Are some cats just jerks? A rant. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Are some cats just jerks? A rant.

I think before I experienced Boba, I was really spoiled as far as cat parenthood goes, with a pair of cats who were great friends and were the perfect ying to the other's yang. But idyllic times like that can't last, and we sadly lost our kitty friend Norville.

Then we got Boba, knowing that it could never be as good as it was, but never imagining that it could be as unsettled as it is. We went to the shelter looking for a mellow adult male cat, and I swear that when we were there, this cat was sweet and mellow. Where did THAT cat go?

Boba stalks our other cat constantly. She growls, hisses and spits at him at almost every opportunity (I tell her that doesn't help, but she doesn't listen). He chases her and bites her back and legs. They trade swipes, and he pins her down and bites at her.

Within the past few weeks, he's started re-directing his aggression to me after I've been with Pfeffa, or if I attempt to intervene with his aggression towards Pfeffa. Now I'm stalked and bitten. If I didn't have the ability to walk away from him when he gets fixated on me, I'd be as stressed and unhappy as Pfeffa seems to be.

It's all very frustrating - and worse, I'm starting not to like him (which is a horrible thing!). We're trying a few different things now - including increasing the amount of food he gets (is he hungry?), Spirit Essence, a new play schedule where I play with Pfeffa and my husband plays with Boba (playing with him actually seems to make it worse more often than not), and distraction techniques (away from Pfeffa) that leads then to toys and playing. I've also started shutting Pfeffa in a room - which she doesn't mind - and Boba sits outside the door and cries (?). We've considered a re-introduction, but decided to try all the above for a little while.

So, I just wanted to vent a bit about my situation. If anyone has any thoughts about other things to try, or any ideas as to why he behaves this way, they would be welcome. Otherwise, thanks for listening...
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 05:23 PM
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aww yea some just seem to have an attitude I guess, we have had cats like that (((HUGS))) hope things work out
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 06:10 PM
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don't really have a solution. there's a whole range of cat behaviors from one extreme to the other. just like people. I just think there's a whole lot less bad cats than bad people. I wonder what that says?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 09:39 PM
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Some may disagree with me, but is it possible to take Boba back to the shelter and explain that he just did NOT agree with your cat? It may sound cold, but it also sounds like its getting worse and not better.

I'm sure they can find him a great home where he's the only cat, and you can find a cat that they're sure does well with other cats.

I guess for now you can try to keep them apart as much as possible until things settle down?


"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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OsnobunnieO – thank you for suggesting that. I can't deny that the thought of bringing him back hasn't occurred to me at some subconsious level, but I've never *actually* allowed myself to really consider such a thing. And reading it like this - it hit me that it was a possibility - that I could pack him up and bring him back to the shelter - and I felt such a deep hurt from the idea of doing that to him that I'm actually struggling right now to fight back tears.

Because as much as he's a pest, he's part of our family, and has been with us for so long (since last June)...I don't know if I could *do* that to him, or live with the guilt and pain of knowing that I failed him and then replaced him with another cat. I keep thinking of how he runs to meet me every evening when I get home...

I need to find a way to make this work - even if it means going back to square one, and doing a lengthy re-introduction. Thank you for slapping me in the face with this - I'm a little stunned by my own reaction and the sudden resolve I'm feeling to make the situation better.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 04:57 PM
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So this has been going on for 6 months? I really think you should consider bringing him back to the shelter. for all you know, this cat is just incompatible with other cats (sites such as petfinder even give an option of identifying such an animal) and wasn't marked.

good luck with whatever you do... but, an angry cat, especially one that bites, is more of a neusanse than a pet
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 08:06 PM
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For some reason, I thought he had only been with you a short time. At this point, returning him to the shelter may do him a lot of mental anguish. I didn't mean to suggest it as an only option, more of a last resort. I completely understand now why you wouldn't want to do it.

You wouldn't be replacing him at all if you had to rehome him... but I think for both cats it might be the best thing. I wouldn't do it through the shelter now though. You could try to find a nice home where he'd be the only cat... perhapse a friend, relative or coworker would want him or know someone that did.

Some cats like other cats with no problems, some like certain cats... some can dislike each other but still co-exist peacefully and others (like yours) want nothing to do with another cat and will let it be known!

It has to be stressful to all of you. Keep them apart for a while. Maybe even try something like Feliway or the other herbal type remedies (spirit essence, rescue remedy? not clear what specifically you should try). If they both settle down, maybe in a few weeks VERY SLOWLY start the introduction process over. If it still looks like its going to be impossible for them to live together, you might want to spread the word and find him a new home.

Lots of luck, and keep us updated!


"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 08:36 PM
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Yes, my own cat is widely regarded as "Just a Total Jerk."

If all else fails, what about a consult with a behaviorist? I know that feeling when someone suggests that you "take him back to the shelter," it's a horrible, sickening feeling. I found an alternative for the dog and worked with the shelter to do a rehoming that was acceptable to all involved and he never had to go back to the shelter, so your shelter just might be willing to work with you on rehoming if it comes to that...something to keep in mind (most shelters require that if you ever have to surrender the animal, it must come back to them, but if you can find a new home yourself, they might be happy to just oversee the paperwork).

I hope the reintroduction and spirit essences work. If I didn't have a very territorial one myself already, I'd take Boba in a NY minute. He sounds and looks like my kind of kitty...but I think he and Assumpta would kill each other...

Can you swap the play therapy so that you play with Boba and your husband with Pfeffa? And try separating them at least when your husband's not home? Maybe having your husband be the agent of intervention between Boba and Pfeffa might make a subtle change...if you're territory that both cats want, maybe having a third party do the "dirty work" might alleviate some of the territorial disputes over you (because you didn't say that they ewre acting this way to your husband)...just thinking out loud, though. Maybe a spritz of perfume on your jeans might help to confuse the scents a bit, so no one's got a clear claim.

Hmm...and a vet visit wouldn't hurt, just to make sure that no one is having any physical problem, or that there's no residual reproductive tissue or hormonal baggage hanging around in either cat...Is Pfeffa giving off any body language (tail, posture, vocalization) that might resemble heat and confuse Boba? That's why I think a behaviorist might be able to watch them interact and see where the real issues might lie.

Sorry, more thinking out loud. I hope you find a way to deal with all of this.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 02:53 AM
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How old is Boba now? Most cats tend to settle down at 18 months. (and I'm assuming since you adopted him in June that he is fixed...)

I do think you're on the right track when you talk about a lengthy re-introduction. Flower Essences and Feliway is the way to go. How did you do the first introduction?

If you must re-home the cat, and I know you're thinking this as a last resort (good!), I would do it personally rather than take him back to the shelter. He isn't damaged goods, he's just a bit rambunctious.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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I do so appreciate all your thoughts. I'll try to respond to it all...

When we adopted him, we were told he was around 8-10 months—and, as an aside, he was in one of the "cat suites" with about 6 others, so he was getting along with other cats — so now, he's hitting the 15-17 month-old mark.

The shelter policy is neuter right before the cat goes home - we actually picked him up from the vet after his procedure. Incidentally, Pfeffa is also spayed...and was with another [neutered] male cat for years without a single problem.

He got his own room for the first few days and was isolated from Pfeffa. Then he escaped from that room, and they met by accident (which was bad, but things seemed okay). I started giving them a few hours of shared spaced each evening - and after a week or so, an overnight together - which did not go great, but the biggest problem was Boba destroying stuff in the house. It seemed to be progressing, if slowly.

I used to be the only one to play with both cats - but since a few weeks ago (after the first incident when I had to walk away from Boba because he was fixed on me and kept leaning in to bite) my husband has been doing play therapy with Boba, and I play with Pfeffa.

Within the past few days, I've tried to give Boba more positive attention more often - and have been trying to give both cats praise whenever they are together and not hissing/chasing/swiping.

We haven't started a re-introduction just yet. I want to have a good plan in place for what we will actually do - and how we'll do it.

Last night, we talked about the possibility of adopting a kitten - to change the cat dynamic and perhaps give Boba a true playmate. But I think we are both feeling so confounded by the situation, that it's hard to imagine that something like that could work or help - or if it would make things even worse. That's something that will take much more thought...
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