Yikes! We had a breakthrough in the household. Multi-cat homes can pose problems especially if the cats are not related and arrive at different times.
All cats have their own distinct personalities:
Jinx is my eight year old female tortoiseshell who has been with me since she was a few weeks old. She was found in a puddle in the middle of a road. My daughter and her husband saw her and slammed on the brakes. She was very ill with pneumonia and nearly died. After lots of loving care, Jinx proved to be a survivor although she is a bit small she is full of fun. She tends to be submissive and rather shy.
Heathcliffe was my daughter’s cat. He’s ten now and is a beautiful black and white tom. He opened a window while I was looking after him and escaped. We searched everywhere and asked all our neighbours – I live in the country -, we appealed on Facebook and I called and called for him every day. After two years we presumed we would never see him again, so imagine my surprise when I came home one evening and found him on the doorstep. He was in a pitiful state and had obviously lived rough for the two years. He had a massive growth in one ear which had burst and he was covered in blood. I took him to the vet and was told that the prognosis was not good. The gave him antibiotics to clean up the worst of the infection before they could even assess the damage. They found that he had a massive polyp but they weren’t sure how far into the ear canal the polyp was or how big it was or even if there were more behind it. I asked them to try to help him so they went ahead and operated on him. To my surprise the vet had good news and Heathcliffe is now strong and healthy and so far, a year after the operation, he has no signs of another polyp growing. He is quiet and likes to be left alone. He has a temper when he’s roused but for the most part he is gentle and sociable,
Skylar is the baby of the family and he arrived just before Heathcliffe. Jinx didn’t take to him at first but Skylar ignored this and followed her around until she finally started to tolerate him.
Then Heathcliffe arrived.
Things went downhill. Skylar decided that Heathcliffe was going to be his new best friend. He quickly wore Heathcliffe down and the two have been best friends ever since. That left Jinx on her own. She and Heathcliffe decided that they hated each other and for months they could not be in the same room.
I introduced a lot more beds – on furniture, under furniture, upstairs and downstairs. I got extra litter trays. I gave each cat a designated space in the kitchen for mealtimes – Heathcliffe and Skylar interchange theirs but Jinx won’t go near the boys’ ones. When the fur flew (literally) I distracted them by opening the cupboard doors and loudly calling Skylar.
Gradually, things improved. After about six months, Jinx began to come into the living-room at the same time as Heathcliffe. They still growled and spat at each other but I made a point of stroking all three of them and mixing the scents.
After a year, they began to sit on opposite ends of the sofa at the same time. The growling and spitting lessened but occasionally they would have a major battle. One night they all came and sat on me at the same time. It didn’t last long but it was nice while it lasted.
Finally, last night, Jinx walked up to Heathcliffe in the kitchen and gently touched her nose to his.
It’s not earth-shattering but to me it’s like getting to the end of a marathon. There’s still a long way to go before we win but we are on the way.
Cats are all different and they must be given plenty of space and privacy so that they can develop their own friendships, at their own pace and in their own way.