MCFH S7E9 - REINTRODUCING TWO CATS, BRUTAL CAT FIGHT, FROZEN GUARDIAN
Show: My Cat From Hell Season 7, Episode 9
Episode Title: Felines and Frenemies?
Cats: Sadie and Jess-Belle
Sadie is a 9 year old gray tabby/tuxedo cat; her guardian is Josh. Jess-Belle is a 3 year old black cat; her guardian is Grace.
Guardians: Josh and Grace
Josh and Grace are best friends and have lived together in West Hollywood, California for about 18 months.
How Bad Is It?
These two cats have to be separated at all times because of their brutal fights, one of which ended in a bloody mess. This situation is causing tension in their guardians’ friendship, and if it continues, they can’t live together anymore.
- Cats are completely separated due to their intensely dangerous fighting.
- Jess-Belle is traumatized and lacking confidence because of the conflict.
- Josh is paralyzed by fear and freezes when a fight breaks out.
Introducing two cats in a home doesn’t always go as smooth as we’d like it to go; sometimes there are set backs and it’s an extremely slow process. It is crucial to be consistent and not rush the process, and don’t give up! In the case of Sadie and Jess-Belle, their guardians said they began the introduction process (site-swapping, feeding exercises, etc.) but once the cats had a visual of one another during a feeding, they got into a bloody fight. That’s when they gave up and just decided to keep them completely separated, which isn’t good for anyone in the home. Instead of giving up, guardians need to take control and learn how to handle the situation.
A key tool in the introduction process is finding a method of distraction for each individual cat. If the cat is food-motivated, then you can usually use food/treats to redirect them away from conflict, or you can use toys if they are play-driven. Find what your cat likes, and use it to distract them from focusing on the other cat during this process. This method is especially important to use on the cat that is the aggressor, like Sadie was. It’s a good idea to have a large piece of cardboard on hand just in case a fight breaks out so you can put it between the cats and separate them safely.
Site-swapping is also an extremely important part of the introduction process. The cats should explore new territory in parts of the home where they don’t spend time; the cats need to eventually feel confident and feel ownership of all parts of the home, and be able to coexist peacefully. Also, feeding exercises are crucial when introducing cats. You should begin to feed the cats far away from one another, on opposite sides of a secure door. Gradually, (over days or weeks) you can feed the cats closer together, and eventually let them eat while being able to see one another.
If one cat is being targeted by the other and not standing up for itself, it’s up to the guardian to help them build confidence, or gain “cat mojo.” Jess-Belle was lacking confidence and feeling traumatized by Sadie’s aggression. Once her guardian started basecamp expansion, which made her feel more territorially confident and secure in any area of the home, she was less likely to be targeted by Sadie and could stand her ground. Basecamp expansion happens when you move signposts (scratchers, cat trees, toys, anything that your cat “owns”) from basecamp out into other parts of the house as a way to introduce your cat to the rest of your home.
It can be difficult for guardians to deal with their cats not getting along, and it can be a long time until any improvement takes place, but it’s important to not give up. Take control of the situation and support your cats through the process instead of being paralyzed by fear or running away from the conflict. Josh didn’t want to deal with the issues and would leave the house when a fight occurred, which then put pressure on Grace to pick up the pieces. Once Josh fully committed to the process and began putting in all of his effort, the positive results soon followed. Though Sadie and Jess-Belle had their moments of regression, their guardians were dedicated to the process and kept going.
IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, JACKSON ALSO USED SPIRIT ESSENCES:
This set consists of:
- Bully Solution, which is formulated to reduce dominant tendencies and aggressive "bully" behavior in animals. Bully Solution was administered to Sadie because she was the aggressor and would go after Jess-Belle. This solution helped her realize that there is no need to attack other animals in the home.
- Peacemaker, which is formulated to reduce or eliminate aggression, tension, and jealousy between animals, and may help to keep the peace in multi-animal families. Peacemaker was administered to both Sadie and Jess-Belle to help ease the tension during the introduction process. We recommend giving this formula to all of the animals in the home; a great way to do this is by adding drops to the community water bowls!
- Self-Esteem, which is formulated for animals who lack self-confidence or who are overly submissive; including submissive urination in dogs. This formula is designed for the picked-on/victim animal, and may help the victim stand up for himself and stop tolerating teasing and abuse. Studies in cats, for example, show that once the victim confronts its attacker, the attacker generally stops picking on it as vigorously. Self-Esteem was given to Jess-Belle to help her gain confidence and the ability to stand her ground when approached by Sadie.
Stress Stopper is formulated to help animals adapt and cope with unusual or stressful situations, such as thunderstorms, boarding, remodeling, visitors, or similar situations. This formula is designed to help animals feel grounded and protected during periods of short-term stress. Jackson made sure that Stress Stopper was on hand through this whole process, and when a fight occurred between Sadie and Jess-Belle, he gave Jess Stress Stopper every 15 minutes or so until she calmed down because she was clearly shaken up and insecure after the conflict.