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Predator_Prey Instinct Awakened

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey Gang,
I'm new this forum and have read through the FAQ regarding my kitty's behavior. I'm not sure I found what I was looking for though.

My story follows.

My wife and I adopted a 4 week old feral kitty 5 years ago. She is great little cat and a hoot to play with but....

Our "Liza" was a demure and sedate until the arrival of the third Chihuahua. Our pet family is comprised of a chow-shepherd cross whom Liza adores. The first of three Chi's is an older fellow (Raxlee) and nothing phases him. The second of three is a young female Chi (Nina) who is/was content with the slow moving, easy going life style all of us were accustomed to until the number 3 Chi showed up. We adopted this little guy this past July 2006 and now the younger two Chi's now run around the house and play. As much as we enjoy them Liza on the other hand does not.

We believe the addition of "Zephyr" and the antics that spark him and Nina has upset our Liza. We believe her predator/prey instinct has been awakened. Liza has aggressively and purposely attacked both of the little one's. Liza has drawn blood on two occasions and we operated under the three strike rule and you are out. We have applied Soft Paws, we have installed Feliway (Cat Phermone?) electrical pots in our house to no avail. We certainly keep Liza closed off in a separate bedroom while we are at work but she wants to be around us when we return home. A co-worker has graciously tried to take Liza off our hands but that situation is not working out in that Liza has not left a particular "hiding" spot since the co-worker has brought her home (approximately 10 days ago). Liza growls and swipes at the co-worker. The co-worker acknowledges that Liza does come out to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom while the co-worker is not there. The co-worker has told me that this not going to work out and that I need to take Liza back.

My wife is very adamant that Liza can not come back into the house unless .......

I'm concerned from a child rearing point of view that if Liza returns to our house that she will think that she has "won" and will be even more nasty. Liza was broken and "fixed" (spayed) four years ago.

Any recommendations ole wise ones?

post #2 of 9
Liza was there before Zephyr, but she seems to be the 'dispensable' one, which I find hard to accept. When Zephyr became friends with the other young dog, he/she(?) took Liza's place in a way, and now she's on the outside. Of course she's jealous and doesn't understand why she's been punished by having to leave home and why Zephyr was allowed to come in and take over. I'd reconsider which animal, if any, should be rehomed, if that is your only choice. You said she's kept in a room while you're at work, but wants to be part of the family afterward... well, why not put Zephyr away at those times and let Liza have her old place back?
post #3 of 9
I agree with Larke. Liza is not being predatorial but territorial, and aggravated by demoting her to the "dispensable" one. Her behavior at your co-worker's is normal for abruptly displaced cats. Your co-worker may have lacked the patience or knowledge of cat behavior to care for Liza.
In my experience, in a dog-cat household, cats rule. Dogs are pack animals so they readily accept this arrangement.
post #4 of 9
I agree with Larke and yayi. I am dishearten to see that your cat that has been gotten rid of since a new younger pet showed up. Seems to me that she is getting the short end of the stick here and that is just terrible and must be so confusing for her. My suggestion is like the others I think. I get your cat back first off. It is obvious that she is does not like that situation. And second find a solution that will work for your cat and the dogs. And if that does not work it should be the new pet that is rehomed not the one that has been there for 5 yrs before the new guy showed up.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insight and the feedback. Based on the replies it is clear that you all are very much cat lovers. All of our animals are rescued and or adopted. As I said in my initial post we acquired Liza when she was approximately 4 weeks old and we had to eye drop feed her so it was with concern for her well being and literally the lives of our Chi's that we opted to "rehome" her. The whole house was in turmoil and every animal where abouts required a GPS and sequence of opening doors equivalent to shutting down a nuclear reactor.
The coworker is a cat lover and recently (~6 months) lost the second of her two cats so having heard my story she offered to take on "our" responsibilty for Liza. Let me assure that "rehoming" Liza (or considering her dispensable) was not an easy decision. We have had to separate several rolling cat-dog fur balls (CDFB's) the aftermath of which Liza was both victor and instigator. The outcome for the Chi's was less than superficial....we have several scratched cornea's and 3-4 inch long battle scars on abdomens which to date have not needed sutures but certainly hydrogen peroxide treatments. To be clear Liza & Nina never played with each other.
It appears that Liza will be coming back home but, and this is where you all come in, we need to seriously modify her behaviour. Any suggestions? Getting rid of the Chi's is not an option.

post #6 of 9
My last sentence above was one idea that lots of people use in similar situations - or will no accommodation be made in the interests of fairness? The dogs are tiny (not her fault) and she's territorial by nature - not her fault either, but as they were all brought together in your house, it seems like a good idea to try and work things out so all are safe and happy.
post #7 of 9
I don't know what all you have and have not tried. But I would just slowly introduce them to each other. And lots of praise and rewards for Liza acting positively to the new dog. Is it only one that she had a problem with or is it now all of them.
post #8 of 9
My only suggestion is to look at the top of this forum & *try* to apply the introduction or re-introduction of Liza to the Chis. You might also consider looking into buying the book "Twisted Whiskers" or "cat vs. Cat". They are by the same author, I just cannot remember who right now.
post #9 of 9

I think Larke had the best suggestion in his/her first post. When you are not home allow Liza to be closed in her own room and when you come home and she wants out, close in Zephyr. Another suggestion would be (assuming she is an indoor cat) cut her nails down as much as possible. Front and back. Eventually they will figure out their place in the home heirarchy.

Good luck! Anjya
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