multicat household woes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 05-21-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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We have four cats, currently.
MiMi is the alpha at about 8 years old.
Tessa is our second, she's about 6.
Zeke is the third, he's about 5.
And Pru is the baby, she's about 3.

We had the first three for several years without too many problems. Tessa is very passive aggressive and can be destructive, but the other two put up with her okay.

Pru was the mama of a litter of foster kittens we had two summers ago. She and her kittens were separated from the resident cats, and when we decided to keep her, we kept her separate for several additional months. Slowly we let her out into the rest of the house.

Pru set up her territory in our dining room and (unfortunately) countertops, the other cats seemed to accept that pretty well, we thought. Then we realized that Tessa was hiding all day and not eating because she was afraid of Pru. Tessa got very sick with a liver infection because of her starving herself and so Tessa now lives in the back room except for supervised play time, so we can make sure she has food and litter at all times.

We just realized that Pru has been using our loft as a litterbox for a LONG time. (It's more of a wide ledge, we don't go up there). We added another litterbox in response to this, in her territory. The other cats are still aggressive towards her, especially if we give her ANY attention at all. Literally if you pet Pru, MiMi or Zeke will appear within seconds and a confrontation will begin. Sometimes Pru feels very threatened by this and lashes out and my husband and I have ended up bleeding.

We are starting to feel like there will just never be harmony in this household. We hate that Pru has to live on our dining room table (Which is a problem for us, too) and the others allow her limited access to human interaction and apparently the litterbox. We hate to do it but at this point, it doesn't feel like she has any quality of life with us and we are considering rehoming her. We think she would absolutely LOVE to be someone's only cat or even part of a pair where she could get more attention.
I am terrified of trying to find her a good home, I read things about animals being sold to labs and cried.
We are having a baby in August and I just don't want to continue to deal with all this aggression and stress between the cats, as well as unsanitary elimination habits. We have five litterboxes now and I have no idea how to deal with that when my child becomes mobile.
We have contacted the organization we fostered with where she came from, but I'm scared they are going to think we're just dumping her (We would NEVER send her to a shelter or even another foster home) and won't help us.
I regret ever trying to add a 4th cat to our home, i didn't realize that it could be so problematic. We already have one cat with elimination and behavior issues (Tessa) and I feel like that is enough to manage. Tessa basically has to live isolated because of her fear of Pru, as well.
I don't know what I am looking for here, advice on coping or rehoming. Even if we do find her a new home, we are in for a wait, I assume, until we can find a good, safe home for her.

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ecstatic about BFP #2 after another round of Clomid,
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thrilled to welcome #1 after 17 months of ttc, 1 round of Clomid

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#2 of 2 Old 05-24-2012, 04:32 PM
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I think it might be best for you to contact the foster organization. If you're worried about what they will think, you can simply explain to them the issues. I would be shocked if they refused to take her back. It sounds like it would be a much better situation for all involved. As for the cat boxes and mobile child, maybe baby gates and a table or box next to it for the cats to get over if they're reluctant to jump the gate. Or you could install some of those kitty doors and keep the doors to rooms with cat boxes shut when the baby is around. Oh and those little mobile exersaucers things where the kiddo can scoot...those can be useful for awhile too, it limits what they're able to actually get into. Hth.

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