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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have 3 feral cats that were born in my courtyard 2 years

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I have 3 feral cats that were born in my courtyard 2 years ago. 10 months ago a 12 week old kitten came into the courtyard and I had him neutered (I had the others neutered at 12 weeks 2 years ago). The older cats have beds on the porch where their food is. They loved their beds and were in them every night and in the morning when I would go out to feed them breakfast. In the last few months the 10 month old is chasing the other 3 cats out of the courtyard any time they try to come in to eat or lounge. They are not using their beds anymore due to the 10 month old. I was not able to get real close to the original 3 cats as their mother stayed with them for 10 months. The little 12 week old was different. I can pick him up and hug him and he runs to the door when ever I open it and greets me with a meow and lays down for his back rub and allows me to pick him up. I do not know what to do now. I do not want the original 3 cats to lose their beds and food and I do not want to put the 10 month old into a cage as was suggested to me. Can you help me and tell me what to do so the 10 month old will allow the original 3 cats back into the courtyard, their beds and food.
Hi there,
What your are dealing with is a territorial issue. Cats like to live in groups of related individuals, and when a new, unrelated individual shows up, things can get tense. It sounds as if your new kitten is quite the confident little fellow, coming right up to you, and that confidence may extend to being in charge and taking the best beds and food wherever he is.

Cats don't respond well to punishment. Where a dog will realize you don't like him doing something when you yell, cats don't seem to really care. While they may respond aggressively, they rarely stop a behavior in response to yelling.

Ultimately, if they haven't adjusted to one another by now, it is unlikely that they are going to get along without either medication or being separated (or possibly both). The best solution is probably to find another home for the 10 month old. I'm sorry that I don't have a better solution for you, but in a territorial dispute that has been ongoing like that, I don't have much else to offer you. Without human intervention, one or the other group would simply leave the area.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your answer. You mentioned medication. What medication were you referring to?

I find that some cats with territorial issues-- mostly those in the house that don't get along and have taken to urinating outside the litter box-- do well on anti-anxiety medications. It seems to help them relax and behave better. I think if the cats are feral or semi-feral, this may not be an ideal treatment for them, as the medications must be given every day. Also, in a house, once you get the urination issues under control, there are usually other rooms and places to hide where the cats can coexist, but if the territory in question is the beds/food in the courtyard, you may not see this help much.

Another option might be to feed the kitten in another place like a garage or a front porch if one is available, but if he can still get into the courtyard, he may still try to harass your other cats.
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Hi Phyllis,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?