TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Nasty little kitty
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Nasty little kitty

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just found these forums and I am desparate for help.

4 years ago I took in a little female stray kitten. She was barely weened and probably just a couple of months old. She is now a whopping 4.5 pounds, healthy and active. It was a long road in the beginning because when I found her she was pretty sick, thin, and ear mite infested. A few months of some TLC and she got better. When she got healthy, I named her Sassy....because...well...she was, and always has been. She likes to think she is alpha but when it comes down to it, she just growls and hisses a lot.

Now, over the course of the 4 years since, I have introduced a nuerotic Dachsie (wiener dog) puppy, now 2 years old. Introductions went well and they became playmates....on Sassy's terms. Then, last year I brought in a lab/wiemeriener mix, also a puppy, now 1 year old. That introduction took time and they still don't get along...tolerate is more the word. Two weeks ago I felt sorry for a 6-7 month old bengal kitten trying to get in my back door. I took him in (I call him Fozzy) and he is also now part of the zoo.

Now, Sassy, the first stray I rescued has always been snotty, often hiding in one room and only coming out for any duration when the dogs are in their crates. This was how things went for a long time. Since the new kitty was brought in, Sassy refuses to come out of the bathroom. I have had to set up a second litter box and food/water dishes because she will not come out. When she does, if she catches even a glimpse of Fozzy she tucks tail and runs. I should mention that she has never walked around the house with her tail anywhere but down. Fozzy on the other hand never puts his tail down. The problem is compounded by the Dachsie and his unrelenting instinct to chase. He still thinks Sassy is his buddy, however often gets a face full of claws. This didn't happen before the new kitten came in....at least not as often.

Fozzy, the new kitten is nuetral and gets along, even playing with both dogs. He attempts to play with Sassy, but Sassy will have none of that. Ears back, tail bushed, growling/hissing, the whole nine yards.

How do I get Sassy over her superiority complex and get her to be a more civil family member?
post #2 of 12
Hello and welcome to TCS. There are many experts here who should be able to give you some good advice. IMO you need to start the whole introduction thing again, and it may take some time. Get them used to each other's smell with exchanging blankets, litter trays etc. And sometimes making them all smell alike by putting drops of vanilla essence on the neck and tail can work wonders. But I am sure someone with better advice will be along soon. Good luck.
post #3 of 12
Hi there... First step: Delete the idea that Sassy has a superiority complex - she doesn't.
All these signs you are talking about IMO, especially with the last kitty, are of a cat that is scared, and not comfortable in her own place.
Sassy, as the first one in the household, should be treated like an alpha by the others; should be respected as the #1. For this to happen, a formal introduction should have taken place. You can still do it, and your part will be to help her to re-establish the pack order.

She needs to be the one with full roam of the house. Who is she uncomfortable with? Obviously the last kitty... Is she comfortable to be out and about with the dogs?

Whoever she is no comfortable with, needs to be locked up ion a room. From that point on, you can start to introduce them slowly, in the course of a couple of weeks or so. Look at this thread for instructions (click).
Only once she is comfortable with the new cat (or dog), you will let him loose.

If Sassy hisses and scratches, let her do it - she is establishing herself as the leader, and you need to let her do it; please do not discipline her when this happens.

Also, whenever feeding or petting them, make sure she is the first to be treated. She is the first to get food, petting, etc.

With lots of patience you should be able to re-establish the order in your house. Good luck!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your advice, and I will certainly take it.

Sassy has always been what I would describe to be nasty, hence her name. She tolerated the Dachsie until he got bigger than she was. They would play and play together for quite awhile until the Dachsie wore out his welcome. Then she would let him know she didn't want to play anymore.

She has never really acted like a cat. Doesn't like catnip, doesn't play with toys, won't chase a string, won't even sneak into and empty paper sack. Has no interest is cat like behavior at all. Actually acts more like a dog. I should mention that we had a Chihuhua (since passed away) at the time we rescued Sassy. When Sassy was a kitten she always wanted to play with the Chihuhua, but the dog was old and tired and didn't share the desire. Fozzy, the new kitten is the first contact with another cat she has ever had.

When the new puppy, the lab mix, came in, Sassy started getting nastier and no longer played with the Dachsie. She started her retreating to another room about the time we got the new puppy. He was crate trained so spent much of his first several weeks here in a crate while the Dacshie and Sassy had the run of the house. The lab mix is now 110 pounds, to a 4 1/2 pound cat I can understand why there is no comaraderie there. The big puppy has never had much interest in Sassy at all and ignores her presence.

As far as who Sassy is not comfortable with is pretty much all the other animals. Feeding in my house is a whenever you are hungry schedual. I leave hard food out for the cats where the dogs cant reach, and hard food out for the dogs. The cats won't eat the hard dog food which is a larger kibble. I fill both bowls in the morning. I feed a premium hard food and very rarely give canned soft food, other than an occasional treat. All my animals are very healthy and their diets are vet approved. Watering is done via a 3 gallon self waterer.

She will come out when the dogs are out of their cages, but she stays slunk to the ground, quiet, and out of sight as much as she can. The dogs know she is there but only the Dacshie will ackowledge that and then only looks to see what she is doing. Too many clawed swipes to the nose to bother her beyond that. She is able to perch out of their reach.

I never scold when she is aggresive for two reasons; One I know she is trying to say "hey, I am the boss and I don't appreciate this attention", and second, she is 4 1/2 pounds. There isn't much to her to cause any damage. I keep her claws groomed because I do have small children, but she is still able to use them in defense and offense.

So, with all that said, I am not sure I can restore order. I know it will take work and I am willing to do that.
post #5 of 12
Oh God, I feel sorry for her... It sounds like she is miserable in this situation... It really really doesn't sound like she is nasty; just miserable. Poor thing...
Also, are you sure she is getting enough food? 4 1/2 lbs is nothing for a cat... Actually is the least I have ever heard... I am working with a cat who is malnourished, and she is was 7.5 lbs when she got here, and she was tiny!
My Lucky weighs 11.2 lbs, and Bugsy 15... Just a thought.
The room that she is "leaving" at - does she have food and water in there?
Can you make available food and water for her in this room at all times? It would also be great to place an extra litter box in there, if at all possible.
Let her stay there for as long as she want, and allow her to come out when she is comfortable... You can start by doing this.
And oh, give her LOTS of love and attention - she needs that, I promise you, that is not a nasty cat...
post #6 of 12
Sassy sounds to me like a kitty who is not comfortable in her environment. If you had multiple giants moving around your world, and no control over it, you'd probably freak out, too.

Is Sassy spayed?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinalima View Post
Oh God, I feel sorry for her... It sounds like she is miserable in this situation... It really really doesn't sound like she is nasty; just miserable. Poor thing...
Also, are you sure she is getting enough food? 4 1/2 lbs is nothing for a cat... Actually is the least I have ever heard... I am working with a cat who is malnourished, and she is was 7.5 lbs when she got here, and she was tiny!
My Lucky weighs 11.2 lbs, and Bugsy 15... Just a thought.
The room that she is "leaving" at - does she have food and water in there?
Can you make available food and water for her in this room at all times? It would also be great to place an extra litter box in there, if at all possible.
Let her stay there for as long as she want, and allow her to come out when she is comfortable... You can start by doing this.
And oh, give her LOTS of love and attention - she needs that, I promise you, that is not a nasty cat...
She is, and always has been allowed to eat when she wants and I keep the bowl full. A couple years ago I was also concerend about her weight and began leaving hard food out all day in addition to feeding a canned soft food twice a day. After 4 months of that she never put on any wieght. She is now 4 years old and fully grown. The vet says she is healthy and I have nothing to worry about. She has a beautiful shiny long hair grey coat with green eyes. She is smaller than the bengal kitten I brought in two weeks ago. The dogs do not have access to her or where I have the cat's food and she frequents the bowl several times a day.

As far as her not being nasty, I guess you would have had to have known her from the beginning. She gets as much attention as she will allow you to give her. I give her a few affectionate pets and a smooch or two and I even talk to her when I pass her. I have never ignored her.

We have tried experiments where we would leave the dogs outside on tie outs all day and she would be the only animal in the house. The results were the same. She was still cranky, growly, and really not receptive to attention.

I was concerened that she might not be eating enough so did indeed supply her with food and fresh water in the room she refuses to come out of.

I love her to death, as well as my other animals, but I am at a loss trying after 4 years to make her civil. My Mom had a Russian Blue with a similar disposition that lived to be 23. I know I made a commitment to this little gal, but I don't know if I can handle 23 years of this.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Sassy sounds to me like a kitty who is not comfortable in her environment. If you had multiple giants moving around your world, and no control over it, you'd probably freak out, too.

Is Sassy spayed?
I guess I never looked at it that way. The wiener dog is actually a mini, he is roughly the same size as Sassy, just heavier. The lab mix puppy ignors her and never really paid any attention to her. He is actually afraid of Sassy. If you can imagine a 110 pound dog being afraid of a 4 1/2 pound cat. He actually hides behind a chair when she comes in the room. Fozzy, the bengal out wieghs her by 3 pounds. I fear he will be a big tom. His feet are huge.

The dogs I can control. The lab is very well trained and knows his place in the house, the Dachsie is a constant challenge, per the breed. I have lost many hours of sleep getting him on track with how things work around here. As far as her not having control, I guess you would have to sit here for an hour or two to understand Sassy doesn't take any guff. She is very comfortable doling out punishment to the dogs and her people if they get on her bad side.

Sassy is spayed, yes. Except for Fozzy (pending vet visit this week), all my animals are.
post #9 of 12
Have you taken the new kitten to the vet so it can be scanned for a microchip? If the new kitten is actually a Bengal, many breeders chip their kittens as do many domestic pet owners - someone could be missing their Bengal or tabby kitten.
post #10 of 12
Fozzy - did you take him to the vet before allowing contact with Sassy? Was he tested for Feline Leukemia and Aids?? Please if you didn't, isolate him in a room, and do not let him share the food, water or litter box with Sassy.
If Sassy was a stray when you brought her in, and she has always been like this, there might be a slight possibility she is a semi-feral cat, or shy...
In those cases, it takes quite a bit of work in socializing them - you can research this forum for it; there is a lot of information in here.
But one thing you keep saying, is that she is nasty - you need to start thinking like a cat... This is a sign that she is uncomfortable, and not of her having an attitude... To help her, you need to start by trying to figure out what bother her -what is she afraid of? This kitty is living in fear.
You can also discuss with your vet Kitty Prozac, if you think there is no other way out...
Feliway diffusers in the living room and in the room she spends the most amount of time in would also be beneficial.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
The evening I brought Fozzy in the house I gave him a bath, then put him in a closed room all to himself. The next day I took him to the vet and had him checked over, which included a thorough physical. He got his first round of shots and dewormer. He returns to the vet this Thursday for nuetering in addition to more shots.

Fozzy and Sassy did not meet face to face until last Saturday. Fozzy was locked up on his own before that.

The vet identified him as a Bengal kitten and suggested he be scanned because of his breeding. There was no chip present. After I returned from the vet I did post signs on phone polls about a found kitten and placed an ad in the paper. After 2 1/2 weeks there has been no response.

As far as Sassy being semi-feral; I am familiar with term meaning wild. If that is what is means, is that a result of just how she is, or exposure to the outside for a long period? She was very very young when I took her in. I doubt she was barely 2 months. As I mentioned in my original post, she was very sick, thin, and ear mite infested.

I maintain she is nasty, and let me clarify this so you understand why. If conditions are right, she will attack unprovoked. Literally coming across the room on a mission. Not a sneak and playing. Her ears are back most of the time with narrow eyes. She growls at other dogs walking past the house and hisses at birds. Just this morning I was attacked when I turned on the water faucet in the bathroom to brush my teeth. I do not argue that she is afraid of something, but I think her fears are reflecting as aggression. Is this maybe because she is so small that she thinks she needs to work harder to establish her top position?
post #12 of 12
So you've got another version of my Ophelia Rose. My Ophelia will attack people, other animals, etc. Stitches have been required in other cats before thanks to her. I got Ophelia when she was about 3 years old - a deaf feral.

Sassy could have been a feral when you got her - I have seen kittens (in fact, I get to kitten sit for another foster here a litter of 7 feral kittens over the weekend) that are 6-8 weeks old who are feral.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Nasty little kitty