Long story short...
My husband and I have 5 cats and 1 house (no dogs, children or other animals). As of January 2008, 4 cats stay inside (Spike, JP, Scooter and INKY) and CC goes in and out as she pleases.
Everything was fine and dandy until the youngest kitty, INKY started to come into maturity (around 18 months of age) and became very territorial. He would spray around the house and attack the other kitties (especially the oldest, Spike, who often can be seen with scratches around his ears). Combine that with JP's urinary problems - stones in his bladder - and we had ourselves an all out pissing war! The vet prescribed amitriptyline and even had to "up" the dosage of that, probably because INKY is a hugantic cat. Well, the meds made INKY gain weight, act lethargic, and made him hate us because we were the pill givers. Let me tell you!!! I have pilled many a cat and I know all the tricks: treats (yeah, right...INKY now will not go near any treat that we tried to hide pills in), devices to shove pills down throats (not having it), holding heads in the right angle, always being quick and confident etc. yeah....INKY is just not into pills. My husband claims he has the neck of Arnold Schwartzenegger - he can avoid any attempt to get pill in mouth and will spit it back up no matter how far down you think you shoved that pill. Don't you love the foamy half digested pills all around the house? EEEEWWW! Oh... and did I mention INKY was still spraying/peeing and attacking the other cats?
But before I forget to mention...INKY is GORGEOUS all black and shiny like a panther. He is super smart. He will do tricks (high five etc) and is very snuggly and affectionate. I adore this cat. OK...so...after several return trips to the vet and being told to put the cat outside (to beat the crap out of neighborhood cats I suppose)...the vet begrudgingly prescribed hormones to make my "bully" (his words, not mine) cat more feminine. So...instead of destroying my cats health with hormones I decided, against the advice of my vet, to find a cat behaviorist to help. I just knew this problem could be solved some other way!
I will skip the details righ now...but, I FINALLY managed to find the most wonderful woman in the cat world: Mieshelle Nagelschneider http://www.thecatbehaviorclinic.com/. She is in Oregon and I am in Miami, but lets just say she is brilliant and dedicated and almost like magic she solved that problem. I will write more about THAT and her in other posts I'm sure. But I tell you right here and right now...if you have a cat behavior problem anywhere in the US or Canada...contact her immediately!!
Skip to January 2008. CC had an abscess on her back and had to go to the hospital overnight. I could put a lot of blame on a lot of things (and people..including myself)...but....basically what happened is...after being quarantined in the bathroom then the guest bedroom (had to kick my houseguest out even), INKY would not accept CC back into the pride. Perhaps she smelled too much like the dreaded vet...and INKY had a totally flip out on CC. Not just growling and hissing. We're talking crazy moaning, screaming, spitting, howling.....it reminded me of the time a year ago when taking him back to the vet - probably to get his hormone prescription (which I never filled, thank you very much) and he was making such crazy noises it sounded to me like a 3 year old human being bludgeoned to death. Or at least...I immagine that's what THAT would sound like. Havent tried it or witnessed it myself. I digress.
So....we are almost up to date here. I'll try to spare you more details again...but...I've read several cat behavior books and seen videos and done a lot of research online about this. I know I have to do a slow reintroduction as though CC is a new cat. All the obvious tricks werent working as quickly and well as I had read they would...so...what did I do? I hired Mieshelle again. SHE ROCKS! She basically said the same thing: slow reintroduction. I dont feel like putting all the details down here since I already have written WAY too much...but I fear posters will start posting advice with obvious garbage like, you have to share the scents of the cat. DUH! yeah.
I tried to make every meeting between the 2 of them positive (yummy stinky wet food) and did some allogrooming. Go look that up. Most vets dont even know what that means. After several months I had to resort to adding medication to the routine. INKY is just so high strung and nervous etc. My vet really didnt want to medicate him again and knew nothing about compounding meds so I dont have to risk losing a finger (HELLO! I'm a musician...I kinda need all the digits intact!). I thought I was doing him a favour educating him about the compounding. I dont think he saw it that way. To this day we dont seem to be on the same page with INKY. But at least he did give in and get me my amitriptyline gel for INKY's ears. Of course, once again the meds didn't do anything except make him gain weight. Now we are on Buspar (no, just INKY, I'm on other meds. I have different problems). It seems to be taking the edge off...but I am not totally satisfied and I think I need to stop begging this vet to give me different drugs.
Where are we today? Well, INKY is on 7.5 mg of Buspar 2 times a day transdermally (in the ear). All 5 cats have free roam of the house (I have ommitted a big story of how we got THERE). INKY spends a good amount of his day stalking CC who has become more frightened than ever. She hides up high and in places where INKY can't reach her. She can spend 12 hours straight in one place with no food, water or litterbox. At least once a day INKY has an interaction with her which I usually don't see, I only hear a scream. Noone has gotten hurt yet. CC tends to come out to eat when I am around because she knows I will try my best to keep INKY at bay.
I am fascinated by feline behavior. Please stay tuned to hear more about the antics in our home. I would love to hear what you have to say...especially if you happen to be in the biz. I wish I could find a reputable cat behaviorist in the area to come to my house (on the cheap would be best as I AM a musician)...anyhow...more to come.
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