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Advice Please

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have 4 cats with a possibility of keeping the stray I just rescued and need some advice. I love reading everyone's suggestions and have learned alot. It does seem that everyone here with a multi-cat household experiences some difficulties with cats getting along all of the time. I also have living with me 3 young cats, 2 littermates and another around the same age. I keep them separate from my cats as my daughter will take them with her when she gets married in September. I fostered them and they all get along great!! My other daughters have multi cat households-2 in one home and 3 in another- again all get along-no problems at all. Of my 4 cats, the oldest female can be the sweetest cat in the world-but there are times when she can just be so nasty. She does tolerate 2 of the others, every once in a while she may hiss or just growl, but I have a rescued feral and there are times she just goes after her. Sometimes they lay in the same room and everything is fine, then for no apparent reason, she will just try to attack her. I tried the Feliway comfort plug-in and although I have heard it is great, I swear it made her worse. Right now I am trying SpiritEssences with little or no change. I just actually had to take my feral to the vet, which was an experience, because she had an infection on her back that may have been caused by a bite from my cat. I am so upset, I also just rescued another stray who is still in isolation and since shelters here are so full, I would love to keep him and give him a home. I would love for all to get along, do you think that maybe I should just isolate the aggressive one from the others? Right now she is sitting on my lap purring and so sweet, it sounds crazy but it is almost as if she is jealous because of all of the time I have spent working with the feral. This poor feral had such a bad start to her life, I am committed to her having the best life from now on. I do keep her in her own room during the night so I have peace of mind that she is not being tormented. Any advice or help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 12
I am sort of having the same issue. But in my case my prev. cat wants to play and it scares the feral/semiferal cat and they end up in a fight.

the old cat probably veiws the feral cat as an intruder to her territory. try to do the whole recommended introduction thing the humane society says to do. after that time, feed them together, try to pet them together, if they will play with them together (unless it results in a fight). they should get used to each other.
post #3 of 12
In my experience, time outs aka isolation periods work well for over aggressive cats. This is where I keep them for an hour at the most. It takes 2 or more times in there until they realize what is in store whenever they get into fights.

As you can see, it is open and they can watch the rest of the cats having fun which may be the reason why they dislike the time out.
post #4 of 12
Like brothers and sisters, not everyone gets along all the time. And female cats tend to resent and take longer to accept new cats coming in the house. You can't make them like a newcomer instantly; even if they are used to other cats.

I would be sure all cats claws are clipped and let them work things out. Unless one cat is cornering others and preventing them from eating or using the litter pan, things usually work out over time.

Maybe your kitty is having more of a problem with the revolving door in new cats coming and going. They like more of stability

Yayi - I love your cage you built. Even if its a time out, its not a little box
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice. actually the feral I have had for about a year and a half. she pretty much likes to stay in her own room, it is a sunroom, very much like living outside with all the comforts of home. it really is a perfect place for a cat that was used to being outside having a safe home. she seems perfectly content and never goes near the door or windows. the foster kittens are no where near my cats and my new stray is in a bedroom recovering from his problems. maybe the answer in to just put the older female in an area of the house where she could be alone and have just human contact. it would be so nice if they got along, i just don't want to have any of the cats get hurt.
post #6 of 12
I don't have any suggestions for you. I've never been in that situation. But I thought you might like to hear about the experience of a friend of mine.

He and his wife had 3 cats, 2 male and one female. They took in a feral female and a stray (but not feral) male. The 2 newcomers had been living in their backyard and my friend wanted them inside where they would be safer.

The 2 resident males did not like the newcomers at all. They would attack them at every opportunity. Well, long story short, after 1 1/2 years the resident males still will attack the newcomers on occasion but infrequently enough that it isn't a major problem. The newcomers have learned to avoid the 2 males.Serious wounds are rare. Usually it's just fur flying.

I hope this helps.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information. I did not think wounds would be serious either and there has only been hissing and a little screaming at times. Most of the time they lay in the sunroom, separately of course, and just relax. On a few occasions there has been an outburst. I can fully understand that, I have had cats all of my life and every once in a while there is a squirmish. My concern has grown because I had to take the feral to the vet, which she did not like at all!! Last week while petting her I noticed a small sore on her left side by her back leg. It had already scabbed, I thought maybe she scratched it on the bottom of a chair she likes to lay under. Within a day or two she developed a bump on her back right above her tail. I called the vet, explained as much as I could, she suspected a hot spot as she was seeing alot of hot spots on cats lately. We tried the antibiotics route but I could tell it was not going to work. She really preferred to see the cat anyway. So I scooped her up into a carrier yesterday morning and took her to the vet. By then she had bitten at the bump and it began to drain and had a horrible odor. They cleaned her up, stitched her, and gave her an antibiotic shot that would be time released for the next two weeks. She also got a very thorough check up so I was happy about that. She is home now, a little afraid but I am getting head bumped so I know she is okay with me. I do not know if it was a bug or mosquito bite as my vet suspected, or if my aggressive cat bit her. That is my major concern, if she indeed did bite her and it caused that much damage, what do I do now? I am almost afraid to leave them unattended today. I kept her isolated in the sunroom all of last night and into the early afternoon. I feel so guilty, bringing her into a home and then having her afraid to be attacked in the very home she should feel safe in. But where she was and the condition she was in, she would have never survived if I put her back out. She has made so much progress, the vet that spayed her cannot believe she is the same crazy cat I brought to her. I know that I have said alot, it is just so stressful and upsetting thinking she may be injured again by one of my own cats. Has anyone tried the Spirit Essences? I am going to try and see if that will help. I would do anything to help this situation, and any advice is appreciated.
post #8 of 12
This actually sounds pretty normal for us. Spooky - who LOVES pets and cuddles - hates new cats, especially if they're female. It takes her about six months to accept the new cat - meaning before she'll stop hissing, swatting, or lunging at them for just being there or walking by. After that, it's about another six months before we'll find her grooming the "new" kitty. All told, it takes her about a year.

Thankfully, Feliway used two weeks on and two weeks off helps around here. Also, giving her extra attention and play time (an extra 10 minutes each morning and evening of play time) helps work off the stress. We give her lots of reassurance that we still love her - but any time we see her hiss, growl, or espcially attack the newbie, we clap our hands loudly together and say "Spooky, NO" (you can also use an empty can with coins in it) - and we give her treats and heap praise on her any time she's near the other kitty and ignores her or the other kitty walks by her and she doesn't hiss (and we see it).

Just remember that positive reinforcement is as necessary as the "no's." And regardless of how she feels about the "new" kitty, at least she'll understand what you want from her.

post #9 of 12
Oh sorry - forgot to mention. To help your fiesty girl associate the new cat (s) with good things, rub the new kitty all over with a clean rag or wash cloth (best if it doesn't have smell of fabric softener on it). Put one under the food bowl (if your kitties free feed). Take another one, do the same thing, and put treats down for her on the "new kitty smell" rag twice a day for like a month.

Also, does she respond to catnip? If so, take two new catnip toys, and give one to the new kitty and your aggressive girl. Let them drool all over them. Put each one in a different plastic baggie and write the name of the kitty that drooled all over it. After a week, give your existing girl the one the new kitty drooled all over and vice versa.

Another thing to try is vanilla. Each morning and evening for two weeks to a month, dab vanilla on a rag and rub the scent at the base of the tail, back of the neck and under the chin of EACH cat. This will help confuse the smells, which sometimes helps calms things down.

We've never used Spirit Essences, but have used Bach's Flower Remedies. We use mostly Rescue Remedy. (Available at http://www.catfaeries.com). My guess is that SpiritEssences are similar. Sometimes they really help kitties - they didn't seem to do much for ours, but there are definite success stories out there.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the good advice!! I am willing to try anything to have things go smoothly around here.
post #11 of 12
Good luck KRZ! It's taken me a year to get my adult female to stop trying to murder our newest member. To be fair, the new one (a young male) aggravates her. They each have been and received a bit of nasty! But, after a lot of persistence they're finally beginning to chill. They have all been in together for about 11 months now so the constant exposure has helped them sort it out. Of course, if your female is inflicting wounds on the other cat best to take it slow. Sounds like you're on the right path!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everyone, I guess I may sound overly upset with this situation but I was okay with it until I had to take my feral to the vet. I know that they majority of the wound was from her biting at it herself. I am pretty sure if it was from my cat it was only a small scratch. My vet said that a hot spot is very uncomfortable and that is likely why she kept aggravating it. But at least now it is taken care of, she is a little afraid of me again, after a year and a half we had made alot of progress. I am keeping her quiet in her own room where she knows she is safe and hopefully things will get back to normal with just an occasional hiss at one another. Knowing that other people have this same situation is a little comforting. I am always amazed how many multi cat households have no problems-I wish the same were true here!!
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