Family Matters (consolidated thread)

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Freckles- (1993-2011)

My beautiful old- lady!
Purred: Sat Mar 7, '09 8:36pm PST 
FAMILY MATTERS is a consolidated thread. Informative posts from other threads (now closed) have been combined into this thread.

This is now the place to discuss all family matters, such as getting along with siblings, being bugged or bullied by siblings, introducing a new cat into the household, adoption, etc.

Discussions so far include:
(1) Being bullied
(2) Introducing a new cat
(3) Adoption (adopting an Olde Furt)
(4) Tips for successfully living in a multi-cat household

Feel free to discuss any other family matters here, too.

Edited by author Wed Mar 25, '09 8:07pm PST

Freckles- (1993-2011)

My beautiful old- lady!
Purred: Sat Mar 7, '09 8:37pm PST 
This question was first posted in another thread by Churrah:

I'm eleven, and the senior member of the mystic michigan kitty krewe-the girls are sixteen months and eight months, so there's quite an age difference. they make me tired. The faithful scribe is a trifle concerned about me, of late. I act all jumpy, like i'm afraid the kittens are going to attack, or maybe an anvil is going to drop on my head or something. Oddly, the kittens treat me well enough when they're in MY room...they hang out on the bed with me quietly, or chase each other around the room-but they rarely pounce on me. but when i leave the room to visit the water fountain (or stake a claim when the litter box in the den has just been cleaned) they aren't so well-mannered. i guess they're respecting my territory-but not ME. i think they probably just want to play-but i don't want to play as rough or as long or as often, and i'd rather just play with one of my mousies...but they just don't seem to get the point.

Churrah's scribe here: it's not like they harass him-but he does seem more than a little paranoid whenever he ventures into the living room. and he lets them pester him away from his spot in the sun-i don't think they want him to leave, but he does NOT want to be bothered. i don't really know what to do, but i'd like him to feel freer to hang out in the sunshine, at the very least...would a feliway diffuser just in the living room be enough? (when i can afford it) because they're really quite polite to him in his room...more importantly perhaps, he'll hiss at them if they get crazy on the bed while he's lying there but doesn't hiss in the living room-which i don't really understand...
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PixieBelle provided this information:

Churrah, with so many kitties in your home it might help if you had a Feliway diffuser or two (depending on the size of your home.) Feliway is a pheromone-based oil that, when dispersed through the living area, calms kitties down by sending a "we're all friends here" olfactory signal. It is undetectable to humans, so they don't have to worry about any funny smells.

Feliway has helped smooth things over in my household of 6 cats, including 3 formerly feral boys. Things aren't perfect all the time, but we're definitely calmer with it, and Mama notices a difference within a few days if the dispenser runs out! You can find it at Petsmart, but it's usually less expensive to buy in bulk (a dispenser plus 2 refills, or 6 refill-only bottles) on or through one of the web-based pet meds stores. Each refill lasts about a month, and we have a diffuser unit on each floor of the house. Just make sure you get the diffuser bottle and not the spray bottle - the spray is okay for using on things like cat carriers before we have to take a trip, but it doesn't work for a big space, or for a long time!

Edited by author Tue Mar 24, '09 7:18am PST

Strangelove- (1988-2006)

Queen of the- cats!
Purred: Sat Mar 7, '09 8:44pm PST 
Churrah's scribe, Its fairly common for cats to consider certain areas their territory where they feel safe and will be more assertive. Churrah obviously feels that way about the bedroom but the living room is probably the kittens territory. I think your idea of putting the Feliway diffuser in the living room is a good idea and will help everyone feel calmer aqnd more secure there. Since Churrah is already willing to defend the bedroom he'll be fine there with the Feliway

Minxy- (1987-2008)

Queen of the- Rainbow Bridge
Purred: Sat Mar 7, '09 8:56pm PST 
Hi Churrah, I'm sorry the youngsters are causing you problems. I was fairly unusual as mum adopted me at 21 (and weighing just 6 pounds and having no teeth left) and I immediately became queen of the cats and ruled the roost with an iron fist. For me it was actually the other way around and I used to bully my younger sisters who were all scared of me even though they were twice my size and 15-20 years younger than me.

However one thing mum learned was that she could tell how well I felt based on how I acted with the other cats. When I was feeling good I used to bully them a lot and chase them to show them I was the boss. When I was feeling bad from my CRF I was much more subdued and would just glare if they tried anything. If you are acting a bit scared/subdued with the kittens it could be because you are not feeling too well and don't want to get into any confrontations with the kittens. Given the other things your mum is seeing like the yowling it woulkd be a good idea to get a vet check/blood test when you are able. I think that is probably more important than the Feliway to make sure everything is OK.

Angel Purrs, Minxy

Spot- (1994-2010)

I'll get through- this!
Purred: Fri Mar 20, '09 9:42am PST 
This looks like a good place to whine about my visiting nephew cat. He's only here for a week of his human's "Spring Break." But he's just getting WAY TOO playful! The new thing for him is to stalk us at the water fountain. The Humans call it "African Water Hole" game. I call it MEAN!

Okay, he's going away in a few days... But I just had to vent. I'm an Olde Furt, not a chew toy! Hmmpf!

Scooter ~- Our Angel

It's all about- 'The Scootster'
Purred: Tue Mar 24, '09 7:07am PST 
Spot, I know your nephew has gone back to his own home now, but wondered how old he is. Has he been neutered yet? If not, that could make a difference.

Scooter ~- Our Angel

It's all about- 'The Scootster'
Purred: Tue Mar 24, '09 8:17am PST 
Posts from a thread titled "Olde Furts and Adoption" have been consolidated into this Family Matters thread. "Olde Furts and Adoption" has now been closed but useful information about introducing a new cat into the household is shown below. Some posts were shortened by deleting extraneous information, but I didn't re-word anyone's statement.
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On Feb. 11, 2008, Taz asked for advice about introducing a new adopted sibling:

. . . after searching about a month we are close now to bring my new sibling home and mommy was hoping to get some advice now on how to introduce me to my new friend with out making us enemies.

. . . I have been an only child for almost 4 years now due to lack of space. And Mommy does not remember how she had gone about it in the past.

The good news is all the places with have talked to have agreed to take the kitty back if it doesn't work out.

. . . Mommy is nervous and keeps asking me if I want a baby sister. So we are going to invite her to stay a week or 2 and if I am not warming up to her she will go back to the barn and her real mom. And we'll so to option 2. A kitty at the Cats Haven Shelter.

So please any advice on how to introduce me to my new sib?

Purrs Taz
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Feb 11, 2008 from Macallan:

Taz....When we decided to adopt another kitty, meowmie decided we chould get two...mainly because I was 10 at the time and a new kitty wouldn't always be bothering me to play with him...when she brought Marmalade and Caviar home she put them in the 2nd bedroom and kept the door shut when she wasn't home...after a day when the kitties got used to the room she would go in and keep the door open so I could see took about a week before we were all furriends...but meowmie made it VERY clear that I was and AM number # kitty.....

I think you'll enjoy having some company....but let the the new kitty know whose in charge...MOL
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Feb 11, 2008 from Sissy:

We believe it is all about smells.... and a slow introduction.
If possible could the new addition be secluded in a room of his/her own for a few days?
If this is possible we suggest switching beds, blankets and toys from your new sibling into the house and take the house one's that smell like you and place them in with your new sibling.
Maybe even let your new sibling roam completely free in the house while you get to roam in their room in a way of getting used to each others smells before the face to face contact.

Here are two forums for possible advise/tips:

And remember Taz, you are not being replaced, your just getting a new furriend. I’m sure your mom will be giving you lots of extra love to prove it too.

I'm sure other furs will have more great ideas for you too!
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Feb 11, 2008 from Jesse James:

Meow thinks a little sister would be purrfect! Meow suggest keeping her in her own room for a few days and letting you sniff each other under the door. Plus being a Barn Kitty - she should be quaranteened until she gets a vet check up.

If Meowmy can borrow a big old doggy crate and put her in there with a bed, litter, food and water - that's also a big help. You can meet through the bars and if she gets bratty like a typical kitten she can have time out in here.

It worked great with Lakoda! He's a cute little snuggler, he just has to learn that I am too fragile to jump on in my old age.
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Feb 11, 2008, from Taz

oh you guys are giving mommy so many ideas. we so have and addition on the new house that we are not using. We could put her in there when mommy is at work. Being that she is a barn baby mom plans to bring her in - clean her (BATH),take her to the vet and all that fun stuff before she ever meets me. Her owner even said she may pay for her first shots.
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Feb 11, 2008 from another Taz

Hi Taz, Taz here. Boy, I wish mom could have gotten a kitTON for ORFIEND, but there were already six of us.
Mom and Dad put ORFIEND in the basement bathroom for a couple of months (it's really nice, remodeled) overnight. So us OFs had lots of time to get used to the fact he was here.
Orvis also has gone to the office with mom most days, so he isn't around during the week in the daytime much.
I agree with what everyone else has said; the common denominator seems to be letting the OF feel safe and unharassed until the little guy settles in.
Purrs, and may your sibling not be related to ORFIEND in any way,
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Feb 22, 2008 from Bobcat:

Momma's thinking about getting a kitten or two for Briana. Momma read a really good book called "Cat vs. Cat" by Pam Johnson-Bennett. It talks about the different dynamics in a multicat household and tells you how to do introductions.
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Mar 24, 2008 from Taz:

Bobcat - We are all for Multi-cat households. I have had many Furends/Siblings in my lifetime. The newest one just mewved in. Her name is Rayne. She's 6 months old.

Mom treid to follow the books but she was crying becuase she didn't like being locked in the other room so she gave up and let her out. So far though no 'cat fights'.

This is her Catster page: Rayne

LOLA ~ Our- Good Girl,- forever

I came, I- purred, I- conquered...
Purred: Tue Mar 24, '09 8:21am PST 
The following posts also came from the "Olde Furts and Adoption" thread which is now closed. They relate to adopting an "older" Furt:
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Dec 31, 2008 from Freckles:

When you adopt please think about adopting a furt and not just a kitten/young cat. When mum adopted Minxy (age 21) she fit right in with her 4 younger cats (aged 1-6) and when she adopted me (age 15) I got on well with Minxy and the youngsters too.

We also just found an insurance company that will insure furts as higher medical bills are a risk when you adopt a furt. The company is called Pet's Best and don't have an age limit and you can get full coverage at very reasonable rates (my premium is $37/month for their top coverage). They'll also cover you if you have an existing disease just excluding anything from that disease.

So don't be scared of adopting furts
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Dec 31, 2008 from Emily Felicity :

Freckles, as much as my mommy loves kittens (and who doesn't fur gosh sakes?? Well except maybe fur some of us furts), she thinks she shouldn't adopt any more in her lifetime because she worries furry much about the cat outliving her. So she plans to adopt an adult should the time come.

Maybe that is silly, I mean one can't really predict that sort of thing. But, well, that's what she thinks about. But it doesn't matter too much because there will be no new fur children in the house as long as brofur Edgar and I are still here! Mommy has promised us, "no competition!"
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Edited by author Tue Mar 24, '09 8:30am PST

Tyler - Mr.- Boombastic- Angel

They call me Mr- Boombastic
Purred: Tue Mar 24, '09 9:08am PST 
Just thought I would add some useful info our family came across regarding keeping things on an even keel in multi-cat households. For example:
1) Set several food and water bowls/ dispensers in different parts of the house so the cats don't feel they have to compete for or guard the food, or for that matter have the chance to ambush other cats(kind of like the litterbox rule). This is surprisingly effective!
2) Challenge younger (especially indoor) cats with food games: make them "work" for it by placing dry food in an old paper towel tube, or place a bowl on top of something they have to climb. Make it a brain exercise!
3) Give each cat equal amounts of "me" time
4) Use Feliway, it's effective
5) Acknowledge and accept that not all cats get along, despite your wishes!

Mum found this advice in the books by British cat counsellor/ author Vicky Halls - "Cat Confidential", "Cat Detective" and "Cat Counsellor". You can read more about her at She's an interesting lady and mum learned a great deal of new stuff - even though she has had cats her entire life.

(my precious- angel)- Samsara

Noise is the- best weapon.
Purred: Tue Mar 24, '09 10:34pm PST 
Feliway has worked to a degree for us here too. Especially when Mom started up the plug-in diffuser. I still chase Colette from time time, though. Colette is 4 and she's been living with us since the end of October.

Here's a link where you can get both the diffuser and the spray for about 1/2 what it costs in the store. Mom has already ordered from the place. awodjE_RDQ

Mom also put an extra litter box out for all of us. It makes it harder for me to block Colette's access to the bathroom. This is an idea that she got from Vicky Halls "Cat Confidential".

The book gave her a lot of good ideas. Not so good for me though, I can't get away with what I used to any more.

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