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Is there such a thing as a one-cat cat?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My oldest cat, Thisbe, has never forgiven me for adopting (rescuing) her two younger "sisters," Cushie and Marnie. The way Thisbe seems to see it, she was here first, and those other two should just drop dead. She's never stopped hissing at them and Marnie, who is still basically a kitten, exploits Thisbe shamelessly by messing with her and getting up in her face. Thisbe is declawed and the other two aren't, which means that her aggressive stance has earned her some scratches on the nose that she can't reciprocate. (BTW, I didn't have her declawed; she came to me that way).

Is there such a thing as a "one-cat" cat, who needs to not have any other cats in the household? I feel terrible, like I've ruined her little life, but obviously I love my other cats too and would never give them up.

Yesterday I had my annual open house, with about 30 people crammed into my apartment, and Thisbe just FREAKED. lol Anytime people tried to pet her (which happens quite a bit, since she is beautiful if I do say it as shouldn't), she would tolerate it just barely, then rear up and yowl and bite. She's that way with me sometimes, too, especially since the other cats came. I used to love to pick her up and cuddle her, and nowadays I can't do that unless I catch her when she's asleep and pick her up before she's fully awake. She fights like a tiger to get back on the floor or wherever. It's like she doesn't trust being held, she has to guard herself from the other cats all the time.

Does anybody have any answers for me about how I can get back the cuddle bunny I had before Cushie and Marnie arrived? Or should I just give it up and let Thisbe be herself?
post #2 of 18
Have you tried Comfort Zone or Feliway diffusers? I've heard great things about them in a situation like this. I'm sure there will be more experienced people in here with more advice soon! Good vibes to you and your furbabies!
post #3 of 18
You might try a re-introduction of the cats. Keep the 2 seperated from Thisbe for a long period of time (even if that means living in a bedroom). Use a feliway infuser to help calm the kitties down. Use a feliway spray around the doorframe that seperates them.

Some cats do prefer being alone but its usually becuase they have been alone all their lives. Its harder for them to come around to newcomers.

You also might play with them all together as an alternative. Do whatever Thisbe likes the most and get them all involved adn treat her for being good around them. Feliway spray could be used in the area you plan on playing with them at.

It can be a challenge when cats like to be alone. Make sure she has plenty of escape spaces that are up high and out of the way. Other than that I'm not sure.
post #4 of 18
could her temperment have anything to do with her being declawed? I don't have anysuggestions just more questions sorry.
post #5 of 18
Yes, some cats who have been raised alone really prefer it.

Maybe you can relieve some tension by giving Thisbe some time alone. Is there an extra bedroom where you can give her time away from the others?

I had a birthday party for dd Saturday, and expected Garfield to be the kitty who stayed around. I rarely saw him while the extra kids where there. Sugartoes left after the second time someone asked to pick her up-we never saw her again til the kids were gone! LOL!

Festus was the life of the party. She even had a kid run down the hall holding her, and came back for more fun. While she didn't like being held, she did play fetch with several kids. One boy threw the crinkle ball over her head, and she jumped up and batted it out of the air!

Next time you have a party, make sure Thisbe has a place to hide from the attention, even if you need to shut her in a carrier in the corner of your bedroom. (That's where my foster kittens were-out of reach!)
post #6 of 18
I think Oliver would have a heart attack if i got him a brother or sister! He is DEFINITELY an only cat, haha... he's a big mama's boy as well and even kicks my boyfriend outa bed... so i can only imagine what would happen if i divided my attention with another cat - he gets jealous as it is when i clean one of the tanks or when i bring him home and he can hear me downstairs playing with the dog (my mom's allergic and the dog and cat dont get along, so oliver has to stay in my room when we visit - he's allowed downstairs when the dog goes out to play though)... so I definitely believe some cats are destined to be only cats, but I'm an only child so we're great for each other!
post #7 of 18
Yes, this is not unusual especially if the cat did not have normal socialization as a young kitten. Many times kittens are given away all by themselves when they are just 6 weeks old and they grow up without other animals around. These cats are most likely to be intolerant of other animals.
post #8 of 18
my first cat, Medley, did much better as an 'only' cat. but to prevent this happening again, i adopted a pair my next time around. that way, new cats can be introduced more easily, since they're used to not being the 'only' cat.
post #9 of 18
Feliway might really help, but I suspect that much of her behaviour is a result of her declawing. I know it wasn't you, and I feel sorry that your kitty is damaged this way. But she has two other cats now who HAVE claws, and she can't defend herself, her territory or keep them in their places as second/third cats. She is `emasculated' in a sense because her primary defence (and not only that, but a part of her very `catness') is missing. I have read that many cats have serious behavioural issues after a declaw. I would take her to the vet to see if they have any suggestions to help her with her anxiety and aggression.
post #10 of 18
Maybe the other two kitties could wear SoftPaws -- it would prevent the scratches, and Thisbe might eventually realize they can't really hurt her anymore.

By the way -- Thisbe IS beautiful! She looks a lot like my mom's kitty, Abby, the mother of my Clyde. Lovely girl!
post #11 of 18
In my experience, older females have a hard time adjusting to other females. My sister rescued 3-year-old Sam from the pound because she was about to be euthanized, and brought her home to her house with three other females, the oldest of which already had been greatly repressed by the younger two. Well Sam did not fit in, and the hostility escalated until nine months later when the youngest female actually scratched Sam's third eyelid, requiring suregry. So I rescued Sam from my sister's hoose. I only have male cats. Given Sam's hard life (2 years as a stray, 1 year in the shelter, and then 9 mos in my sister's hostile household), it understandably took her a while to adjust, but my boys were patient, and today she is a very happy girl, with a big crush on Reno, my alpha cat, and a new interest in playing with the other two boys, Harry and Rocky. I've also had females who ran away when a new female was brought into the house (after adapting to new males), or became quiet and withdrawn with the introduction of new females. In short, I think that Thisbe might react more favorably to new males than to your two new girls. That said, I think it is definitely worth trying a reintroduction and Feliway. We also put Sam on kitty tranquilizers and isolated her whenever she got aggressive or grumpy when we first brought her home, and I think this helped her with her adjustment. Just be very attuned to increasing hostility.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your suggestions. I keep telling myself that even as things are, she's better off with me than out in the woods freezing to death (that's where she was found 13 months ago before I got her). I will buy some Feliway and try to do the reintroduction thing. I will also talk to my vet about softpaws.

I do provide them with plenty of "hiding places" in closets and stuff, but Thisbe isn't usually the one who hides. The other two love to, though.

I just got a six-foot cat tree last month, but Thisbe won't go near it. I'm not sure whether that's because the other two are there a lot or because she can't climb it with no front claws.
post #13 of 18
To a certain extent I think this can be true. My husband always said Jasmine, our eldest, was meant to be an only cat. However, we eventually took in four others over the past ten years. She was definitely not a happy camper the first time around.... George would follow her everywhere and always try to play with her, and she would hiss and strike out at him. When we got Sonny, he bonded to George just fine and Jasmine couldn't have been happier because he didn't bother her. By this last time (with the Twins), she's gotten very blase about it all. It probably helped that they had each other to play with so they didn't chase the adults looking for attention.
A tip I found worked very well each time was to bathe them and use the same towel to dry them with. It halts the aggression right then and there because they smell themselves on each other.
post #14 of 18
Yes I've had a few that were better off as the king or queen of the house with no other pets to compete. Some are just like that. They don't like competition and just want 100% of the attention.

Nothing wrong with that or the cat - you just try to find them the best home and let the person know they are a one cat only type of cat. Its not hard to find such homes.
post #15 of 18
Declawing may have some effect on things. But the part about the tree house is untrue. My first cat was declawed (before I knew what they really did) and he had no problems using a cat tree (they learn to jump better) and also could "climb" trees outside with low, thick branches.

If you cat is only declawed on the front, then she can get in the tree house. She probably doesn't cause the other two use it.
post #16 of 18
I used to think that Cassie was a one-cat cat but I think there were several reasons why she reacted so strongly when we introduced Napoleon. One, she was not socialized with other cats, as we found her as a barely two-week old stray. Two, we were in a new environment and she didn't like where we were living (even though we had been there over 6 months). Third, she didn't know how to protect her territory - she never had to. And she also ran out of hiding spots (in our first apt, she used to "go away" for a couple hours of the day and sleep in the closet).

Napoleon used to chase her around and want to play and she wanted NOTHING to do with that. We used Feliway diffusers and spray for when they had a particularly big fight. We moved redcently and this has helped a lot. Not that I'm saying you should move LOL. But changes of scenery such as hiding places for your alpha kitty should work. We have two huge closets that Cassie can hide in, one in particular she favors. Now?? Napoleon and her -- well, they are not the best of friends, but they can tolerate each other.

So I guess my ramble was -- give Thisbe some space...make sure she has some hiding places. I second the playing with the kitties at the same time...Play therapy has saved my life with the cats. It made Napoleon sleep through the night and Cassie less stressed.

Most cats can learn to coexist. It generally takes about 6 months for them to decide who the alpha is and ranking order. Sounds like it's just below that for you. Just give it time.
post #17 of 18
there's an article here about reintroducing cats who don't like each other. i hope it'll help

post #18 of 18
Felicia does not want any other cats around. When I first got her, I had a cat (Shadow) and Felicia picked on Shadow. ( I always thought that the cat already living there was the alpha cat
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