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HELP, mom's alpha cat trying to kill my alpha cat!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi All, I am new to this forum and have an urgent request for help. My mom died a few months ago and I promised to take her cat and care for her. Katie, my mom's cat is 10 years old and was raised with her dog, Buffy, until Buffy died of old age this past November. My mom died in May and I brought Katie home with me (New Mexico to Michigan, 1 adult mom, no visitors almost to 2 adults, 4 children and LOTS of activity). My cat, Cheetah, is 3 years old, and has been raised since a kitten with my kids. She's a scrapper, and holds her own with all the activity, but definitely is not a cuddle kitty, and has a bit of an attitude, her nickname is teenage kitty ^&*(%. But she's a great cat, and we all just know when she's being difficult to let her cool her jets in one of the bedrooms. I have had cats all my life, and even have some animal behavior experience with canids, so I did everything that I've seen suggested on this forum (happy kitty pheromones, slow, gentle introductions, lots of love for both, separate litter boxes, food dishes, etc), all while trying to settle both my mom's and brother's estates and deal with my kids and business. I have done introductions with cats before, but always with a kitten to an adult.

My problem is complex, or not, depending on how you look at it: my mom's cat, amazingly, is WONDERFUL with the kids (poor thing must feel so displaced). She has bitten a couple of times, but only when she's trying to get to my other kitty, Cheetah. However, Katie, mom's cat who weights 20 lbs by the way, HATES Cheetah, resident cat who only weights 4 lbs. It is to the point where we can not let the 2 cats together because Katie has attacked Cheetah, and only pulling Katie off Cheetah have we stopped the fight. I was hoping they would reach detente, but Katie is bound and determined to rid herself of Cheetah. Cheetah is terrified of Katie and spends most of her time under a bed or hissing at everyone. She's miserable. We are now keeping the cats separated by floors (one in basement, one on ground floor), but its getting harder and harder to keep the cats apart. To add insult to inury, my husband, who is NOT a cat person, is getting more and more agitated and angry that the cats seem to be running our lives right now. Katie has started going poop outside her litter box, and Cheetah has started peeing on our bathroom floor because she doesn't want to leave our bedroom.

I promised to watch over my mom's cat, and I love her dearly, but I can't let one cat injure the other severely or the kids. And I don't have to be faced with which cat to relocate to a new home. I am out of ideas, anything to try at this point would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 8
Maybe other people will have additional ideas, but it sounds to me like you did everything right and it still isn't working. If it were me, I'd re-home your mother's cat. I'm sure your mother's biggest concern was that the cat she loved be properly cared for and loved. She knew you could provide that. But if she saw the problems it was having, my guess is that, as long as you could find a home that would also be loving, she'd be happy with your decision. It may be more difficult to re-home a ten-year-old cat than a three-year-old one, but if you could find another quiet home of adults only for her, that's what I'd try to find.
post #3 of 8
Sometimes no matter what you do, the cats will not get along. If you can continue to confine one to one floor and one to antother, and get away with it, maybe after time they will both calm down and get interested in each other. If confining them is a real problem in the house, can you confine to a room for a few days, and use some of their toys or blankets to re-introduce the two without having the bodies there.

Do you think that tranquilizers will help for a short period of time?

I know how badly it would hurt to have to lose Mom's cat, but if I understand correctly, Cheetah is YOUR cat and you owe her your allegience.

I am so sorry for the heartbreak you may be facing.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, we tried tranquilizers for a few weeks, it helped, but did not stop the highly agressive behavior on Katie's part. The weird thing is, is that she is great with my kids and with me. If one has to go, it will have to be Katie, but I'm hoping that we can wait this out and eventually make it work. I feel so badly. And honestly, Katie is the last part of my mom I have, and she and I have a bond. My husband is getting really difficult, not wanting to wait anything else out, and I'm trying to buy time to give the cats more time. We even tried putting one in a big cage in the living room, while the other roamed (tried both ways), and even after calming down for a few days, as soon as we allowed them together, Katie attacked Cheetah. They don't have to be budies, they just have to co-exist without killing each other!
post #5 of 8
Sometimes no matter what you do and how long you wait, Some cats will never ever get along. I had this problem. I introduced a new siamese male kitten into the family. I did it the right way all the proper things done.. And one of my male cats simply hated him. if I was holding the kitten my male resident cat would run out of no where and even bite me,
I Talked it over with my vet, and he said if they don't work it out when the new cat gets a little age on him. He will also learn to hate the other cat. and this is just what happened. They fought and I mean bad fights. Once in a blue moon they would get let out when the other was out and around by accident and I would have to actually pull them apart. Fur every place.Twice One had a abcess from being bitten. I kept them seperated at all times.I did this for 7 years! It was a job. but I just couldn't give one up. I would take turns letting them out in the main part of the house. Luckily the older cat slept more so He stayed in my bedroom alot. He was given plenty of time to adjust.. But it didn't work out, Sadley the older cat passed away this summer. So I no longer have this problem. So YES sometimes they never will get along.
post #6 of 8
If you mean "getting along" like bathing each other or napping together, I agree that some cats prefer not to do this with other cats. However, I believe that tolerating each other's presence is possible and it takes a lot of patience and discipline on your part.
Have you tried disciplining Katie for aggressive behavior towards Cheetah? If Katie looks up to you and your family as her "alphas", she will begin tolerating Cheetah. By disciplining her, I mean "time outs", the word 'NO', your 'angy' hiss and tone of voice, "cold shoulder" treatment, etc.
It is also possible that Katie, being in a new environment, is picking on Cheetah as a sign of stress. Being a people cat, she'd rather show her frustration on Cheetah. I know it's been months already, but one can never really tell how our companion animals truly feel.
I truly hope your problem is solved without resorting of getting rid of one of them. Katie and Cheetah need and love you as much as you love them.
post #7 of 8
wow how my heart breaks for you as I can appreciate that Katie is your 'last' link to your mother. I honestly dont have alot of advise, but I do agree with Yayi - this is going to take time and some discipling may help - have you tried that? Unfortunatly 2 alpha cats living in the one area is not a good idea, and I guess Katie is trying to excert her dominance over Cheetah, but again this is not fair to the resident cat who is terrified.

I know you dont have alot of that right now, as I have a non-kitty husband as well, and I can only imagine how long he would put up with these issues.

Katie no doubt has gone through alot of stress with the loss of her loved one and then the move to a complete change in environment. How long do you think you have before your forced to re-home?

GOOD LUCK - sorry I cant help with advise, but there are lots of people around that should be able to give you some.... let us know how you go.
post #8 of 8
First, let me say that I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Losing a parent is terribly difficult, no matter how close you were.

Second, I think that I would sit down and discuss the whole situation with my husband in a calm environment. His attitude is hardly constructive and doesn't seem very supportive. Maybe, he just doesn't realize the pressure this is putting on you.

Third, time is the best problem solver. Given enough time maybe the cats will calm down and at least not try to kill one another. Or another solution may present it's self. Hasty decisions often yield the least satisfactory results. If your mother has only been gone a few months, everyone including the cats and your husband and yourself needs more time to adjust. Mourning isn't something that you can put on a time schedule. And it affects everyone including the cat.

Sorry that I don't have any better advice, but I pray that the Lord will grant you peace and comfort during this difficult period.
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