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Author Topic: 2 Cats and Not Enough House  (Read 4698 times)

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Debbie Matthews

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2 Cats and Not Enough House
« on: January 05, 2007, 09:20:27 AM »

I know several people have cats and thought you might have some suggestions.  We've added a second cat to the household.   The first one we've had for a couple of years. They get along for the most part.  Sometimes there's some squabbling.  I know I can't force them, but is there anything I can do to facilitate their getting along.

They have separate food and water bowls.  They get fed the same thing.  We haven't transferred all our attention to the new cat.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Debbie
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Debbie
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Deborah Matthews
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CathyJ

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2007, 09:28:37 AM »

Debbie, we've had two cats for a long time, and I think getting along most of the time may be the best you can expect.  Our current cats are 16 and 8, and we still go through the occasional fight or hissy-fit.  If they weren't getting along at all, there are other strategies, but where they're doing okay most of the time, I think they're probably working it out between themselves.

Cathy
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Elena

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2007, 09:55:23 AM »

Debbie,  I'm with Cathy on the subject - my two guys are 13 and 14 - both were ferel kittens and I've had them since they were only a few weeks old, not old enough to have learned enough from their moms.  However, they hadn't spent much time together until four years ago when I moved and the younger became an indoor cat for the first time.

They get along reasonably well, but every now and again WWIII breaks out when the oldest attacks.  At that point I BOOM "Gentlemen, and I use the term loosely." and they settled down.  However over time I realized that occasionally the younger instigates this behavior when he needed more attention from me.  I've learned what each one enjoys for play, and what sort of petting they each like which has added a great deal to a peaceful household.  And, to add to the mix, they eat different foods.  Age helps too - they are sleeping a lot more than in their joyous youth. 

If yours get along most of the time they will develop a comfortable - to them - relationship.  Whether this relationship is also comfortable to you time will tell  :D

Have fun,
Elena
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Debbie Matthews

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2007, 12:19:17 PM »

Thanks Elena and Cathy.  The biggest problem seems to be walking by the other.  But they don't have a problem sharing a litter box.  They both can be antagnostic.  Little Kitty will place herself in the hall where Miss Kitty can't walk by to her food.  And Miss Kitty probably has about 9 lbs. on her.   Sometimes Miss Kitty looks like she's plotting Little's assassination. (g)

The new one is young, but not a baby.  She showed up on our porch the week before Christmas starving.  Needless to say, after being fed these weeks and visiting the vet, she looks much better.

Debbie
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Debbie
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Deborah Matthews
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Joyce S

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2007, 06:51:24 PM »

Debbie,

My two cats are litter-mates and they still occasionally get into what I call "knock-down, drag-outs." Actually, there's not that much knocking down, more like a mad dash through the house, around corners, and up the stairs. Usually, it's Cosmo (male) chasing Clancy (female). Once in a while, I see Cosmo chase Clancy out of the room and up the stairs, then a bit of bumping around in one of the rooms up there, and then a chase back down--but with Cosmo in the lead and Clancy chasing him. A couple times a year, I'll notice a scratch on Cosmo's nose or ear--almost like Clancy just turned and swatted as if saying, "You know what, I'm done with this game!" There was more catterwalling when they were young (I got them when they are 18 months old). Hardly ever these days--they are about 12 years old now.

There is one particular event that will cause an increase in tension between the two. Let's say, Clancy is having a stare-down through the window with the neighbor's cat (she is extremely territorial about the back deck) and Cosmo happens to walk up behind her and startles her. She'll react as if he were the aggressor and the tension will last a few days. What I've learned to do is watch for this type of situation and speak to the both of them before he gets close enough to startle him. Just a quiet, "What do you see, Clancy?" will turn her attention off the neighbor's cat enough to notice Cosmo behind her without the startle effect.

Joyce S
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Susan August

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2007, 08:49:15 PM »

Aah!  Cats are so much fun. We have one resident male, Smokey, but often have visitors when my daughters are here or when they need cat-sitting service.  Kouji (little tiger in Japanese) is the youngest visitor, male, about 1 year, who shows up and chases Smokey all over the house.  Then, Echo and Tango, all white female siblings show up and 'take over' the place.  The little tiger becomes a 'wimp' and hides and Smokey just avoids them all.  Each has their own personality and while there is a lot of hissing and chasing, none have incurred physical damage yet.  Then, a neighbor cat, Kimba, shows up outside on our deck and there is a lot of scratching and attacking of glass slider doors which always brings us running.  In the end, they all seem to find their 'place' in the hierarchy, and we just have to make sure that no one is intimidated from eating or access to the litter box.  It's a lot of dirty litter to manage...ugh!

Susan
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Debbie Matthews

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2007, 08:52:16 PM »

Thanks, Joyce and Susan.  The only other time I had two cats they were litter mates and never had a squabble out of them.  Little Kitty has only been inside a week, but she knows what the squirt bottle is.

Debbie
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Deborah Matthews
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Kate Maguire

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2007, 04:43:31 PM »

I had to laugh, Debbie, when you mentioned the squirt bottle. Our Max, 5 now, was also a feral cat, though we got him when he was three months old and he's become such an inside cat he learned how to open the sliding glass door when he's outside and wants in! (Hasn't tried it from the inside out yet, but we're watchful.) But he was oblivious to the squirt gun we tried on him. He'd just look at us and continue whatever he was doing. So we got a water blaster. Only use it outside to make him come back to the house when he strays too far. (Okay, I made him sound like a wimp who hates the outside and that's so not true. He loves to wander, but when he becomes frightened, he wants in RIGHT NOW.) Anyway, all we have to do is pull the trigger back on the blaster and Max is back on the porch in an instant. He doesn't like that thing.

I wish I had some suggestions for you with your cats. I don't. The only times we brought two together, they adapted within a few months. And since Max has declared himself the king of everything, I doubt I'll be bringing another into our home any time soon. My sister is hoping there'll soon be a cat whisperer. (Her cats are worse than yours about fighting. Or rather the new kitty beats up on the timid older cat every chance she gets.) Wouldn't a cat whisperer be nice?

Kate
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Elena

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2007, 05:01:14 PM »

Cat Whisperer - oh how I could use one.  I'd love to get another dog, but my 23 lb cat tends to attack them for various reasons, like nothing exciting has happened recently.  My last canine was 120 lbs with a deep dense double coat, so he never knew when he was being attacked, but a friend who came over with a rottie recently wound up needing a bit of first aid (the rottie, not the friend).  Nothing serious, but she tells me he now has a new and abiding respect for cats.  Maybe I could hire my cat out as a specialized dog trainer  :D

One useful thing is that he's afraid of the sound of plastic bags and aluminum foil.  Water doesn't phase him, he plays in the water dish dumping in bits of dry food cooking slop.  The other cat will actually get into the shower with me.

But, as long as I yell in a matter of fact way when he attacks the other cat it hardly ever happens anymore - not much fun for him if he can't upset me.

Elena
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Joyce S

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2007, 06:24:07 PM »

Speaking of plastic bags...my cats scatter whenever I rattle a plastic bag. So they are barely around when I am unloading groceries, when I'm taking the trash out, or putting a new bag into the trashcan. But, they chew and eat the darn things, especially the thin crackly bags the grocery stores use. They will eat the part of the bag that overhangs the basket. The sound of them chewing on the bags drive me nuts, particularly if they are doing it in the middle of the night. And I'll find shreds of plastic in their poop (when I'm scooping the little box) and occasionally one will barg up a "hairball" complete with shreds of plastic bag. No idea why they do this. But they've done it for years with no obvious harm.

Joyce
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Debbie Matthews

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2007, 10:23:33 PM »

Thanks for the stories and commersations.  Miss Kitty doesn't like the trash bags when I'm getting a new one out, but plastic garbage store bags she doesn't mind.  They bring food into the house. (g)  She's never chewed on one or eaten one.

Little Kitty was half starved when she showed up on my porch.  Now, she eats & eats & eats.  Is that because she was starving?  Now, her coat is so smooth and shiney.  Except where the vet shaved the stomach to spay her.

Debbie
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Debbie
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Deborah Matthews
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Elena

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2007, 10:17:08 AM »

Both my cats were ferel.  Freddie arrived under our bushes screaming like a banshee and so skinny you could see not just his bones, but the outlines of his organs.  He was very close to dying.  For years (he's 13 and was only a few weeks old when he found us), he ate as if there was no tomorrow, I was amazed, but as he didn't gain extra weight and was otherwise very catly, I didn't try regulating it.  As he gained in confidence which included finding out where the food is kept he slowed down. and now is an excellent self-stopping eater.  To my recollection the panic eating continued for five or six years.

After much experimentation I have found he does best on a raw beef diet that comes with added vitamins and minerals, but no veggies or grains.  The other guy (Webster) thinks Freddie is crazy and happily tucks into his dry lite/hairball control food.  Go figure  :D

Little Kitty sounds as if she's doing very well, she is very fortunate to have found such a loving home.

Elena
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penny

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 11:22:02 AM »

Can somebody please explain what a "ferel" cat means?

I've never owned a cat, but in Israel there is a very widespread problem of garbage cats. Where I live we have tons of them, and up to now, every once in a while the municipality would poison some off. Luckily, the media got hold of that story (other municipalities apparently did it as well) and now that isn't a solution.

The right way to do it would be (so I heard) to spay them, but who is going to pay for capturing them and doing it? I don't see a solution for the time being.

I have a couple of cats living beneath and around the house, eating from the dog's food (he befriends them). But they don't consider themselves my pets.

Penny
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CathyJ

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2007, 12:22:11 PM »

Penny, feral cats live outdoors, don't belong to anyone, and don't relate much to people.  Oftentimes, feral cats start out as kittens  born to feral mothers, but sometimes house cats are abandoned or escape and become feral.

And, since we're on the subject, I must tell the happy-ending feral cat story.  Long ago, when my husband was in grad school, we lived in a cat-friendly apartment next to an overgrown vacant lot, and there was a feral tom living and hunting in the vacant lot.  Lots of us, mostly cat-owners ourselves, started leaving dry cat food out for him.  He eventually, with patience, began interacting with us.  He gradually became socialized enough that he would "visit" apartments, let people pet him, etc., and the people in the apartment below us adopted him.  (As an aside, they had another cat that they thought might be his daughter.)  There were dorms and apartments nearby, and we think he might have been somebody's pet originally, that they abandoned when they left for the summer or graduated, since he seemed to have an idea of how to interact with people once he got over his fears.  The last we saw of him, he looked to be living happily ever after.

Cathy
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Elena

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Re: 2 Cats and Not Enough House
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2007, 03:00:38 PM »

Cathy, thank you for correcting my spelling of feral - spell check has stopped working for me for mysterious reasons, and I'm a hopeless speller.

Penny, as Cathy shared, your garbage cats are our feral cats.  Both of mine joined our family as abandoned kittens, and both are special needs meaning that they have chronic health problems.  We think Freddie's mother must have died since three of his litter mates found homes in our neighborhood.  Webster was found in a box on the step when our vet, Doc, opened up one morning.

In various places around the country, including Madison where I am, there are groups of volunteers that humanely trap the cats, have them fixed by vets who either donate their time or ask very reduced rates.  After they have recovered they are evaluated to see if they have the potential to be adopted.  If yes, then a local pet store takes care of them and holds regular adoption days.

More informally, my partner and I worked with Doc taking feral cats home after he fixed them to see if they were adoptable.  If not, and they were in good health, Doc would give them useful shots and we'd set them loose again in a wooded creek bottom.

But, I'm with you, it's a sad problem with no good solution.  Same for feral dogs, poor dears.
Elena
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