A while back, I was contacted by a client who had brought a new cat into her home, and it wasn’t long before all of her cats started peeing everywhere. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all it takes. One cat becomes the catalyst that instigates a cascade (literally) of bad behavior from everyone.
And no wonder, because Kitty was a prickly girl who bit whenever her new human tried to pet her or pick her up. She chased the other cats, which started a back-and-forth of chasing and stalking with another of the cats. She turned her new home into a war zone. It was coming increasingly clear that Kitty was a strong-willed and determined cat who planned to rule the roost.
Here’s part of my conversation with that cat:
Well, Kitty. Seems like you’ve caused quite a stir at your new house.
Yes. I have them all jumping and hopping. I’m the Queen. I do what I want.
The Queen’s about to be dethroned, if she doesn’t stop peeing outside the litter box. (She knows what I’m talking about—getting kicked outside for good.)
I won’t go outside. I’ll slip in through the door if they try to do that.
Why do you pee outside the litter boxes?
The boy cats pee in there. I don’t want to pee where they pee. Their pee smells strong and I hate it. I want my own litter box.
It doesn’t work that way. There are already several litter boxes to choose from, and you can’t have one that’s only yours. Do you want to be an only cat? If so, you’d have to go somewhere else. You couldn’t stay where you are.
That would be fine. I don’t care.
If you go back to the shelter, you might be euthanized.
I don’t care. I’ll just come back again.
You know that if you reincarnate without healing your current issues, you’ll just have to do the same things all over again, right?
(She sticks her nose in the air and looks at me sideways.) Maybe.
(That part of the conversation hit a brick wall, so I moved on to ask about her issues around being petted or picked up.) What can your human do to stop you from biting whenever she tries to pet you or pick you up?
Simple. Don’t pet me. I’ll come to you when I want petting, and then I’ll bite when I’m done. Don’t pick me up. I know where I want to be, and I don’t want anyone moving me around.
How do you feel about the boys? (All the other cats are males.)
I don’t feel anything about them. They don’t bother me, even when they try to. The one who stalks me can stalk me all he wants. I don’t care. I will pop him in the face if he bothers me too much. (She is also showing a picture of her chasing him through the house, swatting him on the behind.)
Kitty was a hard case, but I felt sure that there was a sweet cat underneath all the bluster. She was like the schoolyard bully who only wanted to be understood and loved, even though she showed her worst side to everyone.
It wasn’t an overnight fix. It took months of energy healing and communication for all the cats, but finally they did learn to get along, and when Kitty stopped acting out, so did everyone else.