Senior being Bullied…

BonneB

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I’ve had three cats partially under my care as they are the product of a divorce and home loss situation. I don’t know anything about cat behavior but while I am concerned about what is best for the pack, I am most concerned about the male senior cat (S) who is recovering from Stomatitis and full tooth extraction. The female seems to be a bit of a loner (M), and possibly an annoyance to the two males (S and B). S had stomatitis and I brought him to my other home for recovery and full time care and wet food feeding. I did this because the other male, B, seemed to be jealous of his food and any attention or affection I would give to S. S is also declawed and the other two aren’t. I would often find him hiding in a dark place when I wasn’t around. Now he seems to be getting healthy and loving life, but the other male might be missing him. However the last time I had them together, just prior to the surgery, the male B hissed and swatted at him and chased him away when I was brushing S. B now seems to experience separation anxiety (a lot of meowing when left alone). But I’m not sure if it’s worth re-integrating them at the expense of the elderly cat S’s recovery. I feel like he might like to live out his days in a quieter setting without being pushed around so much and having to wait his turn to eat and receive affection.
 

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Maria Bayote

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Thank you for caring for these cats. You have a good heart.

I think it is better to ensure that the male senior cat fully recovers first. Also, cats are solitary creatures. If that cat seems to just want to be left alone, I think he would be happier (and safer) that way.
 

di and bob

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Yes, especially since he is declawed and can't defend himself. Cats are not like dogs, who are very much driven to please an alpha. They are happy to claim a spot and live on it alone. They do form colonies, clowders, and will drive all other new cats away. They are independent, proud animals, you earn a cat's love and when you receive it, it is a treasure. When they are separated for a while, they tend to need to be introduced all over again, or they will drive the 'newcomer' out of their claimed territory. I take it they are all spayed/neutered, which helps to calm them quite a bit. B just wants more of your attention, he has an attachment to you. S definitely needs more comfort and attention, he is hurting and learning how to adjust to having absolutely no way at all to defend himself now and is scared and uncertain. Cats adjust quickly to this condition, often eating hard food by swallowing it whole which they do quite often anyway. He needs at least a week to heal up enough to eat properly. His hiding is a sign of his fear. If he hides from B when he sees him, that is a sign he is getting hurt and is avoiding him. If he comes back shortly after, everything is fine. M, being female and the manners teacher, the limit setter, is a typical female who wants nothing to do with the boys and doesn't mind telling them that. She is happy just being there and being mistress of her domain.
I would certainly supervise interactions between the boys, giving B a little more attention, even if it is a quick pat, stopping any bullying or fighting going on, S is defenseless. Cats hide signs of pain very well, so watch for that too.
Bless you for taking all this on, you will find that cats are fascinating and it is wonderful to watch them interact and how hard they play. They also sleep a LOT. I hope everything gets straightened out, most of the behavior you are describing is normal, and you just have to let it play out.
 

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Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2: Thanks for giving these cats a home, when their original humans were no longer able to care for them.

Are you in contact with their former owners? If so, maybe ask if the 3 cats got along prior to S getting Stomatitis? It's possible he wasn't feeling well, and not wanting to be bothered by the other cats, or being picked on by them because he was unwell.

If you do decide to integrate them, plan to keep them separated at first, and do a slow re-introduction between them.

Here's a TCS article with more info: How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 
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BonneB

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Thank you for caring for these cats. You have a good heart.

I think it is better to ensure that the male senior cat fully recovers first. Also, cats are solitary creatures. If that cat seems to just want to be left alone, I think he would be happier (and safer) that way.
Thank you. That was my feeling as well. I feel since he is a senior the other cat who possibly misses him (but IMO also bullies him) will have to get over it. I’m considering adopting the senior or finding a home for him where he can be cared for and live a more peaceful life.
 
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BonneB

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Yes, especially since he is declawed and can't defend himself. Cats are not like dogs, who are very much driven to please an alpha. They are happy to claim a spot and live on it alone. They do form colonies, clowders, and will drive all other new cats away. They are independent, proud animals, you earn a cat's love and when you receive it, it is a treasure. When they are separated for a while, they tend to need to be introduced all over again, or they will drive the 'newcomer' out of their claimed territory. I take it they are all spayed/neutered, which helps to calm them quite a bit. B just wants more of your attention, he has an attachment to you. S definitely needs more comfort and attention, he is hurting and learning how to adjust to having absolutely no way at all to defend himself now and is scared and uncertain. Cats adjust quickly to this condition, often eating hard food by swallowing it whole which they do quite often anyway. He needs at least a week to heal up enough to eat properly. His hiding is a sign of his fear. If he hides from B when he sees him, that is a sign he is getting hurt and is avoiding him. If he comes back shortly after, everything is fine. M, being female and the manners teacher, the limit setter, is a typical female who wants nothing to do with the boys and doesn't mind telling them that. She is happy just being there and being mistress of her domain.
I would certainly supervise interactions between the boys, giving B a little more attention, even if it is a quick pat, stopping any bullying or fighting going on, S is defenseless. Cats hide signs of pain very well, so watch for that too.
Bless you for taking all this on, you will find that cats are fascinating and it is wonderful to watch them interact and how hard they play. They also sleep a LOT. I hope everything gets straightened out, most of the behavior you are describing is normal, and you just have to let it play out.
Thank you so much. So the female was not spayed until recently. I had been dating the owner and allowed him to bring his cats and dogs with him. I have a fixer upper house where we kept the cats and they didn’t get daily human interaction until recently when I asked him to move in with the cats. Their health had been neglected and I, being a dog owner, I took his word at face value until I felt something was very wrong. The female had really bonded with me, and at just under six pounds she fought off both males (10-12 pound cats) for all of my attention. This went on for months so I never really got to know the old man until I separated them. As soon as the other two were out of the equation he became a little Don Juan and always seeking my affection — well mostly in the evening. He snuggles with me all night and at two weeks post tooth extraction is finally exploring the whole house on his own. I do know the female and male would chase him into hiding for hours or longer. And I have definitely given the others more attention to try to diffuse the tension. The younger male B is more my ex BF’s favorite cat. He is well fed and well loved. She does seem to be just fine on her own and I wonder if she would be better off in terms of getting human affection in a home where she is the only pet.
I’ve always had dogs so this is new territory for me. And yes, the fact that S doesn’t even have claws really concerns me and makes me want to protect and care for him even more.
 
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BonneB

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Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2: Thanks for giving these cats a home, when their original humans were no longer able to care for them.

Are you in contact with their former owners? If so, maybe ask if the 3 cats got along prior to S getting Stomatitis? It's possible he wasn't feeling well, and not wanting to be bothered by the other cats, or being picked on by them because he was unwell.

If you do decide to integrate them, plan to keep them separated at first, and do a slow re-introduction between them.

Here's a TCS article with more info: How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
I think the owners just chalked this up to the norm. I tend to really tune into animals and the dynamic concerned me — especially with the female bullying everyone (I detailed this in a comment above). It had been pretty much accepted that S was usually hiding or alone. But now that he is the sole cat, he at least isn’t hiding behind piles of wood or in dark corners. He lays on my bed or in one of the two pet beds I have for him most of the day. He gets furious at night and explores windows and the house a bit. But then likes to snuggle with me in bed and be the little spoon.
 

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Thank you so much. So the female was not spayed until recently. I had been dating the owner and allowed him to bring his cats and dogs with him. I have a fixer upper house where we kept the cats and they didn’t get daily human interaction until recently when I asked him to move in with the cats. Their health had been neglected and I, being a dog owner, I took his word at face value until I felt something was very wrong. The female had really bonded with me, and at just under six pounds she fought off both males (10-12 pound cats) for all of my attention. This went on for months so I never really got to know the old man until I separated them. As soon as the other two were out of the equation he became a little Don Juan and always seeking my affection — well mostly in the evening. He snuggles with me all night and at two weeks post tooth extraction is finally exploring the whole house on his own. I do know the female and male would chase him into hiding for hours or longer. And I have definitely given the others more attention to try to diffuse the tension. The younger male B is more my ex BF’s favorite cat. He is well fed and well loved. She does seem to be just fine on her own and I wonder if she would be better off in terms of getting human affection in a home where she is the only pet.
I’ve always had dogs so this is new territory for me. And yes, the fact that S doesn’t even have claws really concerns me and makes me want to protect and care for him even more.
Hello and welcome to TCS, BonneB BonneB ! Other posters have excellent thoughts and suggestions, and I join them in thanking you for being so caring and concerned. It's important to remember that, though some cats are loners, many are social and love the company of other cats, especially if they've lived together for a long time. Also, when cats return from the vet, they will have an unfamiliar scent to other cats. Cats' senses are more highly developed than our own, especially hearing and smell. So it may take time for that scent to wear off. Cat behaviorists, like Jackson Galaxy "The Cat Daddy", recommend "scent-swapping" (rubbing a cloth on each cat and then on the others in turn. It mixes the scents.) and using cat pheromone mimics such as Feliway (spray or plug-ins, available widely wherever cat supplies are sold) to help in calming stressed cats. There are also treats that calm cats, such as NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aids chews. If you want to get educated on cats and their needs and behavior, Jackson Galaxy has many YouTube videos, several books, social media presence on the major platforms, and his hit series on Animal Planet, "MY CAT FROM HELL."
Thank you for considering adopting. I hope you can, and do, as you sound like a very caring person who wants the best for them.
 
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BonneB

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Hello and welcome to TCS, BonneB BonneB ! Other posters have excellent thoughts and suggestions, and I join them in thanking you for being so caring and concerned. It's important to remember that, though some cats are loners, many are social and love the company of other cats, especially if they've lived together for a long time. Also, when cats return from the vet, they will have an unfamiliar scent to other cats. Cats' senses are more highly developed than our own, especially hearing and smell. So it may take time for that scent to wear off. Cat behaviorists, like Jackson Galaxy "The Cat Daddy", recommend "scent-swapping" (rubbing a cloth on each cat and then on the others in turn. It mixes the scents.) and using cat pheromone mimics such as Feliway (spray or plug-ins, available widely wherever cat supplies are sold) to help in calming stressed cats. There are also treats that calm cats, such as NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aids chews. If you want to get educated on cats and their needs and behavior, Jackson Galaxy has many YouTube videos, several books, social media presence on the major platforms, and his hit series on Animal Planet, "MY CAT FROM HELL."
Thank you for considering adopting. I hope you can, and do, as you sound like a very caring person who wants the best for them.
Oh thank you. This is super helpful and I’ll definitely look into these programs. Lol. I did read about the scent swapping. Thank you again.
 
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BonneB

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I think the owners just chalked this up to the norm. I tend to really tune into animals and the dynamic concerned me — especially with the female bullying everyone (I detailed this in a comment above). It had been pretty much accepted that S was usually hiding or alone. But now that he is the sole cat, he at least isn’t hiding behind piles of wood or in dark corners. He lays on my bed or in one of the two pet beds I have for him most of the day. He gets furious at night and explores windows and the house a bit. But then likes to snuggle with me in bed and be the little spoon.
*curious. Not furious. Lol
 
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BonneB

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Idk some posted twice. The pics of S hiding are before his surgery. You can see the female (white w gray patches) would always get attention first. The males did snuggle/sleep together - which was and is my main concern, but mostly for B. S seems to be enjoying himself here.
 

rubysmama

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*curious. Not furious. Lol
LOL. Figured that out, when you went on to say "then likes to snuggle with me in bed and be the little spoon.", :redheartpump: :catlove:

BTW, once you've been a member 5 days, and have 20 posts, you'll have editing privileges, and be able to edit your posts for up to 120 minutes.
 
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BonneB

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They are. And I’ve never been a cat person but these cats are all nice cats. Even the mean little girl cat. 😂
 

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They are. And I’ve never been a cat person but these cats are all nice cats. Even the mean little girl cat. 😂
Cats are the most beloved companions in the US and in the world, for countless good reasons. I was born and raised "with cat" and have never met a cat I haven't loved.
 
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