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We have a very serious situation at our house. We have a 17

Customer Question
We have a very...
We have a very serious situation at our house. We have a 17 year old cat, Ashley. She has had numerous health problems. She weighed 13 pounds. Now she is less than 6 pounds, and very frail. She definitely has some kidney disease. Recently my mother died. We now have her cat, Daisy. A couple of days after Daisy got here, Ashley and Daisy saw each other through doorway. Daisy hissed at Ashley, and the chase was on! Ashley chased her all the way through the house, where Daisy went under the bed in our guest bedroom. We keep the 2 apart for now. We use a plexiglass panel to block a doorway. Now Ashley is not so upset, just more curious, and goes over to the panel. When Daisy sees her, she hisses and runs.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Daisy?
Customer: Our interpretation Daisy is afraid of Ashley. We spoke with our vet, who did not have any good suggestions. Daisy is 7 years old, and 13.5 pounds. She could do some serious damage to Ashley. Daisy has her own issues. She has irritable bowel disease, and many allergies. She is on prednisone every 2 days. She purrs and is loving to us, really a sweet girl. We are very worried to just put them together because Ashley is really very frail and old. Ashley also a very sweet girl. But Ashley has lived with us for 10 years. She was fine with her biological sister, Heather, who died about a year ago. She clearly views our house as all hers. Daisy was acquired from a shelter by my parents, and has been an only cat. She got badly scratched in the eye as a kitten in the shelter. We just don;'t know how to resolve this, and it is breaking our hearts.
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
7/22/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,496
Experience: DVM
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Hello. My name is***** and I am a veterinarian that can answer your question. I understand that there has been some recent stress between Ashley and Daisy since Daisy was introduced to the home. Your question is how to integrate them together safely in the home. Is that a correct summary?

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Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Thank you. I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. Introduction of a new cat can be very difficult, especially when one of them is older. A potential problem is that Ashley has some current health problems that will make her less agreeable to a new interaction. Also, cats are matriarchal, which means two females will likely be competing for dominance in a single home. These are the things we are up against in the quest to get them to not fight with each other. If either cat does not particularly like this food reward, try interactive toys, brushing, or petting instead.

Introduction always needs to be done in a gradual method, typically containing the new addition cat (i.e. Daisy) in a smaller room while allowing Ashley to have more room to roam. There should initially be a thick barrier between the two cats (i.e. a door as a minimum, but multiple walls if possible). A plexiglass that allows for visual observation will likely stimulate anxiety in either cat if done too soon. In this room should be ample room to hide, scratch posts, food, litter box, etc.

Once Daisy is well acclimated to the new home (i.e. eating, drinking, and eliminating normally), it is time to start the actual introduction process. Start with positive reinforcement exercises on either side of the safe room door. Canned food is often a great motivator. Feed canned food on either side of the door two or three times a day so that Ashley starts to associate Daisy with something she likes a lot.

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Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Between these sessions, encourage other positive associations as well as scent exchanges. Cats who live together in a group form a colony odor or group scent. When bringing in a new cat, one of the biggest insults to existing cats is that the new cat smells funny. We need to help facilitate scent exchanges. Some great ways to do this are to flip flop the bedding provided for each cat, swap their toys, and switch out their scratching posts every few days so they can cross-scent mark each other's posts without ever having met. Wiping both parties down with a washcloth, old sock, or glove reserved for this purpose is also an excellent idea. What we do not want to do is molest the cats with the scent! Simply rub the jowls, face, and head of one cat with the cloth and then lay it in the other cat's space. This allows them to explore each other's scent, hiss at it, rub on it, whatever they choose to do; but we should not rub that cloth all over the other cat's body. Given the sensitivity of a cat's sense of smell, this can be extremely insulting.

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Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Some commercially available products have been created to help ease tension among cats. Lavender, honeysuckle, and valerian root extract are all scents that have been found to have a calming effect on cats. In fact, some cats will even respond to valerian with the same euphoric response they exhibit with catnip.

Feliway is another popular commercial feline product. It works by utilizing pheromones and is available in two formulas. The original Feliway formula mimics the feline facial pheromone, making cats feel as if they have already marked a certain surface as their own using the scent glands in their jowls. The new Feliway Multi formula uses the pheromone found in the mammary glands of nursing moms, which reassures kittens and helps them form a bond with their mother. The goal of this product is to strengthen the relationship or build a bond with existing cats in the home and make them recognize each other as a more cohesive group. Feliway is often used as a "quick fix," but just like medications, it is not a standalone cure. You will get the best results when Feliway is used in conjunction with a behavior modification plan.

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Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

NOW you can introduce the plexiglass or other barrier that allows for visualization (e.g. baby gate). Once you've set up a visual barrier, repeat everything you did with the solid door. Feed meals on either side of the barrier. Start the bowls farther apart and gradually move them closer together. If you reach a point that is too close for comfort, go back to where you were previously successful for a few sessions before drawing them closer together again. Remember, we are using food as a tool, but cats are not family-style eaters and the end goal - once the cats are living together peacefully - is to have multiple feeding stations spread throughout the house so they are not forced to eat side by side. Go at the pace they are comfortable with.

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Cat Veterinarian: Scott Perry, Cat Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

I hope that answers your question. I will remain available in case you have other questions. If you have no other questions then I would appreciate very much a positive review. You may leave up to 5 stars when ready. Your review helps connect Experts with other customers, so your input is kindly appreciated. Thank you!

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Scott Perry
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