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Unread 12-24-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Question Update on my senior cats

On December 18th, two 10-year-old senior cats adopted me. After I brought them home, they hid and wouldn't eat, especially the male, Topaz. For two days I tried various foods and treats and he would just run away and hide. Finally, last night he started eating and let me pet him. The female, his sister Emerald was more outgoing. I thought he was sick, but apparently just tramautized. Now they are both eating and playing : )
My problem is integrating with my two resident cats, Magic and Mr. Midnight who camped out in front of the bedroom and just stayed their hissing and growling, especially Magic. I did the towel thing first rubbing Magic and Mr. Midnight's scents on the towel and putting them under the new cat's food dishes. The new cats didn't seem phased by the cats. However, when I did the scent exchange and brought the towels with the new cat's scents on it, my resident cats went crazy hissing and swatting at EACH OTHER!!!!!! I've done this three times and Mr. Midnight has gotten to the point where he just sniffs the towel, but Magic STILL gets aggressive and starts hissing and swatting with her claws out at Midnight. Midnight just walks away. Why is Magic being so aggressive? Will I EVER be able to let these two poor cats out of my bedroom without fear of being attacked by Magic? She is so good with humans. She lets ANYONE pet her and pick her up, but she absolutely HATES any cat that crosses her path (aside from her brother, Midnight and she is even hissing at HIM when I try to do the scent exchange.
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Unread 12-24-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Don't worry, Aunt Kitty, baby steps now, baby steps. It's been a very short time. Five or six days is a very short time when integrating cats. Emerald and Topaz are just happy not to be in a cage any more and will not suffer from a prolonged stay in one room.

Some cats just are very territorial and have a very hard time with new cats, but they can adjust with time.

When Magic attacks Midnight it is called displaced aggression. When she smells something that upsets her, she lashes out at whatever is nearest and dearest, that being Midnight.

This is what I would advise you do for now. Continue with the towel, rub it on Magic first, then Midnight, then the other cats. Bring the towel back out and leave it lying around. Do it that way for a few days.

Next, try again to put the towel under Magic and Midnight's dishes. Remember that the older cats are already surrounded by the Ms scents, so they are not the ones that really need to make the adjustment to scent.

Also something to keep in mind is....the Jewels still smell like shelter, and that is a very foreign smell to Magic and Midnight. Magic especially is objecting to that shelter smell. Didn't you ahve trouble with vet smells, between Magic and Midnight? Or was that someone else.

I highly recommend you get a couple of feliway plug in diffusers Aunt Kitty. One for Topaz and Emerald's room and one (or more, depending on how big your home is) for the rest of the house.

Some rescue remedy would also help, especially for Magic.

If I think of anything else I'll be back. I don't socialize on Christmas Eve, I just cook and bake all day, so I'll be on the computer all day.
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Unread 12-24-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Gail--
----I already got the Feliway a coule of days before I picked up the Jewels.
----I'm not sure what you mean about Rescue Remedy. One time when I was going through an enormous amount of stress I went to the health food store and was advised to buy Rescue Remedy. I think it was called Bach's Rescue Remedy and if I can recall correctly, it had an eyedropper and I was supposed to put some drops under my tongue. I noticed it had alot of alcohol in it. Is this the same stuff?
-----I had Midnight for almost a week before I got Magic. When I brought Magic home and let her out of the carrier I thought they would be so happy to see each other (This was when they were little 8-week-old kittens) but Magic's tail fluffed up, her back arched, and she hissed, growled, and swatted at Midnight. I was shocked!!! I could not believe what I was seeing!!! Before the night was out though, they were curled up around each other sleeping. There was no problem with vet smells, but this was when they had some kind of "smell" problem.
-----Magic seems to have territorial problems in other cat's territories, not just in her own territory. When I took her out with her harness and leash, my next door neighbor took HER cat out with their harness and leash. I took Magic to meet Elmo on Elmo's turf. Elmo just laid there with his front paws tucked underneath him and Magic had a hissy-fit like you wouldn' believe. She just growled and hissed the entire time and poor Elmo didn't do anything. The same thing happened when I was walking Magic on her leash. There was a cat sitting on his or her own front lawn and the same thing happened. The other cat slowly walked towards Magic non-aggressively and Magic just would not stop hissing and growling. But when she sees a giant-sized DOG she will just go up to it and sniff and play nice.
-----I'm going to try what you said rubbing the towel on Magic first, etc, then just leaving it laying around. Because last night I tried something and it did not go too well. I rubbed the towel on the M's then on the Jewels. When I came out of the bedroom where the Jewwels are, Magic was curled up on the couch. Midnight was nowhere near her so I thought it would be a good idea to sit on the couch next to Magic with the towel, but she hissed (at me or at the towel?) and then jumped off the couch and hid. Oh well.
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Unread 12-24-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Ah, see for Magic, it's any cat. But she will adapt, just give her lots of time. The feliway may be helping more than you realize, it might be even worse without it!

Yes, Bachs Rescue Remedy. They make a pet version that does not contain alcohol, otherwise it is the same thing. You CAN use the human version, just rub it on their faces instead of putting it in their food or water, but I wouldn't want to use something with alcohol in my cats either.

It's good for you too, either version.

I would recommend continuing the scent exchange but don't force it on Magic, just leave the scent towel out and about, so she can sniff it at her own pace.

Don't despair, I've done many many integrations, and in the end, it all works out. Since each pair is bonded to one another, they may not all ever be bosom buddies, but I am positive they can all live together in relative harmony in time. Patience is the key.

PS on the other hand you may end up with a Four-Cat Pile some day, wouldn't that be something!
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Unread 12-25-2010   #5 (permalink)
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A four-cat pile would be fantastic!!!
Unfortunately Topaz had a setback--he got spooked and is now hiding again. I had a large plastic bag with items I plan to donate to the church thrift shop. Well, the bag is pretty heavy, and I found it all the way at the other end of the room with a big hole in it. Topaz must have been exploring and got stuck in the bag and tried to run away from it, dragging it with him while it crinkled, scareing him. Now he won't come out of his hiding place AGAIN... : (
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