No fighting, no biting!
Sept. 26, 2016
by Ivan Raconteur

Despite the fact I acquired my two feline roommates at the same time from the same animal shelter, the transition has not been as smooth as one might have hoped.

Although both are very friendly toward humans, interactions between the cats have been rocky.

The root of the problem is that Allie Cat is a bully.

She would thrive as an only cat, because she would not have to share attention with any other cats, and no one would trespass on what she considers her territory.

She is not, however, an only cat, and therefore there has been friction.

Rylee is perfectly willing to be pals with Allie, but Allie won’t have any of it.

When the two of them were together at the shelter, they basically ignored one another.

This continued in the first days after I brought them home, but soon, Allie began hissing at Rylee if she came anywhere near her.

The hissing escalated to violence, and Allie initiated a progression of increasingly severe attacks on Rylee.

These attacks were unprovoked, and some even took place while Rylee was napping.

This saddened me, because my goal is to have a happy home where all of the inhabitants feel safe and comfortable.

I sat the girls down and told them the story from the classic children’s book, “No fighting, no biting!” by Else Homelund Minarik (with illustrations by Maurice Sendak).

I hoped this book would convince them that it is better if we can get along together instead of fighting. I told them the new motto at the bachelor estate is “No fighting, no biting!”

This did not seem to make any impression on the girls, at least not on Allie.

The violence continued until I came home one day to find Rylee had an eye injury, which required an unscheduled trip to the vet.

Not only did this result in a vet bill, but I had to spend the next week administering eye drops three times per day to a reluctant recipient.

At the vet’s advice, I have kept the cats separated since then. He noted Rylee will be less able to defend herself until the vision in her left eye improves. She is already at a severe disadvantage, since she weighs six pounds and Allie weighs 12.

Allie has been exiled to the guest suite on the second floor, but I don’t see separate quarters as a long-term solution for the problem.

I have been doing research online to find possible resolutions, but the things I have found are either impractical, or they are things I am already doing, which haven’t helped.

A friend suggested adding a third cat to the mix, with the idea that perhaps the two persecuted cats would form an alliance to keep the bully in line.

I liked this idea, but I was concerned that, if it didn’t work as planned, I’d have to cope with another potential cat problem.

The same friend offered the best idea I have heard so far, which involves modifying the technology used by those electronic fences people use to keep dogs in their own yards.

As I understand it, the way these work is that the dog wears a special collar that applies a mild shock if the dog gets too close to the wire buried around the perimeter of the yard.

In my situation, I would put the shock collar on Allie, and Rylee would be fitted with a special collar that would replace the invisible fence.

Any time Allie would get too close to Rylee, she, Allie, would get a shock.

I think that’s brilliant. It wouldn’t hurt Allie, but it would very likely deter her from pouncing on Rylee every chance she got.

I wouldn’t need to keep the system armed forever, either. It would just have to be in place long enough to change Allie’s behavior. Once she developed a healthy respect for Rylee’s new mojo, she would steer clear of her whenever possible.

This would keep her from blocking the hall, because whenever Rylee got close enough, Allie would get a jolt.

I don’t know if I would trust such a system in the hands of a human, but I’m confident that Rylee is too sweet a girl to use this power for evil.

If some people figured out they could shock their enemies just by getting close to them, they’d be chasing them all the time, and, in effect, the victim would become the bully.

Rylee would never do that.

I haven’t found a product designed for this specific task on the market, but perhaps with a bit of creativity, a guy might be able to improvise something.

I’ll ask the lads about this the next time they stop by to sample refreshing adult beverages. I’m sure we could engineer something that would work so I can go from a house divided to a house of peace.

When that happens, we will be able to fulfill our new house rule about “No fighting, no biting.”

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