Reduce the anxiety, improve the home environment
Question:
I took in a stray kitten back in August, 2012 after being tased and thrown out by a neighbor. Baby Girl isn’t friendly toward visitors. Now we have moved in with my mom and her two cats. Baby Girl spits at my mom’s female cat. She’s been living in my bedroom and has lost 2#, now at 6.8#.

Dr. Nichol:
Your poor kitty has reason to be distrustful. Like many cats she may have been more bonded to her territory than she to her person. And, as they age, cats are generally less tolerant of change. Having lost her second territory (your home) Baby Girl is isolated and hunkered down, ever watchful for the next perceived threat. The constant stress has affected her appetite. She feels trapped and under siege but she’s doing her best to survive in what she perceives to be a hostile environment.

Baby Girl’s severe anxiety can be reduced with fluoxetine. She’ll also feel better if you naturalize her indoor environment with a tall climbing tree, surfaces for scratching, and lots of hide boxes at various heights in different rooms. Go to my website, drjeffnichol.com, for a full list of environmental enrichments.

In the near term you should continue keeping Baby Girl and her new homeys in separate areas of your house. You can set them up to coexist in the future by rotating them between the first and second floor every day. Share scents between Baby Girl and her nemesis by wiping the same cloth on the sides of their faces and then on each other’s chests, once daily. Feliway Multi Cat pheromone diffusers will promote a more social emotional state.

Feline communication matters. When Baby Girl spits she is casting aspersions against your mother’s cat mother. Adding more pets would create the feline version of road rage. That would be a real bummer.

 

Dr. Jeff Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). Questions on pet behavioral or physical concerns? For answers, Like my Facebook page at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.