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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14860
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Why does my spayed older female Siamese cat (9 years)attack

Customer Question

Why does my spayed older female Siamese cat (9 years)attack our newly adopted eight month old Lynx kitten?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
We have 4 cats, an 18 year old mellow male Calico, our two Siamese cat siblings (male and female), and our 8 month old Lynx baby. All are neutered/spayed. We have 8 food bowls and 8 cat boxes, cleaned daily. All get along but Lily, who attacks our new baby. Feliway, treats, group play, and group feeding don'the help. Lily yriesvto kill our little one. We isolate her and him for 12 hours each day in a spare bedroom. Both get a lot of love and cuddles. How can we stop her from chasing and attacking him? She has learned how to break into the spare bedroom when he is there. She screams, pounces, and bites and scratches until they are a howling ball of furry. Help!
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 8 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that your cats Lily and new young fellow are not living together in peace and I'd like to help.Cats in the wild don't normally live together. They compete for food, reproduction, and sleeping areas and often fight. In homes where the resources are endless they may learn to live in peace and sometimes actually enjoy each other's company.I am glad that you have lots of litter boxes and have attempted positive associations with each other.When cats do not get along it may be because one, or both, are sick, one or neither cat was socialized properly as young kittens or Lily feels threatened by the kitten and sees the best defense as a good offense. Lily may have decided that one more cat is simply too much, and she is going to take matters into her own hands to get rid of him. So ideally both cats should have a thorough physical examination, urinalysis and bloodwork to make sure all is OK. Cats are very good at picking on the one who is weak in the group. It's possible that one has an undiagnosed health problem which is making her cranky or him the target of her attacks. Cats are very keen at picking up a change in body odor which can signify sickness. Make sure their urine is checked for any signs of crystals or infection and cultured to make sure a subclinical low grade infection isn't part of the problem. Bloodwork to look for internal organ disease and hyperthyroidism is advisable too. If all is OK physically then there may be an emotional or environmental stress that is causing them to argue.It may be a change in the home environment (favorite person is gone more or has a different schedule), construction, new baby or other new people in the home, new pet.It may also be related to something going on outside. If one or both are stressed by a stray animal or wildlife outdoors they can take it out on each other. This is called displaced or redirected aggression. If you think it is related to something you can change do so, block doors and window access and play soft music or the TV when you aren't home or at night to block outside noise. You can also use a product called Feliway which is a synthetic version of a feline pheromone used to mark things as "home" or safe. This can be purchased at large pets stores or on line. It comes in diffusors, sprays or a collar form that has impregnated pheromones that they can have with them at all times. From your write-up I think this is something that you are already doing. You might also try using a product called Bach's Rescue Remedy. This is a homeopathic remedy that can calm them down enough to learn to live peacefully again. It is added to the food and/or water. If those things aren't working for now I would continue to keep these two separated. We need to give them both some peace while we get this sorted out. I would recommend feeding them on either side of the door that separates them so they start to associate each other's smell with a positive (food). I would use the same brush on both so that their smells are familiar to one another. Rotate beds and toys between the two areas so that nothing becomes one kitty's only. If they seem to settle a little perhaps you can try limited visitation after they have had several days to calm down, but only when you are home and can supervise to change or alter behavior. Make sure to have plenty of cat perches or condos and toys so each can have their own place to rest and things to play with so there isn't competition for resources. If she starts to stalk or attack use an airhorn to startle her. An immediate negative consequence that is always present and not physical may be enough to help change behavior. If these measures aren't enough you can discuss oral medications with your veterinarian as well such as fluoxetine or amitriptyline as calming agents to decrease the stress and aggression. These don't need to be forever, just until we can settle her down and they learn to live in peace. You may do all the right things and she may still decide that she doesn't like him. Just like people cats have personalities and preferences, and she may never like him. My hope is that she will at least learn to tolerate him.Best of luck with your kitties. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hi Diane,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not and you found my information helpful please remember to rate my response positively so I may receive credit for my work thank you, ***** *****