An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cat Stops Pooping in Box

Dear Greyce,

I am 18 months old and live in a home that already has a cat (female) my age and a dog. I am happy and playful and love sitting on purrsons. Lately I've become skittish - for no apparent reason that anyone can discern. However I have stopped using the litter box as a place in which to poop.
Can you help me?

The Mystery Pooper

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aggression Between Cats: Update on Ziggy & Pearl

Dear Greyce,

We have tried two of your suggestions already.

First, Herself now intervenes within the first 30 seconds of my staring and Pearl and hey . . . I think I'm getting it now. I understand that she is NOT pleased when I do that. I really want to keep doing it, but I'm trying to behave. So I only stared at Pearl twice last night which is a record. Because in the last couple of months I average five or more times a night.

Second, Herself is spending longer periods of individual time with Pearl, as you also suggested. I'm not happy about that, but Pearl certainly is. And she seems a little less stressed.

So it seems like we've started the road back to a more peaceable kingdom - like we used to have.

How We Used To Be
 Now I have a question for you. You suggested a cat apartment (wire dog crate) for Pearl. How about me?

Themselves were wondering if we could have one each. That way, we could be in the same general vicinity at times, without Pearl stressing out. It would also make it easier to switch us between the bedroom and living room, without having to catch us first.

And also, do we have to stay in the cages all day and all night?

Let me know your thoughts,


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Aggression Between Cats Who Used to Get Along: Ziggy & Pearl

Dear Greyce,

I am writing on behalf of my sister, Pearl, and myself, both age 7 and a half.

Pearl is a spayed female who has fluffy grey, mottled fur. She is intelligent, very curious and also shy - or shall I say, purrhaps lacks confidence? For example, when we first arrived here (almost 7 years ago) it took 6 months before she let anyone pet her. Now she enjoys being petted but when it gets to be too much, will walk away. Pearl is a cat's cat; that is, she prefurrs the company of a cat to the company of a human.I was her number one being in her life.

I am a spayed male with short fur in a stunning black and grey, tiger-striped pattern. I'm intelligent and can listen to commands - though I do play dumb when I don't want to cooperate. I'm a people-oriented cat. I adore my folks and like to have them around me; I also love to cuddle with them.

When we were adopted (at 6 months of age), Pearl and I were inseparable. As we felt more secure in our home, we'd spend some time together and some apart. Pearl has always wanted to spend more time with me than I do with her.

We both enjoy play. When alone, we both like small mice and balls. With the folks, we love Da Bird (a fishing-pole type toy with feathers at the end) or reasonable facsimile thereof. Pearl especially likes cat-to-cat play, but I prefur to play with the folks. Sometimes I'd have to give her a look to get her to back off, because she was getting annoying. But all in all, we got along quite well.

And then . . . I went to the dreaded vet . . . alone! And since then, life as we knew it has never been the same.

When I came home I immediately ran to the bedroom for safety and hid. When I encountered Pearl later that afternoon, we had a fight. Our folks broke it up.

We were at it again in the early hours of the morning. They tried wiping us with each other's scents to give us a sense of belonging but it didn't work. Our vet had us try Valium and later Paxil. Neither was effective.

So here is the problem: I stare Pearl down, stalk her and run up to her. Need I say that she is fearful? She'll hiss if I get too close, linger too long nearby, or try to invade her safe places. Playing together is a thing of the past.

Our folks do a pretty good job of intervening before things get out of paw. When Herself sees any signs of aggression, she will say, "No," or "Stop" and I usually do. Himself distracts me with a toy if he catches me engaging in a staring match.

Some days I behave well and others, not so much. It's the staring that Themselves have difficulty with because they don't always catch it when it starts to happen. 

This has been going on for two months and the situation is NOT improving! To keep Pearl safe, we have been separated while the folks go to work.

I know you like details Greyce, so before I meow pitifully for help, I'll fill you in on our home and routine.

We live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo. We have a cat tree and many scratching posts. And we both enjoy looking out of windows. One bedroom is off-limits but other than that, we have the run of the place. The other bedroom is prime space because that is where we both liked to sleep with our folks every night - until the dreaded incident. And it remains my prime space.

I want access to the bedroom 24/7! It's where I spend most of my time and I'd prefur my folks with me there, thank you very much. I even try to herd them in there when I can. If I'm shut out of that room, I just take it out on Pearl when I get the chance. That's why the bedroom is MINE!

Since I love suitcases, there is now one for me in the living room on which I like to rest.

Now, Pearl likes to be under the skirted chairs in the dining room - under which she can hide; and she likes to be on or under the sofa table.

The most important aspects of our daily routine are as follows:

Our folks work outside the home.

After Herself leaves for the day, we are on our own for about 9 to 10 hours. I'm confined to the bedroom (yippee!) and Pearl has the rest of the place.

When Herself returns, we get fed and them I'm allowed to leave the bedroom. We have play time.

And when it is bedtime, we are separated again.

I should mention that there is more than one problem here. Apart from the obvious, our folks have cancelled several trips away for fear of what might happen in their absence.

They do have relatives who can check in on us, but we fear strangers and will hide from them. Our folks are okay. The vet is tolerated. But that's about all.

The folks are scared that I'll want to get out of the bedroom when someone comes to check on me. And it would be next to impossible to get me back in. And then what would happen to Pearl?

Meanwhile, some of Themselves' friends have suggested getting rid of one of us felines. Themselves are insulted. More importantly, they are very worried.

We need help, Greyce.

Meowing pitifully,