Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dear George,
My name is Maggie and I’m a 12 years old (and cute) rescue as you can see in the photo.
I was rescued as a kitten with three other cats. We always lived downstairs with our mommy.  Her daughter always lived up-stairs with her human tomcat and their rescued tabby, Ziggy.  There always was a lot of mystery of what was happening behind the door that separated the downstairs from upstairs. I could “smell” Ziggy through the doors but we never interacted. Even in the rare occasions when we tried to pay a visit… his daddy was so protective of this “Prince Charming” that we, the other cats, couldn’t even catch a glimpse of him.
Unfortunately not long ago my mommy crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we suffered very much losing her. I was her favourite and I was by her side until the very last minute.
It was very hard for me and so was for my mommy’s daughter that now became my new mommy! But, I took on…. the mission to be the Alpha Cat in the house.
My new mommy leaves all the doors open so we can have free access everywhere in the house.  George, you probably guessed by now ….why I’m writing to you!
Yes! You are right – my first real encounter with Ziggy was a disaster. He tried to ignore me - as you can see him in the photo - pretending he’s watching TV. It did not end well.
I beat him up! That created a lot of trouble! His daddy was very upset and my new mommy was trying to make peace. But, so did end up the second and third and any other encounter. The others cats are OK; they get along well with Ziggy. It is just me!
I know they are not going to send us to shelters …but…why am I acting like this? Am I jealous? Am I upset at his daddy? Or…am I crazy? I want Ziggy’s dad to love me too!
I wish we all live in peace!
 Yours very sad and confused

Dear Maggie
The problem is your humans not you. Humans think that we cats can get on with almost any other cat, like dogs do. Dogs will go to the park and then play with stranger dogs. Our attitude is very different. Some of us are quite social: others are natural loners. You may be a natural loner.
If you are, you naturally try to see off strange other cats. It is just in your nature to do so. And Ziggy is another cat. I wonder if there is any way in which you could have your own space, perhaps with a microchip operated cat flap inside the house to keep Ziggy out? These flaps are a boon. Your human could adjust it so that only you could go in and out (or perhaps the other three cats) but Ziggy could not. Or visa versa - giving Ziggy a safe place of his own.
Now that you have had several fights you are not going to become friends with him. So the best thing your humans can do is try to arrange the house so that you two can avoid each other. Lots of hiding places for him and for you (because although you are fighting him, it is because you are afraid). Cardboard boxes with holes cut in them? High shelves?
Worst come to the worst, get your humans to time share themselves. Ziggy comes into the living room at 6-8pm while you are shut out: then from 8pm-10pm you are in the living room while he is shut out. Make sure both of you have an place in the house which is your den and where you can be separated at night: so both of you can have a period free from stress.
You are not crazy, Maggie. You are just a natural loner cat needing her own space, and doing her best to cope. A Feliway diffuser in the area where you spend most of your time, and another one where Ziggy hangs out might help the general atmosphere. You need two because if you have to share one, fights might break out again.
Finding yourself a new home might not be the worst solution: but at your age it can be difficult to find one.
Yours with the greatest sympathy


  1. Poor Maggie, you have been through it. Losing your Mum must have been very hard and suddenly having to share your space with new apes and that Ziggy must have been the final straw.

    All may not be lost, you might still be able to get along with Ziggy. With us, everything takes a lot longer than apes believe. Making friends and learning to trust other cats in particular.

    Shutting us away then suddenly letting us out to mingle isn't easy on us at all.

    Ask your apes to get a screen door made. One with a 2cm mesh all over. Slide in hinges are available so the screen door can be used on pretty much any door in your home without wrecking the door frames or taking the old solid door off. Catches and slide pins can be used to secure the door closed. The frame only needs to be made of 2cm x 2cm wood, so it will be light but sturdy.

    A screen door means that a room can be used to keep one cat in that room but the cat can still see, smell and be entertained by what is going on elsewhere in the house. This gives everyone a chance to get used to the presence of the other cat and the other cat to do likewise

    Pick a room that has a good view of the rest of the house.

    Using a screen door can be a very good method of integrating cats and giving them a chance to really get to know each other and their habits without coming to harm before they are formally introduced.

    You and Ziggy could share the room on a rota basis so all cats can have time out around the house and it can also be used as a safe area.

    My apes have used screen doors for integrating cats for a long time and it seems to work well and leaves cats free to choose who to be near to.

    I hope things work out for you Maggie, and that in time you and Ziggy find a safe way to live together.

    Luff from Mungo

  2. Maggie, make me understand; you said that you lived for the past 12 years with other three cats and you were fine and are fine. The other cats you said are getting along with Ziggy quite well, right?
    That means that indeed it's you having a problem with him! I think you are jealous! Maybe if his daddy and your new mum will pay more attention to'll come to terms with Ziggy. Tell his daddy to hold you on his lap and comfort you and you'll purr all the way :-)

  3. are the Alpha Cat in that house and the humans you share the house with need to realize this. Tell Ziggy's dad to admit that you are the Boss and pay his respect to you!
    It's not that much Ziggy's fault but his daddy.
    If I were you I'd beat up the daddy :-)

  4. You are both beautiful and I think you look alike! Maybe soon you'll be friends. Sometimes it takes time. and Ziggy will be friends soon!

  5. CAT VictoriaOctober 14, 2013

    Maggie, you are not crazy! Did your new daddy try to show you any sign of love? It's not YOU being the problem, it's HIM being the problem. He is crazy! He acts like "one cat man" (which of course we love, when our humans show us so much devotion) but in a household with multiple cats he should show some affection to all, especially to you! My people are crazy too - they show affection to any cat that gets into my territory which again it's not good but it is very difficult with humans to strike a balance :-)
    Hope he reads my comment and learn something.
    CAT Victoria

  6. Tell me! I moved into a new home where the human (my human's partner)had already 3 cats. Now we are four but we manage to ignore each other for most of the time. Only one cat became my friend. Maggie, in the'll be ok and so will be Ziggy. Humans have no patience.
    Give both of you time.


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online