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Not Sure What To Do...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I can't find a forum that this really seems to fit in, so I guess I'll stick it here...

We've recently introduced a 5 year old cat to our two 4-5 month old kittens (there's a similar thread I posted here, in case this looks familiar). There have been some behavioral issues, mostly with the older cat not taking to the kittens well (The kittens have adjusted, for the most part). She chases them, swipes at them, growls, etc... and she has bitten me for reasons still unknown. Here's the problem, though: The older cat belongs to my roommate, while the two kittens belong to my boyfriend and myself. The instant Precious (the 5 year old) bit me, my boyfriend decided she needs to go. He doesn't tolerate violent animals (Yes, it truly was violence, I've thought it over carefully and I wasn't doing anything that would have provoked a bite like that). But my roommate is absolutely in love with the cat, and defends her to the end, trying to pass off anything she does as "playing" or "not her fault". There's still noticeable hostility between the cat and kittens and though it does seem to be improving slightly, I'm afraid that in the meantime, someone's going to get hurt while we're not here (We'd seperate them, but that's not possible at the time). Honestly, I think we'd be better off getting rid of Precious too, but I'm pretty sure it's going to start a fight if I try. Do you think I should give it time and hope for the best, or try to get her out now?

As a bit of a side note, my roommate said she spoke to a friend of hers who suggested that the hostility might be a way of Precious "training" the kittens to be more... adult-like? Calm? That sounded a little far-fetched to me, but if it's true, I think that's even more of a reason to get rid of her. I don't want her changing my kittens personalities, I love them because of the way they are now. :/
post #2 of 23
The problem is that the kittens have invaded Precious' territory and she's only reacting normally. The other problem is that Precious is not your cat to get rid of, and in fact, your roommate is the one who is in a better position to demand that you get rid of the kittens ... who invaded her territory. I'm not saying you should get rid of them necessarily, but did you consider at all what might happen before taking them in? If there's nowhere to keep them safe (no door on your room while you're at work?) it does sound like a recipe for trouble, but don't get on your roommate's case (or Precious's) because they're innocent.
post #3 of 23
Yep. I totally agree. Precious was there first! Maybe it's time to find your own place, so the kitties will have their own territory.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
The problem is that the kittens have invaded Precious' territory and she's only reacting normally. The other problem is that Precious is not your cat to get rid of, and in fact, your roommate is the one who is in a better position to demand that you get rid of the kittens ... who invaded her territory. I'm not saying you should get rid of them necessarily, but did you consider at all what might happen before taking them in? If there's nowhere to keep them safe (no door on your room while you're at work?) it does sound like a recipe for trouble, but don't get on your roommate's case (or Precious's) because they're innocent.
How did they invade her territory? She moved in with us. And there are various reasons we can't separate them while we're gone - I won't go into them, but I'll just leave it at it not being possible at the moment.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
Yep. I totally agree. Precious was there first! Maybe it's time to find your own place, so the kitties will have their own territory.
No she wasn't, our kittens were. My roommate moved in with us, then adopted the cat. We discussed beforehand that if there were problems with the new cat, it would be the one to go, and my roommate agreed, but now she's backing out on it. And trust me, if we could afford our own place, we would.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abstract View Post
How did they invade her territory? She moved in with us. And there are various reasons we can't separate them while we're gone - I won't go into them, but I'll just leave it at it not being possible at the moment.
So the roommate and her cat moved in with you AFTER you got the kittens? Your post sounded like you had just gotten the kittens! Sorry! I'm not trying to answer for Larke, but I will say that if the kittens were there first,the that puts a different spin on the situation. I don't think you could demand the room mate get rid of her cat, but you can always get another room mate.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
So the roommate and her cat moved in with you AFTER you got the kittens? Your post sounded like you had just gotten the kittens! Sorry! I'm not trying to answer for Larke, but I will say that if the kittens were there first,the that puts a different spin on the situation. I don't think you could demand the room mate get rid of her cat, but you can always get another room mate.
Yeah, we've had the kittens since they were only a few weeks old. She moved in with us and then a couple days later, adopted Precious. I'm just worried that either way, things are going to be strained, whether I have the cat go or her (she's my friend as well, not just roommate).
post #8 of 23
Ugh! I type too slow!!
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Eh? (Randomcharacterstomakereplylongenoughtopost)
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abstract View Post
Yeah, we've had the kittens since they were only a few weeks old. She moved in with us and then a couple days later, adopted Precious. I'm just worried that either way, things are going to be strained, whether I have the cat go or her (she's my friend as well, not just roommate).
I see! That would indeed be a sticky situation. Maybe you could try reintroducing them....but it may just take time with the new cat being older. I would think she will try and be dominant over the young ones until they at least get big enough to claim their own space. Good luck!
post #11 of 23
Well, I would think of it this way. If you were in your roomie's position, would you want to "get rid of" your kitty? I honestly wouldn't be able to do it, even if I said I would.

Now, since I am not familiar, can you answer these questions for me?
1) What exactly have you tried?
2) Are any of the kitties fixed?
3) How big is the place?
4) Any cat trees?
5) Is there anyplace "safe" Precious can be from the kittens?
6) How long have you been trying to introduce them?
7) Did you do a "proper" introduction?

Honestly, if Precious is declawed....that could make me bite more. (I know you said she swiped the kittens, so I wasn't sure if she had claws or not!) But.....some cats just bite sometimes. When she bit you, what exactly were you doing/how were you positioned? Were the kittens near? Where did she bite you?
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Well, I would think of it this way. If you were in your roomie's position, would you want to "get rid of" your kitty? I honestly wouldn't be able to do it, even if I said I would.

Now, since I am not familiar, can you answer these questions for me?
1) What exactly have you tried?
2) Are any of the kitties fixed?
3) How big is the place?
4) Any cat trees?
5) Is there anyplace "safe" Precious can be from the kittens?
6) How long have you been trying to introduce them?
7) Did you do a "proper" introduction?

Honestly, if Precious is declawed....that could make me bite more. (I know you said she swiped the kittens, so I wasn't sure if she had claws or not!) But.....some cats just bite sometimes. When she bit you, what exactly were you doing/how were you positioned? Were the kittens near? Where did she bite you?
1. Tried as far as what? Getting them to not hate each other?
2. The older one is, the two kittens are not.
3. 2 Bedroom apartment, decent size.
4. Not yet unfortunately, short on cash at the moment.
5. The only safe place for either of them would be putting them in one of the bedrooms, but they're all very... curious, to put it nicely, and things tend to get destroyed when they're left alone in a room. Not only that, we currently only have one litterbox.
6. It's been about a week, and I know it takes time. Waiting is fine with me, I'm just worried about what will happen in the meantime. She's quite a bit larger than either of the kittens.
7. What do you mean by "proper"?

She is front declawed, and when she bit me, I was petting her (on the back). I've spoken to her previous owner and she told me that there are no sore spots or sensitive areas on her, etc... and she's normally very sweet, loves petting. But for whatever reason, she just flipped over and bit me (kittens were in the other room eating, so nowhere nearby). Didn't break the skin, fortunately, but certainly left a nice red welt for a day or so.
post #13 of 23
Check this out: "I'd like you to Meet... - Introducing Cats" http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_Behavior.html

edit: sorry, hit button too soon.
Declawed cats can sometimes bite because, well, they don't have claws. Please do a search on this site for "declawing" and you'll find why some cats have issues.

Kittens tend to accept newcomer cats more easily than adults do. Adults are more territorial.
Here is my advice:

Get another litter pan. One isn't enough for three cats.

Cat proof the apartment. Just like you do for toddlers. Very few homes are showroom ready when they have toddlers or cats

Please don't blame the cat. She is just being a cat. There is always a reason for what they do. The challenge is to understand things from her viewpoint.

If she was an only cat before, she will take take to adjust to new cats. Follow the introductions and I am sure your home will be more harmonious. There really isn't a need to "get rid" of any of the cats.

Adult cats do teach kittens how to become cats. They all have their own personalities, though. No adult cat is going to change a kitten's personality. They will calm down as they get older.

Please do post photos in the Fur Pics section if you can
post #14 of 23
One other thing - keep loving her! If Precious gets shoved aside she will become cranky and depressed. Give her a kitten-free zone.

All cat owners get scratched/bitten once in awhile. I still have scars from when Daphne was a baby. Seb jumped over me in bed the other night and didn't quite clear me, so I have a scratch on my shoulder. It is just life living with cats.

If we declaw and detooth so we don't get a bite or a scratch, well we may as well be living with a stuffed animal that poops a lot.

Cats are not "violent" animals unless they are abused and teased.

A week really isn't very long for a cat in a new house with new cats. Please keep us up to date on how everything goes.
post #15 of 23
Hi again - yes, I was under the impression Precious was there first. Anyhow, you must have at least one more box or you could end up with all kinds of problems (the ideal is one box more than the # of cats, but at least one per function). I still think that having no 'away' place for any of them, and one being declawed, could be a problem too. Have you thought about getting a larger place, one where all would be new as far as territory goes?
post #16 of 23
Well. Honestly, IMO, there is no way kitties would get along in a week. It can be done, I know you are worry like any good kitty parent would(I would ). But, please, do not give up!!

I spent a year working on intros before I broke down & posted a thread here....I was so sure I'd have to re-home one of my girls. 6 months after that thread....she's still here & getting along (relatively) well with the other kitties!!

I suggest looking into a product called Feliway....I know you said you are short on cash, but it is really worth it. Someone on her said a spray called "No Mark" works just as well, but I am not familiar with "No Mark".

Try putting vanilla on the bases of their tails/tops of heads. That way they all smell the same.

Any chance you can "kitten proof" the bedroom? It is only natural for kittens to destroy things.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abstract View Post
She is front declawed, and when she bit me, I was petting her (on the back). I've spoken to her previous owner and she told me that there are no sore spots or sensitive areas on her, etc... and she's normally very sweet, loves petting. But for whatever reason, she just flipped over and bit me (kittens were in the other room eating, so nowhere nearby). Didn't break the skin, fortunately, but certainly left a nice red welt for a day or so.
You might also check out this thread on cat aggression:
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20837

I can actually understand why Precious would strike out at both you and the kittens. Her world was just rocked and she's only had a week in a new environment. She simply hasn't adjusted to it yet. Everything is new and scary for her right now.

You definitely need to get at least one more litter box for your place. To get Precious to settle in, she needs her space and her own litter box. She needs a place where she can get away from everything. I've seen cats hide in closets or under furniture for a long time before they adjust. That's to be expected for some cats, particularly cats that were rehomed.

And my experience with declawed cats is that they will often bite because they don't have claws to defend themselves. You might not have been a threat to her, but the kittens were (even in a different room she is threatened by her new environment), and she'll lash out at anything in front of her.
post #18 of 23
I've used No Mark... it works pretty well, and is considerably cheaper than Feliway. I don't know how Feliway spray works, because.. I was unwilling to pay that price for it when No Mark worked well. It's found in the same section, whichever you choose. This will help to calm them down, hopefully.

I'd seen another suggestion somewhere as well, which was to take a towel and rub Precious' cheeks with it, thoroughly, and then take that towel and rub it over the kittens with the same portion of it you rubbed Precious with.

Another one I saw was...Don't feed them together, as in, with the same food bowls or with bowls that are close to one another.. at least for a while. I'd consider feeding them where they can *see* one another but aren't necessarily within 10 or 12 feet of one another. That gives them some time to "see" the others, but not feel threatened by them, and then gradually move the dishes closer, as they seem to calm down. You should see a difference in their behavior, going from tense to more calm as they get used to being in proximity of one another.. and then wait a day or so, and move the dishes a bit closer. This suggestion, though, is if they don't start getting along soon. It's only been a week, and it's possible that within another week they'll be tolerating one another reasonably well.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Another update on the situation... Precious (as a whole) seems to be slightly better, but she's prone to outbursts of aggressive behavior, for no apparent reason. She'll be just fine around the kittens for a day or two, and then the next day, she'll be chasing them all over the place. I don't think it's play because there's quite a bit of hissing and that low growling involved, and as far as I can tell, they're doing nothing to provoke her. One kitten was lying in my lap when she attacked. What's going on?

P.S. I've also noticed that she doesn't seem to know entirely what's going on when this happens. She attacks, and then just stands there, looking around like she forgot what she was doing.
post #20 of 23
Maybe she's waiting for a reaction and is confused when she doesn't get it? Not reacting might be the best thing for it.
post #21 of 23
Female cats will do that (mine have) and I can only guess it might be because they're not naturally as aggressive as males (though it's hard to tell sometimes) and do 'forget' what the point was halfway through. But put away trinkets or whatever for a while and DO get at least one other box (2-3 would be best) - it will make a big difference to future bathroom behaviour and if you look at this forum enough, you'll see it's a huge issue, one better sorted out in the beginning that later on.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, we have decided that it's best to get rid of Precious. Her behavior is steadily worsening, she's becoming more violent and aggressive and still refuses to eat unless she's in a room completely by herself (I understand that part, she's most likely nervous, but we just can't manage to always make sure she's got a room to herself just to eat, our schedules are too busy right now). We've spoken to the previous owner and she's agreed to take her back. The girl is moving out of the country, so Precious won't be going home, but she will be going to a friend's, who also took the woman's other cat. I'm happy about that, because at least Precious will have another familiar animal around (from what I gathered, the two cats grew up together), and she won't be going to a shelter.

In other news, my roommate still wanted a pet, so we did go adopt a kitten from a local shelter in hopes that a kitten might cause less of a dominance war. Fortunately, we were right. Introductions went amazingly well, the three cats (Parrot, Shinobi, and the new Turtle) were all playing together within the hour. No problems eating, every thing's going great. Turtle has been named such because of her markings, and she's 4 months old. She's rather tiny for her age, but she holds her own quite well during playtime. :p She's an adventurous little thing, but also very cuddly and sweet (She's currently weaving circles around my neck and shoulders, purring like mad).

I will post pictures as soon as possible!
post #23 of 23
I'm glad you found a solution. I think this actually might be a better solution than waiting for a while to see if she fits in... given that she's going to a place where she doesn't know the human, but does know the other animal there and will probably be a lot more comfortable/at ease.

Good luck with the three of them together, heh. I want to see pictures if you can get them to slow down long enough to take one.
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