Belle and Billy – A Feline Behaviour Case Study

Issues when introducing a new cat to the home

In September 2018 I was contacted by a lovely couple who had been having bad problems with the introduction of a new cat to their house. The cats were starting to show signs that they were extremely stressed and anxious with the situations and the owners had even had to sleep in separate rooms. This is when they reached out for my help …

“After reading a lot of misinformation online we decided to get another sphynx cat to give our 10-month-old sphynx Billy a companion. With our normal family life he was alone for a few hours a day and we felt he could do with the company. We found Belle a five-month-old female sphynx who needed to be re-homed, being very excited and naive we introduced them very quickly, this did not go well and they fought.

This went on for a month, we had them in separate rooms and having the house on lock down became very stressful for us all and the cats. Billy became very agitated and started to bite us and Belle would be so scared of him she would poop on the spot if he came too close to her. It came to a point where we felt they had no chance of living together, we had become very fond of Belle and were distraught at the thought we would need to rehome again, in desperation we searched online and found Zoe, The Friendly Pet Nurse.”

Sphynx Cats Belle & Billy - Feline Bahaviour Sessions - The Friendly Pet Nurse

After receiving the email, I knew that this needed prompt attention and so I arranged a visit to meet them all. I arrived down at the seaside and was greeted by a very confident Billy. His owners were sadly very distressed at the whole situation and it had got to the point that they had to sleep in separate bedrooms.

Taking action to help the situation

My initial consultations can take anything from 1.5 – 3hrs and during this time I obtain a thorough history, have a tour of the house and check out all the resources available. We also discuss daily routine and talk about the problems they have been seeing. We always need to be realistic in this situation and sadly there is no guarantee with cats. For all the groundwork and effort we put in, some cats are just not compatible. In this case the owners were very sensible and knew that re-homing would have to be in our treatment plan… but let’s remain positive, time patience and preparation can pay off.

After scribbling lots of notes and gaining all my information I could finally start to talk to the owners about ‘cats’. We discussed the importance of their early life, how they learn, how they communicate, the importance of interpretation of their body language. We then went on to talk about their environment, how we look at their territory and how we can ensure that they remain safe. Many feline problems are motivated by fear, anxiety, stress or frustration and so our treatment plan needs to reflect this. Resources, resources, resources… you will hear me talk about these a lot however they are so important in any cat’s life. For any behaviour problem to improve with any species even humans, dedication and commitment are essential for success. Billy and Belle’s owners were 100% committed throughout, which makes my job so much easier.

I left my appointment, keeping everything crossed for this lovely family, who just thought they were doing the right thing when they got Billy a friend. I followed up my appointment with a written report and action plan for the owners to follow. I then offered continued support for the owners whilst we were working through things. I received regular updates and photos of their progress, and I have to say when I received these I had tears in my eyes.

Sphynx Cats Belle & Billy - Feline Bahaviour Horsham - The Friendly Pet Nurse

Its pictures like these that inspire me to help cats & their owners with their problems. They are often a misunderstood species and so it’s important that we take a little time out of our day and think about the life we are giving them… We should take our feelings and beliefs out of the situation, strip it all down and actually think… ”What would the cat choose?”

I am thankful for these kind words –

“We were really struggling with an additional cat into our home, to the thought of having to rehome her. You saved the day!! With all your help and advice, we now have a happy home again! I can’t describe how thankful Gavin and I are!! Thanks a million!!”

“We cannot thank Zoe enough. After introducing a second sphinx cat into our household things didn’t go as we hoped, our first cat developed behaviour problems and our new addition became very anxious. In desperation we contacted Zoe and with her knowledge and guidance she turned everything around, in under two weeks we now have two happy cats that don’t stop playing with each other. Thank you so much”

 

 

If you need any help with your cats, whether you have recently taken in a new pet, or have an ongoing issue which you would like to have sorted, please feel free to get in touch to find out how I can help!