This evening we had cat skirmishes at every turn - must have been a full moon or something. We've always had a cat or two that took a dislike to another cat or two. That's not uncommon in multiple cat homes. After unsuccessful attempts to allow the offending cats to reconcile, I separated them. I know which ones get along with each other and place those cats together. No cat is isolated or kept from being with the ones he/she likes and none is ever caged. Separate areas seem to work. It's not what I want, but it makes things less stressful for all involved.
The first confrontation of the night was a shortlived howling session between Holly and Blooper. Holly often overreacts to any situation but Blooper is generally a calm and laid-back cat. He was standing in the upstairs hallway looking Holly's way. She took offense and began screeching. Then he began howling. I was dowstairs and asked Spouse to distract Blooper or send him into a different area and put Holly in the bathroom for a few minutes since she feels safe there. We leave the door open and she's able to come and go at will.
While I began cat care chores, my little Houdini cat, Roxie, somehow jiggled the door latch loose and wandered into enemy territory. Holly, ever diligent and on the defensive, sounded the alarm - a shrill, blood curdling screech - and cats scattered in every direction, mimicking cartoon animals that seem to be frantically running, but going nowhere. Roxie cornered Holly in the downstairs hallway and I needed to intervene. Neither cat had been touched, but Holly didn't wait for a blow to be landed before screaming for help. When I picked her up, she immediately began purring and licking my hand. She was perfectly fine. I separated the two adversaries and attempted to console the frightened cats who had scattered like leaves in the wind.
I continued the feeding, watering, and litter scooping chores but within five minutes, another blood curdling shriek was heard and two other cats were posturing, ready for a round or two. Apparently, when Roxie unlatched her door, she also let out Bigger Tigger, who for some unknown reason, can't stand Blooper. (Have I lost you yet?) Roxie and Big Tig are roomies and have always gotten along well. Both of them get along with the brothers, Casey and Cody, so having them all in one room isn't a problem. Unfortunately, Blooper was standing at the bottom of the stairs blocking Big Tig's path. In Tig's estimation, that was an infraction of major proportion, so war was declared.
Tig had bitten Blooper and both had bushy tails, ridges down their backs, and ears laid flat. All cat people recognize those actions as signs of impending aggression. You don't want to try to pick up Big Tig if he's in a snitty mood - don't ask how I know that - but Blooper is easy going and allowed me to carry him to safer ground. He was completely unharmed but a bit shaken and nervous from the ordeal. I can't explain why Blooper seems to think it's perfectly ok, and in fact, a real thrill to corner Holly and cause her to squeal. He certainly doesn't enjoy it being done to him. Sometimes these cats are so much like kids it's unreal. One would think that was enough excitement for the evening, but the combatants were just getting warmed up and ready for battle and I was running out of demilitarized zones in which to re-locate the little warriors.
I was in the utility room with Elliot, Ziggy, and Bailey running around playing and all was calm for the moment. Cody wandered in and jumped up onto the dryer and into a large litter box (actually a plastic under-the-bed storage container minus the lid) I'd just finished washing and drying. I warned that he was going to fall but like a defiant child, Cody turned a deaf ear. True to my prediction, he lost his balance and fell to the floor. The clean empty litter box toppled to the floor as well and landed on top of him. Thank goodness it was clean AND empty. He was terribly frightened and ran out of the utility room, knocking down cats as if they were bowling pins. Poor Bailey, Zig, and Elliot were in his line of fire and didn't know what to think so they all panicked and ran to find hiding spots, as did every other cat. Most of them were squalling as they ran. Kelly (the kittens' mama) sounded a loud battle cry and took off after Cody, apparently thinking he had assaulted one of her boys. Cody began screeching out of fear though Kelly hadn't touched him. I scooped her up and took her to the utility room for a cooling off session. Cody and Bailey were no where to be found and it took over an hour before either was calm enough to come out of hiding.
I'd done quite enough battle for the evening and sent Roxie and Bigger Tigger back to their area since I'd been able to finish cleaning it despite all the turmoil. I closed the downstairs door and double checked the latch this time, so no cats could escape. I began tucking all of them in for the night and was finally able to coax Cody and Bailey from their hiding places. I consoled them and began tossing jingle balls their way and when they began to chase after them, I knew they were fine. Each cat settled down and found his/her sleeping spot for the night. Apparently a truce had been declared. There were no major casualties and no prisoners were taken.