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Cats/Help with Two Female cats Please!!!

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Hello, I have two cats that I have raised since they were 6 weeks old. They are both female. One was born normally and the other was definitely the runt out of a litter of six. Both females in the first 6 months were inseparable. One is white and is considerably larger than the runt. She is a brown tabby like cat. They were always cuddling and loving on one another. They are now 1 Year and 6 months old. I noticed over the past few months, that the white normal sized cat became very aggressive and mean towards the tabby. It is definitely understood between the two that the white cat has power over the brown tabby. Two months ago, they both became pregnant by the same male. The hissing continued and small striking by the white female. The runt gave birth to only One cat in her litter. She is extremely unreliable and spends THREE times as much of her time away from the kitten than she does with the kitten. She does not nurse well at all. I have work from 5:30AM til 6:30PM. I come back from work and the tabby cat follows me around everywhere in the house away from the 3 day old kitten. My girlfriend keeps the peace between the two cats during the day. I noticed this morning that the white cat was getting more and more aggressive towards the tabby, then an unthinkable thing happened. The new tabby mother picked up the kitten in her mouth, brought it too the white cat, placed the kitten right in front of her, then turned her back and squinted her eyes. Every time the white cat is anywhere near the kitten, She hisses and gets very aggressive. It looks as though she is attempting to allow the white cat to slaughter her kitten. It seems like she would rather have her sisters approval rather than keep the kitten. This is the first kitten she has ever had. Currently the kitten is in a safe spot, but it is very difficult for me to get the tabby to stay near the kitten at all. I have to lock up the white cat in a different bedroom, in order to make sure no fighting goes on between the two sisters, or the slaughtering of the young kitten. Any and all advice would be highly appreciated. I hope you have heard of something along these lines, and know what to do in order to save the life of the kitten and possibly keep the peace between the two sisters. I would suspect the white female to give birth in 2 to 3 weeks from now. If possible I would also like to know if its okay to be touching the kitten as much as I have been since, the tabby has left the kitten in the middle of rooms, and close to places where she could fall very far. Thank you so much for your time.

Travis.

Answer
Hi Travis,

What beautiful cats! Unless something has happened in the household that I'm unaware of, I think hormones probably have a lot to do with development of aggressive behavior between your cats. Not all aggression can be explained by hormones, but I can say with 100% confidence that spayed cats tend to be more relaxed and less catty, no pun intended, than unspayed ones do. To maintain the peace between two cats who are reaching sexual maturity at the same time can be a challenge. Once all the kittens are weaned, I recommend having the cats spayed to see if this will help.

But as for your tabby's recent behavior with her kitten, it sounds like she is ill-equipped to be a mom, and she realizes this. There may be a health reason that prevents her from nursing a kitten, which might also explain her small size. But no matter what, it is commonly seen that cats will leave their kittens in the care of others that they trust when they can't care for them. This can be in the care of a person or in the care of another animal.

Despite your white (who actually looks very much like a Ragdoll!) cat's increasingly nasty temper, I don't think your tabby was offering the baby up as a sacrifice. I think the tabby recognized that she is soon to be a mother, too, and was hoping she would watch over the baby. Cats are noted for being wonderful adoptive mothers, and chances are good that the white one would take the baby with a little softening up. But perhaps she is too far from her due date too be feeling very motherly just yet.

As long as you're gentle and your hands are freshly washed, you can handle the baby fairly often. Just don't disturb feeding time, and make sure mom doesn't become overly upset. But it sounds as though mom is less interested in the baby than you are. At this point, I think you need to think about bottle feeding. The baby should be kept with mom for warmth, stimulation of the bowels and bladder, and cleaning if she's still willing to do these things. If the other cat ends up having her kittens sooner than later, hopefully you can put this kitten in with them after a week or so. You just don't want him to be so big that he pushes the rest out.

As for whether you need to completely separate the cats, the mood is unlikely to improve much while your cats have kittens. If your cats tolerate each other with a half-hearted swat here and there, I'd probably play referee until I could get them spayed. If it's worse, you should probably separate them, have them spayed, and then reintroduce them when the kittens have gone.

Good luck!
Jessica

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Jessica

Expertise

The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.

Experience

I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

Education/Credentials
15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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