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Kitty woes - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Kitty woes

Jelly Roll hasn't gotten very far with accepting Cinderpelt in the house. He hisses and growls and dumps her food in her water dish and... repeatedly lies down in her litterbox. Just stretches out, rubs his scent all over and glares at her, challenging her to try and go in. Then he gets out, looks at me pointedly, and stalks off with his nose in the air. (Cindy doesn't seem afraid of him, but she certainly recognizes that he's three times her size and ten times her weight. She could swipe a toy mouse from under his nose, but she's not going to try and go head to head. She came from a shelter and is used to other cats around, so she's not freaked out, but Jelly hasn't been around other cats very often at all.) It doesn't help that he's on a weight loss diet and she needs to get meat on her bones, so I constantly have to get him away from her food dish, but sheesh. Truth is I miss Jelly. He won't even speak to me anymore, after I brought THE INTRUDER into the house.

I called to make her first vet appointment. I'm going to get one of those microchips, I think, in case she gets out--it would ease my mind--and I also want a vet to double-check what the shelter vet found. I'm sure he's a bit overworked. But she looks like a juvenile cat to me, not a full-grown one, even a small full-grown one. I also started feeding her kitten food, and suddenly she's eating a lot more than when I was giving her the shelter food. I looked at the food they were giving her, and I think it's just shaped too big for the size of her mouth. It would be like sitting down in front of a bowl full of rice cakes with your hands tied behind your back... it can be done if you're hungry, but it's a pain in the butt.
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tante_in_hp From: tante_in_hp Date: August 18th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Hang in there.

My cat Noir (the high and mighty) was also furious with me when I brought home That Interloper kitten. Our new cat Hermione had a completely different personality and darned if Noir didn't look as thought she thought Hermione's behaviour was completely undignified and unbefitting a proper cat. Took the better part of six months, but now they curl up together at night, share a litter-box and take turns playing the Pink Panther attack game. All this love after months and months of Noir hissing, spitting and boxing Hermione's ears every time they crossed paths. Thank goodness.

Jelly'll come around. Noir decided to forgive me at some point.
:) Love the name Cinderpelt!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I'm worried about them hurting each other while I'm at work (well, Jelly hurting Cindy; I don't think she could do much damage to him), but they seem to skirt each other most of the time. Maybe next week, I'll be brave enough not to separate them while I'm gone.

Love the name Cinderpelt!

She's the wise medicine cat of ThunderClan in Warriors (the third medicine cat in the series). Very suitable. Though if my Cindy starts sorting herbs and dressing other cats' wounds, I'll probably raise an eyebrow.
From: lexie_b Date: August 18th, 2006 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
We took in a friend's cat (Coda) when she moved away in December. Our cat, the most spoilt and pompous cat ever - Latte - would growl and hiss, and Coda would growl and hiss back.

We had to put Latte to sleep a month ago, and by that time, they were best friends - they'd eat from the same bowl, they'd play when Latte was well. They got into a few scuffles, but Coda was - is - so jumpy that she backed away pretty fast. I guess it just takes time, and possible a water gun to break up any Mexican standoffs over dinner.

And microchipping is expensive here, but worth every cent. We have a dog who is an escape artist, and I hate to think where she'd be now if we hadn't got her microchipped.

And Cinderpelt? Cutest name ever.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Chipping is less expensive than I thought it would be--though the vet didn't tell me how much it is to actually register the chip--but I would just feel better. I see lost pet notices around all the time.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: August 18th, 2006 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)
After my cat Ajax (in the icon) died last December, his sister Aeon was pining and we bought her a new friends, Baggins. After the initial horrified reaction, she was quite standoffish until the weather got cold, then they became instant friends. He's still too playful for her (which is a problem as he's now much bigger than her, and only 8 months old!), but otherwise they're a great pair. Don't give up on a Jelly & Cinder twosome.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 18th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw. Sorry about Jelly. :( He should get used to her, though. I'll think about talking to one of my friends... she has cats, and her Mom has about twelve, most of which came into her home seperately. So I can ask if she has any insight/advice for you, if you'd like me to.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: August 18th, 2006 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Chipping is a good idea. Both Violet and Tursday are chipped and it makes it much easier for me to be happy about letting them roam around outside.
andreyta From: andreyta Date: August 18th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would wait on leaving them together alone a bit more. You should always supervise meetings since it will take a while before Jelly gets to the point of just tolerance. Also, make sure you don't play with Cinderpelt in front of Jellyroll too much and try to give lots and lots of attention to Jelly. If he's ignoring you and you play with Cinderpelt, you'll only appear more of a traitor. I've read that introduction of a new cat should be done over months, not just weeks.

Cats are almost 100% scent maniacs. So a reason he may be avoidiong you is that you smell too much like her. A trick that did wonders for me was to rub a washcloth over the INTRUDER cat's head to get it well scented and go around the house and rubbing that scent around door frames at the kitty's height. Rub on table legs, chairs, favorite napping spots, anywhere Jelly might roam. It was fun to see Smokey follow my trail around sniffing the scent. Then I would rub the washcloth over him (and he would lick himself hours as if to be rid of it! But it helps to get used to it). Then I would rub a washcloth on him and rub his scent on the new kitty. It helped alot to get him used to the new kittie's scent.
ivylore From: ivylore Date: August 18th, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
It can take up to two months for cats to fully accept one another. This is all very normal behaviour for week one.
reihla From: reihla Date: August 18th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree about not leaving them alone together unsupervised if at all possible. Not likely Jelly would kill her, but on the off-chance one of them did manage to do harm, cat scratches and bites can be troublesome to treat. Not to mention, cats have very long memories when it comes to things that caused them pain.

We just did the whole new cat thing last winter, keeping the new kitten in the bedroom for the first month. It gave her a safe place, plus her own food, water and litterbox without competition. We let her out to interact with our older cat while we were home. After several weeks we were able to move the new kitten's litter box and food bowl to the same location as our other cat's, and let them stay alone during the day. Though we still have two bowls and two boxes out, they'd be perfectly OK sharing at this point (actually, they've shared since day one because our older cat used to make a game out of getting into the bedroom to eat kitten food, while the kitten preferred sneaking into the kitchen to munch adult cat food - sigh).

We're a year later and I won't say they get along famously, but they do manage to play in between hissing spats. For my husband's hissy little kitty, this is a huge accomplishment. They'll even sleep near each other now, so I have high hopes once Misty outgrows her juvenile, teen kitten phase.

Best of luck with your new pretty kitty. She sounds like a winner!
From: lianna_blanca Date: August 18th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Years ago, I moved into a new house that had a cat still living there (the owners basically said she'd be put to sleep if we didn't take her, and we love cats), and she never really got along with the cat I already had. They were both adults - the come-with-the-house cat was quite old, actually - and they fought a lot at the beginning, but they did settle eventually.

I think your right about the food. I only have one cat now, and though she eats adult food just fine, she still has trouble with the big chunks. (For a few days, I crunched them with a mortal and pestal because I didn't want to waste the box I'd bought, but as you can imagine, it was too much work.) I did, however, find a box of adult food that was smaller, so maybe you'll have better luck there.
shadowturquoise From: shadowturquoise Date: August 19th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't give up on Jelly, he will come around eventually. Just keep making the effort so he won't forget about you. We had to take in my mother-in-law's cat a few months ago when we put her into a nursing home and our pride of cats was not amused at all. It took about 2 months for all the hissy-fits to calm down.

kat_denton From: kat_denton Date: August 19th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Worth every penny to get the fur babies chipped. Molly isn't a bolter out the door the way Dutch the Demon Dog was, but I still feel better that she's chipped - proof positive that she's got a family.

I don't have any advice re the kitty introduction. I'm owned by dogs.
felis_sidus From: felis_sidus Date: August 19th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Kitty Intros

Hi. I was pointed to your journal by my friend cheshyre. Both your cats sound adorable.

Having been through multiple new-cat introductions, I can relate to your situation! Jelly Roll actually seems to be doing better at accepting Cinderpelt than I would have expected in the circumstances. This bodes well for future peace. At the end of this comment are some links to pages with advice I've found to be reliable. The common features are:

initial separation
scent-only introduction
gradual exposure
supervised access only, until acceptance is complete.

You're wise to give them each their own litter box and food and water dishes. I'd stick with this even after acceptance.

Even though you didn't start with keeping the cats separated, it's not too late to do this. If you separate them now, and start the process over from the beginning, you may be able to prevent bad habits from being established.

A little additional advice, for after the two cats are spending time together:

If you see one cat chasing another, then the two cats reverse position and the first chases the second, that's play. If the reversal doesn't occur, that's aggression, and should be interrupted.

Don't stop petting one cat if another walks into the room. That would teach the first cat to resent the second. Instead, try to include the second cat in the petting session if he/she will come over.

Don't punish a cat for aggression to another. That just increases resentment. Instead, distract them, pleasantly if possible by offering treats or toys, or by squirting with water or tossing a small pillow nearby if necessary.

NEVER try to pick up one of the cats if they're quarreling, or to separate them with any part of your body if they're fighting. This is a really good way to end up with cat bites and/or deep scratches. In addition, no matter who you pick up, both cats are going to assume you're stepping in to protect the other one.

Good luck in your new capacity as feline go-between! Here are the links:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

About dot com

San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Kitty Intros

Thank you very much!

Cindy is big on making a break for the bedroom door (nothing else in the house shuts well), so I don't think total separation is possible, but yeah--we're definitely doing it during the day. I left her shelter-bed in the kitchen for Jelly to smell for a few days, too.

One of the problems with the dishes is that Jelly already thinks he's being deliberately starved, as the vet has him on a weight loss regimen, so if he gets into my room--which has always been one of his comfortable haunts--I have to keep him from eating Cindy's food, and not just out of protecting her food supply!
felis_sidus From: felis_sidus Date: August 20th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Kitty Intros

Uh-oh, food envy! You definitely have a tough situation. I was thinking of asking if Jelly might be a, um, bit too portly to jump to high places. If so, you could feed Cindy on the counter. That would keep him out of her food, but he could still smell it, so the envy would remain. Then xiphias pointed out that this would teach Cindy that food on the counter was fair game; ALL food on the counter. Another good plan down the drain! If you figure this one out, please post the answer. I'm always on the lookout for good kitty tips.
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