|Purred: Fri Mar 1, '13 4:55am PST |
|I give many kudos to you two haha
Here's what's been going on and some emails exchanged between myself and a Chausie rescue.
"We recently adopted a cat named Tiki, unknowingly actually adopting a Chausie named Tiki. The adoption center didn’t label her right, and our veterinarian had to tell us she was a Chausie, confirming my suspicions and research. She’s very sweet and very intelligent, she’ll have her tail straight in the air around my husband and I and purrs very loudly, always rubbing up against us. She comes when called and whistled to (kind of like a dog), and usually listens to the word “no”, and promptly gets off the counter when told to. However, she’s not this way with our other cat, Wally.
A little info: Tiki is obviously a large cat; she’s 3 ½ years old and 15 lbs (she is not fat in the slightest, just allll cat and all leg). She has what I call “talons” for claws, which I’ve been clipping to keep them down, and very large and thick canines. She has a very solid and hard bite also.
Wally is (what we thought was medium/large, but compared to her is small) a 6 ½ year old 10 lb domestic shorthair classic tabby. He’s the sweetest cat in the world and is usually confident.
Tiki has been “playing” very roughly with Wally, and he really wants no part of it. She’ll stalk him, then swat at his back legs and proceed to jump on his back and bite his neck. Last night I had to pull her off of him, and she still had him in her mouth. Wally will still have his tail relatively up, but hers is down. She doesn’t moan or hiss or meow during any of this or before or after. And Wally will chirp at her when she swats at him, and then let out a “reowwwww” noise when she tackles him. She’ll then sit and kind of stare at him afterwards. This behavior wouldn’t concern me if she weren’t so very large, and I know it intimidates Wally too, he’ll run and hide underneath the table in the corner and wait for her to go away before she comes out.
However, they’ll sit next to each other perfectly fine and be around each other without any hissing or growling. I’m so confused! And after doing a lot of research into Chausies, I wonder if we’re even a good fit for her? My husband and I both work, he’s at 40 hours a week right now while I’m at 30 hours. And she gets bored so very easily, and it makes me nervous to leave her out with Wally since she overpowers him.
I’ve spoken with a behaviorist about this, and her recommendation was:
1. Reintroduce them, give them another week of the introduction basics.
2. Wear Tiki out with playtime (mostly with Da Bird), so her prey drive is satisfied and isn't directed at Wally.
3. Give her a treat (a small amount of ham/chicken/or turkey flavored baby food, or deli meat) to satisfy her "kill".
4. Start target and clicker training with both cats, start out in separate rooms and then move training in the same area together. So they associate treats and good behavior with each other, this will also stimulate the cats' minds.
5. Make loud noises to distract Tiki whenever she starts trying to stalk Wally to prevent her from tackling him and biting him.
But the behaviorist didn’t even know what a Chausie was…. And that they don’t do well alone for periods of time (locked up in the bathroom for another week). Please do you have any advice for us?"
CHAUSIE BREEDER (BOBBIE):
I saw your post on FB and then found this email.
Can you tell us how you introduced Tiki and your existing cat? There are several people on our rescue list that might have ideas or suggestions for help.
We saw the photo of her when it was posted somewhere and weren't sure if she was a Chausie or not....she might be a mix as she has white feet and those very round eyes are not typical of the Chausie.
Did you receive any info. with her...owner surrender, habits, how she was with other animals etc?
She actually doesn't have white feet, the only white on her is on her face under her chin and around her eyes, that might've been a picture of my cat Wally who has white on his toes. Her whole body is just a brown-ticked color with a few stripes, we were thinking she was a Chausie mix too though (see pictures attached to this email).
The introduction process between Tiki and Wally was slow and painless (3 weeks I think). A huge factor in it was that Tiki came to us with a nasty virus and she was quarantined to the bathroom. During this time the cats' water and food bowls were placed far away from each other on either side of the door, slowly moving them closer to the door as days went on and there were no hisses or growls or fluffy tails, Wally was comfortable eating and drinking with her on the other side of the door and vice versa, and the bowls kept on moving closer until they were eating right next to each other through the door. After the virus was no longer contagious, I swapped their scents through clean towels, with no grief from either of them with each other's scents on the towels. Wally couldn't care less about her scent. After a few times of this, we started swapping rooms. I would put Tiki in the bedroom to give her some more room to roam around without letting her have the run of the house yet, and leave the bathroom open so Wally could go examine the bathroom where Tiki usually was. There was no hissing and growling or anything still, he was cautious but showing good signs and not getting upset. Whenever Tiki was in the bathroom, Wally would walk up to the door and chirp and look at us like "can I see her"? Tail up and everything. The room swapping would continue, Wally would be put in the bedroom and Tiki would be allowed in the living room to explore, repeat.
Then we started letting them peak through a cracked door at each other, which kind of freaked Wally out, I'm not sure he was expecting her to be the size she was. He got a little bent out of shape, not at her, but after we closed the door he was a little grumpy. We continued to crack the door and let them peak at each other periodically. After a few days of this I opened up the bathroom door and made sure to sit kind of in between them. Tiki didn't want to come out of the bathroom which was fine, and Wally didn't want to get too close (not that I would've let them). Wally then surprised me and rolled over onto his back, and drug himself across the carpet closer to her, she was still hesitant to move. And that was that for that night, I wanted to end it on a good note. I let them see each other like that for the next few days when I allowed Tiki to come out and visit with everyone if she felt like it. Wally looked at her with wide eyes but let her roam around his territory. She got excited when she saw him (he was on the couch in his bed), and came right up to his face and touched noses with him which freaked him out and he hissed and she backed off. She then went on her way to exploring. After a day or two they were perfectly comfortable with each other being around, she would smack his tail to try and get him to play and he would entertain her on the thought for a few minutes before being a couch potato again. After 3 or 4 days she started the smacking of his legs and tackling him and biting his neck...
Her previous owners, according to the shelter we adopted her from, said that she was great with other cats and kids, and didn't like dogs. They said that she was very sweet and loved to play with her toy mice. There wasn't any more info on her. I doubt they even paid attention to any of her behavior though because they, to me, neglected her and couldn't even pay attention to the tightness of her collar. They shelter told us that she hissed and bit and put on quite a show with her owners when they were trying to collar her at the shelter. And I think I know why. They kept her collar so tight that when she came to us, she had baldness and sores all around her collar area from a long time of collar tightness. You'd think that someone would notice sores and scabbing around their cat's neck. But anyways, that's the info we have on her.
Thanks so much for wanting to help out, Bobbie,
That is not the same cat as was posted on FB.....the cat on FB was a ticked cat with white feet and round eyes....
This cat looks more like a Bengal mix to me.....
That said.....it doesn't sound like she is really aggressive with him but wants to show dominance and be the top kitty. I sort of think if left to themselves to work it out they would establish the pecking order and for the most part live compatibly.
I have a very alpha female that basically gets along with everyone but occasionally she will decide she needs to clean house a bit and her tail bushes up...she will chase everyone and carry on.....but when she's done showing them who's who....she will go back to living easily with them and not turn a hair.
Let's see if anyone from CU Rescue group has other ideas or thoughts.
Okay that would be my other cat, Wally . I have a ton of pictures of him on facebook.
A bengal mix? Hmm, she does have some spots on her stomach.... I really have no idea though.
That's really good to hear though! If it is just dominance I'm totally fine with that, I can see myself being too much of an overbearing mama bear and freaking out about this, this is why I wanted to talk to someone who was knowledgable about cats and possible hybrid mix cats like yourself. I've never had a cat like Tiki who was dominant, and miss bossy pants, and all around just more active and playful than any cat I've had before.
You're probably right with this whole thing, and thank you again so much for helping us. It means the world! You've really gone above and beyond for us, so thank you Bobbie.
"A post from one of our members in CU Rescue.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
After reading the story it seem Tiki may be just board and when that happens especially since she's bigger she may want to play the dominance card but it also sounds like play mis-directed aggression. It started out as play but she got aggressive probably because Wally gave no attention back. I know that if one of my Chausie's get ignored they voice it to me and they seem to pout. Remember my Chausie "Sparky" Bobbie? he loves being right in my face all the time but trying to work on the computer is almost useless so when I tell him to move and move his head out of my face...sometimes he will pretty much complain at me while going over to his cat tree, jump up, lay down and make a huffing noise for a few seconds more....its actually pretty funny. Like a baby throwing a fit.
The introductions read below seemed good but granted some take a lot longer to do. There's no a set time frame for a cat its all different.
Yes playing with both of them at once with a wand toy till their tired, food treat them then play again might work and will help them get along together but like Bobbie mentioned they will eventually just establish the way things are going to be all on their own. That's what happens when you have more then one cat and its to be expected.
Mine have done that but I also have a larger household of kitties. I eventually ended up with a marking problem and one cat with almost this same type of play dominance thing (but without the pinning) so after trying everything under the sun including flower essences, feliway etc I started these 2 so called trouble makers on kitty Prozac. (sold as reconcile at vets but its Prozac in a small dose) That worked good very quickly but I didn't want my cats on drugs so after researching around I found Suntheanine (L-Theanine) Its found in green tea and has the same serotonin effect on cats as it does on humans but Its all natural, no side effects and its virtually tasteless. I get it in 100mg capsules, open up a capsule and pour out apx 14r to 13rd of it per dose starting at 2x's a day but I'm now down to once a day in the pm mixed in their canned food and I very seldom have a problem with marking or dominance issues anymore. Best of all there is no difference in their normal behavior and with no side effects I don't worry about them. I see it like any calming agent sold on there like feliway or but unlike the other I actually seen this work first hand.
If I was in this situation I would try the theanine plus the playtime behavior modification and see how that goes for a month but you need to spend a lot of time with both of them during this and stay committed.
If your scared to leave them together while your gone at work and want to separate them. I'd use a very big dog kennel...(the foldable cages) so they can see and smell eachother but no physical interaction can happen. Use that for awhile till you see the improvement between them then fold it up till you next kitty comes along
Just a thought for anyone out there to try for an alternative instead of the thought of re-homing a cat. I been through a lot as Marty knows this but I persevered and won.
"Oh wow, this is great advice!
Last night I put my fears aside about Tiki possibly hurting Wally, and let them "work it out on their own", same with this morning. I think it went okay. They were playing, but then Tiki would boss him around a bit and nip at his neck again. They didn't seem to get upset upset though, there was no fluffing of the tails and Tiki's tail seems to be staying up more rather than going down, and Wally's remains decently up. I'm thinking she might also be "testing the waters" to see what she can get away with on Wally's territory. Wally has also started standing up for himself more since last night, which is good and she's realizing she can't push him around quite as much. They haven't really gone at it or anything. They'll both swat at each other and it almost looks like a kitty patty cake game, no claws. They're definitely playing king of the hill on the cat tree too. I think you're right Bobbie, this whole thing might just be dominance and testing the waters.
Tell Mike thank you for me and that I'll be looking into this L-theanine. And I'm definitely not getting rid of Tiki, I made a commitment to her and we will work things out no matter what.
Thank you Bobbie and Mike!"
Like Marty mentioned we have found the best price for that Theanine at this link.
If you don't want to wait for shipping (which they do ship pretty fast) you can find it at any health food store near you. I never looked but probably even a CVSdrug store.
I started out using a (made for pet) chix flavor version of that theanine but the price was out of this world. Go figure huh? The cheapest I found that was on amazon.com sold by the name anxitane. It came in big tablets that I used to cut up but I found the powder in a capsule is a whole lot easier...besides being a lot less expensive.
You'll love the Chausie personality. Its very unique. I've got one and am fostering a Chausie mix besides multiple Bengals and domestics I adopted from my TNR program so things can get hectic around here sometimes hahaha lots of kids wanting my attention all at once can be fun though.
Good luck and keep us posted.
"So, there was a surprising turn in events tonight. We’re not sure what happened but when Tiki was doing her dominance thing, Wally actually stood up for himself. So much in fact that he poofed his tail and chased her, pinned her for a second and pursued her until she was on her side being submissive. Her ears were back and she seemed timid for the first time ever. She then stood up and batted at Wally’s head lightly but he still pursued her, no swatting or anything but his back was slightly arched forcing her backward until she ran off, then there was a hiss and she was on her side again as he was relentless in her pursuit. He didn’t hurt her or want to hurt her, I think he was just puffing up and showing her that she needed boundaries and that at the end of the day she was in his territory.
Progress or bad sign?"
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