I am desperate - don't want to have to send my kitty away

by Mark
(Toronto)

Moo my cat on my Porch

Moo my cat on my Porch

Based on the extensive advice I've read online, the only solution is to move out with my cat. I don't want to! Here's the problem:


Moo is a 5 year old tuxedo cat, born in a barn, and adopted by me when she was 9 months. Since then, we've lived in the city, she's always been very happy, a very unique personality - loves being loved, but always keeps a distance, and LOVES the outdoors. Often goes away for 24 hours at a time, but always comes back. She is spayed, has her shots, etc.

6 months ago we moved in with a friend of mine who has two male cats, brothers, 4 years old (both neutered). Moo got along with them. She would get annoyed (she's always had a short temper with other cats), but a simple hiss would keep the brothers away. They respected her, and the cats would regularly hang out in the same room together.

After several months here, Moo was struck by a car, smacked in the face by a bumper. She is fine, but was shaken up pretty badly. The vet said she was fine. She healed up for a week, and then continued her usual routine.

However, shortly after the accident and her healing, Roland (the more Alpha of the brother cats) started attacking her. Not biting, just chasing, wanting to wrestle, just like he does with his brother - nothing too violent. Roland is a sweetie, a dumb cat, and an indoor cat. He lived here for a few years before Moo moved in - but remember, they got along great for the first few months, before her accident.

The strange thing was this: Moo wouldn't swat him away, as she'd normally do if he got too close. Rather, she let out these horrible shrieks and growls, got in the defensive stance, ears flattened, etc. Every day Roland would attack her. She stopped using the shared litter box, started peeing on the floor.

So I moved her into my room. It was an inconvenience - especially since she's an outdoor cat. But she has her own kitty box now, her own food, and was immediately happy again. And once a day I make sure to lock the brothers into a room, let Moo out of my room, and she goes outside on her own will. When she comes in later, the brothers get locked up again til she's safe in my room.

The problem? I can't keep her locked in my room forever. It's been 6-8 weeks or so, and every time I leave the door open a crack, or somehow Roland sees her for a moment, he goes right at her, and she shrieks and howls. It's awful to see.

Her confinement in my room was supposed to be temporary. I've tried reintroducing them, I've tried separating them for a week or more - it seems that no matter what I do, any time I try to reintroduce them, Roland just wants to attack her. When she moved in, it was fine. Something (possibly the car accident), made her lose some confidence, Roland seems to have sensed this, and now all he wants to do is make her suffer. If not the car accident, then the cause of this change in behavior may have been that, around the same time, the brothers' owner went on vacation for a month. During that time, someone stayed in her bedroom (a sublet). This person wouldn't let the brothers in her room (that's normally their hangout), and so they started coming up to my bedroom all the time. So maybe they took over territory, Moo got upset, and Roland started attacking her. But again, they got along fine in a common space for months, so I'm not sure that them suddenly coming up to my room more often would make Roland the aggressor and Moo terrified of him.

I'm desperate. I don't want to have to move out with Moo. My only other idea is that feline pheromone spray I've been hearing about. ANY HELP would be so appreciated. Are these cats just doomed to hate each other?

Also, when Moo is being attacked, as I described above - how horrible is it for her? Should I just let them "fight it out" and maybe they'll be fine? I don't want to, because she seems to really, really hate being attacked! (who wouldn't!?)

What if somehow I moved Roland to another house for a couple weeks, then brought him back, would that help?

Reply
Hi
I can understand your problem it is horrible to see cats fight.

I agree i think the recent changes has caused this problem. i don't know if you have of something called aggression trauma? this is a common issue and is rather odd but cats do react rather strangely towards change and stressors.

You say that you have tried reintroducing them, I don't know how you did this and whether or not you tried the carrier method. If not then this may be a idea as this helps to re build confidence in both cats. the method is described here

http://www.our-happy-cat.com/introducing-cats.html

I would also say that it may be worth giving the cat calming sprays a go, I do know that some people have had some success with these. they allow the cats to cool off for awhile and this time helps them to readjust to the situation. cats do react to change with fear and fear causes aggression so these sprays may help. there is some information about some of these on this page of mine

scared-cat.html

Don't despair this is probably just a temporary situation and don't forget that your own anxiety may also be affecting the cats, all this locking in rooms etc may be enough to keep the tension going although i understand why you are doing it. Sometimes the cats just need to sort things out in their own way. cat fights can sound and look terrible but often it is not as bad at it seems and it often means that difference and boundaries can be reset by the animals themselves. cats are very tough and this sort of confrontation is all part of a cats life and instinct etc. I'm sure Moo (what a great name) will be fine.

i wish you all the best and hope that this situation is sorted out soon

best wishes kate

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