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Old November 24th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Ziggy: Mean Gene, Zuzu: Battered Kitty Syndrome, Mum: heartbroken and exhausted

Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE both these cats more than I believed possible. They have very distinct personalities and both have endeared themselves to me personally.

The problem is that Ziggy is constantly attacking Zuzu and when I finally separate them Zuzu comes back for more I don't for one minute believe they are playing either. She is always on the bottom on her back being bitten This morning he ended up on the bottom on his back, she was on her back on his belly, he had his paws around her and was biting and biting her neck. After three stuffy tosses they separated and stood on either side of me waiting to go again.

One or the other always has to be put in another closed room. They cannot roam the house together. I had an inkling of hope from my dog groomer last week who saw Ziggy and claims there is no way he is three. He is still kittenish and that is how kittens play. I have had people tell me to hit them (no way), water gun (Ziggy waits for me to spray and then carries on even madder), rehome (out of the question)

I have Feliway diffusers, Bach flower essences, have tried playing with them together and only treating them when they are together. Go downstairs for a nano second and all Hell breaks lose again

I guess I have to resign myself to separate lives being the way it is going to be and be happy if things improve but this is not what I had hoped for. :sad: I do love the two little devils but HATE what they bring out in each other.

Thanks, just had to vent because I know there are others who have had or are having kitty interaction problems and it is heartbreaking to watch :sad:
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Old November 24th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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to you for sticking it out Di. I know how difficult it is when cats don't get along. You wonder if things will ever settle. I am not even going to promise you they will because chances are they may not. Kitties got off to a bad start with being sick. It takes a long time to change that.
I think I gave you the website on introducing cats. You may have to retry the intros. This time don't worry about how long it's taking. Cats are perfectly fine in one room. It isn't going to kill them to have one of them separated. Probably the hardest thing for you to do is to decide which one will be separated from everyone else.
Here is the site again if you don't have it any more.
http://www.squidoo.com/multi-cat-management

Is it possible Ziggy was taken to the pound before for the exact same behaviour I wonder? It is also a possibility that he was not socialized the proper way when he was a baby. Probably taken from his mom and siblings too early.

Here's a couple of more sites that may help.

http://www.2ndchance.info/aggressivecat.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cats-1606...ighting-10.htm

Also a blurb from another site.........

Cats who live together will often fight. Usually one cat has to be the dominant cat. Sadly for cat owners, cats do not resign themselves to being the 'underling' or accept that they live with the other cat, so they may as well just get along together. No, they insist on fighting!
The best way to ensure that blood is not spilt is to ensure that each cat has space. Each cat also needs a separate litter tray and a separate one which can be used by either cat.
Try to establish some safe hiding places for each cat, so that they can easily avoid danger. If one cat repeatedly sits in a doorway, move it. This may look innocent but is actually a feline aggressive pose, designed to control who comes in and out of the door.
If one cat appears to be the underling, ensure it has some high resting places where it can feel safe. But try not to get too hung up about it. Sometimes cats just fight to get attention. But, if it becomes very serious then you may have to talk to your vet to see if he can recommend a cat behaviourist.


If all else fails have you thought of a low dosage medication to calm Ziggy if he is the one being the aggressor? Have you noticed if it is him that is starting things or is Zuzu giving off signals? Swatting, staring at Ziggy too much, etc? Ancient Girl and a couple of others have used meds to help calm their kitties. Maybe something like that will help.

to you. It will get better. Thank you for not giving up on them.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Some questions: Who came frist Ziggy or Zuzu? How old are they? Did you have them from the time they were kittens?, and if so, how old were they when you got them? Has Ziggy always attacked Zuzu or is this something new. Do you have other cats, and if so is Ziggy attacking them too or is it only Zuzu. Notice you have other pets, so did this start after more pets added? Since it doesn't seem that a lack of attention is causing the attacks, since Ziggy does it when you go downstairs, it does seem that he hates her for some reason or other. Unless you can figure how why he wants to attack Zuzu, best solution is to keep them separate. Switch them around half the day to another room or alternate every other day. You need to keep them separated for your peace of mind and composure. There's nothing more upsetting than a real cat fight going on day after day.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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catlover2 - this is the original thread that will help explain.

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=66205

I think the problems started after this...........

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=66291
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Old November 24th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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I bet they are playing. I guarantee you Zuzu would not go back for more if she was being attacked. You would see scratches (with blood) on the nose and throughout the head area. Sweet Pea attacks Puddles and leave scratches the rare time she has access to her. I keep them separated pretty much all the time unless I can watch Puddles very closely.

Jasper and Sweet Pea play very rough all the time. There is hisses and growls from Sweet Pea if she ends up on the bottom, but as soon as Jasper turns his back, she's on him.. Growling and hissing is not always present when cats are playing, Sweet Pea is my first. Jasper is always the instigator because he is the one that wants to play.

Fighting cats will leave a lot of fur behind and they will be fluffed. There will be growling going on after they are separated. It would be very difficult for you to get in between them and would probably get injured from their claws.

My recommendation: Let them be. If there is one that is really suffering, then break them up with a hand clap, then some time out.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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I guarantee you Zuzu would not go back for more if she was being attacked.

You are absolutely right L4H. Zuzu would be cowering somewhere hiding from Ziggy and would be running every time she saw him. Not going back for more.
I never thought of that. Brain blip big time today.

Di - I have a couple of girls and a boy who just do not like being around other cats. MiniMo is great with people (to a point) but hates every cat who crosses her path. She is constantly on guard and chasing/fighting with my other kitties. Mostly the other females. Benni is in one of the smaller enclosures with her son because every time another cat approaches she attacks full on. Claws out, teeth showing and snarling. She even does this through the fence when a cat gets too close to her "house". KMK is just a loner. He does not like anyone coming too close to his house either. I think the only reason he sometimes lets me pet him is because I bring him food and drink.

Some signals to watch for - snarling, claws fully extended, very loud yowling, hissing. The biting is probably a leftover from being neutered later in his life. Even if he was only a year when he was neutered he is more apt to do the neck biting. It's part of the mating ritual.

So now that we've given you all this additional info are you totally confused?
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Old November 24th, 2009, 05:42 PM
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Old November 24th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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You are right about the boys grasping the girl's neck, 14+, Jasper does that to his girls too.
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Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

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Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Oksana growls at Vlad, and he stalks her and I've realized I've got to keep them apart when I'm not home. My vet even suggested giving Vlad Prozac, like I did with Czari when I was trying to get her assimilated into the group.

I have to say, I don't want to jinx things, but so far the daily separation seems to be working. I've kept Oksana and Vlad apart while at work and let her out of the bathroom when I get home. Vlad has left her alone.

I think using some flower essences might benefit Ziggy and Zuzu too. I'm going to try them myself. It can't hurt.

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Old November 24th, 2009, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
I bet they are playing. I guarantee you Zuzu would not go back for more if she was being attacked. You would see scratches (with blood) on the nose and throughout the head area.
I was thinking the same. Is Zuzu screaming while she gets "attacked" ? If not , maybe she doesn't mind ?

Coco never played with the boys , she would freak out when they tried. She still doesn't play with them but , now she can stand them. Cats can take a long time to get settle. Try to not worry so much new kitty mom
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Old November 24th, 2009, 09:07 PM
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Hey there, I was the other one having issues with the cats interacting. It sounds like my house, but Missy does not come back for more, she hides, and the second I leave my room runs to my bed and pees on it. 80% of the day, they are separated by rooms, Sunset is put away unless I am there with a squirt bottle in hand.
I can not watch Tv without him trying and her running to hide. I am slowly starting to let sunset out more with lots of supervision. His issue, he is a very dominant, playful cat and it scares the crap out of missy.
She will not even come out to eat until he is long gone. Sunset has also started taking on Harley, pounces on him in play.
It seems like it is and will be a long battle, he is GREAT with people and dogs, just not with cats. Missy was in the home first.
RL, you always seems to have so many issues with your pets , maybe you should stop adopting so many and just deal with the ones you have.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 09:22 PM
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There are always some kind of scuffles going on around here....what you described sounds like a common fight for dominance...there is always one cat or another here trying to go at the 'bosses' here. They sort of sneak up behind them and then pounce and latch on to the other's neck scruff. (sometimes there is attempted humping, which the vet says is normal even in fixed kitties) The only time I break it up is if it sounds overly growly, or if fur starts to fly. Or if more than one is ganging up on another. Usually they have their hissy growly fights (that often sound like a jaguar and puma goin at it!), someone ends up giving up and walking away, then I find them an hour later snuggled butt to butt on the couch!
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Old November 24th, 2009, 10:33 PM
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Di - Is there any way you can tape their fights and post one here so we can see what is happening? Maybe then we can help set your mind at rest.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
I guarantee you Zuzu would not go back for more if she was being attacked.

You are absolutely right L4H. Zuzu would be cowering somewhere hiding from Ziggy and would be running every time she saw him. Not going back for more.
I never thought of that. Brain blip big time today.

Di
So now that we've given you all this additional info are you totally confused?
Totally confused!!!! That's why I call her "battered kitty syndrome" because everything I have read says she should be running far far away once I get him away from her but she doesn't really.

She will go hide under the footstool in the same room where she has to know he can still get her...he does everytime


Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy View Post
I was thinking the same. Is Zuzu screaming while she gets "attacked" ? If not , maybe she doesn't mind ?

She is not what I would call screaming but she is meowing and hissing sometimes. I wonder if she wants to play with him but he just plays too rough? Even at that though, wouldn't she have stopped "playing" with him by now if she knows he is going to be rough?


Cats can take a long time to get settle. Try to not worry so much new kitty mom

Thanks, but I worry I figure if I am the one who got them out of there then I am responsible to keep them safe and healthy. I would hate for something awful to happen because I was not paying attention...I KNOW you understand that Frenchy

Quote:
Originally Posted by krdahmer View Post
There are always some kind of scuffles going on around here....what you described sounds like a common fight for dominance...there is always one cat or another here trying to go at the 'bosses' here.
If so, how will it end? (it has never ended without me breaking it up because I HATE the noise and can't stand the thought of my little Zuzu getting hurt LOL) How will I know when to break it up or when to let them work it out? That's the part I am really really unclear about

Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
Di - Is there any way you can tape their fights and post one here so we can see what is happening? Maybe then we can help set your mind at rest.
I was just logging on to say that I will try to stomach an incident long enough to tape it so you can all see what I mean. If it is normal then I hate to keep separating them if they are doing what comes naturally. If there is danger though, I am perfectly happy to live separate lives. As I have said, I totallly love both of them!

Thanks for all your time and help, all of you. I am sooooo confused and just heartbroken that they are not happy here. I have heard repeatedly that cats take time so maybe there is a chance it can still work...it did work in the beginning so maybe we can get back there
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Last edited by diandpat; November 25th, 2009 at 08:33 AM.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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Diandpat, I really think you need to let them be for the most part. Remember, if you get stressed, they will pick up on that. If Zuzu is trying to get away and hide and Ziggy keeps after her, then give them a time out from each other. I find if I leave Jasper and Sweet Pea alone they sort it out and become best friends in a few minutes. Sweet Pea adores Jasper even if he plays too rough with her (or so she makes it out to be, so Jasper eases up, then she goes in for the attack )

I have seen over and over my foster kittens doing what I think is so painful to each other but they love it and keep doing the rough play over and over again.
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Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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Old November 25th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
Diandpat, I really think you need to let them be for the most part. Remember, if you get stressed, they will pick up on that. If Zuzu is trying to get away and hide and Ziggy keeps after her, then give them a time out from each other. I find if I leave Jasper and Sweet Pea alone they sort it out and become best friends in a few minutes. Sweet Pea adores Jasper even if he plays too rough with her (or so she makes it out to be, so Jasper eases up, then she goes in for the attack )

I have seen over and over my foster kittens doing what I think is so painful to each other but they love it and keep doing the rough play over and over again.
Maks and Kiska do the same thing.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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diandpat, Thanks, 14+K ,for the links giving the background as I had not read it before. Here's my take on Ziggy & Zuzu. First of all you have 2 red tabbies--it's the red hair thing! Now I know some don't believe colour has anything to do with personality, but that's not my experience--of course there are always exceptions. Red tabby males can have dominant, aggressive, spunky personalities and that's Ziggy's personality and not likely to change. The reason Zuzu keeps "coming back for more" is that she's red tabby/white too and spunky as well (not "kitty battered"), just not as much as Ziggy, so you've got an explosive situation. That said she's not likely to change either!

You got Ziggy on Oct. 13/09 and he got your first attention. Even tho Ziggy in the room at the ASPCA met Zuzu, she was not impressed with him and hissed at him, so it wasn't love at first sight. Then she was spayed on Oct. 14 and discharged & sent home 4 hrs. later!! (horrible!) feeling miserable, sore, in pain and vulnerable with Ziggy's advances and hissed at him, and he ran away. You isolated her to a separate room and were paying more attention to Zuzu because you were concerned with her pain and recovery from spaying--a natural thing to do, and Ziggy didn't like the extra attention she was receiving, since he got it all in the beginning.
On Oct. 19th, Ziggy developed a rhino health problem, and was treated, but definitely did not feel well during his recovery, at which point, he lashed out at Zuzu when he was starting to recover.

So here we are and what to do? You've got two cats who did not get the best start together, tho in my estimatation are never going to be friends, for all the reasons I stated above. To keep peace in your house, you're going to have to rehome one of them, or continue to do the room-juggle routine. diandpat, Sorry, wish it were different, but it's not! That's my take on what you're dealing with. I hope I'm proved wrong!

Here's a link to whether coat colour is linked to temperament you may find of interest: http://www.messybeast.com/colour-tempment.htm

Last edited by catlover2; November 25th, 2009 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Addition website: "Is Coat Colour Linked to Temperament"
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Old November 25th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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14+ Has a great idea about taping their play.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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Old November 25th, 2009, 12:35 PM
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I really think we need to see a videotape of a fight. It is hard to tell just from words whether this is an actual fight or just play. OUr two males play very roughly together. One will be pinned and be bunny kicking the other, they will be biting and occasionally meowing in protest if a bite is too hard. BUT it is play, not real fighting, (oddly enough sometimes starts with one grooming the other). It usually starts with some circling and laid back ears or an ambush, and finishes when I interrupt by accident or when they collapse from lack of breath. I have a video I could show you, but I'm not sure I can post it, I think it's too big.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 09:16 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd-f4tApoy8

Zuzu is at the closer one and Ziggy is the one that comes from behind the tunnel. She knows he is there It rarely ends this quickly. It was because I was there but Ziggy ALWAYS lies down just like that after with the tail going. What does that mean? Why doesn't she take off from there? UGH!!!!!
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Old November 25th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JJ1oYMW36o

Again, it never ends this quickly or peacefully but that is usually how it starts.
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"‎I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because
I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.
It is here on earth and has four legs!
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Old November 25th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbVVrCkwGDg

This was after a "mild" incident. She ran under the table and I shooed him away. She stayed there like this and he just watched...as soon as she came out he attacked her again.

Unfortunately the most severe incident that I thought I was taping I was out of memory on my card I did not have the stomach to do it again :sad: He really goes nutso and even swipes at me and Hobo when she is out of reach...that's the Ziggy that scares me
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  #23  
Old November 25th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diandpat View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JJ1oYMW36o

Again, it never ends this quickly or peacefully but that is usually how it starts.
it looks so much like my 2 previous cats .... the fact that she isn't running away tells me that at least , she isn't fearing him. That's a good sign.
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  #24  
Old November 25th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy View Post
it looks so much like my 2 previous cats .... the fact that she isn't running away tells me that at least , she isn't fearing him. That's a good sign.
Thanks for the glimmer of hope Frenchy...did your previous two ever get along?
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Ginger and Hobo at the Bridge (Valentine's Day 2011) but NEVER forgotten <3...

"‎I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because
I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

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It is here on earth and has four legs!
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  #25  
Old November 25th, 2009, 09:35 PM
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Mmmm, seems like Ziggy is a little irritated. I'm wondering if he thinks Zuzu was the reason he got sick.
I found a couple of articles on our own site that explain cat movements and communication. Maybe by reading them and understanding what the movements mean it would be easier for you to interpret what is going on. To me it seems Ziggy wants to play but Zuzu is not reacting the way he expects. Therefore he gets upset.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-catcommunic.htm

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-cat_communicate.htm

My suggestion - keep one in the safe room during the day or when you are at work. When you are at home and can watch them let the one out of the safe room and watch the interaction. If you see Ziggy start to approach Zuzu in a threatening manner clap you hands loudly. What you are doing is trying to divert his attention from her. You could then get out an interactive toy and play with them both at the same time. Maybe a separation from each other for the better part of the day and at night is what they need.
If all else fails you could try a calming drug like Prozac or Valium. It may be enough to calm them both down and let them settle.
You mentioned you already have Feliway. It does take up to a month to kick in. Do you have it in every room they are in or just the one they share the most? I would be tempted to have them in all the kitty rooms.
Has Ziggy been back to the vet for a recheck? I'm wondering if he is still not feeling 100%.
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  #26  
Old November 25th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I remain very confused by what is going on but Pat and I are both prepared to do what we have to do as long as we and the dogs are not targeted.

I am hopeful that my dog groomer is right and that he is actually more kitten than 3ish and that they just have to do this. There was peace for the first week or so so I am hopeful we can get back to that. There was about 45 mins this a.m. where they were all sleeping in the livingroom without incident so that is a good sign.

I hate that he could be so mad/jealous that he was put in isolation while he was sick :sad: He was sooooooo sick. One of my colleagues actually suggested I get prepared to have him pts because it could get too costly Never an option...I do love him very much and hope that he will be able to be part of the whole family at some point. If not, well, we will always have a "peace room" and they will alternate their time there.

In the morning I will try again to stomach a full blown incident and see what you all have to say about it.

Thanks again for holding my hand through this...dogs are soooooooo much easier
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Mum to Ziggy (6) and Zuzu (5), Zoey (8) and Raggzy (3) Keena (2)...my own little Heaven!

Ginger and Hobo at the Bridge (Valentine's Day 2011) but NEVER forgotten <3...

"‎I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because
I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.
It is here on earth and has four legs!

Last edited by diandpat; November 25th, 2009 at 09:51 PM.
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  #27  
Old November 25th, 2009, 09:45 PM
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Mmmm, I just watched the first one before I posted. After watching the other two it looks like normal play.
The thing that is concerning is Ziggy attacking you and Hobo. To me that says he is getting overly excited during play. It may take Prozac or another calming med to get him over this period. It's not something that he would need to be on the rest of his life. Just long enough for him to settle down and learn to be nice.
You could talk to your vet and see what s/he recommends. Let him/her see the tapes you made.
Remember when Ancient Girl brough Czari into the house? She had her on Prozac for a while and look at her now. She has settled into a wonderful girl and no more meds.
How are you reacting when Ziggy does his little act? Are you letting him see or sense your distress? He would feed on that and not necessarily react in a good way. Cats are masters at reading us.
Love all the toys! They sure aren't bored!!!
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  #28  
Old November 25th, 2009, 10:46 PM
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It would seem to me that Ziggy is extremely playful but Zuzu is uncomfortable and acting defensively. After she reacts, he leaves her (the video on the dog bed) and lays nearby. I would think that if he were really aggressive, he would be relentless.

Do you know anything about their histories, Di? Whether either one of them lived with a dog, a cat, or both before?

This may be a longshot but I was doing some reading on how animals (different species) communicate with each other (of the same species). I'm wondering if Zuzu is misinterpreting Ziggy's body language and, in turn, is confusing Ziggy with her reactions.
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  #29  
Old November 26th, 2009, 12:03 AM
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diandpat, I viewed your videos and what I see is domination, not a cat fight. I was expecting to hear screaming, yowling, hissing, growling and to see fur flying! This is domination when he bites her neck and straddles her. The flicking of his tail shows annoyance and excitement. If he were really fighting he wouldn't give up because she goes behind a table or flops down not far from him. When you see Ziggy just before attack mode, say a loud "PSSST! No!", then call Ziggy to you or redirect his attention by throwing a toy or ball of paper, or pen to distract him.

Here are some examples of real cat fights:
The first video is a furious fight (but not to death!) of 2 reds!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUbYH...m=PL&index=110

This next is an interesting video. Red tabby faces off with a bigger and heavier brown tabby, who's not backing down. Red tabby attacks twice and then fight is broken up by a person. They resume their confrontation, but you see brown tabby does not want to fight any more and is turning his head away and breaking eye contact. Person interrupts them again, and they move away, red tabby still wants a fight, but it seems brown tabby had got in some hard bites and red tabby is cautious now. Brown tabby has had enough, and breaks eye contact and slowly walks away, but followed by the red tabby who maybe still wants to fight?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCojY0JVPvw
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  #30  
Old November 26th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Thank you for posting the videos, diandpat and catlover.

That is absolutely 100% play between a female and male, they are having fun and I would let them be.

Yup, catlover, that is fighting, reminds me of Snowball when he was able to get at a cat :sad:
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