QUESTION: Long Story Short:
I live in an apartment building. My neighbor died unexpectedly. She left behind three cats. These three cats became homeless. Lamont (approximately ten years old) black cat. Chaplin...(approximately 4 years old). Sammy....(approximately 4 years old). Chaplin and Sammy were stray cats that my neighbor fed and the cats adopted her. Lamont was my neighbors mothers cat, and was left to my neighbor.
After my neighbor died, I found a home for these three cats with my friend Richie. He has a three bedroom house. Lamont does not seem to get along with Chaplin. Chaplin is a sweetheart of a cat. My heart goes out to this cat. How can I help Chaplin not be so bullied and un-welcomed by Lamont. They have lived in their new home for 4 months now.
Chaplin really likes me, and I sense that Chaplin would like me to adopt him. Or am I imagining this? Chaplin is afraid of his new human guardian Richie. Richie is a good home for Chaplin. I can not adopt Chaplin, I already have a cat...and can not handle another.
How can I help Chaplin not be so bullied and un-welcomed by Lamont (the other cat) and how can I make Chaplin like his new home?
As I was reading your questions the message that came across to me was that you feel guilty somehow for upsetting this cats life and want to try and make amends somehow.
well first let me say, you did a wonderful thing for them. It was no ones fault that there owner died and without you finding them a lovely big home to live in who knows what would have happened to them. So first give yourself a big pat on the back and feel good about that.
Secondly, how do you know what Lamont and Chaplin were like together when they lived with their previous owner. it could well be that this was how there relationship always was. It is normal for acts to have an hierarchy, ie one cat is boss then the next then the next. this is natural and often the way this comes across is that one cat is bullying the other, when really all that is happening is that the cat is making sure that the other cats know whose boss.
As for how to make Chaplin feel more happy in his new home, well normally when cats are moved home etc they are given a period of time to adjust to small parts of their new home gradually, this gives them time to settle down and to become confident in a small space first. It might help Chaplin if this process was started now. ie confine him to one room for a week with his litter tray, bed and toys (feed him out of the room), then when he is confident in this small space that the other cats are re introduced to him gradually again over a week or so using this process http://www.our-happy-cat.com/introducing-cats.html
This slow introduction may be what this cat needs, but there are no guarantees i'm afraid, he may just be a timid cat who appears to be fearful to us humans. but he has a warm comfortable home, with plenty of food and plenty of affection from his new owner and it may just take Chaplin a little longer than the other cats to get used to the change in his circumstances.
Hope I have been able to help
best wishes Kate
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Kate,
Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it. I do have some grief about Chaplin.
We did do the confine the cat to a room technique with all the cats the best that we could to acclimate them to their new home. As they grew out of that...it just got to be that all the rooms were Lamonts. Lamont is a bossy territorial insecure cat. Chaplin is a total sweetheart. Chaplin has been outside most the time this past week. Maybe he likes that?
Chaplin really likes me a lot and is just not really bonding with Richie. I go over there and help out when I can. Chaplin comes when I call, loves it when I pet him. Chaplin does not go near Richie.
Is it possible that Chaplin would prefer to live with me or is that my imagination? Is Chaplin happy where he is? Richie is a good home for Chaplin. Nice neighborhood. Yard. Food. Water. But, Richie doesn't have that natural nurturing ability that cats seem to like. It's just a little heart breaking for me. I want Chaplin to be happy.
sounds to me like you want him to live with you and thats fine . If you can give him a good home and if you think he will be happier with you then great.
Why not try it on a temporay basis. this way you will be able to see if Chaplin is happier or not rather than you just guessing.
Cats are very adaptable but if you feel that Chaplin prefers you then perhaps that what the solution should be.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi there,
I have a new cat question that I thought you might be able to help me with. I live in a Condo. I have a spayed female cat who goes outdoors sometimes when she feels like it.
For the past couple weeks there has been another cat hanging around my place. This cat looks like a male from behind, but I'm not really sure. I don't know if this cat is a stray, it does not look like it, but I'm not really sure. The cat does not appear to be injured, and seems healthy. The cat has been making those continuous ongoing meowing sounds at night and sometimes in the day time. Do you know why? Is this a female cat in heat? Do male cats in heat make that sound? Why is this cat hanging around my place? Is the cat making these in heat type of sounds because he/she is hungry? Like I said, the cat does not look stray, definitely does not look ferrel, but I don't know these things for sure.
I am reticent to feed the cat because then the cat will keep coming over....and, my neighbors in the Condo complain about that sort of thing. So I'm not really sure what I should do. Do you know why the cat is hanging out at my place and making these sounds? Is this "stray" cat trying to get my cats attention? If so, my cat does not seem interested. Is this "stray" cat hungry and trying to get me to feed it? What's going on and how can I help this cat?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Male cats do make calling sounds when they are on the look out for females, even spayed females can sometimes get the attention (male cats are not that choosy if you know what i mean, as it is instinct as well as hormones which is driving them.) so it could be that he is hanging around because of your female cat.
the other possibility like you say is that they are trying to get attention for food. However i would say that this is less likely and that the mating option is probably more likely, especially at this time of year.
As to what you can do, well there's the problem. if it is a male cat on the prowl, not a lot will deter him. If you think he is a stray then you may want to consider calling a animal charity to come and get him. Stray un-neutered toms are part of the over population boom for unwanted kittens and so it is better that they are neutered and re homed.
If you do feed him, you are right he will keep returning and you will end up looking after him full time, this is of course your choice. I wish i could take care of every stray that comes my way but i would be very poor indeed if i did.
best wishes Kate