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Cat we all just get along?

January 25, 2012

It began peacefully. Diego, a one-year-old tabby, joined my household last August without incident. Lupe, my 12-year-old tuxedo cat, eyed him warily but kept her distance.

But within a few weeks, Diego was regularly chasing Lupe (Lu-Pay), who would hiss loudly and bolt to one of her safe zones, such as a bedroom or under the dining room table. Diego became especially belligerent at meal times, when he would inhale his food and dash over to Lupe’s dish to finish off whatever tidbits the older cat hadn’t managed to down by then.

I was hoping for at least détente by now, but the cat scuffles continue and at the worst moments, the fur is still flying. So I turned to Dr. J, my cats’ veterinarian, for help. Dr. J recommended that I try a spray that simulates the facial pheromones that felines rub on surfaces so they become familiar and comforting.

The spray officially is designed to stop a cat from peeing where it shouldn’t or from scratching furniture but it’s also used to calm felines who are aggressive or stressed out. Several customers who bought the spray at a retail website vouched for its effectiveness, so I decided it was worth a try.

I began applying the product to a cloth collar attached to Diego’s neck two or three times a day, as Dr. J recommended. A few weeks later, the spray seems to be helping, at least a little. The tussles between Diego and Lupe have decreased and my boy cat seems more docile. But my husband and I still have to monitor the animals during meal times and separate them when the two begin to tangle.

Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that it’s simply a matter of time before my pets learn to just get along. Perhaps Diego is still taking advantage of his new power position. In his last home, where he was the newest and youngest of several cats, Diego would wait patiently while the other felines ate their meals, then take his turn. And he never got into scrapes with his housemates.

With a little more time, maybe Diego will recognize that he’s won the power struggle in my home and leave Lupe alone. I certainly hope so. Aside from his behavior toward Lupe, Diego is a sweet and affectionate lap cat — a silky furred feline that, with any luck, will be a member of my family for many years.

He recently met Ghedi, the neighborhood Guinea fowl, during one of the bird’s forays to my front steps — a meeting that has become a rite of passage for my cats. Who knows? Maybe Ghedi will give Diego some pointers on peaceful coexistence in the animal world.

Diego in corner

Lupe

Ghedi & Diego
Diego & squirrel

Lupe & Diego

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 8:17 pm

    Both your cats are beautiful. I hope Diego finds a way to achieve rapprochement. Are you sure he speaks English?

    • January 25, 2012 9:00 pm

      Maybe it is a language problem. She speaks French while he speaks German. Is there a U.N. for cats?

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