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Major bullying problem

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have re-trained cats, taught them to talk (actually speak words), and made friends with even the nastiest kitties, so why can't I stop my own 2 cats from fighting? Apparently my methods which I normally use are not working. All of the cats I have adopted throughout my life were disadvantaged in one way or another; in other words, I adopt the kitties that are NOT likely to find forever homes. Right now I have two cats. After the passing of my beloved Hershey last June (my best friend for 12 years) I was so lonely without her I decided to adopt a new cat. I called several breeders and many, many Humane Society shelters around the country looking for a dark chocolate (slightly lighter than a sable) Burmese with green eyes, which was what Hershey was. Unfortunately, no one had any. After a month I gave up trying to find a cat that resembled her and decided to get another kitty, breed and looks not important. I adopted a Tortie named Minerva from a local shelter. 24 hours after bringing her home I changed her name to Minja. She was no Greek Goddess - she was one crazy kitty. She screamed all day long. She wanted food in her mouth every second. She jumped all over the counters, tables, dressers, etc. knocking things over and making a mess. She jumped on the stove, even when the flames were on and pots of liquid were boiling. Two weeks of one-on-one training put an end to the bad behavior. I later learned she had been adopted several times and returned because the new guardians couldn't deal with her. Three weeks after coming home with me, getting meals at regular times, lots of love and toys and window perches, she became an entirely different cat. She was an absolutely adorable, affectionate kitty. Everything was great. I had her for about 2 months when I got an e-mail from someone who worked at one of the Humane Society adoption shelters in Denver. She had kept my name on file in case they got a dark brown Burmese in. Well, it turned out that a bunch of Burmese escaped from their breeders and the HSUS had trapped several. One was a dark brown with green eyes, and was being fostered at the time. They asked me if I was still interested in adopting, and I said yes. They explained to me she was feral, and had been fostered for 2 months, and was in a home with other cats. I flew to Denver and back in one day. She had to be sedated to get her in the carrier, and did not tolerate being touched, but was not aggressive. When I got her home, I put her in a separate room with a cat tree, potty, toys and window perch. It took a month for her to realize I was her new guardian and start trusting me. She rubs herself on my legs when I am at the computer, and rolls around and shows off in front of me. She still does not like to be touched, although I have managed to get in several pets without getting bitten, which is her usual reaction to just about everything - biting. Minja was aware of her presence - she would stick her long legs under the door and let the new cat (named Hershey Rose) smell her. After 3 months I opened Hershey Rose's door so the two could actually meet. They met. Minja has a new habit now, which she puts to use every chance she gets. Its called harass Hershey Rose. She will chase her if she tries to come out of her room. If I catch her at it, she gets a time out in the bathroom. She will sit right in the entrance to HR's room and hiss and growl, letting her know she better not come out. They have even gotten into a growling and swatting fight (no one was hurt but Mom was totally pissed off). She has bullied HR so much that the poor kitty (1 year old) sticks her head out the door but won't come out of the room. So now I make sure Minja is confined to the bedroom with me when I go to bed, and HR is free to roam the house in peace at night. The few times she has ventured out into the living room or bedroom, she has been pounced on by Minja. Minja gets another time out. I think at this point Minja knows every single inch of the bathroom by heart - she spends a great deal of her day in time out. I have encouraged Minja to come into HR's room when I am in it, and she has. She sniffed all over and then went for HR who was sleeping in her cube in the cat tree. HR is not aggressive toward Minja unless attacked first. Minja is the instigator. They are equal in size and weight, but I am frightened if they really get into it, Minja is going to get badly hurt as HR is feral and her nails are not clipped, as Minja's are weekly.

 

Sorry for the extremely long post but wanted to give you the background on the kitties. Minja eats store-bought regular food and kibble, HR is on raw (thanks to the ladies on this list who walked me though it). HR had Feliway in her room up until 3 days ago when I ran out. Her disposition has not changed. I would love to see them both in the same room at the same time without Minja going off like an A-bomb. It has been almost a month now and I am getting tired of chasing Minja around. Does anyone know if they make Prozac for cats? Seriously, can anyone offer any suggestions to this weary mom?

 

Lei Ann

post #2 of 9

Does HR have health issues? Why not give both your cats raw? Why Feliway for HR only? Why not place Feliway around the house? Have you tried Rescue Remedy (mixed in their water)? Both cats need the calming effect of these remedies not only one.

There are several tips on cat introduction http://www.thecatsite.com/a/introducing-cats-to-cats which may help you. 

Time outs have worked for me, but only because the one being disciplined hated it and the time out was less than 20 minutes. Minja seems to see the bathroom as her room now. 

Try the tips in the article. Also, avoid being fearful when your two meet. They can sense your feelings which may aggravate the situation. 

post #3 of 9

I'm glad to hear you and Hershey Rose are doing well, but sorry about Minja's catitude!    I've had luck with Rescue Remedy in the water bowl and also Peacemaker essence from Spirit Essences.   Feliway diffusers are expensive so you might want to try buying the spray so you can blitz the whole place regularly, not just HR's room.    Worst case there are indeed psych drugs you can give Minja, some even come in transdermal gel form so you would just rub it in her ear every day. 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastfriend View Post

I'm glad to hear you and Hershey Rose are doing well, but sorry about Minja's catitude!    I've had luck with Rescue Remedy in the water bowl and also Peacemaker essence from Spirit Essences.   Feliway diffusers are expensive so you might want to try buying the spray so you can blitz the whole place regularly, not just HR's room.    Worst case there are indeed psych drugs you can give Minja, some even come in transdermal gel form so you would just rub it in her ear every day. 


Hi Bastfriend,

 

I've tried Rescue Remedy on both cats, no change. Feliway was used for HR because she was/is feral and that did help. She is also on Xanax, 1/8 mg which was a life saver. The poor thing was afraid of her own shadow when I got her home. Now she is afraid of Minja. She was fostered in Denver by a wonderful lady who also had other cats, so she has been "cat social" although she is not human social yet. I work with her every day, and she will play with me with her fishing pole toys, but will not allow me to touch her. Her foster mom had the same problem. I am able to sneak in a pet or two at times. One of HRs major problems was TSA. I flew to Denver to pick her up (I live in San Diego). I had called ahead to both the TSA HQ and the Denver airport and was assured that if transporting a feral animal, a visual inspection of her and the carrier would be all they would do. When I got there it was another story entirely. They took us into a room, forced her out of the carrier so they could x-ray the perfectly see-through carrier, and she went ballistic. The idiot that took her out chased her all over the room, terrifying her, while all I could do was cry and beg him to stop. Stupid government employee. In the process, she knocked over a touchier lamp which broke on my head, and literally flew from the floor to the ceiling. Turns out the employee did NOT have the authority to remove her in the first place. TSA had to write up a report as I was injured, the animal was terrified, and they did not follow protocol. HR was not the same after that. All that her foster mom had accomplish was ruined in 20 minutes. I tried to hire an attorney but none would take on the TSA. I did write a letter to the Editor of the Denver Post but do not know if it was ever published. I also put in a complaint to TSA but of course it does no good complaining to the government. It has been 3 months and I am finally gaining her trust. Minja was already adopted and returned several times (found out after adoption) due to behavior problems (food monger, screamed all day for food, but we got past that with proper training and lots of love). I have found several people who have Torties, some house cats and some ferals, and they have all told me the Tortie is the bully in the house. I wonder if it has something to do with her breed?

 

I am slowly tapering HR off the Xanax as she is comfortable around me and her room. The other day she got sick of Minja harassing her and took a swat at her (Minja was in HRs room at the time). Maybe I should start Minja on Xanax to calm her down? Feliway is way too expensive for me to use it in every room, and Minja doesn't drink much water. Maybe I'll try putting it in her food. I would love for HR to come out of her room. She has on a few occasions when Minja is sleeping, but the minute Minja wakes up she goes after her. I would really like some peace in this house!

 

An unhappy mommy

 

Lei-Ann

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post

Does HR have health issues? Why not give both your cats raw? Why Feliway for HR only? Why not place Feliway around the house? Have you tried Rescue Remedy (mixed in their water)? Both cats need the calming effect of these remedies not only one.

There are several tips on cat introduction http://www.thecatsite.com/a/introducing-cats-to-cats which may help you. 

Time outs have worked for me, but only because the one being disciplined hated it and the time out was less than 20 minutes. Minja seems to see the bathroom as her room now. 

Try the tips in the article. Also, avoid being fearful when your two meet. They can sense your feelings which may aggravate the situation. 


HR does not have health issues. HR is feral which is why she had the Feliway. I cannot financially afford to place Feliway around the house. Rescue Remedy did not seem to work for either cat; it was the first thing I tried. Minja's time outs are 10 minutes long and she now knows after a month of being put in there every time she harasses HR why she is there. The minute I pick her up after she's gone after HR she starts screaming because she knows she's going to get a time out. Generally, HR does not come out of her room as she doesn't want to deal with Minja, so Minja stands outside the threshold and starts hissing and growling which results in HR hissing and growling which results in Mom picking up Minja and putting her in the bathroom with a stern "No". She has the routine down pat, knows the consequences, yet continues to purposely harass HR. I know several people who have Torties, and recently learned from them that those with multi-cat houses have problems with their Torties being bullies. I wonder if it has something to do with the breed? Will look into the link. Thank you.

 

Lei-Ann

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post

Does HR have health issues? Why not give both your cats raw?

Sorry, forgot to answer that. HR was feral when trapped by HSUS. She was about 10 months old. She was eating good food at her foster moms. I checked into raw feeding because when I got HR she had diarrhea. She had it for 8 weeks and still the vet could not figure out what was wrong. Then I found this site. I posted my problem and got so many responses saying feed her raw food, that I started to look into it. First I bought RAD but it was too expensive to feed it to her on a permanent basis, so I asked for some help. Everyone on this list was so helpful I was able to make my own food. When I gave it to her, she lapped it up. I have been making her food for about 3 weeks now. She was easy to transition as she had only been in captivity for 2 months before I got her. Minja is 3 yrs old, and when I adopted her she had been on Petco and Petsmart food and lots of kibble. She is resistant to transition. I have been adding a little bit of raw to her food, trying to increase it weekly, but she manages to eat the junk and leave the raw, even though I mix it in. Sooner or later she will learn to love it, because it is my intent that they both be on raw. By the way, she will not eat any of the healthy food you buy at cat "health food" stores. She only eats the junky stuff like Friskies canned food. I have been able to get her on one of the better kibbles, but when the bag is finished, the kibble will not be replaced. Food monger or not, she's going to have to learn to live with it. No more free feeding after this.

 

Lei-Ann

post #7 of 9

Hi HM, a few thoughts....   I have a mostly tortie calico who is half-feral and she's been submissive to every other cat she's met and gets bullied herself by her full grown son so the tortie bully trend doesn't apply to her anyway.     Financially and practically, it really would work to buy the Feliway spray and just get a routine every day of spraying it in say 5 strategic spots around your house.  The spray bottle last for months.   I do this when my diffusers run out and it works quite well.   

 

As for flower essences you can rub them right on Minja's ear.   That's really the most direct way to give it.   Spirit Essences' Peacemaker is not the same as Rescue Remedy and has special essences in it to address aggression and jealousy.   I have my own custom blend of Bach flower essences I use on my cats - works pretty well too.  Still my gut tells me that Minja's aggression comes from a place of feeling cast aside and replaced by HR.   Have you tried spending a little special time with just her every day?   Some treat just for her or even just a new piece of cat furniture she can get on?   Special brushing time?    Make sure not to do these things after she's been aggressive though - wouldn't want her to feel rewarded for that!

 

I'm still outraged by your and HR's TSA experience.    Between that and what happened to Jack the Cat I don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable bringing my cats through an airport again.   It's a shame you can't get any compensation or official apology.

post #8 of 9

So in short, you got Minja (the tortie), then you got HR.  Both are rescues.  You kept them separate while HR settled in, then you opened the door and Minja doesn't like HR one little bit.

 

It strikes me you needed to go far more gradually from separate to togeather and it's been too much for Minja.  In effect you've dong from 0mph to 100 mph in one fell swoop.  I'd suggest that you start by separating them again, and do some research about a more careful planned introduction, some reading includes:

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/introducing-cats-to-cats

 

Remember you do it at their pace, not your pace.

post #9 of 9

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