I'm hoping someone with an indepth knowledge of cat behavior can help point me in the right direction with this situation.
I have four cats, 8 year old Izzy, 6 year old Morgan, and the brothers, Tres and Noir who will be 2 in March. Last year shortly after Xmas Noir got into some stuff he shouldn't have, and had an obstruction that required surgery. He recovered beautifully, but after that he had a change in personality.
Before he was my sweet, playful boy. He got along well with the older two cats, and he was still trying to "woo" Morgan, my girl, into liking him and allowing him to cuddle (She did NOT approve of the the boys arrival).
After the surgery he started being much more vocal (annoyingly so.. Crying for attention, and sometimes giving that gutteral meow that sounds like he's about to be sick), knocking things off shelves, picking on his sister, and roughhousing far more roughly with his littermate, Tres.
After the surgery I tried to keep his routine as close to what it was before, and I kept a close eye on him to make sure he wasn't messing with his staples (He was a real itch about the collar, I went through three before finding one that would work), giving him his meds at the same time every day (only cat I've ever had who doesn't fight me on meds), and kept his feeding time the same. And he always had his cuddle/gentle play time. Once he was healed from surgery, things went back to normal, as best I can recall. I can't say when exactly this deviation from his normal personality began, but it wasn't long after.
Before I moved, my BF worked from home, and he preferred not to allowed the cats into the office space. He didn't want cat hair around his computer, didn't want them knocking stuff over, or anywhere near the computer. We've had many disagreements about this, but ultimately, it was his house, his room, and they were "my" cats. If you can't tell from that last sentence, we are no longer together, and I've sinced moved into my own place with all four furkids.
Noir is certainly more high maintenence than the other three, and the ex didn't bond with Noir like I did. Tres was his "baby" and he focused most of his attention on Tres, ignoring the other cats. I did my best to treat everyone equally, although by his very nature Noir required more attention. Now that I'm in my own place the cats are by themselves most of the day, when before they were not. Noir is still incredibly vocal once I've settled in for the night. My place is still undergoing construction (things that needed fixed, but there's tools everywhere), and Noir likes to dig at plastic bags, or disposable paint tray liners, anything that makes noise he wants to dig in and meow at. If I get up to correct him, he darts away immediately, then goes back a few minutes later. I feel like he's doing this for attention. I've redirected him with toys, with sitting on my lap and being loved on, and nothing seems to work for long. he gets bored quickly and goes back to being a pest.
He's also started going after Morgan more aggressively. Morgan is not quite right, emotionally or mentally. She's very much bonded to me, but tolerates the boys at best. She doesn't want to cuddle with them, she'd much rather cuddle with me. She definitely has a "victim" quality about her, and on occassion before the kittens arrived, Izzy would attach morgan and corner her. The cats would get separated for a little while, once everyone had calmed down they'd be let out of their separate rooms. This happened once every 7 or 8 months or so. Now that the younger two boys are around it is happening much more frequently. It's not uncommon for it to happen once a week where Noir goes after Morgan. Izzy ignores her for the most part, Tres wants to play and will try and ingage her, but usually walks away when she starts to growl. Noir seems to go in for the kill. He'll chase her into the bedroom, she'll dive under the bed, or up onto a tree, and it can sound like he's killing her with as loud and "screamy" as she gets. I try to stop it as soon as I see or hear the begining rumbling growls, but sometimes I'm not fast enough and it escalates to what I just described. Separation time happens, I ignore both cats, and they get released after a cool off period.
Ultimately, what I need help with is:
A. How can I help get Noir back to being a happy kitty, and to get him to stop crying constantly. He'll wake me up in the middle of the night with it sometimes. In these instances I've picked him up, laid him on the bed next to me, and hugged him to my chest. This is when he seems to be the most content, he quiets down immediately, starts purring, grooms himself and me, and eventually falls asleep. He seems to like the "constriction" of me hugging him.
B. How can I get him to stop tormenting Morgan? There are never claws engaged, or teeth that I have seen. It's mostly posturing and quiet bullying. Morgan screams like a banchy at the lightest provocation. I've taken to separating them in different rooms and ignoring them both for a bit until they've calmed down (about half an hour). If Noir starts meowing he gets ignored for longer. Once he's quiet he is let out.
I'm frustrated, worried about my boy, and wish I had the right answers to fix this. I'm not sure if I've done anything right up to this point. The vet sees nothing wrong with him, other than his needing to lose a bit of weight (which he actually has since I switched his food.) Please help!
Thank you, BCTBMom.