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My foster kitty's new mom needs help!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My 2 foster kitties Franz (now Toby) and Hans (now Andy), were just adopted by Lee, a great mom who adopted a cat from my group before.

Franz and Hans are 10 months old, so they are "large teenagers" LOL but with a lot of kitten still in them. They got along well with the other 5 foster kittens with them- grooming them and covering their poos .

I let them mix with my own cats in the past few weeks, just to make sure their manners were good and to see how they were with my cats. And they were pretty good- like big kittens but neither was super dominant or aggressive. My boy cat did not freak and he will not tolerate alpha males.

The new mom, Lee, brought Franz into her home first and then Hans a week later, to give her boy Rudy time to adjust. Rudy is about 2 years old and Lee says he is pretty laid back.

Anyhow, Lee called about a week after bringing the 2nd cat (Hans) in, to say that Rudy is completely freaking out about Hans. Rudy growls if Hans even enters the room.

Rudy has stopped socializing with her or either cat and hides under the sofa. But if Hans is present he growls and will go after Hans. And Hans is not engaging Rudy but he does not back down if Rudy goes after him. He slaps back with a closed paw, thinking it is a game, but he does not submit.

I told Lee to keep Hans in his temporary kennel/crate unless she is home, and to make sure and play with them both together and reward them together. I told her to make sure she is giving Rudy lots of attention. She said she is doing all that.

Rudy is apparently ok with Franz. I said the second cat may have sent Rudy over the edge and this is about territory. Lee agrees. She said Hans is sitting in Rudy's favorite places and wants to use Rudy's bowl. She moves him out of there but Hans loves to go back and sit there. She said it is not on purpose but Rudy gets furious.

I would welcome any suggestions on what else Lee can do to help Rudy adjust to a second boy kitty and help Hans come in as number 3. They have had one kitty tussle but there were no scratches or anything.

Please do help me asap- if any of you have brought cats into homes with cats already there and had to make some special efforts when the resident cat says "ENOUGH", I would really like to know what worked in the end.

Thank you SO MUCH in advance for any advice you can give. These 3 kitties are all great and I want to do whatever will work out for all 3 in the end- including taking Hans back if that is what has to happen.
post #2 of 13
I would start over. Since Rudy and Franz were getting along OK, leave them out, but Hans should be treated like a new intro and separated into his own room, with litter, water, food, toys & etc. in there for him.

The new mom should make sure she spends quite a bit of time in the new room - reading, sewing, ironing, whatever - to make sure that Hans doesn't feel lonely or get bored. She should, of course, make sure she plays with him a lot. I'd even tell her to consider purchasing bird feeders to put outside the window. Even the ones with suction cups are great. It's Cat TV, and will help prevent him from becoming bored and feeling isolated while alone.

In the meantime, give Rudy lots of love and attention, and extra play time. He is the resident kitty and his needs take precedence.

She should consider purchasing Feliway Spray or plug-ins. I'd douse the house with spray (at cat level) if she goes for the spray and not the plug-ins. She should also consider purchasing Territorial Rescue Flower Essences. Both can be purchased here: http://www.catfaeries.com.

She should do scent-swapping between Rudy and Hans to help Rudy come to associate Hans with good things.

To do this, she should take hand towels or rags or something (preferably washed without strong scented dryer sheets) and rub Hans all over with some and Rudy all over with some. Put the "Rudy" scented ones under Hans' kitty's food dish, and twice a day (morning and evening) leave treats out for Hans on one of the other Rudy-scented rag. Do the same thing for Rudy - whatever he eats out of, put the "Hans" scented towel under that dish. Have a good alone play or love session with Rudy twice a day (morning and evening), and at the end, put treats down for Rudy on the rag that smells like Hans. Do this for a week - then start supervised visits of Rudy into Hans' room.

Actually, she should observe how they react to each other sniffing under the door. I don't know if she's willing to temporarily replace the door of Hans' isolation room with a screen door, but that really is best. Otherwise each day she can open the door an inch or two - enough for the kitties to see and smell each other, but not get at each other. This is a pain in the butt if Rudy won't come over to check out Hans while she's standing there. But if he does, guage the interaction. If there's no hissing and growling, they're ready for supervised visits - with Rudy in the isolation room with Hans. 10 - 20 minutes at most the first day. (Make sure Hans has a box or place he can hide in the room from the beginning). Again - see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, keep them separated, and keep up the scent swapping. Of course, any non-aggressive interaction and Rudy and Hans should both be praised to high heaven.

When she brings Rudy into Hans' room, perhaps give each kitty a new catnip toy. The next day, maybe bring out a new wand toy. The day after, new mice toys - &etc.

The idea is to get Rudy and Hans to associate each other with good things, and to the extent possible, to get Rudy to think it's a big party any time he's around Hans.

When they're getting along without hissing and growling for extended periods of time, then Hans can be let out of the room - maybe just for the day, at first.

The point is to take it slowly, help Rudy come to associate Hans with good things, and to reinsure Rudy that he's still #1 - even if he won't end up as alpha, he's still #1 with meowmy.

Also - giving Rudy and Hans each a catnip toy, letting them drool all over them, and then giving each cat the opposite toy after a few days is another good scent-swapping trick.

Also, here's an article on new cat introductions you may want to print out: http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/4...cing-Cats.html

Hope this helps,

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
That is good advice. She did switch their bedding and she rubbed their things on each other. I think that is why Hans loves Rudy's favorite spots so much- he believes they are his now since they smell like his new bed.

She has him in a dog crate/kennel of some sort and she cannot put him in his own room for some reason. She works 10 hours a day and then lets him out when she comes home, but she has to put him back in again when she goes to bed. She said he cries for hours and she feels horrible, but cannot let him and Rudy out together unsupervised.

Here is his picture. He is so beautiful. I had to take him to an eye specialist for anterior uveitis. He has been thru a lot, poor little boy.
post #4 of 13
Well... maybe she should stop the scent-swapping for Hans with Rudy's things, and do it just for Rudy with Hans' things? Then just follow the rest of the advice to the extent possible.

I hope things work out for all of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Here is his brother Franz with one of the 2 kittens I still have (Lola the pooser who I am having to retrain on the litter box after Campylobacter drove her out in pain).

It was so hard to let them go, I love these two boys so much.
post #6 of 13
Oh they're both so handsome! And I bet they look GORGEOUS together!

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh, also Rudy does not respond to catnip. And he is sulking now and will not play with Lee. I told her only to do play for now with Rudy and put Hans back in the picture after Rudy relaxes.

I said she could bring Hans back here to give Rudy breathing space, but I'm worried that will only make it harder to re-introduce him. I would welcome thoughts on this too, along with any other advice.
post #8 of 13
I really don't know what to recommend. I have a few questions.

Apart from Rudy sulking, just what, exactly, is the problem? Does Rudy attack Hans? Does Hans attack Rudy? Is one of them being so aggressive that she's worried about physical harm - and I don't mean some scratches on the nose from time-to-time or some tufts of furr flying at times, I mean bite wounds or something. ?

How would a cat know what bowl belongs to who? Same with litter boxes... a lot of people come here to complain that one cat is using another cat's litter box, and I am always puzzled by this. ????? If cats are going to free feed, then all the bowls are there for all the cats, and there's no way to make one cat use any given litter box. It's just not any kind of realistic expecation. If it's during a specific feeding time, the solution is simple. Feed them in separate locations. I know you didn't mention litter boxes, but does she have at least three of them out? She should.

If she is committed to making this work, I think maybe she needs to change her expectations. Of course she should do what she can to make Rudy feel loved and comfortable, but if there isn't any serious aggression (hissing, growling and batting is natural and is going to happen), I think she's just going to have to deal with Rudy not being happy for a while.

One of our kitties takes six months before she stops hissing and batting at a "new" kitty, and a full year before she accepts them.

Others on this site have suffered with their existing kitties when they adopted new ones - one person in particular had a very unhappy kitty and she went through a year of guilt and adjustment. But now the two kitties are best friends. It was heart-wrenching at the time, but her perspective (as is ours) is that adoption is for life, and you just have to do your best to make everyone happy.

If the problem is that Rudy isn't happy, not that Rudy is trying to kill Hans or vice versa, then she really needs to relax and do her best to help Rudy adjust - but confining Hans to a cage for what sounds like 16 - 18 hours a day is not a long term solution. It just means he's stressing out, and needs a lot of extra attention when he is let out - which isn't helping Rudy at all. !! He might as well be in a shelter, poor baby.

So, I'd find out more about what, exactly, the problem is. If Hans and Rudy aren't threatening each other's lives or well-being, and it's just that Rudy isn't happy and there's some hissing, growling and batting, I'd tell her to do her best to help Rudy adjust, and to let Hans out of the cage.

Feliway, Territorial Rescue Flower Essences, and do the scent-swapping just for Rudy with Hans' scent - but the boys are going to have to work it out. And if she doesn't want to deal with it, take Hans back and adopt him to someone else. Unless he's attached to Franz, then take them both back, and let Rudy be an alone kitty.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
That is a really good point, because they will all be watching to see how she manages the situation.

I have not been sure how much she should be working for harmony with the cats in a situation where one seems to really want to hold out for "the old days" with fewer kitties.

From what she has said, it is mostly that Rudy growls whenever he sees Hans, plus they fought where she had to clang pots to separate them. But I don't think claws were out since she said there were no injuries and she didn't mention claws stuck in their faces.

I plan on calling her today to see how it is going. My biggest concern is she says the new boys are clawing things; and she said she spent a lot of time working with Rudy to keep him from clawing her stuff and is worried the boys will undo it all.

I am worried this may be too much for her- 2 big kittens on top of the resident kitty. I will talk to her about taking it more in stride and seeing if that makes a difference with both her and the kitties.
post #10 of 13
It does seem like maybe more than she can handle. Does she have cat trees and scratching posts? Does she know where to place scratching posts? Feliway, lots of appropriate places to scratch, clipping claws, doing things to discourage scratching where she doesn't want it (double-sided tape, aluminum foil, etc.), and appropriate placement of scratching devices can usually solve the inappropriate scratching problem. But again - it takes time and patience, and from the sound of it, I'm not sure she's up for it.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah she has scratching posts, cat trees, she trims their claws, and I gave her a bunch of cardboards and catnip spray to put on it.

Not sure about the sticky tape or Feliway and I will ask her. I may have told her about the aluminum foil but am not sure. I will bring that up again too.

I will talk to her about the time and patience part. Her job is demanding a lot of overtime from her, plus I know these 2 big kitten boys, and they are pretty demanding too LOL, not to mention her existing cat.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
Yeah she has scratching posts, cat trees, she trims their claws, and I gave her a bunch of cardboards and catnip spray to put on it.

Not sure about the sticky tape or Feliway and I will ask her. I may have told her about the aluminum foil but am not sure. I will bring that up again too.

I will talk to her about the time and patience part. Her job is demanding a lot of overtime from her, plus I know these 2 big kitten boys, and they are pretty demanding too LOL, not to mention her existing cat.
Awwww....... I hope everything can work out for everyone - whatever the decision is.

post #13 of 13
Feliway plugins are a must have in a multi cat situation

www.valleyvet.com has great prices
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