An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Possessiveness on the Rise

Hello Greyce, Although things have improved dramatically since we first contacted you (about Molly and me - See Molly's Adventure 5/6/10), we still have a long way to go. I accepted my new companion from the get-go while she has been taking her time. Still, she is getting bolder with each passing week.

Having Molly on the premises 24/7 has also brought out the Tigger in me. Just like my hero (from Winnie the Pooh) I like to sneak up and pounce on her. Truth be told, I really don't like to share Herself with Molly, even if She gives me a truckload of Filou-only snuggles. And while I understand Molly can't just stay in the corner all the time, it really is bugging me.

Can you help me get over my petty possessiveness? Filou

Dear Filou, You have been the picture of compassion in welcoming Molly to your home, accepting her fears  and letting her hiss at you and take her sweet time in adapting. For that, I would call you a prince.

However as much as you like to extend the paw of hospitality, it is one thing to put up with a guest for a while and another to get used to a permanent companion. What you are experiencing, my dear, is jealousy. And it is only natural. After all, you have had Herself  solely to yourself for many years. All those snuggles, cuddles and games have been for you and you alone. And while you admit to still getting more than a loving spoonful of them, it isn't the same when you have to watch someone else being the recipient of what used to be yours exclusively.

So here is what I suggest: the flower essence called Holly (ilex aquifolium) which is used when people or pets have feelings of being cut off from love (usually expressed as jealousy, anger, or envy).

Are you familiar with flower essences (NOT essential oils)? They are highly dilute herbal remedies used to deal with issues such as yours. The most common brands in your area are Bach Flower Remedies or English Healing Herbs (via the Flower Essence Society). They are available at some health food stores, organic food stores, and new age supply/book stores. Ask Herself to purchase the small dosage bottle (about 1/4 oz size) which costs about $12.00.

If you are comfortable with this approach (and assuming you have no plant allergies), then I suggest that Herself start by giving you 2 drops, once a day. Try it on a few delicious dry treats. Or have Her put the drops on her thumb and gently rub them into you inner ear FLAP (where it will easily be absorbed because it is less furry). And I suggest she do the same for Molly as well.

Once you are used to it, she can work up to giving you  2 drops twice a day; and then if that is working, she can up the dosage to 3 or 4 drops at a time - again twice daily. Any more and you are just wasting the remedy. And there is no point in trying to give them more often, given her schedule. Consistency is the key. So don't worry if you never get beyond 2 drops, for example, as long as you take them on a consistent basis.

Such remedies take their time, which means you will have to get used to this routine for four to six weeks. I know of several colleagues who have used such remedies with great success and so I hope Holly will do the same for the two of you.