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Cat chasing Mum and stressing her

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Ritamay, Feb 16, 2018.


  1. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    P.S I’ve always fed them altogether in kitchen, but started feeding Mum and kitten separate from the other two, it seems to have helped as there did seem to be tension at mealtimes. One of older girls has always been dominant and pushed mother away from food, even when they all have own bowl. This has always been the case from when they were kittens she would wait until all kittens had fed before she fed.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Yes, mealtimes are a common source of tension when there is evident competition between the cats. My cats are all fed in their separate social groups out of sight of each other - the two brothers in the kitchen, the two sisters in the hall, and the boy who is the solo member of his social 'group' gets his meals upstairs in one of the rooms he uses.

    I am glad some of the tension has been reduced by feeding your two girls separate from mum.

    Litter trays are another major source of tension. Do you have plenty of trays spread around the house? For 4 cats I'd have 6 litter trays. (For 5 cats I have 7 litter trays).
     
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  3. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    I have 6 litter trays, 5 trays around the house and one outside in their secured enclosure. They hardly go outside, but that tray does get used. I’m going to carry on feeding them in separate areas from now on. I’ve noticed one of them wouldn’t eat straight away and waited until others weren’t around. Mum definitely is distracted by the others and one of them would go from dish to dish pushing other one out of way. There was definitely a calmer atmosphere by feeding them in separate areas. And, they ate all their food. Normally, they’d eat a small amount then move away. Definitely recognise it as tension now. Thank you all for your advice. It’s give me a little hope. Kitten is going to be neutered tomorrow, then we’ll be looking to rehome him. We’ll not be rehoming mum. Will see how it goes with other two girls :)
     
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  4. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    For the first time in a long time one of daughters has managed to snuggle up to groom and sleep with mum! I can’t cope with this! Lol It’s a start. Probably because Mum was relaxed and sleepy.
     
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  5. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    How long ago were mum and daughters neutered? I found the dynamics really changed with time, but it took about 6 months with queens to settle, whereas boys are a lot quicker. Male kitten needs his nadjers off now before he finds his feet and upsets the apple cart further. Mum will be feeling protective of her kitten because he's small and resources are precious. That makes her really ramp up the process of seeing her daughters off. Daughters will see that mum's status in the household has gone down as she's been spayed. Respectuflly disagreeing with CMo on a minor point here, but there most certainly is a hire-archy in a breeding household, and hormonal queens are normally somewhere near the top as they're slap happy when feeling grumpy, heavy with kitten, feeling sick etc. You can see the changes in who's top cat as things change. For example, miss pregnant is often given space to eat if communal bowls are used (I do this with mine which I appreciate doesn't work with everyone, but I try and keep mine as close to conditions in the wild as possible, i.e if a big kill was made, they would all share, and if they want to eat a lone, they forage for treats around my home). When babies are born, they achieve the top spot in the house, being allowed to eat first, drink first, do everything first by every single cat in that social group. When queens get neutered, I've noticed that other girls, neuters in particular, will pick on her fiercely for the first little bit, until she feels more sure of herself and is happy to ascert herself again. Then there's a reshuffling of the hierarchy and all is peaceful again. This may be a family thing or a breeding thing, I don't know, but it's not just my house it happens in.

    I'd say that the screaming on mum's part is not a good thing. Chasing is one thing but screaming must not be allowed to happen. That's mum being defensive, not offensive, and the 2 girls need to be reminded that they need to share. Have you tried splitting the double trouble and putting 1 with mum and 1 with kitten? That way, they don't have each other for back up, and miss swipey might take to the kitten better without sister egging her on. Supervise mum with the one less likely to chase. Baby is old enough to be separated now for long periods of time and could always go back with mum at bedtime. Then you start swapping members of the social groups, so you swap the 2 girls around when mum and girl 1 are settled, then put girl 1 with kitten and girl 2 with mum. Again wait until all is fine, then put kitten, girl 1 and mum together for short periods while giving girl 2 a tasty treat so she doesn't feel left out. Then kitten, girl 2 and mum, so the 2 sisters get used to functioning and interacting with "the enemy" without each other for back up. Then eventually when all is peace, let them all run together. At night, put 2 sisters back together, and mum and kitten back together, so they all still see every cat in the household so you won't have to do gradual introductions with each other when you swap around. Then everyone sees everyone, but the gruesome twosome are kept separate. I did a version of this when my first queen was neutered as they picked on her no end, and now we have her living as matriarch of a granny, mum and baby group. Luckily my second girl was feisty, so just biffed the others as she normally would even after her spay, and the third girl? Well, the older ones still mothered her like she was a baby, as at 6 or there abouts, she has never stopped behaving like a kitten, so they didn't notice or care when she got spayed. Nobody tended to pick on the boy oddly enough... Well, no more than they usually did anyway.

    Hope some of this waffle helps, from someone who feels your pain.
     
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  6. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    I agree with @chillminx to have seperate feeding areas for them, keep feeding each in the same spot and they will associate it as theirs.
    Communal feeding can lead to tension.

    Cats in homes are in an artificial environment. Their behavior is not always natural as their environment is not. If you have a large number of cats in a confined space such as in some breeding situations, they can have conflicts over resources.

    I don’t think @Ritamay is necessarily overcrowded as she has four cats and plans to keep three. I think the girls being younger and wanting to play like young cats is more an issue.
    Often when people have an older cat and then bring a younger, the younger can bother the older through more energetic play so it is not an unusual situation. Does the mother have any high up places she can go to get away from the more rambunctious daughters if she wants?
     
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  7. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    The two 16 month old girls were neutered at about 4 months of age. They and Mum slept together until Mum became grumpy with them when she was pregnant. Not all the time though. I’d notice that they would still all eat together and wander around together then suddenly one of girls would just look at her and she’d growl at them to keep away. She’d then walk away from them, This seemed to cause the chase reaction, and she’d run away from them. I’ve never seen any biting or clawing. It’s almost like they’re trying to get her to play but she’s not wanting to so screams at whoever is doing the chasing to get away from her. Then five minutes later they wandering around quietly together. Or head but greeting each other or nose touching. Mum was neutered early January. She does allow one of older girls to sleep with her now and again. But only if she’s half asleep and the girl creeps into her bed with her. Kitten was neutered last Monday. The one girl who gets in mums bed with her gets on great with make kitten and sometimes sleeps with him. The other girl isn’t keen on kitten. Kitten runs after her and when he catches her and pounces. She screams just like mum does. We let them all together supervised, but at night have kept Mum and kitten together and two girls in another room to sleep. Sometimes I put mum and girls together in day and kitten in another room. They are okay but as soon as one gets a growl from Mum I separate or distract before the chase starts. I’ll try Mum and one of girls together and swap around like you said. Thanks for advice.
     
  8. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    Yes, I have several cat trees and floor to ceiling cat poles around the house. Its as though she is adamant she doesn’t want to play chase with them anymore as that’s how her and two daughters use to play with her, and vice versa. She will allow her kitten to chase and pounce and will play fight with him. The two girls don’t chase her together. It’s one at a time. Yesterday, I made sure I played with them all together with their feather bird stick and laser toy. It tired them out so they all chilled out together after. The night before Mum and girls all slept on settee with me. The kitten was sleeping in another room. I’m hoping that when we find another home for kitten it may help.
     
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  9. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    Yes, we have several.
     
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  10. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    Just an update on our cat tension situation. I have been keeping mum either with kitten or with either one of older daughters. There is definitely a lot less tension. Mum is okay until one of older cats approaches her to interact. The two adult cats actually miaow to her when trying to lie down by her but she just growls back at them. I’ve stuck to just one adult cat with her at anytime. I had stopped giving her Zylkene just to see if any difference. There was. She was more likely to allow one of her adult girls to approach withbthe dose of it. I’ve started the daily dose again this morning. Mum and adult daughter are both sleeping on their cat tree. Mum higher than the daughter. She has got one eye on her though, and if she tries to get near to her she does the nose to nose thing then gives a quiet growl, and daughter backs off, miaowing and rubbing her cheek scent against mums bed. I’ll continue to swap around the daughters time with Mum, and continue with the Zylkene. Thanks for all your advice. It’s helped a lot.
     
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  11. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Really routing for you as I know how upsetting this all can be. Give things time and they will settle. Mum sounds like she's being a bit of a diva, but the girls, now separated, appear to be making all the right moves from your description. Can you reward good behaviour together? Ie.e feeding treat sticks and holding them close together so both cats have to come close? I find eating is a massive bonding thing for my guys, particularly if it's a high value treat. Then it also has the added bonus that they are forced to approach each other (something they don't like) to get something wonderful (so the dislike is counteracted by the like), then they go away from each other without anything happening (something they currently also like). So the like outweighs the dislike in this situation 2:1. Eventually that will win out. I also left treats hidden all over their scratching post after I'd fed them, let them see me doing it, then started them off both on the same platform to go search for them. They were so busy looking for treats that they didn't mind being in close proximity.
     
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  12. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    It’s not easy keeping them all separate, but if it makes thing better it’ll be worth it. The dominant older girl is hard work as she’s more likely to wind Mum up. She’s always head butted Mum out of the way at food times even when few weeks old. Mum would just allow all kittens to feed until they’d finished before going back to hers. They are all fine approaching each other and playing when I’ve got their feather bird stick out. They can be meandering around each other with no hissing from mum, then suddenly she’ll hiss at one, this just triggers the chase mode in them. Mostly the dominant girl though. The other one isn’t as bad. There was a bit of boxing going on before but I distracted with treats. I think it’s going to take a while with the dominant girl and Mum. Not so long with the other. The other one doesn’t like the kitten and yowls and hisses at it, so he has had to be kept away from her unless I’m supervising them. I just want harmony back again :)
     
  13. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    Just as I’d finished posting the above. Dominant sleeping girl got up and got in bed with sleeping mum. Both currently grooming each other!!
     
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  14. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Good news @Ritamay ! Well done for persevering and being patient. :)
     
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  15. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    It’s a start :) Still bit of growling going on after they’d had their sleep. It’s definitely the girls wanting to play with Mum, but she’s having none of it!
     
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  16. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Very good news that they're cuddling. I think taking kitten out of the picture for long periods will ease things a lot.
     
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  17. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    It’s definitely the dominant girl that’s being pouncey on mum. We’ve had interest in the kitten from potential buyers, so hoping he’ll be going to new home soon. Hopefully, they will settle down. Time will tell. Mum is still not comfortable around the two older girls. She seems bit more relaxed with the less dominant one though. The more dominant one is fine with kitten. The less dominant is not happy with kitten. Mum isn’t happy with either girls :/
     
  18. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I understand one of the girls is more assertive than the other girl. What have you observed as being the difference between the two girls' characters and with how they each relate to their mum?

    If one of the girls is more pushy and demanding with mum than the other girl, it's possible the pushy girl is like that because she feels less confident than the other girl so needs her mum more. Mum may well find such demands annoying from one of her grown up kittens, as she expects them to stand on their own feet now. If the other girl is more independent and doesn't pester mum as much, then that is why mum gets on better with her.
     
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  19. Ritamay

    Ritamay PetForums Junior

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    Yes, that’s right. She’s very demanding for attention. Even with me. She will sit on me pushing her head against me while mewing and chirping for me to stroke her and look at her and have a chat with her. The other one is not so demanding but will call for you to go and find her. Then when we do she loves to be stroked quite roughly. I love how they're all different in their ways. The demanding one still tries to sleep with Mum. Sometimes she will let her but is not too keen. The other one does pounce on her mum now and again too, but have noticed it’s mostly when demanding girl is around. Almost like she’s copying her behaviour.
     
  20. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    It's not so much that she's copying her behaviour I think, but more that when both girls are together with mum, they are both competing with each other for mum's attention. And so they both become more pushy. i.e. they wind each other up.

    I can now see what's going on.:) I'm glad I asked the right question, my apologies for not asking you sooner.

    What's happening is not actually about dominance, it's about competition and need. The more pushy girl feels she needs her mum's attention more than the other girl does. As you say, the pushy girl is demanding and pushy with you too. The other girl is more independent, more 'grown-up' if you like.

    It is possible the pushy girl will always be needy, bless her, no matter whom she lives with. If she no longer has access to her mum, she may be happier living as an only cat so she can have her humans all to herself, and will not have to share them with another cat. i,e, she could manage without her cat mum as long as she has a human 'mum' she can become very attached to instead.

    But for a minute let's say you were to keep just mum and the pushy girl (and re-homed the independent girl and the male kitten) it's possible the pushy girl might be less needy and demanding if it was just her and mum, so she would have her mum all to herself. On the other hand her pushiness may continue to be too much for her mum to cope with.

    Mum sounds as though she wants a quiet life without other cats in her face constantly. Though I am sure she will be Ok living with a cat (or cats) who respect her space. This is not going to change, it is mum's character, and would apply whether it was one of her grown up kittens or an unrelated cat.

    If, on the other hand, you kept the mum and the more independent girl and re-homed the pushy girl and the kitten to separate homes, mum may be much comfortable with that arrangement.

    I am concerned that because of the evident competition between the 2 girls for resources (in this case the "resource" is the attention both still want from their mum), there may always be competition between the girls when it comes to their mum, and mum may continue to find them vying for her attention exasperating. A comparison would be two adult human sisters, living with their mum, and both sisters wanting the bigger share of mum's attention, both wanting to be mum's 'favourite'. Imagine yourself living that like that and how stressful the whole set-up would be! :(

    Assuming you're planning to go ahead with homing the male kitten, that would leave the 3 females. I can only see it being a harmonious household if you never let the two girls be with mum at the same time. So, you would either allow:

    Mum and the pushy girl together,
    or Mum and the independent girl together
    Or the two girls together.

    It would keep you on your toes - quite a lot of constant reorganisation required to keep everyone happy. I know some people do it, but it can be too much, if for example a person has kids and a full time job.
     
    #40 chillminx, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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