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New and desperately needing help!!! Long message...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I was very happy to find this site as everyone seems to have a lot of knowledge about cats.I hope you can help us with our kitty problem. It's kind of long, but I'm just trying to give enough background info as possible.

My husband and I have had 2 beautiful siamese sisters named Mocha (seal point) and Lila (lilac point) for the past 5 years. Mocha has bonded with my husband and is very intelligent (she opens drawers, plays fetch, etc.), playful, and affectionate. Lila is my cat and is more laid back, but loves to play and cuddle. They are affectionate when the feel like it, which is fine by us. They are spayed. Since they grew up together, they get along very well. They are very well behaved and we never had any major issues with their behaviour.

Sounds idyllic, right?

It was until my husband and I decided to adopt a rescue kitten we named Lucky (about 8 mths old). After the initial hissing and growling when we brought him home, Lucky has turned into the most affectionate of the lot. He is intelligent, playful,and adorable (he's a Tuxedo cat).

We brought Lucky home in the cat carrier and he hissed at Lila, who hissed right back at him. That was that. Since then they understand each other. Mocha has been terrified of the carrier since she had an operation as a kitten (associates it with going to the vet), so she split the scene as soon as she saw it. She never saw Lucky in the carrier. Does this matter?

Next we put Lucky in a spare bedroom with his own litter box, water & food dish. It took about 3-4 days before we could pet him, but after that he has been super cuddly.

After about 1-1/2 weeks of the cats sniffing under the door, we let Lucky out although his stuff was still in 'his' room. He starting sleeping in our bedroom under the bed. The girls left him alone in the day pretty much and I never heard much activity (except him playing under the bed).

At nighttime, however, I noticed Mocha stalking him whenever he went to eat or use the litter box. She would also go under the bed and creep up on him. He would hiss and growl at her and we would yell for her to stop and she would most of the time. Over time, I moved his litterbox, food, water under the bed so he could avoid her and wouldn't use the girls' things because they were closer.

The territorial aggression and defensive aggression escalated to the point where she would chase him into other rooms. The worst for me was when he defecated himself out of fear (when Mocha & Lila were both around him). I think he felt outnumbered and terrified. After the 2nd time in as many days, I thought it best to keep him in a separate room.

When we took him back to the vet for booster shots, she mentioned that he had several bites (poor baby!).

Since then we've kept them separated with him getting his run of the house twice a day (I'm home at the moment recovering from early stage breast cancer so I have the time) for about 2 hours each time. We have a screen in the door to his room that allows them to see each other with no physical contact. I have been putting treats on either side of the door so that they will eat together, but this rarely happens. Mocha still stalks and chases him and he still runs away from her. We also try to get them together in the same room under supervision with me or my husband sitting next to him.

Lila has been an angel throughout this and has been staying out of it. We think Lila is the alpha cat of the family. She and Lucky are at the nose sniffing stage. He has stopped hissing & growling at her (trusts her).

I've tried everything I could find online so far: Feliway spray, Rescue Remedy (plus Vine fo Mocha, Remulus for Lucky), vanilla, play therapy, and food therapy.

Mocha is now taking Amitryptiline (1 week) and Lucky is on buspirone (2 weeks). I am hoping that Mocha's medication will help her to leave him alone/ignore him. We only want to use the medication in the short term. I understand that we will need to continue behaviour modification with both of them.

This has been going on since September and I'm nearing the end of my rope. We do not want to rehome the little guy. We love him to bits!!! My husband says that in 3 months after we've tried everything else, he will let them just go at it (I hate the idea, but I understand).

We stopped giving Mocha her medication as she was becoming zombie-like.

Any and all advice, prayers, whatever will be appreciated!!!

Thank you very very much!

post #2 of 13
I'll move this to the Behavior forum where our resident experts can help you.
post #3 of 13
Hi & welcome to TCS!!!!!!
post #4 of 13
Did you let them se each other after you brought the kitten home? The is a article on introducing new cats to residental cats, I think some one may know where it s. I will post it up when I find it, but if you follow the articlwe as it you will do great depending on how they react


post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Interesting that you ask that ... Lila (who tolerates Lucky very well) saw him in the carrier on the way in. Mocha (terrified of the carrier - had an operation as a kitten and hate the thing cause it means going to the doctor ...) ran as soon as she saw it. We've often asked ourselves if that might be the issue...

Thanks for replying to my question and I look forward to reading the article. I apologize for the delay in responding to you, but your message was put into an anti-spam location. I just saw it today. I'd been waiting with crossed fingers for a response. Thanks again!

Originally Posted by golden_moon_luv
Did you let them se each other after you brought the kitten home? The is a article on introducing new cats to residental cats, I think some one may know where it s. I will post it up when I find it, but if you follow the articlwe as it you will do great depending on how they react


post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help. Sorry for the late reply ... the notification e-mail was placed in my anti-spam folder...just saw it today! Happy New Year!!!
post #7 of 13
Here is the article: http://www.thecatsite.com/content/view/11/26/
Hissy is our introduction specialist here, but I would be inclined to start completely over and totally separate them and then after a time to be determined by someone smarter than I am, maybe two weeks to a month, start over with the introductions as outlined in the article. What does your vet recommend? Is there a veterinary behaviorist in your area? Becky
post #8 of 13
I would agree that separation should be the focus right now. If not for the fact that you mentioned Lucky has been bit several times, I would be inclined to let the cats figure this out for themselves.

Any time you bring a new cat into your home with other resident cats, you upset the apple cart. Siamese cats are very territorial and very possessive- at least my four were. They bond with only one person, as you have noticed, and they do not welcome other cats easily, that is their nature.

Has Lucky been neutered? Hopefully so. Although it is a bit late, when you bring a new cat into your home, it goes better if someone else actually brings the carrier into the room, and slides it on the floor past the cats, versus carrying the cat up high past the resident kitties. An elevated cat means Alpha in their language and right off the bat, that can cause conflict.

Is there anyway you can put up a screen door between Lucky and the other cats? That helps immensely. You mentioned a panel, not exactly sure what you mean by that. You can purchase comfort zone room diffusers and burn those in every room that you will have contact- you can dust the cats with brewers yeast several times a day to neutralize their scents. Make sure they do not share anything, not toys, litter pans, food bowls, or anything. Have one extra litter pan so you should have four total. Play with each cat individually in another room for at least 15 minutes every day being careful to play with your alpha cat before the others. Don't use the same toy, use different ones for each cat. Take a towel and rub all the cats, to mix their scents, and if nothing else, we do have a cat behaviorist columnist in our newsletter and in our Behavior section of the website, you can write to Wendy and ask for her advice as well-

Good luck!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to say thanks for your replies and for the interesting article on how to introduce the cats. I'm going to try the blanket trick and see how that goes. I think they have had lots of opportunity to get familiar with each other's scent, but maybe the mingling of the scents is the key.

We've tried using the Feliway diffuser without success. All cats are spayed/neutered so that is not an issue.

If anyone has any more advice it would be appreciated.

Thanks again for your support!

post #10 of 13
Hi, I don't know if you have solved your problem yet, but I thought I would give a few comments anyways. I sympathize with you because no one wants to see their little ones hurting eachother. Cats are very difficult to introduce to eachother compared to dogs. Most cats are lucky to just 'tolerate' eachother let alone be buddies. My aunt had the same problem as you. She had two cats, and introduced an adopted kitten. Both cats immediately had to let her know who was boss, and one was very aggressive. This is normal with cats as territory is everything, and they have to 'sort out' the pecking order. You have to make sure you treat each cat according to their pecking order, and never favor the lowest status cat over the highest. This sounds unfair, but these are cats-not people. In the cat world, there is no such thing as fair or equal. Cats actually need this structure to get along, so you must, for example, feed the 'top cat' first, or pet him first, or give him the best spot on the bed, etc. The lower cats will get bullied if you favor them in front of a dominant one. My aunt eventually had to put the 'bully' on medication and make sure the cats 'bonded' while he was still on medication, so he would realize there was no threat to his status. This really worked, and after he was taken off medication, the two were actually 'in love' with eachother. And everything is fine now. I think they need to be on medication long enough to 'undo' the bad start to the relationship, and make sure you don't separate them, as the whole thing would have been pointless then. Make sure the 'lower' cat has a safe feeding spot, or get fed after the dominant, in his own room with a closed door.This you may have to keep up to help the stalking problem. The 'lower' must have his own litter box, far away somewhere. Never give him the 'prime' area. Don't use punishment as this never works in cats-it only makes aggression worse and teaches them to fear you instead of respect you. Give extra attention to the top cat IN FRONT of the submissive one.
As a last note, sometimes the new cat will become the 'top' cat if he has what is takes, as this is natural too. The cats have to figure this out with themselves. You must decide who is who and go from there. I hope this helps, and I hope you did not get rid of your new little one. Jennybugz
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for your e-mail. It is very helpful. The situation has improved a LITTLE and we leave the door to Lucky's room open most of the time (except in the night and for short periods of time throughout the day - when he needs a break from looking over his shoulder). He usually sleeps with either my husband or me (never slept on his own).

When we finally opened the door, Mocha (as expected) lunged at him and bit him. He ran under the bed in his room and defended himself. She got slashed on her lower eyelid. After a few more tries and scratches, she has decided that he can stay under the bed. She runs a tight ship though and if he tries to leave the bed she pounces on him and wants to fight. If he doesn't see her for a while he sneaks downstairs and goes into the garage. When she finds out that he is not under the bed, there is hell to pay. Since he is a good under bed/car fighter, she doesn't usually attack him then. But she does sit and wait for him to come out, which is not a great way for him to live. He's still terrified of her and defecates himself when she is very aggressive.

He gets along great with our other cat Lila and although he occasionally plays too rough with her, they seem to like each other. Lila, by the way, stays well out of any disputes and doesn't seem to take sides at all.

We still lock Mocha away for a few hours every evening so he can have the run of the house and he and Lila play together (when she is in the mood).

I can see that we may be contributing to the problem by favoring him in some ways and we will adjust this. Mocha was always a very needy cat (more like a dog really) and she may feel that her position as the princess of the house has been usurped by the newbie. I have to admit that we have given him a lot of special attention because he's so damned affectionate and because we feel bad for his situation.

Thanks very much again! I really appreciate the advice.
post #12 of 13
Well from what I've read, you and your husband are doing the right thing.

Just give your cats plenty of time to adjust. Work to their schedule and don't force anything.

Give everyone an equal amount of attention. That will also show and teach Lucky that he can't have attention on demand.

And when it comes to feeding, place Mocha's bowl down first, then Lila's and finally Lucky's. That seems to be the order of the heirarchy in your house from what I've read. Make sure the most important cat is fed first.

But do keep it up. ^_^
post #13 of 13
Since Mocha is still aggressive and bullying Lucky, one thing you could add into your regime. When you open the door to let Lucky out on his own, hold Mocha and cuddle her and pet her and carry her around so that she is up high, she can see Lucky but she is getting attention from you distracting her attention from him. You want to find a way for her to associate good things and good feelings with Lucky. If she starts to resist or to get aggressive with you while being held, then separate her into her own room for a while. See if you can increase the time she and Lucky are in the same room together but while she is getting the benefits of being cuddled and recognized. She may learn to 'let Lucky be' since she is getting positive reinforcement in his presence.

Good luck.

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