to normal and feeling good, get them together little by little. Sometimes it's helpful to sit on the floor and play with them both with one of those feather sticks or a cord.
Curious to know what their relationship was before Ollie. You say she was bossy and Charlie passive...that kind of a relationship works, but were they snuggle buddies, grooming each other? or just played together but slept apart? :fingerscr
December 18th, 2009, 08:48 PM
Thanks for your input sugarcatmom, however the cats are quite healthy and happy with their food. I'm most concerned with the bigger issue at hand!
December 18th, 2009, 09:05 PM
Hi catlover2, yes Gracie was the boss, but they were always sleeping together and grooming one another as you may notice in our photo album. She was always making sure things were going her way, but in a more comical way than anything. She has never been downright cruel to him before.
I really appreciate your suggestions. Charlie was my first cat and I felt like everyday was a learning experience with him, but getting Gracie just seemed meant to be; so peaceful and enjoyable. They used to work so well together and it angers me to no end that I have broken that bond between them. There is so much upset in our home now, for both Charlie and Gracie; its sad to always have one of them secluded from everyone.
I guess we will work on the small details such as spending a lot of one on one time with each of them and getting her spayed immediately! Disciplining Gracie at this point is completely ignored, whether I say her name sharply (which she always used to respond to) or spray her with a water bottle, there hasn't been anything I have been able to distract her with yet, physically separating them and secluding her.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to give all the very helpful pieces of advice to help our now, quite distraught little family...
December 18th, 2009, 09:11 PM
might i suggest that you put a little babypowder on both of the cats so they smell the same..possibly the smell of the kitten is still around, or she smells something on Charlie.
December 18th, 2009, 11:06 PM
I looked at your album...very sweet cats. It certainly does look like that they had an excellent relationship before Ollie. I would be hopeful their friendship can be restored after she's been spayed and it might take a few weeks later to settle her homones. I would keep Charlie away from her as she will feel sore after her spay and you don't want her to think he had anything to do with that!
Did Ollie spray anywhere? His scent could also still be upsetting to her. If you haven't done so, thoroughly wash out the litter pan he used with dish detergent, and wipe down or spray anywhere he laid on the furniture with rubbing alcohol to remove his scent. It might help.
December 19th, 2009, 12:33 AM
Thanks for your input sugarcatmom, however the cats are quite healthy and happy with their food.
All cats on crappy food seem healthy, until one day they aren't. What you don't see is the damage being done on the inside. To their pancreas, their bowels, their teeth, their kidneys. You should come hang out on the Feline Diabetes Message Board some time and see how many of those cats were eating vet kibble prior to diagnosis. Everyone there also thought their cats were perfectly healthy. Until they weren't.
One of the other side effects of eating food meant for livestock, not cats, is that they can actually be perpetually on edge and a little bit testy, kind of like if you had bad cramps all the time. I've heard numerous stories of cats that were antisocial or overly aggressive who totally changed into much more peaceful loving creatures when switched from poor quality kibble to meat-based, low carbohydrate wet food. Might be worth a try and you'd have nothing to lose. Please read that link. It could save your cat's lives.
December 19th, 2009, 07:34 AM
Thanks for your input sugarcatmom, however the cats are quite healthy and happy with their food. I'm most concerned with the bigger issue at hand!
SCM is our very best cat guru. She has done years and years of research to find the root problems for cat health. I would venture to say she has had a hand in saving many many cats' lives. I would also venture to say that she is better educated than most vets. Their education ends when they walk out the door of their school unless they choose to do updating. Hers is never ending. All we are asking is that you read the info with an open mind. It's amazing what you may learn.
While I feel Gracies' issues started with allowing an unspayed male in the house as SCM stated, the bad food may well be the fault for some of Gracies' actions. I know if I am hungry or not satisfied with my food I get really biatchy!! :rolleyes:
Some information for you to ponder......
Vets do not need to take any nutritional courses in order to get their degree. So how do they learn what food is good or bad? If they do choose to take any courses they are taught by people directly hired by Hills. Yep, Hills. So what info do you think these brand new vets are receiving? Not that grains and corns are deadly to a cat's internal organs. That's for sure.
The latest research has shown that dry kibble is one of the major causes of harmful crystals in male cats urine. They can take years to develop. So while we think we are feeding a great food to our beloved pets we are really doing them great harm. It will cost you many many dollars to try to save the cat's life.
Which, to make a long story longer, is the reason I said (although if Charlie is indeed not well it could have in a roundabout way) when I originally answered.
I am glad you are willing to try reintroductions with the kitties before you rehome Gracie. :thumbs up
December 19th, 2009, 07:54 AM
I am wondering as catlover is, if Ollie sprayed and Gracie can still smell it, setting her off.
I HIGHLY recommend spaying ASAP because I think that may be a big part of the issue. I had Sweet Pea as a foster, now adopted by me, for four months while she was raising her kittens before she was spayed. She was moody, and would even hiss and attack her kittens, once she was spayed, it stopped.
You say you love your kitties, IMHO, part of loving your kitties is to ensure they have the healthiest diet possible. Cats who are not on canned food for the majority of their meals can be chronically dehydrated, making them feel a bit lethargic and not their best. Cats who eat substandard food can't possibly be at the peak of health, period. I can tell you I felt the same way about food as you do, until I saw the difference a quality canned food, now raw, no kibble made in Puddles. I would trust sugarcatmom before my vet for many, many things, including nutrition advice. She is an absolute guru.
Here is a link on cat nutrition, it is a bit long but very, very informative:
January 18th, 2010, 10:20 PM
ashleyln, Just wondering if Gracie got spayed, and if there's any improvement in her attitude to Charlie?