Friday, May 27, 2011

Houston, We Have A Problem...

THE BIG THING:  Well we did not have a good 48 hours here at Mark's Mews!  Marley lost his collar, Iza barfed twice, the shelving rack I am assembling is missing 2 pieces and otherwise becoming more of a project than I expected, the printer died, the groundhog I trapped and then humanely released outside of the fence is back inside.  My 'Cavebear's Lair' blog refused to add uploaded photos for a day.

But all that pales...

Ayla got outside Wednesday afternoon and did not return until a couple hours ago!

There is a history to this.  LC basically taught Ayla how to get over the fence.  Both would stay out for an hour, then come home when called.  But last year, after Iza joined us, Ayla would stay outside the fence (but close to it) for 2 nights at a time.  The last time, Iza chased Ayla over the fence as if she was an intruder.  I had to spray Iza with the garden hose to get her to back away.  Ayla stayed close to the fence, but outside for 4 days.  At that point, when she finally returned, Ayla became an indoors cat.

I do not understand this at all.  Indoors, they sleep together, eat together, and nap on my lap together.  They groom each other. Outside, something is different...  Last year, Iza chased Ayla over the fence twice.

But I have successfully kept Ayla indoors for about a year now, while Iza and (very recently)  Marley went outside.  Iza and Marley can go outside in the big fenced-in backyard because they show absolutely no interest in getting over the fence.  Probably because they can't.  That's good, because I am outside a lot and I like to have my friends outside with me.

It isn't easy managing the deck door cat-traffic.  Iza or Marley want to get in or out, sometimes in opposite directions.  I always watch Ayla carefully, tapping my foot in front of her to back her away.  But it all went wrong yesterday...

Iza was in, and wanted out.  Marley was out, and wanted in.  Ayla was across the room, sitting quietly.  I opened the door so Marley could get in and Iza out.  They usually enter and leave quickly.  But Iza and Marley blocked each other with Marley's head just in the opening.

I saw Ayla rush the door.  I couldn't shut it on Marley's neck, so I swiped a hand toward Ayla.  Just as Iza got in the way...  Ayla hopped over both of them like a gazelle, and she was out on the deck. Marley ran inside and Iza backed away;  I walked calmly onto the deck and tried to get Ayla back inside, but she hopped off the deck and ran straight over the fence!

You would think that, being inside for a year, she would be interested in the yard.  To stop and sniff things, nibble some grass, sniff the mouse holes.  No, she went straight over the fence.

I heard the bell on her collar jingling while I was outside yesterday, but I couldn't see her.  At least she was staying close by the fence.  There is an area between me and 3 other neighbors that stays wild.  She likes it there.  She doesn't go near the road (and it is a very low traffic dead end street). 

She was 4 days out from her recent heat cycle (the first in 2 1/2 months!), so she was safe from that kind of unwanted attention.  But I couldn't help worrying.  There are owls, there are loose dogs.  She MIGHT wander too far away to find home this time.

I didn't sleep the first night.  Literally, I stayed up til dawn, calling outside about once each hour.  Slept from 8 a.m. to Noon...  Last night, I slept solidly, just too tired to call her all night.

Around lunchtime, I glanced outside, and it looked like Iza was out on the lawn.  It definitely wasn't Ayla, too light-colored.  Then I saw Ayla a few feet away!  I shut the bedroom door to keep Iza and Marley inside and opened the deck door.  Then, I could see the other cat was a light ginger.

When he saw me, he trotted away and Ayla chased after him.  Dammit, she went back over the fence again!  Fortunately, a few minutes later she hopped back up on the fence and walked along it for a while.  I got quietly to within 20 feet and just stood there for about 10 minutes talking to her.

FINALLY, she decided to join me and came over.  When she started to purr, it was safe to reach down and pick her up.  Inside, I fed her and stood next to the cat tree until she hopped up there.  I scratched her for about 15 minutes until she decided she wanted to nap.  I got her into the Mewsroom and closed the door so that she would have some secure time after I let Iza and Marley out of the bedroom.

As soon as Ayla was out of the Mewsroom, Iza attacked her!  I separated them and soothed Ayla again for a while.  An hour later, she did it AGAIN!  This time I had the spray bottle at hand and gave her a couple of good shots.

While they usually get along, there is just something about Ayla that Iza does not like!  She doesn't attack Marley like that, ever.  I think Iza would like to be an only cat, but she does really like Marley...  Maybe it is because Ayla runs from Iza and Marley doesn't, but that might be either WHY Iza attacks or BECAUSE Iza attacks.

Equally, I don't know whether Ayla started to stay out longer because I began to keep her inside or because she wanted to get away from Iza.   She stayed out overnight a few times before Iza arrived, but the multiple night episodes started shortly after Iza arrived.   I often see Iza staring at Ayla intently. 

At least she is back inside again.  For now.  I don't know what will happen next...

UPDATE:  Oh, BTW, TBT is moaning about his plant light stand project iffen ya wanna read about it over here...

We dont see what he is so annoyed about.  Its not like his time is worth annything when he isnt payin attention to US!  An he is tryin ta grow veggables!  Who cares?


Brian said...

Oh my, that sounds kind of scary and nerve racking fur sure. I hope you all have a nice, calm weekend.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Oh, no! Not a good couple of days. Hope this doesn't happen again. Once was nerve-wracking enough. In fact, after reading this, we need to go nap.

ArtemisiaFSS said...

Oh, how upsetting for you.

We thinks that Ayla was just enjoying being outside after being cooped up inside for so long. Could you possibly let Ayla out sometimes when Iza is inside? Can you put a leash on Ayla like you did Marley? (Socks was fine on the leash inside, but when Mommy tried using it outside he freaked, so we understand if leashes and Ayla don't mix).

As for Ayla and Iza not getting along (sigh) we don't have any suggestions. Lucky for Mommy Scylla eventually decided she loved Artemisia & that Socks is OK. We wonder if Ayla smells different after she has been outside. Charybdis & Scylla were litter mates and good friends. But once after Scylla got hurted and went to the vet Charybdis acted like she was a strange intruder cat and hissed at her and tried to drive her off (It really hurt Scylla's feelings). And Charybdis acted that way until Scylla wasn't on the medicine anymore, so Mommy thinks it must have had something to do with the way she smelt.

ArtemisiaFSS said...

PS: We meant Scylla decided Fenris was OK. Scylla has always LOVED Socks from the first moment she saw him. Luckily Socks was happy to have her & Charybdis around.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Oh my! What a stressful couple of days. I wonder if it's because of whatever causes Ayla to go into heat that means Iza doesn't like her so much? Thinking perhaps some other pheremones that suggest that she is queen or something and Iza doesn't want to be bossed?

Megan said...

An emotionally draining 48 hours for you - I'm sorry you had to go through it.

I wonder whether a cat enclosure might be a solution? I had a huge one installed in my back courtyard that wasn't an eyesore and allowed my cat to go outside without my having to be concerned about where he could go and what he might get up to. Being in Australia means that I can only refer you to my local provider - - but I imagine that you would be able to find something similar.

Sydney, Australia

Athena said...

Oh, my gosh, how nerve wracking and scary. I am so sorry that happened! I am glad she is home now, and I hope she stays put!

Natalie said...

That sounds like a nerve-wracking few days! Scarlett went missing a couple of times, and it was terrifying. I wonder what it is about Ayla that Iza doesn't like - the hormonal thing that another commenter suggested does seem plausible. I wonder if Ayla is just really territorial, which I have heard is the case for a lot of female cats and is why female cats tend to get along better with male cats than with each other.

Sylvester, Camille and Ava said...

wow sounds like murphy is visiting. We sure hope Ayla does not pull anouther stunt like that, and we hope TBT figures out a way to prevent that. otherwise seems like everybody is getting along. we love seeing the snuggly pics in past posts

Katnip Lounge said...

Holy COD! You need a stiff drink. Or two.
The Baby headed for the hills once and came back after three VERY long days...Scott & I were sure she was gone for good, so I sure can sympathize. How awful.
You had been talking about a Catio under your deck...that's the solution I'd suggest! As for the attacking, if you figure it out let me know. Johnny would LOVE to eat The Baby.

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

And I thought the relationship between the three of us was complicated! I am glad that Ayla is back home - what an upsetting couple of days for you!

The Island Cats said...

Wow! We are so glad that Ayla is home again, but that musta been so scary!! We hope that she doesn't get out again!

Derby, Ducky said...

Yikes! Glad Ayla is home and inside, safe. Sisfurs who really don't get along.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

Oh my. Poor TBT! What a horbibble (my favorite new word) few days! We are SO happy to hear Ayla is home with you now.

The Human says: For YEARS I had two females, mother and daughter. After Angela (daughter cat) was about 6 months old, Booboo (momcat)took an intense dislike to her. She had been a great mother, but I guess she decided enough was enough. The dislike waxed and waned, but it never completely resolved, though they did come to an "understanding" eventually. Angela passed away first (at about 15), and BooBoo was never so happy as she was for the last few years of her life (she lived to almost 20!) It was kinda like the Cold War around here for a long time!

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

When we came back yesterday and saw you hadn't posted again we knew something was wrong!

We have no answers for you but we hope you can resolve this one way or another (catio or no outside at all).
But *you* have to be able to get outside, so you need a way to keep them from bolting or squeezing past your legs. Ayla's (and Iza's) behavior sure is strange.

Mr Puddy said...

My mom do agree with Mom Trish, Your pawrents might consider about Patio or Catio.

I love to go out every single day but I do return home everyday. But Ayla is not come home for couple days, That's no good sign. Because I used to have this issue when I live with my ex-owner ( next 3 doors ), Then I start not to go home, and then I move in and live with mom and dad. But my issue is different from Ayla. Because I was the new cat in my ex-owner house, and they didn't expect to have me ( I was rescued by them )

About attacking, I got no idea for you because I just only cat in the house. And I do attack intruders sometime.