really need help!!!

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blondehoney
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really need help!!!

Post by blondehoney » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:26 pm

I really need some help as things have reached a peak.

We have a tabby girl (Mia) who is 8.5 years old. We've had her from a kitten, and when she was approx 9 months old we got another kitten, a boy. She hated him for a few weeks but then they bonded, sadly he died 3 years ago.

Approx 5 months ago I got a new kitten, a 6 week old tortie girl called Rosie. I introduced them slowly but Mia immediately hated her.

Since we got Rosie, things have gone from bad to worse. Rosie adores Mia and wants to play with her. Mia hates Rosie and will hiss, swipe and growl at her whenever she sees her.

What makes me sad is that Mia (who was previously indoors 99% of the time) now stays in the garden to avoid Rosie, come rain or shine. She comes in for food and straight back out. It upsets my 5 year old whom adores her.

When the cats are in together (only ever if its because I've locked the cat flap), Mia will either stay in the kitchen by the back door (hissing, growling, swiping if Rosie enters) or hide in my daughter's room. She will no longer sit on the sofa, enter the living room or go anywhere else.

Today my daughter cuddled Mia, as she has done since birth, and Mia scratched her. Her temperament is like this because of Rosie. Mia no longer has the patience for cuddles which I can only assume is because she feels 'trapped' and vulnerable to Rosie whilst my daughter is cuddling her. This has broken my daughter's heart.

I have tried feliway, zykleene, rubbing washcloth on both cats, nothing works. If I stroke Rosie and then Mia, Mia will attack me, hiss etc.

I am expecting a baby next year and I really do not want this stress. With winter coming I am desperate for Mia to revert back to being indoors.

Hubby thinks we should rehome Rosie but it would break my heart as I would forever wonder if the new owners were nice, or if they hurt her or worse. None of my family or friends can have her :(

Is Mia changed forever? What can I do?

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Lyn from Australia
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Re: really need help!!!

Post by Lyn from Australia » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:48 pm

Hi and welcome. This is such a common situation. Would you be able to "start over" with the cats, doing the introduction process as if you'd only just gotten Rosie? There is information about doing this successfully on the CC site, but basically it would involve keeping Rosie in a room with the door closed for a number of weeks and allowing them to get to know each other slowly through the closed door - doing scent swapping with their bedding, feeding them on opposite sides of the closed door for a while etc. Hopefully you will be able to get Mia back into being a mostly indoor girl, and obviously you would need to also spend one on one time with Rosie every day. Does Mia have places up high where she can survey what is going on in the house and watch Rosie from a distance, staying out of her way if she is becoming too rambunctious? I think she's running outside because she's feeling trapped by the younger cat inside. If she has a place up high where she doesn't feel cornered she is very likely to come good. If you can watch some episodes of Jackson Galaxy's "My Cat from Hell" show, there are dozens of stories with happy endings to give you lots of techniques for coping and turning things around. Best of luck and don't give up - it would be such a shame to feel that surrendering Rosie is your only option.

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Kay
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Re: really need help!!!

Post by Kay » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:50 pm

I would lock Mia in, and let her get over the shock of finding herself sharing her home in her own time

as long as Rosie does not retaliate, their relationship should settle down eventually, though Mia may always be up for putting the usurper in her place from time to time, as my head girl Tiffany does with Tosker, who has been on the receiving end of her occasional hisses and swipes for 4 years, and takes them in his stride

make sure Mia always has hiding places, and don't disturb her when she choses to use them, and let her come to you rather than approach her, when she is very likely to transfer her aggression towards Rosie to you

have just seen Lyn's sensible post, which just proves great minds think alike!

blondehoney
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Re: really need help!!!

Post by blondehoney » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:02 pm

thank you for the replies :)

Mia doesn't have anywhere high - she has never been one for jumping :D her "safe" place is my daughter's bedroom. We previously never allowed her upstairs as we have a 'no pets on beds' rule, but since getting Rosie I have allowed her to go in my daughter's room as she feels safe there. I think it is her 'safe' place because my daughter is *her* person, they have an amazing bond so obviously her room smells like her etc.

Unfortunately I cannot seperate the cats again - we did this by using the bathroom but Rosie destroyed the flooring and it cost us a lot of money to replace. Our downstairs is open plan, so there's nowhere to lock her in.

I had thought they were making progress as there have been 2 occasions where both cats have been asleep on my bed, and on a few occasions they have eaten at the same time out of the same bowl (Rosie was eating, Mia started eating out of Rosie's bowl and Rosie didn't mind).

Mia is also displaying dominant behaviour - she regularly uses Rosie's litter box despite the fact she has been outdoors all day. She also eats Rosie's food and plays with Rosie's toys.

Even when Rosie is in another room (she likes to sleep in the office upstairs) Mia still won't come indoors, and if she does, she still won't go in any of the rooms.

I am feeling rather sad. Rosie is due to be speyed in a couple of weeks and then she will be allowed outside, maybe this will help.

blondehoney
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Re: really need help!!!

Post by blondehoney » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:13 pm

just to add - when Mia is in my daughter's room, she is back to the wonderful loving affectionate cat she used to be, she lets my daughter cuddle her (unless she hears rosie's bell downstairs) and purrs etc

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Jacks
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Re: really need help!!!

Post by Jacks » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:52 am

Ah! So Rosie is not spayed.... this I would guess is making Mia feel that her top cat status is under threat. Female cats don't like other unspayed females on their territory. Some suggestions...

I would guess that Mia is pretty angry about being 'usurped' by the intruder indoors. She needs to reclaim her indoor territory - she's not coming in because she feels threatened and is protesting at the same time. The fact that they can even eat out of the same bowl without killing each other says to me that peaceful co-existence is possible.

Get Rosie spayed, and ask the practice if they can keep her overnight afterwards. Then get Mia in from the garden and don't let her out again. She will ask, but don't. Get a tea towel or something and rub it on Mia, whilst stroking her - cheeks, sides, above the tail; where the scent glands are. When Rosie comes home she will smell like the vet. Run her over with the towel with Mia's smell on it. Get them feeding in proximity, but make a point of giving Mia the bowl first, then Rosie. Greet Mia first; reward her, praise her - she is your dominant female and she needs to have this reinforced.

When Rosie tries to play and you are around, get a rod with a bit of string (a broken daBird is perfect!!) and squiggle it around on the floor, to detract her to play with toys and not Mia. If Mia wants to play with it, let her. Then let them take turns. Mia needs to feel involved but on HER terms not Rosie's.

As the 'Queen' smell from Rosie changes, and as Mia is reinforced as part of the heirarchy, I think things will start to get better. Winter is coming and it won't do Mia any harm to stay indoors for a while. If you are really afraid of serious problems when you're out its usually possible to divide a house into upstairs/downstairs by shutting a door... Then let them be with each other when you can supervise. I'm doing it at the moment whilst I integrate a previously wild Tom with one of my females, who is terrified of him due to his past behaviour...

The fact that Mia loves your daughter and her attentions so much says to me that this is where she really wants to be - in the home she loves with the people she loves; she just needs to know she's the boss and come to terms with sharing. All things are possible...

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