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Should Re-homing Be An Option?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by Graceful-Lily, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    I've tried to seperate Smokey and Felix but the fighting is only gotten worse. They can't even be in the same room together without fur flying everywhere. Would it make any sense to rehome Smokey with a close friend or someone I trust to look after her? It's causing way too much stress on her. I can tell because she's ripping out her fur little by little and isn't as enthusiastic as before. She doesn't even like the puppy. She just wants to be by herself.
     

  2. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    You can get 'calming treats' on Amazon, or ask your vet for some, I would give it to both. If you know the people who would take Smokey and she could be the only cat, that may be an option. There are too many cats that are euthanized because they can't find a good home that a shelter is the last place.
    You didn't say how long they have been together, less than a year means they still need time to get used to each other. It takes a LONG time for cats to live with each other. The puppy is most likely causing agitation too, cats will attack each other when they are upset about changes or something that is not even related to the the two who are fighting. Smokey definitely needs a high place to escape to that she can defend easily, my Chrissy spent months on top of the fridge in a bed I put there.
    If it's only been weeks or a few months, don't give up, it WILL get better. Smokey needs to gain her confidence and stand up to Felix, and Felix needs to be restrained from attacking her. Tell him NO very loudly and remove him from the area if he starts to stalk her. Put him in a small room for a 5 minute time out, EVERY time, you miss one, or keep him in there a lot longer than 5 minutes, he will not associate his behavior with what is going on. Get a Kickeroo on Amazon and throw it to divert Felix's attention, they love to take their aggression out on them. As long as it is just stalking and 'tussles', hair flying, screaming, etc., that is somewhat normal. If there are bites and blood drawn, that is serious and is an actual fight. Please be patient, cats HATE change, and a roommate and a new addition are just too much for them to take. You might want to keep Smokey in a separate room until you can supervise what is going on, she would be much more content, or get a large dog cage she can be in to observe what is going on, but keep them separated.
    Males are naturally more aggressive and want to play a lot more, females as they get older, are more aloof to males and usually scream loudly when they receive their unwanted attention. I have a little female tjht screams and fights with her own male kittens who are two now and want her to play. She is NOT amused!
     

  3. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    That's the thing though, they've been together for almost 6 years and they still fight to this day. They were also fighting badly way before the puppy came. Blood has been drawn. Despite keeping their claws low, they somehow end up to give eachother scratches. I'd NEVER put Smokey in a shelter. That's exactly what I rescued her from. She was shelter bound and most definitely going to be euthanized. Even if I did re-home her, I'd like to see her and know who's looking after and make sure she's being looked after properly.
     

  4. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    I'm not sure it matters, but why don't they get along? Is one more active than the other and tries to play? Does one growl and hiss when the other gets near and maybe that sets the other off? Or is it mutual dislike?

    I have a somewhat different view of these things, which is that there may be some situations that are beyond a person's ability to cope with, and that rehoming might be for the best. Years ago, my active playful youngster got the older cat into hiss and growl mode because the play was too rough for him...and that somehow drove the otherwise gentle youngster into genuine aggression, totally breaking their relationship. I tried everything I could except medication, and my older cat ended up getting bitten twice. Unlike scratches, cat bites are a big deal, often leading to infection. Fights leading to cat bites are rare, but the stress caused by these situations on the cat(s) and the owners is real. Try whatever is suggested to be sure, but if you can rehome, that may end up being the solution that works.

    Heck, I once had two cats that grew up together that always got along. When one died, I imagined the other would be sad...nope, he turned to us, becoming MUCH more affectionate and seemingly just as happy or happier. Being an only cat is not necessarily bad.
     

  5. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    It usually starts with Smokey peeing or pooping. Felix will stare at her doing her business. She never covers it so Felix gets really mad because he's an overly clean cat. To the point of freakiness. He'll wait til she is done and checks the litter box to make sure she covered it. If she did, he's somewhat okay. But if she didn't, oh boy. He'll cover it, then go after her or go after her and once he's done, he'll cover it. Sometimes, just Felix's presence alone makes Smokey growl and get upset so he'll make the first move. Sometimes, Smokey is the one that goes after him but that's not as often. They also fight over space. If we put down a scratch post or a new chair for them to sleep on, they'll fight over that one new chair even though there are so many others in the house. I've had to add a litter box upstairs because Felix is annoyed by her using all of them since she doesn't clean up good. She'll leave pee splatters or poop on the edge accidentally (I think the litter box is too small). So got a big box deep and put as much litter as I could. I don't know if any of this contributed to the fighting. Felix was also the first one here and he is very much loved by everyone because of his "human like" behaviour and personality. Smokey on the other hand, no one seems to love her much but my mom and I. It's really sad. She seems to have a lot of anxiety because of her past. I think she was abused. But I know for a fact that she wasn't being looked after with the best care. She was severely overweight, nails were never cut, put on cheap food, and breed for God knows why (not sure how many kittens she had). So I'd like for her to be comfortable. She's 9 years old now. She doesn't need this kind of stress.
     

  6. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    Do you have a basement? When things were really bad with our prior fighting cats, we made the basement the safe zone for one of them. The other was never allowed down there, and always removed by us if he went. At night, the nervous older cat went down there alone and the door was closed. (It was a finished heated basement.) This definitely helped some...not only eliminating fighting at night, but giving the older cat a place to retreat too if needed. We never completely solved our issue, but the safe zone helped.
     

  7. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    We do have a basement. Felix stays down there because we can't trust him upstairs. He likes to steal clothes and knock stuff off of tables (usually breaking them in the process). He also likes to intimidate the puppy. A lot. More like playing but she doesn't get it. Smokey stays upstairs but she's very uncomfortable up here. Too much noise and hassle. She likes quiet and calm spaces but my house has never really been that. We always have family over and friends. The puppy loves cats a little too much so she doesn't understand personal space. And then when Felix and Smokey are back together, they just end up fighting again.

    We might be moving next month. If things don't change by then, I'll have to re-home her. Moving alone can be a huge stress so I really have no idea what the outcome will be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

  8. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    Smokey has found a new home and everything is well with her but Felix is acting strange. He's more affectionate and he tolerates a lot of things he never did before when Smokey was here. For example, being brushes, being lifted up, etc. Although he didn't seem to like her very much, could this be him showing that he misses her in some way? He also has this mellow expression on his face and he's been less active. It's been about 4 days since Smokey left.
     

  9. Elfilou

    Elfilou TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    From what I gather he waited for her to be vulnerable (on the litterbox) and that looks like he was absolutely bullying her.

    He sounds happy. I don't think he misses her, I think he's focusing his attention on you instead of tormenting her. I feel really bad for Smokey but, after 6 years of trying I think you made the right decision. How is she? With a friend of yours?
     

  10. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    She's with a friend of a friend. Really nice person. I got to talk with her and meet her and she was so kind. She was even willing to feed her raw and didn't mind the cost but I told her to research first since it can be tricky for new people. She even took a day off from work to spend time with Smokey to make sure she's adjusted. Smokey is doing so much better. Not hiding or aggressive like she was before. She's very calm and curious which wasn't like her before since Felix bugged her day and night. I think Felix is still keeping an eye out like he's expecting her to pop up but for the most part, he's back to his old self. A side of Felix I haven't seen in years. I use to think he hated me because of how he acted when Smokey was here but now all her wants to do is spend time with me. It's really nice. I'm glad this all worked out for all of them.
     

  11. duncanmac

    duncanmac TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    He probably feels like the threat to his territory has been removed and he can relax now.
     

  12. Elfilou

    Elfilou TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I think this is why people say to match cats together that have similar personalities. Smokey sounds very timid and shy and probably felt very insecure around a strong, demanding and territorial cat like Felix.

    If you had said you were dropping her off at a shelter I'd say "No - try harder. Re-introduce them, do everything to make her a more confident cat so she stands up for herself". But since this is someone you know and because you said this had been going on for SIX YEARS I'd say this is a win-win for every individual involved!

    I'm glad you made the decision that was in the best interest of the animals, and it must pay off to see them both flourish individually. You also provided someone (the friend of a friend) with a new family member that she can enjoy furever. You will probably miss her a lot and she will miss you, but everything happens for a reason and you can all live stress-free now. Congrats :touched:
     

  13. ileen

    ileen with Luciano since 12/5/16 Super Cat

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    Does Felix have his tail up most of the time? It sounds like it's working out well and I'm glad for all involved.
     

  14. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    I would NEVER put any of my animals in a shelter. That's exactly what most of them were rescued from. Smokey was shelter bound and I took her before that happened. I wasn't going to just put her with people I don't know. I'd like to still see her and know that she's well taken care of. This person checked all those boxes and exceeded my expectations.

    Felix's tail is up almost all the time. So I guess he's happy.
     

  15. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    I think that there is some sort of hidden socialization that occurs even among cats that don't seem to derive much benefit from each other I think, and when that is gone they seek another source.

    Years ago, we adopted two kittens found together and presumably brothers. Little Smokey worshipped Bandit and would cry and cry if Bandit left the room. As they grew, Bandit always got along with laid back and gentle Smokey, but it wasn't exactly affection. For example, if Smokey approached and licked him, he would act surprised like "oh, you're that other cat, right" and maybe throw a few licks back then walk away. When they rough housed, it was always consensual, enjoyed by both, but this eventually faded away. By the time they both got older and less active, Bandit seemed to derive little or no benefit from Smokey, nothing positive or negative. When Smokey died, Bandit instantly became much more affectionate - a permanent change. Since Bandit never seemed to give a hoot about Smokey, I figure there has to be some hidden effect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017

  16. Graceful-Lily

    Graceful-Lily Thread Starter *Alien* Top Cat

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    Orbiting the Earth. . .
    Smokey is doing so much better though. And so is Felix. It's like 2 totally different cats. I can actually brush out Felix's fur without being attacked and scratched up. I can joke around with him and play with him without it turning serious and violent. I can pick him up and cuddle him like I use to without him scratching me and jumping away. Smokey is also more outgoing. She's adjusting well and is now sleeping on Cassandra's bed. Thank you everyone. All is well.
     

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