Cat not getting along with mom and sister

cornsnake_loverDecember 27, 2013

Over two years ago I rescued a pregnant cat, Amy. She had 5 kittens. I successfully adopted all 5 out to friends, but the two females adopted together had to be returned after 2 years due to my friend's allergies. It took Cub and Joey about 3 weeks to settle in and trust us, but Cub is a hateful cat towards Amy, Joey and our other cat, Minnie LaRue. My friend said that Joey and Cub never really did get along in the 2 years she had them, and Cub likes to chase the other cats off the bed, off the couch, terrorizing them any way she can. She also really wants to go outside, something I am against, living in a subdivision, but I can tell she has a lot of wildcat in her, and that need to be free and run. Amy and Joey are perfectly happy indoors.

I have tried to find her a home on a farm where she would be safer from the dangers of our area (coyotes and birds of prey) since we have block walls in our yard which the coyotes walk along all the time. We had a jackrabbit killed by a coyote a while back in the backyard, and if the rabbit couldn't make it I doubt Cub could.

She is so happy when she is cuddling with us, but if another cat is on the scene it is one big cat fight.

I don't want to drug her, but if that is what it takes then I would be willing to look into kitty Xanax, and I wanted opinions on letting her be free to roam the neighborhood but always be able to come home, something I really oppose but I don't want a house of miserable, scared cats, they all deserve to be happy and secure.

Any thoughts?

This post was edited by cornsnakelover on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 23:33

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The last sentence says it all - so, are there not any other possible homes in your area? Why would it have to be a farm?

It may take some doing, but get the word out to friends, vet, neighbors, post on local supermarket bulletin board, etc. (I wouldn't advertise on Craigslist.) Do some serious screening and require that you deliver the cat to the new home plus have visiting privileges for one more visit. The kind of person you want adopting your cat will understand why you are doing that. The person who gets huffy and offended - you don't want them adopting your cat.

Otherwise look into building a secure cat enclosure where Cub can have her own domain - that may take the edge off for her so that she's not so aggressive towards the others.
Or - a timeshare approach can work quite well, keeping cats separate - IF you can follow a strict schedule for switching cats and rooms. It's important that Cub not feel that she's being punished by being put in a separate space and that her time comes at a predictable time every day to switch places with the other cats. Cats love schedules and predictability so this can work to your advantage, but you really, really do need to follow through with the schedule and not just shut her away and neglect her for extended periods - When I was doing this I put my boys in the basement overnight , feeding them their p.m. meal down there, and they would just settle down to sleep most of the night anyway. Then, in the morning they were waiting patiently at the door every morning for breakfast and switching places with my other cat.

BTW, if you keep them separate for a while you may be able to successfully try reintroducing them again - gradually. Or if the fighting isn't too bad perhaps your schedule could include some together time in the evening where everyone gets free run of the house. Be creative.

I would not drug her. IMHO, drugs should be reserved only for truly serious disorders. This sounds very much like normal cat behavior - four cats can be a lot of cats in one house, depending on the personalities involved. My two get competitive at times over prime real estate (eg my lap, on top of the fridge, etc.)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 1:24PM
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I would prefer she went to a home where she will have plenty of room to roam and can come inside if she wants. Like I said, we have cinderblock walls around our backyard, and no where to hide. Putting her out front would make her happier, but I am afraid she would run away,

I have been trying to find her a new home, but no one seems interested,

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:56AM
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Thinking about allowing Cub to go outside--

I would think she could go over the wall. If she cannot jump that high, maybe climbing a bush. Is there car traffic in your area? How about getting her in at night? Don't feed her until night, which will force her to come in, hungry. Aren't coyotes out only at night?

Continue to spread the word about looking for a home for her. Living with feuding animals is difficult.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 9:51AM
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A farm won't be any safer than the outdoors of your suburban home. If anything, there will be more wildlife/predators hanging around the farm.

socks......coyotes packs tend to be out at night but we often have single coyotes stroll thru our property during the day. Even watched one catch and eat a ground squirrel one day.

I would continue looking for another home for your cat, but if you think you'll be keeping her then I would suggest building her a kennel or run in the back yard. My cat would love to sneak out the front door, but she's very content with the large dog kennel we set up for her on the back deck. She comes and goes thru a cat door in the BR.

Here is a link that might be useful: Enclosures

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:17PM
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Something I need to mention is that we live in the desert, there are no shade trees or bushes for the most part, which is why she wouldn't be safe in the backyard and why a "run" wouldn't work. It gets up to 120 here in the low desert and with no shade during the day she wouldn't make it.

Separating them wouldn't work, we have an open concept home with only three rooms with doors, the bedrooms. They wouldn't have access to a litterbox, and our work schedule wouldn't allow for it to be at the same time every day.

Damn, having cats has never been this hard for us!

I think I am going to let her go out front, we live on a cul-de-sac which will help a lot, and there are big trees in the front of most of the houses that would help her hide and have shade.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:11AM
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You'll probably be criticized for letting her out, but I do understand. Just try hard to get her in at night. I'm thinking Cub has been outside before and now finds the confinement of the home too much.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:39AM
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It seems like Cub would be happier in a home where she is the only cat. Please continue to put up ads in your local areas to try to re-home her. As for letting her out, she doesn't need to be out there and it doesn't sound safe for her to be out, due to predators. I live in an area full of coyotes and they are not just out at night. Ann's idea of a cat enclosure is a good one, if you can't find an alternative for her.

Have you posted anything at your vet's office? I know that my vet will actually re-home felines at her office when other homes are not available for them.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Socks, she has never been outside except trips to the vet.

The outdoor "runs" are way too expensive, some well over $1000.

I am going to keep searching for a perfect home for her.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 3:16AM
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I agree with junebug1961. Cub sounds like my Buddy who wants to be the only cat. My cat is like that too.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:18PM
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People who live in subdivisions should not allow their cats to roam unless all their neighbors agree to hosting your cat on their property. Unfortunately not everyone likes cats and will take the attitude that if you don't care enough for your cat to keep it safely on your property then you probably don't care what happens to it. People like this think nothing of trapping and having animal control pick up (then when the cat reacts badly it is deemed feral and put down immediately), poisoning, shooting, and many other cruel methods to rid themselves of what they see as a nuisance. It isn't the cat's fault, but they are usually the ones who pay for their owners' choices to let them roam.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 1:40AM
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Statistically indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats. In addition to the obvious threats from vehicles, predators and neighbors that don't appreciate their properties being used as litter boxes and hunting grounds there is feline AIDS and other threats posed by other unconfined cats.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 1:46AM
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Fyi - diy cat enclosures can cost only a couple of hundred if that, and obviously shade would have to be provided or outdoor time scheduled when the sun isn't blasting down full force. I built mine out of 10 10-foot metal poles (the thinner horizontal poles used for chain link, I set those into the ground vertically) and 100 feet of plastic mesh deer fencing. If you have an athletic cat you may need to rig mesh over the top somehow. Or you could build a space that is a combination cat pen and private walled garden space for the human residents to use too.

Similarly, blocking off spaces within an open concept house may need some creativity - doors put up (do you have a basement)? BE CREATIVE.

I was surprise when you said she's never been out. I thought you said she was one of these cats lives to go outside or maybe I read that into what you wrote.

That does not bode well IMHO - it means she has no street smarts, she's being put out of a house that she's already feeling insecure about (dominators are often acting out of insecurity), and in an area where you've said you've seen predators hanging around your house.

I appreciate that you're trying very hard to find the right place for this kitty, and I'm honestly not philosophically opposed to letting cats out ..... but I'm just not getting a good feeling about this. If it was a safe neighborhood, if you knew your neighbors and knew they were cat lovers, and you had a good long term relationship with the cat, knew she would come when called , and she wasn't having these territorial issues, that's one thing - but what you describe has a lot of red flags. I say that as someone with a cat that was lost - territorial issues according to lost pet websites is indeed a big reason why some take off, they perceive they are being pushed out of their environment. I think that may have been a factor in my cat's disappearance.

There is a steep learning curve with outdoor cats - cars, avoiding dogs, predators, etc. - if they survive the learning curve then yes they can live many years (my 22 year old was proof of that) but... it's a big If. Many don't make it.

I say all this as someone with a cat Figgy who has had aggression issues with my other cats. Its hard to love the aggressor and they do pick up on your feelings... which then makes them act out all the more. In my case I was yelling at him because he was being such an ass sometimes - jumping on and biting Orange if I was giving him attention, always intent on being top cat. Figgy disappeared for six weeks and it was only with a lot of effort I got him back. Now that Ive been showering him with love and attention his whole demeanor has changed. If Orange is sleeping by my head he no longer attacks, but just goes to sleep on the other side of me. Sometimes I have both cats purring together on my lap and we couldn't be happier! I know its more complicated having four cats - but the point is if you can find some way that you're happy with your cat, your cat is going to be happier too.

Long story short - I so hope a good home manifests itself soon! In leiu of that I still think you have some options. Hang in there!

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 20:06

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Thanks for the responses, but let me preface this with the fact that I have had cats all my life, I used to be the moderator on this Pets Forum (back in the good ole days of Spike!) and reiterate that I don't believe domestic cats should be indoor/outdoor pets. I just happened to get the one cat I have ever had that hates being inside with other cats!

Cub has never set foot on grass or concrete, she has always been indoors. I never stated otherwise.

I know all the risks of a cat being outdoors.

A run is not feasible here in Phoenix, we have no shade trees at all and even if we did it still gets to well over 100 in the shade, and that is a big chunk of the year that she couldn't use it.

The reason I was thinking a farm is that I have several friends with horse farms near where we live and there are plenty of hiding places for cats to escape predators, like barns, out-buildings, and culvers. But none of my friends have ever kept their cats indoors, so we don't know if this is a good or bad solution. Cub looks so longingly out the windows and doors, and is on the windowsills whenever the windows are open.

She was born to a stray cat who I believe was somebody's at one time, Amy is so friendly and a home-body, as is her sister, but Cub is a big, lean, wildcat-looking cat that I think it is part of her makeup to want to be a loner and be outdoors.

Our house has no basement (we are in the desert, almost no one has a basement here), and the rooms are separated by large archways into one another, no possibilities for putting up a door.

Kashka, when Cub is tired she curls up next to me in bed and my other "bedmate" cat Minnie LaRue sleeps on the other side of my legs. She is fine if the other cats aren't moving, but if they walk by her she attacks. I never treat her any different than the other cats, if anything, she's my girl along with Minnie. Amy and Joey don't hang out with me, and Cub knows she is loved and wanted by me, but I can't keep her if she's not happy. It truly breaks my heart, and I try not to think about it, but if I do give her away I will be crushed.

My friend who runs a local pet website put her up for adoption on the site today, and I will post a flyer at the vet. Our vet does have cats that roam free about the office, but Cub would fit in even less there, being introduced to new "enemies" daily!

Thank you all for the tips, I know the right ending will happen, it is just a matter of when.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:35AM
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