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Cats Integration Success Story

Patience and Love Payed off for Shaq and Picasso

By Melanie McCain

Photo of cats Shaq and Picasso

Shaq and Picasso

Photo Credit: © Melanie McCain
I adopted my beautiful Picasso when she was 2. We became very close, and it was just she and I for six years. At that time, I took in Venus, who was the same age as Picasso, and after a short introduction period, the two became friends.

About a year later, (4 1/2 years ago), my husband brought home a surprise to our apartment...two little eyes peeked out of a cage at me and we named our five 5 month old kitten Shaq. Even after long introduction periods, Picasso and Shaq hated each other. They attacked each other violently and needed to be supervised if together and separated if we left. We tried so many things. We really just lost hope and made sure to provide adequate supervision at all times. Sometimes we had to break up cat fights or stop one from stalking the other.

Then we moved into our first house and after 4 1/2 years, a miracle happened. My thirteen year old Picasso and five year old Shaq are friends now! Finally friends. They sit by each other, and although they do not cuddle, they do touch noses and occasionally give each other a kiss. Recently when Picasso was ill (she has several chronic conditions, i.e. diabetes, CRF, IBD), Shaq kept vigil over her and checked on her, in between vet visits that is.

I just wanted to share this story to let anyone else who might have this problem know that there is hope...even if it seems hopeless...that feuding cats might eventually get along.

Franny's Comments: Does this scenario seem familiar to you? Do you have two cats that fight at every opportunity? The lesson here is not to give up. As I told Melanie in an email, sometimes even subtle environmental changes can make a difference, and her not-so-subtle move to another home may have had something to do with their turnaround. Perhaps it was because they were now on neutral ground, where neither cat had laid a claim.

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