Jan 31, 2013

Tootsie the Terrorist

An update on the New Queen, by the Cat Slave, Elizabeth

Tootsie the Terrorist Cat
I have been enjoying my new kitty. Tootsie. I have mentioned her in the last couple postings, but will reiterate. She's a Manx Calico and I swear she's some kind of dwarf cat. She is so tiny! Two years old, had kittens in October. I realize her being so thin could be from feeding kittens but she's been with me a couple weeks and plumped out, but weighs about 6.5 pounds.

There have been four accidental introductions. But, she is so aggressive and in the flick of a cat hair she's in attack mode.

First, was Timmy. She slipped through my legs as I entered the bathroom where she was residing. Since he was nonchalantly strolling by and totally unaware of what I was doing (his usual state of being) she went ballistic! Before I could move he had hightailed it through the house and ended up cowered in the kitchen window behind the curtains. Tootsie hadn't been in the kitchen before, so she was looking around cautiously when I caught up to her and got her back in the bathroom. It's odd... I haven't seen her have her fur standing on end.

Next was Queen Bambi. I made sure all the cats were shut in the bedroom. But, Bambi was having none of it. Finally, I was able to put her in the spare bedroom by herself. Unfortunately, I didn't make sure the door was latched tight and Bambi clawed her way out just as I was entering the bathroom. Same scenario, except Bambi headed for her sanctuary queen bed on top of the dryer. Needless to say that came crashing down along with a number of items throughout the hallway. I can do a pretty mean tigress hiss and that puts the fear of Dog into them. So, I was able to gather up the New Queen and put her away into the spare room.

My Maine Coon kitten, Shadow, (9 mo old) is three times her size, of course. But, he is terrified of her. He was victimized next. He follows me around like a puppy dog. I should have known! I got all the kitties into the bedroom. Door latched securely. I had Shadow in the kitchen and gave him his food. He was happily munching away when I went to the bathroom to pick up and carry the New Queen into the spare room so she could have some space to roam. Unbeknownst to me, Shadow had followed at my heels. Tootsie broke from my arms and the rest is history. I've got to give Shadow credit, though Even though she got a mouthful of fur before he headed under the bed, he spat at her with fervor. Once I got her back into the bathroom, I got down on my hands and knees by the bed to coax him out. He was okay.

Timmy is 3 yrs old but outsized by Shadow
It wasn't quite so bad with Buffy da Bampire Flayer. She's been skulking around a bit since Tootsie arrived and cuddling up when I'm asleep. She's insecure about the whole situation I can tell. However, Buffy is the only one making friendly overtures towards Tootsie, by hanging out near the cage and making cute sounds toward her, even turning upside down for her from the safety of the tower while they each stared each other down.

However..... when the two had their encounter, it was no better than the rest. I have to face it. Tootsie is a Terrorist! You will notice... spelled with a capital T.

All this time I've had her and I haven't been able to get her acclimated yet. The best I am able to do is move them from room to room so they all get to smell each other, eat out each others food bowls, use mutual litter boxes. That's all working well, knock on wood. Nobody is peeing where they aren't supposed to.

I moved Tootsie out of the comfort of the bathroom and only use it for her temporarily now. I've got the cage in the living room and Tootsie is housed (er.. incarcerated) there. It's about four feet by three, by four. So, Tootsie is able to be in the midst of things without terrorizing them. She doesn't have to feel isolated. Even if the other cats are off snoozing somewhere she gets attention from me, and from The Monk, and a little bit from those who visit. She has food, water and litter box as well as three shelves to be on, plus a comfy bed. The Hilton it is not, but it's the best accommodations I can provide to keep them all safe from one another

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I realize of course, it's "mama hormones" making her so fierce, but she ought to be back to normal sometime soon. Seems to me. She's been spayed. I'm using Feliway spray. Buffy seems the only one close to ready to bother to put up with her stuff. She keeps hanging around the cage and making friendly overtures even after their confrontation where I broke them up with my Tigress hissing/growling act. It confuses them and diffuses them.

 If I pick up Timmy and walk anywhere near the cage while Tootsie is in it, he stiffens into an arching, hair shredding mess! But, he doesn't struggle to get away. If I loosen enough for him to jump down, he curls into a tight ball and squeaks, "Hold me! Hold me! Protect me from the evil deemin!"


Marilia said...

Beautiful babies!

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Obrigado, Marilia! >^..^<

Fenris and Family said...

Gosh, and I thought my problem with the dogs was bad. ~Alasandra

The Florida Furkids said...

We had to introduce Raz slowly but he was gentle and so are the girls. One thing that helped was putting two gates (one on top o the other) over the bedroom door and letting them see each other through it. We did this when we had our foster Lexi. It started with some hissing but they got used to each other pretty fast that way.

Hope things wok out soon.

The Florida Furkids

Jans Funny Farm said...

You've got the opposite problem. Micah has been here 4 1/2 months and is only now becoming adjusted. Our Percy kept terrorizing him. It is only this week that he has started to investigate without going into terror mode and hiding. Hope things settle for you soon. Know this is as hard on you as on the cats.

Fr. Tom Fishworthy said...

You must be at your wit's end! Trouble is, you don't know how long this is going to last. Anastasia and Tinker are still at odds and it has been over a year. What makes Miss A. happy is having her own bed, room, cat box, dishes, etc. At the beginning, it had to be this way because I couldn't always supervise. She still has that set up, but now roams the house freely; of course, always looking both ways in fear of encountering Tinker. It can take a long, long time for them to acclimate to each other sometimes. When cat personalities are blended, I think people are really lucky when all goes well.

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Gates? What kind of gates? Do you mean those ones they have for toddlers? What kept the cats from climbing to the top and slipping over?

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Doggies seem to be always trying to decide who the top cat is. Er... top dog?

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Maybe my stress with the problem is adding to their stress! It's like running a toddler day care and one has to be kept isolated for some reason.

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Oh no! I've never had a cat household with such a situation. Please tell me they will adjust!!! I'm getting desperate!

The Island Cats said...

I have the same problem with Zoey. Honestly, you may have to start all over and try introducing Tootsie to the other cats again. Intros should go really slow. I tried the cage thing with Zoey and my behaviorist told me to stop...that it was still too early for her to have contact with the other cats like that. Sort of like sensory overload. If you do continue with the cage, try feeding all the cats together (with Tootsie in the cage) and play with them together. Try to keep all interactions between Tootsie and the others as positive as possible (I know easier said than done). I have used the baby-gates that the Furkids mentioned. One on top of each other. Unfortunately, Zoey still does not get along with the others and I keep her confined to a bedroom most of the time. But I gave up on the baby gates and had a special door made that has a screen window in the bottom so she can see out. I also have lots (6 total) of the feliway diffusers plugged in all over the house. Good luck. I know how difficult this is.

Island Cats' mom

Connie - Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

It does look like you have your hands full on this.

Feliway is a mimic of the welcoming pheromone that cats rub on things. It will help her feel more welcome in her environment but it isn't 'calming' as a lot of people think. Think of it as very good manners.. Rescue Remedy works a little more on the calming aspect of things, it helps cats feel a little more comfortable in their skin. I tend to call it liquid courage. It seems to help them take an extra second to assess if there is an actual threat when they feel threatened. Spirit Essences (sold online by Jackson Galaxy of "My Cat from Hell" fame) also have several remedies that could help you. read through all of the descriptions and see which ones might work for you.

My Cat from Hell also has several great episodes on doing cat introductions and help eliminate that aggression. You are right in thinking hormones has a lot to do with it. When I have new moms in my house, quite often they are very protective and very upset when she realizes there are other cats on the side of the door. I talk softly to them ensuring her that they won't bother her, and tell her she is safe. In your case you should try to tell her that they live here and you want her to join the family. Tell her about the cats out there, and some of their best traits. Some people believe the cats do understand the words, some claim it is pictures you form in your head while you talk, others think it is all hooey, but I've seen it work too many times to dismiss it outright.

You want to switch scents. Bring in small things at first that smell like your resident cats. If your cats are upset at her being there take out something that smells like her. A damp wash cloth wiped over your cats a few times would be a first start. Feed her near it, make this as positive and rewarding as possible for her so that she associates that scent with good things. also feeding her closer to the door will aid in this. Getting something to put in front of that door (baby gates, screen door, find a way to tether the door so it only opens an inch or two) that will keep her in but let the cats get a look at each other will keep everyone safe as they get used to one another - again with lots of food and praise for any positive or neutral interaction. if she is upset, do not yell or scold. she is doing what comes naturally. I often praise them for reacting as she should, but ask that she not do that, because there is no need.then advance to something along the lines of "I thought we weren't going to do that' act disappointed not mad or angry. you would be surprised how well that can work.

cats care about resources. I'm sure she has had to fight for every prime bit of anything she has ever had. Give her extra meals, give her lots of treats, give her an extra litter box and lots of play time. When she feels like she is living in the land of abundance it makes it a little easier to take on a competitor for the resources she has come to expect in her life. You can start cutting back on food etc when everyone is getting along well, and a few months of extra meals won't hurt anyone.

google 'cat introductions' for more tips and tricks..

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Great idea about feeding the cats near one another! They all seem to be comfortable while Tootsie is caged, even Tootsie doesn't seem to mind. They've all had bits of catnip while in the same room (and Tootsie in cage). I do hope I wont have to get to the point of fixing the door with a screen and keeping her in one room all the time. I don't know how you manage it. My house is small and it wouldn't work out very well for everyday living. Thank you so much for your suggestions.

Elizabeth Munroz said...

Thank you so much for all your time and energy that you put to helping me with this. You've given me a lot to think about!

The Island Cats said...

Connie has given you some great advice!

Elizabeth Munroz said...

I agree. The feeding near each other is working well. Queen Bambi is the only one who turned her nose up at the method. There was no growling among them. High Five on that one!