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You know it's bad when

I guess you know you're not a very likable or desirable person to be around when your own cats don't even want to live with you anymore. I mean, I know, thanks to plenty of people telling me that, and being clear what they think my faults are, but wow, when your cats go looking for another home of their own accord, it must be bad.

I've had this sneaking suspicion Olive found another home for a few weeks now -- she has been gone for increasingly long times, to the point where she doesn't even come home at night and is gone the entire day. She doesn't come home for food or treats, and I have to lure her in if I see her and that doesn't even work much of the time. She hates Blues SO MUCH. And by extension, has started hating me, too. She growls and huffs and puffs when I touch her or pet her or try to be friendly. She'll only play with me for a short time. She often won't sleep on me anymore. She tries to knock out the window screens to get out, and hisses, snarls, and growls when Blues is in the other room, if she merely hears him walking around.

And I've been looking for her for two days and all last night, and this afternoon a woman knocked on my door and said that some of the neighbors thought I might be her owner, and she described Olive to me. I said, yeah, that's her, and told her that I'd been afraid she had found another home where someone was feeding her and offering her Blues-free affection. She said, yes, that's me! She commented on how friendly and sweet Ollie is, and I mentioned she's also very bold and fearless, and she said that Ollie had just come right into her house. But she has a skittish, very fear-aggressive cat so didn't want to just bring her in. Olive slept on her porch, and was there curled up at the door in the mornings, and there at night, so she was feeding her.

She took my card and said she'd call when she next saw Olive, and in the meantime, while she was off running errands, I went over to her house and there was Ollie, who had obviously ignored me when I'd come by about an hour earlier on my walk, calling for her. This time the brat came out and let me bring her home, although she stopped purring and started snarling and growling when we got in the yard. Now she's alternately sleeping and glaring at me with her golden eyes, hissing and puffing (I started calling her Miss Hufflepuff a while ago) and growling at Blues, just being generally disagreeable and yet still cute as the dickens.

I don't know what to do about her. She's obviously incredibly unhappy here, with Blues, with me, with the bully cats who invade her backyard sanctuary. So she's gone to find another home. And I think even if the neighbor stops feeding her, she'll just go find someone else to do it. She is very focused and bold. And grouchy.

I've become addicted to the Dog Whisperer lately, and I'm even trying to do some of Cesar's tricks -- changing my energy to calm assertive, breaking her attention when she gets into one of her growling frenzies. But Blues is still her tormenter and ignores my energy, ignores most of my attempts to get him to behave. It's impossible to modify behavior, though, when they freaking run away. Today when I went looking for Ollie, Blues bolted out of the house. He's been remarkably good about not straying since the big My Little Runaway episode of last year, but today he seemed to vanish, and didn't come back, didn't eat his breakfast, anything. I finally got him back in about an hour or so after Ollie came home, and it's been snarls and growls and running around and fighting since, when they're not glaring at me or begging to go outside.

I mean, how bad a person do you have to be that your cat, who you love with all your heart and spoil rotten and saved from death row, wants to go live on someone else's porch? Depressing, I tell you. This does not help how lowdown and unloved I feel lately.

I'm working on taking this copyediting test for a fiction publisher. I'm really stuck on it and I need to finish and get it back asap, but it's really badly written but they want mechanical stuff from CEs, not really developmental or substantive stuff. I'm spending too much time analyzing every single sentence because I don't know if it's not enough, too much, the wrong thing, what. It needs much more than a copyedit, so it's such a struggle to figure out what's right. I really would like to do work for them even though it pays next to nothing (really, it's almost like volunteering!), just because of what they publish, but the pressure of what's right on this test makes it very hard to do. I hate tests, and I really don't believe in them, but it's the nature of this crappy field. I love the work of editing, but as a business it kinda sucks.

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Sep. 11th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
You probably already know this, but remember, it's a cat we are talking about here...

Cats don't love humans -or at least most don't- they see us as their servants whom they are honoring with their presence and they often believe it is a natural state of affairs to be adored and spoiled rotten. Basically, cats do not care about you though their level of tolerance of us varies based on incomprehensible parameters.

You want to be sure to avoid thinking of a cat as if they were a dog: dogs often love their owners unconditionally, blindly, and definitely see them as their owner. Or at least their very own food person which they greet enthusiastically every day.

Not cats. Expecting from a cat the level of love you would get from a dog or a reciprocation of the level of fondness you have for it is a mistake in my opinion...

When I was younger, my family had a cat and a dog and though our dog was stupid, it loved all of us -especially my father- and I think it died of grief when several years later we had to pass him off to a relative after we moved to another city totally unsuited to having a large dog.

Our cat on the other hand disappeared after several years though it was always petted and indulged and fed delicious tidbits and we never found it again... Well, it was a Siamese cat: they are so very pretty and they are indeed supremely elegant cats but I gather they are also known for being especially temperamental and coldly haughty.

Not that I am a specialist, there has to be people who can give you some practical advice, but just based on my own experience of someone who always gets along very well with cats and dogs, you really do not want to assign too much meaning to such things.
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
I have to respectfully disagree with you on a number of the comments about cats. Especially Siamese, as they tend to be extremely loyal and fixate on one person in particular. And I think that dog-cat dichotomy is kind of a false one -- I grew up in a household filled with animals of all kinds, from the tiniest pocket pet to horses at one point. My dad bred and trained dogs. Cats and dogs are different, but they are equally able to give affection back, in their own peculiar ways.

And anyway, Olive is a cat who thinks she's a dog (most people who've seen her are amazed at how like a dog she is), she's just very unhappy here since the addition to the family, and that extends to me.

It's always a bit hard to have a conversation with someone you don't know who you're talking to -- I'm not used to anonymous unsigned posts, so I'm not sure if I'm reading your intended communication style correctly or not.
Sep. 11th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC)
You could try a cat pheramone diffuser called "Feliway". They're supposed to help cats get along - calming influence.
I have one to stop my cat crying in the night - it mostly works. It might calm things down enough that they get used to each other.
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, unfortunately Feliway has had absolutely no effect, and it's financially unfeasible for me right now -- that stuff is SO expensive and it takes months to have any effect, which, since Olive isn't in the house anymore much, mitigates that factor!

I've even tried Rescue Remedy but she runs every time she sees me pull out any kind of bottle.
Sep. 11th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC)
Bev has four very different cats. And I haven't been able to figure out any of them. I quit trying. Doesn't seem to matter how well you treat them if they decide there's something wrong, nothing is going to change that. it's disheartening when a cat just makes a decision not to like you.
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC)
Yeah. And especially since Olive is so friendly and fun all other times. She LOVES to play, she gets this happy smile on her face and she's just such a ball. And she'll go up to strangers and let little kids pet her and stuff. But now she's become this giant crankyass and she worked herself up into a frenzy of rage.
Sep. 11th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
Sep. 11th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
It sounds to me like Olivia doesn't have a problem with you. She has a problem with Blues, and associates you with him. Is there any way to keep them in separate parts of the house? We have friends whose cats nearly killed each other before they finally separated them, with one on one floor and the other on a different floor.
Sep. 14th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
I wish the house was bigger -- there are only two rooms with closeable doors, and they're both so tiny that it's more of a punishment space. I can't get litter boxes and such in them. And now my open floor plan totally precludes separation -- I thought the new layout would be such a benefit, and it is, except when it comes to the damn cats!
Sep. 11th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
I second the Feliway recommendation. My sister has been using it for one of her own cats (who has this way of totally disrupting her other cats' routines); she was talking it up just last month, in fact.

Sep. 14th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
Sadly, it had no effect at all, and now Olive isn't around anyway to try it on!
Sep. 11th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)

You're having a rough time of it.

Thinking of you.
Sep. 11th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
I've been abandoned by cats before when situations change (a move) or other animals are adopted. It sucks. I mean, I get it - you want the cat to be happy, but here you are expending all this energy to make that happen and the cat is all "whatev, I'm moving in next door with the German exchange student."


Cats are kind of like teenagers. I do firmly believe they are capable of love (they have souls, after all) and I bet dollars to donuts Olive still loves you. She just doesn't like the situation with Blue right now and cats are notoriously intolerant of situations they do not like, especially when those situations involve dogs. The feliway is a great idea as is maybe creating zones in the house that are Blues-Free and Olive-Free. I live in a pretty small apartment (largish for an apartment) with an old cranky dog and two cats. The cats have a room and a bathroom that is completely dog free. They obviously can leave the room and roam about the rest of the house and the deck if they want - but they KNOW he is not allowed in their room (and they actually get very indignant when he is naughty and goes in anyway). They've all kind of decided to do this mutually ignore thing where the dog pretends there are no cats and the cats try to stay out of his stuff/line of sight to aid in this pretense and it is working for them.
Sep. 11th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
I would tell them all of what is wrong. I say this because I remember such a test at a law firm. There was a great deal wrong with the spelling, punctuation and grammar, but even more was wrong with the structure of the piece and the development of the argument. I included everything that was wrong.

I got the shock of my life when the lawyer administering the test said that they told people taking the test that they were just to focus on the mechanics...but that they were really looking for someone would do all the work, whether he or she was told there was something wrong or not. The lawyer finished by saying that they hadn't had anyone correct the logic, structure and substance of the test in addition to the spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization problems in three years.

So yes. Correct everything. Show them you know how to edit.
Sep. 11th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
Pippi and Gizmo are indoor cats and Pips absolutely *hates* Giz. There have been times when I feel like she gets confused in her overall anger and applies it to me. When she does it hurts so I ignore her and give Giz minimal attention, only petting when Pips isn't hissing or growling. It took several weeks and now she's been ultra affectionate to me.

Sadly, she still is so angry around Giz and he loves pouncing on her even when I tell him no.

My place is so tiny. It's hard to keep the two separated. I'd think your place would be plenty big for your guys. Do you keep separate litter boxes? That might help a little bit...unless they just go outside...man, I suck at the advice.

Tests always make me so nervous. The minute I sit down in front of that computer and have to recreate a design...my mind goes blank. All keyboard shortcuts go poof!

Hugs on the cat and test fronts!
Sep. 14th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
I'm a bit late to the conversation here, but I have to agree with what everyone else has said. I don't think it's that she hates you... but that she hates your other cat.

We actually had a similar situation with our cat, Polly. She never really warmed up to us and never got along with our cat Cymry. I always got the impression that she never quite forgave us for bringing her home to house that already had a cat. We always had to feed them on separate floors of the house or they'd fight and as they got older, Polly pretty much moved into the basement and never left, while Cymry had control of the upstairs. I think if we had ever let Polly out of the house (well, before she went blind) she likely would have done the same thing Olive is doing.

It's been quite a relief and a change to see how well Zoë and Numfar get along... it still catches us by surprise that we can even hold them both at the same time and they're happy with that (and won't try to kill us or each other).
Sep. 14th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Oh, and I would second the recommendation to try Feliway. It helped quite a bit with Cymry and Polly. They still didn't get along, but it eased some of the tension between them.
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