Sanna Kramsi - Blog A peek into my life

Knowing when it is time to give up

January 22, 2022 | Cats

We've been having the cat living situation testing for two months now. And today morning, Nappi attacked Osiris without provocation. This isn't the first time she has done or attempted this, so it's been a known risk. But now it has become clear to me that this arrangement will not work. Luckily no physical damage was afflicted on either one of them during the conflict. At least there aren't any visible wounds or anything like that. The cats also seem mentally ok, which is good. But it is only a matter of time before something similar could happen with Lumia. And Lumia cannot defend herself. She has almost no normal cat skills. So I'm quite certain she would get hurt if Nappi decided to attack her.

I know some cats take months, or even years, to start accepting each other. I would have been able to handle that if Nappi wasn't this aggressive. I can't in good conscience risk Lumia's and Oriris' wellbeing. There is no certainty that Nappi would ever change her behavior.

Part of the issue has been that Nappi and Elli have had pretty much no discipline. They do know a water spray, but that is not very optimal when Lumia and Osiris don't. Nappi and Elli don't understand verbal commands at all and Elli doesn't even recognize her name. With Osiris, I can get him to stop anything by either calling his name or telling him something like "go away". But that doesn't help much when Osiris is the one in trouble and trying to get away from the newcomers. And with Lumia the situation is pretty much the same as with Osiris, she will obey if we tell her to. She may not like it, but she will obey. Luckily Lumia doesn't need much discipline, she is a very well-behaved kitty cat. Elli and Nappi have also been practicing, and improving, though. For example, if Elli is trying to stalk Osiris, I usually start saying her name in a commanding way. She has started to understand that this means her and that she is doing something she is not supposed to. Because after a few times of hearing her name she does walk away from the situation. But does she know it's her name? I don't think so. :D My brother taught her to come to the human when the human pants, so I don't know if Elli thinks that sound is her name. :D I still can't get over the fact that if I pant at Elli, she comes running to me.

Nappi quite clearly wants to be the only cat in the house. That has been an easy determination based on her behavior here. She doesn't want Elli close to her most of the time. She has learned to tolerate Elli during their years together, but she does dominate Elli. And boy does she send a lot of mixed signals. One moment she is asking Elli to come to play with her. And if Elli does come close even a few seconds later, Nappi suddenly hisses and spits at Elli. This behavior, of course, scared Lumia and Osiris a lot. They are used to only hiss to each other if necessary. Basically, it was always Lumia hissing at Osiris when Osiris was playing too roughly.

Elli was almost completely ok living here. She and Osiris had started to find their rules of conduct. Osiris hasn't been getting that upset when Elli occasionally managed to jump on him. Just a quick hiss and a possible meow, and Elli backed away. Elli seemed to be a bit jealous of Lumia trying to come to get the humans' attention. Occasionally she hissed at Lumia when they were both close to the humans. But Lumia mostly was a bit confused and walked away. No huge drama in that, and I'm sure this behavior we could have gotten rid of sooner or later.

Lumia has been curious about the other two cats, and she even got quite close with Elli. But Nappi is either afraid of Lumia or simple just hates her. I'm not entirely sure which, possibly even both. Nappi has tried to prevent Lumia from moving around our apartment. She has tried to block a room with a litter box. Luckily we have one in every room so no issue because of that. And she has also tried to block access to the kitchen where the food is. This behavior might have become a blocker for this experiment at some point. I was just hoping that this behavior would have improved after Nappi got more used to Lumia. They haven't even seen each other on some days. That might make it harder for Nappi to get familiar with Lumia's presence.

Osiris has been getting quite tolerant towards Elli. And he has let Nappi get past him without any hisses quite often. But knowing Osiris, he is still very afraid of the newcomers. And when he gets too scared, he will hiss and meow. Luckily that is all he ever does, I haven't needed to worry about him attacking the newcomers. And even if he gets attacked, he has only been vocal and trying to run away. A part of it might be that he doesn't have any teeth left. It might make him uncomfortable in scary situations. Assuming he understands he doesn't have teeth. We've been wondering about whether he gets it or not. I'm not that well acquainted with how cats think and what they can understand about themselves. But even if he is quite harmless towards the others, he clearly hasn't been happy about the newcomers.

At this point, I know that the separation will be the best solution for Nappi, Osiris, and Lumia. Of Elli, I'm not 100% sure. But she will adapt. As long as she has a human that will give her a lot of attention, I don't think she minds that much what else happens around her. This solution will ensure that all the cats are safe and that is the most important thing here.

I would have really wanted this to work out. But I have to be a responsible cat owner and put a stop to a too risky situation. It would have been different if we were living in a large house. There it would likely have been possible to have separate living areas with little interaction. But in our relatively small apartment, there is always some level of interaction, it just cannot be avoided. I really love Elli and Nappi, they are both so lovely to us humans. They've brought me so much joy over these two months. It saddens me to see them go, but I also wish for them to have the best life they can have, and unfortunately, that is not here. Luckily a new home was found for Elli and Nappi already, they leave next weekend so I still have a week with them.