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Old August 27th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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Some Ethel Advice Please

As some of you know, I've taken in a stray mom cat, Ethel. Her kittens are thriving elsewhere, and now I'm facing the daunting task of integrating Ethel in with the others.

We've erected a pseudo screen door for Ethel to see the other two kitties, and for them to see her.

The good news:
  • There is LESS growling and hissing than there was.
  • When I get out the treat bag - Alley races to Ethel's door to get some, and the growling doesn't start until after all the treats are consumed

The bad news:
  • Ethel really wants to get out of her 'cage' (which is really a large room) and cries day and night
  • Ethel constantly 'charges' the door when Alley (or, less often, Jake) comes near her door. (minor good (or maybe bad) news - for the most part, neither Alley or Jake will run away anymore when she does it)
  • When Jake growls and hisses at Ethel, his ears are fully back, leading me to think it's not just for show

I'm sort of torn on what my next step is going to be. I just don't trust Ethel with the other two - they would probably hiss but ignore her, but I get the feeling that she will try to shred them if she gets the chance.

Does she see her room as her territory? If so, maybe I've made up a new set of problems...

We're toying with the idea of putting her in her carrier and bringing her into the living room, but I don't really see what difference that will make, considering they can see each other through the door as it is.

Anyone have any tips? We can't live like this forever - Ethel is unhappy, and FH is starting to go crazy because of her constant crying. We lock up the other two and let her roam around the living room for about an hour each day, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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What a problem! I was wondering how she was.
It could well be that she sees that as HER room because that is where she had her babies. Try bringing her out in her carrier and see what happens. The swatting and hissing is natural. Lunging and attacking is not. It isn't going to hurt anything to bring her out and may even shed some light on to whether or not you will ever be able to integrate her with your other two.
It's possible she won't just cry in that room. Once she gets used to roaming the house she may do the same thing. She could be crying because she wants out period! Like outside. You don't know how long she was an outdoor kitty. She could be missing it.
Have you tried the Feliway? Have you considered giving her Valium? It seems to be doing well for Czarina. I just don't know.
Now that hard part....... would you be able to find her a home where someone will care for her as well as you have been? to you. It is hard work loving pets sometimes.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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I have realized that she could just be a 'talker' .. But it doesn't seem like she wants to go outside - any time she's been near a door to the outside she never tries to get out. She wouldn't even try to go into the garage (which is attached to her room).

I've tried the Feliway - nothing. Not even a remote change. Haven't tried valium yet.. I've only tried the sprays, but I'm kind of skeptical that the diffuser will make any difference. I still might try it - I can buy it at the vet.

I should correct by saying that Ethel doesn't charge the door EVERY time.. but she does do it fairly often. She also goes completely mental when I bring the treats over - she climbs the door almost to the top (we've nicknamed her 'monkey'), and she tries to grab our hands (with claws out - ouch!) to get at the treats. Because she's so hyper at this time, it kind of unnerves Jake and Alley, so I've started kind of throwing the treats into her instead of feeding them to her, which seems to have calmed her down some.

I will try the carrier because it can't hurt, but again, because she won't be free, I don't know how much of a difference it will make. I really don't want to bring her out without it, because of the signs I've been getting from her. I'm afraid of doing the leash thing because I feel that even if we pull her back from an attack, she'll attack us instead.

I don't know anyone who could take her in. If I can't keep her, she'd either have to go to shelter or back on the streets. :sad: I really wish I could just put her in with the others, but I'm afraid of another fight and another setback.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Well, tonight we tried the carrier, and .. nothing.. well, the same as what we've been getting - Alley growling, Ethel howling.. Jake leaving the room..

FH wants to try putting her on a leash tonight.. I think it might be too soon, but he said he'll take responsibility.. I'll keep you posted and wish us luck! *sigh*
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Old August 27th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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I was going to ask you about Ethel.

What I'm giving Czarina is Prozac. She's been on it for going on 2 months and I've only seen a little bit of change.

I brought Czarina back in with us in June. It's now almost September and I've only just begun to feel somewhat confident leaving her out with others unsupervised for a few hours. But, I had her in solitary for 2 months almost 3.

In the evenings when I put her in the kitchen and the others get near the screen she hisses, and swats a lot. When they are all in the same room, Czarina seems to take pleasure in swatting and hissing and even lunging at Maks. Poor Maks just basically avoids her and runs the other way. I stop her and say NO.

Try talking to your vet about the Prozac. I can't say it's turned Czarina into a sweet snuggly kitten, but I think it has improved her mood a little. It will take 3 to 4 weeks for the medicine to get into her system fully, but if it helps then it's worth it.

I hate to repeat the same thing, but it's what everyone says, it takes time. This is the second time I have Czarina inside with us. The first time I had her inside back in December she was foaming at the mouth whenever she saw any of the others. LOL, she's gone from foaming to hissing so that's not bad.

Little by little I can see her just accepting there are other cats here. I think one thing Czarina doesn't do that Ethel does is meow. Czarina sort of coos, I rarely hear her meow. I think she's only done it a handful of times and when she has, it's super low.

Ethel and Czarina were outside for a while, and they were alone. This is a huge change for them. I've come to terms with the fact I may always have to let her out of the kitchen under supervision or can only leave her with the others for a couple of hours unsupervised. I may never truly feel comfortable leaving her out with the others all day, but I don't think she would mind.

And as for treats, OMG Czarina also goes nuts for them too! I know it's hard. So many times I just wondered what the hell was I doing. I didn't think it would work. But little by little everyone is getting used to the routine. I hope you don't give up on her, I know you can do it.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 12:18 AM
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Good luck with the leash! And I'd talk to the vet about the Prozac, it does seem to take the edge off (for cats and me! - I took it for 2 years). And I've been using the feliway diffuser for Smoke, and can't believe the improvement, it wasn't immediate, but it's been a couple of months now and she is out and about more and more and hissing less and less! I have the spray too and use it on my bed, and where they like to sleep, the combo seems to be doing the trick.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 06:40 AM
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Follow your instincts, phoozle! Sounds like Ethel is just like Sweet Pea and the most important thing is not to have another physical incident. I would lock up your resident kitties and allow Ethel some freedom to roam the house. I would hold off doing the leash thing for a while. If Ethel goes into an aggressive stance, your kitties will see it and regard her as being aggressive and hissing from your resident cats could set Ethel off. This is the problem we have with Sweet Pea and Puddles. If Puddles didn't hiss, Sweet Pea wouldn't attack, if Sweet Pea wouldn't attack, Puddles wouldn't hiss .
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Old August 28th, 2008, 06:49 AM
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It could well be that you may have to do what ancient is doing. You can let Ethel out of her room when you are there to supervise. When you are not home you put her back in her room. Not ideal but it may be what works.
Like L4H says, she is still separating Puddles and Sweet Pea. Minimo still keeps herself mostly separated in the catuary.
I know it's nerve wracking. Try not to let her pick up on your uncertainess. Try to just act normally. If the kitties get close watch carefully for signs of aggression. If it looks like it's getting out of hand step in. A loud clap, drop something to startle them, any loud noise should do the trick. Don't try to separate them yourself unless you want to wear proof you have cats.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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We have a spray bottle with water handy at all times, I found that was the safest way to get Sweet Pea to back off.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Thanks guys for your input..

Luckily FH came to his senses last night - he went in to put the leash on her and before he could she had charged the door after Alley twice, so he decided against it. I told him that she was overwhelmed, but he's very frustrated..

Every day we lock up Jake and Alley and let Ethel into the rest of the house for about an hour. She gets more and more hostile as that hour wraps up. She'll follow me upstairs, but she's very uncertain when she gets up there.

I know that there's a CHANCE that Ethel wouldn't pounce if I let her out with the other two, but I don't really buy it. The way that Ethel jumps on that door when she gets worked up, it's almost as if she forgets it's there. Alley is her antagonist - she'll go right up to the door and growl and hiss, and that gets Ethel all riled up. I agree with you L4H, it's a vicious cycle.

Right now I keep giving them treats at the door so that they will associate good things with being face to face. I will say it has gotten better, at least on Jake and Alley's side, but not so much with Ethel.

I've had Ethel in the house for just about as long as you ancient, perhaps that's why I'm getting so frustrated..

The vet has so far recommended the old standbys - get them to smell the same (didn't work) use the carrier (nothing) the treats (slow improvement), etc. She hadn't mentioned Prozac, probably because Ethel is super calm at the vets - she isn't hostile until she's put into what she thinks is a hostile situation. I might ask about it, though - we need to come up with another plan..

Maybe this weekend I'll head over and get some Feliway diffusers - maybe they'll work better than the spray alone did.

Thanks again for your support - it really helps to talk to others who've gone through this - everyone else just thinks I'm nutty..
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Oh, and the water bottle DOES NOT WORK when it comes to Ethel - during her last scuffle with Jake, I had her completely soaked and she didn't back down for a second.. clapping didn't do anything either.. the only thing that stopped it was Jake hiding under the bed.. that's why I'm really hesitant - once she gets going, she's like a machine..
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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There is no time limit. Nothing to say how long it will take. You had Ethel in the house as long as ancient has had Czari but with one big difference. Ethel had babies! So, subtract the time she had the babies with her, the surgery, and her recoup. Go from that time. I would be counting that as the time she actually started her intro to the others. Not the whole time she has been in.

On the off chance you may have to give her up do you know of any rescues that may be able to take her in? Maybe somebody could find her a home where she would be the one and only.

to you. This is not easy! You are an for even trying!!
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Old August 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Phoozles, the difference between Ethel and Czarina is Ethel was a momma in your house and outside, she has learned to fight off some unwanted attention from toms and to protect her kittens and food, life outside when nobody is feeding you is a cruel world. I think Ethel and Sweet Pea have a lot in common. I don't know how 14+ does it, her cats seem to live is harmony with each other
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Old August 28th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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I wouldn't say 100% harmony L4H. They have their little squabbles. But they are over it fast. It's been more since Minimo moved in. I expected that. But it's more a swat, hiss, ok I'll move thing. No major fights.
I also think the big thing with mine is that they grew up together. Makes a huge difference! If I have to move some of the new ones in too I expect there will be a few more sqabbles till everyone settles in.
It's far from perfect but it's the best I got.
I think the biggest problem now is that Ethel has turned into a talker and FH is slowly going crazy listening to her. Too bad she can't live in the garage. Her own little heaven and far enough away to not hear her.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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If your vet is understanding and takes suggestions, then they should have no issue giving her Prozac. Mine are all different when they go to the vet too. Czarina is as calm as a cucumber! She lets the vet pick her up, cuddle her rub her belly, no hissing, swatting nothing! I can't do that to her at home. The others are gentle cats, but take them to the vet and they start to hiss and growl! Go figure!

Be aware the Prozac takes time to work into her system, so you will need to do the other stuff in the meantime.

I'll tell you, Kiska, my Tiny Miss looks like the sweetest most innocent kitty there is. And she is, but get her next to Czarina, and OMG she starts to hiss and swat, which of course gets Czari going. I clap, say a loud NO or STOP IT and they will both turn away.

I give them all treats right near each other, the whole time, even though Czarina will be there she will be hissing and growling. For the most part I think the others are learning to just ignore her. I try very hard to keep her and Kiska from getting too close to each other. And really, the only one Czari actually takes a few steps towards to swat and hiss at is poor Maks. LOL, but the little guy is too fast for her.

It's a work in progress. This morning she got passed me again and I had to leave her with the others roaming. I asked the maintenance guy to check in on them, which he said he'd do. I get nervous when I leave her alone like that, but I had no time to chase after her.

It would be nice if we could just reason with them. I wonder, is there maybe a different room you could keep Ethel? If she sees that room as her territory and that's where she had the kittens with her, then perhaps putting her somewhere else would make things less stressful for her, since she won't associate it with her kittens.

I wish you always continued luck with her. I'm really pulling for her to get used to things. I'm afraid for her out in the world like she was before. Please talk to your vet about the Prozac.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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I know that Ethel is different from Czarina, I just mentioned it because the length had been the same, and so I've been frustrated for about as long..

Ethel can be sweet as can be - which is why I wish they would all just get along.. If it was just a little hiss or a swat, I'd let it be.. But when Ethel gets pissed, she'll attack and keep it up until her prey disappears.

I thought about putting her in a different room.. We just don't know what room that would be.. And if she's upstairs and howls all night, FH will absolutely lose it.. Right now she's on the main floor so we can't hear her.

We'll just keep bringing her into the house - I think once she gets comfortable in the main part of the house it'll make a difference.. Actually, I sprayed her carrier with feliway before I put her in it last night, and she was a lot quieter after.. So maybe the diffuser is the answer..

L4H, you must be going nuts with the Sweet Pea, Puddles situation. If this is taking a toll on me, I can only imagine what you go through..
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Old August 28th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Have you tried keeping her in your bedroom? Maybe having your company will keep her quiet. Do you have a place you can put a litter box? Or what about the kitchen?
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Old August 28th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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It is very stressful having Sweet Pea, I am not going to lie about it. I think if I found her another home that I trusted (and those would be very few and far between), I would give her up :sad:.

Sweet Pea is a extremely loving cat, just like Ethel, and her and Jasper absolutely love each other, that is probably another reason I have kept her so long. Seeing the two of them cuddling and kissing each other makes it all worth it. It was just that split second that one of Sweet Pea's kittens jumped on Puddles' chair and Puddles hissed at it, from then on Sweet Pea has been on the attack.

I would keep up the treat feeding when they are in each other's sight and that may show Ethel that your cats are not going to fight her for food or attack her. If you do decide to try the leash, do it when Ethel is full and have some of her fav treats in your hand ready to give to her when she is not being aggressive. That seems to take the edge off Sweet Pea.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancientgirl View Post
Have you tried keeping her in your bedroom? Maybe having your company will keep her quiet. Do you have a place you can put a litter box? Or what about the kitchen?
Unfortunately, neither my bedroom or the kitchen have doors, so I can't keep her in there.. I couldn't even put up a screen in the bedroom because it's kind of loft style - our room is at the top of the stairs, so there's plenty of ways for her to jump down and attack.

We have two other bedrooms, but they are kind of in use. But I'm not ruling it out - we might give it a shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
It is very stressful having Sweet Pea, I am not going to lie about it. I think if I found her another home that I trusted (and those would be very few and far between), I would give her up :sad:.

Sweet Pea is a extremely loving cat, just like Ethel, and her and Jasper absolutely love each other, that is probably another reason I have kept her so long. Seeing the two of them cuddling and kissing each other makes it all worth it. It was just that split second that one of Sweet Pea's kittens jumped on Puddles' chair and Puddles hissed at it, from then on Sweet Pea has been on the attack.

I would keep up the treat feeding when they are in each other's sight and that may show Ethel that your cats are not going to fight her for food or attack her. If you do decide to try the leash, do it when Ethel is full and have some of her fav treats in your hand ready to give to her when she is not being aggressive. That seems to take the edge off Sweet Pea.
I do think that the treat giving is helping a bit.. I just wish she would focus on the task at hand, instead of going mental for the treats themselves. But I'm not going to stop. That's a good plan for the leash introduction - but I will hold off on it for at least another week - and I told my FH that it's his legs that are going to take the lashing if she freaks out!
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Old August 29th, 2008, 01:55 PM
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Mini update:

Yesterday was a good day for the kitties at the phoozles household. When I got home Ethel was crying (as usual) so I sat next to the door and spoke soothingly to her. Alley came right up next to the door, and while I was speaking soothingly, neither of them showed any sign of aggression. Alley growled a tiny bit, but her heart wasn't in it, and she stopped pretty quickly.

FH said he fed them all treats at the door earlier in the day and not one of them made a growl or a hiss the entire time, even once the treats were gone.

It was quite a relief. It shows me that there might be an end in sight. Maybe in a couple of weeks they might be able to be introduced.. One day at a time..

Thanks for letting me vent from time to time - I need this place to let out my frustrations without someone looking at me like I was crazy to bring her in to begin with. So thanks again.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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That's great news! At least it shows there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Baby steps pay off!
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  #22  
Old September 5th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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Just here to vent some more..

Looks like one step forward, two steps back at my house *sigh*

Lately Alley has been working to purposely antagonize Ethel. She'll go up to her door and just lay there, growling - which drives Ethel nuts. I guess Alley finally figured out that Ethel can't get through the door. She'll also kind of swat at her from time to time. Ethel responds by screeching and banging the door. :sad:

I find this isn't helping matters, and I'm once again torn at what to do next. When I let Ethel roam the house after I lock the other two up, she remains on edge. She'll be okay for a bit, but she'll nip at me, and get twitchy - seeking out the other two and watching them under the doors of the rooms I've put them in.

I just don't feel like there's been much progress, and it's stressing me out, because I've been doing everything I'm supposed to do, and not much has come of it. I love Ethel to bits, and I don't want to have to give her away (plus I have no one to give her to), but I don't know if she'll ever be a part of our family. I feel so bad for her being locked up in her room, but I know for a fact she can't be in the rest of the house with the other two.

Right now the house we're renting is for sale. Our house is ridiculously ugly and needs a lot of work, and the landlords are asking a crazy amount of money for it, so surprise surprise, no one has come through yet, but there is still the situation that we will have to move eventually - and I have no idea what that would do to my current dynamics (as sad as they are).

Anyway, for now I have no answers, so I'm just going to keep truckin' and hope for a miracle, but I just had to get it off of my chest. *sigh*

Thanks for listening guys!
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  #23  
Old September 5th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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Phoozles,I get Feliway diffusers mainly for Rocky(and the others i am not sure)spraying and it has worked wonders,also in calming him down.
However the vets are extreemly expensive,at least here,my old vet charged $80 and the $44 for refills
I get mine off E-Bay at 2 re-fills for $39US,I always use the same seller and always get the order within a week.
I cannot promise it would work on Ethel,but it sure works on Rocky.

Also,I would not put my self in a situation where I hold on to a leash of an aggressive cat,so please do not allow your hubby to do that,I have plenty of experience with serious cat-bites.
I can give you the info for the Feli-Way seller if you want.
Pet-Value sells something similar,a bit cheaper,I forgot what it's called,but it did not work as well.
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  #24  
Old September 5th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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phoozles phoozles is offline
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Thanks Chico ..
I have used the Feliway spray, but it didn't seem to do anything
My FH says that he thinks our vet sells the diffuser for only $30 - I'm not sure if that's true - and the only problem is the vet is closed when I get off of work Maybe I'll call them and see.. I just don't want to spend a ton of money because I have already and with the wedding and supporting my FH in school, I don't have a lot of spare change. The spray ended up costing me almost $50 after shipping and it took a long time to arrive. So if you know of someone with a good deal, I'm all ears!

Oh and don't worry about the leash thing - I think FH knows now that she's SO not ready for that..
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  #25  
Old September 5th, 2008, 05:58 PM
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I think you have said in the past that you don't have any rescues near you. Are there any in the next town or close by? Now, I am not saying give Ethel to them. I am saying phone them and see if they can offer any more ideas. I am fresh out. It sounds like Alley is now playing games with Ethel knowing what Ethel will do. With Ethel going after first Alley and then Jake it is really hard to know what to say.
If it comes down to it would you be willing to give Ethel to a rescue who could maybe place her in a home on her own?
I'm sorry I can't be more help.
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  #26  
Old September 5th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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No advice, just wanted to send you some hugs of support .
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  #27  
Old September 5th, 2008, 08:31 PM
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I think Dr's Fosters and Smith Sells them for a pretty good price. The Feliway, I mean.

I'd try the diffuser, as Chico suggested. It would serve to help calm all of them down. and maybe also you can talk to the vet about Prozac for Ethel.

It sucks I know. I had to spray Czari for chasing after Maks. I thought she might be playing, but then realized if she's hissing, she's not playing.
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  #28  
Old September 6th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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Phoozles,If you can get the Feliway for only $30 that is a great deal,I have not asked my new vet how much he charges,maybe he's cheaper to,have to ask..
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  #29  
Old September 6th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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phoozles phoozles is offline
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Well, I called my vet - turns out they sell the plug in for just over $50 (the vet did mention that they had gone down in price) - but they have to order them, so it won't be in until Wednesday. I ordered two (one for each set of cats).. I've been looking on ebay, but I think they will take a much longer time to come in, plus with all the shipping, etc., it seems like they will be about the same price - but I'll probably order some plug ins from there.

Ancient - it looks like Dr Fosters doesn't ship to Canada. :sad:

I haven't given up, but it's just so stressful sometimes.

I will give Ethel to a rescue if it comes down to the fact that I need to. I don't even know if they would take her if I let them know that she is aggressive towards other cats. Right now it doesn't matter because we're going to do what we can to make it work. Once we start the diffusers, hopefully everybody calms down a bit. ( I'm just picturing Alley EVER calming down )

I'll keep doing some research to see if we can't fix this.. It's just so strange to me that it's taking this long!

On the brighter side, my sister's very aggressive (I still have a scar on my leg from three years ago after he went mental after I brought Jake over in a carrier) cat Lenny is now getting along quite well with Ethel's two kittens, Squiggy and Violet. There's still a little growling, but otherwise they are fine!
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  #30  
Old September 6th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Hang in there. Hopefully the diffusers will work for you. I still have tons of hope for her to fit in.
I can't stop thinking if she was in a large dog crate in the same room with the other cats that things would move along faster. I know I keep harping about something that may not work for you but I found for me crates worked great!
Minimo has done sooo well in the catuary with that method. There is still hissing, some growling, a little swatting, but she isn't full out attacking. I noticed yesterday she is even letting certain ones get close to her and she ISN'T hissing! I'm not saying it's ideal but it sure is a lot better than it was!

If you decide to give it a try you can probably pick up a used crate for next to nothing off kijiji or a free newspaper or something.
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