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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3912
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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How do I help my previously outdoor cat adjust to being a strictly

Customer Question

How do I help my previously outdoor cat adjust to being a strictly indoor cat? out of frustration he is viciously attacking our older, sweet indoor cat. Help! I feel so bad for BOTH of them,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for contact JustAnswer! I'm a licensed veterinarian, and I'll be happy to help you and Tuxedo today.Kitties usually can adjust, but it does take a long time. Here are some general ways to approach this change that can help both cats adjust. Tuxedo should be confined to one room with his food, water and litter. You should also purchase or make one or two cat trees (ultimately for your whole home, but one definitely to offer Tuxedo in his room). When cats are confined indoors, they need to have their environment enriched with cat trees, toys, music (country western or classical), and even cat entertaining videos played on the computer or TV.While Tuxedo is in his room and your other kitty still has her territory, you want to begin introducing the two by rubbing each kitty well with a towel and then rubbing the other cat with that same towel. . .to transfer the kitty odors. I'd do this at least once daily for a week or so. Both kitties will be very interested in the other cat, and can also begin to know each other "through the door".Many people next introduce the kitties with a "baby gate" that is high enough to prevent the cats jumping over it. This allows more direct interaction but still with a safe separation.Finally, you can leave the door open and the gate down, and let the cats interact. Tuxedo' food should be picked up as well as your other kitty's food to avoid this common cause of relationship problems. You need to be there armed with a spray water bottle or a squirt gun to break up any actual fights (if they occur). Growling and hissing are OK, just no actual fights.When you ultimately have both cats in your whole home, you should have a cat tree for each and at least two litter boxes in easily accessible but private places. You should have plenty of toys. . .on a string and pole, catnip filled little animals, balls, etc. There are all kinds of toys available to help enrich cats' indoor environment. Tuxedo and his new sibling should be offered food twice daily but in separate rooms with the door closed. Give them about 15-20 minutes with their food and then pick it up. Cats can feel very territorial and anxious about their food. Both of your cats will learn quickly that food will be available to them again in 8-12 hours.I hope these suggestions are very helpful for you, but I'm sure I've raised more questions and comments. Please let me know so we can address all of your concerns.Thanks,Dr. Barbara