Hey everyone – I have sad news about Jojo. While we love him very much, he is not going to fit into our family. Honestly, I wish we’d tried integrating him into the whole house before we went through the full adoption. It was clear almost immediately that the situation was not going to work.
Jojo is very intelligent and very territorial. As soon as he met our other three cats, he began attacking them. Ash, our oldest and alpha cat, warned him off with growls, hisses, and smacks. Furthermore, Ash decided to put Jojo in his place. He used Jojo’s litter box, ate out of his bowl, claimed his toys and scratching posts – all while glaring at Jojo and daring him to complain. This appears to be the only language that Jojo respects, as he now accepts Ash as his (tentative) alpha and we’ve even seen them sleeping near each other. (I say tentative, because every couple days, Jojo will attack Ash to test if he’s big enough to be the new alpha.) If it was just Ash in our house, the situation would probably work out.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for our other two kitties. Nimi is the sweetest soul, and she immediately tried to mother Jojo by bathing his face. He responded by attacking her over and over until she gave up on him. We never seen or heard Nimi hiss, growl, or swat at another creature before. Not once. After she gave up on Jojo, all three behaviors came out. Now, Jojo won’t attack her anymore, but she also won’t let him near her. If he comes close, she attacks him. This is the cat who will calmly sit there and purr while Gavroche pretends to dominate her by putting her throat in his mouth. Jojo can’t be within a foot of her without her attacking him, and really, vice versa. They have an uneasy truce of dislike.
Gavroche, though. Oh my poor Gavroche. He has borne the brunt of this. He’s always been the “omega” of the group, the silly, friendly, not-so-smart kitty. Jojo attacks him mercilessly, and unlike Ash or Nimi, Gavroche will never fight back. He loves to play-wrestle, but Jojo isn’t playing. Jojo causes pain. Jojo refuses to let Gavroche near the food bowls until Ash runs interference. (And if you know anything about my cats, you’ll know Ash has never been the biggest Gavroche fan, so to find him running interference on Gavroche’s behalf says a LOT.) Gavroche, my dear not-so-smart kitty, keeps trying to chirp and make friends with Jojo, and gets beat up for his efforts. Jojo won’t even let him run away. He spends hours attacking while we chase him away with loud noises, sharp voices, and a water squirter.
All this means, of course, that Jojo’s fear of people and noises is just getting worse. He freaks out every time one of the boys bounds up or down the stairs. He won’t let us go near him to pet him 95% of the time. He draws blood if you come close. The house situation has made him terrified, anxious, and wild.
Jojo needs a household without kids or other cats. He needs a quiet home that will help him to grow to trust people again. That is not our house. We’ve done what we can for him. Likely he would have died without individual, specialized care. But after two weeks of trying to see if the situation here would improve, we have to acknowledge that it’s getting worse day by day. We’ve spoken to the owner of the cat cafe where we adopted Jojo and she’s going to take him back and find a better home for him. He’ll go back tomorrow or Tuesday, since they’d like him to integrate during one of the less-busy days (ie not the weekend). I’m heartbroken to have to say goodbye to him, but I also know that we did everything we could, and that Jojo (and our other babies) will be far happier in a different home situation.
ETA: When it came down to it, I could not take Jojo back the day I planned. I was too heartbroken and wanted to give him a little more time. Just another week, just to see if he could get better. Long story short, he didn’t, and by the next Sunday, he was attacking Gavroche and Nimi so badly that we almost locked him in our bedroom while we were gone for Easter (for their safety). He went back to the Cat Cafe the day after Easter, and while it was heartbreaking and terrible to do, I know it was the right thing. Now to just make my heart believe it.