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Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:34 am
by Mayday21
Hi Booktigger have I missed something re your comment about their looks & putting them up for adoption. I thought from posts last year Coco & Chanel were with you for keeps. No doubt it’s me who’s confused. Vivian & The Famous Four from Oz.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:12 pm
by booktigger
Sorry Viv, was updating two forums and copied too much over! Messed up again yesterday morning, Lucy ran out of the room and got partway down the stairs before realising the girls were at the bottom. She ignored my plea to come back up, and ran towards them hissing, so Chanel flew, but Coco stood her ground hissing back and fluffing her tail, at which point Lucy decided to run back up to the safety of my room! Then tried coaxing the girls upstairs, Coco carried on hissing, then went round me, Chanel ended up in the kitchen. Once safely back, I gave them all dreamies, which didn't really pacify Coco, I just managed to stop Lucy from hiding under the bed, got back in bed, as this was all before the alarm went off, Lucy forgot she wanted to go downstairs and came for a cuddle till the alarm went off. Coco was still wary at breakfast time, unlike Chanel, but by teatime, I managed to get this pic, which is a rarity, she normally moves when I get the phone out!
Coco paws f.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:55 am
by booktigger
One of the beds had been knocked on the floor yesterday, so this is what I discovered when I was sat with them after tea

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:22 am
by Ruth B
Aww.

And there was talk of separating them before. I'm so glad you decided to keep them they look so happy there together.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:33 am
by booktigger
Yes, that's what I thought when I was looking at them, the fact they are still so close after 2 years, means it would have been cruel to separate

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:32 am
by Mayday21
Phew glad my confusion has been sorted. They definitely needed to be kept together. Vivian

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:20 pm
by Lilith
I think they're settling ... taken a while and a lot of trial and error (the ungrateful little horrors) but by the look of it they're making themselves at home at last. Great photos :)

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:21 pm
by booktigger
Coco and Lucy met each other again yesterday morning, Lucy flew out at 5 when I got up for a drink, saw Coco on the stairs, tried turning back to go to the bedroom, but the door had shut behind us, so she raced down the stairs hissing, Coco flew into the kitchen, then had to peel a hissing Lucy off her heated bed to drag her back upstairs. Chanel was already back in the room. Hope it doesn’t put Coco off, she looked quite sweet curled up sleeping on the stairs. She was very chilled last night when I sat with them, I had a conversation with her while she was gazing at me, with her eyes flicking like she was processing it! Lucy wasn’t very quick to forgive me though, and I don’t like the idea of her being scared in her own home. The consolation is that while lots of hissing and running, no aggression again. Neighbour wasn’t helpful, saying if I hadn’t done x/y/z it wouldn’t have happened, and that it was Lucy’s fault for rushing out, she’s too used to getting her own way! I woke up early on Sat and they were both still out, but seeing me made them fly back in their room, so even though they are relaxed around me in the safety of their room, they aren’t in the house, I hope that reduces with time, but it’s tricky figuring out a way to let them see me more, I get Lucy in my room before brushing my teeth now so they can see me pottering, but only Chanel contemplates leaving the room then, so I keep dreamies in the bathroom to throw on the landing for her.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:37 pm
by Ruth B
Hindsight might be wonderful but its only use it to help us work out what to do in the future not to berate us for what was done in the past.

Personally I still think things are going remarkably well, between Lucy, Coco and Chanel, hissing is just their way of trying to sort everything out and work out some form of agreement. Maybe one day they will agree to co habit. At some point it might be worth having a bit of an overlap with them all out and about for a few minutes, supervised, just to see if they will start to shake down, it sounds like they all run for their safe havens when things get too much (unless the door has shut on its own) so they obviously are starting to feel they have places to call their own and a shared area.

As for not letting you close, we have now had Freyja over 4 years, when we got her we couldn't touch her, then I started being able to fuss her on the bed, then when I was sat on the bed she would come wanting fuss. However it is only recently I have managed to give her some fuss when we have been in the kitchen, she might be around wanting to be fed, but reach out for her and she would be off under the dining table, now she might respond and accept the offer of fuss if she feels like it. When she is outside though, she still won't let us near her. I would love to know what goes through her head, why is it perfectly safe to accept a fuss in the bedroom, sometimes in the kitchen but not outside. They say time works wonders, but only if you have the patience to let it take as long as needed.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:58 am
by booktigger
Yes, I’m impressed with how things are going, not only is Lucy just hissing and running away from them, but while she may have kicked up a fuss when I took her back upstairs, she didn’t draw any blood, which is a major improvement, redirected aggression towards other cats outside the house and drawing blood on me was the main reason for making her an only cat. I’m also amazed how well Lucy copes with being shut in my room with me, she has issues with shut doors, which I assume stems from so long in rescue. My neighbour got this pic last night, both were on the windowsill before she got the camera out – she’s convinced this is Chanel, but it looks like Coco to me. My aim isn’t for co-habiting, just finding a way to give the girls more without it being too much for Lucy. I don’t know how easy an overlap would be, as they don’t come out till after my door is shut! If it hadn’t been a work day, I’d have sat downstairs on Tue for a bit to see what would happen. Molly was very much like Freya, she always had an issue with feet, after 5 years I was allowed to get out of bed if she was on the floor, but she never lost her issue with crossing on the stairs, and she seemed to forget I was her mum once we were outside
Coco Lucy bed.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:49 am
by Lilith
OOOOOOh, Owly eyes!

I think things are gradually changing by the sound. It would be great if they could all integrate. Not an impossibility; cats are social animals as you of all people will know. Lucy might even come to appreciate the company? If only at a distance. :)

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:46 pm
by booktigger
Yes, things are improving, although I kind of miss Chanel playing! unfortunately with the layout of the house and the cats needs, integration isn't the aim, Lucy can't cope with the front door shutting when she goes out, and I have an open plan house, so there is too much risk of them getting out. Plus the food issue, these like to graze and Lucy likes to eat!

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:09 pm
by booktigger
I tried Ruth's suggestion when I let them out Sun evening, and didn’t fully shut Lucy in my room before opening their door, not sure whether she came out to steal the dreamie I’d thrown for Chanel or she got bored of waiting for me, but I heard a growl while brushing my teeth! They were just both looking at each other from their respective doorways, herded Lucy back in (impressively again with no blood drawn) and told Chanel she was a good girl. Not sure I’ll do it very often, don’t want to put Chanel off, hope the opportunity arises one weekend to let Lucy out of my room while Coco is still out and sit with them for a few mins.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:42 pm
by Ruth B
It sounds promising, at least you know that if something happens and they do end up both out of their rooms at the same time, it is unlikely to end with blood and fur everywhere.

In the end you know your house and your cats best and have the best understanding of what is and isn't possible, and what causes the least stress to you, your family and the cats.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:16 pm
by booktigger
Well, Chanel was funny last night, I shut Lucy in my room then opened their door while brushing my teeth, she came to the door fairly quickly and looked left and right as if checking the coast was clear, so better not do that too often.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:19 pm
by booktigger
Bit late with this, as I was on holiday for the actual anniversary, but the girls have been with me for 2 years now! Not sure there has been all that much improvement if I’m truthfully honest. The popping seems to have stopped (I’ve probably jinxed myself now!), but still get hissed at by Coco daily, mainly for scooping the litter tray, I wish she would learn that I don’t get that close and I have no interest in going near her when doing it. She has stopped coming to eat her supper biscuits off my hand which is a bit sad, and neither have played with me for months, it’s like now they have access to the house every other night, they don’t need me anymore. I’m glad they are still close though, but that bond is obviously why neither bother with me, they have enough with each other. I was contemplating letting them out every night now I’ve been on holiday but something spooked Coco while I was away and she hid somewhere in the house the last night my neighbour let them out, my neighbour spent an hour and a half searching, went home for an hour and when she came back Coco was back, so as we don’t know her hiding place (I have a suspicion, but if she hid there, she was delicate enough not to disturb any ornaments!), I’m a bit wary of changing the routine too soon. They still seem indifferent to me being back, the only obvious sign they haven’t been happy is they haven’t eaten well, but that hasn’t improved yet either.
C & C nearly 2 years.jpg
Coco nearly 2 years.jpg
Funny.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:53 pm
by fjm
It is a little sad that they still don't welcome human company, but they are happy and healthy, with full lives and full tummies, and that is a great deal more than they would have had elsewhere.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:03 am
by Ruth B
It is sad when they don't interact with us as much as we might want them to, but in the end as long as they are happy then that is what really matters and they are definitely happy by the look of the photos.

You know as well as I do that as a cat gets older they play less, my youngsters played a lot when I got them but now Saturn brings his own 'toys' in normally mice and most of the time dead, Freyja will have a short manic time but normally by herself with whatever ball or toy she can pull out the box. As they are allowed around the house every other night that gives them a lot of stimulation, so again they don't need it provided for them. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but sometimes it helps to have someone else reiterate it for you.

I've had Freyja 4 and a half years now and while she has never hissed at me, there are still lots of times when she won't let me near her and runs and hides. It was only a few weeks a go that she came and stood on my knee for a couple of minutes (she has only done it a couple of times since). I was sat in the lounge she came onto the coffee table for some fuss, which again is something she has only done for a few months, then she decided to step onto the towel I had over my knee as Tiggy had been wanting knee time earlier, she didn't settle and it was only for a minute or so, but it was a very big step for her, and the fact she did it again a week or so later made it all the better. We put times on these things for them it is just a case of when they are ready to do something.

In the end they are both happy and well looked after, which is a far better situation than they could have ended up in if you hadn't decided to keep them.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:34 am
by Mollycat
If it's any comfort at all my girl Molly has been with me 6 years and it's been a long difficult journey, especially I would say the first three years.

She started out in a noisy chaotic household from which she was rescued at 9 months old and had 5 years in a nice quiet home until her people split up and she was given up to me. I have worked out that her mother may have been young, inexperienced or simply not attentive or protective enough, so Molly was never properly socialised with humans on top of being already a bit insecure. She was handed to me as timid and would hide when strange people were around but would come out if she thought they sounded ok, and as an indoor only because she had the option to go out but chose not to - turns out as she would watch the lady washing her car I figure out meant a front garden near cars, strangers, dogs and whatever else.

For 6 months I believed she hated being touched, in reality she was desperate for affection and is a loving girl but she was just too traumatised to trust anyone so quickly. She would bolt for under the bed at the doorbell, 14 (she just typed that I don't know why 14) plastic bags, trainers, noises outside and if anyone moved. Resident cat Bobby was wonderful and gentle with her, one day she brought the clothes airer crashing down on herself and he not only ran to help her but even brought her back to the bathroom to see that it was safe again. Without him I believe she would still be a nervous wreck now. First she let me rub her neck. Months later she stopped hissing if I touched her back. Last week she let me wipe the crud out of the corner of her eye and I was stunned.

The first time I told her no I said it sternly, as you normally would to a cat. She bolted under the bed for the rest of that day, looking terrified. I learned to say quietly, "We don't do that here Molly" and she immediately stops without panicking. She chews my finger when she's high on catnip now, and again when she gets carried away I can't say ouch, I have to say very quietly, "Gentle please poppet" and she does exactly what I want. She has taught me to be excruciatingly gentle. For two years my mission was simply for her to stay where she was while I walked past, and the prospect of that happening with armfuls of washing or a rubbish bag seemed so far out of reach. As soon as she tensed up ready to run I would stop, back up and talk to her reassuringly until she relaxed again. It took forever but she taught me to slow down and move softy. Eventually I was able to steal a stroke of her head when I walked by.

And yet I know these fears are specific to past experiences. I know this because when a potato exploded in the oven she didn't flinch. I know this because she watches fireworks and thunderstorms out the window and sneers at the dog for whining at them. I know it because as much as she will do anything to avoid going to the vets she loves me again the moment we get home. Her fears are born of past experience with careless humans who handled her when she wanted to be left alone, pulled her ears grabbed her round the middle, clumped around and shouted and waved their arms about. She is so intelligent she will happily use the pet carrier as a comfy bed, but all hell breaks loose when she suspects I might want to put her in it to go somewhere. She reads intention. She loved pill pockets, until the day she saw me put a pill in it for the other cat, and now she won't touch the stuff even if there is no pill. Any time she brings up a furball she runs and hides - this tells me she may have been shouted at before for depositing furballs so I reassure her as soon as I hear her start and clear up as soon as she's done. Now she mostly trusts me when I tell her it's ok, that she won't get told off, that nothing is going to hurt her.

There is a special kind of intelligence that goes with having been in survival mode for so long, that allows them to figure out what is potentially dangerous and what isn't to maximise opportunities and stay safe. As far as the cat is concerned those coping methods have kept them safe and alive to this point and they will not readily give them up. I am thankful every day that Molly found me and didn't end up in a home where she was expected to "snap out of it" or "get used to it" but had care invested in her to understand her world and work with her. She stil has boundaries, mind. I crossed a boundary once and have a scar in my eyelash line to remind me to respect them. But her favourite game is to be beaten around the head with a toy on a wand and string while she tries to catch it. It looks painful and cruel, but if I pick it up and fly it through the air so it whistles, she leaps up onto her platform to play. I call it Whack-a-Molly.

As Ruth says, and I wholeheartedly agree, the important thing is to let go of our ambitions for them and see them as they are. Are they happy? Are they better off than they were? Can they relax in their environment? We expect a happy relaxed cat to want and love affection from us, but sometimes a happy relaxed cat is one that isn't touched. For some cats, the greatest tool to building trust is to prove to them (time and time again) that we will walk away and leave them alone. When they really know that, then they can risk venturing closer, but we give them that choice by respecting the choice they make.

Molly now loves cuddles, one arm around her as she lies on the bed, rubbing her neck or stroking her shoulders, but it's taken 6 long years of patience and letting go of all expectations. As soon as I really accept her where she is, she comes a little closer. My partner moved in two years ago and he can't cuddle her and she runs when he moves most of the time. Maybe in another 4 years she might accept affection from him, or maybe all that effort to trust one human is enough and she doesn't need a second human. Having to leave her for two weeks in hospital nearly broke me, but she learned that I will come back and take her home again and it has brought us much closer. No wonder she is scared of being abandoned, at least twice in her life she has been bundled into a carrier never to see her old home or people again.

Whatever the root of Chanel and Coco's fears, they believe that their response is the only thing that has kept them safe and alive so far, so for them to be where they're at now is already a huge achievement and likely for them a happy place. After all, the cat is unique among our animals in that domestication isn't a compromise of their wildness, they are at the same time a fully wild cat with its instincts intact and a human kitten, a dual personality if you like. A dog is a dog, a horse is a horse, but a cat has two fully functioning minds and they have to live together in one furry body and sometimes the two can't quite be reconciled.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:08 pm
by booktigger
Well, I should have held off posting, they were much more relaxed last night, so managed to get a pic of them both together without them either hissing or moving! In fact, got this really sweet pic of Chanel and she did then sniff my hand. This morning Coco actually came and sat on the den while I was checking my phone, showed a bit of interest in my fingers, so I got her rainbow cord and she actually played for a few mins, while Chanel was on the windowsill purring!

That is a good way of looking at it FJM – not always sure they have full lives mind, but they are warm and well fed. I do hope they are truly happy with their limitations, there are some days I’m sure they would love to have free reign outside, but then when it is wet and windy, I remind Coco that being in her nice cosy bed is better than being outside.

Thanks Ruth, it does help, as my neighbour pointed out when I had a similar conversation last night, we can’t always see things as we are close to the situation. She also said they are in a better situation than if I hadn’t kept them. They do get a lot of stimulation downstairs, I counted 18 toys just lying around last night, and the lack of playing did co-incide with Chanel turning 2, so losing some of that kittenish energy.

Thanks Mollycat, a lot of that describes Lucy too, who might have had a domestic background, but she has a lot of feral tendencies, and she is another one lucky to end up with someone who works with her, despite my neighbour telling me I’m too soft with her, it’s what she needs and why she isn’t that keen on my neighbour, she expects Lucy to forget her past (she was put in rescue due to a domestic violence situation), despite accepting her semi-ferals never will (and they were brought into care around 8 weeks old, Lucy was 6 years old). I’m not good at leaving them alone mind, which is probably part of the problem, they start relaxing and then I start trying to touch them!
Chanel 2 years.jpg
C & C 2 years.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:13 pm
by booktigger
While they are still not eating 100%, last night Chanel played with me, which she hasn’t done for months, and I’ve had lots of purring. When I walked in to sit with them last night, she was eating, so I sat on the floor, she stopped eating, but then came to see if I had anything interesting, then realised I’d left something on the floor near her tea for her, so had to stay on the floor for a bit! Clearly going away has done something, they have been a bit more interactive the past two days, both have played with me and Coco ate off my hand last night for the first time in weeks!

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:44 pm
by Mollycat
This sounds to me a whole lot like attachment! And it's something I have noticed with Molly too, she often yowls when I leave the house and likes me to be nearby. If I focus on a task like writing this, she very often starts to squeak for my attention, but not necessarily touch or affection. You've really got me thinking now about attachment theory and how this might apply to our feline friends.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:06 pm
by booktigger
Never really thought about them being attached, I don’t want to ask the question, but I am wondering how much time my neighbour spent with them last week – maybe if she didn’t spend much, it is why they are now interacting more, maybe they needed that to realise they do like me being in there with them, despite the fact that they had got to the stage I felt like I didn’t need to bother as they weren’t moving from the beds behind me! Lucy is very attached, I went to give my neighbours cats their presents last night, I let her out before going over and when I opened my neighbours door, she raced over mewing at me! She is very vocal after I go to bed, but not sure if that is calling for me or not, as she knows where I am, but she does often check when I’m with the girls, and has started sleeping on the landing while I’m with them. I had another first from Chanel today, she was sitting in the bed looking kind of relaxed when I went in this morning, first time since I have been opening the door. Am going to get a new activity centre for the front room, see if it gives them something to stay downstairs for. Just need to take some stuff to the charity shop to create space first.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:17 pm
by Mollycat
Maybe you feeling like you didn't need to bother made it possible for them to come emotionally closer? I keep telling my OH what Molly needs first from him is to know that he will walk away from her, preferably before she has to tell him - and once she knows that, then she can safely let him closer. These girls sound like they were sent to you to challenge and teach you!

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:14 pm
by booktigger
Well, I’ve been considering things a lot more when sat with them, and stopped trying to get ‘sneaky’ strokes of Chanel as she walks at the side of my chair, and I think it is paying off. A couple of times on ‘their night out’, I’ve got up at silly o’clock for a drink and as I’ve left the kitchen, had a Chanel peeking at me through the bannister, only to run when she realises she’s been spotted! Yesterday morning , I was up early, she hadn’t gone back in their room, called her as I went to the bathroom, she came up the stairs but then laid on the landing watching me, and let me get fairly close before running into their room – I gave her some treats as a praise and she actually ate from my hand, which is a rarity for her, so I think she is getting a lot more confident, and learning to trust me more, she is the one who has never had much positivity from humans, being born outside, and learning negativity from her mum. It’s no wonder that being hissed at by Lucy doesn’t put her off, her mum does that every day and she loves and trusts her, so she probably thinks that is just normal behaviour! Cant’ remember when, but I did go down at silly o’clock recently to find Coco curled up on one of the sofas, unfortunately she moved by the time I was done – while I was upset at disturbing her, it was nice to know she does relax in the front room.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:03 pm
by Ruth B
Always good to hear an update, even better when it's one where things are going well.

I think we get far more concerned about cats hissing at each other than they do. I can just imagine her thinking, 'she's hissing at me again, that's fine, I know what you are saying and i'm happy with it, now if only that two legged creature could say things so clearly i would feel so much happier around them, I still don't understand three quarters of what they are trying to say, they don't even have a tail to give me some clue as to what they are thinking'.

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:01 pm
by Mollycat
Yes agreed with Ruth there, it's just their way of saying keep your distance or stop doing that so near to me. Molly is the hissiest cat I know and she even hisses at her toy during play and carries on playing. Remember they wear their emotions on their sleeve and a hiss can be as simple as just a passing thought. Very positive update!

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:11 pm
by booktigger
And typically, as you decide they don’t use something so you can throw it away, you walk in to find this! They are getting a new bed for Christmas, it’s a two tier wicker one that will be stood on the floor in front of the radiator, hopefully they will eventually use it, think I’ll have to put some old bedding in it initially.
bed.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:21 pm
by booktigger
Had another positive moment with Coco last night, she was on the floor when I went to give them their supper, so I sat on the floor in front of the door and tapped my fingers on the floor, which intrigued her enough not to run. After about 5 mins, she got this close, you could see she was tempted to come further, but then she changed her mind and went. She did eat part of her supper off my hand for this first time this week though.
Brave Coco.jpg

Re: Coco and Chanel dilemma

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:50 pm
by Mayday21
Hi Booktigger they’re really gorgeous looking & the fact they’re exploring at night seems to me they know they can start trusting where they are. Perhaps in the past they were evicted ... how traumatic. Vivian