Girl Cat Named Olive

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June 6, 2007

What to Do About a Girl Cat Named Olive


Q: Guess who has had the most restful vacation out of everyone in the Lexacor Clan?
A: Olive Eloise.

While Alexis and I vacated for 2.5 weeks and had our share of excitement, Olive was happily lounging about the house, finally bereft of the only dark clouds of her existence: Olga and Frieda. "Olive," my father wrote to us in an email while we were away, "is a different cat."

This was and is quite true. Before we left for Turkey, we erected a temporary door that divided our open apartment into two halves. We left the Robettes in the front room and Olive and Irving in the kitchen/dining room. When we returned, all of the cats were freaked out except for Olive, who was laying comfortably on her back on the floor. Since we've gotten back, we've switched the duos, allowing Oy and Olive to have a chance to leave their fur on our couches. But mainly, this has been a stalling technique on our part.

The bottom line is that none of the cats but Olive are happy about this arrangement. For the past four weeks, she has been calm, relaxed and generally lovable. Irving is the only one who has permission to roam both halves of the house, mainly because if he can't, he will have a nervous breakdown.* We feel bad for the three cats who hate to be sequestered. But we also feel for the Littlest Feline, whom we know will be chased relentlessly when we open the house up again, and it will only be a matter of time before she begins cowering atop the kitchen counters again, hissing at us and being generally miserable.

If you were us, what would you do? Keep up the doors and rotate the cats every so often or open it up and try to maintain civility?


*Our vacation was a little too much for Irving to take. The icing on the cake was my hospital stay- Alexis reported to me that he paced most of the two nights I was gone- and since I have returned he has been at my heels every moment I've been in the house.

Posted by callalillie at June 6, 2007 6:17 AM | Feline Musings , The Littlest Feline


Aw, she looks just like my girl Olive.

I now you're not going to like my suggest, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. Maybe Olive would be happier with your parents? If she's THAT much happier alone, maybe it's best for her.

I know, I know. It's just a suggestion, though.

Posted by: Nicole at June 5, 2007 11:27 PM

Unfortunately, Olive would be thrust into a house with 2 existing cats if she came to live with us (Corie's parents)- a situation similar to the one she's in now. But I agree that she'd be better off if she could find a new home where she's the only cat. Olive is small and will always be on the bottom of the pecking order. Finding a place where she'd be the only cat would be best.

Posted by: bobtrancho at June 6, 2007 5:51 AM

Sadly, we've thought about that. It's not that she's happier alone, though-- she and Irving get along really well. She's happier without the other two female cats around. Olga and Freida were aggressive toward one another long before we introduced all of the cats. I still conclude that the Robettes needs behavioral therapy.

Posted by: corie at June 6, 2007 6:31 AM

Hmm, I think she would be happier alone, perhaps not happiest, but happier than living her life nervously waiting a top the kitchen cabinets for one of the Robettes to come stalking.

Olga and Frieda are just normal cats. They get along with each other fine most of the time but have spats once in a while. Our cats do the same. But Olive is a runt who was thrust into an artificial pack as an adult and nature has taken it's course. Irving is a good sized male and was able to establish a more dominant place.

Sadly, I believe that she'll get worse over time. I know I would if I lived in constant fear.

Posted by: bobtrancho at June 6, 2007 7:32 AM

It's hard to have cats in an open space. In my experience, cats like to have hiding spaces where they can get away from each other. For Salmon, it's under the kitchen sink when she gets tired of King's constant bugging. So, I guess I'm saying create more spaces for the cats to get away from each other... In my mom's house,with hallways and couches and things, the cats hide all over and they each have their own space.

Posted by: Nani at June 6, 2007 9:24 AM

To judge by my two cats, what Bob says is true. Sebastian is an inherently sweeter and tamer cat than Isabel, so he doesn't pick as many fights as she does, but being bigger and older, he often ends them. They have turf wars pretty much daily, and their special spots are always shifting accordingly. But I ascribe a lot of their behavior to play, because often they'll sound ferocious, but their body language will say otherwise.

I also agree with Nani. A cat tree with hiding places can be useful, especially if you plant treats or toys on the various levels. Transient hiding places, like cardboard boxes, are good as well. Also, you might actually want to try a cat behaviorist, certainly before you consider rehoming Olive. I have a lovely animal-rescuing friend with seven cats and two dogs and a lot of cat difficulties before she called in a behaviorist. Now things are going much better. I can find out the behaviorist's contact info if you like. I believe she's here in Brooklyn.

Posted by: Beth at June 6, 2007 11:42 AM

It took years, but giving my little cat opportunity to hide and space for herself (She has her own SHELF in the linen closet) really helped. I didn't want to give her away, but I couldn't let her get bullied. It was years of negative reinforcement of fighting to convince Oscar he shouldn't pick on Neka. And it doesn't matter how many hiding spaces you give them, you have to deal with the behavior.

It took years. Now they are 10 and 11, and I don't know if all that effort was worthwhile or if now they are middle aged and over it. *sigh*

Posted by: breana at June 6, 2007 7:33 PM

My Carly was the "runt" of the litter. When I brought her home to a house with two grown male cats. She let know her newly adopted brother know (at two weeks old) she wasn't going to be picked on. However Tux was determined to get her to be frighten of him. Turns out the littlest feline turned out to be the biggest bully. You never know, Olive could change.

Posted by: catnip at June 8, 2007 12:58 PM

Ask Alexis about "Sunny".
She was a tiny,orange, runt of a cat, who was forever picked on, by the other cats.
She outlived all of them.
By the way she also spent her time sitting high up, on shelves and such.

Posted by: Petrie at June 9, 2007 5:45 PM

Ask Alexis about "Sunny".
She was a tiny,orange, runt of a cat, who was forever picked on, by the other cats.
She outlived all of them.
By the way she also spent her time sitting high up, on shelves and such.

Posted by: Petrie at June 9, 2007 5:45 PM

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