photo of cats fighting

Can New Cat Succeed?

Question:
I have 2 other cats and since I’ve brought the new guy home it is a divided household. My 2 established cats are terrified of this guy or just don’t like him. They hide and don’t come out. They hiss and growl. I have to lock up the new cat so the other cats can come out to eat. Now they are even too scared to eat like they are on edge and very stressed. One of the cats has even started using the bathroom out of the litter box.

Dr. Nichol:
Established indoor kitties commonly freak-out when a new kid shows up, especially when the party crasher is significantly younger. If your older cats had been part of a feline group-in-flux since kittenhood they would have the social skills to adapt to the intrusion of this adolescent interloper. But when their cute little fuzzy brains developed past age 7 weeks the socialization train left the station.

You are doing the right thing by isolating your new cat. The collective angst could be reduced with medication while you provide hide-outs, tall climbing and perching structures, and opportunities for indoor stalking and predatory thrills. But that’s only the beginning.

Feline urine soiling is often stress-related. Over time your cats can develop permanent changes in the walls of their bladders, reduced immune function, and other unhealthy behaviors. Your conflicted home needs a custom-fitted solution. I suggest visiting my website (drjeffnichol.com). Click on the “Consultations” tab.

Your established kitties are terrified of that alien who upset their apple cart. They’re stuck inside together with no way to get outa Dodge. I hardly ever suggest rehoming but your household would be happier if your new kitty could live peacefully in a different good home.

Cats are wonderful pets and companions but it takes more than love and good food to bring out their best. Give this serious thought if you plan to bestow the gift of a living, breathing creature this Christmas. The recipient will face medical expenses and important quality-of-life requirements of their new friend. Check out “Choosing the Greatest Kitten for Your Life” on my website.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.