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Elliott attacking Gracie

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Elliott was a stray cat in the neighborhood all of his life.
We haven't lived in our new home that long, but I was told that he showed up in June of 05 and looked to be about 2 months old at the time.

We already had three female cats...long story short we brought Elliott in to live with us November 5th of this year...so he's been here for almost 3 months.
He's neutered.

When he was outside he was completely bullied by a very old male stray and a young male who lives down the street...the young male is an indoor/outdoor cat.
Elliott NEVER fought back, they would go for him and he'd take off running (screaming all the way ) , usually hiding on our back porch or the back porch of the people across the street.

He was introduced very slowly to the girls but at first they all hated the sight of him.
He would hide around corners and when he saw the girls he would stand on his back legs and swat at them with his front legs.
I'm sure he was only trying to play with them, but they didn't see it that way.

It got to the point that Annabelle and Lizzie had about enough of his sneak attacks on them so they both laid into him.
After they put him in his place he stopped the attacks on them and now they play.

Gracie is another story, he still goes after her and she will not fight back.
This morning he knocked her down and was getting ready to bite her chest when I caught him.
When he knocked her down she cried.

Gracie is a tiny, little thing, she comes in at just over 5 pounds...Elliott is almost 12 pounds, not fat but VERY solid.
I'm at my wits end here, I don't know what to do about this.

If he hurts her, I'll never forgive myself.
When he goes after her I clap my hands and say NO as loudly and firmly as I can.
That doesn't stop him.
Gracie hisses, spits, swats and that doesn't stop him.
I just wish that she would lay into him the way Lizzie and Annabelle did.
If she would do that, he'd stop because he stopped doing it to Lizzie and Annabelle when they fought back.

I know he goes for her because she is so passive.
It's really getting to me...his whole life he was bullied by those other two cats and now he's turned into the bully.

Annabelle is spayed...Lizzie and Gracie are not.
They both have problems, my Vet feels that they were the result of inbreding.
They both have feline herpes and Lizzie has breathing problem...not asthma but something about her lungs not forming properly.
Besides the herpes Gracie was the runt of the litter and I almost lost her when she was a kitten, she has neurological problems also...for those reasons the Vet will not spay them, he says the risks of putting them under are to great.
Gracie is not in heat, if she were I would think that was the problem...in fact Gracie has only been in heat once in her whole life and she's 6 years old and that was when she was about a year old.

Anybody have any suggestions as to how I can get Elliott to leave poor little Gracie alone?
post #2 of 17
Thats a hard one.........I would definitely say that Elliott is taking advantage of Gracie's passiveness, even though she does'nt go into heat, there is still a scent as well. Elliot sounds like he is lashing out from being bullied by the others on the only one he can get away with targeting. Gracie sounds like a doll, she is lucky to have you! Hopefully someone might have some suggestions.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Elliot sounds like he is lashing out from being bullied by the others on the only one he can get away with targeting.
You know the same thought crossed my mind as well.
I wondered if it's possible that he's doing to Gracie exactly what the two male cats did to him when he was an outside cat.
I know cats do things that suprise us all the time, but I didn't know if he would have the ability to think "now it's my chance to bully someone else"

Other than his problem with Gracie, he is the sweetest little man and he loves to cuddle.
I just wish he'd learn that Gracie is much smaller than him and poor little Gracie really does want to make friends with him.
post #4 of 17
Yeah, it sounds like Gracie is going into complete submissive state when he goes after her, and hes not giving any signs of hearing her say "Uncle"
post #5 of 17
I really think you're going to have to keep them apart somehow, with Gracie having a safe place that he can't get to when you're not around, though it may mean keeping her or him in one room (or half the house?) all day. Whether or not she's in heat, she may still either be giving off some hormonal scent, or else he's just picking on her because he can and it's what he learned to do on the street. I had a similar situation once and it only got better over years (with other younger cats being introduced and the focus being taken off those two), but the difference was that the girl is (now 14) a smart, fast and spayed Maine Coon, the male a not very big (or bright) neutered blk/white ex-stray. I don't know your personal schedule at home, but what are the chances that they could take turns (consistently though) being in their favorite part(s) of the house every day and switching halfway through one time - with everyone having access to a box, water, you, etc.?
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
You're right, I think our only choice is to keep them apart when nobody is home.
I'm a stay at home Mom so the only time I go out is in the morning to take the kids to school and in the afternoon to pick them up.
We have one that isn't in school yet and he's not much of a shopper, so I do all the grocery and other shopping on Monday mornings...I have to get it all over with at once!

Right now Gracie is using me as her safe place, if he goes for her she runs and jumps in my lap or runs to me to be picked up.

Earlier this morning Gracie was sitting on the coffee table and Elliott was sitting below her.
She put her little head down and got nose to nose with him, no hissing or swating out of either of them....this is going to sound stupid... but could it
be he saw her as bigger because she was up higher than he was?

A few minutes later she got down and was laying on the floor grooming herself, he stood behind her and watched her at first not making any kind of move towards her at all, just watching and tilting his head from side to side...I thought maybe he'd actually just walk away...but no he jumped right on her and nipped at her tail.
There's never any blood shed or anything like that.
My Husband believes that he's just trying to play with Gracie the way he plays with Lizzie and Annabelle and that he doesn't understand that she's so much smaller than everyone else.

Elliott used to go after them they way he goes after Gracie, but since they both fought back, he still runs at them but then stops just short because he knows they're going to chase him.
The three of them spend hours playing like that and Mason thinks that Elliott just wants Gracie to play too.

But, I'm not willing to take that chance.
Gracie is my baby I'm not going to let anything happen to her.
post #7 of 17
Whether or not he just wants her to play, cats play is based on hunting instincts and territorial and sexual dominance, and the minute the play gets out of hand (the minute he's encouraged to be free with her (no pun intended :-), that's the time he'll forget he's playing and get serious. It's a big pain, that behaviour, but I've asked vet univ. professors about it and zoologists, and there just isn't an easy answer.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
This afternoon Mason had to measure something and he couldn't find his tape measure so he got out the yardstick.
Elliott took one look at it and ran screaming from the room...just like he used to from the two males outside.
So it would seem that someone chased him or hit him with a yardstick when he was a stray.

About 5 minutes before this I had yelled at Elliott for going after Gracie.

This sounds awful, but I asked Mason to leave the yardstick out where Elliott could see it.
He hasn't gone near Gracie since...in fact she walked right past him over and over again and he makes no attempt to even look at her.

Like I said I know how awful that sounds, but I think he really believes that Mason would hit him with the yardstick if he goes after her again.
Mason would never do such a thing, but Elliott doesn't know that.

Is it terrible of me to leave the yardstick out knowing that he's afraid of it?
I don't want Elliott to be terrified of Mason, but I don't want him to hurt Gracie either.
post #9 of 17
It's not a bad idea to take advantage of it under the circumstances, but I definitely wouldn't count on it's being 'the answer' for any length of time - either he'll figure out that the stick is just a stick in time, or possibly forget it's there (when you're not around to reinforce things) and go after her anyway - the instinct is very strong and once they get it into their heads to attack, they become fairly mindless about it!
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well Mason is just about ready to put him back outside.
I won't let that happen, right now Elliott is in the spare bathroom with his food, water, litter box and some toys.

About 9:30 I was sitting on the couch and Gracie was sitting on my lap.
Elliott jumped up and sat beside me Gracie got off my lap and laid down beside him and started to groom him.
He laid there with his eyes closed enjoying every second of it.
He then made a move like he was going to groom her in return..but instead he grabbed her around the throat.

That was the end for us.
As much as it will break my heart to have to find him a new home, I'll get over it in time.
If we allow him to stay here and he hurts Gracie, I'll never get over that.

So first thing tomorrow my quest to find him a new home begins.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just a little update on the Elliott/Gracie situation.

I got to thinking this morning that I just can't bring myself to give him up.
Poor little guy has never had a home before...we're the only home he's ever known and to up root him now just did not seem fair to me.

He's such a little sweetheart except when it comes to Gracie.

So, I called and talked to the Vet this morning.
He asked me if I had a fly swatter...I told him I did but there was no way I was going to hit Elliott with a fly swatter...he laughed and said "Karen, do you really think I"m going to tell you to hit him?"

He told me that everytime I see Elliott making an aggressive move towards Gracie that I should bring the fly swatter down on the floor right in front of him as hard as I could saying "NO, BAD BOY" as loudly and firmly as I could.
I tried it, I had to do it three times today..but it's been almost four hours and he hasn't made one aggressive move towards her.
He let her walk right by him to use the litter box and he would normally wait outside the door so he could pounce on her when she got out of the box.
He did go and lay right by the door, but let her pass with no problems.

He has come to me wanting me to pet him, so at least I know it's the fly swatter that he's scared of and not me.

Please send some vibes that this works and his aggressive behavior towards her will stop for good.
I don't want her hurt in any way, but I don't want to lose him either.
post #12 of 17
Best wishes finding him a new home, he sounds like a great companion for somebody so hopefully it should'nt be to difficult . He just has special needs different from Gracie's.........
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, hopefully all will continue to go well with hitting the fly swatter on the floor in front of him.
Because I just don't have the heart to give up on him yet.
post #14 of 17
I'm just concerned about what might happen when you're not there - unless you can keep them separated every time you go to the store, etc. (never mind longer trips). I hate to keep harping on it, but years of experience have shown me that while they'll quit 'today' (because of a stick, or swatter), they go right back tomorrow (or the next day, etc.). What also is a good deterrent (at any given time) is a can of pennies shaken hard - very scary to a lot of cats. We never gave a cat away for bad behaviour, and I can't imagine doing it, but you might just have to plan on separation (with water, box, etc.) on a long-term basis every time you're out somewhere.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Believe me, I'll never trust him alone with her when nobody is here.

When we go away for any length of time we either have my Niece come and stay at our house or have my best friend come in two times a day to look after the cats.
This year when we go on vacation I think we're going to have to have my Niece come and stay with the girls and ask my friend if she'd be willing to take Elliott to her house.
She has a sun porch and when she brings new cats in that's where she always keeps them while she doing the introductions.

The spare bathroom is going to have to be his "bedroom" from now on.

The last thing in the world I want to do is to have to find him a new home, but yesterday when he grabbed Gracie by the throat all I could think was he's going to kill her right in front of me.
He didn't bite her, but Mason and I stopped him...I just keep thinking even though we were in the house if we would have been in another room God only knows what he might have done.

Like I said, I don't want to give up on him but if I see that I can't even trust him long enough to go to the bathroom then I'll have no choice but to find him a new home.

I don't know, I'm probably wrong but it just doesn't seem fair to keep each of them in different parts of the house.
The girls have always had access to every part of the house and it wouldn't be fair to take part of that away from them and Elliott deserves the same...a home where he can go into any room he wants.
I just hope and pray that home will be ours.
If by chance it's not, then I'll find him a home with someone I know and trust.
He will not be taken to a shelter, I will not put an ad in the paper..he will not go to a stranger and he will not for any reason ever be put back outside.

This is driving me nuts...I've had cats my whole life and I've never had a problem like this.
It's funny because I've had people tell me that they could not believe that our three females don't fight and that adding a male rather than another female would be best.
Our neighbor took the stray female and we took the stray male, now I wonder if maybe it should have been the other way around...even though I'm the one who insisted on taking Elliott because he was white and made me think of our Rainbow Bridge kitty, Maggie.

Sorry I wrote a book, just frustrated and venting I guess.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yet another update.
The attacks on Gracie by Elliott have stopped.
Last night I heard a scream from him and the next thing I know Elliott comes running out of the kitchen followed closely by Gracie.
I went into the kitchen and found two clumps of white hair...the hair was Elliott's
So it looks like my mild manner little Princess Gracie finally fought back.
Right now they are both laying on the couch about two feet from each other.
Once Lizzie and Annabelle showed him that he wasn't the boss he stopped picking on them, so hopefully he'll now stop picking on my baby Gracie.

I'm still going to put him in the bathroom at night and when we leave the house at least for the time being.

I was wondering if maybe a Feliway plug in might help to keep the peace?
post #17 of 17
Yeah for Gracie! I have been rooting for her and so happy she straightened him out! Some are just very layed back, till they can't take any more!
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