When Cat Introductions Go Bad – Part 2

I left off the story of George on a good note. Things were going well. We were following the steps and we were really hopeful. But then things stalled and started to go in reverse.

The baby gate was working well, and feeding time was working well, but play time was not working very well. The second time we tried to have a play session with Pumpkin, George rushed Pumpkin and swatted at him. Pumpkin just rolled over and took it.

We soon realized that George was territorial and his aggression seems to be triggered by it, the peeing too. Yes, his peeing was starting again (or continuing) so the bed tarps seemed to come in handy after all. He also peed on the couch, a cat bed, my husband’s blanket (from what I could tell so far).

So now I bought another book, The Cat Whisperer. I also bought more Feliway and a calming collar. We tried a third play session with Pumpkin. We tried it in a neutral location, the basement. I was able to keep George busy with play. Pumpkin didn’t want to play, he mostly tried to hide from George and kept his eyes on him the whole time.

One thing we noticed was that George was shaking his head and rubbing his ears. So was Nathan, so we scheduled them for a vet visit. It turns out they both had yeast infections in their ears. I also talked to the vet about George and told her all the things we were doing. She mentioned there was a calming food we could try, but since I wasn’t able to get George to try the calming treats, I wasn’t sure if I’d get him to eat the special food. She said it was too soon to try medication. Honestly, medication would be a last resort, and even then, I wouldn’t want to need to medicate him other than as a temporary solution.

I was able to treat George with the ear cleaning and ear drops, but when I tried to treat Nathan, he acted like I was murdering him. He was scared of me for a day and kept running away from me. I felt like a horrible cat mom. I cried. My baby cat was afraid of me and our new cat wasn’t getting along with the others. Nothing was going well.

It seemed that when the cats came onto George’s side of the house, that he would be more territorial and likely to attack. I tried to limit George’s time on the main part of the house, that’s the side he prefers and I was trying to not allow him to own it as his territory as much.

At one point Nathan got onto George’s side and George tried to chase him down again. My husband was able to grab him and hold him until I got Nathan back on his side. Nathan broke out a few more times, thankfully without incident.

George has become more vocal. For a while we were able to leave the doors open at the baby gate, but then he would get aggravated at the gate at he’d vocalize. Sometimes he’d rush the gate and swat at the cats if they were there. Granted, sometimes the cats would instigate it.

We had the idea to try to use a leash on George during playtime to prevent him from attacking. Using the leash seemed to work. I even started using the leash this week for feeding time as well.

Last night I tried walking George through the living room on a leash. I lead him around by using a toy wand while playing. At one point Nathan jumped on the wand toy and George rushed him. This morning I tried leading him around on a leash, more just letting him explore on his own, while I followed him. He locked eyes on Tuna. I kept trying to break his stare and redirect him. He started to walk away, but he just tried to approach her from a different angle. Then he tried to rush her. Thankfully both of these times he had the leash on, but it really has us feeling defeated.

I’m not sure what else there is to try at this point. Tonight, we have a cat behaviorist coming over. We are running out of ideas. It has been almost 4 weeks since George came back to us. He is the sweetest, most affectionate, and playful cat. He loves people, but we’re not sure if we’ll ever be able to get him to accept our cats. It’s really heartbreaking.

My husband can’t stand to think of him going back into a cage at Petsmart. I’m afraid of him getting adopted, he wasn’t adopted for 2 years already; he was with the rescue since he was a kitten without being adopted. But if he was adopted, and he pees on someone’s bed out of anxiety or fear? What’s going to happen to him? If we could only get him to accept our cats, we can give him a good life. And if he pees on the bed every now and then, we can live with that.

Fingers are crossed that the cat behaviorist can help us. I know we’ve made small improvements over the past 3 1/2 weeks, but I’m really hoping we can get past the attacks on our cats.

When Cat Introductions Go Bad

“I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him” 

My blog is mostly about Crochet, but I’m also a crazy cat lady. This post is about our attempts to adopt a sweet, affectionate, loving cat who hates our other cats.

We went to Pet Smart one Saturday to pick up some cat food.  Since we don’t get out much anymore due to the pandemic, we took a drive to the Petsmart, about 45 mins away in a large shopping area.  When we got there, we saw that they had the cats for adoption.  This was the first time we saw them out since the Pandemic started.  My husband and I always love to look at the cats for adoption.  We weren’t planning on bringing any new cats in currently.  We already have four.  

Marvin has been my husband’s cat since he was practically newborn.  He was found at his apartment dumpsters one night.  His brother was already dead, so my husband took him in, and raised him as a bottle-fed cat.  Pumpkin and Petunia (Tuna) are brother and sister and we took them in after my husband’s mom passed; they were her cats.  Tuna has Stage 2 Kidney disease and we really thought we were going to lose her earlier this year, but she’s a tough cookie and keeps holding on.  Marvin, Pumpkin, and Tuna are all about the same age (about 13 years old).  We adopted Nathan Jr. in December, he’s just over a year old now and is very much still a kitten in many ways.  He’s innocent and sweet, but also a little bit of a spoiled brat at the same time.  We’ve lost three cats in this past year (Sammy, Tabitha, and Oliver) and we’ve been wanting to build up the cat brood again. Nathan Jr. (we just call him Nathan) is the first of the next generation.

George’s adoption day.

While at Petsmart, my husband fell in love with George (Adoption agency name was Ludachris, but we renamed him George, aka Georgie and Georgio, so far).  George is an all-black cat listed as 1 ½ years old.  We always said we wanted to adopt a sibling pair after Tuna passed and that we didn’t want to bring in any more cats until she passed, but George gave my husband a lick, so it was all over. There was also another little all black female kitten.  Her daintiness reminded me of Tabitha.  So, we decided to try to adopt them both.  I thought George might be the perfect age for Nathan; Nathan has a lot of kitten, play energy that the other cats don’t enjoy very much.  I also feel that Nathan needs a playmate.  Unfortunately, the little female was already adopted, but we were approved to adopt George.

We adopted George on August 25 picking him up that evening after work. He was so sweet and affectionate, we loved him so much.  When we first set him up, we put him in the guest room and my husband slept with him the first night.  George had used the litter at least once (old litter box with regular dust free litter) that first night/day.

Up until this point we were calling him Lou.  But he never really responded to Ludachris or Lou, so my husband suggested George and it made me think of the Bugs Bunny cartoon, so he became George.  Anyway, we kept George in the bedroom area the next day.  The bedroom area includes our bedroom, my husband’s office, and the guest room which is also my office (we both work from home).  The bedroom area also has two bathrooms and a hallway, and it has a door that separates it from the rest of the house. We decided to leave Tuna in with us because she is old and would not go after George and we thought she’d just stay away from him, which she did, but this was our biggest mistake.

Tuna spent most of the morning under the bed in my office.  This is her den, and she often goes and hangs out there.  At some point while I was in a meeting, I heard a commotion.  George and Tuna were batting at each other.  We broke it up and he left my office.  This probably happened about two more time.  After the second or third time he actually swatted at my husband as he tried to break up the fight.

A few times the cats were at the door with each other and George would hiss or rush at the door.  And a few times Nathan would stick his paw under the door and George would hiss and swat at it.

My husband noticed that George had peed on the bed.  The interaction with Tuna must have upset him.  It was a strong odor, very concentrated.  We chalked this up to just some stress.

After work, we let him out and let him walk around the living area with the other cats.  Things were going ok at first.  But Pumpkin and Nathan kept following him around.  George would growl and hiss at them wanting space.  A few times Pumpkin came up to sniff him and George swatted at him.  Things were getting tense with the cats.  We decided to have George sleep in the guest room again and keep the cats separated for the night. This time I slept in the room with George while my husband slept with the other cats.

George sitting on my chest the first night sleeping with me.

We kept George in the bedroom area again the next day and let him out at lunch.  The cats started to really stress him out.  Pumpkin tried to sniff him again, nose to nose, and got swatted and batted at.  George was trying to lay down and relax, but Nathan started to stalk him.  Finally, George had enough, and he chased Nathan through the house and into the basement utility room.  Nathan was cowering under a utility cart.  I tried to separate George and he swatted at me, by I was able to separate them and get him out of the utility room and close the door.  After about 15 mins I was able to lure Nathan back out from under the utility cart, but he was very worked up and scared.

We separated George again, and this time he peed on the guest bed.  That bed did not have a waterproof mattress pad on it.  Shoot!  We decided to keep the cats separated and let George have some time to de-stress before trying to introduce them again.

I had a hair appointment this night, so I had to head out after work.  On the way home I stopped at the pet store and picked up some Feliway and some Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer.  I also got George a Teddy Bear toy.  When I got home, I stripped the bed, and I scooped the litter for George.  I thought maybe if he had some fresh scooped litter, he would be less likely to pee on the bed.  Just after I scooped the litter, George pooped on the bed.  Right there in front of me.  I was kind of frozen.  Part of me wanted to grab the poop right away.  I should have grabbed him and put him in the litter or scolded him, but I waited until he was done to clean it up.  This was pretty upsetting. Oh, and the mattress was bare because I hadn’t remade the bed yet. Ugh.

I decided the next day that we would need to work on de-stressing him before trying to introduce him to the other cats again.  We were determined to stick it out and work it out.  I had talked to the adoption agency and told them some of the things that happened and asked if they had any advice on what he liked, anything to de-stress him. I read the Jackson Galaxy method for cat introductions and started feeding the cats on opposite sides of the door. It seemed to be going ok.  He was sweet and affectionate with us, just a perfect little love bug.  The hissing and rushing of the bedroom area door were slowing down.  We thought things were gong to work out.  But on Saturday morning we saw that, he had peed and pooped in the guest bed again.

George sleeping on the guest bed behind me, while I work.

We talked it out and decided pooping in bed was just crossing the line. Even after things seemed to be getting better, we just weren’t sure.  I thought perhaps I’d go out and buy fresh new litter boxes and give him all clean fresh litter.  But then we just thought it wasn’t working out.  So, I called the adoption agency, and we took him back.  We were heartbroken.

The heartbreak lasted for the weekend.  I cried a lot.  My husband depressed; he was really bonding with George.  Then on Sunday, my husband said, “I forgot about the special litter (Cat Attract)!  We should have tried that!”  He wanted George back.  He didn’t think we tried enough with him.  I thought long and hard about it. On Monday I wrote an email to the adoption agency, pleading our case to try again.  They called me later that day and we talked, and they decided to let us try again.  This time I was going to use the Jackson Galaxy method and try to stick to it as close as possible and take it slow! I signed up for the Cat Introduction mini classes via email, basically 6 emails:

Class 1: Proactive preparation
Class 2: The importance of base camp
Class 3: “Other side of the door” feeding
Class 4: Initiating visual access
Class 5: Eat, Play, Love Part 1
Class 6: Eat, Play, Love Part 2

Nathan loves the Cat Attract so much that he will roll around in the litter.

Summertime Tee

After spending about a year on the Linen and Lace Tunic, I wanted something quick and easy to make.  I found the Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey on Ravelry; I purchased it there.  It’s also available for free on her blog TL Yarn Crafts.  I was able to complete this project in two weeks!  It was that quick and easy.  And I’m slow, so others could probably make it much faster.

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Linen and Lace Tunic

A few years ago, at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival Day 1, I picked up a pattern for a tunic, Linen and Lace by Crochet Mon Cherie.  I had purchased the pattern and the thread, Linas Linen in Grey,  (I can’t find any current resources for Linas Linen, so I don’t think it’s available anymore).  Two years ago, I picked up the pattern with the intention of creating the tunic, well, I got stuck on the pattern.  I had a difficult time with the motif and I couldn’t quite figure out what I was supposed to do on Round 5.  So I put it down.

Tunic 2

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I Put a Spell on You

OK, This is a little late.  First Halloween was postponed till the Saturday after Halloween due to weather.  Then I just didn’t get around to writing about it as I put away all the Halloween decorations and winterized the yard.

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Here’s my Winifred Sanderson Costume.  Let’s beak it down:

  1. The Wig – highly recommend
  2. Buck teeth
  3. Purple Dress
  4. Green stripped stockings
  5. Awesome witch shoes (and comfortable too)
  6. Green velvet robe
  7. Snake Robe Clasp
  8. Witch symbol Stamps
  9. Snake Stamp
  10. Green 25 Yard skirt
  11. Crochet Corset
  12. The necklace

OK, that’s a lot to wear.  I started with the purple dress and wore the Green 25 yard skirt over top of it.  I pinned up both skirts because I wanted to show off my stockings and shoes and I also didn’t want to trip.

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Next I added the corset that I made.  The pattern was from Etsy.  Pretty easy to follow, I didn’t have any issues with this pattern.

The robe I tried to embellish using stamps and gold then yellow ink, but it came out very faded.  You can see them if you look at it close, but they are not noticeable otherwise.

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I love these witch shoes.  Love, love, love them!

The snake clasp came all the way from Australia.

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Additional accessories induced the buck teeth, long annoying press on nails, and a black mesh sleeve.

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I made the necklace out of gold wire and beads.

Finally, putting it all together now.

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If I were to do it again, I’d try to modify the robe more, make it more fitting and perhaps fix the stamps.  I also tripped on that thing all night, so maybe it should be hemmed a little.

Hocus Pocus Halloween

This year’s Halloween theme is Hocus Pocus.  Since they closed our office and we are all working from home, I decided to decorate my house instead.  I already shared the Billy Butcherson that I made and Booook.

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I divided the front yard into three areas, the Devil’s house, the graveyard, and Sanderson Cottage.

Starting with the devil’s house I took my skeleton and dressed him up like a devil.  Then I added the pitchforks, little white picket fence and flames.  I gave him a candy bucket with Clark Cups (they don’t make Clark Bars anymore).

Next comes the graveyard.  I bought a bunch of headstones and used cobwebs all around.  I have my garden skeleton that comes out of the ground.  I have my Billy Butcherson and his tombstone that I bought on Spirit Halloween online.  There are some dollar store graveyard fences.  I also made a skull pyramid with Styrofoam skulls.

 

The front porch was decorated like the Sanderson cottage.  Some of the stuff I just had as witchy decorations, other things I bought specific for Hocus Pocus (the doormat, the museum sign, etc.).  I painted some signs with slats of wood from our wood pile.  I made a skeleton in a cage using an idea I got from this pin.  More Hocus Pocus pins and ideas are available on my Hocus Pocus board.

I found the giant cauldron at Party City.  I filled it with tulle and some LED green mini lights.   This makes the cauldron glow green in the dark, without the risk of fire.  I have a fog machine I’ll use on Halloween night, but I looked at various ways to make the cauldron smoke and thought, hmm, I don’t want my house to burn down.

Next post will be my costume as Winifred Sanderson.  That will probably come next weekend, after Halloween.

Cat Cocoon

Before I created the Quick and Easy Cat Bed, I had started on my own cat cocoon.  I bought this super soft yarn (Bernat Velvet) and I searched Pinterest for some ideas, but nothing seemed to work with the yarn I already picked out, so I created my own design.

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It didn’t quite come out the way I envisioned.  I used some metal floral arranging hoops that I hoped would give it some form, but not really.  If I were to make it all over again, I would probably just make a sac with no support.  Well Tabitha loved to curl up in it while I was making it.

And after spraying a little cat nip in it, Pumpkin and Oliver fought over it.  Pumpkin won.

I also tied a little ball inside for a toy to play with:

I guess they can’t all be winners.  Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we think they will, but I think the cats will probably still use it to snuggle in.

Quick and Easy Cat Bed

I’ve been wanting to make some cat beds and cat cocoons lately.  I found some nice soft yarn, Chunky Luxe Big by Loops and Threads.  It’s a jumbo (7) yarn.  I also bought a giant 25 mm crochet hook.  Here’s a pattern for a quick and easy cat bed using giant yarn and a giant hook.

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Materials:

Size 25.00 mm hook

2 skeins of Chunky Luxe Big! by Loops & Threads (Teal) (64 yards)

Pattern:

Start with a magic ring (mr)

Round 1:  6 sc in the mr

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch from previous round (12 sc)

Round 3:  sc in first stitch, 2 sc in next stitch, continue around (18 sc)

Round 4:  sc in first two stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, continue around (24 sc)

Round 5: sc in first 3 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch, continue around (30 sc)

Remaining rounds: sc in each stitch around (30 sc) until out of yarn, tie off.

The cats seem to enjoy it already.