Well, it’s been over a month, and Wintermuse, our three year old Mau, still hates Solstice, the new kitten. It’s sad and frustrating. We lock one cat in the bedroom and one cat out every night. It’s an improvement over what we had to do the first 3 weeks – sleep in separate rooms, one with each cat – but not what I hoped for.
We did everything we were supposed to. We locked them in separate rooms, we let them peek through the door and smell each other, we swapped scents, we used Feliway, pheremone spray, let them eat by each other.
She growled through the door every time.
We started letting him out after a week or two, and she would go for him almost immediately. After a time, she would just watch him. If he made any sudden movements or ran for it, she would chase him and swat him. He got very scared by these encounters. He usually used the litter box right after she chased him, as they always ended up in our bathroom. When he was once trapped on the couch after a hiss-swat-puff, he defecated right on the couch. I felt so bad for him. He’s just a baby, only four months old and 3 pounds.
We did our best to protect him from her. We put him away when she started to get rough. After a few weeks, our breeder pointed out that Wintermuse was manipulating us. When we put him away, she got what she wanted, so she was motivated to attack him as soon as possible. We started timing her out instead. This worked for a few days.
Then she realized if she misbehaved while we were in the bathroom, she couldn’t be timed out in the bathroom.
She also began running away as soon as she chased him into the bathroom, then hiding herself somewhere we could not get her. Yes, Maus are very smart.
Then Solstice hurt his foot. I left them alone for ten minutes. I heard a cry. And then he was limping. He had a habit of climbing our shoulders and jumping down, leading to a minor paw sprain in week one. This one was worse, but the cause was the same. He climbed too high and landed badly. We gave him anti-inflammatives for 3 days and begged him to stay off it, but kittens don’t listen to such instructions. He ran on that paw, he got chased on that paw. Every time, I winced. After awhile, I realized I started to hate Wintermuse.
She was a bully. She ate his food. She refused his friendship. She refused mine. She was the light of my heart just weeks ago, and now I hated her.
Solstice came from a house with many Maus. He was accustomed to laying in giant cat piles, and sometimes he would creep up on her in her bed for some cuddle time. She would bite him, and he’d just stand there and wait. “So you don’t want to?” he would ask with his eyes, even after she bit his ears three times. A few days ago, he laid next to me, and she sat down next to the bed. It was always her bed, the best bed. Heated, with a scratching post and a few toys dangling from its roof. They were laying just inches from each other, and I had hope. She stood up after awhile, looking at him. One paw raised tremulously, shaking, like she wanted to get into the bed with him but was fighting it.
I crossed my fingers. I watched. Solstice woke up and rolled over in his bed, curling outwards and exposing his belly as he stretched. He locked eyes with her, happy as always.
Snakelike, she darted forward and bit his stomach three times.
He never cries out or even reacts. There’s never blood or any marks. Surprisingly, Wintermuse is the one missing fur – one single tuft on her side, and it might have been due to all her running and hiding. At 5 weeks, Solstice is no longer afraid of her hisses, growls, swipes, and bites. He now attacks back and even pounces on her. After weeks of separating them, I just let them go for it. She needs to establish her alpha cat status; he needs to learn that she doesn’t want his presence all the time.
But I don’t like it. My cats disappear, and I hear crashes. I strain to hear if anyone is crying. I wonder if it will be like this forever. We can’t leave them alone together. We can’t sleep with the door open. When I try to play with them both, she ignores me. She eats his food. If I pick her up, she squirms away. I am nothing but a treat dispenser to my most beloved pet now. When Solstice is locked up, Wintermuse is more like her old self, but it’s not really the same.
I love Solstice, and we’ll keep him, but don’t kid yourself if you have Maus. They are jealous, they are smart, and they are mean. I promise the next post will be cuter. Here they are: