My Cats are still not getting alone after a month...at my wits end! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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My Cats are still not getting alone after a month...at my wits end!

Hi all,

Sorry this is long.....

I am hoping there is someone in this forum who can help me with my cat situation. I am trully at my wits end and I am afraid that the only solution at this point is to give up one of my cats.

On July 15th my cat Delila got ill, I took her to the vet the following morning and she was diagnosed with Laryngitis. She recieved fluids and antibiotics and we were good to go home. When I got home my other cat Bella was hissing/growling and spitting at her (she was terrified of Delila). I knew that this is a normal situation that some cats go through when they are separated for small amounts of time (especially with all the vet smells). I though it would pass.... and kept them separated. Of course a week later Delila got sick again! We got blood tests and and X-ray to rule everything out (she kept vomiting). She was sent home with a medication that settled her stomache and got better almost instantly.

After Delila was well again the aggression started to come from Delila. She was attacking Bella (I mean Viciously, drawing blood, would only stop when I intervened). I of course kept them separated and consulted with my vet. She said that if it didnt get better that we would put Bella and Amitriptyline due to Bella's aggression being from anxiety. The Amitiptyline definatley calmed Bella down but the issue with Delila attacking her hasn't stopped! Delila stalks her through the door and acts like she wants to kill Bella. Two days ago I had to take Bella back to the vet to get blood tests(to make sure medication was ok on her system) and I asked my vet about putting Delila on medication. She didn't want to and said she has never put a cat on medication for Aggression (dominance based) only for anxiety based aggression.

I don't know what else I can do, I am really hoping someone has some ideas. I do not think my Vet understands the severity of the situation. Has anyone has any experiences like this that would have any insight?

Things to note:
Anything medical related has been ruled out
I have tried Feliway, Bathing them, vanilla on their noses and Rescue remedy.
I keep them separated at all times.
The last few times I took one of them to the vet I took both of them (except for the first time).


Please, please, please if anyone has any other ideas please let me know! I do not want to get rid of my kitty.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 12:20 PM
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Delila gets sick, gets attacked by Bella because of vet smells, Delila gets sick again, gets better then attacks Bella to "get back at her for attacking her". Bella is on meds to calm her, but Delila still is in attack mode. Have I got it right? Sometimes a single incident like this is enough to make cats that were former buddies or at least tolerated each other bitter enemies and on the warpath. It happens.....the problem as you stated is what to do and you don't want them drugged into a calm stage. You can try keeping them separated completely, say for a week. Whatever room you keep one, switch them around either for a whole day or half a day. If you have a large dog crate you could put it in a common area (say the livingroom or kitchen) or wherever you spend most of the time. Do the same thing, switching them part of the day in the crate. Play with them---sit on the floor with a long feather or teaser toy and play with them both at the same time----the one free and the one in the crate going back and forth between them. You can feed them near each other. Is there's any hissing or growling of displeasure with the other being near when you're playing with them, that's your signal to stop play. When they are playing well together and near each other, praise them with "good girls!" and give them treats. When they're comfortable with this arrangement (after days or weeks, who knows how long it will take?). Put a harness and leash on the more aggressive of the two (Delila?). At this point you can let Bella out of the crate, and you have Delila with a harness and leash on. If she makes any sign of wanting to attack Bella or focusing hard on her, distract her with some play. What you don't want at this point is for Delila to attack Bella. If all goes well, offer them treats, but them separate them. Hopefully you can get to the point where you feel Delila will not attack and now has it in her mind that when she's good and near Bella nice things happen....either play or treats or lots of loving.

It's possible that this animosity is not fixable, and if it reaches that point then you will have to keep them separated if you want to keep them both and not rehome one of them.

Another alternative is to consult an animal behaviourist or animal psychic (some people are gifted and can tune in to an animal's thoughts and may be able to learn what's really bugging Delila and what can be done to change things for the better). I know what you're going through and it's not pleasant especially when you love both cats and things were going well before the vet visit. I wish you all the best, and hope you'll give us an update.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 12:25 PM
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I forgot to ask.....how old are Delila and Bella. Are they related? Did you get them together or at different times. Are they a specific breed? Where did you get them? How old were they when you got them? How old are they now? Are they both spayed?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for replying.

I have been actually doing some of the things you mentioned but I have had a couple of set backs with the attacks. This is probably why I haven't seen a huge change. I took them both outside a couple days ago (both in harnesses) and Delila has absolutley no interest in Bella. I wonder if maybe it is a territory issue?

Bella is 3 and Delila is 4. Here is there living history

I got Delila when I lived with my oldest sister, my oldest sister has two male cats. Delila got along well with both these cats

I then moved in with my twin sister who had bella (she was her original owner) and another roomate who had a female cat moo moo. Delila got along well with both these cats.

My twin sister and I then got an apartment together with just Bella and Delila.

In June of this year I moved into apartment alone and took both the cats with me.

Delila has never had an issue with any other cats until now and she has moved around and been around alot of different cats.

Bella is a barn kitty and I believe she is a little feral. Delila is from house litter, they are not related.

I feel that my Vet doesn't know how to handle this issue. I have thought about going to a Behavorist but will have to look into the costs.

Because I had to take Bella to the vet for labwork there has been a setback in her behavior (she is back to being terrified) I feel like the vet is not taking into consideration the original cause to the issue.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilabootz View Post
I took them both outside a couple days ago (both in harnesses) and Delila has absolutley no interest in Bella. I wonder if maybe it is a territory issue?
Prince's daily planner:

- Dawn: wake up
- Yawn a few times
- Climb ladder; watch the birds get up
- Bored of birds: wake mom and ask her to dangle the toys
- Breakfast
- Yawn around the house
- Nap till dusk
- Toilet
- Dinner
- Drink
- Beg for treats
- Go down to the garden
- Back at home: ask mom to drag the toys
- Toilet
- Nothing to do, no birds, bored: harrass (chase) Princess
- Sleep

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Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 07:51 PM
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As you say Delila has moved quite a bit and been around other cats and no problem. What was their relationship like before the vet visit. Were they grooming-each-other-cuddle buddies? friends but kept to themselves? played together (chase games etc.)? tolerated each other? avoided each other and kept to themselves? So they have been together for 2 months, and I would think should have worked out some type of relationship, but maybe not? Can you say how they got along before from the beginning to before the vet clinic?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catloverami View Post
...Delila gets sick again, gets better then attacks Bella to "get back at her for attacking her".

Another alternative is to consult an animal behaviourist or animal psychic (some people are gifted and can tune in to an animal's thoughts and may be able to learn what's really bugging Delila and what can be done to change things for the better). I know what you're going through and it's not pleasant especially when you love both cats and things were going well before the vet visit. I wish you all the best, and hope you'll give us an update.
...cats DO NOT have the mental capacity to 'get back' at anyone for something that happened a week ago. That's humanizing them and can cause you to create resentment that just isn't there. If it had happened immediately it still wouldn't be retaliation btw, it would be fighting back, or protecting herself. Cats dont retaliate. We might interpret their actions that way, but that would be us misinterpreting them.

I do agree that one possible solution would be to consult a behaviorist, but I don't think the OP is at that point yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilabootz View Post
I don't know what else I can do, I am really hoping someone has some ideas. I do not think my Vet understands the severity of the situation. Has anyone has any experiences like this that would have any insight?

Things to note:
Anything medical related has been ruled out
I have tried Feliway, Bathing them, vanilla on their noses and Rescue remedy.
I keep them separated at all times.
The last few times I took one of them to the vet I took both of them (except for the first time).


Please, please, please if anyone has any other ideas please let me know! I do not want to get rid of my kitty.
I don't think you'll need to get rid of either cat. I think that considering that after a month would be extreme. Wait a bit, and try some things, then reassess in a while.

First you need to relax. Your stress (personal, about the cats, ect) can actually be making the situation worse. I know with my two girls their issues with eachother escalate if myself or my SO is having a stressful week. So step one is for you to try and settle down a bit. I know that it is a stressful situation, and it's hard not to be stressed when your kitties are so upset with each other, but you have to try.

The next step is to start right from square one with introductions. Check out this link for a great guide.

I highly suggest that you keep using the feliway. It might not make everything perfectly fine again, but it will help lower their stress levels.

The vanilla was a good idea, but I'd try it differently. One of the cat intro steps from little big cat (the above link) is scent swapping. You take a towel and put it in one cats favorite sleeping spot, and another towel for the sleeping spot of the other cat. After a week you swap towels. Repeat. This is where I would use the vanilla. When you go to swap the towels rub a drop of vanilla onto each towel.
I also feed yummy treats when introducing the scent towel. This will make the association that the other cat's smell means yummy/good stuff. Keep things calm though. Don't talk excitedly ect, you want the cats to associate eachother's smell with good things and being calm and relaxed.

Once that's going well move on to the feeding them on either sides of the door, swapping them into each others spaces, ect. IMO you should go really slow with their reintroduction. Take at least a month for the whole process. Hopefull the slow progress will reduce their stress levels, and yours.

Good luck! I know how stressful this can be. My girls are slowly getting better with each other, but they'll never be best buddies.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by librarychick View Post
...cats DO NOT have the mental capacity to 'get back' at anyone for something that happened a week ago. That's humanizing them and can cause you to create resentment that just isn't there. If it had happened immediately it still wouldn't be retaliation btw, it would be fighting back, or protecting herself. Cats dont retaliate. We might interpret their actions that way, but that would be us misinterpreting them.
Sorry to pick up on this, and I promise not to hijack this thread (except momentarily), but I am intensely curious about the above observation. My Snowball has not gotten on with Blizzy in the 18 months I've had them, though with long, intensive efforts, I've gotten things to where they are ok around each other much of the time. However, one behavior still continues--Blizzy will chase Snowby on occasion, and several hours later, when Snowby is on the kitchen table and Blizzy comes near, she will run over, swat him once, and then run away. I have always viewed this as retaliation, part of an ongoing pattern (this has happened 30 times if it's happened once). If it's not retaliation, then what is it?


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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As you say Delila has moved quite a bit and been around other cats and no problem. What was their relationship like before the vet visit. Were they grooming-each-other-cuddle buddies? friends but kept to themselves? played together (chase games etc.)? tolerated each other? avoided each other and kept to themselves? So they have been together for 2 months, and I would think should have worked out some type of relationship, but maybe not? Can you say how they got along before from the beginning to before the vet clinic?
They tolerated each other from the beginning. They really didnt start bonding until I lived with just my sister. Bella would groom Delila but she was never interested, it happened every once in awhile though.They would lay in the same bed and couch but never cuddled. They played with each other alot. Playing was the one thing they did good together. They loved to chase eachother up the cat tree and around the house.

Quote:
The next step is to start right from square one with introductions. Check out this link for a great guide.
I am really going to try this and you are right it has only been a month. I really need to stop being so stressed. I am unfortunatley going out of town for 5 days but I am having a friends stay at my house while I am gone. Hopefully she can get a headstart on the process.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 10:49 PM
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Prince chased Princess this morning as she was finishing in the litter box, something he's done a couple times before and who knows, maybe also when I'm not home. She's then upset all day and treats him badly all day. I don't see it as retaliation but as fear... But indeed why not start a thread about it.

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