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Dr. Emily
Dr. Emily, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  Associate veterinarian at a small animal clinic
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Over a year and a half ago, I took in a big (about 15 lbs.)

Customer Question

Over a year and a half ago, I took in a big (about 15 lbs.) stray, approximately 5 year-old male cat. It was only him and I. Now I moved in with my friend who has 2 female Golden Retrievers and a Yorkie-poo. The cat had in the past and is now, following me around and in general wants to be close to where I am. As a matter of fact, he has inched from the foot of the bed to the top.
He hisses at the dogs when they try to get too close to me and this morning he actually chased the younger Golden Retriever, hissing and trying to swat her. The cat apparently had been declawed by it's previous owner. There is no aggression from the dogs toward the cat
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the information. I presume your question is how to remedy this problem?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I am trying to find out how to remedy the problem.
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry to hear about the difficulties with your kitty. Do you know what her history is at all? It is common for any new pet, cat or dog, to take some time to adjust to the new pets in the environment. Cats can be very sensitive about their routines and introduction of a new pet can be traumatic for them. Unfortunately, some cats just do not like other cats or dogs and as hard as we try, we cannot change this behavior. Here are some ideas for you to read over to see if any of these are new things you can try. Because of the territorial nature of cats, changes of any kind tend to be more difficult for them than other animals. Cats need to feel in control of their environment and require predictable routines, surroundings and relationships to help them become comfortable.When everything in an environment is unfamiliar, the cat has nothing to control and thus does not feel safe. You can assist the new cat by providing an area that he can claim as his own. This permits the cats to quickly establish a familiar spot through food, its own smells, its owners smells and a safe private hiding spot close to food, water and the litter box. Do not let the dogs into this area until your cat is much more comfortable with himself and his surroundings again.Cats can take up to several months to adjust to a new pets. They may even hide out of sight for several days when they are first introduced into a new home. (However, if after a few days, you observe no signs eating, drinking or litter box use, then you need to seek medical help -- at this point it sounds like this is not the case).Here are some ideas to help provide the best environment possible:Feliway is a great product that safely reduces anxiety. It can be placed in areas where the cat typically resides. It comes in plug in forms and collars.Providing an enriched environment can increase activity, decrease boredom, and prevent many behavior problems that can occur secondary to boredom and stress. Cats need mental stimulation; their environment should have opportunities to create their own positive experiences.Vertical space is highly desirable for cats and increases the overall space available to the cat. Provide cat trees, preferably with hiding spots, cat perches, and shelves. Scratching is normal cat behavior. Provide acceptable scratching materials (e.g., scratching posts). To train your cat to use the post, reward with treats and praise. Also put catnip, treats, and toys on or near the post. Scratching posts should be tall and sturdy, and made of materials cats prefer (usually wood, sisal rope, or rough fabric). Locate the scratching post next to a window, sleeping area, or another favorite area. Many cats prefer vertical scratching posts; some prefer horizontal ones. Interactive toys and “hunting” games allow cats to stalk and catch; play several times a day with solitary indoor cats. Keep the home environment predictable, but without rigidity or boredom. Make small changes that provide novelty. Studies indicate that cats play best and most often with toys which also use human interaction. Rotated or new toys hold cats' curiosity and interest for longer periods of time. Boxes, bags, and carriers left out provide nice hiding places for cats. It is also very important to gradually introduce them to each other. So first I would keep them 100% separate, then introduce scent only. This can be a blanket is the scent on it. Then a sight introduction but no physical contact. Then physical contact. Each of these phases can last for weeks, depending on how fast the cat acclimates and does not show signs of stress or aggression. Let me know if you have further questions or need clarification on any of the above.
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 2 years ago.
Did you have further questions after reviewing the above?