Sunday, July 10, 2005

No clue

Boy, did I ever speak too soon.

Or may I just didn't have my fingers crossed hard enough.

It's been a hellish week around here. I have no idea what we're going to do. I think it was Tuesday night -- Bob and I were in bed, asleep, and he jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, and I was still trying to wake up. I never did hear anything, but he said the cats were fighting downstairs. He threw Pyewacket in the bathroom downstairs and I went down and got Dinah and threw her in the basement so that we could let Pye out.

I can't even remember what happened Wednesday night, but Thursday night everything seemed to be okay until Bob got up and went into the bathroom to shut the shower faucet off--it was dripping--and Dinah was in there, and hissed at him, and Pyewacket had to come see what was going on . . . Bob was so angry that he actually left the house--this was about 2:00 a.m.--to keep from killing her, and I just sat there and shook.

He came back, and we talked, and he was still angry, and Dinah spent the night in the basement. And Friday night I put her down there just as a preemptive measure, because we're just constantly afraid that something is going to set them off, and it's getting to the point where I'm almost afraid to go to sleep if Dinah's around.

Bob left yesterday (Saturday) for a few days at the lake, fishing, and we just had one minor incident last night where one of them--I can't even remember now which one--came out from behind the living room drapes and saw the other, and the growling and hissing started, and I jumped up from where I was sitting and knitting and watching television (BBC America - "What Not to Wear") and threw Pye in the bathroom, then threw Dinah in the basement for an hour or so. I tried letting her out a little later, and everything seemed fine, so I left her out overnight.

Nothing happened. I slept late--10:00!--and woke up thinking, wow, how nice, a whole night, a whole long night, with no cat fights! The cats had spent the night in the bedroom, too, Dinah on the padded stool beside the bed, and Pye at the foot of the bed, and there weren't any problems. Then, as I was waking up, Dinah came in and got on the bed and snuggled next to me, and not five minutes later Pyewacket came into the bedroom. Dinah saw her and growled, and Pye jumped up on the bed to go for her. I shoved her off, and she jumped right back up, and went for Dinah, and there I am, right in the middle.

Sometimes when I think about what might happen if someone tried to steal my purse or something, I wonder if I could scream. Well, yeah, now I know, I guess. I can scream. They didn't get me, I wasn't hurt or anything, and in retrospect, of course screaming isn't going to get them to stop anything, but it's so disorienting, and so scary, and so outside anything that I usuallly have to handle. I guess I'm getting used to it, though.

I have no idea what we're going to do. What seems to have happened now is that Dinah has attacked Pye so many times that Pye is constantly on edge, and has decided to attack Dinah as a preemptive strike rather than waiting for her to attack. So all Dinah has to do is growl and Pye's on her.

This morning after an hour or so, I let Dinah out, and things seemed to be okay, then they were both sitting at the back door and one looked at the other, and it was just immediate--they're rolling around, screaming and hissing--and I sprayed them with the water bottle and separated them . . . and my throat is still sore from screaming, and my stomach is in knots. I don't know what to do. This can't go on, but what can we do? If I went down in the basement now, Dinah would be thrilled to see me. I would lie down on the bed, and she'd come up and lie on my chest and purr and purr.

The vet thinks maybe it's a territorial thing. He says cats--unlike dogs--aren't meant to live in "packs." They're solitary creatures, and in general don't do well when they have to live in close proximity to other cats. The irony is, I suppose, that one of the reasons we took Dinah in was that Pyewacket was attacking me, and we thought maybe another cat would diffuse the tension. It seemed to work at the time.

I have no idea what we're going to do now.

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16 comments:

...just-rambling... said...

Is there any way you could give one of the cas to your family or friends? On the other hand, what we do if two of our children were constantly fighting? I guess I wouldn't know what to do either.

Willa said...

No, there really isn't anyone to give one of them to, and I don't think I could risk it anyway, giving Dinah to someone, knowing how unbalanced she can be. And as Bob said, anyone we would give her to would just give her back!

But seriously, yes, it does make me think how much worse it could be if they were our children, and feel compassion for people who do have terrible, similar problems with their children. At least with animals we do have options.

Janet Egan said...

Try Rescue Remedy in their drinking water. It's one of the Bach Flower Remedies. We use it at the shelter and we've been able to go to a cageless environment with lots of cats and few fights. Star of Bethlehem might also help. Check with a wholistic vet.

Willa said...

Worth a try. I'll try anything at this point. Thank you!

Liora said...

My gosh, that is scary! Please be careful how you intervene when you're in the middle, too. I have a friend whose hand was bitten THROUGH and two different times. A cat came to the screen door, and his indoor cat started growling and hissing. He tried to break them up, get between them, and his cat was so worked up that it bit and clean through that webbed space in his thumb. The other time it bit the bone. They get so crazy with their territory, they turn their aggression on anything. For a moment, I guess HE was the other cat when he was trying to break them up. It went into a horrible infection with streaking up his arm, a bone infection, and really looked bad for a while.

It is scary and very upsetting when they hiss at YOU, the owners. Bob was wise to go outside. I've felt that same feeling where I could just wring Tux's neck (well, almost). As a temporary safety measure, maybe consider putting an air can in each room where they're having problems. That way if you're in there and feeling like you're in danger or they are in danger of really hurting each other, you could have it in easy reach, grab it, spray the air and shout NO!

Other than that, I don't know. This sounds like it's getting pretty serious. Maybe there's a cat rescue in Kansas where you could list Dinah and share that she has some problems and will need extra attention and a home with no other cats. Sorry you're going through this!

Mary Ellen said...

This is probably a dumb question, but have you talked to your vet about it? Maybe he/she would have some advice to calm them both down...

Anonymous said...

Shiok!It is a good journal that I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

It is a good journal

Anonymous said...

This is probably a dumb question, but have you talked to your vet about it? Maybe he/she would have some advice to calm them both down...

Daniel said...

it is a good journal.hope u will feel happier each time u write a journal. and pls................ TO BE CONTINUE"

Posted by :Daniel

Anonymous said...

write till so long be it is nice

Daniel Ng said...

hi i am Daniel ng.i love to read ur journal.It is so interesting. hope to hear more from you

Anonymous said...

Try Rescue Remedy in their drinking water. It's one of the Bach Flower Remedies. We use it at the shelter and we've been able to go to a cageless environment with lots of cats and few fights. Star of Bethlehem might also help. Check with a wholistic vet.

Leslie lim said...

Its is nice readin ur journal. I hope u will continue to write more of ur journals... i love to see ur journals hope to hear more from u. Posted by: leslie

Anonymous said...

Willa, I can feel your pain! I know you love both kitties.

We had two cats at one time, and while they fought all the time, it was always play-fighting. It was actually pretty funny but the caterwauling did get annoying.

Anyway, my one remaining kitty is very high-strung. He hisses and growls at anybody who comes in our house, other than people he knows quite well, like my mom and dad. He also gets very stressed about going anywhere in a car. We used to get valium from our vet for him whenever we wanted to take him on a trip with us.

It worked really well - calmed him right down! I'm not sure if it would be a long-term solution for Dinah, but it wouldn't hurt in the short term to see if they would get along better if Dinah was more calm.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

c h e l said...

I am so very glad you are not one of those people who would immediately get rid of one of the cats because this is happening. I know it's scary, but hang in there. It's kitten season, and both my cats are acting weird, too. However, they are male/female so it mostly involves Chester trying to hump Delilah, her smacking him and running away, and him crying in sadness. Then everything is normal for about five or six hours until he tries it again.

I'd consult with another vet, if you can. Or maybe find a cat-focused forum online and post the situation there. There may have been someone with a similar situation.

I'm thinking serene cat thoughts...