Struggling With Play Time

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by Animal Freak, May 14, 2017.

  1. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    Please never worry, no need to apologize.

    Wow, a lot was going on. Ember probably just didn't like the change and Ash having to get cleaned and then I am guessing you were already a little stressed and it got worse and she may have picked up on it. It is normal and it happens. It happens here as well. When things like this happen I tend to just let them decompress. So I tend to make over them, give them treats etc. Don't worry, it happens all the time and I know you can solve it.

    Poor Stella. Something upset her stomach. That could be why the cats were different as well. Cats can sense little changes. Sometimes dogs pick things up from outside. Or they eat something. Just keep an eye on it and if it persists then a vet visit is a good thing. But is sounds like something just didn't agree with her. She might have gotten into the cat litter or ate something around the house. If she gets lethargic then I would take her in but if she is acting normal then it should pass and if it doesn't then I would get her checked out. Poor thing. Oh and don't worry, I have seen it all, nothing grosses me out anymore.

    Awwwwwww, that is sweet.

    It is pretty amazing they are gentle to them. I forgot you had rats before.

    It really is. Amazing. They really do have personalities. It is cool.

    You are right. It is always good to try no matter where you are in life. I am going to try.

    Good for you. I think that is a great motivator. Running a shelter is hard so it will be good to be in good health.
     
  2. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    It just seems like she's so sensitive. Could his scent be that different when he barely got wet? The water doesn't even usually manage to get to his undercoat when he does get soaked. I don't know how to fix it though. I wish she'd let me give him a bath. It really helps my allergies when they can be bathed every now and then, but I dread doing it so much that I just avoid it at all costs. It finally seems to have settled down though there's still a little tension especially during dinner time and if he startles her. She doesn't do this to anyone else either. With Frost, she gets tense and avoids him, but only attacks if he gets too close. And she doesn't chase him down. Stella got a full bath today and Ember acts like nothing is different. She's never had a problem with my mom or I taking a shower. It's just Ash.

    We were actually going to make an appointment, but waited to see if she was still having diarrhea. It seems she's pretty much back to normal. She might be a little tired? But no more diarrhea and she's still as excitable as ever. She just didn't play much and was basically passed out in bed when I went in there. That could just be me being overly attentive though. She seems fine. We think it might have been her wet dog food. My mom accidentally got two different kinds of food and one wasn't hers. I didn't think it would hurt her since she doesn't get much anyway, so it's just a little bit of wet food mixed with the dry. And she did fine with the different food. However, the day I went back to her normal food she had the diarrhea.

    Well, my rats lived with my aunt so my cats have never been exposed like that. However, my aunt at the time did have two cats (one actually came after the rats) and six dogs (six at one time, seven total and one is Stella). My rats chased the cats more often than the other way around. I actually had to worry about Cookie (larger, more skittish of the two rats) hurting the other animals more than her being hurt. Candy (smaller, bolder one) hung out with them all like she thought she was one of them. One of the cats actually killed a mouse, but never once harmed the rats.

    That's great! Being healthy is definitely hard at first, but it can actually be kind of fun. Then again, that might just be me because I like to research things and it gives me something to look up. I think it's easier to have someone to do with, but motivation can get you anywhere. I always think about how I won't be able to take care of my own animals, let a lone a shelter full, if I'm not healthy. The idea actually kind of terrifies me. I don't know what I'd do without my animals.
     
  3. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    It is possible. I have seen cats like Ember before where any little change causes changes in their behavior. I also think it also depends on their relationship so as you mention if there is doubt between them it only gets magnified when something changes. I think it is tough to correct other than to keep working on positive association between them and making sure every encounter is as positive as possible distracting them if a negative encounter might happen. The more positive encounters the more trust they will have between them.

    That is good she is back to normal. Since there was a change in what she ate it probably was that. I would monitor but it sounds like it was just an upset stomach from the change in food. As long as she is acting normal and no longer has it then things should be fine. But keep an eye on her.

    Wow, that is amazing. Isn't it interesting? I mean when cats can overcome their instincts that is amazing.

    I have to remember it can be fun!! Hahahaha, that is a good mindset to look at it that way. I think you are totally right. I worry about what happens to my animals if I am gone. I don't have anyone I trust to take care of them. I am going to make it a point to get better!! Thanks for the great motivation!!
     
  4. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    I still think it's odd that it's only Ash. The one who never does anything to her. Frost, who hisses at her, gets no reaction. Stella--who's energetic, pushy, and in-your-face--gets no reaction. It seems like her relationship with Ash should at least be better than with Stella who's new and still irritates Ember on occasion. I would say it's possibly the confidence level, but I don't know about Stella. She's definitely comfortable in her surroundings and around people, but she's still wary of the cats after they attacked her at the beginning and she's a bit of a coward around bowls, baskets, tables, chairs, doors, vacuums... Can you really call a dog confident when they have that long of phobia list? I wish I could fix the problem though. As it is, I'd probably be better off keeping them separate for at least two days after Ash gets a bath. I hate doing things like that, but it's the only way I could really prevent negative experiences and she's often too tense to accept anything to make it positive.

    Yeah, I'm guessing that's all it was. She's doing fine. I didn't consider it at first because I thought that if she had any problems it would be when she was put on the new food rather than when we went back to her usual. I will keep an eye on her though.

    It really is. Especially because no one taught her. She never had to learn the difference between prey and family; it was just there. Maybe because she came after the rats. They were there first, their scent was there. I won't say neither of the cats ever attacked the rats, but blood was never drawn. They'd get poor Candy pinned down on her back and bite at her neck. Then she'd start squeaking and I'd come to her rescue. I think if they wanted to hurt her, though, they would have. And Candy wandered the house with them everyday with nothing bad happening. The only one who didn't like the rats was the two pound Yorkie who didn't like anyone other than my aunt. She was also toothless so she couldn't do much damage.

    Haha. Happy to help. I don't have anyone I trust either. I leave them with my mom when I have to and for no longer than I need to. I'm struggling because we're going to go on vacation to where we're think about living. I know we can't rush it because we could spend the rest of our lives there, but I hate to leave them with anyone. I put so much time and effort into taking care of them. No one else (at least that I know) is going to want to do that. But I definitely don't want to get to the point that I can't take care of them. That's not something you can just come back from.
     
  5. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    It happens. Sometimes it is just certain personalities. Most of the time they have some kind of history and it does depend on the levels of confidence and how they act (if they act like prey). It is hard to explain but I hope it makes some sense.

    Dogs are different and some cats get along better with others. Again it is kind of individualistic and how their encounters have been and how they carry themselves etc. Dogs and confidence are a little different than cats and confidence in my experience. Dogs tend to be more accepting and a lot easier.

    I think it would be best to try to keep them separated from each other after baths. It is very common for a cat to get a bath or go to the vet and come back and because they don't fully smell like themselves there is tension. Cats don't like change and scent is such a big part of how they interact.

    I am so glad she is doing well. I know, it is tricky. I always look for any change and there can be issues with a lag. But as long as she is better that is great.

    I think you are right. The cats saw them as existing and it being "their" territory so they accepted. It is amazing their instinct didn't kick in and they didn't kill. Rough play but they knew the limit. Amazing.

    So true, so well said. I know exactly what you are thinking on this topic. Exactly.
     
  6. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    It makes sense. Well, partially. Your explanation makes sense, but when it comes to cats it seems like there's so many pieces that don't quite fit together. You can come up with as many explanations as you want, but there's some flaw, some gap that doesn't line up and you just have to accept it as it is. I don't really know what caused their relationship to be as it is anymore. This all started quite some time ago and my memory is horrible. However, I do know it wasn't always like this so something happened to cause a rift. But then there are so many peaceful days, days where they all get along, days where I come home to Ash and Ember curled up on my bed together. In those days their relationship seems great. Perfect, even. And that's not something I see her do with the dog. Rather, Ember accepts Stella's presence and will gladly use her as a butt rest when she slips off my lap, but mostly ignores her other than the occasional slap when Stella moves too fast, too close. But Ember never lashes out at Stella or Frost. Just Ash. The one she sleeps with, snuggles with, plays with, and occasionally grooms with.

    I agree. They're definitely different. There's no denying that. They do have their similarities too though. Stella has come a long way with the cats either way. They used to attack her where she just wanted to be friends. Then she became afraid of them and eventually they calmed down. Now she's progressively regaining her confidence around them. Her and Frost get along fine. They're next to each other on the couch as I type this.

    Yeah, I've accepted the fact that Ember doesn't like that change. Ash and Frost have no problem with it, but she does. And we'll manage. I just hate seeing her feel so insecure. And I hate seeing her make Ash feel insecure. It would be tolerable if I could at least wash Ash's backend without her freaking out though. I can avoid full baths, but I can't really avoid half baths when Ash gets poop in his fur. We try to keep the fur cut down, but that's stressful on Ash and he's really strong. Plus his arthritis means he's sensitive in his tail and back legs. And we just don't know how often we need to do it. More than we are apparently.

    It was amazing. I don't think I appreciated how they all got along at the time, but looking back on it, it was impressive. It's good that they can live together because I love them all. I aim to have rats again in the future. They're really lovely little creatures. Probably even more impressive was that she was a kitten found outside with a littermate. Young, energetic, and just old enough to eat solid food when she was found which meant no time to learn manners from her mom.
     
  7. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    I agree. They are so independent and so unique. The fact she does cuddle with him is wonderful. Maybe she feels comfortable enough with him to tell it like it is? Sometimes the people we love the most we can say or do anything with knowing they will still love us? But I agree with you, sometimes it is impossible to figure out what is going on. They are complex, but wonderful!!

    It is amazing. My sister's dog loves to chase the cat. Then sometimes the cat tries to get him to chase her. It is funny. My one LOVES dogs, the other when she was a feral would walk along with the dogs on a walk. Amazing relationships. I guess it just depends. It sounds like Stella is doing well. Learning how to live with them. Having an ally like Frost I am sure helps her. Isn't it wonderful when they are together??? I just love that.

    I know. :( Some cats are more resilient than others. I go through it. All you can do is your best. It is hard with Ash given the things he has to deal with. Even separating them could cause stress. :( It is tough but try different things, hopefully something will work. Maybe start a new post and see what others have tried?

    It really is. Wow. That is so nice that she was saved. It is tough when they are so young and on their own. :(
     
  8. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    Maybe, but it still seems odd. But I could spend to rest of my life trying to figure out every little thing she does and I wouldn't ever get all the answers. I've learned to simply accept her as she is, help ease her anxieties, and live with and around all her little quirks. There's just some situations that it would be so much easier if I knew what was going on in her head and how to fix the situation.

    It's amazing how people doubt the ability of animals to get along even when they continuously prove they can. Frost is the only one who didn't attack her. He kept his distance, but he was curious. Sometimes they play, but dog play and cat play are a bit different. Stella overwhelms him a lot and he normally leaves. I don't let her start anything though. I don't want her think he's a toy. She was always on the kitten at my aunt's house. If Shadow's paws hit the floor, Stella was on her. I don't want her to do that to these cats. Sometimes she nips at them if they run by or jump over her, but she never does anything more than that. I usually tell her no so she doesn't get any ideas. Ember occasionally tries to play with her though. But I mean with her as in the way she would play with a toy mouse. I'm pretty sure if Stella retaliated, she'd take off. Sometimes when I'm playing with Stella, Ember will dart out when she runs by and slap at her. No hissing, no spitting, no fluffed fur, no claws, and her tail up. What's really cute, though, is when Ember is laying on a chair and Stella walks by. Ember will reach down and slap at her a few times. Scares Stella. I think it's cute.

    I'll probably focus on it more in the near future. Right now things are okay and I think I'll focus on trying to get Ash playing. He hasn't been playing much lately and I think he could use a little more confidence. I'd like to figure out how to at least make it easier. I have a few threads I need to make on different sites. They just take so long for me to type that it's hard to find the time.

    Yeah, Shadow was found with a sibling on a blanket out in the cold with some dry food they couldn't even eat. Her sibling got a home and my aunt took Shadow in who got her name because she followed the other cat, Willow, around. Willow herself came from a family member whose cat was allowed to wander outside and ended up pregnant. Shadow, however, was never really fully socialized. Very skittish. The only people who could get close to her were my aunt, uncle, and me, and she ran if anyone walked towards her.
     
  9. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    So true. At least she is happy and doing well. And you learn to accept her mysterious ways. You will keep learning about her and help make her life the best.

    It is amazing. You have a good handle on how they interact. That is funny, sounds like Ember really loves Stella. Loves to play with her. That is great.

    Remember confidence is not only play but also height and love and positive encounters. So making positive associations with Ember and making the encounters as positive as possible will also build his and her confidence. But play is a great way to build confidence but not the only way.

    Wow, that is great Shadow was taken in. I love to hear good stories like that. As long as she is happy then being totally socialized isn't that important. It is great she found a great home.
     
  10. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    That's what I aim to do.

    I like to watch them. It's often entertaining and I'm usually looking for signs it could get too serious. I think Ember and Stella have a very precarious relationship. It's kind of love/hate. One moment Ember is playing, then next she's slapping her, and then the next she's laying on her. But it's much better than it was and I hope it'll continue to improve.

    Ash spends most of his time on a cat tree. Ember doesn't seem as interested, but she does go up. I have tried getting her up on one while playing, but it didn't work. She's not as much of a heights lover, but she does like the cat tree in the dining room and sometimes she looks out the window on the one in my room. I'm going to keep up with training sessions too. I didn't do one yesterday because I ran out of dog treats. How that happens when I had three bags, I don't know, but all I had left didn't really work for training. I don't have any other plans at the moment, but would be open to any ideas.

    It was great. Unfortunately, it didn't last. My aunt can't work. After my uncle was gone, she couldn't keep her all of her animals. She kept the two oldest dogs, but Stella and the cats couldn't stay. I still wonder about Shadow though. She was young enough to draw people in, but so shy and skittish that she really needed a special home. The one, Willow, she older, but friendly.
     
  11. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    You really think their relationship is love/hate? It actually sounds like Ember really loves her and wants to play with her. Slaps are not always from anger etc. Slaps can be a form of play. But of course you see it whereas I just read about it.

    That is good that Ash is on the cat tree. I wonder if Ember feels a little insecure regarding him because he is above her? I am glad she goes on the one in your room and looks out. Looking out is a good motivator to get them up high. Just keep up with what you are doing, you are doing great.

    I am sorry to hear that. I hope your aunt gets better soon. About 9 years ago when we went through the financial crisis many people sadly had a lot of trouble and had to give up their animals. It is very sad. I lost my job and went through tough times as well but if we don't give up we can get through it and just do our best.
     
  12. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    Yes, I know. And sometimes it is playful. But then there are times when it's not. Ember isn't really being aggressive, but I think she's still a little unsure of the dog. It's usually only if Stella runs a little too close to her. She doesn't like the fast movement right next to her. It's hard to explain the difference between the playful slap and the defensive slap though. The only clear differences are that, when playful, there's no sound and Ember normally darts out with her tail up even if she doesn't keep it up. When it's defensive, she usually gives a little spit and has her tail down the entire time. Other than that, it's hard to say which is which. It's more of something I can sense because I live with her and can just tell that there's tension in her body. But there has been more of the former than of the latter, so their relationship is definitely improving. I think Stella is just a little too high energy for Ember. Like puppies tend to overwhelm Stella, she tends to overwhelm the cats.

    I've thought about him being above her. When she's tense, I usually pick her up so she's on the same level or above him. It does seem to help though there are times she's so anxious she wants absolutely nothing to do with me. Her and Ash usually take turns on the cat tree in the dining room. She likes to watch the birds from there and sometimes just likes to sleep. I say she's not up there often, but I should say she's not up there often compared to Ash who spends at least half the day on top of a cat tree. I would say she gets on it pretty much every day, but not for as long. She seems to like middle ground like the couch or my bed or the computer chair.

    She's mostly better now. She quit being able to work a while ago. It was my uncle who worked. My aunt used to be a dog groomer, but couldn't breath in the dog fur anymore which is why she stopped working. I'm not sure what I would do if I was faced with that decision. Probably starve before I gave up my animals, though, of course, I know I need to do what's best for them.
     
  13. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    You have a great understanding on the interactions. Cats can get afraid of fast movements so Ember's reactions are totally understandable.

    Sometimes cats when held do get anxious (because it can feel limiting I think). But I like to get them on a similar height as well. It sounds like Ember gets great time up. That is great. I wonder if she might want up more and sees Ash and that builds a little something between them........

    I am glad she is doing better. That is hard to have to give it up. It is a difficult decision.
     
  14. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    Yeah, I don't hold it against her. I let Ember get away with it since I know she isn't going to hurt Stella. Stella mostly ignores her at this point.

    Ember doesn't typically have a problem being held when she's tense. That's actually when she'll stay in my arms without me walking around. Just sometimes she's a bit too tense. It's possible she wants up more, but we have three cat trees. One is short, but the other two are both fairly tall. The one was taller, but it broke. Ash actually spends a lot of time on the one in the storage room (the broke one) whereas Ember prefers the one in the dining room, but Ash is on that one quite frequently too.
     
  15. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    That is good.

    That is interesting. You give her a feeling of security, safety it sounds like. That is good.

    There are a lot of options for them to go up. It is funny, cats do seem to like things that are broken etc. Not sure why. It is very good they both use them and go high.
     
  16. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    I hope. There are times she doesn't want me picking her up, but not often. Her and Ash both actually like being walked around the house, seeing everything from up high, but I can't stop for more than a few seconds without them jumping down.

    If I had the space and the money, I'd get even more cat trees, but I think they're fine with what they have. I want to replace the broken one, but it's a bit expensive to get one the same height and it's still about the same height as me. They do like broken things. Ash has always liked that cat tree, but they've had some of the must fun with broken toys.
     
  17. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    That is very common. Cats like to have things on their terms but they do like the security of being held and being high. It depends on the personalities. I think it is great.

    Cat shelving is also fun for cats. But not everyone wants to put them on their walls. It sounds like they have enough trees and they enjoy them. I think its great. I always say as long as it isn't dangerous to them if they still like it then I leave it. I don't know why they like broken things but they sure seem to. :/ As long as they enjoy it it is not up to me to wonder.
     
  18. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    Lately I've realized Ash actually purrs when I carry him around the house. I have to carry him out of the bathroom when I need to take a shower and today he got by me and went into the basement when I let the dog out. I had to go down there and carry him back up and I needed one hand to turn the light off so I was holding him with one arm. He didn't try to get away though and he started purring. I walked around the house a bit and he even kneaded my arm which wasn't very comfortable, but sweet nonetheless.

    I would love to get cat shelving, but I don't think we're going to be doing that in this house. In my final home, I want to put some stuff on the walls and ceiling. We're not stay in this house very long though, and we need to save the money so we can move into a better home. They'll probably be stuck with their broken cat tree for a while longer too. So it's a good thing they like it.
     
  19. calicosrspecial

    calicosrspecial TCS Member Top Cat

    1,373
    408
    Mar 14, 2016
    I am sorry for the delayed response. I am dealing with some issues sadly.

    That is so cute. That is such a great sign, purring. Ash sounds a lot like one of my cats.

    That makes sense. It is a good option at the right time. I think your cats are loving everything so I agree you have no need to change anything now.
     
  20. Animal Freak

    Animal Freak Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    512
    137
    Mar 18, 2016
    No need to apologize. It happens. I think we're in a pretty good spot right now anyway, so no hurry.

    Ash really is a sweetie. He's a bit large (at least compared to the cats most people around here are used to) and often looks grumpy, so he can be intimidating, but he's just about the sweetest cat. It was really neat when I realized just how much he enjoyed being carried around.

    Yeah, I think they're fine. I don't know when I'll get around to it, but I'd really love to be able to having shelving and whatnot so that the cats could pretty much get from room to room without even having to touch the floor. I think it'll take care of a lot of problems that come up with multi-cat households since they'd have tons of territory and plenty of escape routes.
     

Share This Page