I have a mean girl cat

gogwmosOctober 30, 2012

I had three female Ragdoll cats, all living together peacefully, but one really is the Alpha female, Cali. June of last year I rescued a pregnant stray, two weeks later she gave birth, 8 weeks later they all got spayed and got adopted but we kept Amy, the mom cat.

During her pregnancy and while the kittens were here Amy was very protective of her surroundings. We kept her in a closed off unused guest room where she had everything she needed for her and her babies. If one of the other cats so much as looked in she would go after them, mama cat style. The minute the last kitten was gone she was excited to roam the house and didn't mind the other cats, but Cali would chase after her. Amy is the sweetest cat, she gets along fine with the other two girls and she has no problem when Cali approaches but Cali growls and chases her off. Cali is on a mission to make Amy's life hell, she watches Amy with every step she takes.

Now she is preventing Amy from using the litterbox, which is in the laundry room. Amy is using the kitchen floor in a corner she always goes to to poop.

We have tried everything we can think of to make Cali less jealous, but she is just a mean girl when it comes to Amy. What can we do to help Cali chill out? It isn't Amy at all, she ignores Cali until Cali messes with her, but I can't have Cali doing this to Amy. It has been over a year, we thought Cali would calm down but she hasn't.

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A friend of mine had to resort to physically separating her cats when he daughter moved in w/a cat that stalked her older female. She had to keep the timid cat one one side of the house except when someone was home to supervise. Even then the mean one would stalk/attack/scare the other cat although they tried to keep it to a minimum. Luckily for her there was an easy way to divide the house, there was an addition w/a door they could close.

As soon as the daughter moved out w/mean cat, timid cat came out & was so relaxed!

Is there any other place you can possibly keep a litter box for Amy to use? Even a small one-you can easily empty daily, we have 2 on the main floor, I scoop daily & you really wouldn't know they're there by smell. A bathroom, guest room, den, etc. Cali can't be everywhere, so hopefully Amy would be able to at least use a litterpan again w/o fear.

I suspect you can't do much to change the way Cali acts toward Amy. Maybe in time & w/some effort, they can tolerate each other. According to this website, they're 'non-preferred associates.' A vet I worked for ages ago said 'Sometimes they just never get along.' Of course, he was old school, if a client complained their pets weren't getting along, he said to put them in a bathroom together, shut the door & go to the movies. They'll have things worked out one way or another when you get home. I don't suggest this approach:)

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Get Your Cats to Be Best Friends

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Have you tried transferring their scents to each other? Take a hand towel and rub it over all the cats, being sure to wipe around the cheeks where they have scent glands. Then rub that same towel over the new cat. Of course there's no guarantee it will work but it's worth a try.

This was copied from the about.com site: For some situations it may be helpful to scent all the cats with a strong-smelling pleasant odor that not only makes them alike, but also distracts them from cat-bashing. For instance, rub your hands with the water from canned tuna, and stroke the back of each cat. That should encourage them to self-groom and potentially groom each other-creating a renewal of the family scent.

Definitely add more litter boxes.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:53PM
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Thanks, but adding more litterboxes won't help, Cali stalks her every minute Amy is up and about so no matter where the box is Cali will be there to chase Amy away.

None of my cats groom each other, so I don't know if that would work, and I can pet Amy for a long time, go to Cali who must sniff your hand before you can pet her and she has no problem with Amy's scent on my hands.

I thought about locking Cali away in a spare bedroom during the time my husband leaves for work and I get up which is about a 4-5 hour span. Then Amy can do her business in peace, and that isn't too long of a time to isolate her.

Thanks for the suggestions, and I will read that article now.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 4:33AM
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A couple of ideas, maybe not so good, maybe they don't apply, but here's what's on my mind.

If Cali is stalking Amy all the time, that must be incredibly stressful for poor Amy! How about a time out for Cali if she is that wound up? My cat would quite literally jump me for the first year we had him- it was unbearable for me. When he would do it, we would calmly put him in a room by himself to decompress. He had all the amenities he needed in there except stimuli. I'd leave him in there for 15 minutes or so, then if he immediately tried his behaviors again, back in he would go for another 15-30 minutes-- and so on. He learned to associate the behavior of jumping me, with being isolated, and it settled down a lot. Every once in a while he still does it, and right back in time out he goes. When you do something like this, it can feel a little hopeless at first because it feels like you are constantly attending to this (same as with a little human kid), but in time as they learn the inevitable consequences, the behaviors will hopefully change.

Maybe Cali needs more hunting play? Something to help her burn off all that energy she has? That's definitely a problem with my boy, he needs to be played with in a way that satisfies his hunting instinct and wears off energy- if he gets this activity, then he much mellower and well behaved. BUT, don't make the mistake I did, which was to get the laser pointer and start playing with him when he got wound up-- that just led to him getting wound up in order to play laser pointer! You have to initiate the play time on your schedule, so they don't associate it with bad behavior.

Also, in regard to litter boxes, I just recently saw on My Cat From Hell, a similar situation with a cat who could not use a litter box because the other cat was always attacking him. The host suggested that the problem was the distinctive noise of traditional clay litters when a cat steps in them. That sound would bring the other cat from anywhere in the house. He suggested trying a different type of litter, like wheat litter, just because it would be stealthier for the other cat. (As an aside, I didn't really care much for the wheat hull litter when we used it, but there are other types to try too).

Finally, I think cats can definitely learn from positive reinforcement, so any time you catch Cali being civil with Amy, even if it's just relaxing across the room (hey, it might happen at some point), make a point of petting her and telling her how good she is being. Every cat I've had has loved to be told whaaaaat a goooood kitty you are!

Good luck. It's rough. I'd like to get another kitty at some point, but am afraid that this cat we have now would act like your Cali, and I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge at this point.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Thanks Quasi, I will try the suggestions you made, I think a game time with the laser and other stimulants might help them bond.

We do constantly praise all our cats for good behaviors, but Cali doesn't want praise, she wants Amy!

I think I am going to get some catnip and get them all good and stoned tomorrow. Cali especially likes it, so it may mellow her out!


    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 4:34AM
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Forgot to mention, there's also Rescue Remedy & Feliway. I tried Feliway for a cat who was peeing everywhere, didn't have any luck. Also gave the Feliway to friend mentioned above, it didn't fix the problem for her either. Have never tried Rescue Remedy but some say it's helped. Google them, there's lots of info. Both are in the $20-30 range IIRC. Amazon.com has lots of reviews if you're interested.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Have you given them catnip before? It made my Sphynx, who hated other cats, even more psycho with them. Tom's cat just drools, mine went on the warpath.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Jomuir, I tried Feliway and it didn't work at all.

Cocontom, I have started giving them catnip, they love it! Now if I can only get them near each other when I give it to them it would help.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:20AM
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Careful with the catnip. Do give it to them separately at a fair distance from each other. My sibling cats, who normally love each other, get aggressive, spit, and fight (albeit briefly) only with catnip.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:48AM
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