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Don't know what to do.....

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Brawls between Molly and Peanut are getting worse. Yesterday she sat on my lap and was fine watching all of the cats roam around her. Today she ran into Peanut unexpectedly which set off a whole new round of brawls. Molly is so tense right now. Usually I can try to pet her to calm her a little, but tonite she lunged at me. I went through this once before with a stray that ended with me getting hurt and 2 of my cats becoming terrified. I don't want that to happen again. I'm so upset - I just want to cry. I don't know if they will ever get along. It seems that the one bad encounter that started this a week ago has set Molly's mind that she won't ever like Peanut. I want to keep her as part of this family. We really love her, but I can't keep her if this is the way the family is going to be. It's too tense for all my cats. I've even found them fighting more than usual and they never fight. It's not healthy for any of them right now. I have someone who would take her in if need be, but I'm not sure if I can part with her or how long I should wait to make that decision. I have separated them again to give them all time to calm down, but I am so afraid. It's the same every single time I put her and Peanut together. Her eyes get big, she tenses, then runs. Peanut immediately runs after her and the screaming starts. How can I stop this behavior? Should I consider parting with her for the sake of the health and well being of my other babies?
post #2 of 13
Have you tried giving them a bath?? If they get into a brawl, they emit a scent that is not able to be smelled by humans. That scent can keep them "on guard" of each other for a looooongggggggg time! If you can't do that, then put a dab of vanilla on the back of their heads, between their ears and do that every day for a few days. You can also use perfume in a pinch, if you don't have vanilla!! My kitties got into a HUGE fight, about a year ago, and that is what I was told to do. And you know what? It DID work!!!! I have, since, occasionally just sprayed some perfume on both of my kitties(in between their ears, on the back of their heads), if they start getting a bit "ouchy" with each other. That has helped too!
So, I hope this info helps you out! Good luck!
post #3 of 13
Have you tried a Feliway diffuser? It really helps keep things calm between Felixia (who I think would really rather be an only cat) and the other 3.

Do the cats have cat trees and plenty of other surfaces of different heights available to climb on? That can help keep things calmer. It's also important to have litterboxes for each cat, and to make sure that none of the cats aret blocking any of the others' access to food, water, and litterbox.

Did you take the introduction process slowly? If not, it might be a good idea to go through the whole process again.

If you've tried everything and she really just doesn't seem happy, and you have an option for a good home for her, it might be better for her to go where she wouldn't have the other cats to cope with.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
Have you tried a Feliway diffuser? It really helps keep things calm between Felixia (who I think would really rather be an only cat) and the other 3.

Do the cats have cat trees and plenty of other surfaces of different heights available to climb on? That can help keep things calmer. It's also important to have litterboxes for each cat, and to make sure that none of the cats aret blocking any of the others' access to food, water, and litterbox.

Did you take the introduction process slowly? If not, it might be a good idea to go through the whole process again.

If you've tried everything and she really just doesn't seem happy, and you have an option for a good home for her, it might be better for her to go where she wouldn't have the other cats to cope with.
Feliway I have not tried, but I have heard good things about it here. I will defintely give it a try since all say it works that well. I'll have to give the vanilla a shot too.
They do have plenty of surfaces and 3 levels to roam. I have 6 litter boxes for 5 cats (5 of the boxes are xtra xtra large rubbermaids from Walmart), they all have their own food and water dishes.
The intro process took about a month I would say. Molly was sick in for the first couple weeks, so she was locked up from the others. I tried to do it slowly - one cat at a time and as I said, all was going well. She was downstairs with us, mingling, playing, then all of a sudden last week her and Peanut just snapped. I don't know if they ran into each other unexpectedly or what happened, but something set them both off and things have not been the same. All Molly has to do is see her.
I am going to try to start over, kinda from the beginning and give it another shot. Maybe you're right, maybe that will work. She mingles fine with the others. (She was running from them too, but that's stopped). So I'm just going to try swapping her and Peanut out for a while and let them have time from each other, but mingle time with the family. Maybe after some time they will forget about their "tiff"???
I guess I"m going to have to let that little orange baby girl I've been waiting for go. She was being held for us, but we are not ready to accept another cat at this point. I have someone else that contacted me with an orange female that will be ready in about 4 weeks. Maybe by then we'll be able to accept her.
post #5 of 13
How long have you had them, and how long has this been going on? You may need to give it more time, and let them sort it our for themselves, no matter how hard it is for you to watch. What you have said about starting again is a good idea. Try to neutralise their scents, and get some Feliway diffusers. They are expensive, but worth every penny.
post #6 of 13
How long have you had Molly? Willow arrived in October and things still aren't plain sailing between him and my Molly!

I am leaving them to their own devices and admittedly, things are improving slightly! (also, Molly had been poorly, which may have caused some of the tension!)

Good luck! I hope things settle down for you soon!
post #7 of 13
If you don't mind ordering stuff online, here's where I get my diffuser, refills, and spray (and flea meds, and rx heartworm meds for the dogs). They have the best prices I've found, and I've never had any problems ordering from them.
post #8 of 13
You have a few choices (I've dealt with cats that "hate" each other).

You can keep the one that is "anti-social" in a separate room or only with a cat they get along with.

Or you can find an "only cat" home for the one who's having a problem.

When I had my rexes, I had 2 females that would fight a lot (one whole, one altered) - got so bad that eventually I put the one upstairs and the rest in the cattery in the rec room. Before I moved, I found an "only cat" home for her and she was queen of the house AND happy.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva!
How long have you had them, and how long has this been going on? You may need to give it more time, and let them sort it our for themselves, no matter how hard it is for you to watch. What you have said about starting again is a good idea. Try to neutralise their scents, and get some Feliway diffusers. They are expensive, but worth every penny.
I've had Molly for a little over a month now (I think?). She was sick for the first week or so and there was absolutely no interactions during that time.

I will definitely try the Feliway - I have heard they are worth it.
Tuxedokitties - thanks for the link - that is the best price I've seen shopping around for them.

Things (a week later) are going a little better. I've starting "swapping" Molly out with Peanut. What I discovered after watching Molly is that it may not have been Peanut 100% - Molly seems to have taken on the attitude that she "owns" the upstairs (because that's what she was introduced to in this house as her space) so everytime someone decides they want to play with her, upstairs she goes and up they follow which results in her attacking anyone going up there as if to say "this is my room and who the heck do you think you are coming up here" After I realized this, we first tried one of my laid back babies up there with her (and my daughter) to see what would happen. No fights, but Molly hissed alot at her. So I decided that what I really need to do is take that ownership away from her. She's very territorial I think. So I"ve been taking her from upstairs and putting Peanut up there in her place and shutting the door. This puts Peanuts scent up there and at the same time forces Molly to interact with the family on neutral territory. She has found hiding spots down here and it's working better. She's not swiping at anyone for no reason, but just watching and she has not tried to make a run for upstairs once. So far so good and as of this morning I just had to slow 3 of them down that were running through the house playing (with no hissing or growling..... ).
Now......the big thing will be bringing Peanut back into the mix..... . I need to get the feliway first.
where I should place it the Feliway? - Should I put it in the kitchen and living room where they play down here? Should I put it upstairs too so that Molly or Peanut breath it when they are up there too? Should I keep the door to the upstairs shut during this time as I have been? It seems to work now and I don't want Molly to get "headstrong again" and having things go wrong, but in the same breath, Peanut is the one she's got a problem with so I'm worried. Also - (dumb question maybe). Putting their "scents" aside, will Molly recognize Peanut by site when I introduce them? I mean will she look at her and basically say "It's you" or will she have forgotten the incident and only recognize Peanut by her scent? If that's the case then the vanilla will help too.
Thanks!
post #10 of 13
Depending on how big your house is, I'd put a diffuser upstairs and another downstairs. I think the diffuser is supposed to cover 650 sq ft.

http://cats.about.com/cs/behaviorali...omfortzone.htm

I think your idea of trading the cats out so Molly doesn't become too possessive of 'her' area is a good idea. Hopefully getting Peanut's scent in Molly's are when she's not threatened by Peanut's actual presence will help her adjust, and the Feliway and vanilla will help too. I wonder if it would help to get Peanut's scent on a towel and put it next to Molly when you feed her/pet her/give her a treat?

I'd also suggest that when you do let them see each other you make it a really positive experience - if there's a special canned food or treat they really like, break it out and give them each some the first time they see each other again. When I finally opened the door where I'd been keeping my cats separate and introduced my very territorial boy to DH's moderately territorial boy, I gave them each some canned food (they're both crazy about food and treats). I let them out to wander around for about 10 or 15 minutes, giving them a treat whenever they got close to each other, and then put my cats back up. I did that a couple of times a day for several days before letting them out together longer, gradually increasing their times out together until I could see the cats felt comfortable around each other. The introduction process was long and painstaking, but it paid off, as they're now best buddies. With two females they might not get as close (my two females just tolerate each other), but hopefully they will at least stop fighting.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67321

(In the link above I mentioned using catnip, but you may want to avoid that if any of your cats tend to react possessively or aggressively when you give them catnip.)
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
Depending on how big your house is, I'd put a diffuser upstairs and another downstairs. I think the diffuser is supposed to cover 650 sq ft.

http://cats.about.com/cs/behaviorali...omfortzone.htm

I think your idea of trading the cats out so Molly doesn't become too possessive of 'her' area is a good idea. Hopefully getting Peanut's scent in Molly's are when she's not threatened by Peanut's actual presence will help her adjust, and the Feliway and vanilla will help too. I wonder if it would help to get Peanut's scent on a towel and put it next to Molly when you feed her/pet her/give her a treat?

I'd also suggest that when you do let them see each other you make it a really positive experience - if there's a special canned food or treat they really like, break it out and give them each some the first time they see each other again. When I finally opened the door where I'd been keeping my cats separate and introduced my very territorial boy to DH's moderately territorial boy, I gave them each some canned food (they're both crazy about food and treats). I let them out to wander around for about 10 or 15 minutes, giving them a treat whenever they got close to each other, and then put my cats back up. I did that a couple of times a day for several days before letting them out together longer, gradually increasing their times out together until I could see the cats felt comfortable around each other. The introduction process was long and painstaking, but it paid off, as they're now best buddies. With two females they might not get as close (my two females just tolerate each other), but hopefully they will at least stop fighting.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67321

(In the link above I mentioned using catnip, but you may want to avoid that if any of your cats tend to react possessively or aggressively when you give them catnip.)
Thanks so much. You have been very helpful. I'm glad to hear you agree with removing Molly's "ownership" of upstairs. I was worried people would freak out saying that's her safe spot or something, but it seems to have helped doing that.
I'm going to cruise around today just to see what the prices are on the Feliway. if it's not too too different than online, I'd just rather buy it than wait for it to come in the mail. If not though - I'll order it through that site - it was cheap!
One last question. When I re-introduce Molly to Peanut, should I have my other 3 there as well? Or should I put them behind closed doors and concentrate on a one-on-one intro? I'm just thinking one-on-one might work easier - less commotion, less fighting for the treats you say to give them, and if anything goes wrong, less furrballs freaking out. Just curious what your thoughts are.

Thanks again!
Lisa
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisasha3
Thanks so much. You have been very helpful. I'm glad to hear you agree with removing Molly's "ownership" of upstairs. I was worried people would freak out saying that's her safe spot or something, but it seems to have helped doing that.
I'm going to cruise around today just to see what the prices are on the Feliway. if it's not too too different than online, I'd just rather buy it than wait for it to come in the mail. If not though - I'll order it through that site - it was cheap!
One last question. When I re-introduce Molly to Peanut, should I have my other 3 there as well? Or should I put them behind closed doors and concentrate on a one-on-one intro? I'm just thinking one-on-one might work easier - less commotion, less fighting for the treats you say to give them, and if anything goes wrong, less furrballs freaking out. Just curious what your thoughts are.

Thanks again!
Lisa
YW - I hope it helps.

I wish I could give a good answer about whether it's better to do one-on-one or multiple introductions, but honestly I don't really know. My personal feeling would be to agree with you about the one-on-one idea, but that would really be just a guess - most of what I've learned I've picked up from articles & posts on TCS, and from seeing what worked well for my own cats' introduction (I really believe that Feliway is a HUGE help).

I'd never had a really territorial cat before Mr. Underfoot - I used to just bring in the new (usually foster) cat or kitten, and the cats I've had before would always just hiss at each other for a few hours and then forget about it. But I was really careful with Mr. & Oreo because Mr. reacts very aggressively to the sight of strange cats, and Oreo used to be an outdoor cat who would get in fights with any other cat who came into our yard, so I was afraid if I just threw them together that someone might be seriously hurt. So I have to credit TCS with giving me the info to make it go so smoothly - and also teaching me that even laid-back cats can benefit from a careful introduction.

Hopefully your reintroduction will go smoothly, and peace will reign in your household.

Best,
Tess
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
YW - I hope it helps.

I wish I could give a good answer about whether it's better to do one-on-one or multiple introductions, but honestly I don't really know. My personal feeling would be to agree with you about the one-on-one idea, but that would really be just a guess - most of what I've learned I've picked up from articles & posts on TCS, and from seeing what worked well for my own cats' introduction (I really believe that Feliway is a HUGE help).

I'd never had a really territorial cat before Mr. Underfoot - I used to just bring in the new (usually foster) cat or kitten, and the cats I've had before would always just hiss at each other for a few hours and then forget about it. But I was really careful with Mr. & Oreo because Mr. reacts very aggressively to the sight of strange cats, and Oreo used to be an outdoor cat who would get in fights with any other cat who came into our yard, so I was afraid if I just threw them together that someone might be seriously hurt. So I have to credit TCS with giving me the info to make it go so smoothly - and also teaching me that even laid-back cats can benefit from a careful introduction.

Hopefully your reintroduction will go smoothly, and peace will reign in your household.

Best,
Tess
Thanks Tess. I kinda went in the opposite direction today than I originally intended . I kept them all together and didn't do the one-on-one.
I coated Peanut and Molly with Vanilla extract and brought Molly down to join the family. She was here with us all day long with no major incidents (under the bed all day but with us non-the-less). She growls at Peanut, but only when Peanut is moving around. Peanut curled up next to her under the bed most of the day (about 1 1/2 feet away) and Molly just watched. It has been a very peaceful day and I am happy to say I think we will be ok (crosses fingers). It's just going to take time.
I'm going to continue with the vanilla and bringing her down on a daily basis (supervised only - she goes back upstairs when I am away and at night). I haven't gotten the feliway yet because after shopping around it is outrageous! I knew it was more expensive than that website, but I didn't know by how much. One place wanted $44 for the plug in.
Ummmm.....we'll see how the vanilla works for now - it was only 98 cents.
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