WWYD, cats not getting on & will only get worse

(20 Posts)
TheNoodlesIncident Mon 07-Mar-16 21:57:39

Has anyone else been in this situation...

In September last year DH and I adopted a rescued cat. She had been hanging around the rescuer's house begging for food and it became obvious she was pregnant. The rescuer took her in and looked after her, getting her vet attention as necessary and looking after the kittens. We saw the cat advertised as needing a new home when the kittens were weaned. The rescue people wanted to keep one of the kittens if their existing cats were agreeable. But they weren't and we agreed to take on the kitten as well. We felt mum and kitten would be content together as they were closely related.

But they aren't. It wasn't bad at first as kitten was still young although totally weaned. They played together but mum cat was clearly starting to get to fed up. Her growls and stalking off escalated to growls, hisses and swats with her paw. It has escalated further to her hitting her kitten with her claws out, causing damage to the kitten's face. I took the kitten to the vet's for a check-up of the scratches (and to make sure the missing fur on her forehead wasn't ringworm). The anti-inflammatory tablets have helped but she still looks a bit battered. The vet thinks once she accepts she has to play second fiddle, they might settle down a bit.
But.
I don't want the kitten to be second fiddle. She is already becoming withdrawn, hiding out in dark rooms on her own, instead of curling up on our laps. She has quite an outgoing personality and, because she has been with us since she was very young, she is more OUR cat. Her mum is lovely with people but is not a lap cat... and I wouldn't dare to fuff her tummy like we do with the kitten

We are torn because we wanted to offer poor mum a forever home, and now I don't see how we can keep them both. We can't keep them separated in the house all the time. There is nowhere for a cat flap at the moment. I have posted about this cat before, she is very territorial and will not stand for other cats on her patch. I think she has actually been restrained towards her offspring so far, as she has bitten the neighbour's cat quite badly.

What the hell can we do?? We do love them both. (I cry when I think of having to rehome her, but I also cry when I see her forlorn baby with scratched eyelids sad)

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 07-Mar-16 22:01:02

How old is the kitten? It's quite normal for mum to turn on kittens because she needs to be kitten free to mate again.

We had an ex queen and her kitten, both alpha cats but the daughter submitted and they largely avoided each other.

TheNoodlesIncident Mon 07-Mar-16 22:13:15

She's 8 months now. I can see mum would be irritated by her hanging around still, if they just avoided each other it wouldn't be so bad. Kitten does a lot of sitting and staring hard at mum though, which must be annoying. They have both been spayed, I thought it might help mum calm down a bit but it doesn't seem to have.

Thank you for your reply fluffy

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 07-Mar-16 22:16:36

It's all mum knows though, breed, drive kittens away. Rinse and repeat.

Have you looked at zylkene?. It might calm them both down.

Room101isWhereIUsedToLive Mon 07-Mar-16 22:28:59

If the kitten feels more like your cat and something like zylkene or feliway doesn't help her to calm down, then you may not have a choice but to rehome her.
Could you talk to the original rescue place about what is happening?

TheNoodlesIncident Mon 07-Mar-16 22:30:07

Not heard of that thanks, will look into it. I've had Felliway plug-ins (upstairs and downstairs) and they don't seem to have made any difference.

I'm finding the cat behaviour really stressful. In retrospect it was a mistake to take the kitten too but we didn't realise that at the time.

TheNoodlesIncident Mon 07-Mar-16 22:45:14

Hi Room, the original rescuer has two cats of her own, she is an ordinary cat owner rather than an animal shelter.

My DS has noticed the injuries to the kitten's face and is upset. He wants me to separate them so she won't get hurt any more but I don't know how I'd achieve it.

Sanchar Mon 07-Mar-16 22:58:57

I've experienced similar, but not similar😸

We "rescued" a kitten from a shitty byb, poor thing was weaned too early and was riddled with fleas.
Took it home with high hopes.
Resident cat hated it. We tried for a year to make it work, posted here and followed all advice etc, resident cat still hated kitten and eventually started going feral. We wouldn't see him for a month then he would come in and prowl around growling like a terrified, cornered tiger.

We decided to rehome kitten. Found an excellent no kill shelter run by extreme cat lovers and she was rehomed within days of being put up for adoption.
She was a lovely cat and I still miss her😿

Resident cat returned to normal within days of kitten leaving.

I would consider rehoming kitten, kittens are rehomed much easier than adult cats. Catchat.org. have lists of no kill shelters if you do decide to go down that road.

TheNoodlesIncident Mon 07-Mar-16 23:14:29

shock I couldn't give up the kitten.

I feel terrible that I have even considered rehoming mum. We didn't take her on thinking "well we can give her up if it doesn't work". It seems worse that we set out to rehome HER but have ended up loving the kitten far more.

Gawd I'm a horrible owner. Poor cat. sad

Room101isWhereIUsedToLive Tue 08-Mar-16 13:34:33

You aren't horrible. I don't think you could have foreseen this situation.
Are there any local rescues you could talk to?
Or perhaps try a behaviorist?

TheNoodlesIncident Tue 08-Mar-16 16:32:49

Thank you all for being kind. There are a few shelters around our way, I'll look some up. I do think that there wouldn't be too much difficulty in finding a home for her, she is beautiful and apart from needing to be an Only Cat, she has no serious issues. She is only young, the first vet reckoned she wasn't much over a year old.

A behaviourist sounds like a good idea, but I suspect they will say this is normal cat behaviour...

Sanchar Tue 08-Mar-16 20:54:48

There is no shame in admitting that it's not working out. The situation will in all probability get worse, which will not be fair on either animal.

The shelter will understand your situation, it's not like you're dumping the cat/kitten for scratching the furniture!

I hope that everything works out well in the end😺

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 09-Mar-16 12:52:51

SHE KNOWS

She is sitting by my chair maiowing at me with an intent stare.

I love her so much. sad

She has been very stressed, over grooming her legs until she has raw looking skin. When I noticed that I realised that she was under pressure as much as the kitten

MsMims Wed 09-Mar-16 19:43:59

The rescue should never have let you take a mother and kitten sad

It's very common for this to happen, they should have been rehomed separately.

I would keep the mother cat and return the kitten. The mother cat has had a harder life and will be more susceptible to the stress of being shunted from home to home than a kitten. Ideally the kitten should be in a home with another kitten, or young playful cat anyway.

In the meantime, keep them completely separate to avoid more injuries. I know it's a PITA as I've had to do it myself but it's not worth them getting hurt.

OddsandSods Wed 09-Mar-16 21:13:14

Do you have a friend or neighbour who can take one of them op? Might be easier for you if you know where they're going and can stay in touch. Must be horrible for you all. Sometimes they just don't get on and it's kinder to rehome one as the stress is really hard on everyone.

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 09-Mar-16 22:03:14

The rescue people were just an ordinary couple, they planned to keep the kitten themselves but their cats didn't like it. In retrospect I should have suggested they look for a new home for the kitten but I didn't. I didn't realise it wouldn't work out. Mother cat doesn't like other cats and I have to let her out to a schedule to allow the neighbouring cats to get their fresh air without being bitten by ours.

I have emailed a shelter near us and they have said that they have come across this very often. They don't have space to take any more in but will help if I want to advertise on their site to find a new owner.

I don't know anyone who wants a cat. I would want to be VERY careful about where she goes.

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 09-Mar-16 22:05:04

Oh rats, meant to say thanks for your suggestions!

Sanchar Wed 09-Mar-16 22:16:39

Please try catchat.org, you click on your region and loads of shelters will come up. I phoned about 30 of them before I found one that had room to take my kitty. Don't give up after one knock back.

Go through a proper rescue unless you know the new owners personally, they will do proper home checks etc, the 'using them as bait for dog fights' thing may not be true but I wouldn't take the risk!

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 04-May-16 21:45:21

Thanks to all who posted on this thread, I have an update: mum cat has been rehomed by my local Cats Protection. The new owner had very recently lost her own cat - shelter had matched her with a cat advertised for rehoming but the cat's owner changed her mind at the last minute shock. New owner was delighted with my lovely girl though, so with my cat getting a loving new home all to herself with no pesky kittens being all bolshy, and bereaved lady getting a truly fantastic cat, it is a win-win situation really.

I have cried buckets though - the sight of my bed blanket without a cat-shaped warm dent hit home that she was really gone. sad I know it's for the best - my other cat is a lot calmer and has stopped mis-placed pooing - but I miss her so much.

cozietoesie Wed 04-May-16 21:52:59

Your remaining cat will likely 'expand to fill the hole'. (I've had this happen and very weird it is too.) Give it a few days.

smile

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