Loki and Leila: My Cats Still Really Really Hate Each Other

I think it’s reasonable to admit that things are Not Going Well.
Publish date:
March 7, 2012
cats, weird products, help, Leila, loki, why can't we just be friends?

Readers have asked for an update on Loki and Leila, and I am never one to disappoint readers if I can help it! Also, I thought we needed a break after that heartrendingly depressing post that went up earlier this week, which, seriously, I normally do not get snuffly about things I read on the Internet, but I got snuffly. No shame.

So, here’s the short version of the update: I am still living in a house divided.

Still?!, you ask. I guess that means the Feliway™ didn’t work?

You are correct. The Feliway™ did not work. Leila seemed utterly unphased by the presence of the diffuser and Loki ignored it except when he accidentally wandered too close and got a whiff of the unwanted odor, at which point he skittered away in horror. It’s still plugged in, just because I am stubborn and plan to milk it to the last drop of uselessness, but it is time to move to a new cat-drugging product1 if I want to continue pursuing pharmaceutical routes to amicable discord.

I haven’t quite moved on to Prozac for one or both cats, but it is under consideration. I need to discuss it with the vet the next time I’m lugging a king-sized bag of food out the door to see what she thinks; now that we’re hitting the two-month point, I think it’s reasonable to admit that things are Not Going Well and it may be time to lean on the shoulder of Big Pharma.

For now, I’m going back to old-fashioned measures, which is to say that I’ve switched the parts of the house that the cats are in to see if that helps. I’m also back to strict separation with no contact to see if that helps with Leila’s fear factor. This effectiveness of this scheme is somewhat lessened by the fact that I have to switch them back at night because otherwise Loki would stage a coup, since he insists on sleeping with me.

The switch does seem to be helping, sort of. Loki slinks into the living room when I open the door like he is afraid of being attacked. After carefully smelling everything he can find with a curled lip, he settles himself on the blue chair to wait. Loki is very patient. He can wait for up to 30 seconds at a time, and sometimes a minute under duress.

After eventually coming to the conclusion that Leila must be somewhere else, he goes to sleep. When he decides it’s bedtime, he looks pointedly at the door to demand a room switch.

Leila, meanwhile, darts behind the toilet and wedges herself there; she spent most of the first two days hiding in the toiletcorner. Her first ventures beyond the U-bend were primarily for the purpose of attempting to climb into my pants while I was using the facilities. I got her to go as far as the doorway of the bathroom on a few notable occasions, and have high hopes she may move to the hall in several years.

I do not actually want Leila to live in the bathroom for the rest of her life.

“Why don’t you just throw them in a room together and see what happens,” a friend asked.

I had to explain that on the occasions when this has occurred, what happens is that Leila hides until she can’t hold it any longer, and then either pisses herself or makes a bid for the litterbox, at which point Loki promptly attacks her and she pisses herself. Sometimes with a side of poop. Quite impressively, two weeks ago she actually rolled over on her back and fired poop nuggets like a cannon, causing them to slam into the wall behind her. Leila may have a future as a commando.

A poop commando.

It’s kind of hard to tell who the aggressor is, honestly. Sometimes Loki comes over to investigate, in that “I just want to hang out!” kind of way and she starts growling and showing claw, so he does what any rational dude does when a lady says she’s not interested: jumps her. This of course means that, like any rational dude who can’t take no for an answer, Loki has decided that all ladies are bitches, and has therefore appointed himself to take Leila down when he spots her.

I’m hoping that dedicated time apart will help with feline relations in my household; they are eating on either side of a closed door with relatively minimal fuss, and the next step will be to get a baby gate (yes, yes, I know, I still haven’t gotten one) to see if they’ll tolerate the sight of each other. I suspect Loki won’t care and Leila will be enraged, which will in turn set Loki off, but maybe things will settle to a dull roar.

Someday soon I look forward to not having to check chairs before sitting down in case there’s a puddle of fear-induced pee. Until that time, Nature’s Miracle® is my friend.Commenters, hit me with advice on recalcitrant cat integration. Please.

1. Recommendations are welcome in the comments, because I like experimenting on my cats for fun and profit. (As long as said recommendations are, you know. Non-harmful. I’m a one person IRB and I’m harsh, my friends.) Return