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Cher
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18308
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat Steve has been with us since he was born...weve had

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My cat Steve has been with us since he was born...we've had him 5 years. Our new kitty is Abby. We have had her 3 months. We tried a gradual integration, but that seemed to upset Steve more since he didn't know what was there, but could hear her. Now she is out and he is furious. I am so sad bc they have been out and together for a month and it's not getting better...it's getting worse. Steve is indoor/outdoor. He has been reluctant to come home, so this week we have kept him in FULL TIME bc we are nervous he will run away, but I'm not sure that's the best response bc he is sooooo mad. He scratches at us now and even today he purposely went to the bathroom on the carpet. Steve is usually a very loving and affectionate cat.He IS my baby and I'm devastated to see his personality change so much. I want to stay the course and keep Abby, but how LONG should this take and are we making a mistake keeping Steve inside full time when before he could do what he pleased?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 5 months ago.

Hello, Kylie and welcome!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you and Steve today.

I'm so sorry to hear about his unfortunate reaction to Abby. Can you tell me how you first introduced the two cats?

How old is Abby?

What type of personality does she have?

I'm assuming both cats are fixed?

Do you know where Steve goes when he's outside? Does he roam or stay close to the house?

How does he react to the spray bottle?

Thanks for all your additional detail.
Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 5 months ago.
Hi again, Kylie.

I see that you're not online at this time, so I will send you my answer and if you have any additional questions or concerns, simply click 'Reply' and I will be glad to continue our conversation.

First, I would recommend going back to square one and re-introducing Steve and Abby. The scent transfer method is great for this: take a slightly dampened cloth or paper towel and pet one cat, then pet the other, then vice versa. Continue doing this frequently throughout the day. This will deposit each cats' scent on the other's fur, so they will smell each other all the time. In addiiton, you can pet both cats with an old t-shirt of yours; your familiar, calming scent will also help if they smell it all the time on themselves.

I assume you're using the Feliway calming pheromone plug in and if so, that's great! There is also a pheromone calming collar which might be a good idea for Steve, to keep him calmer. You can find it in any pet supply stores and also order online. Here is more information: Calming Collar

There are also two other over the counter oral calming remedies which may be beneficial for Steve. Decide on one and only give that; don't give both simultaneously:
Rescue Remedy for Pets

Composure treats


I would still recommend keeping the cats separated when you're not at home to supervise, so Abby doesn't get hurt if Steve is attacking her. However, when you're home, you can supervise and if you see Steve about to attack, instead of using the spray bottle, stand out of sight and shake a can of pennies or pebbles. The startling sound should stop Steve in his tracks and he will associate his action with the unpleasant sound. It's important that he doesn't see you, because you don't want him associating the sound with YOU, but with his actions.

Eating is a pleasurable activity for cats, so you can try to feed them both cat-healthy treats, side by side or at least in the same room. This should help with some of the tension.

You can also play with them with interactive toys and other types of toys they can play with on their own. Below, is a list of some favorite toys and a dvd they should enjoy. If you enrich their indoor environment, it might be easier on Steve and playing together would help them bond more easily.

When you get the new toys, divide them into several groups. Change out the groups every few days, and they will feel like they are getting 'new' toys, which will intrigue them!

You should have or can get, a tall kitty condo or cat tree with different levels, shelves, and 'hidey holes' for playing, sleeping and scratching (these are covered with carpet). They will also enjoy a foraging toy, which fulfills the natural instincts of stalking and hunting prey.

Interactive toys you can play with them are laser pointers and feather dancers or fishing pole toys. There are even 'automatic' laser toys which you can set on a timer.

Foraging toys


http://www.zootoo.com/pet-product/cat-toys/funkitty-twist-n-treat

http://www.batarat.com/


http://www.catdvd.com/

http://www.shopfatcat.com/Cat-Toys_c_7.html

http://www.amazon.com/FroliCat-BOLT-Interactive-Laser-Pet/dp/B0021L8W6K


These are some examples of what's available; you can find many of these types of toys, etc. at your pet supplies store or order online--whichever is easiest for you.

One note: re: the feather dancer/fishing pole toy--don't leave this alone with them, as pieces can be chewed off; always play WITH them, under your supervision, then store the toy where they can't get at it.

 

I agree with you that keeping him in, when Steve is used to being an indoor/outdoor cat may be adding to his stress and new, angry personality. I also understand that you're afraid he might not come home one day. If you're able, put up a safe cat enclosure or a cat fence that will keep him in the yard, etc., but not allow him off your property. Here are some examples: http://www.purrfectfence.com/


http://www.paws.org/outdoor-cat-enclosures.html

 

I always prefer to recommend a prescription anti-anxiety medication from the vet as a last resort. If nothing else seems to work for Steve, discuss this option with his vet, just to use short-term, to see if it helps him get used to Abby and be less angry. I wouldn't let him outdoors while he's on this type of medication, though.

 

I hope things start to improve for Steve and Abby very soon. I know how difficult this situation is for you, but hopefully, he'll come around.

 

Warmest regards,

Cher


Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18308
Experience: Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
Cher and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Cher replied 5 months ago.
Hi again, Kylie.

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going with Steve and Abby, and if you found the information in my answer helpful.

While I realize this 'reintroduction' period will take a while, I hope ultimately, it will have the desired effect on the kitties, especially Steve.

If you need any additional information or have further concerns, please don't hesitate to ask me by clicking on 'Reply to Expert', and I will answer as soon as possible.

I appreciate the opportunity to be of help to you and your cats and thank you for entrusting your question to me and Just Answer!

Best wishes,
Cher
Customer: replied 5 months ago.

Cher,


Thank you for your thorough response. Things are a little bit better, but I haven't tried anything you suggested. My biggest issue with your suggestions is the constant suggestion that I buy something...or can be home all the time. I have been more consistent in firmly telling Steve, "NO!" when he growls, hisses, but I am not home all the time. I love my cats and I want them to get along, but these suggestions seem ridiculously outlandish as far as the time and cost requirement. I can't afford a cat run..nor should I Have to go out and buy a whole new repertoire of toys, cat scratchers, etc.

Expert:  Cher replied 5 months ago.
Hi again, Kylie and you're most welcome!

Thanks very much for your positive rating, which is truly appreciated.

My apologies for the delayed response, but I was offline for most of the day. I'm glad to hear that things are a little better. I believe once you try some of the methods I suggested, you will see additional improvement.

I'm sorry if there was some sort of misunderstanding, but I didn't suggest that you needed to be home all the time. I only suggested that you continue to keep the cats separated when you can't supervise so that Abby doesn't get hurt if Steve is attacking quite aggressively.

I recommended a kitty condo or cat tree, because cats love to be up high and this type of structure also provides a diversion for them. I had mentioned that you don't need an additional scratcher because the kitty condos are covered in carpet material, so they also serve the dual purpose of a scratching post, which is actually more economical. You also don't have to go out and buy all new toys. My primary suggestion was to take the toys (any toys, old, new, it doesn't make a difference) and divide them into groups; let the cats play with one group for a few days, then switch them out for another group; this will enable them to feel like they're always getting 'new' toys.

Since you indicated you feared that Steve might not return if you let him back outside, I only suggested that if it were suitable for your set-up, you could 'try' a cat enclosure or kitty fence to keep him safe and prevent him from running away and not returning.

All of my suggestions/recommendations are just that; I only provided some ways for you to enrich their environment, and then maybe Steve would enjoy being inside more and in addition, Abby would also benefit. I certainly did not mean to suggest that you go out and spend a fortune on new toys, scratching posts or enclosures for your kitties.

I hope things continue to improve and please keep me posted, if you're able, on how your kitties are progressing. Thanks!

Warmest wishes to you all,
Cher

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