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Any ideas for how to help with jumping behavior?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Gary and I had six feral rescues. 5 were rescued within two years of each other, and for the first three years we had a lot of fosters coming through. We lived in the RV during this time, and they were always great with newbies.

We moved into a house in 2004 and the rescued Ming Loy. Everyone was fine with her but Spooky, who took a year to adjust to the situation - 6 months before she stopped actively going after her.

We moved back into the RV last year. Everything's been great - they all love it, and they have LOTS of space, lots of vertical space, and they were all quite happy.

November, we had no choice but to rescue a 7th kitty, Billy. He, however, is not a small kitten, but a little over a year old. Kitten like - but basically full grown. Obviously, we were worried about how Spooky would react.

Flowerbelle and Tuxedo were fine with him. Shelly's been generally nice to him - grooms him and everything - but Shel does chase him as soon as he's done in the litter box if Shel notices it. Spooky took about two weeks to stop hissing at him, but she never went after him. Same with Ming Loy. They're both fine with him now.

In fact, Ming Loy and Shelly sleep with him under the bed.

Lazlo (our alpha) is having a major problem with him. But he is NOT consistent about it. Sometimes he ignores him - but about 2/3 of the time, if he encounters Billy, he runs him down. Billy flees to his safe space in the corner of the bedroom, where he's got two different ways to escape under the bed. Lazlo, thankfully, doesn't follow him under there.

But Billy has become "gun shy" so to speak. If he sees Lazlo, he flees. Frequently, when he comes to jump on the bed (can't see who's up here before he jumps up) - he'll see any cat and immediately jump down to flee.

Here's the issue. He has taken to moving around not slowly and cautiously - but quickly, by going from lying down to jumping about 2 - 3 feet and generally bounding around.

For instance - he'll be lying on the pillows behind me. Spooky jumps up at the foot of the bed. She no longer has a problem with him, and is just sauntering up for pets. But he sees her - and in a second "JUMP, JUMP" is down to his corner and under the bed.

The problem? Gary lies on the side of the bed where Billy's "safe" corner is. So his first jump is ALWAYS solidly right on Gary - usually his stomach, but sometimes other, more sensitive places, or his legs - and he's moving fast, so his back claws often give a good dig in (and Gary sleeps with his legs out of the blankets).

It happens so fast, it's not like I can grab him and help him move more graciously to where he wants to go. It's like a REALLY fast Tigger!

And he's doing this no matter which kitty comes - despite the fact that none but Lazlo have bothered him for some time.

ANY thoughts at all as to how we change this behavior?

I wouldn't freak out as much as Gary does - but our switching sides of the bed isn't an option. It's been 15 years, and we're set in our ways on this one.

Gary always yells "OW!" so we're pretty sure Billy knows he's hurting him - I just think his fear is bigger than his caring that he's hurting Gary.

Any thoughts at all??????????????????? Because we haven't come up with any.

post #2 of 3
My Oscar usually flees when he sees Stumpy, and to some degree a few of the other cats. The only thing that I've been able to do to get it under control is to work one on one with Oscar. When he is with me and a cat walks up that he has a fear of, I go to an extreme to do things that will keep Oscar calm. He loves his head scritched and when I mash my head against his. If I see a cat approaching, I do this to distract him, and when the cat jumps up, I hold him and continue doing this to keep him calm. I then work on the arriving cat by giving them their favorite types of scritches. I want both of them to be in a "happy zone" when they are close to each other if that makes any sense to you. More often than not, the cat that approaches will start to groom him, which allows both of them to relax and bond.

I still see Oscar fleeing from Stumpy when I'm not with him to enable a happy interaction. But at least when the 2 of them are near me, the antagonism has stopped between them.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks Amy.

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