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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2014, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Cat!

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.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2014, 11:43 PM
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Oh I'm sorry that you're having such issues with Noir. As for the aggressive behavior towards Morgan, I don't have much advice to offer, but there is a very recent post by a member with a bully cat (it has bully cat in the title of the thread). You might check that thread to see if there's anything there that could help.

For both the bullying and the constant crying, you could try a calming collar - one for him and one for poor Morgan too! or a pheromone plug-in diffuser. When did you move to your own place? Even if he never bonded with your ex, just the move itself and changes in lifestyle due to the move might have stressed him. And in combination with his surgery, it might have been enough for him to seek constant reassurance from you.

In order to get him to let you sleep, try putting a piece of your worn (ie, unwashed) clothing on his favorite bed (other than yours) or wherever he likes to sleep (other than your bed). Actually, you could put a piece of clothing everywhere where he spends a lot of time. Having your scent near him might help soothe him.

I hope others will have some suggestions for you!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2014, 11:47 PM
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I think it's mostly his age. At two years male cats will often vie for being a top cat in a household. Before you moved was there a cat that was the boss or did they all get along? Noir's at that stage and is starting to push around Morgan because she is acting like a victim and he's likely getting his jollies by making her scream. He's becoming a bit of a bully and is reveling in it. He seems to be needy especially after his surgery, and yes all the mischief he gets into with the plastic bags and paint tray are attention-getting behaviors, even if it's negative, it's still attention. Have you tried actually giving him more attention? say, keep only Noir in your bedroom at night with the door closed so he can't get into mischief and bother the other cats. The extra attention might satisfy his neediness. Try and get him tired out before you go to bed with an active play time with a fishing pole toy like "Da Bird". You might also buy another cat tree if you only have one. Having more vertical space would be helpful, especially for Morgan. All the cats are really still settling in to their new home. If it's a smaller area than they were use to previously, this is likely adding to the stress of adjustment. You'll have to find a way of giving Morgan her cuddles I would suggest out of sight and hearing of Noir, as he sounds as if he could be jealous of any attention given to her, and I think she would regress and be withdrawn. Sometimes the space or mix of the cats isn't harmonious, and then you might have to think of re-homing one. Remember you have to think of your own peace of mind as well, as it can be stressful if cats are fighting or screaming. Let us know how things work out.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."

Last edited by catloverami; 12-31-2014 at 11:52 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-01-2015, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your feedback. To give you some more information.

Noir started this right abnormal behavior after his surgery, a little less than a year ago, so he was only about a year old. Prior to that he was not aggressive toward morgan, just wanted to cuddle with her. and on some occasions he actually could, if morgan was already asleep he could slip in behind her or next to her head/shoulder and cuddle.

I moved on Nov 2nd, and these bad behaviors were already well established prior to moving. When I moved I limited their access to rooms, let them get used to the new environment, and Noir seemed to be adjusting just fine. ALl four cats do have access to the full house, but it's not a big house. A 2 bedroom ranch, when we used to live in a two bedroom town house. The cats didn't have access to the basement, the downstairs bathroom or the ex's room at that house.

Morgan does have a calming collar, which has actually helped her anxiety, she'll let the boys near her, but only start the hysterics when the boys start to posture. Her quality time with mom (me) is at night when I'm reading in bed. This has been her time with me since she was a kitten. The other cats are always welcome, and Tres will often crawl under the blankets to sleep against my thigh or calf. Noir will sometimes jump up on the foot of the bed, but usually he curls up in one of the many, many beds around the house. I do also use a calming agent in their water that has seemed to help. I'm discovering, due to the water treatment, that noir likes fresh water, very very fresh water. Instead of changing it once a day I've taken to changing it twice a day this past week. It's hard to say whether it's affected his crying. He has only cried in the middle of the night once, and for only a short time.

I've also started playing with them more frequently, and for longer periods of time. They have more toys than any cat aught to! The boys will all destroy the feather toys in quick order, but they do love them, and seem to get the most active with them. the crying and bad behavior has slacked off the tiniest bit, so I do believe we're at least going in the right direction.

I hadn't thought about getting Noir a calming collar, I'll try that since I need to refresh Morgan's anyway.

thank you both for the input. Do you have any suggestions for interactive toys that may challenge all of their minds and get them thinking some more?

Forgot to add, I have two cat trees, but they are both currently in my bedroom as the dining room has tools and whatnot in it still (which is where i'd like to put the other tree, lots of windows and light in that room). I have been considering getting a third cat tree for the living room, but I'd like to see how moving the other cat tree works first., since the cats have the couch to perch on and look out the window.

Last edited by BCTBMom; 01-01-2015 at 08:44 AM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-02-2015, 02:17 PM
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This isn't a toy, but one of the things I do that keep my cats' instincts stimulated is what I tell them is "Treasure Hunt". I use a small quantity of no-grain kibble as treats. Rather than just giving them treats or using them in training tricks, I will throw them about the floor and carpet of the house in a random way, even some on stairs, and but let them see the first few near them. Then I quickly scatter them. They go about searching for them. My girl Alkee is better at finding them than my boy Zuba, who sometimes trails her as he knows she's better at finding the treats. He's catching on better tho lately on his own, but I think it does give them a sense of "hunting for their food". They get pretty excited when I get out the treat bag and say "Treasure Hunt"? so I think they enjoy the exercise. I usually do it just before hubby and I sit down to eat dinner and then they're not begging for food. They get their evening meal just before we go to bed.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
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