Mom here. We feel we have made a great mistake. The last post gave us false hope that all three kitties were learning to get along. Now we are not so sure.
Kirby is a fun loving kitty that will ask for pets and loves to play. However, he has had a rowdiness where he chases Angel and holds her down and bites her to the extent that she is screaming and has tiny scabs under her fur. Now he has started picking fights with Max. He has Max so cowered that he can not be in the same room with Kirby. Sorry, no picture of Kirby, He is under the bed.
Max and Angel have never settled in. She still growls and hisses at him, but he thinks since it is OK for Kirby to be aggressive to both of them, he can be aggressive to Angel.
We love all three. What can we do? Say good by to Kirby, or Angel or Max. It is breaking my heart to have all of this tension in the house and to have to make these hard decisions.
Does any one have any suggestions?
I am so sorry this isn't going well. I forwarded your link to Connie at tails of the foster kittens because she has a lot of cat knowledge.
Are you using Rescue Remedy, or do you have any plug-in Feliway diffusers? Results can vary but it may help relieve some of the tension in the house.
I don't often suggest this, but would you be open to having Angel take a short-term course of anti-anxiety medication to ease the transition? Of course, call your vet and talk to him/her about it. I've heard of people using a six-month or so course of it to break habits or aggressiveness.
I so hope you can work things out. Max sounds like a sweetie.
^^ Sorry, I re-read your post and think that Kirby may need the medication, not Angel, if he is the one being aggressive.
Oh we could only pray for you to reach the right decision. I hope you'll find a way to make them get along with each other.
Emma and Buster
We just put calming collars on the boys. We have one for Angel, but cannot catch her. WE will make it before the day is out. We do have a diffuser in one room. We may need to get another.
I see you already have some good advice. Actually, if it comes down to meds, the kitty being picked on needs them sometimes too. Is there enough vertical space in your home to accommodate all three of them? Are there places that Angel can go to have some peace from the boys? Many issues of cats not getting along boil down to a battle for territory - they are perceiving a lack of territory or food. It's basically a survival response. Not sure how big your house is... and I'm not sure if it matters, really - it's what the cats perceive is a "lack of." That's why vertical space helps - it's seen as "quality" space by cats, and the more (in the form of cat trees, cat shelves and other surfaces cats can hang out), the better. Do they get fed together or separately? Maybe keeping them apart at feeding times would help too. Less stressful.
Ok, first off, it sounds like what you are dealing with is pretty typical.
I am pretty sure you don't need to have anyone go anywhere.. but it might take a little time.
I do strongly recommend the book Cat vs Cat. It is much more detailed than I can be in a blog post comment section. I also recommend finding some of the episodes of My Cat From Hell that deals with cats who don't get along.. lots of great information.
From reading in the history, it appears Angel has been with you the longest. She should be alpha kitty. she should get everything first and the most praise and the best spots. Kirby came in almost three years ago, so they have gotten to know each other fairly well and tolerate each other. Now you have thrown in a new kitty who doesn't understand the dynamic and sounds like he wants to take over..
if you can, separate out Max - the new comer - give him his own room (the bathroom will work for a while or a small bedroom would be better - but NOT your bedroom.. not any place that Angel considers her space) This will be short term, just while the dust settles and Angel and Max get used to the 'interloper'. Remember, cats are ALL about territory and resources. new cats are not welcome if cats are too concerned that food or prime sleeping spots or love and attention will be reduced. Start heaping loads of love and food and treats on them. If they ignore the door that Max is behind, praise them. if they show interest praise. If they growl and are upset try to distract them. Do not get upset at them for being protective of their home or their people.. act disappointed ask them to try to get along..
Feliway is a good idea.. rescue remedy is as well. Feliway is a mimic of the welcoming feramone that cats deposit when they rub on things, so sprays need to be sprayed on corners or what not where cats might rub. Defusers will just make that easier.. RR is a flower essence that helps kitty feel calmer.. and can be put in their food or water or even on your hands and rubbed on the ears or fur.. I'm also loving Spirit Essences at spiritessences.com They have a bully remedy as well as a safe space that might work for you.. but you can read over the descriptions and see what might fit for you.
Play is HUGE.. get a fishing pole toy and wear the living daylights out of Max when ever you can. If Kirby and Abby are interested in playing, play with them too. Get them running around until they are panting. this will wear off their excess energy that they are using to beat each other up with, calm them down because they exercised and are happy about that, and get them sleeping so they can't beat each other up. Hide treats around the house so they are spending time 'hunting' for food and not each other.
Abby being alpha, should get the lions share of the attention first. this will make sure everyone knows the order and knows you respect it. if you make them all equal in your eyes and attention it just confuses things.
When Abby and Kirby are settled again and aren't attacking the door Max is behind, you can start letting them out for trial introductions. Getting a supper yummy food for them to eat in the same room will help. Feed Abby, then Kirby then put down a third bowl for Max and bring him to it... see how it goes. (it will go easier if he is worn out from play as well) If Max gets obnoxious, try distracting him with a toy, but if that doesn't work put him back in his room. it is not punishment, it is just removal from the situation, so don't yell at him or get upset.. If Kirby or Angel get upset, simply remove them.. Short periods of time until you can have them all in the same room with out fights, then longer and longer periods.. always extra food, always extra love.etc..
another thing Jackson mentions is 'dead ends' if there are places in your home that the fights generally occur it might be because one feels backed into a corner. Providing vertical escape routes from said corners might prevent this. a well placed table, or removing something that impedes a second escape route will keep that from happening..
it really can be done. I have seen Jackson work some absolute magic on his show MCFH.. there was more than one show where I SWORE they would have to give up a cat, and he made it work.. I mean blood being spilled and sprayed all over the house bad..
and lastly, yes, a discussion with your vet is always a good idea. Making sure everyone is in good mental and physical health is the key to making this work. that and extra litter boxes.. and LOTS of play..
We highly recommend Cat vs Cat. Also watch some of the Cat From Hell episodes where Jackson Galaxy offers some ideas for helping kitties settle in together. It is too bad that they are not doing well together.
Wearing out the aggressor is helpful. He then learns that other cats are not play toys (which is probably partly what is happening). Also working on feeding them together--even if you have to separate them through doors so that they just smell each other while eating--lets them associate other cats with good things. The shyer cat should also be played with so that it builds confidence. Also, make sure they have a safe place. Do they like to hide under things or go up high? Offer different choices so that each cat has his own space up high or on the floor.
There is a lot a good advise already here. Please do try everything, but it does take time. My only recommendation is to separate them and start over slowly with introductions again.
We've also been having some trouble with our Kirby bullying Tiki after Kesey passed away and Tiki still not liking the newest cat Stan Lee. The vet gave us Anxitane. It's available elsewhere (Amazon) too because it really just an amino acid. Tiki's been a lot better, a lot less hissing and no more growling. We've started giving it to Kirby too and he seems calmer. Stan has been nicer to Tiki because she doesn't flip out every time he gets close to her. It can be crushed in food, so it's pretty easy to give. Tiki gets it in the pill shooter because she's too smart to eat food with pills in it.
It's a dramatic situation, no doubt! We had something similar when Bhu came to live with us and we were never really able to resolve it to everyone's liking. Fortunately, Bhu was not aggressive so the other two were able to co-exist with the new arrival. We think Tails From The Foster Kittens is offering really wonderful, practical advice and insight! xxoo
Connie gave you some great advice. The book Cat vs. Cat is a good one. Also The Cat Whisperer.
You may need to start the introduction process over and take it slowly.
Tails from the Foster Kitties gave some AWEsome advice.
Been where you're at... it's no fun. But it will eventually settle. *fingers crossed*
Awwwwww lovely Max, Angel and Kirby! We are so sorry to hear you are in such a stressful situation. It also sounds like all three are also in a stressful situation. Maybe if Kirby has lots of other distractions? He seems to have bags of energy! And maybe that's why he plays a little too roughly. Angel seems to want a place of her own - are there lots of nooks and crannies, high up (if she likes to climb!) for her to retreat to for some peace and quiet? And Max is totally just trying to find his place in the hierarchy and we hope that in time he will. Sending you lots of support purrs! Take care
Don't throw in the towel just yet. I have three cats and they don't always get along. But making sure they have their own spaces and plenty of ways to get away from each other, boxes, shelves etc, they tend to bump along nicely most of the time.
Have you tried a feliway diffuser?
The Woman at The Paw Relations
Maybe they just need more time. I know I have a new niece now and it has taken her I bet a good month and a half to settle in and become a snuggle bug. At first she was standoffish.
Hope it works out.
So sorry about the violence! Maybe Kirby is in pain or something and that is why he is so grumpy? Me-Oommmm
Jake was her first, the vet told me oh it will only take a few weeks until he accepts baby well it's been 5 years and Jake still thinks hes boss except when he goes around baby house and then baby shows him whos boss lol they have their moment and it takes longer then a few weeks
Hi. It's Mary Ann from The Very Best Cats. Just wanted to say I am so sorry to hear about all this roughness going on. I have that sometimes with Tiger going after Motor and biteing and pinning him down. Actually we have been dealing with this for a very long while. It seems to happen for us when Tiger is wanting attention or something else that he is not getting. I wish you much luck trying all the good advice I see people have left for you here. I wish I had some wisdom to share, but unfortunately, I don't. You are all in my thoughts and prayers that all works itself out, and soon.
How awful as an only cat I do not know what else what I can add to the excellent advice. There is one advice on the shows of reintroducing everyone as a new slate for relationship. Hope everything works out purrs.
So sorry you're having trouble, I know it can feel very stressful. I do think it can take lots of time and patience.
Aw, things are ok we just heard! You guys tussled at first but all is good now, right? :-)
I hope you can find a way to make it work. This is too much for anyone to bear.
Pet lovers please check out my homeless cat blog archives for some informative posts and stories about the cat abandoned/feral colony I manage.
Debby in Arizona
Yup we have tussles and fights here but only with Molly being the one who starts with EVERYONE. Maybe some herbal spray to help calm the house and kitty anxiety?
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