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Insubordinate kitties that hate each other.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi people, this would be my second post here. The first was an intro, since I thought it'd be rude to simply jump straight into begging for advice. Since I got that out of the way, it's on to the begging for advice.

My girlfriend and I live together with our 4 cats, a snake, and a soon to be dog. So far, the pet giving the least amount of trouble is one cat and the snake. Good news for me, right? Well here's what's going on.

We moved in together about 2 months ago and kinda rushed into the kitty intro's. Two males hadn't been fixed yet, so there was posturing and hate, but it all cleared up when they got snipped. The problem is really two problems (and they're both pretty much my cats). First, a small intro of the kitties.

Patrick Swayze - My girlfriend's Persian prince. He's the most well behaved and does nothing wrong aside from when he wants attention. When he realizes you're looking, he stops and purrs. He's really a darling of a kitty. He's about one and a half.
Pickle - Also my girlfriend's cat, he was a rescue kitty and is a VERY big baby. He's the biggest of the cats and is around 3 years old. The problem with him is that he doesn't know just how big and powerful he is, and he sometimes jumps into playing a little rough with my cats and Patrick, who are significantly smaller.
Kirara - My little rescue kitten. She's a mixed breed i'm sure, but she looks more like a lynx-point siamese than anything and is roughly 8 months old. She's a bit vocal, but not to the point of annoyance. I found her on my doorstep starving and flea-ridden, so I took her in, bathed her, fed her, and then kept her for myself.
Wigwam - My other kitty with a big attitude. He thinks he's the king of everything and doesn't have to listen to anyone - me included. He's about 7 monhts old. I've never met a kitty with so much of a loving temperament one minute and a love to disobey the next. I took him from my parents' house when my sister brought him home. You could say he was shoved on me, but I didn't mind at the time.

Alright, now for the problems:

Conflict 1) Wigwam feels he doesn't need to listen to anyone. We've tried everything to get him to obey us but he just doesn't want to. If he jumps on the table, you can't just say "Wigwam, get down!" in a stern voice. You sometimes have to physically move him, and sometimes it takes him seeing you get up for him to move. If you scruff him, he'll take a slow smack at you. I think a lot of this comes from him being about 6 months old when I got him and really having nothing to do with his upbringing, but it's ever so frustrating. On top of this, he gets to playing rough with Pickle and starts crying because he can't stand to lose. When he does this he gets aggressive and brings claws out. Any suggestions on how to tame the evil beast?

Conflict 2) For some reason Kirara hates Pickle with a burning fiery passion. Everytime he so much as walks within 3 feet of her, she growls, hisses, and meow's wildly. Perhaps it stems from my not having her spayed yet (but on a college budget, 3 neutered males, and all of them living inside, i'm waiting to do so when money permits) but she gets along very well with Patrick and Wigwam. Note: When they were all introduced, Wigwam and Patrick weren't neutered. Pickle was. I don't know if that says much. Anyway, Pickle seems to think she's playing when she darts under a couch or something, and persues her. I tried doing the vanilla thing to all the cats the other night with the glimmer of hope that something might change for the better, but it only got worse. Apparently Pickle now feels more at home chasing her down to play, and she feels more afraid of him (probably due to him being 3 times her size). Ideas?

Sorry to have written a small novel, i'm at my wit's end though, and the only thing that I can do if these problems aren't solved are find new homes for Wigwam and Kirara, which I don't want to do. Thanks for reading.
post #2 of 11
with conflict number 1 i feel your pain i had a calico name baby who well you just couldnt tell her anything
post #3 of 11
Wingman totally needs to be introduced to the old fashion spray bottle! Get one that has a long stream for far away! Make sure you spray him in the rump and not in the face.If you look away from him while you are spraying he'll accociate the water with his behavior and not with you.This also works to break up any unwanted fights.The cats will eventually work out their problems on their own, right now their trying to hash out whos in charge, as long as it's not getting too rough try not to break it up (at least thats what I was told) And I beg you please do not get a dog until you can get all your cats to the vet to get neutered.Good luck!!!!!
post #4 of 11
Well I just replied and the board swallowed it up. So here i go again-

Wigwam is not an evil beast, he is a cat. He is probably Alpha and if he is then he is seeking high places he can go and survey his kingdom. He needs cat posts, cat condos, cat ramps, window perches, several places that he can get to that puts him above the others. Also being alpha his bowl should touch the floor first before any other bowl is put down. Once his bowl is down and he is eating, then put the others on the floor. Give these cats enough litter pans that they don't feel crowded. You should have four pans ideally, not all crammed together in one space.

Play interactively with Wigwam every day, engage his prey instinct with toys like the remote control mouse, or da bird. Play with him at least for 15 minutes engaging his prey drive and follow up the playtime with a tasty treat his reward for the "kill."

Invest in several feliway comfort zone room diffusers and plug those in-

It is possible that pickles tried to mount kiara before pickles was fixed, making kiara fearful of him. Provide safe places where Kiara can hide and once she gets spayed she will calm down a bit.

Any time you introduce a new cat to a household of other cats you will create stress and chaos where there once was harmony and balance. It is inevitable and it takes time and patience on your part to not interfere with their way of doing things unless their way amounts to you rushing a cat or two to the vet and handling an enormous vet bill.

You say a soon to be dog? Is there a dog in this house or not? You really should not be introducing anymore animals into this home for awhile-
post #5 of 11
i agree with hissy and to have a spray bottle handy for when he doesnt listen
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I meant to mention the spray bottle. At the moment, the only spray bottle that's worked on him was a pressurized water gun. If you use a regular spritzer bottle, he just looks at you like you're an idiot. But no, he's not really evil, that was sarcasm and distressive language.

There are 4 litter pans, upstairs and downstairs, and his bowl does touch the floor first. Mostly because he crowds it and won't let anyone else around. The alpha issue didn't really hit me since he's the youngest cat here, but it's a possibility. As for high places, my girlfriend's cat tree is being brought down here soon, so that should take care of that.

Kirara didn't meet Pickle before he was fixed, so that' ones out. Wigwam did try that, but she knocked him down. Patrick however, was mounting her after he was fixed. Funny sight that was, but we didn't let him go for it. She'll be spayed soon though, so I do hope she calms down. The cats are staying separate with supervised play time while this is going on though.

As far as the dog goes, I have no choice but to bring Connrie into the house. He'll stay upstairs with Patrick and Pickle though, and they're his kitties. Especially Pickle, Pickle's as big as he is and they played constantly while they lived together with my girl and her ex. The reason I don't have a choice is because he was staying with her parents and they don't take proper care of him. He got mauled by their dog the other day and all they said was "Well it's only the first time and he didn't get seriously hurt." I wasn't going to stand for that. Thanks for all your suggestions so far though, they're muchly appreciated.
post #7 of 11
Well, I had a well thought-out reply to this all typed up, but unfortunately it's been eaten. Let me try to summarize.

The strange cats in question, Pickle and Patrick Swayze, belong to me. As does Connrie, the King Charles Cavalier who was attacked by my parents' dog. The main motivation for the start of this thread was my dissatisfaction with the total lack of training Kirara and Wigwam are and were receiving. Yes, the social group issues are a large concern of mine, but the trigger was the behavior and rebelliousness of Wigwam. He destorys things, and gets quite snarky or resistant when being punished. He is immune to the squirt bottle and timeouts, and when held for timeouts he bites and scratches. He also bites and scratches for combing and nail trimming. This is nothing new, and I had advised Sesshoumaru to nip it in the butt while Wigwam was still younger. Unfortunately, during a crucial time when much behavior is learned Wigwam was with someone who let him act this way without reprocussions. He has become a source of frustration for Sesshoumaru's elderly grandmother and myself. I do not wish to rehome anyone, either.

This is largely frustrating for me because in my hometown I would foster cats for my local humane society. My cats and dog were known for their wonderful willingness and ability to socialize with shy foster kitties. I worked hard to train my cats from kittenhood, and thus don't have temperment issues. My cats are very outgoing, and not territorial or defensive. I think the problem with Kirara and Pickle stems from this, however, because Pickle doesn't understand why she doesn't just want to get along. He gets visibly confused when she initiates play, only to start screaming and striking at him. He has tried just about everything he can think of to make nice with her, but I think he's getting to his wit's end as well because he just wants to play, and can't even come near her at times without getting screamed at.

As far as the dog goes, the plan was to bring him and my cats with me to TN and get an apartment. This plan was decided upon before Wigwam or Kirara were ever even in the picture, and the reason the dog is still in WI is because we didn't want to further burden Wig and Ki, or Sesshoumaru's grandmother. Because of the recent attack, however, things have changed. My dog was held by the throat and drug around the house, and when I tried to separate the two my parents' dog then tried to attack me. I thought my dog was going to be killed. I absolutely will not wait until the second attack to take this seriously. There is enough space where we are for my fur family and Sesshoumaru's to be kept separately if need be, and for as long as it takes. As a matter of fact, having the dog will be more beneficial for Pickle and Kirara, as Connrie will give Pickle a playmate. The two are best friends, and played constantly before the move. I understand it will be stressful for the kitties, but by the time the dog will be coming down (probably the end of next month), the cats will have had about four months together. This is not as if I decided we needed another pet and got a dog; it is a dangerous situation for my dog that I had before any of this came up.
post #8 of 11
Do either/both of you know what an alpha cat is? Have you ever dealt with one? Just background questions.

If it is not clear, maybe step back and try to re-evaluate things assuming Wigwam is an alpha cat. (While Nano has problems, she is also basically a very strong alpha cat.) Look at hissy's advice. It is fairly consistent with how I have tried to work with Nano.

Probably a lot of this will even out once the girl is spayed and all four cats establish a pecking order. But I get the sense you don't agree and want each cat to be equal and all of them to act the same way.
post #9 of 11
I am not being argumentative here. Just want to put this up front. I am seriously trying to help and can only go on the strength of your posts and what I read into them. You appear to me to equate a cat behavior similiar with a dog. Cats and discipline do not work. They do not understand time outs, hold-downs, squirt guns or spray bottles. They act on instinct alone. You have an Alpha cat, every multicat family has an Alpha cat and at times will have two. I have nine cats at the moment. I have one alpha female, and one kitten desperately trying to achieve alpha way to early (4 months old) I also have a cat recently rescued from another board member here who is asserting her right to be Alpha. It is the way that the cats work within a group. The more animals you introduce into the group, the more the balance and harmony is disrupted. Your cat is telling you that he isn't happy in the situation. It doesn't matter if you want him to be happy, he isn't happy and he is asserting himself. They do that. They do that whether they are living outside in a colony or inside a home. I routinely bring cats abused and abandoned into my home. I have been doing so over 20 years now. I have made plenty of mistakes and hope to help others not repeat those mistakes and have to live with the consequences.

You really cannot train a cat. You can understand their nature, and redirect their energy, but training them to obey like a dog just doesn't work. I would strongly suggest you invest in a couple of great books- Pam Johnson Bennet's Cat vs Cat and Hiss and Tell and Wendy Christensen's book Outwitting Cats.
post #10 of 11
Oh i hate it when i hear about spray bottles and even worse a pressurized water gun ::censor::censor::censor:: !!!!, holding them down is just as bad in my eyes.

Like MA said their not dogs.
post #11 of 11
Please, please take some of the advice posted here
These are well meaning posts really with much experience behind them.
Take this from a "dog" person

I have also been involved with foster/shelter work with dogs..but am a newly reformed cat person...And its not the same kind of work

I actually had to laugh when you spoke of timeouts and holding down the cat in question (good natured laugh as the more I know of cats and my king of a cat in particular , I can't imagine trying this out...
He would dub me as idiot forever..lol..
And I would have more than a few injuries to prove that.

Hissy and Nano put it well. Cats do not follow orders..they can only be re-directed.

I thought that some cats were just "bad" until I came here...When I tried a few of the tricks I have learned here about re-directing my cats needed behaviours (the prey drive), I was amazed!! It takes 15 minutes twice a day to make my little devil a little angel..

(and he even fetches like a dog!
I sincerely wish you the best of luck with this tough and hectic situation.
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