|Purred: Sun Nov 27, '11 10:50pm PST |
|Okay...so here's the story.
The main culprit in this is Rezzy. Rezzy is a year and a half old, spayed female shorthair. She's very intelligent (she knows her name and will come when you call her - she doesn't realize she's not supposed to do that!) but she is also VERY vocal and opinionated, as well as dominate. She hisses and growls whenever she gets upset and irritated, which is often. If she is sitting in your lap and you move her, she will hiss. If you accidentally bump into her, she will hiss. If she is in a bad mood and you look at her wrong, she will hiss. I've had her since the day she was born and she's always been this way - but she never uses her claws or bites. If it was just the hissing, I could live with it. Her mother was very similar in this.
However - there are five other cats and two dogs living here (I'm one of those post-college graduates who had to move back in with their parents due to the economy...). My dog, Lucy, is a 70 pound Dutch Shepherd (or something extremely similar...long story there) but is usually pretty good with the cats. She's actually pretty wary with Rezzy because Rezzy tends to have issues with misplaced aggression - when I get on to her about something, she will stalk away and take her irritation out on the first animal she comes across, which is usually Lucy, because Lucy is usually close to me - so poor Lu has gotten slapped across the nose many times, and if she can see that Rezzy is in a bad mood, she won't go near her. The other dog, Missy, usually avoids Rezzy - she's a Bichon so Rezzy is nearly her size anyway, and Missy doesn't like tangling with Rez in a bad mood any more than Lucy does.
As far as the other cats go, four out of five are fine - Rezzy will generally play with Knievel, she leaves Sadie and Amelia alone, and the only time she has a problem with Snow is when they both want to curl up on my bed. The problem is with Gracie. I rescued Gracie at the end of June, along with another cat, Percy. Gracie is a very sweet, very shy and timid and completely submissive cat. I would guess she's about a year old, and she's a really lovely girl - our best cuddler. All of the other cats get along with her, but Rezzy will deliberately seek Gracie out and attack her. She's not actively biting/clawing her, it's more like she runs at her hissing and growling. Gracie has done nothing to provoke her - she's usually sitting there minding her own business. I can't imagine it was simply adding another cat to the house that caused the issue, because Rezzy was always fine with Percy and even played with him (we rehomed him, had planned to rehome Gracie but she won over my dad so we kept her). I could imagine that it's jealousy, but I give Rezzy MUCH more attention than I give Gracie - mostly because she's usually being a brat, but still...
As far as the daily routine goes, all the cats are free to come and go as they like during the day - we try to keep them in at night for their own safety (we've lost several cats to predators). Amelia and Knievel will disappear for hours at a time (or days, in Amelia's case). Sadie, Rezzy, and Gracie will go out but usually don't spend longer than an hour outside at a time. Snow NEVER goes out as she is thoroughly convinced the world is full of big scary monsters who will eat her if she dares to step foot outside - she makes it three feet from the door about twice a year and that's it. We live out in the country and have an acre and a half of our own land, and there's a hayfield behind the back fence they like to go explore. They come in and go out when we let the dogs in/out, and if we spot them at the door or the front window (they know to sit on the table outside the window to get our attention) we let them in on their own. They all eat from a communal bowl (not the best situation, Rezzy and Snow are both overweight by about two pounds, but it's impractical to feed six cats separately when all maintain their own schedules), and it stays full most of the time - if the food bowl is empty, someone (usually Snow) is quick to let us know. They have free run of most of the house - we have one room that we keep the door closed (it belongs to my sisters at college) but that's the only restriction. Rezzy will come into my room and sleep on my bed off and on during the day, and she will usually come sleep with me at night. If I close my door and she is not in the room, she will jump up and down outside my door trying to use the door knob, as she knows that opens the door (thank goodness it's not one of the lever kinds, my door would never be closed). I usually let her in as I'm worried the racket will wake up my family. Rezzy is in good health, she's had her shots and other than being a bit overweight is the average young cat. And as for me, myself - I'm a 24 year old woman with a B.S. in Animal Science and another in Agribusiness (unfortunately, both focused more on livestock!), currently working full time as a medical courier, and then I usually spend a couple more hours each day training a horse and going to the gym - so I'm generally not home from 11 am to 12:30 am. Not a lot of time to spend with my pets but I try to make sure they all get some personal attention every day, even if it's just a moment of petting.
The problem Rezzy has with Gracie is just driving all of us nuts - Gracie has shown herself to be submissive, Rezzy knows she's dominant (and in fact, in the hierarchy of the cats, is pretty near the top of the pack for all of them). Gracie has begun to tense up and growl every time she sees Rezzy - I hate to see her distressed by this. I don't care if Rez wants to growl and hiss her opinion - but I've got to figure out something to stop her from attacking Gracie.
Any help/suggestions/advice/random voodoo spells you could give would be greatly appreciated as I'm at my wits' end! Thank you for reading this - sorry it's so long but I wanted to be thorough.
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