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7 cats... 3 neutered adult males that need to get along...

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:31 pm
by winnipegchick
I have 7 cats. I know it may seem like a lot, but my boyfriend and I love them all. He had 2 existing neutered males, both around 2 1/2. I rescued a pregnant female around 5, and her son of 2 1/2 from being thrown off a bridge.. It seemed like they were very abused and I have given them lots of love in the 6 months I have had them. They are almost completely fine and well mannered, even loving me up and playing with toys!

So I met my boyfriend and lo and behold, mama has 3 kittens.. All healthy and happy now at 4 months. They get along with everyone, as well as mama, but the male's are where I am needing some help. All cats are fine with everyone else, as long as my boyfriends males, and my male are seperate. (all neutered)

I have had them at his house for approx. 4 months. They were the tasmanian devil scene, so I just seperated them. The kittens were also too small, so I had them and mama in a bathtub in a closed off bathroom for the first bit. We have a full basement with the backdoor area looking into the backyard, and ledges for cats to look out. There is a door seperating that from the kitchen, with glass panes all the way up to see through at each other.

So what I have been doing is switching all the males from side to side. My male cant go out, so he is usually in this side with us during the day, and the other 2 are outside gallavanting. Then at night my bf likes his in bed, so we switch. Sometimes we leave them for a couple days on either side, and all the other cats are fine with anyone on this side.

Feeding: I feed them in the mornings at 7 when I get up, all wet as we had one get crystals, and everyone has their bit.. (3 cans in the morning amongst them.) The kittens are still getting their kitten dry by themselves during the day! Then at night they get some more wet after we are done eating dinner. (That way they leave us alone or no food for them!)

So now my questions. How can I get these males to get along? If god forbid I left the door open and left, I couldn't live with myself if I allowed one to get seriously hurt. I have tried feeding through the glass door, and they don't want to eat once they see each other too much. This is improving and I am working at it every feeding. I saw you could try harnesses and hold them so they cant get at each other and that would help introduce smell and that, but it seemed cruel and they just want to get at each other. Sometimes they will charge at the glass panes in the door, and one of them has actually come a bit loose and we had to fix it..

My boyfriend and I are under stress because of these cats fighting, and I feel if I can just get them to get along.. We will get along again....

Please help anyone! I will appreciate any insights or criticisms.. I just need help! Thank you!

Re: 7 cats... 3 neutered adult males that need to get along.

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:25 pm
by Jacks
It must be so stressful, Winnipegchick! I have 4 cats, and two sets of 3 will get on, but the one male will attack the youngest female, so I have a system of doors and access at the moment although I'm hoping in time things will get better at the moment it's a matter of 'management', so I know where you're coming from.

Can I just ask a few more questions about these boys? Also what are the cat's names, as this will help identify them... There must be some reason why they specifically don't like each other; with mine there is a history as the male was wild and unneutered until I trapped him (it took months) so they built up a pattern. Since he's been neutered he's gradually changed and over the last month the two older girls have 'bested' him and he's a puppy dog, but the youngest is too scared and he goes for her on sight...

So - your family!
There are 3 boys, all neutered - 2 are his boys and get on with each other and the rest of the cats fine? Do they both not get on with your boy, or is it only one of them?
When were they neutered? Was this a long time before you and your boyfriend moved in together, which was 4 months ago? Is one of these cats the aggressor, or is it both?

1 boy is yours and you've had him 6 months? He was rescued with mum - do you think he's the father of the kittens (cats aren't bothered about incest)? When was he neutered? How long was he neutered before he met the other two males, 4 months ago?
How old are the kittens now? Is he the aggressor or fearful? Is it one other male cat that antagonises him, or both?

You said they won't even tolerate seeing each other through a glass screen - what behaviour does each exhibit?

Finally, when you and your boyfriend moved in together, did you introduce the cats slowly, or were they all thrown in together?

I hope you don't mind answering these questions, but it might help us think what to do!

Re: 7 cats... 3 neutered adult males that need to get along.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:40 pm
by winnipegchick
Thanks for the reply Jacks! I had computer problems, so sorry for the late reply. All cat's in this house are "our" cats, but here is the lay down for clarification.

Ok, let's start with names... The Male I rescued is Buddy and he is 2 1/2. He is a mid sized tom cat, black with white whiskers, belly, and boots. I got him neutered right when I got him after his shots approx. 6 months ago now. The Female is Mama Cali ( or just Cali but we have gotten into calling her that) and she is not yet fixed as I had to wait for the 3 kittens to stop breastfeeding before getting her shots and fixed. She is approx. 5 and is a very small and timid calico.

Now for my boyfriends cats. Creature is also 2 1/2 and is very similar looking to Buddy, He is just a larger version, but a purr-master! The vet couldn't even detect a minor murmer because he purrs so much :P. He was fixed right at 6 months. Cashmere is the other male, He is also 2 1/2 and is half Manx. He is stalky, orange, and has no tail. He usually isn't the problem, as he can jump like no other cats around. If he feels threatened, he throws a swipe and is out! To be honest I guess most of the problems lay with the most similar looking males, Buddy, and Creature.

Now the kittens.. Even though Mama Cali is a calico, we didn't have a single calico kitten. Instead, I got one of each color! Im Canadian so yes it's spelt right spell check..... Anyways, I am the proud owner of an orange little man named Peach, a mostly black little girl named Gremelin, and a a very cute and lanky white E.T. ( also female)

So there are the cat descriptions. Now to more about the route of our problem.. Buddy. When I first got him, he would be friendly sometimes ( as I am writing this he has jumped onto my shoulders and has draped himself across them.. One of his favorite spots, and one of my favorite accessories.) Buddy and Cali would occasionally fight when Mama was pregnant, so I would have to do a lot of maintaining, especially since neither trusted me yet. I moved and she gave birth as soon as we did. Where I was staying was not working, as I met my new love, and we decided the best move for the cats would be to have them all here at his house where we could monitor them more accurately.

At first, Mama and the kittens had the bathtub so they couldn't escape and get hurt. (what a pain moving them all to shower :P) Buddy had the back basement area, and Creature and Cashmere had run of the main area with us. I would always go and spend time with Buddy in the mornings when I woke up, and during the day to make sure he got love time. Buddy never meowed or made any sort of noises before meeting these cats. It has led me to believe a lot of his issues are to to anti-social behaviour. When he got to see Creature and Cashmere through the glass, it seemed like that was the start…

They would literally throw themselves at the glass at each other. Creature started wailing, and I think it taught Buddy because he now tries to over-wail Creature, Buddy has even scratched the door frame so much, he is making a little hole, and one of the frames for the glass has came loose (which we fixed). He is literally scratching at the door right now and meowing slightly as I am writing this. I don't allow Creature and Cashmere out until after morning rush hour, so they have an hour and a half before this stops. I have tried putting a barricade in front of the door so they can't see each other, and they just climb higher, trying to outlook the other.

So Now the Fam-Jam. Buddy, Cali, Peach, E.T., and Gremelin are the family unit and all fine with each other. When I remove Buddy from the mix, and replace him with Creature and Cashmere, all is fine as well. I feel guilty about seperating Buddy from the rest, but as he is the trouble, I feel it unfair to punish the rest when they get along perfectly fine. Creature and Cashmere have even taken to the kittens, and have each taught them their own fighting versions. I have watched all the cats develop with help from these kittens, like they are teaching and learning they are maturing...I hope I am making sense through all this.

I feel it important to mention, that until Mama went into heat again, she would fight Creature and Cashmere. Normal motherly instincts I thought, and only when they surprised her. When she went into heat, I was shocked to find the 3 cuddling sleeping together. I guess her sexual hormones have allowed her to embrace the other males? I hope it's not temporary.

My boyfriend says every day that he is tired of having the door closed all the time to the downstairs… We are getting stressed around feeding times because it turns into absolute chaos with everyone in different areas…

I have watched the cat guy show a few times on youtube, and I can't seem to find any about him fixing 2 neutered males. I am at a loss, and do not want to have to choose between my boyfriend, and my cats… He knows who will win…

I appreciate all the feedback, and am eagerly awaiting a reply now that my computer is good to go! Thanks again, and have a good one!

Re: 7 cats... 3 neutered adult males that need to get along.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:00 pm
by winnipegchick
And I guess we tried to introduce them right away, instead of letting them scent each other first… We were inexperienced and just wanted a loving family :P

Buddy is the tough guy, even though Creature is bigger…. He has small cat syndrome we always joke :P

Re: 7 cats... 3 neutered adult males that need to get along.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:29 am
by Jacks
Hi Winnipegchick - so glad to hear from you, I was worried that you hadn't come back on...

Thanks for the lovely description of your family. I will share my thoughts with you - now please I'm not an expert; I'm a human psychologist, not a cat one, but I'm learning!

I think Mama Cali needs fixing. Even though they have all been fixed, she is giving off hormones and it's possible that this has 'bonded' Creature and Cashmere to her. Buddy's initial bad reaction to the kittens (although they could be his) might have been down to jealousy if he's her son as well.

I'm suspecting that now Buddy and Creature are competing to be dominant male for the 'family'. The fact that they are wailing at each other after this time suggests this imperative is pretty strong. There is a CHANCE that if Mama was fixed and you tried some scent mixing etc. with Buddy and Creature, things might settle down a bit. The problem at the moment is that they have conditioned themselves into routines and something has to shift to break out of it. It obviously isn't that Buddy is completely anti-social and can't stand other cats - but these boys seem to have something of a lion syndrome - they want to rule the pride...

The kittens are obviously still young, and as they mature dynamics might change again, of course, but it's unlikely to be so extreme.

We have a different issue here in that our ex-feral male (Mr Socks), despite being huge for a moggy, has calmed down immensely and is now completely dominated by our oldest female Sophie, who definitely has 'top cat' syndrome. Our problem is that he had evil intentions towards our youngest girl Lara (they're all fixed) when he was wild and she is still terrified of him and is so growly and hissy if she sees him that his eyes light up for a fight... In a sense my husband is right that they need to be in a plain walled room with no hidey holes together and she would pretty soon realise that if she swiped him a few times he would cower in a corner. But I feel this would be cruel, so at the moment we're doing the door thing as well :-D

We have a middle female (Jessie) who would LIKE to be top cat, but doesn't have the character for it but she has established a very equitable relationship with Mr Socks, who is scared of her and fascinated at the same time and follows her round the garden like a puppy dog. At night when we shut him in the kitchen in his basket they try to touch paws under the door.

In a sense a cat will adjust to any routine if it has high points - food, comfort, entertainment - so that it sounds like neither Buddy nor Creature are actually stressed by all this; it brings a new interest into their lives in a rather macabre way. Sophie is even more energetic now she has a male to keep in order, even though she dislikes him! The problem is that your lives are being disrupted on a daily basis, so it needs sorting out if at all possible.

We have a routine of me putting Mr Socks outside for his breakfast, then carrying Lara to the back door and opening it (when he's outside) - he then comes in, and I carry her out and shut the door behind me. Then she's free to investigate and go on her way exploring. I go back in, play with some string with him - then he's forgotten her - and then he can come and go as he pleases. When she's ready to come in she goes round the front and sits on the window ledge. I let her in and the door to the lounge (and downstairs) is shut, and at the foot of the stairs is food and water for her. She also gets treats for coming home. Then she'll go upstairs for a snooze - he's not allowed upstairs. When she wants to go out again she comes to the door. I send him out, then open the door to the lounge. That's her signal he is 'away'. She potters around and when she asks to go out I repeat the back door procedure! After a couple of weeks she comes in with enthusiasm and goes straight to her little bowl for some grub. She's thin and athletic and needs more food that the others as she's on the go a lot. The others potter or sleep all day! At first she was disoriented by the whole thing but she's happy now she has a routine to depend on.

I hope some of these thoughts are helpful. You're doing your very best to make a happy home for all your cats, and doing a pretty good job all things considered!

I would suggest getting Mama fixed (you don't want any more kittens if she got out anyway) then when her hormones have settled think about proper introductions?