cat fight

Mutual Disdain Likely to Fester & Explode

Question:
Apparently this cat found us. She is part of Community Cat Program here in El Paso. She is not feral; she is more of a stray and very social with humans. She’s around 5. We are trying to acclimate her to an indoor environment. Our older cat is 13. She is being territorial. There is no serious confrontation, mostly growling, hissing, and chasing. The new cat “Baby” gets stimulated easily. For correcting we’ve been using the water bottle, with treats when she is good.

Dr. Nichol:
Foisting a younger free-spirit on an older established kitty like Granny (May I call her Granny?) is a formula for political Armageddon. Slinging pejoratives may be only a precursor to a feline version of MMA. Highly stressed cats are known to convert a perfectly fine human domicile into a latrine.

Whether raised as wild animals or as pets, Baby and Granny are not little people in furry suits. They must be motivated to behave, not hosed – unless they catch fire. Rather than aversive methods you can enhance the appeal of your home with feline-friendly enrichments.

Kitties of all stripes need vertical real estate. Locate at least two floor-to-ceiling cat trees against windows with bird houses or feeders suction-cupped to the outside. An abundance of hide boxes at various heights in different rooms will allow each cat to pretend that their nemesis has never existed. Go to my website (drjeffnichol.com) for a good list of Feline Environmental Enrichments. Feliway Multi Cat pheromone diffusers would promote a more social emotional state for Baby and her curmudgeonly elder.

These two cats would never have chosen to room together. Maybe Granny will someday share her wisdom, mentoring the kid on proper decorum as their friendship blossoms. I wouldn’t bet on it. Early life experiences have shaped each of their social attitudes. You’re already doing the right thing by reinforcing good behavior. Be open to letting the semi-feral Baby revisit her old haunts in the great outdoors. A cat door could be the perfect gift. There is plenty of controversy regarding trap-neuter-release programs. If you want the soapbox on this issue you’ll need to get in line.

Dr. Jeff Nichol provides pet behavior consultations in-person and virtually by telephone and Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet questions on behavioral or physical concerns on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.