I have a situation here, that has me puzzled, and that is fitting as the cat in question bears the name of Jigsaw Puzzle. I need some assistance/advice/insight with a cat behavioral issue that has cropped up.
Now, here's the problem we're having. Ever since we got Tigger home from the vet on Monday, Jiggy has been being a royal P.I.T.A., hissing at him, growling, and even grumping at Nugget (another orange tabby), our 2-year-old and youngest "foster failure." Normally, he and Nugget get along just fine. But the last couple of days, Jiggy is being a real A$$!
Tigger has been to the vet before, without this going on, even though he and Jigsaw are not exactly "friends."
And here's the back story:
Please bear with me: this is lengthy, but gives all of the background information you might need to help me with this issue.
We rescued Jigsaw back in 2007, and he's been with us ever since. He really is a sweet cat, and even took on the role of "uncle" to the couple of batches of foster kittens we had. (three of those are still with us! And they still snuggle up to "Uncle Jigsaw" at 2 and 3 years of age!)
At the time we rescued him, Jigsaw, (Jiggy, for short) was the newest arrival. We had at that time 4 other cats. He and my second-oldest cat never managed more than an uneasy truce. Jiggy is a smallish marble tabby, and his "nemesis" is Tigger, a large, Maine Coon orange tabby mix.
A few months after moving Jiggy in, we lost our black kitty to the mystery illness she'd been battling for the prior year. Things "sort of" settled down afterwards, but Jiggy insisted on chasing and cornering Tigger.
Tigger could not grasp, "If you don't run, he can't chase you." So, we'd have these ridiculous standoffs from time to time. Sometimes, if they got really bad, I'd put them both in the same carrier to cool off, as there was no room for a fight to happen in there. When I'd release them a few moments later, they'd each hightail it to a different end of the house, and that would be that for a few months.
Fast forward to now, 2014, and Tigger is the senior old man in the house, (our actual oldest kitty having been banned to the workshop for not being able to remember where the litter box is or what it is for--concrete is easier to clean than carpet!).
So, poor old Tigger, about 2 months ago, started throwing up everything he ate, and I mean major spews, requiring the 'big gun' carpet shampoo machine. Then, he started refusing to eat at all. That worried me. I took him to the vet; they did not find anything obvious either by exam or in blood work.
I tried changing his food. No dice. I was having to force-feed him liquified food by syringe, but he lost several pounds. A volunteer with the rescue group I am with suggested I ask the vet for a prescription for Prednisone, as the symptoms were the same she'd been through with one of her cats. My vet agreed; a trial wouldn't hurt and might help.
It was like a miracle!! Within half an hour of his first dose, he voluntarily ate his dinner! And he has been eating ever since. He only pukes if he misses a dose, and that has happened only once.
However, he is still very thin, as if he's not getting the nutrients from his food. I finally got an appointment with ARF, a charity vet group, so I could get the xray exam I could not afford at my private vet.
They also repeated the blood work, and that agreed with the findings previously done, and the xray showed nothing amiss, nor did the extensive palpation done by their vet. He got new medicine, same stuff, just in pill form instead of liquid. So, we wait and see.
But meanwhile, I don't understand why Jigsaw is being such a %$($ all of a sudden.
If I had to venture a guess it'd be this.... Tigger was oldest and longest standing member of your cat family so he was probably enjoying a position of dominance, even if he didn't really show it. When he started getting thin he started getting weaker. Jiggy picked up on this and probably didn't have the guts to do anything about it until you left for the vet. That signaled something was serious about his condition. Now Jiggy's taking advantage of Tigger's weakness and old age and trying to claw his way to the top. Unless Tigger gets back into good condition (and beats Jiggy back into his own corner) this problem isn't likely to resolve.... sorry. Cats are really sensitive to social balance - once it's tipped it's hard to get it right again!
Oh, dear. Well, yes, Tigger is 13; Jiggy is about 7.
We were gone longer than if we'd gone to the local vet, like about 4 hours, mainly because we ended up in the commute traffic on the way home. But Tigger was not gone overnight.
Everyone raves about that "Feliway" stuff, but I tried it once before, and it didn't work, and is expensive as all get-out!
And, it's kind of funny, but in the last couple of months, since Tigger started feeling poorly, he finally "found a pair," and put Jigsaw in his place a couple of times, and gave him a taste of his own medicine, even cornering him one day! It was rather comical at the time. but of course, we made sure it did not escalate into a battle.
Well, FeliWay can certainly do wonders in some situations but it has to be the right situation. I'm afraid this probably isn't one of them. I agree it is expensive though!
And it makes sense... your old boy's aging hasn't gone unnoticed. I would bet that went he put Jiggy in his place it was because Jiggy was probably already starting to make a bid at the dominant position. With any luck you can get Tigger back to good health and he can sort this out, otherwise I am afraid you might have chronic conflict. Sigh. Cats! Good luck either way!
I tend to agree with Theophanes - it's a battle of superiority. In regards to your sick kitty, though, there is a simple test the vet can run to see if his pancreas is digesting his food properly. In the event he starts throwing up again, you might mention it. I'm not sure how it's done, but my vet did it for one of my cats when she started losing weight. He can also be tested for diabetes, which is more common in pets than you might think.
Thank you for the additional information and suggestions, Ann1Az2.
I'll keep that in mind--or rather in my notebook, since my mind is like a sieve anymore! ;-)
(I guess Tigger started losing weight first from the vomiting, and then from refusing to eat for 3 days. ..)
This kitty is special to me. I always wanted an "orange marmalade cat," and he was my first such.
Tigger and Jigsaw seemed to have settled back into their usual "uneasy truce."
Now, I'm wondering if it might all have been because Jigsaw thought that Tigger had "VET-STINK" all over him. Picking on him because "Eeew...You smell funny! You've been to THAT nasty place where they stick you with needles and poke you with thermometers in a most undignified way!"
And now, a few days later, that "aroma" has worn off. I mean, it was an obvious smell; I could even smell the antiseptic odor, with my comparatively poor human sense of smell.
Or perhaps he just reeked of other cats (God only knows how many kitties the vet examined before he came along to yours!)
I've had cats my whole life and let me tell you.... you never stop learning. They are complicated little creatures. Glad to hear everything's back to normal!
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