Cat help, please!

Seattle, WA

Wish I could take the time to read about all your cute pets, but I have a crisis going on here at my house. I have four cats: Two that are in love with each other, and two who detest each other. One is a nervous eater, and it shows. The other is pretty darned wild, and lives to hunt. Needless to say, he is always chomping at the bit to go out. That's my Lucky, and he has already gotten into lots of trouble with cars, other cats, and people. He's the $6000 cat at this point. Today's crisis is due to Lucky's fondness for another neighbor's house. They have cats, both indoor and out, and apparently Lucky has destroyed their screen door trying to get in, and scratched ferociously at their front door, damaging the door frame. He is alleged to have savaged their indoor/outdoor cat twice, resulting in $2000 of vet bills. I don't disbelieve all this at all, but I fail to see the attraction, as they claim they have squirted him with water and tried to fend him off with garden tools. I told them to give him a blast with the garden hose, but supposedly nothing works. They have nicknamed him Osama bin Laden, and are compiling a list of witnesses. This tells me they are working up a lawsuit. I believe Lucky can be very territorial and aggressive, but this is way beyond my understanding. He does spray in our house, which tells me he is unhappy that Sheba loathes him. I am never quite quick enough to see which of them initiates the bad action, but suffice it to say, they are oil and water. How simple it would be to just keep him locked up in a dungeon, because that's what we would need. Yes, I too would like all cats to be safe indoors and stop preying on songbirds, but some cats just won't sit still for that. He was a country cat, apparently, probably descended from a long line of barn cats. Except for this one neighbor, most really like Lucky, although he will try to go inside and see what THEIR cats are having for dinner.....usually they can just shoo him out. The other neighbors say he stands his ground. Help!

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

First question - is Lucky neutered? Do you know if the neighbor's cats are spayed/neutered? First piece of advice is to go to go here and read what has been done for aggressive cats. This guy is an amazing cat behaviorist and you might find something to help you with Lucky. He has a show on Animal Planet at 8 pm on Saturdays that you might want to watch as it is called "My Cat From Hell".

Jackson has links to safe tools and products that could discourage Lucky's behavior - if the neighbors would cooperate. The two I can think of off the top of my head are a motion-activated sprinkler and a can of compressed air that is also motion-activated. Either one could be put by the neighbors door to keep him away as a temporary solution that should become permanent.

I have a very willfull kitty myself. In fact his middle name is Devil Spawn! What worked the very best with him was clicker training him to do tricks. What it taught him was that this not-too-bright human could actually understand what he wanted without him resorting to him biting for communication! My experience is that all cats can learn to sit on command - as long as you have a treat in your hand. Start with that and go from there. Also increase his interactive playing time with you and a thing-on-a-string-at-the-end-of-a-stick and really give him a good workout once a day. That should take away some of his energy for his terrorist activities.

Whether the neighbors can sue you for Lucky's behavior is another issue - most places cats are not "owned", so if you don't "own" him - how can you be charged with his damage? Are they expecting to scrape under Lucky's nail to prove that HE was the door frame scratcher? I don't think that I would want to try that! But kidding aside - it is important to have good relations with your neighbors and the issue needs to get resolved.

I'm sure others will chime in with more suggestions. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Memory and Wallingford D. S. Russell

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

It could also be that Lucky needs to be an only cat and
would be happier if you could re-home him with someone
who can give him a lot of solo attention and keep him
indoors. Just a thought.

Seattle, WA

Thanks for your thoughtful responses. I have consulted Cat From Hell and the website, and I wish Jackson could come here and perform his miracles. He says there is NO cat that he can't help! And yes, here in Seattle, not neutering and spaying is a hanging offense....Too bad they don't come that way!

On another note, has anyone ever tried Prozac for their cat? Seems extreme and unpredictable, but it has been recommended.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

His actions say he has not been neutered. Did you check to make sure they did? Also is he one of those rare tricolored males? They have terrible dispositions because of something wrong in their DNA.Or.... Ask that neighbor if you and the cat can come visit together. Maybe you can figure out what it is that makes him so determined to get into their house that he will destroy doors. Perhaps some type of scent repellant on their door would work. Cats are so attracted by scent, its worth checking that out.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Jackson actually use kitty prozac in one of his episodes. I believe that he does consultations by phone.

steadyca3 has a good point - maybe some of the male tissue was missed in the neutering(yes, it does happen) - because his behavior DOES sound like an intact male. Maybe the vet can do some minor surgery (afterall you have $6K in him already (!)) and make sure all the male tissue is gone.

Seattle, WA

Yes, he was neutered. Paperwork indicates it, AND he has no balls. I'll ask the vet next time I'm over there. Meanwhile, I have ordered some of Jackson's special essences. The testimonials were convincing, but they always are. Will advise.

Huntsville, AL(Zone 7b)

Try some Brach's flower essence in his water to help calm him down - is there any way you can keep him as a 100% indoor kitty? I know it's hard in the beginning, but with plenty of treats & toys...also, keeping him separated from the other kitty might be an option? I've seen cats on Prozac - it ain't pretty...grouchy, fat & sleepy - most of all, good luck! :-)

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Please let us know how the essences work.

Newcastle(NSW), Australia(Zone 10a)

Hormone treatment might be the next thing to try.This involves an injection from the Vet. That used to be the drug of last resort, as whatever they were using years ago could eventually give a cat pancreatitis if they had more than 2 or 3 three doses. My Vet says no, not now.

Feliway (soothing mother-cat Pheromones)is another way of keeping him soothed. following the instructions as to where and how to spray and never put it on the cat!~ Buy some emitters for your neighbors, as well. You plug them into a powerpoint, like a room deodoriser. Or as well, you can buy a spray bottle to cover his little 'messages'

I had some version of Prozac for one of my cats who wouldn't let my other cats alone and was very aggro with them. Basically he was completely stoned, he might as well have been a garden Gnome! I eventually gave him to a neighbor so he would be the only cat, and was spoiled rotten for the rest of his life!

I do know that Rescue Remedy works for injured cats, to combat shock, which can kill them. A drop on the tongue every 5 minutes, but no more than 5-6 drops as they could be completely intoxicated by the time you got them to the vet.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I know about Rescue Remedy. There are two versions - one for people and another for pets. The one for pets is a little more expensive and does not contain alcohol. I bought the people version and gave it to a cat I was introducing into the household who had joined us after his person died and he did get loopy from the alcohol. So here I am - late at night - trying to figure out if I had poisoned the cat or just got him drunk! Turned out OK - he is still here 3 years later.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

There is an open casting call for the My Cat From Hell TV series

Email information and video to

Newcastle(NSW), Australia(Zone 10a)

There's your remedy, your cat could be famous!

Seattle, WA

Gabi, all I want is for him to come home! I am trying some of the essences on my two Scaredy Cats. One of them will not even let me touch her, so I try to drop a drop on her as I walk by. This makes her run and hide under the tablecloth. No great hopes for THAT one, alas. The other I can rub my hands over, which is one of the preferred methods. As I said before, the testimonials promised a lot!

Rowlett, TX(Zone 8a)

Is it possible to put Calming Collars (from Feliway) on the two scared cats? Or at least the one that won't let you touch her? That way the calming smell is under her nose all day everyday. 2 of my 4 cats aren't getting along right now. They are on 1/2 tablet of Anxitane twice a day, she is wearing a Calming Collar, and he's wearing a collar with a bell (so she knows where he is), and they are kept separated for most of the day. The female is calming down finally -- don't know whether it's the drug, the collar, or the separation. I'm going to put a calming collar on the male tonight and see if that makes a difference for his attitude. Anyway for what it's worth, I would suggest the calming collar and keeping the cats that don't like each other separated (if that's possible). Good luck with your Lucky. What a character he is.


Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I have found that all cats like to rub their faces against a brush. I saw where one person put a toothbrush on a long stick and started brushing the face of a feral kitten to start the calming process. I thought I might try that trick if I ever needed to calm a feral. I know that worked well with my long-haired stray who lives in a cat house I built for him on the front porch. He turns into one solid mat over the winter and I spend all summer trying to clean out the mats. Lots of bites and scratches later, I started gently brushing his face when he came to eat and now he will tolerate me working on his fur for a brief time each meal. (I can't move him in the house because he isn't house broken - and I have tried. In bad storms I put him in my "cat room" and just clean up the pee.) Don't give up on your scardy cats - they may surprise you one day.

Seattle, WA

Yes, I purchased a "self-cleaner" for cats, thinking, "This'll never work!" Just a hoop-shaped brush they could walk under mounted on a carpeted bit of wood. The biggest scaredy cat at least brushes her face on it--it's full of white fur, inc. the odd whisker. These I save in case I need to do an inca(n)tation one day.

Thanks to everyone who tried to help me with my wandering kitty boy. After one more horrible e-mail from the neighbor, I drove him straight up to my girlfriend's house, where the attitude, I hope, will be more relaxed. This is like the death of a child, or at least of a pet. I am doing lots of stuff not to think about his sweet little face.....If all goes well, I will see him again from time to time, but it's hard. At the same time, my REAL son is moving out into his first apartment. Not nearly so wrenching!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

velveteena Sometimes re-homing a kitty with issues is the best
solution all around. I know someone who re-homed a cat that
constantly peed all over the house. It stopped when she was in
home where she was the only cat. I know it's sad for you but at
least you can see him occasionally and get updates on his progress.

A son moving into his very own apartment is exciting!

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

We had a cat who communicated clearly that she wanted to be an only cat. When she peed right in front of me on a sofa pillow, and passed all her vet tests for UTI, etc. we rehomed her and she's been fine ever since. Our other cats didn't even pick on her so she wasn't being stressed by them.

I hear you about the cat having to leave. I didn't miss my kids at all. LOL

Seattle, WA

Bless you all from Lucky and me. He does well in his new home, except for the dog, who is as benign as can be. They have worked out a few "work arounds" to help him settle in. The neighbor puts out great food for the feral cats, but at least he knows where Lucky belongs at the end of the day!

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I am glad but I bet you miss your little character.

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