Gifty’s Aggression

My two little rascals have been in the same household for also two months now and we are starting to seem great signs of improvement from the two of them. In the beginning, they were both very weary of each other and there was a lot of growling and death stares. Now they are behaving much better towards each other, although at times there does be the occasional death stare.

We have came to the conclusion that Gifty may be a good bit older than Marley and Gifty could have poor enough vision. We noticed that when Gifty did lash out at Marley, it was when Marley unintentional would have crept up to Gifty and startled her. Gifty would generally be very easy going and wouldn’t be very easily frightened (as Scott would be an extreme over-exaggerator when it came to sneezing and would be prone to random outbursts when playing Xbox Live with his friends HaHa!) but with Marley, she was getting spooked when Marley came towards her quickly or expectantly – this would then lead to Gifty throwing out a swipe and hissing at Marley; at the start Marley would have turned and ran the other way but then she started to swipe back. Anytime we saw Gifty do this we would give her a boop on the butt and/or put her outside; so that she knew that this behaviour was completely unacceptable.

But now, in the last week or so, we have noticed that they are starting to come to terms with each other being under the same roof and the swipes are becoming less common. Once, Scott even saw them eating out of the one bowl at the same time. As we can see that they are somewhat starting to get along, without too much drama, we feel a bit better about leaving them alone together. Before, when we went to bed or both left the house, we would have kept Marley confined to the kitchen and living room while Gifty was confined to upstairs. Now, with both of them having free reign of the house we have caught them both sleeping on the bed together at the same time – opposite ends of the bed at first but in recent days they have been getting closer and closer. It’s more likely Marley feeling braver and creeping her way into the bed while Gifty is already spark out asleep.

Marley is coming out of her shell more now, she is coming up to us on the sofa and bed more often; Scott fell asleep on the sofa the other day and woke up to Marley lying on his chest sleeping as well. We have been allowing Marley short visits outside when it’s quiet – as she wouldn’t be used to the amount of cars that go through our park and people (the children in our park can be wild enough so I was weary for her with them about). So I’ve been letting her out some mornings for about 5/10 mins – she would have a nosey about our garden and garage, the next door neighbour’s garden (no one currently lives there) and probably their next door neighbour’s garden (they have a dog I believe but it would be fairly docile) she would probably know by the scent though to be careful in that garden. When I call her back in 9 times out of 10 she comes straight over – if she doesn’t come right away she may need a few more moments of freedom or if I can’t leave her out for very much longer, she’ll come in with a bit of enticing with food.

Our house at the moment has been turned upside down with these two rascals – we are constantly covered in cat hairs, they are using the sofa, armchairs and base of the bed as scratch posts and I am forever lighting candles to cover up the smell of cat poop/pee. So the next steps now would be to invest in a scratch post or five! Order one of those fine tooth combs for pets and start to train Marley to go outside for her business instead of the litter tray. (Cat litter is surprisingly expensive!) I read somewhere, when potty training your cat, you’re supposed to move the litter tray a little closer to the door each day (or so) and then eventually place it outside, when the cat knows the litter tray is outside then you are supposed to take it away completely. Worth a try! For being a stray cat all of her life, Marley picked up the litter tray in next to no time – she’s only had one mistake and even then that was in the beginning and she was very close!

Make sure you subscribe if you want to know when I publish another Rascal Update or other posts that you might also find interesting. Feedback or tips on any of the issues I’ll mentioned above would be greatly appreciated! I also still need to either find a suitable cattery or stay-in cat sitter for 11 days in June…

Three Weeks Later

These two little rascals have now been in each other’s company for just over three weeks now. It was only last week that they started to show some form of improvement.

 

Gifty is still guarding the stairs though. But Marley is being very patient and resourceful with her; she knows to wait her turn to go up the stairs (normally when Gifty is outside or on our bed sleeping), she knows that Gifty doesn’t like confrontation but will put on a good show at the same time.

Gifty’s still growling at Marley; just for being there. Marley just sits and passes no remarks at her. We tried just letting her growl it but we’ve still been keeping a close eye on her while she’s growling in case she decides to take a swipe.

Marley would just be used to having other cats around and not having a territory to call her own; so she just goes with it. Gifty should be used to other cats but probably just not in such a close proximity.

But yes, they are starting to show signs of improvement. Marley is still quite jumpy but is becoming more affectionate and loves her wee head patted. She still isn’t keen on being picked up – this may be still due to her tummy being delicate from the surgery and stitches. Her outer stitches were removed almost next to no time but she still has a few dissolvable stitches under the skin but the vet told me they can take up to 90 days to dissolve. So for now we try not to pick her up if it can be helped.

Gifty always sleeps on our bed (spoilt girl, I know!), one evening when all three of us (myself, Scott & Gifty) and then Marley pops her head up. She’s quite tiny compared to Gifty so when she goes up on her tip tops she can just about see on the top of the bed. She made it up, came over to lie by me and Scott – at this stage Gifty was sound asleep so didn’t notice her. After a while, Gifty woke up, spotted Marley and of course started to growl and throw death stares. We let her growl it out, eventually she gave up and put her head down again to go back to sleep. That lasted for about a whole 20 minutes – I tried to move position in the bed, Marley got spooked and left. We’ve found she prefers her own company anyway.

They are slowly but surely starting to show signs of improvement. Things could be worse, and they could be fighting the bit out but they’re not and I’m thankful for that much. Me and Scott have our summer holiday in June and we will be away for ten nights, I was pricing a cattery for this duration and they were quoting me for a double occupancy cattery; so hopefully at this stage they will be able to get along together and have each other for comfort and company when we’re away for a while.

Scott’s in charge for when I go away to Glasgow for the weekend – so stay tuned to see how that turns out for everyone! It could go either way with these little rascals!

Introducing Gifty & Marley

So officially but unofficially, we now have two kitties. We first had Gifty for about a year now; she just started coming to us to get fed and have a place to nap and I guess decided to stick around more often because now she never leaves. She of course goes crying by the door if she wants to go out to use the little girls room and shortly after will be back crying to get in the house again to continue napping or eating.

About two weeks ago now, we temporarily took in Marley. Marley was a wee stray cat that stayed around my parents house and farm. She’s only a small wee thing but has popped out quite a few litter of kittens. With her only having one eye we all took a soft spot for her and tried to get her well fed and keep her around. Unfortunately though, with her being quite young herself and becoming pregnant so often the kittens she had didn’t seem to make it very long – we’re not sure if it was maybe her not being able to care for them properly or possibly other wild animals on the farm taking them. Because of this happening too often; we decided it would be best to get her spayed. If I could have caught the Tom Cat floating about I would have got him done too; but he doesn’t come too close to the house that Marley would have.

I took her back to mine and got her spayed with my local veterinary group. I felt so bad taking her to get this done but it was for her own good; she’s such a small wee pet and isn’t fair on the wee kittens. So before and after the surgery she stayed at ours; I kept her mostly confined to the kitchen to ease her into the new surroundings gradually. I only intended on keeping her until she recovered from the operation but she’s such a wee cutie, she only has the one eye and she was so tiny – we decided to keep her. We just had to break the news to Gifty…

 

 

Gifty is also known as Princess Gifty – because she is such a spoilt wee madam. She did not take to Marley very well to begin with. It’s only now after being together in the house for two weeks they are able to be within two metres of each other without Gifty hissing or growling at Marley – Marley is not phased what so ever – she just wants to be friends. I read up on a few articles on the best ways to introduce cats to each other. Apparently, you should start them off in short, closely monitored periods and if any of them show signs of aggression e.g. arched back, hissing, growling, etc. You are supposed to discipline with a boop on the nose or quick spray with water. We decided to boop. Anytime, Gifty would growl or hiss she would get a quick boop and if she wouldn’t stop she would have been put outside. You’re also supposed to keep their resources separate e.g. food bowls, toys, sleeping areas etc.

The growling and hissing from Gifty went on for a while – about a week or so. Now she just throws death stares. Any time she would have hissed she would have ran away afterwards. So even though, Gifty is being the territorial one here, she’s also a big scaredy cat and doesn’t know if she wants to be the dominant one or not, haha! I think Marley’s just used to having a dominant cat around and so doesn’t put up a fight. I think she’s just happy to be in a place where she gets fed regularly, has warmth and some company. Although, the last few nights she has been letting out a few wee cries at night to herself when everyone’s gone to bed; I do believe she is missing being outside and with over cats. But I can’t let her outside just yet; I’m afraid of her not coming back when I call and also she wouldn’t be used to the amount of vehicles here compared to my parent’s private farm and also there are quite a few other cats and dogs in this park and I would be afraid of her getting into a fight; she’s quite a friendly cat and at the start she did come straight over to Gifty to be friends but Gifty was having none of it.

She’s been very good with using the litter tray as well which I’m very surprised at.

It’ll just take a bit of time for them to get used to each other, for Marley to get used to her new home and all the smells and sounds that come along with it. She’s still quite a bit jumpy but these last few days we’ve definitely noticed her being a lot more comfortable with the house and us coming and going. The wee darling is asleep on the floor at the bedroom door at the moment behind me as I’m writing this and Gifty is sleeping on the bed in-between throwing death stares LOL.

If you have any pets of your own that took some time and effort to become friends please let me know if you have any tips/advice/recommendations for me. I’d love to hear how pet owners have got through a similar situation as this one. Or if you have any full time indoor cats I’d love to know how you keep them entertained from being inside all day. Sometimes Marley has a really sad expression on her face and I’d hate to think she was depressed from being cooped up inside all day (this sad expression could also be resulting from her surgery – so I will have to keep an eye on her) Looking forward to hearing from you!

Barcelona With Friends

35227328_2179594518724286_9037417416275001344_n

We all knew this was likely to be the last year all four of us could go away together this this – as we were finishing up with college and some of us were starting full time work and others were continuing on with studies. So we decided to go to Barcelona for a few nights – the others had been before but this was my first time – so I let them take the lead on the trip in terms of what to see and where to stay.

We flew out first thing in the morning from Dublin Airport and arrived into Barcelona – El Prat Airport. We made our way to the accommodation – Barcelona City Street Hostel, Carrer de Dénia – it was outside the city a bit but there were metro stations on every corner so it wasn’t hard to hop on one and get to the main tourist areas.

When we landed we went to one of the wee ticket kiosk desks at the airport, before getting the RENFE train to our accommodation, to each purchase a T10 ticket. “The T10 is a multi-person travel card valid for 10 Barcelona metro and bus journeys from 1 to 6 zones. Multi-person means you can share the card between several persons travelling.” – ref:
This made travelling to and from all our main areas of interest so easy! Every time you use your T10 ticket the machine would leave a line on the back to indicate how many times you have used it – so then you could plainly see how many turns you had left before it’s finished. The T10 ticket was definitely good value for money as there was so much we wanted to see and do in Barcelona – I believe the T10 ticket in the airport metro station only costed approx. €10 (it states online the 2017 price is €9.95)

Our first day in Barcelona was pretty much us finding our feet. We dropped off our luggage at the accommodation, got some local cuisine in our bellies and became tourists.

The weather at this time of the year was great for sightseeing purposes – most days. We had one day of rain but the others were glorious. Locals were wrapped up warm in their winter gear – but for us being from Northern Ireland – it was surprisingly warm. We did purchase some scarfs; as mornings were brisk enough but when you were underground waiting for the trains; you weren’t long losing a few layers to cool down.

We took it easy the first day and took time to plan out what to do on what days – as we wanted to keep the best days for the outdoor sites.

The only tourist attraction we pre-booked was the Sagrada Família – as they only let in a certain amount of people at the one time; to save congestion and to allow everyone to have an enjoyable visit but also because then you can pick a particular time slot – this makes it easier for planning out the rest of the day.
This place is so beautiful! Best time to go is in the morning time; when the light shines in the whole place just lights up in an array of amazing colours. Queues can get pretty long here also so definitely a good idea to get here early or if you do book your time slot before hand; you could do what we did and have a quick Costa around the corner while you wait.

The next day we spent at Park Güell – another place I would advise to arrive early at. We got here early enough – I believe about 9am/10am and after we bought our tickets on site we still had to queue to get into the main area where everyone takes their pictures – Nature Square – from here you have such an amazing view and is very much worth the wait to get your spot on the mosaic wall/bench and take that memorable picture. You then have the lovely gardens to walk around where there is beautiful stonework and statues.

The rest of our time was spent indulging in the authentic spanish cuisine – mostly paella -I do believe I ate paella every day; whether it was for lunch one day or dinner the other – it was just so nice.

We done a lot of walking on this trip but only because we wanted to see as much as possible. The architecture we came across when we walked around Las Ramblas was outstanding – so many beautifully designed buildings, quaint little boutique stores and delightful coffee shops.

Summary:
> Get up and about early to beat the queues.
> Pre-book attraction tickets where/when possible.
> Highly recommend purchasing a T10 Card for travelling in and around Barcelona. You can share it will other people at the same time.
> You don’t necessarily need a city centre accommodation when visiting Barcelona – there is metro stops located all over the city and it really is so easy to get about.
> Plan out your visit and leave yourself plenty of time to take all the sights in. There is so much to see and do it’s unreal. The one thing we didn’t really have time for was Casa Batlló; but I did get a lovely picture of it from the outside – just had no time for the tour unfortunately.


If you are thinking of going to Barcelona or have been yourself – please do get in touch to share your experience and whatever tips and advice you can offer. I’m thinking of going back again soon with Scott and this time I won’t have my friends there to guide me – Eeek! It’s much easier to follow than it is to lead.