Cat Growing & Hissing at My Other Cats?
Hey, I'm new to the forum so forgive me if this is the wrong place to ask, but I haven't really found information elsewhere.
I've had my cat Bianca for about 5 years now and she's been alone for the most part since December of 2010. Lately she's taken to growling and hissing at my other two cats even when they simply walk past her.
She was throwing up for a while after I got my first cat, but I assumed it was her diet and made changes. After I got my third cat I asked the vet about her puking and the vet suggested I use a shallow bowl and maybe switch foods. I did that and recently she hasn't been throwing up, but I still wasn't sure if the behavior was due to the extreme change and stress.
She growls at them when they try to play with her, though I'll be the first to admit that they do tend to chase her around a lot, and now she's taken to growling at either of them if they so much as walk close to her.
She used to be very friendly with me, laying on my shoulder a lot and even sleeping on my pillow above my head, but now she barely comes by me. I'm not sure if it's because one of the others are by me or if she's simply gotten sick of the other two and blames me for bringing them here.
It tears my heart up to even consider giving her up for adoption, but at the same time I feel selfish for wanting to keep her despite her unhappiness. Do you think it's just a faze? She does have attitude problems every so often and she hasn't been growling or hissing at me.
I wanted to get another person's opinion before I took a dramatic step in taking her to the humane society, but I want to keep her best interest in mind at the same time. She's declawed (though she has never displayed any of this behavior before) and she's fixed, so she's not pregnant or anything.
I hope I'm just overreacting, but I can't shake the feeling that Bianca just doesn't like living with other cats... Thanks in advance, if you have any questions just let me know!
She very well might not like living with other cats, but there are ways to make the situation more tolerable for her. When did you get the other cats, and how did you do the introductions?
What are the ages of all your cats?
Do you have any tall cat condos or shelves for the cats to climb and hang out on?
When was Bianca declawed? Are the other cats also declawed?
Please don't take her to the Humane Society, that could very well be a death sentence (kill rates for cats in shelters can be as high as 90%). There are ways to deal with this situation without jeopardizing her life. You may have to work at helping the cats get along, with things like play therapy using interactive toys, enriching their environment with plenty of vertical territory, and changing their living arrangements (litter boxes in multiple areas, space for Bianca to have down-time away from the other cats, etc).
Also, what do the cats eat right now?
Bianca was declawed when she was about 6 months old and had no negative reaction towards it at all. She acted as though nothing happened. I'm ashamed to admit though that all 4 of her paws were declawed as was my second cat's (he was done when he was about 4 months). My third cat, however, is not declawed, but I have soft paws on her.
I don't intend on declawing again if I ever do get another cat in the future (years and years down the road, lol) but neither of the cats I had declawed showed any negative reactions. Just thought I should throw that out there because I know how horrible it is to declaw cats.
I allow the cats to go on all my furniture, the counters and etc. Bianca does go up onto the dresser and bar table (which are pretty high) every so often, but the other two usually follow her anyway and chase her until they lose interest or are distracted by the other one.
Age wise - Bianca is 4 (she'll be 5 in Dec), Cash is about 1 year 2 months (adopted Dec 2010), Annica is 1 year 1 month (adopted Apr 2011). Cash was a kitten when I introduced them and she had a negative reaction, but after I had him fixed she calmed down. I kept Cash in a specific area on his own for a few days, allowing her to get used to his scent.
With Annica I introduced them to see how they reacted and they were fine until Annica freaked out and then I moved her to a room on her own while leaving the carrier out so the other two could sniff it. Cash and Annica became quick friends and get along perfectly.
I noticed after I got Cash she started missing the liter box, I assumed that was all it was, but now I wonder if maybe she was spraying to mark her territory. I didn't think about that before you mentioned making the situation more tolerable.
I live in an apartment though, so I'm thinking the small space might just not provide enough privacy for her. I'm curious as to what I can do to make it more tolerable for her as I really do want to keep her, she's been my baby four so long it just feels wrong to even consider giving her up.
The only other thing I want to add is that the Wisconsin Humane Society is a non-kill shelter and I volunteer there - they are a GREAT facility and I've seen 12 & 15 year old cats be adopted out there no problem. I wouldn't give her to them if I didn't know first hand that they would find her a wonderful home.
I would still like to know what I can do to help and I want to at least try before I make such a huge decision. I don't have a lot of money, so I'm not sure I will be able to buy cat towers and whatnot, though I do have a few cat city ones that Bianca doesn't seem to really care for.
Bianca sounds just like my Puddles. She is NOT a social cat as she is very timid, doesn't matter how the intro's are done, she hates other cats.
Have you tried giving Bianca her own space? How about bringing her into your bedroom at night, just you and her along with a litter box, food and water so she can relax? We do that for Puddles to keep her and Sweet Pea separate (not going to go into all the history), and it has made a world of difference in Puddles's life. We also keep the cats separated while we are out too. It has made a stressful situation much better on Puddles. I also make sure I make the time to have just "Puddles and me" time, no other cats around, and she just loves it. Is there is something special that Bianca loves to do with you, whether it be brushing, playing with a string, or being carried around the apt. that the two of you can do?
IMHO, it is truly unfair to give up an original cat, to accommodate new comers.
Sounds like my Sundance too. He is 6 about age 4 he took a disliking to the dog. That was after 4 years together. The last few years he doesn't like any body but me and sometimes if I walk to close to him I get hissed at too. Medically he is fine except for feline herpes. He also reacts extremely to neighbor critters he sees through the window. I just assume he is a bully who does not like anyone. But I love him anyway. Best of luck.
jweiss,please do not punish your first cat by giving her to HS,she was there first:(
I too have a cat who is not too fond of others,but now he tolerates my other cat,he just cannot get too close.
You have gotten some good advice already,but if Bianca is getting sick and vomits,although she has a clean bill of health,it's very probable that she's stressed,stress can cause all kinds of problems.
Having no claws at all,back and front,she might feel helpless and has trouble getting up high away from the others.
You owe it to this little girl to make sure she gets some relief,preferably in a room on her own.
PS,I am happy you will not declaw any more cats,it is a horrible procedure.
I agree with Chico, being declawed all around could have something to do with it. My Nino is also declawed all around, I got him that way and he is much more on the defense than my other 3 cats. He's learned to get along pretty well with everybody but it's taken him 2 years. It takes them time sometimes.
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023457]Bianca was declawed when she was about 6 months old and had no negative reaction towards it at all. She acted as though nothing happened. [/quote]
Declawing isn't just about the immediate after effects (although cats are also masterful at hiding pain), there can be issues later on. Arthritis is almost inevitable. [url]http://www.pawproject.org/faqs/[/url]
[/B]In declawed (and tendonectomizedized) cats, the tendons that control the toe joints retract after the surgery because they are no longer anchored to the bones, and over time these joints become essentially "frozen." The toes can no longer be extended, but remain fully contracted for the lifetime of the cat. The toes become like hammer toes. Cats may continue to "scratch" after they are declawed, this is probably explained by the cat's desperate desire to stretch those stiff, contracted joints and not evidence that the cat does not miss its claws.
Researchers have shown that in the immediate post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pad (the three-lobed pad on the palm) of the front feet and off the toes. This effect was significant even when strong pain medication was given, and remained apparent for the duration of the study (up to 40 hours after surgery). This altered gait may persist over time, and can cause stress on the leg joints and spine, and could lead to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints. X ray images of declawed cats confirm this theory.[/QUOTE]
This isn't to make you feel bad, just to be aware down the road of potential health issues. If they were my cats, I'd start giving them joint supplements like Cosequin or Platinum Performance.
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023457]Bianca does go up onto the dresser and bar table (which are pretty high) every so often, but the other two usually follow her anyway and chase her until they lose interest or are distracted by the other one.[/quote]
As the others have mentioned, Bianca needs to be able to have some downtime away from their harassment. If the youngsters are pestering her, can you intervene, maybe by either giving them a time out in another room or taking her there for some one-on-one special time? Does she like getting brushed? Maybe a good play session with a wand or fishing rod style toy away from the others so they can't barge in and take over.
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023457]Age wise - Bianca is 4 (she'll be 5 in Dec), Cash is about 1 year 2 months (adopted Dec 2010), Annica is 1 year 1 month (adopted Apr 2011). [/quote]
Oy, the newbies are in their most rambunctious phase! I know cuz I have a couple of orange boys the same age and they're off the hook crazy. I also have an 18 yr old cat who barely tolerates them when they're sitting still, and hates them passionately when they aren't. They unfortunately think it's hilarious to try to get a rise out of him. The old guy was here first and not in a million years would I consider rehoming him. Instead, we juggle the situation so that the kittens have other things to focus on instead of him, and that he gets quality peaceful time away from their craziness.
I noticed after I got Cash she started missing the liter box, I assumed that was all it was, but now I wonder if maybe she was spraying to mark her territory. [/quote]
Could have been that, or could have been that she felt vulnerable in the litter box. She may have been ambushed at some point. What is the litter box situation now? Do you have 4 boxes in different areas of the apartment (which would be ideal)?
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023457]I don't have a lot of money, so I'm not sure I will be able to buy cat towers and whatnot, [/QUOTE]
Something as simple as a shelf or 2 in front of some windows could help. Even if she doesn't use them, perhaps the kittens will and it could distract them from pursuing her. Aztec (the 18 yr old) has a chair that only he's allowed to go on. If I see one of the other cats on it, I take them off. They've learnt that it's his safe zone and he's not to be bugged when he's on it.
The kittens may also need another outlet for all their energy, so some toys like a Turbo Track or a Cat Dancer attached to a doorknob that they can play with ad nauseum would be good if they don't have that already. You may also have to wear them out a bit by actively playing with them.
I know how stressful it can be to have cats that don't entirely get along. But if they aren't full out fighting, then there is hope. Like pattymac said, it just might take some time.
Exactly Nino and Bobee still have the odd arguement, but it's all noise, mind you Nino can scare the crap out of anybody when he lets loose!!
My kitten Noella, who is a little troublemaker has learned to leave Nino alone. He doesn't put up with her silliness.
I forgot one more thing: you might want to try using a couple of Feliway diffusers around your home. It mimics the "happy" feline facial pheromones and can help cats to feel calm.
Upper Respiratory Infection?
Thanks everyone for the input! I'm going to work harder to ensure that Bianca has her own space and time to herself. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been able to give her up regardless, she's just the greatest cat. Though now I'm a little concerned/worried that it may be because she's sick that she was acting up.
After spending the weekend at my mom's place I came home and Bianca seemed to be having trouble meowing, it sounded a lot like how people sound when they have a cold. When she purrs the same problem occurs. There have been times in the past where it was simple dehydration, but I tried giving her fresh water and everything - she's still having trouble.
I don't want to be bold and jump to conclusions like she's got a respiratory infection when the only symptoms thus far is her strange behavior and her trouble meowing.
I'm going to take her in to the vet regardless - better safe than sorry! - and see if they can put my mind at ease. I'd hate to have all three of them get sick and have the torture of getting 3 cats over a URI!
On a side note -- am I missing something about the Humane Society? I've always had the impression that they were a great organization... :confused:
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023740] There have been times in the past where it was simple dehydration, [/quote]
What does Bianca eat?
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023740]I'm going to take her in to the vet regardless - better safe than sorry! - [/quote]
Don't let them prescribe antibiotics unless there's clear reason to do so (ie, she has a [I]diagnosed[/I] infection, not just a presumed one). Vets tend to be a little slap-happy with them and they often cause more problems then they're supposedly treating (like inappetance, anti-biotic resistant bacteria, etc).
[QUOTE=jweiss;1023740]On a side note -- am I missing something about the Humane Society? I've always had the impression that they were a great organization... :confused:[/QUOTE]
Some are better than others. Looks like the Wisconsin one is pretty good, but even the best 5 star accommodations are going to be incredibly stressful to a cat that's been displaced from it's home. They're noisy, crowded, full of strange smells, strange animals, strange people. A cat's worst nightmare, basically.
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