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.

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