Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Battlefield

Yesterday, I came home from work to a battlefield. There was no blood, thank goodness, but that's about all that was missing. Tucker has been bullying Kola, the new boy, from time to time; plenty of hissing, a few swats and constant staring. I would try to intervene, literally; putting myself between the roly poly one and the object of his dislike. When it came to blows, I would speak sharply to Tucker. They had been interacting for weeks now, and I didn't believe it would get worse. I was wrong.

My first clue was the tufts of fur on the mat in the side-entry. I thought immediately that Tucker had been chasing Kola. I didn't figure that this would have been too harmful an incident. Then I saw fur elsewhere. Walking further into the house, I saw this.

A sitting room lamp had been overturned, the shade rolled away. The light bulb had burst; there were shards of glass everywhere. The cats were wandering around, oblivious to the debris, and I was frightened that their feet would be cut. I made haste to sweep up the broken glass, and went to the basement to get the vacuum cleaner, to collect any bits of glass on the sitting room rug. I observed cat-hair down there, too. I think Kola attempted to take refuge on top of the armchair at some point.

Returning upstairs, I found an unpleasant surprise, and a sign of how frightened Kola must have been. There were feces on the floor. I suspect that Tucker, in chasing – and apparently catching – Kola, knocked over the lamp, and the resultant crash and exploding light bulb scared the crap out of Kola, literally. And being in fear of his life in the first place probably dIdn't help. Tucker gets frightened at times but not that badly. There was crap in three places on the floor. And one place on the wall. Yes, the wall. I think the incident terrified Kola so much that he leaped in panic and hit the wall. Or perhaps he was still being pursued by Tucker while he was crapping. After things settled down, Kola, a very clean cat, thought to use a spot on my mat as toilet paper.

By the time I'd come back from work, things were calmer. Perhaps the toppled lamp and bursting light bulb brought Tucker to his senses.

But the cats weren’t done with me. I evidently did not fill the hard-food bowl high enough before I left. Six cats need a lot of hard-food. The bowl was empty. Not even crumbs. And the door to the cupboard where I keep the cat-food was open. A bag of treats was on the kitchen floor, torn open.

I spent an hour after I got home cleaning: washing floors and walls, using stain and odour remover on the rug (Nature’s Miracle; not a bad product for that) and vacuuming so as to get as much glass as possible. Then I fed the maniacs I live with. The good thing was that most were hungry enough to eat all the soft-food I gave them. Except for Cammie. That spoiled brat complained that Kola was in the parlour – where Cammie likes to dine – and wouldn’t eat a thing because of it. At least she ate from the re-stocked hard-food bowl.

Then I fed myself.

Now, Kola is terrified of Tucker, understandably, and spent much of the evening hiding under the bed or in a corner of the parlour. He tried to venture out but the mere sight of Tucker sent him scurrying for a hiding spot. I decided to lock him in the parlour (with a litter-box, food and water, of course). As soon as I put the litter-box in the parlour last night, Kola started talking, which he had not done since I'd come home. When I brought him re-stocked bowls after locking him in, he was lying comfortably in his enclosed cat-bed (it must have been sweltering in there, but he seemed to like it), and talked to me some more. He knew immediately that he was safe from other cats and was just as immediately happy.

He stayed the night locked away, and was pleased and active this morning. He is remaining in the parlour by himself today, however, and will each day I am at work. I will release him in the evenings. He seemed ready to come out this morning, until he caught sight of Tucker. I will see how things go over the weekend. I am hesitant even to allow Kola out at night because Tucker may decide to take up a station near Kola and his stare will keep the new boy from moving, even to use the litter-box.

Fortunately, through all of this, Kola apparently was unhurt. Tucker may not have been trying to cause injury, just fright and subservience, which were achieved. I misjudged the success of the initial integration; then again, I've not had a cat act like this since Luther was my foster-cat, and I never expected it from Tucker.

Strangely, Tucker, like Kola, is happier now than he has been for a few days. Not seeing Kola walking about put him in a good mood and his purring, muted somewhat the last few days, is back to normal. Cammie is royally annoyed because she can't use the parlour, 'her' room. Practically, it does cut down on the availability of open windows at which the cats may relax and sniff the outdoors. They all like doing that, but few enjoy being in proximity to each other, so losing a room's window to just one cat is restricting.

I will try to re-integrate Kola, of course, though it will be a very slow process. If he had claws, I'm sure the story would be different. Being defenceless must be terrifying. I don't know even if my presence will give Kola confidence, and he may linger in corners or under the bed unless he has the security of being in a closed room. I will have to determine a course of action after the next few days.

Whoever originated the phrase 'never a dull moment' must have had cats.


  1. Poor Kola. :-(

    I remember coming home often to tufts of Annie's fur around the house, thanks to Nicki, but not a broken lamp (Nicki's done that on his own).


    Here's hoping the separation keeps things calm. Some cats just will not take to another in particular, no matter what you do, period. Yet will be fine with the other 9 out of 10 (so to speak). Rather like we humans, who can take an instant dislike to someone for no discernible reason.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh I feel for you. I have the same problem here with one of my cats. She just decides that she doesn't like one or the other cat and will go after them. She attacked Little Momma one night and there was blood all over the place in the morning. I am lucky in that I can put Little Momma out at night which I don't want to do but she is more comfortable out there then being stalked by Mahoney. I think that cats that attack like that find that they can over power other cats and for some reason they enjoy it.Poor Kola must be terrified. Good idea to giving a room of his own. Hope you can get it worked out Maybe you could switch them around when you are home and put Tucker in the room for a little while. Just a suggestion. Have a great day.

  3. Tucker looks all sort of innocent. Poor Kola....we hope that things will settle and you can restart the introductions at some point.

  4. I've been having issues with Wally and Ernie lately too. They usually get along just fine, but the last few weeks, they have been getting into it and the fur has been flying. I'm hoping it just the change in weather and things will settle down. It's probably best that you separated Kola from Tucker and reintegrating them goes well. You may want to try some feliway to help smooth things out.

    Island Mom

  5. Poor Kola! I think despite Cammie's disappointment it's the right idea to keep him separated from the rest unless you are able to be there. Hopefully Tucker gets over his pique!

  6. Poor Kola! I hope keeping them separate and then trying to reintegrate them works

  7. Don't despair - reintroductions happen to the best of us and I can well relate to what you came home to. My one male can be very charming or very much a little bugger depending on his mood and all my fosters end up being quite leery of him eventually! I think keeping Kola in his own room, safe from the throes of Tucker is an excellent idea and given time, they can co-exist pretty peacefully. I'm on my 98th foster - and a fair amount of harmony does exist with the maniacs I live with! (loved that line btw!!)

  8. Lamento que os gatos não estejam interagindo bem, imagino como você ficou preocupada quando viu os primeiros sinais de briga. Espero que você consiga ajudá-los.

  9. I have one isolated kitty now and she is happy as she can be about it. Loves her cat tree , keeps herself perfectly groomed and is able to entertain herself. She wants nothing to do with any other cat. Totally contented. My intro's have failed so far. I guess if that's the way it has to be, so be it.

    1. It may come to that here, too. Kola may have to be kept separate from Tucker as long as he is here. But it's still early days for him in the household, so anything may happen.

  10. Oh poor sweet Kola! I hope things improve over the next couple of weeks for you all. Marty will bully Ralphie since sadly Ralphie has been declawed in the front. Thank goodness Mazie comes to Ralphie's rescue every time or I am not sure how far things would go here.

  11. Wow sounds like a few of the fracases we have had here on occasion. It is tough to introduce or reintroduce when there are multiple furs personalities that add to the complicated interaction. I think when there are only two or a few they kind of slide into upper or lower on the ladder very easily. When we got to 4 there went the quiet neighborhood. There are those white fluffs about here on a regular basis. Luckily from our protagonist Rumpy who has too much of that white fluff.
    Dad Pete

  12. I'm sure with time the situation will improve :-)