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BuggersMoggy has taken up brawling :-(

(17 Posts)
BuggersMuddle Thu 23-Apr-15 23:36:56

Just that really. There's been a bit of upheaval of late locally so lots of the other cats have been invading the 'new' territory (building site, previously his haunt but obviously the areas he's scented now demolished / dug up).

Unfortunately BuggersMoggy has started beating up the competition. He's always showed 'top cat' behaviours, but until the building site situation most local moggies just avoided him or were let off with a swift paw and a chase.

Now he's rolling in caked in mud, with the occasional scratch (although not often) and with vast quantities of cat hair stuck in his paws. He is clearly very stressed with the building work and we are trying to make sure he gets plenty of nice food, attention, brushing etc. but I'm not sure it's working.

Are there any ways we can try to calm him down or do we just have to wait until the invading cats have got the message? Part of me thinks 'cats are cats' and another thinks 'oh shit, I own the neighbourhood bully'.

cozietoesie Thu 23-Apr-15 23:47:06

It's nerve-wracking having the local alpha cat - you spend your time worrying about them and about the others. To a degree, I'm not sure you can do much more than let things take their course albeit keeping the animal insurance papers close to hand and making sure that the house is a great and safe environment if he were to feel wobbly.

How old is he though? (Just wondering if some bright young sparks might be taking the opportunity of change to challenge the old bull.)

BuggersMuddle Fri 24-Apr-15 00:00:54

From what we were told (previous owner), he's 15-16 cozietoesie although I can't 'prove' he's more than 13 and the vet was amazed at his health, so we think his age may be a little over-stated. Either way he's not a youngster, so I did wonder about the 'challengers' and I know that day will come (and probably soon).

He brought a pigeon over a nearly 6 ft wall and through the cat flap a few days ago though (bleurgh) so I don't think he's failing yet, but am still keeping an eye as I have been since my first thread on this. I suspect it's more that this was the main part of his territory (there are 7 houses being built and the whole area was his hunting ground) so his scent will pretty much disappear daily (I think?) until they start to make some progress upwards.

There are a lot of young, large, male cats though locally.

I've donated a coveted blanket to the cause of getting him comfy indoors and acquiesced on his desire to snooze on the bed when we're in. (Not when we're out because I really don't want the pigeon incident reenacted on my bedclothes grin). He really doesn't know what to do with cat toys sadly - bit dim in that regard.

BuggersMuddle Fri 24-Apr-15 00:11:14

Oh and YY to nerve-wracking. I've always known his nature (didn't start off as a house cat, or so I'm led to believe), but I obviously would prefer he keeps his more murderous instincts to rats and pigeons grin

BuggersMuddle Fri 24-Apr-15 00:21:52

Sorry should have said first thread was on stress & building works, not brawling. I think actually it was you cozietoesie who suggested I keep an eye for young contenders.

cozietoesie Fri 24-Apr-15 00:42:12

I recall the first thread.

Yes - the day will come and it will likely be a difficult one. The issue for me would be that he might not realize it himself and get into a fight he can't win because he's simply too old. sad How long do feral toms last after all? 3-5 years, say?

I don't think there's much you can do apart from try to keep him in as much as you can - eg at night - and hope that he starts to like it. Does he have a tray inside?

BuggersMuddle Fri 24-Apr-15 01:32:39

He doesn't - vet suggested that as and when he needs it we start a tray with some earth to encourage him inside, but no immediate need. The other thing that is entirely possible is to cat proof our back garden as it's completely enclosed. He's used to roaming widely but I think we move towards it (we're going to have an access problem with the building anyway, so the solution is either create access for cat or restrict cat to garden / front door only if humans around).

He does spend a lot of time lazing around the garden / decking and to be honest, if he wasn't challenged I think he'd be entirely lazy barring the odd rat hunt.

It's tricky - I don't want to curtail him until I have to, but I'd be gutted if as you say he got into something he couldn't get out of. He's a big bugger though (5kg and can put front paws on kitchen worktop with rear paws on the floor) which is probably also helping longevity. He also coped with the cattery visit just fine (not happy, but the mog is never happy unless king, really) which makes me think I may be worrying unnecessarily.

Hard to tell if this is just building or the inevitable downward spiral.

cozietoesie Fri 24-Apr-15 09:20:29

However old he really is, there's no question that he's basically getting on is there though?

On the matter of the tray, I'd be tempted to put one inside anyway. From what you're saying, you're almost viewing 'immediate need' as him actually having accidents inside the house whereas I'd see that as pretty well too late. I think that a cat knowing that he can do his duty inside if needs be is a massive incentive to staying closer to home and might also cut down on anxiety and aggressive behaviour as he wouldn't have to worry so much about clearing his territory to have a poo in peace for example. I'd be giving it a try right now and seeing if he uses it over the next few weeks. You might be surprised.

(By the way, earth is quite horrible in a tray in my experience - it goes into mud and forms a hard crust etc so I wouldn't use it unless seriously pushed. If you were to put a tray inside in a more relaxed fashion, I'd be tempted to go to litter from the start - or at most, sprinkle some earth (on top of litter) as a hint.)

BuggersMuddle Fri 24-Apr-15 23:42:20

Oh no, I wouldn't view immediate need as getting to the stage where he's toileting randomly - wouldn't let it get to that stage at all. He's really nowhere near though - behaviour-wise he's not changed much in 6 years (other than getting a bit more cuddly with more regular human contact) other than since they dug up his rat / mouse hunting territory.

I do take your point though that we should prep early rather than respond too late. From a selfish perspective, of course we prefer the fact we don't need to clean up poo routinely, but then we took him on knowing his age so expected it to happen at some point. (Not that we've not had some clean up anyway, given he managed to get a bug rolling around in the building site and took to vomiting (vet, antibiotics, sorted)). I have been reluctant (DP moreso), but would like a less stressed cat who doesn't follow me around the house complaining, so I need to convince DP this is the right thing to do.

TBH sooner the building is over the better. Then I can evaluate my ageing alpha cat on his own merits rather than while he's stressed and anxious.

cozietoesie Sat 25-Apr-15 00:32:05

I'll keep my fingers crossed that the building work goes well.

You might remind DP about my experiences with The Lodger, though. He was abandoned as a kit, raised himself on the streets and came to us as a hugely streetwise Alpha male who foraged for all his food and used outside for his toileting.

I can't now remember why I put him out a tray because moving in on us from the streets, he wasn't given a 3 week house arrest but anyway - I did. And he loved it. He was a young cat (about 2-3) so didn't need it overnight but I think he liked to be able to use it of a morning and then go outside with a 'clear mind'. (He was a serious Topcat but very friendly with other toms - if it came to a fight, he'd never back down but he preferred to mooch companionably if he could. Nothing to prove, really - he was so obviously No 1.)

I've never worried about an indoor tray - I don't mind tray cleaning, it helps you to keep a weather eye on their general health via their innards and it sure saves arguments with neighbours about poo in the rose beds. The Lodger liked it anyway.

Good luck to your lad and let us know how he gets on.

smile

RubbishMantra Sat 25-Apr-15 00:32:26

YY to instating a litter tray. He'll feel more secure having the choice of indoor facilities. They're vulnerable when having a crap, therefore more open to attack. And those younger toms might be taking their chance to get their own back on the aging alpha male.

cozietoesie Sat 25-Apr-15 00:44:28

It's come back to me - I gave him a tray because we kept him inside for a day or two when he visited the vet. (Losing two of his appendages was one of the terms for joining the household along with a night curfew - still a good deal for him I think.)

BuggersMuddle Sat 25-Apr-15 00:45:11

That's true cozie - I can mention to DP about keeping an eye health wise as when we did take him in with a bug I wasn't able to provide much useful information about his toileting habits. I think we need to just sort out a tray even if it isn't his plan A.

Funnily enough our moggy has befriended female cats (all neutered) and less dominant males despite being a bit of a loner. His current nemesis (spotted today and by looking at fur in paws) seems to be a youngster that he chased off as a kitten a year ago. Kitten's tiny but aggressive (I actually witnessed) but little hope of winning.

cozie I will pass on you wisdom, but do you have any threads about The Lodger? He sounds a bit like BuggerMoggy. BuggersMoggy being essentially semi-feral in most behaviours, but learned lapcat tendencies based on human interaction from about 10 (if we assume he's 16)

cozietoesie Sat 25-Apr-15 01:02:39

No specific threads I'm afraid and he's now moved on to pastures new.

Seniorboy hates other cats with a deep and deadly loathing and when we moved to this place, we couldn't maintain a cordon sanitaire to keep them apart enough to be happy. Just a house layout issue.

Lord knows that The Lodger tried all his best behaviours - he wanted to be friendly - with belly exposure, nosing, chirrups etc etc but Seniorboy just looked at him as if he was something scraped off a shoe and went off in high dudgeon. Seniorboy being so old, we didn't have a lot of choice so after enough time to try for an accommodation, a new home was found for The Lodger - and I understand he's now as happy as anything catching rabbits, rats, voles, the odd horse or sheep doubtless, Gawd knows what in fact! (He's a fine hunter.)

BuggersMuddle Tue 05-May-15 19:38:21

Just thought I'd give an update. I tried litter: so far he's having none of it, but I will persevere!

However, I had to lock the cat flap (more wet concrete) and he actually took it quite well as long as he got human attention on his terms, so I think keeping him in more (while we're in in the evening) may be an option. He doesn't do his brawling during the day when we're at work as far as I can see, so this could work and still give him the freedom he wants. That's the current strategy and we'll see where we get to with the litter.

Prior to this revelation he did get into another fight and came away with a wonky claw (fine now), but nemesis cat was looking rather worse and his tail looks to be at a jaunty angle, so this definitely isn't something I can comfortably ignore sad although I wish nemesis cat's owners would just spey him because I don't want to explain to them that their moggy's writing cheques his paws can't cash, as it were

cozietoesie Tue 05-May-15 20:18:34

What litter did you try? Any chance of mixing the top layer with a little soil for a few days until he gets the idea?

Hopefully, if nemesis cat was beaten up chastised, he will be a little more respectful for a short while and give your boy a chance to get his bearings?

BuggersMuddle Tue 05-May-15 20:56:43

Bog standard Catsan cozie. He was quite content to use it at the cattery (or at least they didn't complain of outside / random soiling) but other than a wee sniff here he doesn't seem inclined towards it at all confused We are decorating which really doesn't help at all and I do know that, but it was all planned / booked prior to the building work starting.

Nemesis has had the proverbial shit thoroughly beaten out of him (which makes me feel fairly guilty because it's not his fault he's a dafty) about 3 days ago and he is a lot less visible. I don't know where he lives sadly (except in general terms), which I do feel a bit of guilt about because the potentially broken tail is not good (although according to vet BuggersMoggy has also had one at an early age and is none the worse. I may be rationalising here.).

There's no more digging now, which is good and BuggersMoggy has largely reclaimed his territory. Fewer random cats in the area other than nemesis and he's definitely getting calmer.

He's taking our stairs like a pensioner, but that may be because we've just painted them....

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