Monday, June 13, 2011

Not so great weekend

We had a bit of a bad weekend kitty-wise. Well, not the whole weekend I suppose, but Sunday was rough. I’m not really sure I should share about it, but I figure if anyone can understand, it’s other cat people. I just want my babies to get along!
I think the worst part about it is that we’d had some progress last week. Star even took a nap downstairs on the back of the couch, something she hadn’t done in a while. Then Sunday she got scared off when she was on her way to the litter box. She came back upstairs where I was and stared digging at the bed. I thought she was looking to play.. One of her favorite games is to attack lumps in the sheets and dig them into a pile that she can wrap her paws around and bunny kick.
I didn’t have time to play with her though, (our Sunday’s are kind of busy), so I headed down and she went with me. Greg was already down, and said that he’d seen her heading for the box, but between him being in the kitchen and Leo, she’d turned around and ran. I told him to go into the living room so she’d be free to go out there. We have one box in the corner of the kitchen and one in the laundry/cat room, which is right off the kitchen.
It didn’t work though. From where Greg sat, he could see Star at the bottom of the stairs. Leo was on the Royal Footstool, so he wasn’t blocking her from going out there either. Still, rather than go to the box.. she went on the landing.. She was not tinkling either.
Greg was shocked. In the 10 years we’ve had Star, she’s been the most fastidious about using the box of any cat we’ve had. I was shocked. I’d made sure she had a clear run to the boxes and made sure she knew it. Greg thinks it was a protest, I’m not sure. But whatever the reason, we couldn’t just let it go, right?
When Leo won’t stop jumping her, he gets closed into the cat room as punishment. So that’s where Star went. After an hour of hiding under the couch that is... Finally, we got her in there. And I honestly think that was the best place for her for a while. She had free access to the box and to food and water with no chance of being jumped on by an over exuberant Leo. Greg even opened the window in there for her. Not very punishing... but she still didn’t want to be in there.
We decided to leave her in there while we were at church. That’s a few hours of no stress of being attacked. That was the hope anyway. Leo did apparently move one of the boxes put in front to keep him from trying to get in. Strong boy.. Or ornery boy.
When we got home, Greg closed the upstairs doors so she couldn’t just run up and hide. I’m not sure still if that was smart or not. Anyway, he didn’t just let her out, he picked her up and pet her, brought her to me and let me pet her, and held her until she seemed calm. She ran upstairs immediately, but came right back down when there was no where to go. She went behind the couch and didn’t come out. Not even for snack time. Greg put her dish back there with her so she wouldn’t miss out on it. I don’t want her missing any meals or snacks as I think she could still stand to gain a few ounces, maybe a pound, that she lost while sick.
We opened the doors upstairs but she still wouldn’t come out. I wasn’t sure she would forgive us for locking her in the cat room. I guess I needn’t have worried, because as soon as we started going up, I called her and she came out and ran up ahead of us.
She was extra cuddly, running from one of us to the other for attention. She’s been coming and closing my laptop and laying on it as I’ve been trying to write this. So I’m assuming she’s trying to make up to us?
All of this has made us realize that we cannot go on just letting them decide when to get together. At the moment, our idea is to put Star in her harness and leash, get another and put Leo in it and make them stay in the same room, in sight of each other, at least once a day. When Star is in her harness, she becomes a different cat. She’s all humble and shy. I can only hope Leo reacts the same way. Then they might be more tolerant of each other. That’s the idea anyway.
Star does not care for the day’s news apparently.
I disapprove.. Of everything
Leo keeps his mouth shut
Hee hee, I not talking..
Gray kitties are absolutely the best! (Don’t take our little problems into consideration) So if you want one of your own, please please head over to Daily Dose of Dogs AKA Cats With Your Coffee and check out the Grey kitties of the cat house! They deserve great homes! Send your friends, please help find them their forever homes! Or while you’re there, check out the fantastic fourteen, they will all need homes soon too!


mawiesner said...

I'm sorry to hear you're having a problem with Star and Leo getting along. My cats are similar, but perhaps not to the extent of your situation. (At least no one has pooped outside the box.)

My cats have been living together for quite a few years, but the male, Sunny, grew into a larger cat than my female, Buffy. He's also a little more aggressive in his play than Buffy is which ticks Buffy off. She had recently gotten into the habit of staying upstairs to avoid him. (For the most part he respects her space upstairs.) But we really wanted them to get along better, so I started looking for solutions.

I had been watching the new show Cat from Hell on Animal Planet, and I got a few good ideas from that. The host, Jackson Galaxy, actually developed an herbal remedy to help with different behaviors. (The website is I purchased the one called Peacemaker, and it seems to help a bit. I also purchased a new cat toy for Sunny... it's called Cat Claws Feline Flyer. It's basically rigid feathers hanging from a long wand. When you whip it through the air it actually looks and sounds like a bird flapping it's wings. Sunny goes nuts for it, and really works off that extra energy he has. Now he begs to play with it! Buffy likes it too, but Sunny tends to hog the thing. ;)

For Buffy I purchased a window sill ledge/bed for the room upstairs. Although the window ledges are large enough for the cats to sit in, they can't lounge or sleep there. Buffy loves this, and it's in a place where she can get away from Sunny if she wants.

These things combined have helped tremendously. Sunny no longer pounces on Buffy, Buffy stays downstairs longer, and she seems to tolerate him more when they're in the same room.

I have no idea if these things will work for you, but I wouldn't block off Star's access to the places she feels safe. She sounds stressed, and she needs to have somewhere that she can go to decompress. For the time being it might help to have a litter box that only she uses. I'd also try playing with Leo a lot to work off his excess energy. He may decide he'd rather play than pounce on Star. You can also try the Peacemaker drops (I give it to my cats in their food) if nothing else works. Good luck!

Random Felines said...

I like the idea of the harnesses - it keeps everyone safe but allows them to use the same space. People ask me all the time about introductions since I have done it so many times - and yet all I can say is that everyone is different. I have been very luck in that mine have been relatively painless. I had one cranky momma cat, but she just stayed in the bathroom with her kittens until she was fine to go back to the shelter.

I haven't use the feliway diffuser, but I have heard good things about it - something to consider.

mrsnmo said...

I have a 14 year old cat named Izzy that we've had since she was a kitten. She had a step sister cat named Ozzy that she had a sort of close relationship with until she was 12 when Ozzy went to the rainbow bridge. 3 months ago we added an almost year old girl kitty named Lily and our shy kitty became even more of a recluse. At first I thought they would never get along, Lily always attacking Izzy.

There's never been an out of litter box accident, but for the first week or so I would carry Izzy near her litter box once a day and kind of guarded her so she could do her business in peace.

After three months, they still don't get along the best, but I am so surprised by the progress. They've rarely been forced together. Izzy is more and more coming out around Lily. And Izzy uses the litter box without needing to be guarded. She's still grumpy and growly, but not as much as the beginning.

My advice would be always allow Star a safe place to go if she needs it. I tried the Feliway defuser and it didn't seem to help, but I've heard in some situations it can. And play with Leo as much as possible.