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The Drama is Killing Me!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
For those of you who do not know I have a seven year-old red tortoise-tabby who I've had for six years. Of course I adore her. She is my best girlfriend and very affectionate--just the most affectionate cat I've ever known.

About five weeks ago I started fostering kittens and adopting them out of my home. I keep them in one room of my house where they can run around and be happy.

Then I fell in love with two little feral kittens who turned almost instantly into lovey doves. I couldn't decide which one I loved the most and I couldn't bring myself to separate them. So I'm adopting them. Now they are in another room overnight, separate from the fosters, and wandering the whole house during the day. I tried having them sleep in the crate in my room but Pixel didn't like that at all.

Pixel tolerates Peek, but not so much Boo. Pixel has chased Boo and in general seems more threatening to him (lots more glaring).

I was hoping this would work itself out but last night Pixel had me in tears.

I put the "kits" to bed and spent some time playing with the fosters like I do every night before heading into my bedroom where Pixel spends most of her time. There I found Pixel almost hiding in the little bathroom in the far corner of my room, she was just crouched there in the middle of the floor, still and unhappy. Very deliberate.

I got down on her level and began petting and talking to her when suddenly she scooted back away from me about two inches and shook her paw at me. She does this when she is telling me she dislikes something, be it a food, or a smell or even something sticky on the floor, etc.

So, essentially she was telling me she disliked ME.

I was stunned, stung. I sat there and saw it all from her perspective and found myself so upset I had a long cry, something I rarely do. The kittens threaten her much more than I had thought.

I got the distinct impression she wanted the "kits" to go away and she was hurt and angry with me. I felt like a cheating spouse--a betrayer! She's been such a good companion, I adore her to no end and I realized I WOULD give up the kittens for Pixel. But I love the kits too......

Oh, she stayed mad at me for a long time. Finally in my talk I told her in a slow pleading voice, 'mommy good' and she jumped up, all perky and did what I wanted which was climb into bed with me.

But what a negotiation that was....the drama is killing me!
post #2 of 25
Wow! Nothing can make you feel like a jerk like an upset cat. I think I would have cried, too.
I hope things start to go better for you soon, and all your little family starts to get along.
post #3 of 25
You probably smelled like the kittens, which could have caused her to react like that.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
So true, krazycat, so true. Good point, jcat. If that's what it was then at least she was upset with the scent, not with me...
post #5 of 25
I don't think her reaction to the kits is too bad, actually - I genuinely think she'll come around. Just keep doing the usual introduction stuff - though maybe aim for an extra slow intro rather than trying to do it as fast as possible.

Obviously, make sure she thinks she's number 1 (and don't have horrible kitten smell on you on her cuddle time in future!)
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
(washing hands...) Yes, I am soundly spanked on that "bad kitten smell!!" Ouch.

Goodness, did I rush this?!

It's been five weeks and I've had the kits first in with the fosters, (this was the time period when I rubbed their scent on a towel and put it near her food bowel, until I finally had her smelling the towel under the door. When she stopped running away from them, and started showing lots of interest in what was going on behind the door, I placed them in the hallway with her about four feet away. Later, I moved the kits into their own room, letting them run around the house during the day. There have been good moments and not so good, nothing terrible...so far...

Then one night of trying them sleeping in a crate in my bedroom, and cancelling that (everyone sleeps better in separate bedrooms for now). Now they play in the house during the day and sleep in their own room at night. Also, if I go out they go into their own room.

They all eat together and Peek was today eating from Pixel's bowl with her permission!
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
(washing hands...) Yes, I am soundly spanked on that "bad kitten smell!!" Ouch.

Goodness, did I rush this?!
Not necessarily - it just takes longer sometimes. I integrated our younger pair (fosters originally) and older pair over about a year.

This wasn't delibrate - we had a seperate area for 'the kittens' and didn't need to integrate them because they were fosters. They didn't have to meet or share/timeshare the same spaces very often. Still, the long slow intro probably worked better for us - I don't think Molly and Bobby would have accepted the little ones quickly - at it's fastest I would have expected weeks of work.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Satai. I can see how it might take a year. I could probably do exactly as you did since I am fostering too....

I think this might mean something: At feeding time Pixel has twice now left a little food in her bowl which she has never been known to do. And Peeka, being the first one finished eating every time, marches right up and starts eating it right in front of her...

You wouldn't think such things would be perceived as so amazing, but yes, I look forward to feeding time now.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
I think this might mean something: At feeding time Pixel has twice now left a little food in her bowl which she has never been known to do. And Peeka, being the first one finished eating every time, marches right up and starts eating it right in front of her...

You wouldn't think such things would be perceived as so amazing, but yes, I look forward to feeding time now.
I think that sounds promising.
post #10 of 25
I went thru that "bad meowmy" syndrome recently, so I understand just how you feel. I was given 2 8-week old sisters, tiny little things. My first thought was of my 1 1/2 y/o Rufus; he's been my baby from day one. I was sure he would hate me. The first couple of days were dreadful, lots of hissing & hiding & shooting me looks that said, "How could you do this to me?" It's only been 16 days, and now the girls seem to think Rufus is their mom-cat, trying to nurse on him while he bathes them! And he's forgiven me (I think).
It sounds as if Pixel is getting used to your kits. And don't worry, she still loves you!
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
That is so cute, libby, that they are all cuddling even, now. Both my kittens want to be close to Pixel, but especially the littlest one, Boo, whom Pixel seems to dislike the most.

Today it is raining up a storm for the third day in a row, which is highly unusual for the desert where I live, and it is thundering too. So Pixel cannot escape to her yard today. The kittens ran away from their food bowls even, after the thunder scared them.

We were all four snoozing on the sofa, when Boo climbed up and laid down next to Pixel. She looked back at him, but stayed. Later, he moved so he was even touching her bum, but she turned around to face him and began hissing. He didn't move, and she didn't...for awhile.

Actually that all of them were on the same sofa sleeping is a minor miracle, but it is today's miracle. I can't wait to see it all work out.

I know Boo would love to bury his face in her fur--he is always snuggling in my hair....
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Actually that all of them were on the same sofa sleeping is a minor miracle, but it is today's miracle. I can't wait to see it all work out.
It seems as if everyday produces a minor miracle when kittens are involved! I'd bet anything that one day Boo will snuggle up to Pixel & she'll give a big sigh as if she's saying, "Oh, alright!"
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Gosh I hope so, libby. It's off an on, you know? Tonight she is chasing them around, almost stalking them, hissing like mad and being a general meanie...

Someone said it was like two steps forward and one step back. Or, one step forward and two back...that makes perfect sense to me!
post #14 of 25
It sounds like things are getting better. I have a black tortie that will hiss at the kittens in the morning and then I find the three of them sleeping on the bird cage together in the afternoon.

I have a tortie/tabby and she hates everyone but lately I have seen her "want" to play with the kittens. They will bounce around her and even though she hisses and almost swats at them I can tell she is thinking about playing with them.

I think after time Pixel will come around and accept the new babies

Torties and calicos sure can be tempermental creatures
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Interesting. Pixel is just like that, moody from minute to minute. One night she played with the kittens and after I put them to bed she was SO happy, purring and all over me, almost as if to say, "I did it! I played with them!"

I'm just recently learning about these calicos being tempermental. Pixel has always disliked other cats. I almost adopted two when I got her but as I showed her around to the different kittens in cages alongside hers she hissed and growled.

However she is extremely affectionate, or was. Always ready for hugs and lovey dovey. Always ON top of me, either on my lap or on top of my body when lying down.

Now she is backing off. She still sleeps with me, but quietly laying nearby on the bed...I hope she gets back to her usual self, but with two kittens running around she may change in the process of adapting. I notice this morning the white kitten, Peeka, following her around. But when Boo approaches, again, she starts hissing at him.

She is favoring one over the other. What if that keeps up? I'm thinking I will have to find a home for Boo...

Okay, not going to go there. One day at a time....
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
She is favoring one over the other. What if that keeps up? I'm thinking I will have to find a home for Boo...

Okay, not going to go there. One day at a time....
Way too early to start thinking along those lines - especially if Peek and Boo are fine together. The situation isn't anywhere near serious enough to worry about it, either.

I think Pixel will come around eventually - Molly (the tempermental calico from which the stereotype was drawn!) took a very long time to accept Slayer. They (very occassionally, but it happens) even play together for a few minutes.

Hissing is an important part of them ordering themselves - Pixel doesn't have any other way to tell Boo to bug off, he's annoying her.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Way too early to start thinking along those lines - especially if Peek and Boo are fine together. The situation isn't anywhere near serious enough to worry about it, either.
Absolutely right! We had 2 males who never got along. From day 1 Tucker (our first) hated Puddin' (our second). Once Puddin' got big enough to back Tucker down, the serious fights stopped. But they never made friends with each other, every once in a while doing the ears-back-swat-at-your-head routine. Some cats just will not get along.
It truly sounds as if Pixel is coming around. If not, Peek and Boo will need each other. Hey, you can't break up a set!
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
LOL. ...can't break up a set...

Got it! I'm glad to get the advice too because I just Loooove these two as a set.

The latest is that they were all three on the bed today, both kittens showing an avid fascination with Pixel's tail as it was twitching. And, ta-da! she was tolerating it. So, I have to think she likes it, likes them, even, at some level. If nothing else they provide her with hours of entertainment...

I also really needed to hear the fact that hissing is no real big thing, but rather a more subtle form of communicating. That one new piece of information has helped me understand a lot.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
The latest is that they were all three on the bed today, both kittens showing an avid fascination with Pixel's tail as it was twitching. And, ta-da! she was tolerating it. So, I have to think she likes it, likes them, even, at some level. If nothing else they provide her with hours of entertainment...
That's called 'mature toleration' - sounds like Pixel is coming along fine!

Remember, it is normal for her to bop them on the heads and hiss at them when they annoy her, even once they started to get along. She will need to put the crazy kittens in their place from time to time. That's all normal kitty stuff, no need to worry.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much Satai, and everyone who has replied to this common problem that for me is such a big deal.

I'm actually surprised Pixel has been doing as well as she has been too--but it's good to be able to report on it and get feedback. The other night I was at my wits end--crying even--but she does seem to be doing quite well for only six weeks or so now. She is still staying in her yard--I was worried I'd have to keep a sharper than usual eye on her when she is outdoors but she still stays in her five or six hiding places when outside...very good.

I've been doing smaller feedings three times a day for them, to use the feeding together process as a tool. She is now regularly leaving a little food in her bowl for the kittens to lap up, then she goes to their perfectly clean bowls just to see them...it's a big deal, then they all do the cleaning themselves thing together--SWEET.

I have to say, if I haven't already, that I would never have thought to feed them together but I feel it's the single most helpful thing to do once they get to the stage where they are all sharing the same space. Really. And someone here suggested it, so I gave it a try. I would've thought to keep them far apart during feeding.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
The latest is that they were all three on the bed today, both kittens showing an avid fascination with Pixel's tail as it was twitching. And, ta-da! she was tolerating it. So, I have to think she likes it, likes them, even, at some level. If nothing else they provide her with hours of entertainment...
.
That sounds like my kittens and my calico. Gizmo is the top cat and thinks she must remind everyone of it at least once a day. The older cats know to stear clear of her when they are walking by but the kittens have not learned yet. They attack her tail when it twitches and she tolerates it for quite awhile which surprises me. Then out of now where a kitten will walk by her and she will swat him a good one, almost to say "remember yesterday when you played with my tail well here is payback"

The other day Bob (kitten) was playing near her and she kept staring at him like "why are you not afraid of me" the look on her face was pure shock that this kitten would dare invade her space. He kept playing and glancing at her until she leaped on him and gave him a nip on the back of the neck. She jumped right off when I yelled at her and then she looked at me like "well he was not kneeling to the queen" I laughed so hard at her. I even laughed more at Bobs expression. He was like "what I do?" It didn't even phase him. He kept right on playing and she walked away in disgust.

I think it will take time but they will get along fine. I think Pixel just needs time to adjust and it sounds like it is going fine.
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
That's funny, all of it!

It sounds just like my scene here...unbelievable!

Last night was a thunderstorm, very unusual, except we've been having them all week. What a night. Between the poor feral kittens in the "kittery" and my three,.....I'm exhausted...
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsecretK
Gizmo is the top cat and thinks she must remind everyone of it at least once a day.
this sounds so much like my Cable i just had to laugh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsecretK
I think it will take time but they will get along fine. I think Pixel just needs time to adjust and it sounds like it is going fine.
very soon, you'll happen upon them in a 'cat pile'. when that happens, try to snap a pic & post it for us to see
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Will do!!!
post #25 of 25
When I got my kitten Sushi. Cuddles would hiss and growl at us. She HATED Sushi. It's been about a month now and guess what those two are the best of friends. I mean who would have thunk. Those two will play, and prounce on each other. They even have wrestling matches and no one gets hurt. They look for each other now, so they can play together.

So if there is hope for my cat, than there is hope for your Pixel to get along with the newbies in her home. It will take a while, a month or two, but after they they will be playing probably. Or just tolerate each other.
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