Thursday, 29 November 2012

Just About

returning to the land of the living. Yesterday was the first day in about three weeks where my brain has actually felt like a brain, and not a tangled mass of unravelled knitting.

We've been ill, and it's all been rather unpleasant. 'Something viral', including protracted snuffles and- er- bathroom issues. To be honest I always feel a bit outraged when I succumb to anything like a vomiting bug, I always think surely I'm too old for this malarkey? It's like getting a spot- such things should be relegated to the realms of childhood and adolescence and not be allowed to spill over into adult life!

Anyway enough of that. There's been exciting times for the cats. I have two biggish rooms, side by side, those who have had a kitten from me will have been in the biggest room, which used to be my living room. The smaller one next to it was my bedroom. Well, I've switched them over. The new living room is empty, or rather at the moment it is full of boards as a plasterer does his thing- it's had soundproofing put into the ceiling. There's going to be a point to this ramble, so bear with me...

Sofia and Indigo shooting hate rays at each other... but at least they aren't fighting...

The hope is that this will cut down on any potential noise issues with the neighbours. The new lounge is surrounded by my bedroom and my L-shaped hallway, it does not border onto anyone else bar at the ceiling, which now has a false ceiling and a nice thick layer of rockwool in it to mop up sound. Frankly, I couldn't afford to have the room soundproofed properly, such an undertaking would have cost many thousands of pounds, and it isn't as though I plan on using it as a studio or anything! Furthermore, this new living room is under the upstairs neighbours' living room, meaning that when Indigo howls at night, the noise won't be in their bedroom nd disturb their sleep.

And now I come to the point: this has all been rather disturbing for the cats and they've all reacted in their own way to it, but the cat it has possibly made the most difference to is Ava. Once I'd opened up my bedroom to Indigo, Ava had taken to living in the hallway, she wouldn't have come into the living room, 'Indigo's room', at any cost, and for a while it looked as though she'd been ousted from the bedroom too, except at night. But switching the rooms about has had the effect of wiping the slate clean, terratorially. All the cats, including Ava (eventually) now use both the bedroom and the living room.

Indigo has felt the loss of 'her' territory, and has been a bit difficult, but rather less bumptious, which is altogether a Good Thing given that none of them currently have access to the living room at all and have to put up with each other 24/7. Once it's ready, Indigo will be put back in the living room at night though. She's in my room currently, and while she isn't fighting all night as she would usually have done, she is being a little territorial and yesterday left me a little 'gift' on a pile of clean towels. She absolutely knew what she'd done though, and ran and hid when I shouted and pointed and stomped my feet- she hasn't done it again.

So there you go... all you need to do to bring peace into a multi cat household, at least temporarily, is totally rearrange your living space, or alternatively move house. Simple eh? *rolls eyes*. I wonder if the peace will last?

bwahahahahah... you've got a hope, lady!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Service will resume...

Well, I don't know when it will resume. Because we have something nasty and viral and have seen more of our local hospital in the past 5 days than we have in the past ten years- the boy is worse than me I hasten to add. Possibly a bad case of norovirus, possibly not but anyway. Not pleasant. To make matters worse, the boy fell (fainted?) weds night and as he did so trapped his hand in the door. He needs an op to repair the damage but he can't have it at the moment as he's too poorly. Bad times.

I am extremely grateful we don't have kittens on the way- previous litters have been born early December. Not because we can infect the cats- we can't, not with noro, but because kittens take a lot of care and frankly I'm not up to taking care of me and the boy, let alone a parcel of newborn kittens.

Cats are all well, Theo is fine, although rather disgruntled as he hasn't been walked for days. Poor Theo!

Right. Well, I got out of bed at 1, it's now nearly 4, and I'm dropping with exhaustion, so time for a nice little snooze for me I think! See you soon...ish!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sick Day

Poor old Theo! He's having one of his funny turns, and keeps being sick. And because he's, frankly, a bit thick, as soon as he is sick, and starts to feel a bit better, he heads to the food bowl again. So today I've cleaned up more sick than I thought possible to fit into one medium sized cat.

He sounds like a football rattle, vomiting, so that made sure I was thoroughly awake at 5am, which is when he started. Thanks boy.

Poor old Theo. He does look sorry for himself.

The teenager is also sick, so I've been somewhat occupied today. I don't think I would have made a good nurse- vomit, sweaty brows and the like really not being my thing!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Losing It

Several days ago, I did a bad thing.

I came home from the school run, to find yet another steaming turd in the middle of my bed, and an Indigo smugly washing her paws next to it. I'm sorry to admit I then proceeded to do all the things one is Never Supposed To Do When Dealing With A Cat.

I shouted and swore. I picked her up, and none too gently either. I pushed her nose into the poop. I smacked her behind. I put the poop into the litter box, grabbed her again, and pulled her paw through the litter over the poop. I generally behaved like a big bully. Indigo ran and hid, and avoided me for the rest of the day.

Yes, I am appalled I lost my temper. No, I don't recommend this as a training technique for cats. Please don't do this. For the rest of the day Indigo was actually frightened of me, and I hated to have abused my size and power in that way. By the evening she was back to her normal snuggly self, but that's scarcely the point.

But the next day? Poop in the litter box. And the next, and the next (today). Don't tell me cats can't understand cause and effect. This one can.

Yesterday she tried to test me. In full view, she got onto my bed and squatted down, one eye on me to see what I would do... standing up and using a slightly raised voice sent her packing though- she tried this twice and then clearly thought better of it, took herself off to the litter tray and peed in there. She got a cuddle and a treat for her troubles. Today I saw her eyeing me/ the bed thoughtfully before trotting off to the litter tray and peeing in there. I've put her in the living room whenever I've been out, and we've had a non weed and pooed on bed for 3 days now- after a month of daily boil washes.

I'm not sure what to make of all this if I'm honest. My concern is that- ok Indigo will test me repeatedly I am sure... so when she figures out that I'm not going to go bonkers again will she go right back to her old ways? At worst, this is a momentary lull, but I'm not knocking it.

I already know that the best way to deal with Indigo is to mimic her. If she's following Sofia round, posturing, if I then follow HER around, puff my shoulders up and hiss, catlike, she doesn't like that ONE BIT and stops her own aggression. Thinking about it, I'm not surprised such an overt show of dominance and aggression (from me) 'worked'- if only temporarily.

I'm just not sure how to best translate that into an ongoing response- because clearly I'm not about to start crapping on my bed.

Sigh... why is this one such very hard work???

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

What To Do

Written a few days ago. Then I thought better of posting it. Then I thought better of not posting it... so here we go. Advice very much appreciated

Indigo is a lovely, lovely cat. I adore her. But... she's difficult. She's always been difficult. She's a jarring element and has been since a kitten, I often joke that if Indigo had been my first cat she'd have been an only cat but the fact of the matter is, she'd probably be fine as an only cat. People, she adores, her own kittens? Loves them. Other cats, not so much.

Earlier this year, Theo had a phase where he seemed very low, kind of depressed. He perked up again and is now OK, but I was concerned enough to research the issue and even consider finding him a quieter home. Now Ava's health is in question, although she, too, seems better now. But that's two of my cats reacting to a stressful living situation by getting sick, and whilst I hate to admit it, I think the cause is Indigo.

She is just so aggressive towards the other two girls. As I type this it is half past nine in the morning, I let her out of the living room at 8 am today and she's already gone for Sofia three times and Ava once, Theo has taken refuge in the boy's room and the boy and I are feeling cross and jangly. Integrating them has helped with the level of out and out agression, it IS better than it used to be, but Indigo is now indulging in regular territorial/ stress related behaviours, such as weeing- and pooping- on my bed. As in every day.

I've got feliway diffusers in several rooms, Rescue Remedy in their water, and seperate eating and toilet facilities, but it isn't helping. And now my neighbours are complaining about the noise she makes- she yowls when she's facing off with another cat and she is Very Loud. Oh they haven't been nasty about it, but isn't fair they should have to be disturbed in their own home. Something has to be done.

My friend has offered giving Indigo a trial living with her. I said I'd never ever rehome one of my cats... but I am seriously considering it. I must stress that it isn't the 'ideal' home for Indigo in that it has three young children, and she'd have access to outside, but I am questioning if she would do better there than here. I would obviously then be able to visit or advise. Or I could try and find her another home, but then I'd have to make a clean break with her- at least at my friend's I can visit!

Possible solutions- and issues with those:

1) Keep Indigo, neuter her, and see if she settles down.
The problem here is that I don't believe she will settle down. Not to that extent. She won't be hormonal, and that will help, but the fact will still remain that she just doesn't like other cats (unless they are her own kittens. Or Theo.) She's currently on the Pill, so without the worst of her hormones... she's still aggressive. I'm just not confident neutering would work, and once neutered, that's goodbye to breeding for me.

2) Keep Indigo, breed her, keep a kitten, neuter Indigo, hope for the best.
All the problems inherent in 1) but with the addition of another cat- not really a solution! Indigo turns into a normal cat when she has kittens though, she doesn't wee inappropriately, she isn't hyper-agressive, etc etc...

3) Keep Indigo, neuter her, and buy another kitten.
Not going to happen. The point of keeping another, home bred kitten is that I could integrate the baby with my other cats from the very start. Indigo came to my house and promptly spent 3 weeks in isolation, so strenuously did she object to the other cats. We reached an uneasy truce, but an ideal start it was NOT. Bringing in another strange cat to an already unstable mix would be foolish.

4) Neuter Indigo and rehome her
It might not work. Indigo is needy and anxious and very attached to me, would she sabotage it? Would the three children be just too much for her? Would I end up taking back a stressed and resentful kitty with behaviours ten times worse than they currently are?

5) Breed Indigo,  keep a kitten, neuter Indigo and rehome her.
As 4, but then I'd have the additional complication of another cat. And it just seems so horrid, like I'd be 'replacing' Indigo. And there's no guarantee she'd have a girl, let alone a girl suitable for breeding.

6) Breed Indigo, keep a kitten, neuter Indigo and rehome her with one of her kittens
Hang the cost  (because I wouldn't charge for the kitten, naturally) this might be the best solution, the presence of her kitten at her new home would calm her, distract the children (why bother a skittish old Mama when there's a friendly baby to play with?) and meet her need for company, because she DOES love her babies and she DOES love Theo, too. But again, as 4, but only then I would have SIX cats... both kittens would have to be rehomed.

7) Medication.
Try to get some kind of sedative for Indigo in the short term, just to calm everything down here a bit. If necessary, medicate Theo and/ or Ava as well. Just till everyone chills out a bit more. Ugh, I have BIG issues with this as you may well imagine! It isn't really an option for me. If they are that stressed, a chemical cosh isn't the answer.

Or, I suppose:

8) Do nothing, and carry on as normal.

If anyone has any advice to give me, I'd gladly hear it. I really don't know what to do. Indigo's place here seems unworkable as things currently stand, but...

I love her. And I don't want her to go.