Does living with an Animal Communicator mean everyone gets along?
There’s no question that integrating cats can be very, very challenging. In my last post about Melissa’s integration I thought I had finally turned a corner. Well, maybe that was just another corner in a complex maze.
In the wild, domestic cats naturally live in multi-generational female family groups, like lions do. But when confined indoors and when the cats are not related to each other, conflict may be difficult to overcome.
In our human families, we bring cats together who have no biological relationship to each other. That can make for great challenges, as it’s not natural for them to live this way.
When Starlight came nearly 5 years ago (That long ago? Really?) and was quickly integrated in about 2 months, I could hardly believe it was that easy.
Of course, there had been lots of preparation done, even before she was born. Furthermore, Starlight has a very sweet disposition. She doesn’t like to challenge anyone about anything. So naturally, the existing hierarchy was never questioned and all was well.
Then came Melissa.
Melissa, by personality and possibly genetics, is a very dominant cat.
She wanted to take over the cattery where she was born.
Then at 6 months of age, she expected to dominate all 3 cats in my family.
Despite all my efforts to dissuade her, Melissa knew exactly what she wanted and wasn’t about to back down.
She refused to listen to anything I had to say (a perpetual teenager?) and still screams at me when I start to tell her something she doesn’t want to hear.
Sometimes I get an image of a child having a tantrum, screaming and putting her paws (fingers) in her ears.
From her very first day here, Melissa never showed the slightest subservience to the top cat, Sakhara, and never intended anything but to rule the household.
I have explained that there are various way to express dominance, and that violence is not always the best way. But of course, with “paws in ears” Melissa hasn’t heard me and completely rejects my requests.
Melissa is now over 2 years old.
Melissa is now the dominant cat.
Her relationships with Violet and Starlight are, overall, well balanced and respectful, most of the time.
However, with Sakhara, the conflict continues unabated.
Sakhara refuses to officially give up her position.
Melissa continues to hit Sakhara at least once a day, and goes out of her way to do so. Even if Sakhara’s sitting in my lap and minding her own business, Melissa will attack. I can see in Melissa’s eyes and body language when she’s getting ready to strike.
Nothing I’ve done to try to stop this has made any difference at all except in the moment. If I hiss at Melissa or admonish her, she backs off and then just waits until I’m not watching.
Because of Sakhara’s age and overall health (around 21 years old), I still run interference. To me, Sakhara is due some deference, as she’s always been kind, caring, and considerate to others.