At the end of the last Flashback post, Gus had just attacked Calpurnia pretty severely, after months of no interaction problems worth mentioning. I rather quickly got a new Feliway atomizer, and put it upstairs near where the cats might meet each other without room to dodge in the narrow hallways. I added more food dishes and a new litter box and water fountain to reduce competition.
While Gus seemed to have forgotten about the incident right away, Calpurnia wasn’t as forgiving. There were several incidents where she spat at the other cats when they got into her space unexpectedly. She also often climbed onto higher perches – the bookshelves in the living room was a favorite spot. Fortunately, she didn’t seem too afraid or cowed by it all, just annoyed. That’s a good reaction. Gus seemed oblivious to all of it.
Then one morning, Gus attacked again. This time I saw it – he was focused on Calpurnia, and stared her down, then charged and bit her on the shoulder area. She started yowling, and I grabbed her away from him. Then he saw Julius in the hallway wondering what all the fuss was about. Gus charged him just like he did Calpurnia, biting him on the side and bowling him over. So it’s not just a new cat introduction issue – he’s known Julius since he was a kitten.
And of course, the Feliway had run out.
I was getting pretty suspicious at this point, but put in another mister. I figured that I could at worst make sure I never ran out, and avoid another incident. I had one ready. Gus had just been checked out a few weeks before the Feliway regimen started, before the first incident, so health problems didn’t seem likely. I wanted to see if I could detect any friction that was getting him angry that I hadn’t noticed in the previous months.
Guess again, buddy. This time the Feliway ran out days early. And when I pulled him off of Calpurnia, he bit me severely on the hand. Now, he’s bitten me a few times before in his 14 years – during panic attacks. This was no panic, this was blind anger. I held him on the bed and wrapped him in the blanket while he chewed on my other hand. It took the usual amount of time to run down, and again, he had forgotten all about the attack. I wished I could, it hurt like hell.
So after a fun night squeezing blood out of the wounds to flush out any germs in them, I took Gus to the vet for testing. Then I went to the doctor for medication and a tetanus shot. (Plus a free whooping-cough vaccine!). The vet tests were negative, Gus was healthy. Well, a healthy time bomb ready to go off every month.
At this point I was sure the Feliway was causing the problem. There was no problem at all before we started with it. The attacks were happening within hours of the mister running out, each time. I told the vet all this, and she gave me some kitty Valium. I was to ramp it up before the mister ran out, then see what happened when I tapered it off after the Feliway was gone. If I was right, the drug would help cushion the changeover. If I was wrong, and Gus was permanently enraged, maybe the Valium would work better.