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After-Fight Recovery? (long)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all!
I have a problem that might have gotten worse due to some human error.
I have 3 kitties: Benny, the neutered tomcat - 6yo, Bella - 5yo and Lizzie, daughter of the above - 4yo, both not spayed as of Friday.
They (especially the girls) have been "bestest buddies" forever.
Friday I came home and I found the two girls fighting (for real), with fur all over the house (and I mean in several rooms).
The usual clapping and shouting that would normally break up a play gone too far didn't have any effect, as the furball continued to rampage.
Then I made my mistake:
I tried to separate them with my bare hands, which resulted in some serious lacerations on my hands, including a thumbnail piercing (getting treated).
Bella, which has a more fiery tempeeament, continued the attacks, and I had to get a bit rougher to remove her.
Anyway, after closing all three of them in separate rooms and "licking my wounds", I started the damage assessment. The cats had no physical injury,
but Lizzie was in such a state of panic that she pee'd an poo'd on herself. Even after about two hours, when I took her in my arms to try to assess her
state, she pee'd at mere sight of Benny (who wasn't even involved in the fight), which indicates her panic level.
Since I couldn't find any obvious reason for their fight, next day I took the cats to the vet on separate trips (they still couldn't stand sight of each other) and he concluded that Bella's aggressivity was due to the fact that she was in heat, so I decided to have them both spayed on the spot.
After bringing them home and recovering from anesthesia, I took the decision too keep all three of them separated at least until after the stitches
are removed, and try to reintroduce them gradually. Right now (Tuesday) they seem individually OK, got back the cuddliness, but still spit and hiss if they glance each other.

My questions are:

1. Is there anything wrong with my plan? (I wouldn't want to make any more mistakes)
2. Can it be improved?
3. Is Lizzie's urinary incontinence going to come back every time she gets scared of somethting?
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Supposing eventually I get them to get along, can I trust them to be left alone while we're at work as before? (Another episode like this might shatter Lizzie, and I would like to keep them all, since I care about them immensely).

Thanks.

OFF TOPIC: please excuse my bad english, i'm not a native speaker
post #2 of 11
I am not an expert in cat-fighting, but it sounds to me like you're doing everything correctly.

There are tactics to use if you find your kitties fighting without trying to separate them with your bare hands, like throwing a pillow between them or making a loud noise to distract them (I know there's more info about this on this site somewhere). But I hope you never have to deal with such rough fighting ever again, especially now that they're spayed and they aren't being influenced by the rush of hormones they get when in heat.

I think it's going to take some time being separated and then gradually introducing them to each other before you can feel comfortable about them being together. And some time of watching them really closely while they're together before you feel comfortable leaving them.

I'm not sure about the urinary incontenance, I'm assuming your kitty will never be THAT scared and stressed again to lose control of her urine, hopefully. But otherwise I think you're doing everything you can, you're doing a good job! I would make sure you're giving each kitty lots of love, attention and treats. And of course keep them separate till their stitches heal.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for encouragements.
I reintroduced Bella and Benny last night and it was great! After the tomcat insisted on sniffing Bella's derriere, both of them happily went about their business. On occasional encounters they cautiously sniff each other, then "actively" show disinteress (not yet trust). They spent all night sharing the apartment! I still don't trust them to be together when I'm not home, though.
Unfortunately, Lizzy has shown more aggression towards any of them on the attempts to get them together, so for now she'll stay in solitary (with extensive visiting rights ). My concern is that she is staying in the main bedroom (with us), and I fear that this might be a positive incentive to keep up the aggression. Any thoughts on this? Should I relocate her in the guest bedroom next door?
Any suggestion is welcome.

P.S. My "manual extraction" was due to the fact that I was just entering home when it was happening, so I had no idea hat was going on or what else to do; as I said in the OP, clapping and shouting was the first thing I tried but to no effect. Then I panicked \t.
post #4 of 11
aww, it's okay, I probably would've done the same thing (panic) if I came in and my kitties were going crazy like that.

I don't think you putting her in your room will be an incentive for aggression. I doubt she really connects the two. I think animals tend to correlate behavior with positive/negative consequences only when the consequence is like split seconds after the behavior. Sounds like they're getting a little better already though, that's a good sign!

I'm probably going to be making a thread about kitties getting long in the near future...we're getting 2 new cats, both about 1 yr old. My sister can't take care of them anymore, so she's giving them to us. We already have 3 cats. The last time we had to babysit them for a month, it was a disaster. We didn't know anything about introducing new kitties at the time. My cats were super stressed, there were fights (one where I even found spots of blood on the floor ) and we had to keep them totally separated in different rooms, each getting time outside of the room, while the other would go in the room, etc. etc. We called it "playing musical kitties"

I hope it goes better this time, b/c we're going to do all the intros the right way! I'm going to send myself vibes for my future kitty craziness and also vibes to your kitties too
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, THANKS A BUNCH KristyKitty, all those vibes worked like a charm! They are now together, and even if they're still quite apprehensive around each other, there's no more aggression manifest. All three of them were free last night and they were "decent" to each other. I'm confident they're on the right track. I guess i'm getting better at this cat thing... . Anyway, imho THE most important thing when dealing with cat behavior problems is PATIENCE. Next comes observation (with patience...). Seems like "musical kitties" might be an international hit, since it was a success even here, in Romania (different cast and director, though). Actually, looking back I think this was part of the success of my "operation", they all had the chance to safely get re-used with each other's smell and not consider isolation as punishment. Also, introducing them only 2 at a time, standing mid-distance in-between them, petting both, talking soothingly, moving slowly and making as little as possible noise surely helped (all this takes patience, believe me, and with 5 cats you might become expert in permutations ).

I hope the rehoming works smoothly for your new kitties (and old ones... and you...).

Late edit: HAH, had I known this a week ago... : http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/2...at-Fights.html
post #6 of 11
A better way to separate them than with your hands would have been to use a broom. (The bristle ends, not the stick!) They can bite at the straw all they want, and it won't hurt anyone.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
It's a GREAT way, provided you have one at hand...
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbear View Post
Wow, THANKS A BUNCH KristyKitty, all those vibes worked like a charm! They are now together, and even if they're still quite apprehensive around each other, there's no more aggression manifest. All three of them were free last night and they were "decent" to each other. I'm confident they're on the right track. I guess i'm getting better at this cat thing... . Anyway, imho THE most important thing when dealing with cat behavior problems is PATIENCE. Next comes observation (with patience...). Seems like "musical kitties" might be an international hit, since it was a success even here, in Romania (different cast and director, though). Actually, looking back I think this was part of the success of my "operation", they all had the chance to safely get re-used with each other's smell and not consider isolation as punishment. Also, introducing them only 2 at a time, standing mid-distance in-between them, petting both, talking soothingly, moving slowly and making as little as possible noise surely helped (all this takes patience, believe me, and with 5 cats you might become expert in permutations ).

I hope the rehoming works smoothly for your new kitties (and old ones... and you...).

Late edit: HAH, had I known this a week ago... : http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/2...at-Fights.html
Yay!! So glad to hear they are getting better. And thanks I hope it goes smoothly too...or as smoothly as possible. I hope I didn't mess things up by introducing them too fast the first time. But I'm going to love having 5 cats again
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm happy: I left them free today while at work, and I found them slumbering in the same room... They occasionally rub on each other and kiss... .
As for your new kitties, try starting on the safe side, straight to isolation and visiting them regularly. At first I think it might be a good idea to just be there to provide the basics (WATER, food, litter), then getting close, petting and walking them "outside". I only dared to introduce them in pairs after re-gaining their complete trust (in my case it was easy, before the incident they were already worshiping me ). First few introductions were the most frustrating, since signs of aggression could come from either side. Immediately the "offender" was gently but swiftly "removed" back to isolation. In time, aggression was progressively delayed until acceptance came, then interest, then near normality which is the current stage.

Of course, by no means am I an expert, but if you can find anything that "worked for me" useful, then my sharing makes sense .
back to your furmates...
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbear View Post
It's a GREAT way, provided you have one at hand...
Doesn't every household have a broom?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Do you keep your broom behind your door? Really, there's no need to start a flame, please re-read the OP and you'll understand why I wasn't in the right circumstance to go looking for household care products...
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