Felix and Rupert here.
We like each other, and we hang out together, doing important ManCat stuff.
However, some of us here DETEST each other--Sweet Pea and May Ling--and Mommy & Daddy are forever mediating quarrels, and cleaning up the results of the "Wee Wars".
And you all know that Maui takes medicine for his aggressiveness (Clomicalm) which works really well.
Still, with thirteen Cats here, fights are inevitable.
The other day we received an email from the Mommy of Tyler (RIP), who used to write Tyler's Tattles. Lynn has quite a predicament going on at her house, and we thought we would ask all of you for advice! Because LOTS of heads are better than one.
Here's the letter:
I'm writing to you asking advice. After I lost my Tyler a year ago I was ready to bring in another cat. Instead of bringing in a kitten I decided to rescue an adult. I brought him home and followed all of the guide lines. His safe room was my bedroom. I shared his scent with my other three. After two weeks I allowed him to meet Jake my 3 year old male ginger tabby who really wanted to meet him. I got them to play with same bird toy. I was thrilled when I would find Jake and Scootch (7 year old ginger tabby) sleeping on my bed at the same time. I was leaving the door open but Scootch wasn't coming out. I tried putting S in a carrier to show to my girls Cookie brown tabby 11 year old and Sophie 3 year old calico. He freaked out. Sophie would hiss any time she got a sight of him. When he ventured out the first she went super hissy and even lunged at him. He stopped and went back to safety.
The girl has not let up on this routine and it's been almost two months. She will only not hiss if she is up high and across the room. My other girl Cookie was finally allowed to be an outdoor cat when he came along because she was driving me bonkers diving for the door and escaping. I decided that she would only be happy as an indoor outdoor girl. And she is. She had been overgrooming and she had a bare belly and now the fur is back. She would sort of tolerate his presence but she wouldn't go into his safe room except on occasion to hiss at him and before he came she used to sleep on my tummy each night. Well Scootch's behavior towards Jake started to change and he lunged at him and hit his behind as he ran out of the room. A couple of days ago Jake was on the window ledge and Jake started to howl in fear of Scootch and Scootch was hissing at Jake. I told him no and put my arm in between them so Jake could escape safely and Scootch bit me. I think he thought he was biting the cat.
This morning really early both Jake and Cookie were outside on the patio. The door was open and Scootch came out. He'd been out a couple of times with me before and I felt that I could trust him not to run away. For the last two months of his life before I got him he had been an outside only cat. So I thought great. It'll calm him down some to be outside. 30 mins later I saw him walk by with his tail down and I thought how sad that he wasn't enjoying himself. A few mins. later I hear Jake howling in fear/agression and Cookie howling in aggression I ran out to see Cookie run in front of Scootch and he reached out and swatted her. Jake saw that and started howling anew. I got Jake and Cookie home inside behind my spare bedroom door where they continued to howl at each other. I go out and find Scootch missing from my yard and then all the sudden two neighborhood cats showed up each from a different direction. I figure their presence is what started off WWIII this morning. Scootch came back and I escorted him back into his safe room. Hours later I decided to take a nap. Jake came in and rested but far away from Scootch's possible reach. Next thing I know Cookie's on my lap. I try to get her to give me soft eyes, by slowly closing my eyes at her. She refuses. I reach out and pet Scootch and she leaves the room. 10 mins. later she reappears on Scootch's side of the bed hissing at him. Jake and Cookie start to howl and I shoo them outside. I now have Scootch on lock down again.
I'm thinking that I've been unfair to Scootch to not provide him with a safer environment. This guy was already abandoned by previous owners before the Texas couple. I promised him I wouldn't abandon him too. I read that I was to be faithful to my original cats if there was a difference of opinion, but well I've done something wrong. By the way, I have gallons of that Feliway stuff going everywhere. I do try to give them those flower essence, but I'm not consistent. Each cat gets angry with me when I put it on them.
Is this a predicament or WHAT!?!
Mommy and Daddy put their heads together, and came up with a few suggestions:
Perhaps start over again with integration, and let Scootch stay in the bedroom as long as he wants.
Remain calm and firm. Cats will pick up on frustration.
Put out valerian root when they are most interactive, it calms everybody.
Alternatively, put out catnip to encourage friendliness and relaxation.
Give the "instigators" lots of positive one-on-one interaction.
Encourage play, and reward it with treats.
Think vertically. Cats love to go UP where it's "safe". Shelves, a cat tree, add levels for the Cats to climb.
A dab of vanilla between the shoulder blades will make them all smell the same.
Use a water spray bottle or a can with pebbles in it (to shake) to startle and break up spats.
If possible, keep the neighbor cats off the property.
Us Cats are territorial, and it's hard for humans to watch us fight and work out the pecking order. Sometimes we never will get along, and sometimes we pee all over the place to show our unhappiness.
Kitties, we know you all have good suggestions and ideas, let's hear them!
XX Felix & Rupert XX