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Cornering Kitty!!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey gang - It's been a long time since I've been to TCS and I'm back looking for help. I'm sure that there must be similar posts in both "behaviour" and/or "introducing new kitty" but I'm not finding specifically what I need. Here's the deal. I have two cats, Chester and Moe. Chester is a long-haired orange tabby (absolutely gorgeous), about 5 years old and the playground bully. Moe is a skinny little black and white noodle cat resembling a penguin who is a happy-go-lucky crazy affectionate little dude, about 6 years old. My boyfriend has moved in with me with HIS gorgeous long-haired stripey female tabby, Dusty, who is about 7 years old. We moved Dusty in about 5 or 6 weeks ago and did "all the right things" introducing her to the other two cats. All was fine. We were surprised, in fact, at how well the introduction went, other than the initial hissing and spitting and "who's that smell belong to", the usual stuff, but nothing alarming. Chester is the alpha male and always has been. Dusty has been queen of her castle and unlike Moe, she doesn't back down from Chester which he is quite perturbed about. Over the last couple of weeks, we've noticed that Chester (primarily) has been cornering Dusty in various places, including the room where the litter boxes are (we have three boxes) and now Moe is sort of his lieutenant in this behaviour. The problem is that over the last three days, Dusty is now peeing and pooping nowhere near her litterbox and did a poop this morning right in front of my boyfriend on an armchair with Chester and Moe ganging up on her on either side. I caught her last night peeing on a garbage bag on the kitchen floor. Chester and Moe were nowhere in sight, but I think the thought of going to the litter box and the association of being cornered in there is stressing her right out. The cornering/ganging-up is a constant battle and we have decided to go through the re-introduction process again. I have put Dusty back in the room where we initially had her when we brought her home. She has familiar-smelling things there, as well as all the amenities (food, water, litter), including a wicked floor-to-ceiling cat treehouse which had been a constant source of territorial battles but she is no longer showing a lot of interest in it, probably because of the constant battles. I've laid a towel down on the floor in front of the door, sprayed with a citrus scent to try and block Chester and Moe from smelling Dusty as much as possible as well as to prevent them from playing nasty footsie under the door. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated regarding how to stop the Terrible Twosome (who really aren't bad kitties) from cornering Dusty and how to get Dusty de-stressed and assimiliated (again) into our happy cat home. Sorry for the length of this post, but wanted to try and be as detailed as possible.

Thanks to all for your time and suggestions.
post #2 of 6
It sounds to me like you have to teach Chester to stop being a bully. I usually use the "time out" method for the aggressor (Chester). And give him a reward when he is being good with Dusty.
I am not sure if you should continue spraying the citrus since it may lead to more isolation. But keeping Dusty in a safe zone now is a good move.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ah yes - the "time out" - Chester is very familiar with the "time out"! I think Chester is not so much of a bully as he is confused by this interloper who challenges his alpha status! Dusty had a good day in protective custody yesterday (and no litter box mishaps) and Chester and Moe were fine. The citrus spray on the towel that I've laid in front of the door of Dusty's safe room is certainly a temporary measure and will be removed once we start the slow reintroduction process. I wanted to put the citrus spray on the towel because I know that if I didn't, Chester and Moe would have pulled the towel away from the door and the nasty footsie game would have started before they were ready to start "communicating" again. Thanks for the input - we're just going to take the reintroduction process very slowly and be patient with all of the furbabies as they figure out their hierarchy.
post #4 of 6
Also, how many litter boxes do you have? If you have just one Chester may be asserting his ownership over that box.
post #5 of 6
What kind of litter boxes do you have? If they're covered, Dusty may feel insecure because she can't see the bullies coming. Same thing if they're hidden or in a corner where she doesn't have a second escape route.

Good luck with your re-introductions.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks Goldycat and Breelablue for your input - I have three covered litter boxes, none of which have a door and they were all going into each other's boxes with no problems at all. What is interesting is I realized yesterday that right around the time that Dusty started having litter issues was right around the time that we started ignoring Chester's night-time "hello!! pay attention to me" shenanigans where he would get up onto the wall unit in my bedroom in the middle of the night and start knocking things off, just to get me up to watch him eat in the kitchen. As soon as we decided to ignore him, he stopped pulling these shenanigans, started sleeping through the night on the bed again and also started in with his cornering techniques and hence, Dusty's "you pee'd/pooped where?!?!" Dusty has been calm and happy in protective custody and now that I've removed the citrus-sprayed towel from the bottom of the door, I've been giving the cats treats on either side of the door to have a positive association with each other. There have been no bad footsie fights under the door and we will move slowly to having open door sniffing contests before bringing Dusty back out with the restless natives! She has a generally very laid-back personality and is a very gentle, loving cat - I think she's gotten very stressed out but her behaviour towards the boys hasn't done her any favours either; hissing or growling at them as they would walk by, not even aware of her or taking shots at them with a quick swat of the paw. I'm sure it will all sort itself out, but patience is definitely the key. They're all good kitties and considering Chester was a rescue cat who'd been abandoned and abused and lived on the mean streets before I adopted him, he's a completely different cat than the angry, mistrustful, didn't-know-how-to purr beastie that he is now. I think he just has very ingrained survival instincts that will not go away and Moe and Dusty are very domesticated, never having to be scroungers or live in abusive households. Kitty harmony will reign one day again. Thanks all!
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