Live from the Katnip Lounge, The Kat Pack!

Starring: The Baby *Tiny Johnson * Felix * Rupert * Scouty * CC * Sweet Pea * Maui * May Ling * Salem

and...*Angels Grayce, KonaKitty, and Sylvester* always loved, never forgotten




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Troubles



Kitties!

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!
Thank you.

XX  Felix & Rupert  XX

51 comments:

  1. Wow - those are all such very wise thoughts, I can't come up with anything to add. I surely do wish her the best though. That is a heartrending situation!

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  2. Making them all smell the same should help. We haf agression between Precious and Princess. We use a hand towel and rub it ofur one, then the other, then back again. The vet said Precious wouldn't attack sumthing that smelled like herself. It's hard to be consistent about this too. Kudos to you fur adopting an adult kitteh. Good luck! xoxo

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  3. Scootch neds a safe room. It may take weeks. But he needs to want to come out when he is derising company, as he does not now. And the other cats need to get used to his smell.

    Pet him, then them. Spread his furs over the house.

    Best of luck. Purring!

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  4. hii.. we're having some postcards giveaway. postcard of our own picture. we hope you would leave your home address to myHuman email. so that we can give one for you...
    waiting for your email...bye

    atreyu05@yahoo.com

    BoBo Salem & catlings

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  5. Feliway diffusers as well may help. Animal communication (which helped with Chey and Ichiro) and we also something called Family from vimiere.com to spray on the cats several times a day to calm them (like the feliway diffuser which helped Gemini with scratching but didn't seem to make Ichiro and Chey like each other).

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  6. What a predicament. Have to say let's try out what your mum and dad has prescribed first. purrrr *giggles*

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  7. I hope everything works out for Scootch!

    Mom Paula

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  8. I agree with TBT--Scootch needs his own completely safe space. Let him stay there as long as he wants--until he wants to come out. Basically just reboot.

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  9. You have some good ideas for Lynn and Scootch, but it does sound like a mess! Too bad she does not live in Los Angeles - it sounds like a perfect situation for Jackson Galaxy (My Cat From Hell) to solve. My human has met him and he really does know his stuff.

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  10. Wow, what wonderful ideas. I have been wanting more vertical space after watching "My Cat from Hell." I did just buy a beautiful cat tree. I'm been keeping my eye out for used ones on Craigslist also. I also like the look of the cat clouds cat shelves from http://www.therefinedfeline.com/catcloudscatshelf.htm. My brother in law is a contractor in another town I was going go ask him how to do something similar on my own.

    What type of valerian do I buy and where do I buy it? Does anyone know how to keep other people's cats away? I bought a product called Boundry, but they ignore it.

    Money is tight right now so I'm going to wait to contact an animal communicator. I am going to look into the other product called Family.

    I am thrilled with all of the different ideas. I'm going to get started right away.

    Thanks, Lynn

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  11. Felix and Rupert, You know my mom, she got no ideas about " Meet The Cats " situation, I'm her first cat, and my dad always had one cat at the time. But We think your mom and dad came out with the purrfect solution !
    What I can do ? I can purrs for Scootch : )
    xoxo

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  12. Wow!! It sounds like everyone is very stressed at the new situation! OOoh let me read up on this then I'll get back - I subscribe to Cat Magazine and I'm sure there were some helpful tips there about how to deal with kitty stress!! AWww hugs to everyone at Tyler's Tattles!!

    Hello sweet Felix and Rupert! Take care
    x

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  13. You really need to go back to basics. Pretend that he's a new cat all over again. Keep him in his safe room. I've found a few things helpful when introducing new cats.

    First begin by feeding them on opposite sides of the safe room door. They will soon associate the sound/smell of the others with good things, i.e, lovely food. Don't give in even when they refuse to eat. Eventually, hunger will win and they'll go close to the door to fill up.

    Next, put the resident cat/cats into the safe room, while allowing the newcomer to explore the house. Again, close the door when you do this. This allows scent swapping without threat to either party. Only do this for short periods initially.

    Swap the cats' bedding around so that the newcomer sleeps on the bed of the resident cats and vice versa. Again, more scent swapping.

    It's going to sound disgusting, but get a pair of your smelliest socks, preferably straight off hot, sweaty feet, and rub them all over all of the cats. The socks smell like you which the cats know is a safe smell. When you rub it all over them, not only do you make them all smell the same, but you are also, in the cat world, claiming each one as your own. This sets you up as the dominant cat and means that fighting is less likely, as that is done to defend territory. Territory belongs to the dominant cat.

    When you're ready to introduce them, let them get quite hungry before you do. Withhold food for a few hours, up to 12, to make sure that their bellies are the only things on their mind. When you're ready for a face to face, put down one bowl per cat, preferably in different parts of the same room. Fill it to bursting with the stinkiest wet food that you can find that they love. Allow them to hiss and spit, they will, but eventually the smell of that food is going to draw them. Microwave it for 20 seconds before you serve. This increases the smell and brigs it to blood temperature, which is the temperature they would eat a kill at. All of this kicks their instincts into overdrive, and that will make them eat. Cats are designed to sleep after a meal to aid their digestion. If you feed some sort of fish, it's high in protein too which means more work to digest which means sleep quicker. Cats will rarely fight on a full tummy. Do this as many times as necessary and only give the best food when they're all together. This creates positive association again.

    One note: Don't play with the cats before you introduce them. Play brings out the predator/hunter instinct, and will mean that they apply this to the intruder cat more quickly. Spend lots of time loving and cuddling and mellowing them before the face to face.

    I really hope some of this helps!

    Trish, sorry I haven't been around lately. These kittens are taking up all my time!

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  14. Whew. That is quite the predicament! I think you came up with very good suggestions.

    When Cosmo and Ling weren't nice to each other, I first showered the both of them which helped quite a bit. I would also keep a very close eye on them, distracting them as soon as somecat start to show any sign of aggression (growling, staring, puffy fur).

    I try to get them to associate good behaviour with something good (like a treat), and it also helps for the humans to stay calm.

    Most of all, it takes a lot of patience! Good luck!!

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  15. I don't have any good suggestions because even after 8 months Teddy and I do not get along. He is very aggressive and I am a gentle cat. Feliway did nothing for us either.

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  16. I am hoping all works out so the new rescued kitty has a home furrever too.

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  17. Oh my cod...this is quite a situation and why I never got Admiral a sisfur what with shift work and long hours..I could never supervise or deal on midnights. BUT..I like what Spitty said..re-boot. Start over. Everyoneof the cats seems to feel they are right..and they are. Poor Scootch but the other ones..bless their hearts.

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  18. All our mom can say is good luck. Let's face it, Annie and Nicki NEVER took to each other, and it was almost 4 years of "togetherness" before she passed. Once in a while she and Nicki would touch noses, but more often than not there was growling, hissing and fighting. Feliway? Forget it. Works for some, but never worked for those two.

    As much as humans want to rescue kitties and have a house filled with them, frankly, sometimes it's not always in the best interests of the cat(s) involved. That's a tough thing to say, especially here, but that's the way it is. It can stress the cats out more than anything else--not be good for their mental and emotional health and well-being.

    So we'll purr for a good solution for all concerned--for everyone's Highest Good.

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  19. We haven't had any experience integrating older cats. The boys came together and all the other cats were solo acts or came as kitties.

    I'm sending you good luck though. Sorry I don't have any ideas.

    pawhugs, Max

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  20. Hopefully all the suggestions will work for your friend. I guess even kitties have their relationship problems!!
    :(

    Happy Tuesday!
    xo Catherine

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  21. i agree with the starting over with the integration suggestion... time, patience and calm will prevail...

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  22. We like the idea of going back to re-boot and letting him have his safe room for as long as he needs it.

    When our Nigel showed up he was SO stressed and stayed in his room for 4 months before he was ready to meet the others. He was also on prozac during that time. We waited until he wanted out of the room and even though it took a long time we know that if we rushed it he would not have been successfully integrated into our family.

    We also know that with 9 of us there are issues that nothing can resolve...just too many of us, so that's why Madison and Cecilia live happily away from the rest of the gang. Also we are now having Ginger sleep separately from the others, so when we go to bed at night she is separated with her own litter box...and at 5am she rejoins us for breakfast and does fine as long as there is supervision.

    Multi-cat homes are a LOT of work, but so worth it.

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  23. I see Lynn knows about Jackson Galaxy. He's doing a Q&A through his Facebook page and, on his last one, I think he promised to do something on inter-cat difficulties. I suggest Lynn asks on FB & I will "like" the question. As many as can should do the same, because that increases the chance Jackson will take up the question. Short on time or would say more -- GOOD LUCK & KEEP TRYING. Scootch needs you to! Sounds like you're the one with the heart -- and the chops. Let's keep in touch. I want to.

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  24. You have to put him back into solitary. Integration can take many, many months. Do not be discouraged though. It may even mean you have to spend nights in the living room sometimes to reassure your other three you are still there for them at sleeping time.

    Cat's inter-social networks are soooooo touchy. If there is doubt about this take a look at what happens when even sibs go to the vet separately & come home? hissing!

    If the integration process isn't done correctly long lasting feuds can be irreparable. Don't be freaked out by that, it happens. Just follow your 're-boot' steps and stay calm.

    It has taken me at least two years to partially integrate one of my rescues with my existing three girls and I still have to watch them like a hawk. Some breeds are way more domineering that others to begin with.

    Good luck and patience. They all need you!

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  25. Oh yes and one more thing. Try Jackson's Spirit Essences. He's got a specific formulation called PEACEMAKER, for just this kind of trouble. For links, and a bit about my experience so far with the Essences (LOVE what I've seen so far!), see:
    http://catself.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/the-yin-of-it/

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  26. Dang. I can't leave this alone. One MORE thing: Tia's advice in your comments above echos Jackson pretty much exactly. Jackson's written about introducing a new cat on his old website (the one before Animal Planet). Check it out: littlebigcat
    Full of good stuff.

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  27. One thing I have found helpful is to remember why cats get upset at other cats. They are an infringement on resources. They are a sign that status quo is no longer in play and they have to adjust. Cats hate change. They do not adapt well with out a lot of practice or patience.

    So, when your kitty gets upset, offer more resources. I don't much like the direct upset/reward as it seems to reward the kitty for being upset, but I talk to the upset kitty and ask it to stop growling/hissing/etc and when it does I offer treats or love or toys. Making sure the kitty has what it is afraid it is going to loose is very helpful.

    When we adopted our very first cat (back when I was in second grade) he was a barn cat and was used to scrabbling for resources and as a result was quite food aggressive. He was very fearful he would lose what he 'captured" to help him get over that, we offered two bowls. He soon learned he had double the food and he wasn't losing any of it to anyone.

    You also need to remember that being upset is natural and in the wild would be a very good thing. It would run off the stranger cat so that resources wouldn't run dry. I always praise the kitty for being big and brave and protective but then go on to tell them they don't have to be. That I'm the alpha and I'll take care of resources, and give out more treats. (yes, my cats gain a few pounds when they don't take to a newbie)

    I do like the book "Cat vs Cat" it is helpful in understanding what the cats are doing, and what you can do to support them and create harmony.

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  28. I haven't read the other comments, so please forgive if I'm redundant.

    First, would it be possible to change the safe room? The Writer's bedroom seems to be a bone of contention..the girls used to spend a lot of time there and now they don't-maybe they feel they've been evicted.

    I wonder how many litter boxes there are? It wasnt' mentioned, but, until there's a safe place to eliminate (without the Offendor's scent) anxiety levels may stay elevated.

    I think the "do over" is a good idea and would encourage a total reset. I'll be purrin'!

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  31. This is a dilemma for sure ... and I think just about anyone who has tried to integrate a new cat (or even kitten) into a household has dealt with something similar, if not the same, or quite this bad. So I certainly sympathize!

    Honestly, I think a number of great suggestions have already been made, and I don't have much to add except for this: if somehow, some way you can (whether by calling on the help of a friend of family member who is handy, or doing it yourself), get some kind of outdoor enclosure built (there are scads of plans all over the internet) so that the cats can have a place to be outside in a safe way, it really does help. Last fall I enclosed an approximately twelve foot square pergola on my back deck with hardware cloth (I wanted something easy and quick to put up, not too offensive to look at, and stronger than screen) and it has made a WORLD of difference with my cats. (Olivia, the oldest is a typical calico - full of attitude - and she really doesn't care overmuch for either of the boys, especially Tanner as he is much bigger and plays too rough for her.) But the outdoor space is wonderful because when they're out there together they're so interested in what's going on in the yard that they don't get on each other's nerves, and sometimes when one or two are outside the other one can be inside getting some individualized attention.

    I don't want to sound like I'm passing judgement but with the exception of some very atypical circumstances, it really isn't safe to have cats outdoors in the way that most of our cats in childhood were - going in and out at will, and roaming who knows where. What was safe twenty of thirty years ago really isn't today. Yet that outdoor time is SO important and I can't believe what a difference it's made - SO much better than taking them out on harnesses/leads like I used to do. You can literally almost imagine them saying "aaah" as they walk out there, find a patch of sun, and stretch out. Catnip plants and pots of wheat grass set around for nibbling don't hurt either!

    As for indoors, I think, as Spitty said, a complete "reboot" is called for. Go back to square one and start again. And as distressing as I know it can be to feel like you are confining one cat to an "isolation" room, everything is relative. At least he's in a safe place in a home with people who love him. It's certainly a step up from where he came from.

    And it's been said already by a lot of people, but I think it's worth saying again ... vertical space, vertical space, vertical space!!!!!

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  32. It takes time and great patience.
    We will make this as short as possible.
    For introduction, the newbie will be caged for his safety while we size him and sniff him out all over. This sniffing session time will increase gradually.
    One thing for sure our human will never show affection for the newcomer in front of us in the beginning. We suspect the newbie gets lots and lots of cuddles behind us.

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  33. There sure are lots of great suggestions, but patience and time are the most impawtant!

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  34. the publicist cannot help here. She has just always thrown new cats in with old cats and let nature happen. She has never had much trouble with this method. PRobably because she has lots of hiding places for them.

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  35. We had to re-do introductions of Zippy and Sadie several times. And really that sock suggestion is great. Except mom went and petted them both with her feets after she worked outside and den she let dem together. Zippy still gets all hissy sometims but Sadie ignores it fur da most part. Sometimes Zippy hisses and Sadie realizes she's just scared and walks in da opposite direction, when she does dis mommy skritches her and tells her she's a good girl. We never had dat trouble wif Speedy, he is effuryones frend and even put himself between da girls when dey used to get all growly wif each other. Yes, after 10 years together Zippy still sometimes hisses at Sadie but it doesn't come to blows anymore, part of dat is da stinky feet treatment a little bit of getting used to da fact dat dey is both loved by mom and dad and a great deal of Speedy intervening.

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  36. Mr. Scootch came out of the room this morning. He then went outside where he's spent a few hours sunning himself. All of the others are going in and out also. He meows at me through the screen and seems content for me to just let him know that I hear him. I've invited him in, but he gives me the deaf ear.

    Cookie came in and slept on my chest as I made a big fuss over her. She didn't fuss at him later on when they were near each other outside. Sophie is still hissing lightly if I'm not near her, but I've been spraying her and then showering her with love when she doesn't hiss.

    We have five litter boxes. One for each cat plus one. Scootch uses all of them. When he goes outside he pees on a different corner of the property.

    No worries about me abandoning him at the shelter. Even if he needs to remain in a safe room forever, he's staying.

    Wowie! You all are such lovely kitties and people. You speak with such wisdom that I am now filled with hope and I am developing a plan. I still have more of your leads to look into. Thank you also for your purrs and kind words. Thank goodness I'm on vacation and I have time to dedicate.

    Purrs back at you, headbonks and hugs, Tyler's Family here on Earth Cookie, Jake, Sophie and Lynn

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  37. Well, I speak as Pisi and Squeak's mom. Pisi hates other cats in her domain. I very unsuccessfully brought an older male cat that was mine from when I was married (he was staying with my husband who didn't really want him) into our home a few years back. It was awful, because he refused to be isolated.

    It took nearly six months to get Squeak initiated. I found that it was easier, though, to get Pisi (who is female) used to a new adult female housemate. They still simply tolerate each other.

    I agree absolutely with your advice about starting over again! I had to start over again twice when I brought Squeak into our house!

    Good luck to your friend!

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  38. We wish all the best for Scootch! We have never hissed in our lives so we have no suggestions on how to help.

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  39. Well there are some fantastic suggestions in your post and in the comments. We have no real experience in introducing a new cat to multiple cat household so we'll send my very best wishes that with time things work out.

    Madi and Mom

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  40. Some good points. I'd like to point out that I had a cat aggression case that was *caused* by Feliway. So if it isn't helping I would reduce the use and/or try something else, like cat valium.

    But I agree the cat safe room should be something less favored than your bedroom. And the more vertical spaces you can get the better, even if it is boxes stacked up until you get something fancy. At worst, it gives a place to escape from a confrontation, at best it avoids one altogether.

    Oldcat

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  41. Everybuddy has posted great ideas so far. We wanted to also suggest Feliway diffusers, especially one in Scootch's room. Also, add some Rescue Remedy to everyone's water. You can also put a little on your hands and pet the head and neck area of the cat (which is very receptive to the remedy).

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  42. Me and mom arn´t really the right people to give advises either maybe as I´m a single cat ??!!
    But mom say´s that she read somewhere (she has forgotten where) that somebody had used Feliway when they got a new cat at home and there where a lot of hissing and fighting around in the house.
    When she stopped using Feliway all calmed down and no moore hissing and fighting.
    So our idea is STOP using Feliway and see what happens or not happens :)

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  43. Those are some super suggestions. We have some of the same problems here. But they all seem to work it out eventually. There are a couple of guy cats that feel like they have to chase everyone. Luckily all but four go outside so they can take out all their frustrations on the trees and bugs. Some cats just don't get along with other cats.

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  44. I am still rolling over your comment on Puddy's blog!!!

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  45. I´m learnig about this, reading the comments.
    I hope everything is gonna be all right!
    Ps.: sorry my bad English.

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  46. As an only cat I can not begin to offer the advice that our furiends have given for this problem. I will just add my purrs that there can be peace or at least a cease fire within the family.

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  47. Oh goodness, I feel just terrible for her. That was actually my worst fear when I adopted Zoe - everyone told me to adopt a kitten, that my senior girl would more accept a kitten, but I just had to go with my heart and adopt an adult. But I was terrified they would hate each other and both be miserable. Thankfully, while they are not BFFs, they tolerate each other. I wish I had the magic advice, but the only thing I can suggest that I didn't see you mention(though I may have missed it) is Feliway. How heartbreaking - I hope she can find a happy solution for everyone.

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  48. Well, we've been dealing with this problem for over 3 years now...ever since bringing Zoey in. Zoey is afraid of Wally but instead of just running from him, she wants to attack him. She would stalk Wally and now Wally is terrified of her. I keep Zoey separated from Wally now. She has her own room where she spends 80% of her time. I installed a door with a 2'x2' screen window in the bottom so she can see out. I'm on my second animal behaviorist, and Zoey and and Wally are both on prozac (Wally on a very low dosage). The behaviorist has told me not to give up yet. And I haven't.

    There are some great suggestions here. I've tried them all. Doing a reboot is where I would start. Feeding them together is also a good idea. Food is the great equalizer. What is really important is that when the cats are together, they must experience something positive...treats, food, play.

    Good luck. I hope it works out for Scootch.

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  49. http://www.spiritessences.com/products/Peacemaker.html

    This is a link for a floral essence called Peace Maker. It has worked wonders in my home. I was having aggression and constant fights in my home to the point that my cats got ill. I put one drop in their water every day and use "The Bully" when ever there is aggression. It happened slowly over the past 3 months but now they play together occasionally. They still need their separate time but it is so much more peaceful. I highly recommend it. Good luck! Cheri

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Oh Boy...this is gonna be GREAT!