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The Downside of the Transient House....

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Ours is a multi-cat household--we have five cats who are permanent residents, three fosters and one "inpatient". We've pretty much reached "critical mass" for a two-bedroom rowhome, especially since one of the fosters requires his own bedroom and the inpatient requires isolation in our one bathroom. All have been spayed or neutered (it took a while to get that done--my vet of choice is surgically booked up until December!). Two of the fosters should be homed pretty quickly--one has a home lined up and the other is a strikingly beautiful kitten--and the inpatient will only be with us until he recovers from his respiratory infection.

But this kind of "indoor colony" is stressful for the cats. Two of our regulars are rivals for alpha cat status as it normally is, and with additional cats they're acting out in ways they normally wouldn't.

Nigel, the de facto alpha cat, is relatively calm about the whole thing but Francis, his rival, is becoming more obnoxious. He frequently attacks other cats, most notably Nigel and Jesse (his littermate), and earlier today he slipped accidentally into the bathroom and sprayed--no doubt a message to Bob, our patient. Even Ludwig, our "scaredy-cat" (but also the closest to being feral) beta has sprayed on two occasions. Furball (our eldest and a female) wants little if anything to do any of them, but that's always been the case--she's never been very sociable and especially doesn't like Francis. Lately she's been puking more than she normally does, and I suspect that's from eating too quickly before the others gobble her food. In the case of Shlomo, our FIV/FELV positive elderly shut-in, the opposite is true--not being able to freely move about is making him unhappy.

I hope that when we move Gretchen (the kitten), Elizabeth (her mother), Bob and Shlomo out things will return to normal, but I don't see that happening for a good while--there will be other patients and transients....
post #2 of 3
Its a great thing that your doing.
It's terrible though that they attack each other.
I bet once some cats move out to new homes the other residence will settle back down.
Try caging them and allowing 'out' time and social time.
No one likes cages but maybe thats your only option.

good luck with everything!
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty convinced that, once he begins his course of antibiotics (he goes to the vet tomorrow), he can be let out of the crate but will need to remain confined in the bathroom. He's really quite sociable with us (I do think his behavior at the clinic was just simple fear and disorientation), but while he's sick he must be isolated. Still, a bathroom is better than a cage and the ability to exercise will do him good. He'll still have the cage as a "hidey hole" but he won't be cooped up in it.

Other ferals have had to remain caged as they recovered and I've observed their reactions. A certain wary lethargy sets in, almost like human depression. And I surmise, based upon my own experience with a nasty broken ankle, a certain amount of muscular atrophy can take place over time. Bob is certainly socialized enough that I don't have to take unnecessarily strict measures with him, and it's best for all concerned when those can be avoided. I don't want to be a jailer, even a well-intentioned one, if I don't need to....
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