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Pariah cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
HI all,
I have a situation that I would like some input about.

I had three cats (and a bunny) about 8 months ago I took in a kitty from the streets. (she had all the tests, she is fine) For the first six months all was fine. (I did about a six week slow introduction)

About 3 months ago while she was laying on my bed, Taz (the alpha cat, who loves everyone) swatted her. Ever since she has been stuck in "victim mode" and is terrified of him. Not of my other two, just him.

For six weeks, I put lattice panels up to divide the house and did a slow intro again. Spoke with a behaviorlist a few times etc. She had me take down the lattice panels, somewhat suggesting that I might be "feeding into Rocky (the new female" fears and not knowingly reinforcing her to be so fearful.

Six weeks have passed and very little improvement has taken place. I mean there is some.. but boy is it stressful when Taz walks into the section of the house he "allows" her to live in.

Her running, seems to trigger him to chaise her.

I've read some about Pariah cats and the drug Buspar. Has anyone tried this drug? I am so against giving a kitty any drug... but I also know in my heart that sweet Rocky has the tendancies to be a Pariah cat. (I found out after I took her in, that she lived a few blocks away but left because one of the cats kept beating her up)

It simply breaks my heart.. Rocky is over weight and it just reminds me of the "fat girl" that was picked on in school. I do go out of my way and baby her a lot.. to try to compensate for her fear of Taz. (without him seeing me of course) And for the fact she lives on another section of the house. (doors are open, she could come out.. but most of the time doesn't)

Another thing... I read someone where on this site about using vanilla on both cats, can someone give me some directions on how to use it, how much and where on them?

In closing... I need to add. Taz is the love of my life... a mamma's boy, and now comes Rocky who is REALLY a mamma's girl... I love them both deeply, I do not want to give Rocky up. Besides, before taking her in, I tried for six weeks to find her a home.......... adult cats are hard to find a good home.

I did have one person interested... they wanted a cat to live in their barn and catch mice. I DON'T THINK SO!

I'd love to hear some sucess stories... are there any?

post #2 of 10
i feel so bad for your kitty, I have no advice but wanted to let you know someone out here is listening
post #3 of 10
HI Donna,

I have several pariah cats. They live on the outskirts of the group, and seem to like being this way. My guess is that Taz's attack triggered some memory in Rocky of something that happened to her bad while she was a stray. Cats rarely remember the good things, and always remember the bad. It is hard for her to overcome her fear now, because just when she was feeling safe, she was threatened.

You sound like you are a little past the vanilla extract stage but you can try it. You put just a very small dab under ALL the cats' chins, between their shoulders and at the base of the tail. You need to do this several times daily.

I would also invest in a couple of Feliway Comfort Zone Room diffusers and plug those in.

Rather than go to Buspar, I would go natural to the Bach Flower remedies. Look to the Beech Aspen or Hornbeam for her. You can drop it on her tongue or put it in her water or food, but dropping it on her tongue would give you the best result-
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you B and B..

I bought two of those defusers.. they did nothing to improve the situaiton.

I too think that Taz swatting Rocky, triggered issues within her. (poor baby)

I have some of that rescue remedy but didn't know how much to give her. One time I gave he a little and later that night she threw up.. it scared me, I thought it was from the Rescue Remedy. (but could have been a fur ball)

I am going to try the vanilla, just because I am desperate. AND I will give her the RR.. just tell me how much and how often? (she weighs about 15 pounds)

Should I also give it to Taz? He weighs about 10 pounds.

Waiting to hear you advice.. so I can start with it right away.
(when I first brought Rocky in, she liked being in a seperate part of the house, and now looking back... in pictures of her.. I can see she was nervous alll along)
I think Taz just got tired of her being so fearful and swatted her.

In Taz's defense.. he has tried many ways to get close to her... layed on floor near her, going belly up and doing the blinkie eye thing. Now it just seems he is frustrated by her lack of interest in being anything by fearful of him.
In my house.. Taz is the hub... he is everyone's best friend... the other two cats don't have much to do with eachother.. but all of them LOVE Taz.

Rocky's fear might be a rejection towards him. Who knows???
(I'm rambleing now.. sorry.. lol)
post #5 of 10
I would suggest starting off with 5 drops twice a day. It won't hurt her, but I wouldn't use the general bach mixture- you can go to www.littlebigcat.com to their sister site Spirit Essence and request a special blend. That is what I would do because you are confronting certain issues-

The diffusers do work, but they aren't miracle workers. They put calming pheremones into the air and settle it a bit, but if there is still underlying tension then sometimes more than one diffuser plugged in next to each other is effective.

I know with my one pariah cat, if I put her into general population she will beat the pound out of any cat in her path while beating a retreat to the door. She was severely abused as a kitten on the street-
post #6 of 10
Personally, I am not against giving drugs to cats. I had my cat on xanax, but it's such a pain giving them to a cat for his anxiety, when very act of giving the pills is what causes a lot of anxiety, so I stopped. Actually, the vet started him on xanax because he had to spend several days there and was shaking like crazy. I did try rescue remedy also but it did absolutely nothing for my cat. I suppose it can work on some cats and not the others. Valerian is good as anti-anxiety, but only for people, it is actually a stimulant in cats.
My cat is off xanax though, because it's such a pain giving it to him. So, you can try the meds to see if they will help, and stop if they don't work and you don't see an improvent. I definetly saw a change in my cat with xanax but he just didn't seem himself.
post #7 of 10
I knew someone who's vet gave her cat a long acting shot of amitriptyline to help with anxiety. That might help.

I have a Feliway spray, that may be a good addition to the diffusers.

Remember that you are thinking like a hooman. Poor little picked on kitty. But if she doesn't seem real unhappy, this may be as good as it gets for her. Maybe Taz and Rocky aren't that uncomfortable with their roles. In any cat colony, someone is alpha, and someone is low man. If you had two alpha wanna-bees, they would be fighting. If all your efforts don't make all cats get along, maybe it will still be ok to keep everyone.

My outside boy Will, now pictured in my avatar, chases my outside girl Josie. He runs her off from the food, and just seems to push her around. But they co-exist fairly happily. They have 3 food bowls, well separated. And while I give Josie her share of attention, I am sure to give Will the best treats, more attention, and just alpha cat attention. I wish they would cuddle and be friends, but they have more of a hiss and swat relationship. Of course, being outside, they have lots of space, unlike in a house.

Best of luck with this kitty. Please let us know how it progresses!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks Hissy for the link, I will be ordering three potions.. lol

IF it doesn't work, then I will strongly consisder Buspar. (but only as a last ... absolutely last resort)
It's true (what the site said) IF Rocky would stand up to Taz.. he would stop being such a "prison gaurd"... always wanting to lay where he can keep an eye on her. (mainly during the evening hours, not during the day)

Although I love Taz with my whole heart, I hate the whole bully thing. But in my case, I am not sure who is the chicken and who is the egg.
I just know I want it to STOP.

They don't have to get along.. or even like each other. Just NO bully crud!

I know there is this natural peeking order and I've read it is best for us to stay out of it, and let them work it out. But IF one cat (Rocky) has some emotional issues,.. then some sort of "Mommy" intervention is mandatory. (in my opinion)

Thank to all of you for you insights, understanding and support.
post #9 of 10
Do you know (not, duh) I have been owned by cats all my life, and I never heard the term "Pariah". I am an older woman who through a series of mis-moves acquired 2 of the very strangest cats I ever have had. I have one tiny female (Ally) who is monstrously jealous, weighs 7 lbs and bullies the other cat (Missy, about 20lbs) horribly. Alley sprays when upset. I have never before permitted that behavior. She stopped this when I lost my heart cat Frasier slightly over a year ago. My partner, Marcia, found a sweet little female in our back yard and we would like to keep her. Of course, Alley has resumed spraying although we are only very slowly introducing them.
I just read of this Feliway in your chats and we will try it immediately. Please give me any more help you can suggest. I have NEVER in all my 65 years had cats like I have now and though I love them, I can tolerate the spray behavior only to a point we are rapidly approaching.
I truly believe both my little darlings would be happier as singles in a kind home, but...
Thanks so much for any help. I am new to this so please be patient if I don't do things correctly. Mariellen
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

My cat Taz sprays too.. but he did this prior to Rocky (female) coming into the house. Most of the time nothing comes out.
Nonetheless... it IS annoying.
I usually distract him when he is getting ready to do it. (in a nice sweet tone, I call him to come get petting etc)

Here are some things that I do... although nothing has worked completely... collectively I do see a little improvement. (with the tension between Taz and Rocky)

I put a drop of vanilla between their shoulder blades after I've wiped them down with "kitty wipes" (made for pets, not the kind for babies/humans)
This way they smell the same. I do this (when I am being good) twice a day.

Since Rocky is over weight, I don't think she is able to clean her self well enough and might have a "smell" about her. (that only Taz can smell)

I've also pretty much give them seperate times to different areas of the house.
During the day, Rocky sleeps under the bed or chair in "her" bedroom. And Taz usually is out in the <cat proofed> yard. Then at night, I restrict Taz from the yard and allow Rocky to go out there.

Giving her time of "no Taz terror" is seeming to make her a little more confident, which translates to her not always having that FEAR/flat ears running away mode. (which only spurs Taz to chase her)

I haven't ruled out meds all together... but for now I am playing Kitty Musical Chairs and trying to meet everyone's needs and have some peace in the house.

Kitties issues are hard emotionally.. but I don't have to tell you that.

Best of luck to you and your situation.
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