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'Inseparable' sisters don't like each other.

(24 Posts)
Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 10:29:41

I adopted two five year old Persian sisters from a specialist rescue last August. They had been used as breeding cats and had lived in a cattery all their lives. They were in a pretty bad state when rescued, As part of a group of six) and had never lived in a home or had any affection until going into foster care at the rescue. It took them a long time to settle in with me as they were very very anxious. But are now the most affectionate, funny and beautiful cats I could imagine and I adore them and they me. The rescue said they were inseparable and would sleep entwined in each other and didn't cope with being separated. ( for vets visits etc). Since coming to me they really don't seem to like each other. Will take a swipe at each other and actively avoid the other one. No real fighting but no affection either. I think they still rely on each other if frightened and still don't cope well if seperated. Does anyone have any ideas how to get them a bit closer. Sorry for the waffle. smile

Heyheyheygoodbye Sun 15-May-16 10:40:47

I adopted siblings who didn't really get on, despite the rescue saying they must stay together. The girl cat was quite Siamese in appearance and behaviour and a lot of it was about her access to me. I believe Siamese can bond very strongly with owners so could some of the discord be because they both think you ought to be their human alone?

For me it worked out because her lovely gentle emphatically non-Siamesey brother spent his time with DH instead. My girl died late last year and I miss her terribly but I do get lot of cuddles from her brother now at least smile

There is a book which has helped us a lot called Cat vs Cat. It has a whole section on existing cat relationships. Worth a look?

Heyheyheygoodbye Sun 15-May-16 10:41:26

Ah somehow I mis-read Persian as Siamese! Sorry! blush

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 10:46:32

Thanks Heyhey, I'll take a look at that book. I know the foster carer found the smallest one very dominant and used to have to put them in seperate rooms in order to give the other one more attention. Though since having surgery to widen her nose, the bigger one is holding her own more. ( now she can breathe, she's a different girl)

Heyheyheygoodbye Sun 15-May-16 10:47:07

Oh bless her!! They sound gorgeous. Feel free to show us a picture wink

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 12:44:48

Thank you. They are gorgeous, totally rubbish at being cats though. And I had no idea that cats could be so thick!

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 12:47:16

I think you may have hit the nail on the head. I live on my own so they only have me and perhaps don't like to share me.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 15-May-16 12:56:57

The first one looks just like one of ours. She is a moggy but likewise has no idea how to be a cat, despite her brother being a particularly good cat. She likes being inside, sprinkled with water, she can't climb trees, catch anything or even meow properly. When we first took her and her brother they would curl up together and sleep. As they have become bolder and trusting us more they haven't wanted each other as much. They do still groom eachother and will also have a mad five minute chase around the house. They do make feelings known if the other one is where they want to be. It is very much a sibling relationship.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 13:16:49

Sound familiar, they can't catch anything either. Can't climb and trying to find toys they know how to play with has been very difficult! They just stare at those teaser toys, as if to say ' what am I supposed to do with that!! They do remind me of toddler siblings, but never groom each other or anything like that.

Heyheyheygoodbye Sun 15-May-16 13:29:44

Ah look at their faces!! They are heavenly! I love them.

We've had rescue cats who didn't know how to play. He learned in the end grin

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 15-May-16 13:30:17

To be fair it is proper cat who tends to groom fake cat. I think he finds it somewhat embarrassing that she can't fully groom herself. Likewise he will play with teasers and other toys but she won't. She is cute and affectionate though.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 13:47:41

I spent a fortune on toys for them and they play with them a bit, their favourite thing is the plastic covers that go on our themometers at work. I always come home with a pocket full of them. The bossy one gets very vocal playing with them. It's so cute. I was gobsmacked the other day when she knocked the waste paper basket in the bedroom over to get them out. Couldn't believe she had the brain cells to know where they were! Little squidge.

OTheHugeManatee Sun 15-May-16 13:52:50

Try them with wine bottle corks. Our cats love to play cork football and will
pick them up and carry them around like they've caught a small rodent.

I agree that they might be fighting over you.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 15-May-16 16:47:00

Thanks. It had never occurred to me that they were fighting over me. I thought they just didn't need each other in the same way. I don't like wine but will try and find some corks. Thanks for the tip.

lljkk Sun 15-May-16 17:08:58

They sound normal, OP, honest! I've lived with several sets of sibling pairs & they stay at best tolerant rather than friends into adulthood. It's fine, as long as they don't draw blood or yowl endlessly at each other.

It was very sweet when my boys used to curl up in a ball together, but no more. Mine will often still share a food bowl, though, that's their friendliest moment.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 16-May-16 08:55:59

FWIW we adopted 'inseparable' sibling cats and they don't see much of each other as adults. Girl cat has the house as her territory and boy cat has the garden. He likes to ambush her quite hard if she ventured out hmm But they still sometimes curl up together if it's a cold night.

It's hard to say with cats sometimes. Their body language can be quite nuanced and swiping may not mean outright hostility, just setting boundaries.

It could also be the new scents that have disrupted their relationship. Cats signal friendship to one another by mixing scents, and avoid conflict by keeping their distance. As they've moved to a new 'territory' the conflict could be in part caused by smelling less of one another combined by still being on the same or overlapping 'territory'.

If you're worried about their aggression try feeding them in separate rooms and giving each its own litter tray. Being able to eat and poo separately could help de-escalate conflict.

Meanwhile take a hanky and wipe it gently around one cat's face area, following the fur/whisker direction, while feeding a small treat. Then repeat, with the same hanky, on the second cat. Then re-wipe the same hanky on the first cat. That will transfer scent from the cats' face scent glands between them, while associating the scent sharing with nice treats. If you repeat this every so often it can help 'mediate' and re-establish the relationship.

In this way you're giving them opportunities to have more space whilst at the same time mixing scents for them in a way that signals friendship.

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-May-16 10:13:43

Thanks. I did wonder about the scent issue. The nearest they ever get to each other is a little bit of sneaky sniffing. I have to wipe their faces a lot coz they have snotty eyes so will try transferring. They were rescued, put in a cattery while having vet treatment etc then went to foster care, then to me. So it's not suprising their little brains are confused!

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-May-16 10:16:04

They are fine with sharing the litter tray and originally had separate bowls but quite happily eat out the same one. Just not at the same time! They still rely on each other though and follow each other around.hmm

OTheHugeManatee Mon 16-May-16 12:54:45

The cattery could have affected them if they were separated - they would have come back smelling of unfamiliar things and not of each other any more.

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-May-16 13:44:34

Yes. And the foster carer has other cats. I believe there was also a third sister but she died.

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-May-16 14:50:38

Shamelessly showing them offgrin

lljkk Mon 16-May-16 19:09:06

awwwww... they aren't that rat-arsed with each other. My brothers wouldn't share an adult bed, no way.

Heyheyheygoodbye Mon 16-May-16 19:32:40

Ah they look calm enough in the pic. They're gorgeous grin

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-May-16 19:40:05

No they aren't that bad with each other. It's just not the relationship I expected. Their latest trick is one sleeping either side of me on top of the duvet, so I am pinned in and can't get up. Maybe their dislike of each other is just a ruse and they are secretly in league!

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