Cats not getting along

gogwmosJune 19, 2012

I have had cats all my life, and they learn to tolerate a new one, but I have a different situation that has gone on for over a year and now is taking a turn for the worse.

I have 4 cats, Lily, Cali, Minnie LaRue and Amy. We got them in that order. Lily is my old lady, she accepted Cali but doesn't play much so Cali attached herself to Frank, Lily's brother, and they were best friends, wrestling and chasing each other everywhere. Frank died of heart failure in Feb 2010, and Cali was lonely, so I found a little beastie at the Humane Society and named her Minnie LaRue. She and Cali are now inseparable, Minnie worships the ground Cali walks on.

Amy was a stray that I found at work and came home with me just over a year ago, but she was very pregnant and very protective of her condition with the other three cats and, when the babies were born, protective of them with the other cats. She would let us do anything to the kittens, and she would curl up in our laps while we sat on the floor in her room with her babies. This did not earn her brownie points with the other cats.

Now all the kittens are gone and she is so mellow and wants to be a part of the action (she is only a year or so when she got pregnant, so she is still a kitten) but Cali and Minnie LaRue gang up on her and Cali chases her away from everything she does. I was the "bad" parent who, after she kept scratching her mite infested ears, would put in the medicine and put the cream on her head where she scratched herself bloody, and she wants nothing to do with me. I am sad, but I would rather be the bad parent than my husband who she adores. She follows him around and lays with him on his chair while he watches TV. At first we let her sleep with us, but that wasn't working out (she dominated a King bed with both of us in it!) and she needed to be socializing with the others, so she has the run of the house with the others.

The problem is, I think she gave the wrong impression to Cali when she chased her off when she was pregnant or with the babies, and now Cali chases her away from everything, from food to using the litterbox, Cali terrorizes her. We reprimand Cali and Cali does stop as soon as we yell at her to stop, but Amy is just frazzled. Except for her time with my husband, she hides all the time now. She does use the litterbox and does eat, but she is now overweight because she can't play and run like a cat needs to do.

How can I help these two get along? It isn't Amy, it is mostly Cali being nasty just because she can. And don't bother suggesting Feliway, we tried several times, no luck.

Thanks all!

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You haven't said either way but are all your kitties spayed or neutered. Sometimes that can cause problems.

That said, I doubt very seriously the problems you're experiencing are because of when Amy (?) was pregnant. They are very instinctive and naturally know a mother is going to protect her babies.

I think the problem is most likely a territorial thing and they see her as an intruder. Maybe you need to start the introductions over again and more slowly. Separate them and just let her hang out with one cat at a time in a closed room so there won't be any other outside influences. The process could take a while so you need to be patient but I think eventually you'll be able to introduce them all into the same room at the same time once they've all had a chance to accept her on an individual basis. That's what a friend of mind did when she had a similar situation and it helped a lot.

BTW, the best way to get them to stop fighting is to use a spray bottle and mist them. They hate water and it will get their attention but it won't hurt or traumatize them in anyway.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Yes, they are all spayed and all females, if that makes a difference, which I think it might. Amy has no problem with Cali, she will walk into a room with Cali right there and lay down 5 feet from her. If we are in the room Cali keeps her cool for as long as she can, but she has a wild streak in her that bursts out. Cali does this to us as well, she has a short fuse and if over-stimulated she will try to gently bite. She knows it's wrong and pulls back immediately and gives us those "sorry" eyes, but she is almost 8 and I don't think she will change. She is a purebred Ragdoll (as were/are Frankie and Lily and are both so docile and totally live up to the Ragdoll name), Cali is just a wild child. I will work with them, I have the "attitude adjuster" squirt bottle, but just a loud "CALI NO!" and Cali stops immediately.

I try to have all the girls come around me every morning on my bed and have "lady time", they all get treats and are coerced into being within 2-3 feet of each other, but Amy won't even come into the room anymore.

We have a vet appointment on Thursday, I want to get Amy's ears checked, she still scratches them but won't let me near them to check. I don't think she still has ear mites, the woman who took two of Amy's kittens said the other day that one of the kittens who had contracted the mites from Amy (we couldn't treat her while pregnant or nursing) ended up with a yeast infection in his ears, so I think that is what might be going on. Hopefully that is it and Amy will become more confident if she isn't always itchy.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:25AM
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I've had cats all my life, too, and I currently have five. Even tho it's been a year for Amy, and that seems like a long time, given all that's happened in her little life, as well as in the other cats' lives, I'd just give it more time and I think they'll work it out. One of my cats, a rescue, that I've had for years, is still making progress in not being scared and being around everyone. A couple of my cats still spit spat from time to time. I yell "NO" to them also, and they get it. Another cat that I adopted is a big male that was my neighbors' cat. Before I adopted him, he used to come over and chase my girls (other four cats) around. Even after many years, he still occasionally chases the littlest girl sometimes; but for the most part, he's stopped chasing. I brought two dogs into the household two years ago, and I still see the relationships b/t the dogs and the cats evolving. Even with my pigs (yes, I have potbellies), their relationship seemed to evolve into a more friendly one over time. IMHO, animals, like us, have different personalities and, therefore, interact differently at different times, depending on their moods, energy levels, etc. That's one of the things I like about having multiple cats, is that they hang out with each other at different times. It's been really interesting to see their relationships develop. Cali may be trying to assert herself as dominant, and once she feels that's accomplished, back off a bit. There still may be some jealousy involved. Amy is still very young. I think that they all have to understand that YOU are the boss and you are the dominant one. I really like Lukki's idea above. If it is a territorial issue, they will see that you are in control, not them.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Omigosh, as if to prove my point, as I'm sitting here this morning on my loveseat on my porch, I'm joined by my two dogs and two of my cats. These are the two cats that spit spat!! And I don't think that Athena (the tortie) has ever snuggled with the dogs like this before. Chloe, the white dog in the middle, is laying on her back :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I agree with lukkiirish that you need to work on re-introduction. It sounds like Cali has become protective of Minnie, along with being territorial, and the fact Amy now hides most of the time would have me worried. At her age she needs to be out and playing.

Do get her a well check at the vets, then start isolating Cali so Amy is able to come out and explore the house without fear. I think Cali has learned she rules the roost with no boundaries. ;)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Thanks all, great suggestions. I hope we find something wrong with Amy's ears because she is scratching herself bloody. And I agree, time will usually make things work out.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 5:15AM
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There is something definitely wrong since no cat should be scratching its ears bloody. Poor thing has to be miserable.....

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Well my diagnosis was right, she did have a yeast infection which the vet sort of dismissed at first because it is such an unusual diagnoses and she has a buildup of thick wax in her ears. We got drops that will help with the infection and loosen the wax so we are on our way to good health!

Yes Annz, she has been so miserable, but since the vet had no diagnosis when we went a few months ago, we all thought she was scratching healing skin, but I made them do a more thorough investigation of her ears inside. When I found her a year ago she had a horrible flap of skin hanging on her scalp, you could see bone underneath. That healed with some antibiotic cream, but she always scratched at it so it never fully healed. Hopefully this will help, I really think she needs to be in an Elizabethan collar (just to make her MORE miserable!) so we can keep her claws away from her ears. We are going back next week for a checkup so hopefully things are better then.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:09PM
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