1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Can this relationship be turned around?

By

Question: Can this relationship be turned around?
Answer: The Rest of Your Question
The reason for this email is to somehow get some advise about the "sibling rivalry" going on in my household at the moment. I got my first cat, Purdy, about 3 years ago. (a black and white domestic long hair) she will be 4 next March. Both my boyfriend and I have treated her like a spoilt only child and she has wanted for nothing. she has never been an affectionate cat to anyone other than the two of us. she hates children and whenever anybody else is around, she is nowhere to be seen.

About four months ago, I was desperate to get another cat, and always wanting a ginger female, I went along to the animal welfare where I found 3 little ginger males. despite my previous reservations about a male cat, I decided to take one of little balls of fluff. well you can just imagine what kind of response we got from Purdy. she was completely distressed by the new arrival and completely hated the new idea of someone else on her territory. I tried keeping them in together for about 10 days, but couldn't handle seeing Purdy so miserable, so I decided to let her out. She used to go away for days at a time and I then went to my local vet for advise. she told me to be patient, as they would eventually learn to accept each other. I tried keeping them inside for another long period of time but things just never seemed to get better.

I phoned the welfare as well for advise and they suggested that I bring Picasso back if things didn't get any better. well that day finally came and with a very heavy heart after about 2 months of getting to know my new baby, I took Picasso back to the welfare. For the next 2 days I cried uncontrollably and couldn't eat, sleep or work. I phoned the welfare back and told them that I had made a mistake and was going to fetch Picasso and bring him home with me. As soon as I saw him I knew I had made the right decision. I was prepared to try anything to make it work. I got some calming drops from my vet to put in Purdy's water but it didn't seem to make a change. When she is alone with us she seems to be fine, but still not exactly like the old Purdy. she is so angry and aggressive towards Picasso and ourselves. She is like a wild cat and constantly growls and spits at everything. I am at the end of my tether and I just have to know if there is any hope that my two most precious babies will ever learn to get along. I would even accept that they just tolerate each other, they don't have to be best friends. My vet said that she found it very strange that it has taken Purdy such a long time and still no change.Please give me some advice on what to do. I am willing to do anything.

Your first mistake was keeping the cats together from the beginning. Introducing a new cat to an existing one should be a very slow process, by keeping them separated at first but able to sniff each other through the crack of a door, until they are accustomed to the new scent. Then perhaps putting one of them (the newcomer) in a cage where the existing cat can come around and sniff some more and see that he is not a threat. It's also suggested to rub a towel on each cat and put it in the other cat's bed so he/she will become accustomed to the smell. Cats have a well-honed sense of smell and they use it to identify friends from strangers.

Once they get used to each other's scent, you can try re-introducing them, maybe by playing with them using a wand-type toy. Slow and easy is the key, and give each of them special attention without the other around. Although your older kitty may never be "best friends" with this little interloper, at the least, they will be able to tolerate each other. The good news is that may very well take a maternal interest in the kitten, once she realizes it is not a threat. I've seen this happen many times.

I'm not sure if any of this would work at this point, given the length of time they've already been together, but it's worth a try. I think it's important to give Purdy her own "safe room" where she can relax away from the little interloper. She should have her own food and water dishes, her own litter box and bed there, and you need to continue giving her plenty of love and affection.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.