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, September 18, 2012

Three Black Cats Who Don't Get Along: Progress Report

Dear Greyce,

Things have improved since we last contacted you.

Lucky Little Guy's outdoor kennel has been moved closer to where the rest of us hang out in the backyard. And Themselves think this is a great idea. We have all been out in the yard quite a bit. 

Lucky and I have been having a lot of outdoor conversations. I mutter, moan and then charge his kennel. He stops about 2 feet away, turns his back and walks away; then he watches me. 

However I've now been mounting Black Berry - often in front of Lucky. What's with that? 

Back to my relationship with Lucky, we have had some under-the-door paw play when we are indoors. Unfortunately a loud noise scared us both and so we stopped.

Lucky has been putting on weight. Will vigourous workouts help trim his size? Using a food ball has helped, somewhat. I think he really misses running free and climbing trees. Herself did take him out and play chase - which he loved. Does he need more of that?

So Greyce, when do we take the next step in re-integration?

That's all for now, 


Dear Raffiki,

Congratulations on all your good work! The under-the-door-play is a good sign - too bad about that loud noise though. I do hope you guys will go back to having some fun under the door again. 

However your behaviour outside suggests that you all need more time, before we take further steps toward re-integration. In the meantime, I'm going to ask that you think about any ways you could put up a physical barrier between main spaces inside your house (on the main floor) to allow for easier time shares.

Mounting Black Berry, especially in front of Lucky, is likely a form of redirected aggression. In other words, you'd prefurr to pounce on Lucky but cannot get him through his cage, and so you take out your frustration on her. 

You need to ask Herself to intervene - either using distraction (like an play toy) when you are about to try to confront Lucky. I'd love to see it used before the confrontation, if possible, just so that you don't feel you get rewarded (with a play toy) if you charge the crate. If that is not possible and she can only intervene after the fact, then instead you need to cool down on your own - by being given a time out away from everybody. Hopefully that way you will reduce you need to mount. I also understand that you have been having hip pain - and pain can lead to aggressive behaviour with other cat companions. Hopefully your pain medication can bring this under control.

As for Lucky's weight gain: Decreasing his food ration is a good idea (with veterinary guidance and approval, of course). And using the food ball is excellent. It sounds like he still has higher energy needs that require greater workout. 

I understand that he did have the chance to get outside (and not in the cage) with Herself and play chase. Any chance of this happening on a regular basis? How about being taking out back on a leash and harness (when the rest of you are inside)? 

He obviously needs more chance to explore and run and climb than he is getting. (To tell you the truth, I think Themselves got used to lower-energy senior cats and are finding Lucky's energy requirements surprising.)

Thanks for the update and do keep me posted.