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Ask Cher Your Own Question
Cher
Cher, Pet Caregiver 40+yrs
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20960
Experience:  Specialist in Pet Healthcare and Behavior
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We have 2 female cats, 3 yrs old. We adopted a male cat,

Customer Question

We have 2 female cats, 3 yrs old. We adopted a male cat, same age approx. 3 mos ago and the 2 females are NOT accepting him at all. They literally attack him when he is anywhere around them. He has been neutered and the girls are spayed. We are at our wits end. Have to keep the male in a room by himself. I hate having him shut away from everything. What can we do?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the cat?
Customer: There is nothing wrong with any of them. The girls are just not accepting the new boy.
JA: Where does the cat seem to hurt?
Customer: The cat is not hurting. Our problem is acceptance of him by the other 2
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Packer
JA: Is there anything else the veterinarian should be aware of about Packer?
Customer: I don't think so. He is very timid now because of the other 2 cats attacking him.
Submitted: 30 days ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Cher replied 30 days ago.

Hi, I'm Cher. Welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm reviewing your question now and will post back with your reply, shortly.

Expert:  Cher replied 30 days ago.

Hi again,

I have just a few questions for you, before I send an answer:

How did you first introduce the cats?

When the girls go after the male, do they just do that to assert their dominance or do they end up fighting? Was any blood ever drawn, bites or scratches received?

Thanks for all your additional information and after you reply, please allow me a short while to type and send your detailed answer. I just wanted to let you know that I might be offline for a little bit, so if I don't answer right away, you haven't been ignored, but I might be offline. Thanks for your patience!

Warmest wishes,

Cher

Customer: replied 30 days ago.
When we first brought Packer home we left him in the cat carrier for approximately an hour to let the "girls", Princess and Pesky, sniff around the carrier. When we let him out the girls went into another room, but when Packer started to play with a toy they immediately came back in the room and started fighting with him. No blood was drawn and we didn't see any scratches or bites. Another time we brought Packer down from his room he was just laying in his bed on the floor and the girls again attacked him-one on each side. He doesn't have any claws. Even his hind claws have been removed. Both the girls still have their claws. I just hate that Packer has to be kept shut in a room while we are gone, but I'm afraid what the girls would do. They know what room he is in and they will go up and just lay outside of the door. Other than fighting with him they are both sweet girls. He has become pretty timid when he hears their bells and sometimes just wants to go back to his room? Do you think there is any hope that the girls will accept Packer. He is a sweet guy and I love him dearly, but as I said before, I hate the thought of him alone in his room. I've even wondered if we will have to give him up. Thank you so much for any suggestions you may have, Pam
Expert:  Cher replied 29 days ago.

Hi again, Pam and thanks for your very helpful reply.

The girls are afraid that Packer is an 'intruder' and there, to take over their territory. They're trying to assert their 'Top Cat' positions and let him know he has no power here. This is a very common reaction in new cat introductions. The unfair part of this, is that Packer is declawed on all four paws and the girls have all their claws, so he can't even defend himself, except with this teeth, but that means getting his face too close to their claws.

You did every right in having them get used to each others' scents and right now, you can take a slightly dampened cloth or paper towel and pet Packer, then pet one of the girls, then pet Packer again, then pet your other girl and pet packer, then vice-versa. If their scents are on each others' coats, they will smell each other all the time. You also could take an old t-shirt or other piece of clothing containing your scent and pet them all with it, so they smell your familiar and comforting scent.

Get some Feliway plug in diffusers; these emit calming cat pheromones that help to dial down the stress and anxiety. It has no scent to humans; only cats can detect it.

http://www.feliway.com/us

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Try feeding them cat healthy treats on either side of the door. Eating is a pleasurable experience and you want them to associate good things with each other.

You an also try playing with them with an interative toy like a feather wand or fishing pole toy. You're supervising the activity, so you can watch for any fights. If they start going for Packer, gently push them back with a throw pillow and say 'No!'. Don't shout, but say it firmly. If you have a helper, this is better, because, let's face it, right now, it's 2 against one and that's not fair to Packer.

Here are two webpages with great tips and techniques on new introductions. It's never too late to start from square 1! : )

http://jacksongalaxy.com/blog/2010/10/01/cat-to-cat-introductions

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http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-to-introduce-a-second-cat/

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If necessary, and I always suggest this as a last resort, discuss with your vet, an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant prescription medication at a low dose, do help them feel calmer. It might be best to give them all, the medication, since everyone is on edge.

I agree that it's not right for him to live his life in one room. Try some of these other ideas and this does take time. If you feel you're seeing no forward movement at all, unfortunately, you will have to consider re-homing him to a home with no other cats. If it comes to this, first, think of relatives, friends, neighbors who are cat lovers and experienced with cats. Otherwise there are Cat Rescue Organizations that will take him and find him a home. Never bring him to a shelter unless you know for sure, they are a 'no-kill' shelter.

I hope they will eventually get used to each other and for now, continue to keep them separated when you're not home. They don't have to be 'best friends', but if they can tolerate each other without fighting, this would be great!

I hope this helped and please keep me posted, if you can, on how they're doing.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback, as that is the only way I receive recognition from the website for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply to Expert' for clarification or additional information, if needed.

Warmest regards,

Cher